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Search tags: Paranormal-Mystery
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review 2017-03-10 07:15
The Revenant of Thraxton Hall
The Revenant of Thraxton Hall - Vaughn Entwistle

I'm going to use one of my dad's favourite sayings and call this one fair to middling. 

 

On the surface it should have been a guaranteed-to-please-me read: I'm intrigued by Wilde, Conan Doyle is one of only a couple of people I'd go back in time to meet, and the it's a ghost story set on the moors.  In spite of all of this, I remained nothing but an indifferent observer from start to finish; I failed to connect with Wilde or Doyle, and the ghosts failed to thrill.  Additionally, the twisty part of the plot was something I saw coming from the start, although how Doyle got there at the end was so twisty and convoluted, I'm still not sure I get how he did it.

 

He did totally pull one over on me regarding the Count though; did not see that one coming.

 

This is the first of a series, but I doubt I'll be searching out the second one.  

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review 2017-01-03 11:15
Book of Beloved (Pluto's Snitch, #1)
The Book of Beloved - Carolyn Haines

I'm a big fan of Carolyn Haines' Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries, so I was excited to see that she was starting a new historical mystery series, but said excitement was tempered by the fact that she was publishing with Thomas & Mercer for this one, not St. Martin's.

 

I have no idea why St. Martin's didn't publish it, but it wasn't because it was a bad story or concept.  The story was excellent.  A ghost story set in Mobile, Alabama in 1920.  Haines is the first writer to really make me realise just how close the Civil War was to World War I; a mere 60 years separated the two.  I always knew this in an academic sense, but I never really thought about the idea that people lived through both.  Haines also does an incredible job of putting the reader in the deep south in the early 1920's, with all that that implies.  I tagged this as cozy because 90% of it is, but the racial issues running throughout the story aren't cozy at all and Haines does the unthinkable for a cozy author by killing off at least one beloved character.

 

The plot also gets points for freshness; talk about your deep, dark secrets!  I'm not going to say what it is, not even in a spoiler because it would ruin the unexpectedness.  I thought it was clever, interesting, and between it and the ghosts my attention was riveted.

 

The bug in my iced tea?  I have come to expect a certain polished writing style from Haines that wasn't quite up to snuff here.  I'm thinking mediocre editors.  As good as the story was, it could have been tighter and there were definitely a few things that got missed (like the MC parking her car twice in the same paragraph).  The very end was a bit illogical too, but not disastrously so; mostly it just felt weak.  If this had been my first Haines book I don't doubt I'd have rated it higher, because it is good.  But I know what she's capable of so I know it could be better.

 

I hate buying anything that benefits Amazon, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next book; Haines has me hooked for at least one more.

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review 2016-12-07 11:39
DNF: Cast in Angelfire
Cast in Angelfire: An Urban Fantasy Romance (The Mage Craft Series Book 1) - SM Reine

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Since I can't find an approval request email (I always save those so I can thank the publisher when I finish) I wonder if I got this one as a read it now. I really can't remember.

Unfortunately, this is one for the DNF list. Didn't capture my attention at all and after 21% I don't really have any desire to go back and finish it. The world building is confusing, it seems to be dystopia mixed with urban fantasy. For starts there's confusion around the heroine's age, it states in the blurb she's eighteen, but there are several references to the start of the book that peg her as seventeen. This could be because she's got no memory and no one really seems to be able to identify her. But it still didn't sit right with me that the text says one thing and the blurb says another, though I'm not interested in the actual plot enough to find out one way or another.

The novel starts with the premise of two assassins hunting a girl with a huge bounty on her head. Paranormal creatures are clearly part of the every day norm for the world this book is set in. The girl kicks their asses easily with some sort of super powers. Then the next thing we know she's waking up in hospital with no memory of how she got there.

Another thing I found confusing is that the heroine claims at one point when she wakes up in hospital that she only speaks French, and the doctor who helps her uses a translator app to speak to her. Smart! Though she seems to develop a very quick attachment to this doctor. She won't let the nurses help or take any blood or do any of her lab work - this one doctor only! She seems very blunt for someone with no memory and seems to think she can order people about. The doctors and nurses are clearly used to treating paranormal beings.  I just didn't like this girl. There's clearly still a bounty on her, the cute doctor helps her escape and unless I missed something (which is entirely possible because this novel annoyed me so much I didn't pay that much attention to it) she and the doctor seem to be conversing in English. One minute she can only speak French and then suddenly English?

Don't buy it. And don't have any interest in picking this one up again.

Thank you Netgalley and Red Iris Books, but this one wasn't for me.

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text 2016-10-23 17:34
Reading progress update: I've read 21%.
Graveyard Shift: A paranormal mystery (A Pepper Martin Mystery) - Casey Daniels Eliot Ness has sparkled into the graveyard
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review 2016-10-18 11:40
Review: As I Descended
As I Descended - Robin Talley

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I pre ordered this one, as it had been on my wish list for ages and then jumped at the chance as soon as it was on Netgalley, and had a happy dance when I got approved. (Though it did take me shamefully long time actually finish). I’m not sure what it was – but I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I was hoping to.

 

Great cast of characters and double plus points for diversity, but there was just something missing from this one for me. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. The plot was interesting, and I could pick out the Macbeth parallels. I didn’t study Macbeth in school, so I can’t say how accurately it related, but looking from a few reviews I’ve read it’s a really loose retelling.

 

I think I struggled with it towards the end because it got very weird and very confusing, at least for me. Though I was fairly surprised by the ending, it certainly wasn’t what I expected, but on reflection I suppose it suited the Shakespearian tragedy feel.

 

The novel tells the story of Lily and Maria, who attend a very posh boarding school on what used to be a planation. There have been stories and rumours of ghosts on campus for many many years and more than a few tragedies and deaths. Lily and Maria are a couple, even though they are both still in the closet. They want to be done with high school and go to college together. Lily has her ticket to Stanford set, but Maria doesn’t. Maria believes her only option is to win the Cawdor Kingsley Prize scholarship. There’s just one problem in their way – golden girl Delilah Dufrey also head of the line for the Cawdor Kingsley Prize.

 

Delilah is the most popular girl in school – she appears to be friends with both Maria and Lilly. The opening scene is them all hanging out with some other kids doing a séance where weird things start happening right away, there may be a ghost in the room and there’s hints that Maria has some sort of understanding or communication powers with spirits which she is in deep denial of. So Lilly and Maria plot to get Delilah out of the running so Maria can win the prize.

 

It’s an interesting take on how far would you go to stay together and go to be the best you can. With a lot of morality issues as well – which at first seem non existent in this school setting. But some as things progress and the plot gets twistier –there’s that underline attack of conscience and nagging doubt as things quickly descend into darkness and madness.

 

There’s lots going on with ghosts and spirits and something to do with the history of the plantation where the school was built on. Spanners thrown into Maria and Lilly’s happiness when other students start to realize what’s going on – namely Maria’s best friend Brandon and his boyfriend Mateo start putting the pieces together.

 

(The other thing this book has going for it is there isn’t a single hetro couple that gets any focus – which was awesome – it’s all about Lilly and Maria and Brandon and Mateo).

But as the novel goes on and things get creepier, it seems the effect of guilt with the atmosphere in the school and the ghosts takes its toll on everyone’s mind. And this was where it got very confusing, (for me anyway).

 

But it was certainly a gripping read, even if it was weird towards the end.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Mira Ink UK for approving my request to view the title.

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