Tag Archives: ghosts

Review of Whispers From Another World (Whitney Powers #1), by Jason Paul Rice

I received a Audible code for a copy of Whispers From Another World (by Jason Paul Rice) from the narrator Tiffany Willams.

Description from Goodreads:
A strong-willed woman. A new cop on the local force. Two lonely souls find each other and embark on a paranormal mystery adventure.

Twelve-year-old Whitney Powers looks at the books on supernatural phenomena in a dark corner of the Granny Larson Library. As she stares, the bookshelf begins to shake and a prism-like flash of light blinds her momentarily.

Whitney goes missing for the next three days. Finally, a local patrolman finds her a few miles from the library. Her explanation of the incident causes her to be ridiculed for the next eighteen years. Despite countless opportunities to leave and end the abuse, she’s stayed in this small town.

Why has she always remained close to the Granny Larson Library, which is supposedly haunted?

What happened during those three days that’s forcing her to stay back and work at the library?

Review:
I really hate doing this. I always feel guilty when I offer to review a book and then have to say bad things about it. I know there are reviewers out there that request a book to do just that. I’m not that person. I go into a book hoping to love it and I’m disappointed when I don’t.

But honestly, this story just does not hang together. The ghosts are extraneous to the plot. Whitney is a random ‘chosen one,’ special for no apparent reason and far, far too perfect. But worst of all is the attempt an being a police procedural. Reasonably, if she didn’t end up dead she’d be in jail for impersonating a police officer and interfering in an active investigation, instead of being given some vague ‘clearance’ and invited to work with the special police. None of it works! At all.

I try not to generalize. But I honestly think some male authors shouldn’t try to write female characters. Whitney is so incredibly unlikable I almost can’t verbalize it. The things she’s supposed to think are important just make her horrible. Her whole life comes down to pettily rubbing ‘her man’ into the face of people who made fun of her. As if having a man makes her complete. I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes, said “gross” out loud or made gagging motions. For real, if I hadn’t accepted this in exchange for a review I wouldn’t have finished it. It’s that bad.

The writing seems mechanically fine, though I had the audio so I can’t be certain. But its the sort that leans heavily on ‘very,’ ‘extremely,’ ‘really’ and far too many adjectives. Tiffany Williams did a fine job with the narration, but the story is an utter flop.

Review of The Haunting of a Duke (Dark Regency #1), by Chasity Bowlin

I picked up a copy of The Haunting of a Duke (by Chasity Bowlin) from Amazon. It was free at the time and still free when I posted this review.

Description from Goodreads:
Communing with spirits has been both gift and curse to Emme Walters. Now it’s made her a killer’s target.

Emme knows why the Dowager Duchess of Briarleigh invited her to a house party–to investigate whether the duke, Rhys Brammel, murdered his wife years ago. But Emme never imagined she would fall in love with the brooding duke. Branded by society as a possible killer, Rhys is suspicious of Emme and her alleged “gift.”

Then a late night encounter creates awareness of her other, more attractive, aspects. When Emme’s life is threatened, Rhys becomes her protector. Emme and Rhys find passion and peril as they join forces to solve the mysteries at Briarleigh.

She made him believe in spirits, but can she make him believe in love?

Review:
Mechanically the writing here is fine, if painfully repetitive with certain phrases. But the whole plot, every single aspect of it is just so cliched and overused I can’t give it any more. There is literally no aspect of this plot I couldn’t have predicted just by thinking about what motive you see most often in this sort of book and which of the characters were described to match the most common idea of villainy. Plus, it could do with more editing. I mean, the epilogue appears twice in the Kindle copy, so….

I had to just skim the sex scenes as they were so unexceptional and, to me, annoying. I find sex scenes that continuously focus on how “innocent” and “untried” and “untutored” and “inexperienced” the woman is, as well as ones that might as well just be a grocery list of which body parts the man lusts over boring to the extreme. Plus, I found it disturbing how often she couldn’t identify her own feelings. I will give her credit for at least being willing to accept her own desires once she finally identified them and she never pulled the common, “What’s happening to my body” schtick when she lost her virginity.

All in all, I keep trying to like Regency Romance and every once in a while I encounter one I do, which encourages me to keep trying. But this is a pretty classic example of why I generally don’t like the genre, even if paranormal aspects were thrown in.

Review of Restless Spirits (Spirits #1), by Jordan L. Hawk

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally I find a book on my kindle or computer and have no memory of where I got it. Did I buy it and delete the receipt? Did I get it as an Amazon freebie or from Instafreebie? No idea. And Jordan L. Hawk‘s Restless Spirits was one of those books, right up until I went to add the link to her blog to this post and saw that you can get a copy of the book when you sign up for her newsletter. Mystery solved. That is where I got this book! You could do the same.

Description from Goodreads:
After losing the family fortune to a fraudulent psychic, inventor Henry Strauss is determined to bring the otherworld under control through the application of science. All he needs is a genuine haunting to prove his Electro-Séance will work. A letter from wealthy industrialist Dominic Gladfield seems the answer to his prayers. Gladfield’s proposition: a contest pitting science against spiritualism, with a hefty prize for the winner. 

The contest takes Henry to Reyhome Castle, the site of a series of brutal murders decades earlier. There he meets his rival for the prize, the dangerously appealing Vincent Night. Vincent is handsome, charming…and determined to get Henry into bed. 

Henry can’t afford to fall for a spirit medium, let alone the competition. But nothing in the haunted mansion is quite as it seems, and soon winning the contest is the least of Henry’s concerns. 

For the evil stalking the halls of Reyhome Castle wants to claim not just Henry and Vincent’s lives, but their very souls. 

Review:
Another complete success from Jordan L. Hawk. I don’t even know when I bought this book (or maybe picked it up free), no idea. I was just scrolling through my Kindle, saw it and was like, “Oh, a Hawk book. Gotta read that right now.” So, I did and I was happy.

The ghost story is scary, maybe not overly original, but scary. The characters are engaging and I loved the diversity of the cast. Did it feel a little forced? Maybe a bit, I guessed Lizzie’s secret long before it was revealed, for example. But I was still too thrilled to find it to really care. There were not a lot of characters in general and it’s a historical, so the book is a little limited, but one of the main characters is Native American, another Black, a third with secret I won’t spoil, of course two are gay and notably, the book does not gloss over the importance and difficulties of these aspects of their character in the time period.

I did think the final battle felt a little abrupt and the villain obvious. But those are small quibbles with a book that I generally really enjoyed. The writing and editing are marvelous and I can’t wait to pick up the next one in the series.