Tag Archives: ghosts

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.

Review of Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, by J.L. Bryan

Ellie JordanI grabbed an e-copy of Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, by J. L. Bryan, when it was free on Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:
Ellie Jordan’s job is to catch and remove unwanted ghosts. Part detective, part paranormal exterminator, Ellie operates out of Savannah, Georgia, the most haunted city in the United States. 

When a family contacts her to deal with a disturbing presence in the old mansion they’ve recently purchased, Ellie first believes it to be a typical, by-the-book specter, a residual haunting by a restless spirit. Instead, she finds herself confronting an evil older and more powerful than she’d ever expected, rooted in the house’s long and sordid history of luxury, sin, and murder. The dangerous entity seems particularly interested in her clients’ ten-year-old daughter. 

Soon her own life is in danger, and Ellie must find a way to exorcise the darkness of the house before it can kill her, her clients, or their frightened young child. 

Review:
I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. The narrative style engaged me. The ghost hunting characters were fleshed out enough to be relatable, though admittedly not particularly deep or notable. The mystery, while not hard to figure out, kept me interested and it was creepy as all get-out.

I did find it a little predictable, there was a bit of repetition and the hauntees felt a tad shallow. But for the most part, it was a satisfying read. It’s hard to ask for more than that. In terms of pure entertainment, it’s a win.