Tag Archives: ghosts

Review of Lowcountry Incantations, by C. J. Geisel

I received a free audible code for a copy of C. J. Geisel‘s Lowcountry Incantations.

Description from Goodreads:

Quinn Riley has just had her life turned upside-down. Life is about to get worse…and weird.

After losing her job, Quinn Riley goes on the hunt for another boring, nine- to- five when a split-second decision to save a dog turns into a nightmare. The ghost of a stunning young woman in a blue dress starts to follow her, she is forced to move in with a stranger named Caleb, and events in her life have her questioning everything she thought she knew. With the help of Caleb, a new Psychologist turned friend, and a magical root doctor, she navigates the blessings and dangers of her new life. What could possibly go wrong?

Review:

This was ok. The writing was fine and I liked the characters well enough. But I feel like I must have missed the memo that told authors they were only allowed to write one story, the one where sexually sadistic men kidnap, rape and murder women. Bonus points if they can force the woman to flirt or pretend they enjoy it. and, sure, throw a ghost or magic in if they want to stand out. But ultimately be sure to follow the script. The man has to prey on the women and then, after intelligently avoiding the police for a while, has to become erratic in the end. Am I really the only one who sees how frequently this SAME storyline is used and is completely bored by it? I literally finished this book by force of will. When you know exactly what the plot is, point by point, because you’ve read it so many times, it’s awful hard to stay invested.

I also thought there were some problematic stereotypical representations of black characters, especially around language. But I’m not entirely sure if this is in the writing or in the narrator’s choice of how to voice the characters. She did an ok job in general. She had a tendency to pause in odd places in sentences though. Otherwise, it was fine.

Review of The Widow of Rose House, by Diana Biller

After seeing it praised on Twitter, I borrowed a copy fo Diana Biller‘s The Widow of Rose House from the library.

Description from Goodreads:

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.

Review:

I adored this. I thought Sam was too adorable for words. When he fell into his distracted inventor mode or social oblivion I swooned. He was just too sweet. Alva was prickly, but with reason. I admit that I usually try and avoid books centered on women surviving abuse (it’s a plot device I think is too often and too easily used), but I appreciated her strength here. Similarly, all of the side characters were marvelous. I want them all to get their own happily ever afters.

I think the book suffers from painting 21st-century morals on 19th-century characters. But I’ll forgive it, simply because I liked it so much. I look forward to more of Biller’s work.

Where I prattle on a bit and review Southern Spirits, by Angie Fox

The other day I discovered Amazon’s Matchmaker. It tells you which of the ebooks you own have audible companions and what the price is. I’d known you could get audible versions of your kindle books at a discount, but I’d not found any convenient way to see which books were being offered. It was exciting to come across the solution and I went through my list and purchased several inexpensive Audible books.

I wish I didn’t have to aim for the inexpensive ones. I just read a blog post by Nora Roberts, in which she talks about readers who demand cheap books and how that devalues the work authors put in (among other things). Now, she was talking about people who take advantage and harass authors, not readers who look for a sale. But either way, my book budget is what it is and, while I utilize my library and buy books where I can (so authors do get some profit), I definitely don’t buy many at full price, utilize the free lists and keep an eagle eye on the sales. I feel guilty about it sometimes.

Outside of price, a side bonus of getting audio copies of ebooks I already have is that it’s also a great way to chip away at my very long TBR list. This year is turning into the year of the audiobook. I’ve listened to far more than I’ve physically read. This lets me listen to them without adding a new book to the list. It’s just a great solution for me.

So, onward and upward. The first of the Audible book buying binge books I listened to was Southern Spirits, by Angie Fox. I initially picked this ebook up as a freebie in 2016. I’m pretty sure it’s perm-free.

Description from Goodreads:

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wyatt is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity put an end to the disturbances. But soon Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. 

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn’t above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

Review:

Shallow, but a perfectly passable bit of fluff. It was readable, entertaining and I liked the main character just fine. I did have a bit of trouble believing she’d have taken all the blame and financial penalty of calling off the wedding and not told anyone the horrible things her ex did. And the fact that the new love interest was so involved with the ex’s family really marred it for me. How would that work? Really? And it’s worth noting that the blurb calls hims “the town’s bad boy,” but he’s an ex-Marine cop. About as far from bad as you can get in a cozy, paranormal mystery. All in all however, I’d read more by Fox and Tavia Gilbert did a fine job with the narration.