Tag Archives: paranormal

Review of Crystal Gardens, by Amanda Quick

It’s mid-December and, like every December in recent memory, I have reached this point in the year and have yet to read a Q, U or X book for my author-alphabet-challenge. *Cue panic.* I did try and read Q book earlier, but ended up DNFing it for being horrible. So, I was officially without a Q book and the local library didn’t have a single one that interested me on hand. (Interest me can be defined a in the sci-fi/fantasy section.) On a whim, I thought to check the audio books. I was literally walking by the shelf on my way to the door after discovering nothing in the fantasy section. Here, I came across a light historical paranormal title by Amanda Quick, Crystal Gardens. SOLD. I didn’t even fully read the description before whisking it away to the check-out deck and home with me. 

Description from Goodreads:

Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal
Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.

Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. Quickly disposing of her would-be assassin, he insists they keep the matter private. There are rumors enough already, about treasure buried under his garden, and occult botanical experiments performed by his uncle—who died of mysterious causes. With Evangeline’s skill for detection, and Lucas’s sense of the criminal mind, they soon discover that they have a common enemy. And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long.

Review:

Considering I picked this book up with a very vague idea of what it might be about, I ended it happily enough. It’s light and fluffy, and so long as I don’t think too deeply about how rapidly people fell in love and made drastic life decisions, I have few complaints. I did find Evangeline’s determination to not see that Lucas obviously intended to marry her for real annoying. And considering that one of the things I liked best about the book is that the couple spoke plainly to one another, avoiding any unnecessary, drama-inducing misunderstandings, this irked me. But for a quick, cotton candy read it was a success. As was Justine Eyre’s performance. 

Review of You’ve Got Tail (Peculiar Mysteries #1), by Renee George

I picked up a copy of You’ve Got Tail, by Renee George. I think I got it from an Instafreebie giveaway.

Description from Goodreads:
Sunny Haddock, an animal-loving vegetarian psychic, is stoked to leave California behind to start a new life in the Ozark town of Peculiar with her best friend Chavvah Trimmel. She ups the moving date when Chav goes missing, and Sunny high tails it to the small town. What Sunny doesn’t realize is that she’s moving into a community of were-shifters, and they don’t want a human resident. Especially one dumb enough to arrive a couple of days before the full moon—the only night of the month shifters have to take their pure animal forms.

When the gorgeous Babel Trimmel, Chav’s younger brother, (along with the sheriff, the mayor, and some other nice folk) suggests Sunny haul her U-haul and butt back out of town, she’s undeterred. Her psychic abilities might be out-of-whack, and blood makes her faint, but she’s not a quitter. Besides, she’s not about to go anywhere until she finds out what happened to Chavvah.

But Sunny has more to deal with than unfriendly townsfolk…like disturbing killer visions and the dog-like animal no one else sees that seems to be stalking her every move. To make matters worse, she is finding Babel to be more irresistible than crack on a donut.

Sunny needs to get her ability and her hormones under control if she wants to solve the mystery and save her best friend.

Review:
This review contains an oblique spoiler.

Corny but cute. All in all, I’ll call this a middle of the road read. I liked the characters but I I didn’t really feel the romance develop at all. Honestly, the writing was fine, but the plot left a lot to be desired.

The villain(s) are obvious very early on, one of them because it’s always this person in such books. I mean ALWAYS. Is there a crazy ex-girlfriend who is hostile for no apparent reason other than she’s not the heroine or in the heroine’s circle? Well, there you go. That’s you villain. ALWAYS. And as a woman that always makes me irritable. (I don’t need the constant ‘other women can’t be trusted’ lessons, thank you very much.) What’s more, very little of the book actually focused on the bad guys. So, I never really felt the tension. You literally never even meet some of them.

Anyhow, it was an ok fluff read. I didn’t dislike it but wasn’t floored by it either.

As a side note: Publisher, if you are going to draw your covers, could you please at least have your designers/artists read the description of the characters? I understand when using stock phots you can’t always find an appropriate match. But you drew Sunny and she’s clearly described in the book (several times) as having brown hair.

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.