Tag Archives: ghosts

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. 

Review of Cold Shadows (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #2), by J.L. Bryan

I borrowed an audio copy of J.L Bryan‘s Cold Shadows through Hoopla and my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Paranormal investigator Ellie Jordan faces a difficult new case. Her new clients are a family haunted by multiple ghosts and a poltergeist that wrecks their home at night. Their seven-year-old son’s invisible friends may not be imaginary at all but the restless spirits of dead children. To clear her clients’ house of the dangerous entities, Ellie must unravel the mysterious deaths of another family who lived in the old mansion more than a hundred and sixty years ago, and she must do it before the ghosts can carry out their malevolent designs on her clients and their children.

Review:

Enjoyable enough. It’d been quite a long time since I read book one in this series. I honestly didn’t remember much beyond the bare bones. But I was able to pick this one up without trouble. It suffers from a bit of the “we did this” and then “we did this” writing, Ellie seems to take beating after beating without effect, and honestly I couldn’t figure out how the homeowner kept sleeping through all the racket she and the ghosts must have been making. But it was a fun little ghost mystery. 

I 100% approve of seeing a paraplegic, wheelchair using business owner. He may not play a big part in the book, page-wise, but he is an important character. (I’m sure he was in book one too, but as I’d forgotten, it got to be a new surprise again.) Similarly, there are characters who are “plump,” but no issue is made of it. 

All in all, Ellie Jordon is just as advertised, a ghost-hunter. And the book is thus exactly as you would expect, a story of hunting ghosts. There isn’t yet a lot more depth to the plotting (though there seem to be some hints of a deeper mystery in the future). I’d be willing to read it…or listen. Carla Mercer-Meyer did a fine job with the narration of this one.