Monday, April 15, 2013

In the Spirit of Love by Debbie A. McClure

A ghost story is just a story-until it happens to you.

While on vacation in England with her best friend, Claire Jacobs' life is changed forever. From the beginning, Kent Estate evokes a sense of coming home. When she takes a guided tour of the reputedly haunted manor, it reveals a story of love and murder that resonates deep within her heart. Of course, sensible Claire doesn't believe in spirits, but the all too handsome resident ghost has other plans. Despite her better judgment, Claire finds herself deeply attracted to the spectre, but there can be no future in loving a ghost–can there?

Things are not always what they appear to be.

Wrongly accused of a murder he didn't commit, Lord Richard Abbotsford is bound to Kent Estate. It's been a long one hundred and fifty years. Then he sees her. His beloved Lady Olivia Kent has returned to him. Having become increasingly disillusioned and bitter, the return of Olivia gives him new hope for release from his eternal prison. But Olivia is different; she doesn't recognize him at all. He knows she has returned to Kent Estate for a reason, and he is determined to remind her of their shared past. To do so, he must first change her mind about ghosts–and himself.

Pic and description from

My Review 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
   I love a good love story!  The kind that pull you in to the story so completely that you are able to feel the emotions of the couple.  This is that kind of story. 
   Clair has come a long way from her bad childhood.  She is strong and self reliant but not good at relationships.  After a horrible breakup her best friend Holly invites her to go to England with her.  Claire has always been obsessed with England and jumps at the chance to finally go there.  They book a stay at an amazing estate that is supposed to be haunted.  Claire soon finds out that the haunting is real and she ends up caught up in a strange relationship with the resident ghost and trying to solve a mystery more than a hundred years old.
   I loved the characters in this book.  Claire and Richard are so sweet as a couple.  The author did a great job with their romance.  Trying to make a romance between a woman and a ghost is not simple and to make it work and be believable is an accomplishment.  Their relationship changes in ways that are unpredictable and touching.  I found myself constantly routing for them to find a way to be truly together. 
   The other thing that I loved about this book is that there is a huge and unnerving twist near the end of the book that completely took me off guard.  I won’t say more than that so I don’t give any spoilers.  I absolutely love it when a book can take me by surprise and I can say I was honestly surprised by this one. 
   As much as I loved this book there were, of course, a couple of things that I did not like.  The first one is the sex scenes.  I know, I know…sex sells.  You can call me old fashioned or a prude, whatever you wish, but it does not change the fact that I hate sex in books.  We all know that adults have sex when they are in relationships so why does it have to be spelled out in detail?  I just don’t like it.  The other thing I did not like about the book is that I felt it ended in a strange place and a bit abruptly.  I am not talking about the typical cliff hanger that leaves the story open for a sequel.  It felt like the book just ended when the mystery was just starting to be solved.
   Regardless of these few things I dislike I am sure that I will be reading the sequel.  I really want to know what happens to Claire and Richard and can’t help but root for them to find a way to truly be together. 

Parent's guide:  This is NOT a YA book.  Like many adult romance books there are sex scenes.  They are not explicit but definitely not appropriate for teens.  There is also a lot of swearing, including multiple uses of the 'f-word',   Claire's best friend has no problems with having one night stands and jumping quickly in to relationships.  She even encourages Claire to sleep with a man she just met.

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Pic and description from

My Review

      I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
   There have been so many vampire books lately and like a lot of people I have become a huge fan.  Unfortunately this book did not end up being that great.  Not that it is bad, just not wonderful, and with all the competition out there vampire books have to be pretty great to compete.
   I did not like the story line very much.  The vampires in this story are more like a gang of slave traffickers than a coven of scary vampires.  Their whole society is dependent on them kidnapping young beautiful people to fill their harems and provide whatever other services they need.  That is just not my cup of tea.  When the heroin, Sophia, is first taken she is almost raped by one of the vampires.  Ok, I know that vampires are bad guys and that rape is a very real thing, but I really don’t like reading about it and I don’t think it belongs anywhere in YA books.
   Another thing that bothered me is that the vampires lived on a hidden island complete with a crazy tree top village where they all lived.  To me this sounds more like a fairy/elf type set up then anywhere vampires would live.
   All that being said there were some good things about the book.  I did like the overall writing of the book.  The author did a great job with the character development and with her ability to draw you in to their stories.  Derek, the leaders of the coven, is a very complex character and is not at all what you would expect for a vampire prince.  He kind of goes back and forth with his humanity and for some reason Sophia is able to reach that side of him in a way no one else ever has.  I also liked Sophia’s character.  She is very feisty and she stands up to the vampires very courageously even when she is desperately scared.  She forms a very special bond with Derek and you can feel the love develop between the two of them throughout the story.  Then there is Lucas, Derek’s evil brother, and boy did the author do a great job in creating a truly believable, truly evil character.  He is one twisted person with some deep seeded issues. 
   Really the great characters were the only redeeming quality of this book.  In fact I did like the relationship between Sophia and Derek so much that I am thinking about overlooking the other stuff and reading the second book just to find out if they can make it work and steer around the mess that is Lucas.  What can I say?  I am a sucker for a good, believable romance story.

Parent's Guide:  There is some swearing throughout the book.  The young humans that are kidnapped are used as slaves, including sexually, but there is nothing explicit.  There is a murder in the book that is a bit brutal and very disturbing.

The Gatekeeper's Challenge by Eva Pohler

Ten agonizing months have gone by since Therese faced off against her parents’ murderer at Mount Olympus, and she suspects Thanatos’s absence is meant to send her a message: go on with your life. She tries to return Pete’s affections even though her heart aches for the god of death, but when Than shows up to take her hamster’s soul, she becomes infuriated when he says he’s “been busy.” In cahoots with her new friend, who's gotten in with the Demon Druggies at school, Therese takes a drug that simulates a near-death experience, planning to tell Than off so she can have closure and move on, but things go very, very wrong.

Eventually she learns Than has been busy searching for a way to make her a god, and he’s found it, but it requires her to complete a set of impossible challenges designed by Hades, who hopes to see her fail.

 Pic and description are from

My Review

     I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
   Mrs. Pohler has done it again!  While I did not like it quite as much as the first book, The Gatekeeper’s Challenge is fantastic.  This book continues right where The Gatekeeper’s Sons left off.  Than has been forced to return to the Underworld to resume his duties as death.  Therese remains on earth and feels abandoned by Than.  She ends up going to extreme lengths to try to see Than and the consequences are tragic.  As you read you get caught up in her struggle to be with the one person that she loves and long for love to conquer all.
   Therese is once again made to interact with the Gods and Goddesses and her life is subject to their whims. It is amazing to see how strong and committed Therese is to Than.  She is willing to go to extreme lengths to prove that she is able to be with Than forever and in the end she makes the ultimate sacrifice to be with him.   
    In addition to the mythological characters introduced in the first book there are also some new and interesting characters in this book.  The writing is so creatively done that all of these mythological characters fit naturally in to the story and you end up learning so much Greek mythology, but without feeling like you are being forced to read a boring textbook.  If I had found stories like this one when I was younger I would have loved learning about Greek mythology.
   This book has an absolutely crazy ending that will leave you shaking your head.  It is a very intense ending and is definitely not a scene for younger readers.  Once again Than and Therese show how determined they are to be together.  It is so frustrating that the Gods are so determined to keep them apart.  I cannot wait to read book three to figure out how Than and Therese will deal with the latest twist in their lives.   

Parents Guide:  There is an episode of drug use.  It is relevant to the story and is not done in a way that glorifies drugs but shows the dangers of their use.  There is also the death of a character that is tragic and may be upsetting to sensitive readers.  There is a scene in which Therese's dog, Clifford, is traumatically injured.  It is a bit heart wrenching and gory.  It may be a little tough for pet lovers to read.