Sunday, March 29, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Sylvain Reynard - Gabriel's Rapture

Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student, Julia Mitchell.
Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the rapture of sex. But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover.
When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he be forced to share Dante’s fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever?

Comment: This is the second story in the Gabriel's Inferno trilogy by Sylvain Reynard. I've read the first story back in 2013 and in the previous year I've purchased the remaining two books so I could read them closer to each other, considering I enjoyed the first story enough to keep reading.

This is the continuation of the story of professor Gabriel and his former student Julia. Now that the semester is over and Julia has a different teacher, she and Gabriel aren't hiding anymore and despite being reserved, they appear together in Italy when Gabriel is there to participate in a conference or something. While finding out the beauty of true love they still have their everyday lives to go through and deal with jealousy and problems others put in front of them. The real challenge is to be true to themselves while many others don't see what they have.

I liked the previous installment enough to keep reading, like I said. I think the biggest issue I had with that first book keeps up to this one and most likely will still be present in the last one. I think the author takes too long and is too wordy about certain pointless details such as the clothes they wear, the brands and how they get ready for everything. I think descriptions are always useful and offer a lot more than just adjectives, but balance is everything.

This book has less pages than the first but I got the same feeling too much space was being occupied with things that didn't really matter to the plot. Some ideas are slightly inferred which is great for us to use our brain but instead of so much detail, maybe space would have been better used for more interesting information. I feel too much attention was given to things that didn't have any relevance to the plot while other things happened in a way I feel wasn't done as well as it should.

Julia and Gabriel have had a relationship hard to accept by some people, especially when those people don't know everything about them or the connection between their families. This happened on purpose, of course, to better show the distance in status between them. But I think that the risk was too high to ignore, although they do that anyway.
This happened because they claim to love each other, and so on, but their relationship doesn't seem as well balanced as I thought after the first book, mainly because of the focus given to each of their personalities. I don't mean to say they should change themselves completely, but a better proof of their evolution and growth would have better, in my opinion.
I just think sometimes things happened because of stupid moves and avoidable steps and I wonder how clever people would do it, but there seemed to exist a certain rick factor that made their love and relationship something others wouldn't want to see but of course people can't help but look and know.

This being said, the main subject of the plot is of course their relationship and the fact there's a hierarchy and rules they should have followed on the college's sphere and didn't. I assume they took the risk for selfish purposes, not exactly because of blind love guiding them. Like I said, they are clever people, with pasts, with animosity in the beginning of their relationship. They should know to be careful, to do things right from the moment things changed between them. 
But they took a chance because they probably thought it wouldn't matter, because it wasn't any body's business, because who would care, because of their love bubble...I don't know, but the key conflict of this second book was how others found out about their relationship in a place where it shouldn't exist.
The following scenes and decisions are a huge part of the angsty development and subsequent making up, and apart from the sugary levels in there, most things happened in a way very close to a possible reality. Still, I think sometimes we might make decisions not always well thought so I can understand the conflict but again, it kind of needed a bit more polishing.

All in all, the slow pace, the exaggerated and endless details everywhere plus the many descriptions of every said detail cost much of my attention for this book. I still have high hopes for the next one and I hope that it offers less descriptions of what they wear and go to because that isn't as interesting as the author tries to make it so.
Grade: 6/10

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Patricia Briggs - Hunting Ground

Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son — and enforcer — of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either...
Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything...

Comment: This is the second installment in the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs. Having recently read the previous stories in the series and also the Mercy Thompson series, I feel more than eager to enjoy a new book by this author, who I think is very talented.

This new adventure sees Anna and Charles meeting other packs from Europe to discuss the Marrok's wish to come public and let the world know about werewolves. Not all are in agreement and after Anna is attacked by vampires but using pack magic, all bets are off to find out who's behind everything.
Dodging fae, vampires and opponent werewolves should be complicated but Anna and Charles are a team and they certainly will do their best to catch the villains.

I'm a fan of this author's writing. Her stories flow so easily even among such imaginative descriptions and scenes that I get the feeling her work is as easy as breathing although I know that must be very far from the truth. The thing is, her effort and talent show and it's admirable that he can do it in such a way that looks deceivingly simple.

In this new book, there are lots of pack interactions to study. I think the author was clever in doing this because one of her strongest points is exactly the pack workings and hierarchy and so many details that makes the story feel more structured, stronger, with a better base. All the facts pile up and they make sense in the world created. With every new book, the reader gets to know more and is able to construct a growing puzzle about the wold itself and why things matter. I like that a lot.

The action/plot of this book centers around the conversations with European packs - that don't depend on the American Marrock as much - to come public. I think the way the plot was done seems simple but has a lot of politics involved and I feel the story only gains from serious ways to work things out in a paranormal story that could be ridiculous or too fantasy to be believable but the way things happen it is almost too easy not to believe it's just fiction.

Another key element is the developing relationship between Anna and Charles. The wolf factor could be an easy way to solve everything but those who know the writer's work are aware of how intricate a wold relationship really is and why it's powerful. I liked seeing how both the sides of this couple, the wold and human, reacted and took into consideration the other's feelings in all things. It's wonderful o see how their relationship is growing and settling but it's not instantaneous, it takes time, effort and real feelings to develop as they feel it should. I like this side of the stories, the personal development.

In fact, there isn't much I can't fault with these books but I always have the feeling there's something I'd change even when I can't exactly pinpoint what. I just know that some things could be explained better namely some characters' interactions that, despite looking well done, sometimes are too inferred for me to fully understand. And the books happen very quickly. I mean it's good that the author doesn't stretch endlessly the plot but a a few more pages to take time to show some things wouldn't be totally lost.

Overall, I liked the book, I liked seeing more about the wolves and the main couple even when the focus was on the plot, something I find very clever indeed in terms of writing techniques.
I'll await eagerly for next month to read the following story.
Grade: 8/10

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nancy Herkness - Take Me Home

When Claire Parker left Sanctuary, West Virginia, she thought it was for good. But now she's back, reeling from an ugly divorce.
Readjusting to small-town life is harder than Claire expected, so she's surprised, and grateful, to find companionship in Willow, an abused Thoroughbred mare.
Willow is Claire's "whisper horse," and they share a special, rare bond. Except Willow isn't the only one helping Claire heal; Willow's ruggedly handsome veterinarian, Dr. Tim Arbuckle, is sympathetic...and secretive.
Devastated by his wife's death, Tim thought he'd never find love again.
The stoic, sexy doctor was sure he'd left his heart behind when he came to Sanctuary. But Claire stirs up emotions he thought he'd buried long ago.
 For the first time, the doctor can see past his grief...until Willow falls gravely ill. Tim and Claire must save Willow's life and, surrounded by the majestic mountains of West Virginia, believe in a love so encompassing, so intimately intense, their lives will never be the same again.

Comment: I found out about this book from one friend who claimed this was a beautiful story. Based on the blurb I thought it would be so and I purchased the book in January. This month I just had to read it because I was really curious about it.

This is the story of Claire, she's a art dealer sort of and she put her career in New York on hold to help her sister back in West Virginia because she has Lyme disease. Things aren't well in her sister's marriage either and Claire can't help but think of her own failed marriage. She starts working for the local gallery and she volunteers at the horse stables where she finds a whisper horse to talk to.
The veterinary Dr Tim also has issues with his former relationship, his well known celebrity wife killed herself and he doesn't seem to be over that but after meeting Claire something tells him it's time.
Dealing with their closed ones lives and their own fear, can Claire and Tim start something new?

First of all, I have to say this, the author must be a fan of that song "country roads" by John Denver because the titles of this trilogy by her are "take me home", "country roads" and "the place I belong" which are the main words in the chorus of that song which goes by " roads, take me home, to the place I belong, West Virginia...."...and yes, guess what, the setting is actually West Virginia! I totally get the inspiration here!

This being of my chest, I have to say the story didn't start as that amazing for me. This is the first book by the author I read and I guess I wasn't really focused on it because the beginning seemed rushed, it looked like we landed right on the middle of things and I missed the slower introduction author in this genre usually have.
After a few chapters I started to get more into the plot and details but there was always a certain feeling of something not being really smooth as I imagined, in terms of development, I can't explain it. I just knew something was off but I now think it was all about my mood.
Later on when I went back to the story with less outside interference I could focus better and enjoyed the story much more.

So, after some chapters the characters started to grow more on me and I ended up liking them and their small town of Sanctuary. Still, it seems for such a small town they had a lot of things we normally don't see but I assume this is my misguidance again as I've never visited an American small town. Anyway, the whole community seemed supportive and played an important part in the story's development. Not the characters in there, the actual town is what I mean. I liked how the author gave life and importance to the place itself and how that changed the character's POVs sometimes.

To talk about the characters I need to mention the romance. Claire and Tim have similar issues from their pasts to overcome and they end up finding happiness together. I liked how they were shown to complement each other, how their feelings looked like intensifying throughout the book but again, at first I thought their connection happened too fast so, not perfect for me.
I loved the HEA.

This story talks about second chances and grabbing a new life, a new purpose, a new experience after something bad. I applaud when authors do this but in real life things wouldn't certainly be as easy or fast. Still, the idea, the concept are both interesting and dignifying and show how everyone can look for something better even if we need to overcome bad things before getting there.

The secondary characters aren't taking up space from the main couple but they exist and don't just fill up space which I liked. I'm curious to see how the tight group pf characters would interact in the following books.

All in all, this was a good book which didn't start as well as I imagined but that eventually grew on me mainly because the plot gained interest and increased the romance/personal character development. I think the author managed to reach a sort of balance that makes this book feel well thought and edited. I hope the next ones are as good.
Grade: 7/10

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jana DeLeon - Louisiana Longshot

It was a hell of a longshot...
CIA Assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever--in Sinful, Louisiana.
With a leak at the CIA and a price on her head by one of the world's largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small, bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she's determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play.
Unfortunately, she hasn't even unpacked a suitcase before her newly-inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly-sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she's not careful, this investigation may blow her cover and get her killed.
Armed with her considerable skills and a group of old ladies referred to by locals as The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it's too late.

Comment: I knew about this book on one of the message forums I belong to. At the time the book was available for free in its kindle format on Amazon and I decided to get it, despite the real annoyance of reading on the PC - because my e reader isn't a kindle. 
Still, it was free and I decided to read it as one of the people who recommended it to me liked it a lot.
By the way, it's still free at this moment.

This is the story of Fortune, a CIA agent that needs to hide because she did something that uncovered her identity to a dangerous man who will want to kill her. She is basically deported to Sinful, Louisiana  where she is supposed to stay hidden, and out of notice. She has a fake identity and needs to stay out of problem until the man after her is caught or killed.
However, things aren't as simple and quiet in small town Sinful and Fortune gets herself in the middle of a murder investigation, she attracts problems everywhere and needs to deal with two old ladies that are more trouble than peacefulness. But what is really happening in such a small town?

Before anything else, this book is meant to be funny. To present a far-fetched plot and a funny/silly development based on some clichés about both CIA agents and small town pace. I get this. I understand the purpose and the techniques used to make it so.
But I don't know how to explain it but this book didn't sound funny at all to me. It just seemed silly and ridiculous.
I mean, I can understand why it's described as funny but I didn't think so.
I don't know if it's me, if it's my state of mind that isn't wired for funny books these days, if the humor used didn't reach me or if I'm just not in the mood, or if it's more an acquired taste than free-for-all, but the truth is, I did not find it funny. 

I just couldn't go past the ridiculousness of things nor the lack of personal development for the main characters. Because this book hits on many clichés and doesn't really aim for evolution, change, growth. Ok, maybe this isn't the goal here, but I still wanted it.
I think this was too aloof and pointless for me.

The characters are meant to act funny but I didn't think so. I just can't explain why my brain couldn't find this funny. Something about it put me off.
The characters are meant to exaggerate the usual things we know about the types of people they meant to represent, thus the clichés. The old ladies should be quiet and fragile but they act so stupid and the final explanation didn't convince me.
Fortune, the main character, gets herself in all kinds of silly situations to emphasize her training as CIA office vs the challenges of rural Louisiana, but frankly, the whole thing sounded stupid. I know, I know there's the intention to bear in mind, but I needed something more, I needed more seriousness, more character growth, more explanations and better plot devices. I don't know, it just didn't work.
The plot was also silly, despite simple. I don't know if it was intended like that or if it's another thing I need to fault in my own taste, but the plot seemed rushed and too indifferent to matter.

All in all, this wasn't the experience I imagined I'd have by reading this book. There are many books that are labeled funny and they actually are so and many aren't described that way but end up being funny. But apparently my taste isn't up to it at this point of my reading habits because recently I tend not to find funny books so. Or maybe what I think is funny isn't and vice versa. 
Anyway it is, this didn't work for me and all aspects, plot, characters, writing and tone weren't up to my taste and unfortunately I can't pretend I liked it, so...
Grade: 3/10

Recently read + spiritual paths

Recently a friend lent me this book by a Portuguese author. It's not a renown author even here, so her
work isn't that spread. I didn't know about it until that friend showed me it. 

Anyway, this book is the author's biographic tale of her experience in the pilgrimage Santiago's path, or the Spanish "Camino", which basically is the path the pilgrims used to walk in centuries past to go worship Santiago's remains at Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Here is what it is.

The path used to be done mostly for religious reasons, but nowadays people do it for other reasons, in general for some spiritual guidance of some sort. I find myself really curious about it and I'd do it if I could, if only for the experience itself. It must be rewarding to do such a thing, to go on a search even if we don't know exactly what for.

The book is exactly that, a sort of diary the author has written about her experience, how it went, why she did it, what she found on her path, how she made it and who she met on thr way. I liked reading it, although not fiction it can be read a bit like it.

I think this sort of books can be inspiring and hers was for me, not that it highlights any huge religious ideas or notions, because it doesn't, but it's comforting to know we can look for something and get to know ourselves a bit more in the process. This journey can be purely psychological, or moral or in our heads, but actually physically walking must help it and surely gives it a push.

Personally I liked the book's tone, the little things, the detailed journey from the starting pint to the aimed end. It wasn't always easy but it felt special nonetheless.

There are many paths to follow to reach the end but the French way certainly feels more special.
I like these kinds of books, that feel suggestive but not pushing. That teach without being boring.
I'm glad I've read it and I'm sure there are may other examples out there...

The book's title can be translated into "angels without wings" because the author thanks all of those who help the pilgrims along the way, whether friends in the path, people that work in the houses where pilgrims rest between stages and even anyone who is at the right place on the time.
I really liked the book.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Anne Bishop - Vision in Silver

The Others freed the  cassandra sangue  to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.
Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.
For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

Comment: I've been waiting for this book for a year, as soon as I finished reading the previous one. I think this must be the same for every fan because the stories are so amazing, the waiting is torture and starts right away after one is read.

In this third installment of the Others series by Anne Bishop, we see Meg more used to the live among her new friends, but now that she's feeling safer, her brain can't keep up with all the information she sometimes gets and sometimes that influences her need to cut and how others react o her distress.
However, the biggest problem is the Humans First and Last (HFL) movement that is increasing its silent attacks to Thaisia and that will engineer a counter attack from the Others. How would that affect all the humans that aren't part of the conflict? What about the secrets that arrive at Lakeside? Can Meg help her new friends?

In this new installment we continue to see the amazing talent of this author and her huge look for detail because things happen and there are countless details and information that makes this story feel complete and full of important information.
If there's something I could fault is the slightly less amount of scenes between Meg and Simon. They do happen, we see some which are obviously cute and special and amazing, but in the middle of everything and the tension throughout the book because of the HFL actions, their relationship seems to not move forward as quickly as I'd hoped for.

Anyway, I'm still very pleased with the book. Some books seem to work so well for us while other readers don't see them as fascinating as that, but this is a series that seems to work out wonderfully for me. Like I most likely already said about the other books before this one, the author is talented and it shows. I love her peculiar style of almost telling a domestic tale about a certain community and how it develops, considering the outside forces against them. The unique voice of this author isn't seen in practically anywhere else - in terms of style and care with the simple things, the things that matter - so, I'm always so happy with a book by her.

The plot hasn't evolved much in general terms. The conflict between the Others we know and the humans seem to have escalated to the whole Thaisia (the continent where "our" Meg and her community are). While the action was mainly centered in what happened to Meg and those surrounding her, now things are becoming more global, despite Meg still being in the middle of it all.

Meg is getting better in social terms. But she still has issues to get over with and she now feels the pressure of being the sort of role model to all the others like her who have escaped and need help. I'm curious to see how the cassandra sangues like Meg can live in this world and if it will mean they get to grow up as individuals and what that could mean to their personal lives in all aspects, economical, social, romantic, professional, etc. Something for the author to explore even more, I'm sure.

I also like how the author has so many little details to bear in mind in this amazing world she has created, it's the plot and the conflicts details, it's the little things about each personality of the characters, each type of Others that has so many aspects to develop, the interactions, the domestic side of things that seems easy or inconsequential but it's one of the strongest things in the books and of course, the relationship Others/humans. I think for so many things to juggle, not only does the author a great job, but one we can "see" will still have much to be told, making this interesting and with a lot of potential still. I can't wait!

All in all, this worked out perfectly for me. I'm already eager to read more despite not being written yet. The wait is hard if one thinks about it.
This book is amazing and I recommend this series to all fantasy/paranormal/romance readers out there.
Grade: 9/10

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Genevieve Valentine - The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a "gorgeous and bewitching" (Scott Westerfeld) reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.
Jo, the firstborn, "The General" to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father's townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.
The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn't seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those she must make of herself. 

Comment: It was quite the surprise to know of the existence of this book and that happened thanks to Hilcia who suggested it for one of the book clubs we are part of on Goodreads.
This book is a sort of version of the story Twelve Dancing Princesses although not fantasy but a contemporary set during the jazz era during the 1920s.

The book is the tale of twelve sisters who live practically imprisoned in their father's house. Since the oldest, Jo, until the youngest, Violet, the amount of sisters that exist are due to their father's wish for a heir. The boy was never born and their mother couldn't hold on anymore. But the girls are restless and to stop them from doing something uncontrollable, Jo takes charge and they start going out to dance, hidden from their father.
Things change the day the father decides to marry the girls, and he doesn't about with whom. From this point on, Jo's life and her sisters' changes completely.

This story, as most versions and retelling of fairy tales or myths, is based on similarities to the original story, namely the amount of sisters, their need to dance and the fact there's a hopeful HEA for them.
But the author chose to set her story in the 1920s, in a time still full of society rules and special characteristics to change the way the story could unfold.
I liked the setting, is has many details about that time, many references to how things were done - specially the way bars and clubs would work, how they would deal with the police and the protection of those who owned the bars, of course many references to clothes and most important, the dances.
And one good thing, despite the abundance of detail, this isn't the aim of the story so everything seems to have been inserted in the mot clever way, making the story come alive but not to a point of being an history lesson.

I think the detail that stays the most with me is the tone of the story. It feels introspective and not as fairytale as one would think, but close. I can't explain its whimsical flavor but it's almost like knowing of a strange dream and reading those words allows us to know of a story but something tat could just disappear between our fingers, like sand. The style if very peculiar, special.

I like knowing the sisters. Of course we get more scenes of Jo and the next sisters, Lou, Ella, Doris. They seem to be the most influential sisters but we know who the others are and despite their high number, it's still easy enough to know who's who and which things are better suited for each one. I think this was clever too, because with so many of them, some could be lost in the story, but no, all have something unique.

There's inklings of romance. Jo, in particular, as she's the obvious main character. I liked her, the way she always did what she thought best for the girls and how she put aside her wants and sacrificed so much - even her self worth in a way - to be the person the others could look up for. She's a complex character but I think any reader can understand why he is like that.
I think she's not perfect but if one considers the time when the story is set, her choices weren't that many and that shapes up a good part of the plot.

The author's style is likable for me but at some parts I admit she was a little too introspective, she went a bit too far on the reading between the lines. Yes, some things aren't said or shown, we infer them and although this is part of the special detail of the story, it can be annoying on those times a clear and obvious information should be stated instead.

I liked the end. All sisters found the happiness they were looking for even if they had to fight for it. That's the lesson to be learned, we can be trapped anyway we think, but only the belief in ourselves will set us free. More or less, of course. But here's the thing. The sisters face a separation when they finally go free. I understand that and I also understand the need, both in terms of plot and character growing. But the emotions, the scenes we see of them in those moments make me sad, make me think about what it means to be so used to something or someone and then things change and you have to make new memories based on the new reality, but still with the past so present. It's complicated and the story really shook me over.

I hope everyone feels interested in reading.I'm very glad I read it. I think this is a great book, a wonderful story, full of details and little things that stay with us long after the book is finished.
Grade: 8/10

Diana Copland - A Reason to Believe

Detective Matthew Bennett doesn't believe in ghosts. So when the spirit of a murdered child leads him to her body, he's shaken to the core--and taken off the case. Unable to explain his vision, or to let go of the investigation, Matthew turns to renowned medium Kiernan Fitzpatrick. Though he has doubts about Kiernan's claims to communicate with the dead, Matt is nevertheless drawn to the handsome psychic, who awakens feelings he thought were long-buried.
Haunted by the lingering spirit of the little girl, Kiernan is compelled to aid in the search for her killer. The chance to get closer to the enigmatic Matt is an unexpected bonus. Although Kiernan's been betrayed by people who turned out to be more interested in his fame than in himself, with Matt he's willing to risk his heart. As the two men grow closer, Kiernan helps Matt rediscover that life offers no guarantees--but love offers a reason to believe...

Comment: This book was recommended for me and I didn't know the author even existed before that. Still, the blurb seemed interesting enough and I was curious about how the story would develop.

This is the story of detective Matt Bennett, a police officer who is still mourning the loss of the man he loved and now is facing an investigation about the murder of a child and he knows how to find her body because her ghost points him in the right direction. Matt is unsure of what to think, he never believed in ghosts, but he can't «unknow» the child's ghost either.
Kiernan Fitzpatrick is a young man who works as a medium and talks to ghost all the time. After a meeting Matt's sister-in-law pushes him to go, Matt and Kiernan start to talk about the child's ghost and how to solve the murder case, but there's also something between them that they can't seem to push aside...

This story started of really well. I was impressed by how Matt was and how realistic he is but by how much he still missed his deceased partner. I think the  author did a good job in shaping up Matt's personality and in making him seem believable.
I think one of the things that strike me as better done was how Matt still thought about his partner, how he still suffered, and how others found out in the funeral just how close they were. This part of the book was done very well, with the right emotional level.

I was really impressed and then the murder investigation started to develop. Again, I think the author sticked with the usual and developed a story based on details, on a simple police investigation which I'll bet won't be too far off the real thing. Sure, with fictional situations in there, but I assume the basics are that. I also think it was a good choice by the author to jeep things simple and straightforward. The whole segment of the murder investigation wasn't full of excessive clues and hints and things but on the opposite, it was basic, simple and enough to sustain the plot moving forward.

By this point, Matt, an obvious sceptical about the existence of ghosts and paranormal stuff met Kiernan and this was supposed to be the thing that would force them to know each other. In fact, it was so in the beginning. But from the moment they started to et involved - all still very superficially still - I've noticed a certain change in the story, like a change of course moved things from a very clear path to one full of clichés and overseen ideas.
I think this happened because of the relationship between them. Matt had more than enough time to mourn his partner but everyone told him it was time to move on. For romance's purposes it was so, enough time had passed, but maybe that wasn't obvious to Matt.

Kiernan seemed mysterious enough to have some fascination but I didn't like him that much. I thought he was too flamboyant for my taste. Not that he was a show of or too gay in everyone's faces, but his attitude and personality was a little too close to twinkland for my personal taste. I didn't really warm up much to him, despite his good moments.

All in all, the story has many positive things. The murder was solved in a satisfying way, not too complicated despite some scenes slightly over the top, but overall, the whole murder parts were done well.
The relationship part wasn't as well done in my opinion, it felt right at some point, but in other times not that well. I think this might be just my own POV speaking, and not the way things actually are on the story but it's the way it is.
Grade: 7/10