Review: Ghost Walk (Harrison Investigations, Book 2)

Ghost WalkGhost Walk by Heather Graham

My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

Book Description from Amazon.com:

Yes, she believed in ghosts, or if not ghosts, per se, a memory that lingered in certain places.It sure as hell wasn’t something she was going to share with anyone.

Nikki DuMonde’s newest employee is standing at the end of her bed at four o’clock in the morning begging for help. It’s a joke, right? Besides, as manager of a successful New Orleans haunted-tour company, Nikki doesn’t scare easily. But in the light of day, harsh reality sets in as a police officer informs her that Andy was brutally murdered—at the exact time Nikki swears the distraught woman was in her room.

No one believes her except for Brent Blackhawk, a paranormal investigator desperately trying to forget his tragic past. Half Irish, half Lakota—and able to communicate with the dead—Brent is used to living in two worlds. But when he realizes the ghost of a slain government agent is also trying to reach out to Nikki, he knows that she, too, must listen to the dead…if she wants to keep living.

*****

Oh boy, where to begin…. I’ve enjoyed Heather Graham’s books in the past as the fun brain candy they can be, sadly this wasn’t one of them. I can’t say it’s a terrible book, but it’s far from good. Everything is just so lifeless, the characters, the mystery plot, the romance, everything was lame and weak. Which brings me to the dialogue which is clunky and often awkward. At one time, Nikki, the main character, had just come from her best friend’s funeral and is now at the after-service gathering, where she proceeds to remark to another friend that she and her boyfriend are good for each other. What? How? Who? Who does that? How could you even think of anything else at a time where you’re crushed at your friend’s death? Totally strange and was one of many instances that took me out of the book. The romance, oh the romance. We get these two supposedly perfect people who both have the personality of a wet rag on a good day, aren’t very bright, more so on Nikki’s end, don’t know each other, never seem to have any conversations, and definitely have no (none! nein! zilch! nada!) chemistry together. Oy vey. Looks really aren’t everything. Okay, so the ghosts are a bit more interesting but that’s not enough to save the book. Come to think of it, they were actually more alive than the living characters. Ha! Too bad the book wasn’t told from their view.

I had issues with the constant PC (politically correct) references throughout, mainly when someone would use the horrific, scarred-for-life-if-uttered I-word. *whispers* Indian. Sarcasm Alert! OMG, did someone just die? I’m so sorry, I meant Native American! Talk about annoying, there were at least three instances of that, one especially stupid. Believe it or not, but there are actually those who prefer to be called (American) Indian rather than Native American.

I don’t know if Ms. Graham was going through something or if this was a rush job or what, but this was one boring book filled with boring people who lead boring lives where boring situations may or may not happen, all of which leads up to an absolutely dumb ending to the book’s lame plot. It’s so dumb I don’t even want to think about it anymore. The only thing saving this from one star is that I didn’t hate the book, it just didn’t inspire me to care one way or the other about anything or anybody in the story. Thumbs down.

Originally Reviewed: October 4, 2012
Received: Digital copy borrowed from my library

ARC Review: Fury of Fire

Fury of Fire

Fury of Fire by Coreene Callahan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
February 18, 2012

Book Description

A clandestine race of half-dragon, half-humans known as dragon-shifters lives among us. Bastian, leader of the Nightfury dragon clan, is sworn to protect humankind at all costs. For him, honor and duty always come first. When the clan dictates he take a human mate to sire a son, he falters, aware that for a human to birth a dragon-shifter she must die. Myst, the woman given into his care, is the most extraordinary he’s ever met, and though he can’t bear the thought of harming her he is bound by duty.

Myst loves her life in the human world, but Bastian has captured her heart in an instant of electric connection. But Bastian and his warriors are in the middle of a deadly battle with the Razorback dragon-shifters, intent on killing every Nightfury clan member—and the humans they protect—the fate of their world and ours hangs in the balance.

An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Fury of Fire brings to life a dangerous new world intertwined with the survival of humanity, all while exploring the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.

My Review

NOTE: I did not finish Fury of Fire. I reached page 207, out of 412, before I called it quits. My review reflects on what I read and no more, which is more than enough to be indicative to how the author creates her book.

During the course of reading, everyone comes across a book that just doesn’t connect with them. That doesn’t mean the book is bad or that others shouldn’t read it, it just means the it isn’t a good fit that particular person. This is that book for me. I had a very difficult time getting through what I read, mostly due to a bunch of little things that stood out and were what I consider oddities, especially in context to situations in the book. If I had to describe this book in one word, it’d be abrasive. The characters, the dialogue, and most importantly, the writing felt like rubbing sandpaper over a wound. Over and over again.

THE BAD

The constant bombardment of internalizing that both Myst and Bastian provide in this book was like a splinter under my fingernail. The more I dug, the more painful it became, and I started to dislike the book and main characters more and more as I read on. Admittedly, it was pretty easy to loathe Bastian and Myst when it became apparent that they are both boring and stupid, and I didn’t find Bastian all that likeable in the first place. Call me crazy, but I just feel uneasy when a character wants to immediately jump the bones of a person he just met in horrific situation while she is frightened beyond belief. But apparently that’s okay because he acknowledges his creepiness in a fit of mental self-flagellation. Sorry, but that doesn’t fly with me. Maybe if that had been mentioned only once, I would have let it slide, but it keeps on like that for way too long. Apparently he’s all alpha on the outside and emo on the inside. What a winning combination! Not. Myst herself starts off, uh, decent enough but then quickly becomes the nitwit I was hoping to avoid. She gets the fastest case of Stockholm Syndrome I’ve ever come across. For all intents and purposes, Bastian kidnapped her. Sure, we the readers know it’s for Myst and the baby’s safety from the evil Razorbacks, but she certainly doesn’t know that, therefore I found her reactions extremely unrealistic and bizarre to the situations she was in. One minute she’s fighting, and by fighting I mean being stubbornly spunky, or somewhat thinking of escape, the next she’s imagining wild, hot monkey sex with Bastian. I’m sorry but if some big, six-foot-six (apparently every male is 6’6 in this book, even the human cop. Obviously, if a guy is under that height, he’s not really a man.), scary dude who can turn into a dragon kidnaps me, I am so not going to be thinking about how hot they are or what they’re like in the sack. Yeah, uh-huh, that makes perfect sense. Oy! Anyway, they end up making out that night due to Bastian’s alpha going crazy and some supernatural roofie that dragons put out to females. God, this is not romantic at all. And it’s only been a few hours since they “met”! The morning after Myst is kidnapped, she wakes up naked and finds out Bastian bathed her, can you say mondo creepy? So after she dresses, she goes meandering through the Nightfury’s lair, admiring his artwork and crap, then ends up in the kitchen with the rest of the freaky-tall Nightfuries. I’d be high-tailing it out of there, in fact, I would have been plotting escape long before this point. It appears she only thinks of escape once a day. While she’s in the kitchen, Bastian has her sit at the table so she can eat her breakfast. He sets down a plate in front of her and as she goes to have a bite, she notices he cut her waffles into little, perfect, bite-size pieces and she’s apparently overcome by this act. How weird is that?! All feminist angles aside, who cuts up someone else’s food unless: A, it’s for a small child, two, their arms and hands are broken, or D, they’re handicapped in some way that prevents them from feeding themselves? W.T.F.? Frankly, I think it’s just odd. And then she gets misty-eyed (Myst is all misty, how cute. *gag*) when he asks her to help name the baby he kidnapped. I’ve already doubted her sanity before but now it’s gone to even more ridiculous heights by this point.

The magical Rohypnol I mentioned before creeped me the heck out. So when a dragon guy needs his energy fix, he picks out a woman, roofies her, feeds off her energy, sleeps with her, and then wipes her memory! Say what? That’s too close to rape for my liking. This wasn’t just the bad guys doing this, but the next book’s “hero” did that to a woman in a hospital (note: she wasn’t a patient, I think she was a researcher or something, I don’t remember). How sweet.

The excessive swearing needed edited down. Normally I don’t mind a little cursing here and there, but so much of it didn’t need to be added to the dialogue or characters and showed a lack of creativity.

The “dragons” are really shape-shifting vampires. They have to feed off women, only it’s energy instead of blood, they can’t be out in the sun, they heal quickly, live a long time, are super-strong, amongst other attributes. If you’re going to have shape-shifting dragons, don’t make them so similar to other paranormal species. Differentiate them so they’re unique, not a near-clone.

I didn’t like the whole reading of minds thing. If it was something that happened when mated, fine, but I don’t like the thought of someone just arbitrarily getting into someone else’s brain whenever they want. It’s a violation. Bastian did this to Myst way too often.

The characters sound a lot like each other. They don’t all have individual voices so there isn’t much beyond a name separating one from the other.

THE GOOD

The first fight scene was actually quite well-done, although it was very early on in the book so it might not hold up on a second reading. The next fight scene wasn’t too bad, maybe a little confusing at times.

The other characters in the Dragonfury series have the potential to be more interesting if they can be given some individuality, but since I didn’t connect with the author’s writing style and don’t like most of the ideas, I won’t be looking for any sequels to this oh-so-romantic series. I wouldn’t recommend this book, but hey, if it sounds right up your alley or you have masochistic tendencies, by all means try it out for yourself.

As a final note, I just wanted to thank Buzz McCallister for his mad counting/alphabetizing skillz in writing this review. I couldn’t have done it without you, buddy.

Received through Amazon Vine.

(Clicking on the book cover image or title take you to the book’s product page on Amazon)