Amy Goodnight's family are far from normal. She comes from a long line of witches, and grew up surrounded by benevolent spirits and kitchen spells. All fairly harmless, but Amy can't wait to get to college and escape the "family business".
But things take a darker turn when she and her sister Phin spend the summer looking after Aunt Hyacinth's ranch. Amy is visited by a midnight spectre who is clearly trying to send her a message. It seems that the discovery of an old grave on a neighbour's land has been the catalyst for an apparent ghost uprising.
Aided by local friends and Ben, the handsome cowboy who just can't take his eyes off Amy, the sisters investigate. And they soon find that there's something strange and dangerous going on, deep in the heart of Texas...
Before I start I have to say this review is one of the hardest I have had to write. I absolutely detest writing negative reviews, not that this is going to be that bad, but still you get the picture. You have to think harder about your review when you aren't particularly enamoured with the book. Don't get me wrong I know loads of people that loved this one but for me it was disappointing after I really enjoyed The Splendour Falls (review here) therefore I have to think how to word it carefully stating exactly what didn't work for me. I have seen a few negative reviews lately that just tear a book to shreds without stating succinctly the problem they had with the story, I don't see the point of that at all, it does nothing for anyone and makes the reviewer look very unprofessional So enough of my rambling and on with the review.
I think the best approach for me to take is to separate what I did like from what I didn't like with this particular book.
The Things I Liked:
- The characterisations and interactions were just brilliant. I loved the sarcastic 'banter' (for there is no better word for it) between Amy and Ben. The typical I like you so I am going to hide it by being mean to you. I thought of another good way to describe it - verbal sparring [ : D ] The make-out scene is hot, hot, hot.
- The way in which the witch-craft is portrayed is absolutely ingenious. The use of the word kitchen-witchery brings the whole phenomenon of witchcraft down to the basic level of herbalism, aromatherapy, etc. which is what it is when split into its various forms usually the use of The Goddess in introduced but this didn't take place her and was a breath of fresh air for it.
- The family's use of names Amaryllis is a fantastic name to lumber a child with, lol.
- The use of humour to counteract the relationships, action and relationships- this I both liked and disliked in equal measure.
- The use of science to back-up and investigate paranormal phenomena's inspired and believable. making you want more of stuff like this on Most Haunted rather than the screaming [ : D ]
- The reality portrayed of police investigators using psychics in their investigations, yes we know it goes on really by why hide it. Is it still that much of a taboo??
- For me the pacing was quite slow. The action was very sporadic and it didn't seem to flow very well. This is my personal opinion nothing more.
- There were a few instances where things happened incredulously to save the day. One example without giving anything away is how a rucksack miraculous appears in the story when no mention of it had been made before.
- Unfortunately, and I really really hate to say it but I thought the plot was predictable. I worked out who was behind the events from an early point in the book - this might just be me - and didn't get sidetracked at all with any plot twists. In fact I can't even recall any twists.
- To quote a friend - it had an air of 'Scooby- Doo' about it - 'we would have got away with it if it hadn't been for those pesky witches' is exactly the sentiment I was looking for to describe how I felt about the ending.
So there you have it. I hope I have been succinct as it has taken me the best part of the day to write it. It is my personal opinion nothing more. Remember my catch-phrase Reading is subjective - we cant all love everything otherwise the world would be a very boring place.