Book Review: “Mystery at Maplemead Castle” by Kitty French

Title: Mystery at Maplemead Castle (Chapelwick Mysteries #2)
Author: Kitty French
Genre: NA/urban fantasy
Date Read: 21/06/2017 – 22/06/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

As with the first book in this series, this installment was a lot of fun, though a bit long, and I could have used a bit more focus on the ghosts.

Melody Bittersweet’s second gig with the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency is to clear Maplemead Castle of ghosts before a film crew shows up the following week. The new owners of the Castle love media attention, so she has to work with her ex, Leo Dark, around again,  as well as put up with the presence of Fletcher Gunn, who is doing a story on her for the local newspaper. Fletcher continues to to seek to discredit Melody’s ghost-seeing abilities, but at the same time, the attraction between them can’t be denied.

If I’m honest, the mystery itself was fairly basic, and could have been solved a lot earlier if some of the characters had just communicated a bit better. However, the way in which the ghosts ended up finally able to move on required the characters to spend time together first, so I guess it is fair that the story was strung out a bit longer. I did still really enjoy the ghost characters, even though their story ended up quite sad.

A lot more of the book was spent on the tricky love-hate relationship between Melody and Fletch. For the most part, the lustful banter was fun and there was a pretty great phone sex scene in there as well. I still felt a little ambivalent about Fletcher, though, and the tragic backstory we learned about in this book felt a little forced and at odds with the snark and innuendo he was throwing around so often.

The other side characters, from Melody’s colleagues Marina and Arthur, to her mother and grandmother, and the owners of Maplemead Castle, were all well drawn and fun. They all have their own distinct personalities which makes for an entertaining ensemble cast. While I don’t feel these books are any kind of literary masterpiece, they are definitely the perfect book for when you need something light and frothy and I will definitely be continuing with the series.


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Book Review: The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner

Title: The Dragon in the Garden (The Watcher Rising Series #1)
Author: Erika Gardner
Genre: NA/Fantasy
Date Read: 10/09/2016 – 16/09/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

This book had the potential to get very messy, as it had a lot going on. Fortunately, it managed to never fall off the rails.

Siobhan has been able to see through lies and illusions all her life. When she was five, she had a conversation with a dragon statue in her grandmother’s garnde. When she inherits the house after her grandmother’s death, she discovers the reason for these powers, that she has been chosen to decide the fate of the world in a battle between good and ultimate evil.

The main battle that is going on in this book is between dragons and Lucifer and his band of fallen angels. There is also another group of angels, the Two Hundred, who have fallen for different reasons but fight on the side of good. On top of that, the Fey are also involved, and in the big battle at the climax of the book, many other supernatural creatures also converge to take sides in the battle for Earth. However, it kind of made sense, as many of these creatures were part of myths that pre-date Christianity, and it was Those Who Came Before against the Angels of Hell.

Siobhan was a well-drawn character, though sometimes she did go on a bit about her fate as the Chosen One (I know, I’d probably go on about it, too, but it gets repetitive for a reader). Apart from her, there were four central characters that featured: Turiel, one of the Two Hundred, who acted as both mentor and love interest, Nefta, a Valkyrie, Alex, Siobhan’s brother (I liked him, he was a lot of fun but with a typical brotherly protective streak), and Tim, Siobhan’s exboyfriend, who was a bit entitled at times, but grew on me by the end.

The plot was well-paced for the most part, but it did take a little while to get going. With so many parties involved in the conflict, there was a fair bit of explaining to be done, but mostly this was explained through dialogue with Turiel, and managed to avoid info-dumping for the most part.  Speaking of Turiel, I also thought his relationship with Siobhan progressed a bit too quickly; they had only known each other for a few days. This is fine, I guess, but I prefer a slow-burn romance myself.

While there is still story to be told, I have to admit that when I got to the end, I didn’t feel especially compelled to add any follow-up books to my TBR. This was an enjoyable read, but it was enough on its own.


(Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review)

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“Growing up as a Bittersweet, I’ve come to rely on a different set of life skills to most girls.” // Review of “Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency” by Kitty French

Title: Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency
Author: Kitty French
Genre: NA/urban fantasy
Date Read: 22/07/2016 – 26/07/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

melodybittersweetgirlsghostbustingagencycoerI love the cover of this book and it was definitely a cute story. However, there were a few things that prevented it from getting a higher rating.

Melody Bittersweet comes from a family of psychics, and when she opens the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency with her best friend and young man called Art who came recommended by the ghost of his dead father, their first case pops up nearly straight away. They need to rid an old house of its three ghost inhabitants, but to do that, they would need to solve a 100-year-old murder.

Melody and her two assistants are great characters. Melody’s best friend Marina is loud and outspoken, while Art is painfully shy and only just finding his feet. Melody sits somewhere in the middle of these two, and the three of them make a great team.

The mystery was my favourite part of this novel, though it honestly wasn’t a very complicated one. I did enjoy watching Melody tease out details of the family from the three ghosts, Jasper, Lloyd and Isaac, all three of whom had individual, well-established personalities along with a long family history.

What I didn’t enjoy so much was the romance element, as I didn’t like either of Melody’s love interests. Both Leo Dark, a rival psychic and also Melody’s ex, and Fletcher Gunn (I’m going from memory here, but I think that was his name), a skeptical reporter determined to expose both the Bittersweets and Leo Dark as frauds, are Class A Alpha Male douchebags. Both of them were rude and unlikable, and only redeemed themselves a little by assisting Melody with the case towards the end. To be fair, Fletcher was fully open about the fact that he was in lust with Melody rather than in love, but in a book calling itself a romantic comedy, I expect some proper romance, dammit!

This is a cute series opener, and I recommend if you are in the mood for some light-hearted urban fantasy. I will probably check out the next book in the series when it comes out, but I won’t be waiting with baited breath for it.


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