Mini Reviews: Ghosts, Summer, and the Amazon

The Ghost and the Goth #1. Hyperion (June 2010) Library
After a close encounter with a bus, Alona Dare goes from homecoming queen to Queen of the Dead. She's stuck as a ghost in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her to a better place. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast.                                                                                  
More than anything, Will wishes he didn't have the rare ability to communicate with the dead, especially the former mean girl of Groundsboro High. He's not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side, though it would bring him some welcome peace and quiet.                                                                                                                                Can they get over their mutual distrust -- and quasi-attraction -- to work together? Readers of this spirited paranormal comedy won't want this odd couple to ever part.

Alona Dare was the popular girl. Before she died she ruled the school and now she's stuck in between the afterlife and the real world. She's the typical I-think-I'm-better-than-you type. She notices one day that Will can see her. Alona and Will are at first not seeing eye to eye. Mostly because Will avoids his paranormal abilities and he has this huge shadow monster after him. 

Alona, thankfully matures and uses her leadership skills in the afterlife for good. Things with her and Will were tense for a while. Mainly The Ghost and the Goth had these two opposites trying to get along with one another. They both needed each others help since Alona needed to find a way to cross over and Will not only had a paranormal being after him, but this evil doctor was convincing his mother that he needed to be put away. This was a really fun, light read despite all that was going on. I was quickly drawn into Alona and Will's lives and enjoyed each of them warming up to each other.

Standalone. WestSide Books (Nov. 2009) Library
Andy Crenshaw’s summer just went into the toilet. His father got a new job and cancelled their dream vacation to Hawaii. Andy and his older brother, Brad, are shipped off to a farm in Wisconsin to stay with an Aunt and Uncle they hardly know. Brad has little use for Andy, except to torment him. What begins as a minor disaster turns into a life-changing experience. Andy discovers a whole new world and has his first blush with love in the person of Laura, a piano prodigy and town celebrity. Laura is a remarkable girl, who, despite having to deal with a major life trauma, is funny, resilient, full of life, and to Andy’s delight, just a little crazy.                                                                 
Andy’s adventure includes chasing a pig through a mall, surviving a near-death driving lesson, and coming face to face with his first dead guy. He also has a side excursion with his brother that will redefine their relationship forever.

I gave The Summer I Got a Life a shot and it disappointed me. Honestly, the writing was pretty terrible which I never like saying but that's how I felt. Laura is probably the only part of this story I liked. I really liked the way music connected Andy and Laura. Although, that didn't make up for the writing. I couldn't fully like our main character because once the writing was not up to par. I really wish this could have been better because the synopsis looked like something I would enjoy.

Standalone. Astor and Blue (Sept. 2014) Publisher
When 22-year-old aspiring journalist, Emma Cohen, is forced to flee the comforts of her NYU student life, she maneuvers an internship from her father at his newspaper in Rio de Janeiro. There, Emma is immediately swept into a major news story--and a life-threatening situation--when a famous jungle environmentalist, Milton Silva, is mysteriously murdered.                                                                     
Emma must now enter the Amazon rainforest with her father to investigate; both awed by the enormity and beauty of the Amazon, and appalled by its reckless destruction. Not only will Emma have to brave the primal world of the Amazon, she must fight to survive the kidnappers, villains, corrupt activists, and indigenous tribes that lay in wait along the ever-twisting trail of the murder case. Stretched to the brink, it’s up to Emma, her father and the dreamy news photographer, Jimmy, to unravel the mystery and live to tell the tale.

I really wanted to like Amazon Burning but no. The romance was horrible. I had no connection with the characters. And even for an NA book the encounters between the MC and love interest was a bit extreme - they were too much especially since I didn't care about either one of them. I was biding my time throughout reading Amazon Burning until I could finally put it down.

Have you ever read any of these books?
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