Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens

Posted September 5, 2014 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 11 Comments

Tags: , , ,

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens
Ghost Layer

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: #2 Ghost Seer
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Berkley
Released on September 5, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
add to goodreads

I went into this sequel with the attitude that while I wasn’t blown away by the first book, I still saw plenty of good stuff to want to continue the series.  After shutting the last page on the book, I’m left with an odd feeling.  In a nutshell, I was dissatisfied that both separately and together, Claire and Zach didn’t grow- in fact, they regressed and then had to move forward again.  It felt like déjà vu reading this story because in many ways it was a copy of the first book when it comes to certain elements.  I’m going to skip my usual summary or this will all get entirely too long (okay, longer than my usual epic-length reviews).

Now what do I mean about the déjà vu thing…

I gave the first book a pass on the pacing and ability to grab my interest right away because it was setting things up- introducing the Ghost Seer world, introducing the characters, etc.  It had a slow start and really didn’t start moving until over half-way through and even then it was tempered by long moments of Claire’s denials.  Claire and Zach had hang-ups because of her new psychic gift, her almost OCD accountant-type brain that turns all aspects of her life into an account sheet, his new disability causing him to give up a career that defined him, his need to suppress his own psychic gift, their family issues from their pasts that are unresolved so bleed into their present and their relationship commitment issues.  About halfway through, things got real and dangerous with the general plot and got steamy with the romance and that’s when I settled in for the ride.

Now fast-forward to this book and, well, let’s just say everything I just said about book one- and I mean everything- is true again.  New ghost, new case, but really the ground being covered was the same.  They were nearly back to square one with accepting psychic gifts, not dealing with their pasts and dancing around each other. I waited to see if this stuff got dealt with quick and moved on, but it didn’t.  And then finally, long after I gave up on seeing any forward movement, there was a little at the end.  Not where I wanted to be when I closed the last page on the sequel and I definitely was disappointed that this second book had the same pacing issues without the excuse of being the first book.  Over half the book was Claire’s dithering about her gift and about her relationship with Zach and this had me muttering several times to ‘just get on with it- accept/don’t accept gift, be with him/don’t be with him, but just make a choice already’.  I’d be more understanding if it all didn’t seem like barriers just to have barriers.  If the progress is to be three steps forward two steps back all the time, this will be a seriously long series and the reader can save themselves some irritation and just jump in to the middle of the book after getting the set up chapter.  Whew!  Okay, that’s out of my system.

As to what kept me reading and enjoying this book, first of all, I enjoy the creative Ghost Seer world that Claire and Zach along with a handful of others that look like they’ll be regular minor characters are part of.  Enzo, the dog ghost mentor for Claire, is back and just as engaging as ever. I am very curious about the Other that share’s Enzo’s body sometimes.

Zach and Claire’s prickly, but passionate chemistry is still there.  Things are hot in their sexy times and this is the one thing they have that is simple between them.  They understand each other so well even if they have trouble understanding themselves or their relationship which causes some of the trouble in their relationship.

On an aside, I don’t get their hang-ups about being together even after the explanations, but that’s nothing to how I feel about the character of Claire.  I really don’t get Claire at all.  I don’t dislike her, in fact, she amuses me to death, but I do think she’s a bit of an oddity and not b/c of the ghost or accountant stuff.  That’s part of her personality and I get that stuff.  Her thing about ‘balance’ in her relationships and need to not depend on others.  The issues she takes with things seem so minor or non-existent to me.  She keeps me slightly confused the whole time I’m reading.  I wanted to laugh every time someone told her to do/do not something (and this was generally related to her safety after she’d been attacked) b/c this was like a signal for her back to stiffen and her common sense to get tangled.  It doesn’t occur to her that people tell her things because they care and not because they want to boss her around (okay, most people have altruistic reasons).

Moving on, I also enjoyed the new ghost who was quite the character, his unsolved murder, the ghost town and ranch setting along with the new characters that were well drawn and kept my interest.  I want more Enzo, more Dora, and more time with Zach’s mom who seems to be a key to his unresolved issues.  I want more of the author’s unique writing voice too that gives the stories a foreign flavor particularly Claire’s voice (maybe her gypsy background coming into play?)

While much of the book didn’t feel like it progressed much as to Claire and Zach’s development, I did feel that the last bit showed promise of where things are going.  I guess when all’s said and done, I want to keep going with the series.  Ironically, I’m going to recommend that the reader start with book one if they plan to tackle the series because there is a great deal of background given in the first book that makes sense in the second one.  My recommendation is to Urban Fantasy lovers that don’t mind a difficult yet passionate couple as their heroes.

This book was graciously provided by Penguin Group and Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

The following two tabs change content below.
I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

11
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
8 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
Braine TSRed IzaSophia RoseAnna@herding cats&burning soup Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

Hrm. I still have book one on my review list. The series seems to be either a huge win for people or just okay. Makes me a bit nervous about it. I do like to see some progress in series like this. Yeah. I’m completely torn over starting these.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I know what you mean. I get the same way when I see wildly differing opinions amongst reviews by people I recognize. I guess it comes down to mood at the time and individual reading tastes. Since you already have them for review anyway? Heh, when the mood hits, take the plunge. They are a bit different like the Baba Yaga book which is a plus and the ghost seer world is incredibly well drawn. Zach and Claire get on my nerves, but at the same time I like them a lot. I plan to continue with the series b/c… Read more »

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

LOL I totally get it 🙂 I’m sure at some point the mood will hit just right and I’ll pull out book one. That’s good to see that the gggrrs didn’t outweigh the rest of it. It’s such a spot to be in with a series when those feelings come out like that.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yeah, I still have trouble with putting any negatives into my reviews. I used to just put the positives and omit any stuff I didn’t like, but then I figured that wasn’t honest or really helpful. Now I do it, but I try not to be mean in the process though I admit that its gotten easier to voice more of my opinion when I get mad or irritated. Haha!

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

You do a great job with it Sophia. I know it’s hard adding those bits in but it really is helpful. And sometimes things one person will have as a negative is something that’ll get me to buy the book. lol You just never know 😀

Sophia Rose
Guest

Thank you! I love getting your feed back. True, I’ve bought a couple books based on a negative review so you’re right. Haha!

Sophia Rose
Guest

I know what you mean. I get the same way when I see wildly differing opinions amongst reviews by people I recognize. I guess it comes down to mood at the time and individual reading tastes. Since you already have them for review anyway? Heh, when the mood hits, take the plunge. They are a bit different like the Baba Yaga book which is a plus and the ghost seer world is incredibly well drawn. Zach and Claire get on my nerves, but at the same time I like them a lot. I plan to continue with the series b/c… Read more »

Red Iza
Guest

The reviews of this series are mixed. From what you say about her having a hard time making up her mind, I think Claire would surely get on my nerves lol ! I removed her from my to-read list.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yeah, I peeked at the other reviews after I finished mine and noticed the same thing. Claire is personable, but she’s really stubborn about her insecurities and about not wanting to accept that her life is irrevocably changed. So yeah, she can be a toughy to like.

Braine TS
Guest

I was planning to read this yesterday but after reading Kimba’s review, I decided to hold off. Your review balanced things out, I might pick this up next week. The first book was a slow start too, thanks for the warning. I guess Owens takes her time when telling a story.

Sophia Rose
Guest

So glad I could be of assistance, Braine! 😉