Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: "Texas Gothic" & "Spirit & Dust"

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
4 out of 5 stars

My middle sister told me about this book awhile back so when I saw it at Half Price one day, I decided to go ahead and get it. I read it last week because I wanted to have it done before I met the author at NTTBF and I'm glad I did, because I really enjoyed it! So much that I went and checked out the sequel (below) at the library and finished it Saturday morning right before the festival. :)

Texas Gothic is an interesting blend of magic and old Texas history. And within that magic, there is something we don't see very often: witches mixed with science mixed with ghosts. Amy Goodnight is a witch from a long line of witches, but she doesn't like to admit it. She wants to be normal (who doesn't) and that's hard to do when her sister Phin is creating ray guns to monitor a ghost's "footprint".

I was the designated grown up in a family that operated in different reality than the rest of the world.

Amy & Phin are spending the summer house-sitting for their Aunt Hyacinth and unfortunately they have a lot more trouble than just keeping the goats from escaping. There seems to be a ghost on the loose and he's terrorizing people on the ranch next door. Said ranch just happens to be owned by a young handsome cowboy who immediately clashes with Amy and doesn't believe in ghosts, magic, or any of that other nonsense. Amy is dragged into the mess against her will when the ghost seems to become attached to her and she starts Nancy Drew-ing around.

"Those books were highly unrealistic. Do you have any idea how much brain damage a person would have if she were hit on the head and drugged with chloroform that often?"

Cowboy Ben's main irritation stems from the anthropologists digging up his land after a skeleton is found. (And it's questionable whether this is Amy's ghost or not.) Local ghost stories merge with scientific facts until it's hard to tell who the villain is, dead or alive. It was so interesting to read a story based in Texas that included the history of its land and local legends but wasn't completely stereotypical. Yes, there were cowboys and cattle but it didn't bash you over the head with "yeehaws" and "y'alls".

Spirit & Dust
3 out of 5 stars

This companion novel focuses on Daisy Goodnight, cousin to Amy & Phin, and voice of dead people everywhere. Daisy is sassy, sarcastic, and a lot of fun. She's also barely 17 and assists the FBI in missing persons cases. When she's pulled out of her chemistry class to help on a case in Minnesota, she doesn't expect it to be any more unusual than her other cases. But it is, from the first moment she talks to the dead guy in a dirty alley.

There's a lot more going on in this story than the first and I think that somewhat detracts from it. We've got the ghosts sure, but then there are super powerful witches, people with other kinds of powers, dead people living in objects, dead people rising from the beyond, dead people going to the beyond, dead people everywhere lol. And that's not even counting the mobsters or the freaky things that happen at the museums. (I know, you're thinking "what museums??" but you should really be focused on the mobsters.)

I liked the story overall, but didn't love it like the first. It was maybe a little too smart for me at certain points, when Daisy & mobster Carson were researching Egyptian mythology and the like. I enjoyed the museum parts (I know, again with the museums. Just read it and see!) in that it felt like the movies Night at the Museum. I'm a sucker for lame children's movies like that and this had that same kind of "impossible, but maybe it could happen" feel.

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