- Series: Bay City Paranormal Investigations
- Paperback: 228 pages
- Publisher: Samhain Publishing (April 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1599983559
- ISBN-13: 978-1599983554
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,909,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Oleander House (Bay City Paranormal Investigations) Paperback – April 17, 2007
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Top customer reviews
A haunted house, one of my things, and set in my favorite area, the Gulf states, this novel starts out like it is going to be a simple ghost hunting mission. Then there's a twist. It's a really good twist too, has me anxious for when I get to buy the next book so I can see how it works out!
Oh, and it's a romance novel too. M/M romance. So far only dream sex, but fairly explicit there! Not enough to make me call this erotica. It's a paranormal mystery.
But then I wondered about Sam sometimes, too. He seemed in a perpetual state of horniness, and no matter how dire their situation, seemed to be constantly getting a hard-on. By the end of the book, I wanted to knock both their heads together and yell, "Would you guys just have sex already and move on?"
Aside from that, I thought the plot itself was good, but I wished it had a bit more suspenseful. Nothing happened aside from a few "bad feelings" from the group psychics...until the very end, and then everything felt rushed, then it was just over.
Still, I decided that I like Sam and Bo well enough to continue on with the series. I do want to see them get together. And hopefully, the next books will be more "holy crap, a ghost!" and less "I thought I felt something."
Aside: LOVE the photo of Sam on the Kindle version. I wish the paperback version looked the same.
Let me just preface this review by saying that I really did WANT to like this book. It had, from a quick glance at the cover copy and the first couple of pages, all the things that I truly enjoy seeing in a romance/horror novel. It had a paranormal investigative element. It had a lovely, nicely drawn Southern setting that made me want to go live in a rambling old house and hunt ghost. Sam and Bo had palpable chemistry and enough UST to cause a small earthquake, and the secondary characters were just as intriguingly quirky as the main characters. There was some overly clunky exposition, mostly concerning Sam's past, but I was willing to overlook that for a good ghost story with some sexy boys full of angst and sexual tension.
Then, around page 82, my interest started seriously flagging. Sam's primary character trait at this point was his unrequited love/lust for Bo, which would have been fine had there not also been several pointless scenes where it seemed like all of the characters had long, meaningless discussions that seemed like they were merely there to take up space. Sam had a lot of dreams, which were primarily about sex and ghosts. Near the middle, though, both plots started picking up pace again, so I assumed that this little lull had been just a one-off, and that the rest of the book would live up to my expectation of it.
Right up to the last twenty or so pages. Which basically took the entire book and tossed it down the drain. Which is where the incredibly stupid antagonist and the ridiculously easy fix should have ended up. I was going to give this book 3 stars until I got to the end, for being an enjoyable and sizzling distraction!read at work, but that ending dragged it right down, despite the fact that Bo and Sam were almost kind of together by the end and appear to be headed toward a HFN ending if not an HEA. For the sake of that, I will read the next book in the series, but I can only hope that Miss Blue becomes more adept at bringing her stories to a satisfying conclusion.
~There is a ton of angsty romance, which is awesome if you're into that sort of thing.
~I love the Southern mansion setting, especially with the paranormal investigative edge.
~There is one scene on page 104 where I literally punched the air on Sam's behalf (at work, no less!), when he confronts Bo and basically tells him to either shut up and kiss him already or back off. In that single instant, Sam grew a backbone and I loved it.
~I loved Cecile as a psychic.
~The prose is often peppered with bad, clunky exposition, particularly in the beginning.
~Sam is often characterized solely by his desire to jump Bo's bones.
~Many scenes have no real point and seem like they are mostly intended as filler.
~The ending was terrible. I mean, seriously. Aliens? That, despite being terrifying, ancient creatures that otherwise have been completely invincible, can merely be pushed away by the power of Sam's mind? I don't think so. It seemed like the author realized how ridiculous this was and quickly threw out a happy ending for the romance, but a little bit of boykissing does not make up for such a terrible example of deus ex machina.
Stars: 2.5 out of 5.
Final Grade: C. Will probably not reread. Other books in series will be low priority.
I had been talking to a friend about the ghost hunter television shows where people go into a dark, supposedly haunted, place with flashlights and proceed to fake whisper things like "Hear that?", "What's Over There?" Then at some point they all start running. The TV shows are not nearly as scary as The Haunting of Hill House-- and this book isn't scary either though it does have some gore. It doesn't adequately exploit the possibilities of the set up. After all oleander is one of the most poisonous plants in the world.
I started out thinking in dismay I was reading a gay version of a 1984 Silhouette Desire-- New assistant falls for hawt married boss. There's also a witchy stereotypical psychic foisted on them by the owner of Oleander House. But soon even the conflict that was brought by the witchy psychic is dealt with and the only thing going is the sexual identity conflict and some psychic events.
I also had some trouble trying to figure out exactly what position the characters were in while having sexual dreams. I finally gave up on that.
Finally, this was my first experience of a m/m ebook. I've read other books where women have written about gay male relationships, but not ones where the relationship is the central conflict, i.e., genre romances. I think I prefer books like Gina Hale's Wicked Gentlemen to this. However, I am curious enough to try the second in the series if I can get someone to assure me that it resolves the plot threads left hanging at the end of this one-- other than the relationship one-- it's a romance, I know how that will end.
One big plus, the price is right on the downloads for the Kindle from the publisher-- as I stated this one was a freebie for me, but the purchase price is still more than reasonable.