February 27, 2017

Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (Books 1 & 2) by Paige McKenzie

Author: Paige McKenzie
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Published: March 24, 2015 & March 1, 2016 (respectively)
Hardcover: 296 pgs (both)

Sunshine Griffith can communicate with ghosts. Even more amazing, she recently discovered—with the help of her would-be boyfriend, Nolan—that she’s a luiseach, one of an ancient race of creatures who have lived among humans for centuries, protecting them from dark spirits and helping them move on to the afterlife. Now, Sunshine’s powers are awakening and she feels spirits everywhere—intense and sometimes overwhelming. Eager to get her supernatural abilities under control, Sunshine agrees to begin training with her mentor, her estranged father Aidan. He takes her to an abandoned compound deep in the Mexican jungle. But what she learns there about her powers, and her family history, turns out to be more terrifying than Sunshine could have imagined. Can anything—Aidan’s experiments, her friendship with another luiseach named Lucio, even Nolan’s research—prepare Sunshine to face the frightening woman who haunts her dreams, and to finally learn the truth about the rift that threatens the future of the luiseach and all of humankind? The stakes grow ever higher in this sequel to The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, revealing that Sunshine has to protect more than her own friends and family—she may be the key to saving the entire human race.

I tried. I really tried to enjoy these books. I loved the idea behind these stories, and I am a huge fan of paranormal books. That's why I gave the second novel a chance, after barely getting through the first. But unfortunately, I have zero desire to read the third. And I'm really upset by this because the book comes highly recommended by two of my favorite horror icons: R.L. Stine and Wes Craven.

What I enjoyed:
The dead people -- go figure, right? I enjoyed McKenzie's description of the ghosts and the dead. I liked that she didn't shy away from being gory and truly making you see some of the ways these spirits passed.

What I didn't enjoy about that: 
I felt like it was a bit unreal in that there weren't even more ghosts constantly finding their way to Sunshine. I mean, there aren't that many luiseach left in the world, so why wouldn't she be spending every waking moment helping them get to the other side? That's a question that's bothered me since the beginning.

What I enjoyed: 
Sunshine's love for her mother. This was a well-written relationship that actually makes you sad when things aren't going so well for the two of them.

What I didn't enjoy:
Sunshine's love for Nolan. I just didn't feel any of the chemistry at all. I think it would actually be better for the author to just let all of the characters stay out of love. Focus on the horror and the paranormal and leave the romance for another book.

What I couldn't stand: 
Sunshine, herself. Yes, the protagonist. Oh my goodness. The girl spoke as if she were born in the 1950's -- "Good Golly!" "Jeezus Loueezus" -- I mean, seriously? While I'm a fan of women kicking ass, this was just too fake for me to fall into. I didn't like the way she fights. I didn't like the way she whined. I just didn't like her at all.

1 out of 5 stars.

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