Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Whispering Hills by Taryn Browning

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Whispering Hills
Taryn Browning
Series: Whispering Hills, #1
Release date: March 19th, 2012

Goodreads / Purchase

Life and death, love and hate, friends and enemies…

For as long as she can remember, 17-year-old Alexis Forbes can hear the thoughts of others. Most recently, she is disturbed by the dark, unfamiliar voice of a frightening killer: callous, cunning, charismatic…and dead.

She hears his every sinister thought. But she can’t tell anyone. No one would believe her. Alexis is suddenly being haunted by a terrifying past she doesn’t remember, and a ghost with a serious score to settle. Even Chance, the gorgeous new guy she’s falling for, has his own ghostly secret. He’s definitely not like any guy she’s ever met. Alexis soon discovers she has a connection to the dead and it runs much deeper than she could ever imagine. And if the sociopathic entity has his way, she’ll finally be sentenced to the fate she escaped thirteen years ago.

*A copy was provided by Taryn Browning for review purposes*

Whispering Hills’ plot which involves ghosts, witches, and telepathy is a sure way to lure me in, especially after having previously enjoyed Taryn’s work in Dark Seeker. It’s vastly different from her other series, however, and even though I never grew very fond of the characters in this novel, I was easily kept entertained by its suspense and mystery that are aplenty.

The characters are honestly the only reason that this novel failed to get me glued to its pages. The protagonist, Alexis, can come off as being a bit too naive for my taste: easily falling prey to traps and believing obvious lies. Then we’ve got Chance, the love interest, who is intriguing and mysterious, but his and Alexis’ romance never claimed my heart. There isn’t enough build up or natural progression to their relationship for me to have gotten a feel of their attraction. They start throwing the L word around after a mere few weeks and also seem to be a tad awkward with each other. Furthermore, we’ve got the villain, who is supposed to be terrifyingly powerful, not to mention evil, but only amounted to irritate me with his high and mighty attitude and embarrassingly weak jokes. I did, however, really click with Summer. I found her to be the most complex character. Her being a witch instantly pulled me in, but her cynical, yet caring attitude makes her compelling.

As far as the plot goes, it’s exciting with a creative approach to ghosts; touching base with fate and the order of things. It’s filled with twists that I never would have predicted, dramatic chapter cliffhangers that refuse to let you go, closing off with a chilling ending. It does take a couple of chapters to get a hint of what type of book we’re getting into. After this, though, it doesn’t take long for the action to begin for a non stop thrill ride to the end. The ghost story itself is very well crafted; both refreshing and original. The abilities also play a big part in the story: Witches with epic powers, and mind-reading – which is a very bittersweet ability to possess if you stop to think about it; Taryn makes use of these brilliantly, presenting them as equally creepy and enticing.

Whispering Hills, unique and action-packed, is perfect for readers who enjoy ghost stories with an extra paranormal punch. I was hoping for a bit more substance when it came to character building, but the captivating plot-line and fluid writing makes it easy to get caught up it the story regardless. 

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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22 Responses to “Review: Whispering Hills by Taryn Browning”

  1. Aylee

    I’ve never personally been much of a fan of ghosts, but I can see how this more unique take on them could be intriguing and refreshing if it’s something that has never been done before. It’s a shame about the characters though!

  2. Amy

    Great review hon!! I really liked Summer too. I thought she was a great character. I always try to remember that when characters start throwing around the L word quickly in YA books, it seems rushed, but I remember girls in school who would start that after a week or two of dating someone. *rolls eyes* I am interested to see where the story goes next.

  3. Giselle

    @Amy: Yeah you’re right. I even remember doing it myself but as a reader it feels a bit too rushed and stops me from feeling it even though it often happens that way as a teen. The plot is great though I still enjoyed it and also curious about book 2!

    @Aylee: It’s a very unique take on ghosts especially with the added supernatural stuff in the story!

    Thanks ladies!

  4. Nick

    It sucks that the characters failed to impress you. That can be a total turn off for me as well. I probably wouldn’t even have been able to continue the book if I were in your place.
    At least the plot compensates for the bland characters.
    Great review, Giselle. 🙂

  5. Mary @ BookSwarm

    This does sound like a very intriguing premise–I like ghost-based stories–but the character connection still needs to be there. Summer sounds cool, though. Great review!

  6. Danny

    Although I do not really like Ghost stories this one seems truly interesting and something I would very likely enjoy! Although… I am a little sad hearing about the characters – I hate when they are too naive, although I try to tell myself all the time that those are Teenagers I’m reading about….

  7. bookworm105

    I am never the type of reading ghost books but this sounds like a promising premises. Witches i love and haven’t read them for awhile, so, maybe i’ll check this out.

    Great review! 🙂

  8. Candace

    I really like books with ghosts. But its too bad the characters weren’t just a bit better. Still might be something I would give a try though. Great review!

  9. Shooting Stars Mag

    I do like a good ghost story. Thanks for your honest thoughts. I do appreciate it. Sounds like a fun mystery ride, but I do like my characters to be a bit more developed.

    -Lauren

  10. Eileen

    Oh my God I read this book once, and it had that same exact problem with the romance! They literally knew each other for a week and then they were saying “Oh, I love you!” and I was rolling my eyes. Sorry most of the characters didn’t click for you! 🙁 I probably won’t check this out then because I’m extremely fed up with all the books where the romance happens so quickly. Great review, though!

  11. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    This one does sound really interesting, but if its hard to gel with the characters, then no matter what the book is about, it wont hit the mark. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one more. Great review.

    I’ll be interested in seeing what you think of Crewel. I thought about requesting it the other day but didn’t then.

  12. Lexie

    Great review! I think it’s hard to really fall in love with a novel if you aren’t fond of the characters, because in the end . . . it’s their story. If you don’t like them, if you’re not rooting for them, it’s hard to truly get invested. But this still sounds like a fun, interesting read, and ghosts always get a thumbs up!

  13. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Sounds quite interesting! I love paranormal romance so someday I will definitely have to pick up a copy of this one at the library or something. Not connecting with characters – or worse just flat not liking them – is the worst. And too many authors tend to fall into the insta-love trap, and it makes me cringe a bit, especially if they’re GOOD writers who could/should avoid that.

  14. Courtney Vail

    I have this on my to-read list and was sent a copy to review as well. I’ve only read one other ghost story, Through Her Eyes, and the lack of character depth was what tainted my opinion of that, although I loved the mystery element of it. Though I will likely have the same issues as you because I’m pretty picky about character development, I will definitely read this. I’m looking to dip into the many different genre branches in YA, and, despite the problems, this sounds like an intriguing read in paranomal romance.