Review: People in Glass Houses

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: People in Glass HousesPeople in Glass Houses (Ghost Hunters, #16) by Jayne Castle
Series: Ghost Hunters/Harmony #16
Published by Berkley on May 7, 2024
Genres: Paranormal, Futuristic

FINAL DECISION: PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES is a very enjoyable entry in the Ghost Hunters series, offering a well-balanced mix of romance, mystery, and paranormal elements. Castle’s engaging characters, intricate plot, and unique setting make for an enjoyable read that will satisfy fans of the series and attract new readers to the world of Harmony.

THE STORY: Joshua Knight, the disgraced explorer now known as the Tarnished Knight, seeks refuge in a remote, mirror-filled mansion after a disastrous expedition in the Underworld’s Glass House sector. With his psychic senses shattered and memories lost, he is determined to uncover the truth behind his team’s disappearance.

Molly Griffin, a gifted crystal artist, believes Josh holds the key to finding her missing sister, Leona, who was part of the ill-fated expedition. She arrives at the mansion, ready to help Josh regain control of his abilities, but she must abide by his rules: stay away from the basement and leave the draped mirrors undisturbed.

OPINION: Castle’s masterful world-building and skillful storytelling create an immersive experience from the very first page. The author knows the rules of this world well, and thus, it feels as real as her contemporary books. The plot, filled with secrets and supernatural elements, keeps readers engaged and guessing until the end.

One of the greatest strengths of this novel lies in its characters. Molly and Josh are both incredibly likable and relatable, each with their own unique personalities, flaws, and motivations. As they spend nearly the entire book together, Castle allows ample time for their relationship to develop organically. The initial tension between them gradually transforms into a deep, genuine connection that feels both earned and satisfying.

The dynamic between Molly and Josh is electric, their personalities clashing and complementing each other in equal measure. Castle expertly weaves together their individual struggles and shared goals, creating a compelling and emotionally resonant relationship.

The presence of Newton, Molly’s loyal and adorable dust bunny companion, adds a delightful touch of humor and warmth to the story, as dust bunnies always do.

WORTH MENTIONING: Gabriel Jones and Lucy Bell, characters from the previous book GUILD BOSS, make an appearance as Molly works on their wedding celebration. This nice tie-in rewards longtime readers and adds depth to the interconnected world of Harmony.

CONNECTED BOOKS: PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES is the sixteenth book in the Ghost Hunters/Harmony series. While it can be enjoyed as a standalone novel, starting from earlier books is recommended to provide a richer understanding of the Harmony universe and its inhabitants.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Sweetwater & the Witch

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Sweetwater & the WitchSweetwater & the Witch (Ghost Hunters, #15) by Jayne Castle
Series: Ghost Hunters #15
Published by Berkley on September 20, 2022
Genres: Paranormal, Futuristic
Pages: 304

FINAL DECISION: Fun, filled with action and romance, I loved Ravenna and Ethan’s story. I especially like that this book draws from so many other books in the Harmony and Arcane series. Makes me want to read a whole bunch of them again.

THE STORY: Ravenna Chastain becomes a matchmaker when she is almost killed by a cult while doing an investigation. But matchmaking has its own troubles. Ravenna’s major problem is Ethan Sweetwater, who Ravenna can’t match even after nine failed dates. When Ravenna tries to get rid of Ethan, he threatens to cause problems unless she accompanies him to a business event. In exchange, he will accompany her to a family function where she needs a date. In the process, there are failed dates that appear obsessed with stalking Ravenna and goons who come to attack Ethan. As Ravenna and Ethan investigate, they also grow closer.

OPINION: I think the Harmony books are my favorite of Krentz/Castle/Quick these days. There is such humor in them, and combined with the action and the surprise of the various talents that the characters possess, I always look forward to reading them. Plus, there are the dust bunnies, who are just hilarious.

Ravenna is in danger, but she isn’t a damsel in distress. Instead, she is perfectly capable of taking care of her own problems. But I liked that she was willing to ask for help. She is competent and able to remake herself when something goes wrong. That is something that many of Castle’s heroines have in common on Harmony. They often have faced losses that require them to reconfigure their lives — to reinvent themselves. I’ve always admired that quality in her heroines.

Ethan is a bit less successful as a character, although I really liked his focus on Ravenna and his determination to do whatever he needs to do to prove there is something special between them. He is thoughtful and yet also manages to focus on solving problems — in this case the danger that seems to surround both him and Ravenna.

I thought that the mystery/suspense in the story was well constructed with plenty of twists and turns to keep the action moving. But I read these books for the connection between the characters; this one does not disappoint. Ethan and Ravenna have some witty banter between them. Dialogue is one of the author’s strengths. Often the book seems to call back to the clever banter of the 1940s movies — but with a paranormal twist.

Fans will not be disappointed because this book fits nicely in the series with some fun twists.

WORTH MENTIONING: I loved that this book intensely focused on the mythology of previous Harmony/Ghost Hunter books and even the Arcane books. However, I wonder if new readers are confused by the villain’s motivations.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SWEETWATER & THE WITCH is the fifteenth book in the Harmony/Ghost Hunters series. It is also connected with the Arcane series. The following books are noted at the end as being connected: GUILD BOSS (Castle), OBSIDIAN PREY (Castle), and ALL THE COLORS OF THE NIGHT (Krentz).

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley which I used to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Guild Boss

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Guild BossGuild Boss by Jayne Castle
Published by Berkley Books on November 16, 2021
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 304


FINAL DECISION: This book was just fun. An action-adventure paranormal sci-fi futuristic mystery. The conflict here is external concerning the plot so the romance just felt sweet and enjoyable. Loved the strong characters — and who can resist a pizza-eating dust bunny?

THE STORY: A return to Harmony, a colony of earth now cut off where people have various psychic powers interacting with the alien world. Lucy Bell disappears into the tunnels under the city and is rescued by Gabriel Jones, one of the Guild Hunters. While Lucy insists that she was drugged and kidnapped, people believe that she got drunk after a party and wandered into the tunnels. The incident ruins Lucy’s reputation in her profession and months later when Gabriel comes back into her life, she is working as a guide on a studio tour. Now the Guild Boss of Illusion Town, Gabriel reconnects with Lucy as the two discover what happened the night Lucy disappeared.

OPINION: This book was deeply satisfying for me. It was light and fun (although there is a serious storyline — it’s not a comedy). It had a fun action-adventure vibe that I needed right now. I admit to being a huge Arcane fan and love whenever connections to that series come up. In this book Castle leans into the connection which was gratifying.

Nobody writes the “corporate” romance better than Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Jayne Castle) and this book moves the Guild more towards a polished organization. As someone who reads all three of Krentz’s different time periods, this book just felt like a great synthesis of all of them. The reveal of the significance of the book’s title was fun and just lifted the story with a little comedy.

I loved Gabriel who is put in his place by the strong Lucy. Their relationship has real equality, and there is chemistry and Castle always has great dialogue that builds a great relationship. These two are obviously meant for one another and much of the conflict is external involving the mystery, but it works here.

The only reason that this isn’t a perfect 5 star for me is that frankly there are other Castle books from this series that I love better. This one was really good, enjoyable, a rollicking adventure, and hit both the tone that I wanted and also had some great nostalgia.

I’m so glad that Castle is back writing this series and look forward to more.

WORTH MENTIONING: Gabriel is definitely one of those Jones for fans of Jayne Ann Krentz’s Arcane series. For fans of that series (who may be disappointed that Krentz abandoned the storyline in her contemporary romantic suspense), some of the past storylines are picked up here.

CONNECTED BOOKS: GUILD BOSS is the fourteenth book in the Harmony/Ghost Hunters series. The book can be read as a standalone although a new reader will need to catch up on some of the worldbuilding rules. This book is also connected with the Arcane series (which spans all three of Castle’s noms de plume — Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, and Jayne Castle).

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Illusion Town

Review: Illusion TownIllusion Town (Ghost Hunters, #13) by Jayne Castle
Series: Harmony #13
Published by Jove on July 26th 2016
Genres: Futuristic
Pages: 340

FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable read, but not the best of this series.  The characters were more engaged in the storyline than any personal relationship and I prefer my books the other way around.

THE STORY: Hannah West wakes up lllusion Town married to her client Elias Coppersmith but neither of them can remember what prompted them to marry.  But they do remember that someone was after them.  The two end up retracing their steps to discover who was trying to capture them and what is threatening them.  On the planet Harmony, these two high talents need to solve the mystery and also manage to discover whether their marriage of convenience might be something more.

OPINION:  I have been a Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick/etc, etc. fan for many years and have read everything she has published.  For me, while this book was a good read, there was nothing about the book that would compel me to read it again.

I’ve loved these paranormal stories since she was writing the Arcane series that crossed her various pen names.  The Harmony series has been fun and sexy and have some of my favorite books.  While this book has many of the elements that I have enjoyed in this series, I didn’t think this book is one of the better ones in the series.

I prefer my books to be about the characters rather than the mystery or the story. While I want a good story to propel the characters arc, I prefer to know about the characters emotions, feelings and thoughts.  When the story is the focus, the characters often feel interchangeable, unimportant and I can’t get engaged in their romance because the characters remain cyphers.  Unfortunately that is the case here.  While I enjoyed the book as a whole, I never felt any connection with the characters and thus their story just didn’t matter as much to me as I want.

There wasn’t any serious conflict between the characters or even within the characters.  All the conflict was external with the situation and thus the characters remained generic and their romance was rather banal.  The biggest plot twist — waking up married was quickly defused as a plot point as the two almost immediately determined what had happened and moved on.  I was disappointed that there was not more to that part of the story.

That being said, the book was well written and I enjoyed the overall story.  I just want more romance in my romance books.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There is a nice reunion of dust bunnies and humans towards the end of the book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ILLUSION TOWN is the thirteenth book in the Harmony series.  It can be read as a standalone with the caveat that the book does assume some knowledge of the Harmony world.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.