14 August 2014

Tour Stop (Review): Not Quite Dead - Lyla Payne

Not Quite Dead by Lyla Payne 
(A Lowcountry Ghost Story) 
Publication date: April 1st 2014
Genres: Mystery, New Adult, Paranormal

A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new “I don’t give a crap” attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.

Not Quite Dead on Goodreads

My Review:

Not Quite Dead had me instantly hooked. It took me a single page to get into the very easy contemporary writing style. Maybe Graciela Harper spoke to me in a way that not many characters do; she's around my age, she has a major attitude and I can totally relate to her emotional state. Ok, not the drinking, but some of the rest of it.

I went into this read with some trepidation. From the blurb I was convinced that the heroine would be unlikeable and boring, after all, she is running away from a broken engagement. I admit, at first, she seems immature and scared, but not long after you realise this one can stand up for herself and she's just avoiding the awkwardness. Again, I can relate. Also, this is a ghost story. I'm not too good with that stuff, but I figured this for a book a bit more about reality than scaring you senseless. I was totally right! This book is more of a mystery, a romance and a drama with just a sprinkling of the paranormal. It is very emotional with a lot going on. There's not just ghosts for Gracie to traverse, there are broken friendships, unkind old ladies, alcoholism, ailing grandfathers, charming mayors and hostility from all sides. The story is really very complex.

So let's get into the characters. Gracie was a great heroine. She was strong, emotive, amusing, interesting and you can really understand her motives. Even though she has flaws (a bad attitude, self-centredness) we still like her and she never gets annoying when she feels sorry for herself. There was one thing about the characters though; the bad guy is given away so easily simply by the name and therefore it was very easy to puzzle things out. I found myself waiting an awfully long time for our heroine to put things together and I wish it hadn't been so obvious to me. As for our ghost, the inclusion of Anne Bonny the pirate was pure awesomeness. Her view of things was interesting and I loved the mystery surrounding her. I also loved the fact that everything about Anne Bonny eventually ties up really well into Gracie's life. The planning that has gone into the novel is very good and quite clever.

The end was exhilarating; the pace that was perfect through the whole book stepped up a notch. It was a little bit bloody and much more human than expected of a ghost story. This book touches on such a lot of issues and it's incredible that they have all been fitted in; alcoholism, death, lost friendship, domestic abuse, kidnapping and breaking the law. I was very impressed.

There is still so much to find out, as the ending seems to hint, and I will be not-so-patiently waiting for the second book to be published. So enjoyable, even if some parts did get screamingly obvious. I recommend to anyone who likes a bit of drama and sullen pirate ghosts.

Author Bio
Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us - past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla's hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

If you want to know more, please visit her at http://lylapayne.com

If you're a fan of Young Adult fiction--science fiction or otherwise--please check out her work that's published under the name Trisha Leigh. http://trishaleigh.com

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