Book Review: Once Haunted, Twice Shy
By: H.P. Mallory
Published By: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Page Count: 270
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Paranormal
Peyton Clark is back and a demon is breathing down her neck. Since we last saw our girl she's dealing with some major issues. For starters, Drake is no longer just an entity that haunts her house. He has now taken up full residency inside of Peyton. That makes for some awkward moments with her new boyfriend, Ryan. In true Peyton fashion, she handles this with grace and sass as both men fight for attention.
This installment has Peyton and her hot guys trying to track down the demon that was expelled from Peyton's home. The spirits in New Orleans are restless and that spells trouble. Peyton can't help thinking that somehow her demon problem is linked to the unhappy dead that haunt every corner of the city. She turns to Lovie and Christopher again for help of the magical variety. But can she and her companions save the city from a demon intent on filling the streets with blood?
The slow burn of a beginning was absent in this one. The action starts in the opening chapter and doesn't let up. I was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events. This is exactly what I wished for when I finished the first novel. I also got some of those answers concerning Drake and Peyton's family that I had been hankering for in the first novel. This is not to say that every lingering question I have has been answered, but I did end this one feeling that things were resolved. There are still many directions Peyton's story could go and I can only hope that Mallory will continue to give me more of this feisty and lovable heroine. Peyton has become one of my favorite ghost girls.
I loved the setting and history of the first novel, but I feel like this one elevates those concepts even more. The imagery is so vivid that you can feel the humidity brushing over your skin and smell the flowers growing along the wrought iron fences that line Peyton's street. On my last trip to New Orleans, I was fortunate enough to take a ghost tour in the Garden District. Many of the stories and sights from that tour made an appearance in this novel. I couldn't help but wonder if Mallory might have taken the same tour at some point and used it as inspiration. It was fun to think of Peyton walking the same paths as I did. I also found I enjoyed this story more because I could visualize everything so clearly. One of my favorite scenes in the novel takes place in Lafayette Cemetery. I enjoyed getting to learn more about New Orleans' above ground tombs. It was neat to watch as Peyton learned the same lesson.
The folklore in this one plays a major role. I loved how Mallory was able to infuse New Orleans' lush and often violent history into the plot. Everything was tied together in a more seamless manner. In fact, I feel this installment is much stronger than the first. The plot is well paced, the story is engaging, and the characters were more developed. I also found the sense of urgency in this one to add a dark and delicious layer that was missing from the first novel.
I highly recommend this series to those who crave a little paranormal slice of New Orleans. You'll love getting to know Peyton and cozying up with Ryan. This is southern paranormal at its finest. You can't go wrong with a story this steeped in history and folklore.
One Last Gripe: Peyton and Ryan have a bit of instalove going on. I originally was irked about their connection happening so quickly, but I decided to push that feeling aside and just enjoy the ride.
Favorite Thing About This Book: The history elements
First Sentence: Being possessed isn't exactly a walk in the park.
Favorite Character: I love Peyton, but this time I have to go with Drake. I loved getting to know more about him in this novel.
Least Favorite Character: Guarda
Sassy, spirited Peyton Clark is back—and she’s not alone!
After agreeing to let the spirit of Drake Montague inhabit her body, Peyton soon discovers that the twentieth-century French policeman may be dead but his lothario longings sure aren’t. Now she has to find a way to explain to her sweet, sexy boyfriend, Ryan Kelly, that a spirit has taken up residence in her head, whispering French words of affection day and night.
While Peyton is torn between her love for a living man and her growing affection for one deceased, supernatural activity in New Orleans spikes—and something wicked this way comes. With the help of her friends (and a little voodoo), Peyton learns that the demonic spirit of the Axeman may still dwell in her home. To stop bloody history from repeating itself, Peyton will have to travel back a century to confront the Axeman at his roots, with the help of a certain handsome—and suddenly flesh and blood—police officer in the Big Easy.