From: Dragoness (1Dragones)

Date: 7/19/11

Gaslight Chronicles
Photographs & Phantoms
Cindy Spencer Pape
Carina Press (2011),
Kindle Edition
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Photographs & Phantoms is a blend of genres featuring historical romance, paranormal, mystery, fantasy and alternate history. Photographer, Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow appearing in some recent portraits... The presence of that shadow ruining the portraits is bad enough, yet each time the shadow appears, the subject of that portrait has died shortly afterward. Amy is determined to get to the bottom of the situation and find an explanation for the phenomenon. Will she succeed?

The book has an intriguing and mysterious premise that enticed me to download the promotional freebie. First off, it's (marginally) historical fiction. Second, the story promises some magic.  Reading further, one discovers that this isn't true history, but an alternate version, which I usually find interesting. I'm glad I didn't know when I downloaded this book that Carina Press is a Harlequin imprint, or I might have skipped it.  I normally find straight romance tales to be too fluffy, plotless, and sticky sweet to suit me, which wasn't the case here, except for the big sex scene near the middle of the book, which I skipped.  Sorry, but I don't find that unadulterated sex moves the story along... this novella would have been better without that scene.  Minus half a star for the uninteresting and unnecessary sex scene.

Over all, I found the mystery to be entertaining and the entire tale to be a page-turner. Still, some scenes later in the book could have been better developed. I was disappointed to find that, although the male lead in this tale is described as being a Sorcerer, very little magic was involved. Most of the magic could be explained by the technology used... so minus one fourth of a star for that lack of development, and minus another quarter-star for the lack of magic...  I'd have loved this book to be a little longer - say about 30,000 words.

Incidentally, for those who haven't read this book, the Kindle edition is still free from Amazon.com.  Sure, it's an advertisement/teaser for the publisher's other books, but one that is very much worth reading  I'm not obligated to review this book, however, writing reviews IS what I do... so why not?  Recommended to adult readers age 18 and up who like something more than straight, sticky-sweet romance.

This review, for which no compensation - financial or otherwise - has been received by the reviewer, appears on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and other sites deemed appropriate by the reviewer.

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