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Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens

Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens
Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens
Series: Ghost Seer #2
Published by Berkley
Published on: September 2, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
One StarOne StarHalf a Star
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What lies beneath…

Clare Cermak’s adjusting to a new man in her life—and a lot of ghosts. The passing of Clare’s aunt gave way to a sizeable inheritance of not only money, but also the ability to communicate with the dead. At the same time, she met Zach Slade, a private detective with a rough past, and just like Clare, he’s not yet ready to accept her gift—or his own.

But Clare has another matter to look into. A multimillionaire needs her help after relocating an old ghost town to his mountain estate. The bones of a murdered prospector are making nightly appearances in his guests’ beds. When the gold miner’s ghost contacts Clare, she promises to help find the name of his killer—but someone doesn't want the past revealed and might find her first…

Infuriating Fail @!-#

I know it’s only September, but I am beyond confident when I say that GHOST LAYER was my least favourite novel of 2014, and here’s why. Clare is an incredibly dense heroine; she doesn’t learn from her mistakes, and consistently made really poor judgement calls throughout this book. The author also used a ridiculous amount of caps to basically point out key elements to readers which I found beyond insulting. The romantic elements didn’t jive at all either. The mystery itself wasn’t horrible, albeit very predictable; the only good aspect of the whole story was Enzo, the ghost dog, but even then, it was unfortunate that nearly his entire dialogue was written in capital letters. I wasn’t sold on this series after the first installment, but decided to give 2 a try because I believe in second chances. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on ME!

Owens delved a bit deeper into her GHOST SEER lore by elaborating on the different types of spooks, what causes them to Go Bad, and the reasons why they don’t always move on. Some additional background is also given on Clare’s family tree such as the specifics of her ancestress’ deal with the Other, and some weird perks like getting a heads up when their deaths are imminent. The story itself was decently constructed, and I like how there’s always some truth to these books; in this case it was that the town of Curly Wolf was based on a real place—Buckskin Joe which is near Alma, Colorado. There were two main plot threads in this installment that ran alongside each other, and although I did enjoy the extra intrigue, I was able to pinpoint who the villain was very early on. The author brought in a couple of secondary characters in an attempt to make the list of suspects longer, but I wasn’t fooled.

My main issue was with Clare (obviously!); she had absolutely zero redeeming quality in my opinion. I can deal with weak heroines who are coming into their powers, but not stupid ones. Her unwillingness to accept her gift really rubbed me the wrong way. I get that she’s in denial, however, when you’re told that you must either accept your abilities or risk death or insanity, the stakes are just too high to ignore. Normally, I’m all for girl power, and hate it when the guy tries to ‘protect’ the protagonist, but in this case Zach is an ex-cop, and actually knows what he’s talking about. Someone is trying to kill Clare, so Slade advises her to stay in her room, and wear a bullet proof vest. Instead, she gets mad at him, completely disregards his warnings, and almost gets blown up by a car bomb. This heroine is seriously too stupid to live.

I really liked Zach as a character, but the more time he spent with Cermak, the more my opinion of him declined. He’s too smart to be falling in love with such an idiot! I struggled a great deal with the romantic aspects of this story because even though there’s LOTS of sex, their relationship was severely lacking in the chemistry department. Plus, Clare kept getting mad at Slade for refusing to reveal ALL of his secrets, yet they have only been dating for a couple of weeks. I found that this couple was horribly unbalanced, and felt sorry for Zach because he was like an abused dog that keeps coming back to his owner hoping to finally do right by them even though the situation is beyond hopeless. And, speaking of canines, I loved Enzo, but Robin D. Owens needs to learn how to use italics for emphasis, and understand the importance of showing vs. telling.


The cons of GHOST LAYER far outweighed its pros which is why I will not be continuing this series. Maybe there are readers out there who enjoy this author’s writing style, but it is definitely not for me.

Ghost Seer Series

My Review

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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  1. Second review of this book that makes me glad I decided not to give it another whirl after book 1. I actually don’t mind her writing style but I’m not liking the characters in this series.
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…#LoveMyLibraryCard GiveAway: What have you Snagged @ The Library

    • The first review you read, was it by Kimberly (The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)? I was so happy when I saw her feedback, because for a while I was thinking that something was wrong with me. LOL

  2. Oh my, I had hopes that the second one would get better after seeing negative reviews on book 1. Sad to see it didn’t. Hope your next read is more to your liking 🙂

    • I gave the first installment a pass because I’m usually more lenient on book 1’s, but Ghost Layer was just plain bad. The author obviously didn’t read all of the negative feedback on Amazon, and take readers’ opinions into consideration.

  3. I am so sad this was such a fail. So many people have been saying that, especially after having loved the first one. It is sad to see this when it happens.
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Phobic by Cortney Pearson

    • It is unfortunate, but I’d rather the series has an epic fail early on than several so-so installments that keep me reading in the vain hope that the story will get better.

  4. i must say i was tempted at first when i read the blurb of book 1 but i didn’t check teh review now that i see your opinion on book 2 my interest is really lower because i don’t think i would understand the ghost dog ( whioch is what interested me teh most i guess^^)

    thank you for your honesty
    miki recently posted…Fantasy Lover (The Dark Hunterverse1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

    • The ghost dog was actually the coolest part of this series; he’s like a spirit guide, it’s the rest of the elements that aren’t jiving.

  5. Yikes! I can’t start stupid heroines. I probably would not have made it through.
    Megan recently posted…Cover Compare: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

    • Sometimes the ending makes up for a crappy journey, so I stuck it out, but unfortunately that didn’t happen in this case.

  6. *backs away from the book*
    blodeuedd recently posted…The wedding Proposal – Sue Moorcroft

  7. I’m sorry this one did not work well for you Carmel. I’ve not had the chance to check out the first book in the series, but I may hold off now. I feel the same about heroines, it’s okay to come into their powers (struggle ect) BUT they need to own it eventually and not consistently make really poor judgement calls throughout the story. I can see how this would be fustrating for sure. Thanks for the honest review 🙂
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Adult Book Review: No Limits by Lori Foster

    • It’s one thing to have growing pains, but it’s a completely different story if the heroine has a massive case of denial. URGH!

  8. The WTF Elephant makes an appearance! Hot damn, I love that elephant. And the book sounds dreadful, but that makes for a more fun blog reading experience for the rest of us. So thank you.
    Nathan ( recently posted…Fantasy Review: ‘City of Stairs’ by Robert Jackson Bennett

    • Haha The WTF elephant usually = rant, so yeah, the entertainment factor of the review is high, but the book itself sucks.

  9. I can handle a heroine who makes stupid choices for the right reasons but ones that are just TSTL make me pull my hair out. Glad I didn’t decide to give this a series a go now.
    Rhianna recently posted…A little off-topic: a Kickstarter YOU need to back!

    • I consider myself a forgiving person, but Clare was just SO FREAKING RETARDED!!! There’s no saving her after this.

  10. I saw your review on GR and just loved it. There is a difference between annoying character and just a plain stupid one. Can’t love them all though, sorry it didn’t work for you Carmel.

    • It takes A LOT for me to give a book less than 3-stars; like poor editing, major plot holes, or a dumbass protagonist.

  11. Zack sounds like a character that I could enjoy.

  12. I haven’t heard much about this series but I don’t think it would be one i’d really love. I can see myself have quite a few problems with it. Especially with the MC. I get it when characters struggle and make poor choices and all that but when it happens ALL THE TIME i just loose my patience! Shame this one wasn’t what you were expecting!
    Lily recently posted…Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3):Review

    • The heroine was given SO many chances to redeem herself, and she just kept right on trucking down her stupid ass path. LOL

  13. Oh no, TSTL heroine is something I can’t stomach, so I wouldn’t even try to attempt to start this series! Thanks for a warning, Carmel! 🙂
    kara-karina recently posted…Steampunk Romance Joint Review: Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster

    • I need a TSTL review GIF, but that WTF elephant will work in a pinch. LOL

  14. Your review made me happy with my decision of not reading this series. Thank you for your honesty.
    BookaholicCat recently posted…Review: Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson

    • I wish I had been spared the pain of this one, but you’re welcome! Someone has to do the dirty work.

  15. This is such a bummer! I really hoped that the series would improve after book 1 but I can’t take a TSTL heroine for more than one book…that’s definitely not enough to base a UF series on…even if there is a ghost dog 🙁
    Traci recently posted…Coffee Shop Talks, #70

    • Calling this series Urban Fantasy is a bit of a stretch IMO on account of the non-badass heroine; it’s more of a PNR with a side of mystery.

  16. Errrm, yeah well, I clearly get why this book didn’t work for you at all and I’m only thinking of running away in the opposite direction of this book and the entire series… Caps lock annoy me to no end on books unless they’re Death speaking on the Discworld…

    • Maybe it’s because I received an ARC, and the caps goes away in the final version, but after a less than stellar experience, I won’t be sinking my money into buying a copy to double-check.

  17. Least favorite book of the year?! That’s reason enough for me not to read it, for sure.
    Stephanie Faris recently posted…A World without Secretaries

    • It’s going to take an extra abysmal novel to steal this one’s spot.

  18. I went back and read your review for book one, and you seem to like it a lot better. Too bad the sequel didn’t live up.

    • I did because the protagonists actually digress in this most recent installment. It was like book 1 never happened…

  19. I like books with ghosts and with dogs ‘talk’ but the issues you had sound like issues I would have so I’ll skip this series for now. Sorry it didn’t work better for you though!
    Candace recently posted…Young Adult Book Review: Firebug by Lish McBride

    • I agree, ghosts and talking dogs should be a winning combo, but in this case it just didn’t work.

  20. I was curious to see the reviews about this one because I liked the first one but I had many problems with it as well and at the end I think I did well because now I’ll pass…

    • If you had issues with the first one then you should probably run in the other direction. LOL

  21. Doesn’t really sound like my type of book. It’s always kinda irritating when you read a book and don’t like it.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…The Bouqs Ambassador Program

    • This is true. It feels like a complete waste of time, especially when there are so many good books out there more worthy of your attention.

  22. When the main character is frustrating, it’s just a recipe for disaster. Glad I know to stay away from this series. Thanks!
    Nicole recently posted…5 Star Review – Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

    • Nothing can save a book from an annoying protagonist.

  23. Oh yea, the CAPS WOULD BOTHER ME TOO! 😉 Don’t think this one is for me. It would also bother me if she got the Buckskin Joe facts wrong (I used to visit it as a kid before it was moved). I do think I’ll pass. Brilly review though.
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson

    • There’s a time & place for caps lock, and this was NOT it. You might have been even more frustrated with Ghost Layer than I was on account of you actually being knowledgeable of Buckskin Joe.

  24. I am now forgoing this series. Reviews for the first one were good and I was interested but you and Kimba both complain about an annoying heroine with poor ass decision making skills. Nope. Not for me.
    Heidi recently posted…Review: The Witch With No Name (Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison

    • Yes! Kimba and I were practically review twinsies on this one.

  25. I first read your review of this on Goodreads before I saw it on here, and I was thinking yikes, this book isn’t looking that hot at all, especially the character. Then I come here and I think this is the first time I’ve seen you pull out the FAIL icon. Brilliant! BTW, if you didn’t read the worst book of 2014 until you hit September, I say it’s actually been a pretty good year so far 🙂

    • Way to look on the bright side, Mogsy! I don’t pull the fail icon out very often, but when I do there’s usually a good reason why. LOL

  26. Hahaha, oh my god. Too stupid to live is right! I was planning on reading the first book in this series but honestly…the only good thing about reading a shitty book is that you can warn others away. And I’ve been warned! There are plenty of lovable canine sidekicks that don’t speak almost exclusively in caps. Although Oberon from the Iron Druid Chronicles is the only one I can think of right now!
    Danya recently posted…Review: The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

    • I’ve never actually read an Iron Druid novel (audiobooks FTW!), but I am glad to learn that my buddy Oberon doesn’t talk in caps. I hate trashing a book, however this one had it coming. LOL

  27. I’m so sad. I liked the first book, which had great potential…as long as Clare learned and grew into her new powers. But it sounds like she didn’t and still acted so damn stupid.
    Mary recently posted…Creative MoJo (2): The Blue Version

    • Unfortunately Clare didn’t grow AT ALL in this book; in fact, I think she got dumber which is never a good sign.

  28. Gah. TSTL heroines make me want to pull out several strands of my hair and eat them with pleasure. “I found that this couple was horribly unbalanced and felt sorry for Zach because he was like an abused dog that keeps coming back to his owner” I don’t even know what to say, Carmel. Sigh. So sorry the next installment didn’t improve at all but at least you’re dropping the series altogether. Here’s hoping your next read is stronger!
    Sarah recently posted…Review: The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello

    • Zach seemed like a relatively smart man, so I really couldn’t understand for the life of me why he kept coming back to Clare for more. And yeah, I hear ya on the hair eating. LOL!

  29. Oy. Clare sounds fun. Lol. If the main character couldn’t save the story, then I don’t blame you for quitting on the series.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz

    • Euuh, yes, sure. 😉 In a ‘I want to gouge out my own eyeballs’ kind of way.

  30. Everything you mentioned in the first paragraph of your review makes me cross this off my list! I don’t care for stubborn and dumb heroines…LOL Well that sucks, I had high hopes when I saw the cover (I think you had it on your new releases or I saw it on another blog) but there are too many negatives for me to even give it a try. Sorry this was a bummer!
    Lori recently posted…Book Promo: Throwback Thursday with Bound By Night by Larissa Ione

    • It was just all around bad, and it’s my responsibility as a reviewer to tell people to STAY AWAY! Sorry Owens…

  31. Nice review about the characters; like the review pics

    • The characters were… ‘special’ for lack of a better word.

  32. Ouch! I can just imagine. I give you credit for finishing the book, I don’t think I could 🙁
    Thanks for the heads up, I’ve seen the cover around, but it didn’t get me all wind up like some covers do.
    Lupdilup recently posted…Rapture Untamed Audiobook by Pamela Palmer (Review)

    • I don’t DNF books. Ever. But, in this case, maybe I should have.

  33. Hmm, Carmel…2.5 stars for a LEAST favorite book of 2014?? Are you serious?? You are serious. LOL
    What a shame; I absolutely love that cover!!
    Lola recently posted…Review: Dissonance (Dissonance #1) by Erica O’Rourke

    • I was hoping for the best, but instead got the worst. Oh wells. The covers are seriously misleading…

  34. Well here’s another one I can cross off my tbr list. I haven’t read the first one yet and now I’m glad for it. Thanks for the review
    Kristina D recently posted…New Releases ~ week of 9/08/2014

    • I’m glad that I was able to save you from the pain of reading this book, and help free up room on your TBR pile.

  35. Oh so there actually is a UF series that I could skip. I never thought I’ll see one! But really I don’t like when characters don’t learn from their mistakes and also poor judgement is not my fave thing. I have read in some guest post that it’s a golden rule of writing: show, don’t tell and I totally agree. Sorry it was a disappointment. Great review, Carmel 🙂

    • There is such a thing as a bad UF series, and I hate to say it, but Owens Ghost Seer books are an excellent example of what NOT to do.

  36. I so love the concept and the mystery aspects but agree Clare is the wrong character for this story. I mean look at that kick-ass cover..where is that girl?
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

  37. Oh no! I read Kimba’s review which was the reason why I skipped it last week but after reading your review I might not read this at all. I wasn’t a big fan of the first one to begin with but I thought it was just normal since it’s book one however it looks like the second one is worse.
    Braine recently posted…Naughty Nooners: My Control by Lisa Renee Jones & White Collared: Passion by Shelly Bell

    • Two of your go-to bloggy peeps can’t be wrong—right? Book 1 had potential, but this latest installment took 2 HUGE steps back. 🙁

  38. Oh dear. I have book 1 on audio. I hope I didn’t pick a dude when I was asked what audio I wanted gifted to me. Oh well, at least I didn’t use MY $ to get it. LOL
    Jennifer recently posted…Talking Between Reads (TBR): Top 5 Books on my Library Wish List

    • Hopefully the narrator makes a HUGE difference in this case, but yeah, at least it was free.

  39. Oof! Sorry this was a bust, Carmel. It seemed like it had potential – with the lore more explored and maybe one good character?!? But I couldn’t stomach your cons either. What reader wants to be insulted? I hope your next read is great!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**New Release Review ~ Girl Nevermore ~ R.A. Desilets**

    • I just felt like the author was talking down to me a lot which was weird considering how clueless Clare was. I’m reading a werewolf book now, and it is AWESOME!

  40. The first book was a total miss for me. I wanted to strangle the MC and her man. I was going to see how people responded to this one before even thinking about giving the series another chance. After seeing what you and Kim say, I know for sure I won’t be reading it.
    Christy recently posted…The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

    • I didn’t love Clare in book 1, but I figured if she grew into her powers in Ghost Layer, and things jived a bit better with Zach, then this series might have a chance. Alas, that did NOT happen.

  41. Oh wow. That is…unfortunate. I’ve had book 1 on my review list since it came out and just not been able to get myself to read it. Sorry to hear this was such a big miss.
    anna recently posted…Interview w/ Kimberly Kincaid–cookies, man candy, mayo & awwwws

    • In that case, I wouldn’t make reading Ghost Seer a priority if I were you, or maybe just skip it entirely, and free the spot up for a more worthwhile book.

  42. I’m bummed because I enjoyed book 1 – wasn’t necessarily sold, either, but saw good potential. But this is not the first not-so-good review I’ve read and particularly when it comes to Claire 🙁 The caps thing is annoying (and insulting) but I wouldn’t have known about it because I listened to this first book, loved the narration and planned to listen to the next one. I probably still will, maybe audio makes it better? But I’m not in any rush either. Great review 🙂
    Berls recently posted…Teaser Tuesdays | Austenland Teaser

    • A kick ass narrator can make a huge different, but I’m not convinced that that would have saved this book for me. I’ll be sure to check out your review though!