Friday, 1 November 2013

OOPS I READ A BOOK AGAIN! **REVIEW**: "Phantom Summer" by Amy Sparling

Title: Phantom Summer
Author: Amy Sparling
Publisher: 336Love
Date of Publication: September 5, 2013
Genre: contemporary YA with ghosts


Purchase link: Amazon | B&N





Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.

When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?

When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably watching her.

"How did you know I was going here?" I cross my arms and stare up at him. His hair is razor straight across his forehead, swooping just over his left eyebrow. Humidity must not affect his hair follicles like it does to mine. He crosses his arms too, and stares back at me. "I didn't. But this is where I was going, so I figured since you're a copycat you'd come here too."

He's staring at me like a disappointed school teacher again and I feel the sudden need to defend myself. "I've never been. I was curious."

"You know it's open to the public during the day. Why do you want to come at night?" He stares me down, daring me to lie to him.

"I couldn't sleep." I say, bringing my chin up. It's not a lie, and I don't care what he thinks.

"Or," he says, pointing a finger at me. "You're trying to steal my job."

"Why the hell do you keep saying that?" I slap his hand away from my face. "I don't even know what your job is, I mean, besides wearing that stupid jacket and wandering around late at night."

He slides his hands down the front of his jacket. "You think my jacket is stupid?"

I roll my eyes. "Uh, yeah." His face falls. He looks down at his feet and says quietly, "I like my jacket."

"And your stupid black jeans. What are you, some kind of secret agent skulking around at night?" He gasps and grabs the collar of his jacket, shielding it from my insults. His outfit could be kind of sexy on the right person, but he doesn't need to know that.

"How long have you been in town?" he asks.

"A few days."

"Well that explains why you don't recognize me." He takes a step back, puts one foot slightly in front of the other and stands really straight. He crosses his arms in this I'm an accomplished person way with his fingers outstretched on his arms. Then he narrows his eyes at me and gives me the most smolderingly hot smile—better than Wesley’s on The Princess Bride.

My stomach rolls into a knot. My face gets hot and I'm so freaking grateful for the darkness. "What are you doing?" My voice is as weak as my knees.

He loosens his stance and stands normal again. "It's how I look on my billboards."

"Like an idiot?"

"Shut it," he says, poking me in the arm. "I happen to think I look pretty badass." Without warning, except for a quick smirk in my direction, Raine jumps off the sidewalk and runs up to the front of the railroad station, sprinting up the stairs so quickly I lose sight of him. I run to catch up, making sure I don't fall into anymore potholes. The concrete stairs at the station are steep and narrow. I take one step at a time, trying not to put too much weight on my left foot.

"It's really dark in here and I didn't bring a flashlight," Raine says from somewhere in front of me. "Do you want to come with me?"

"I've come this far," I say, reaching the top of the stairs. I literally can't see a thing, even when I put my hand right in front of my face. A cold hand touches my elbow, then slides down to my wrist and grips it hard. "Shuffle behind me, don't take big steps," he says, pulling me along. "I don't need you falling again."

I do as he says, taking small steps behind him as I let him lead the way through the dark station. The air is wet and cold but there isn't a breeze or any sign of life. I let myself get lost in the adventure, losing all doubts that maybe Raine is actually a serial murderer, and imagine that I'm in a dream world where anything can happen. If only the hand holding onto me were Brendan's.

I listen to the sound of our breathing, steady and smooth, and stare down since I have nothing else to look at as we walk across the room. Our footsteps echo so we must be somewhere huge. Raine's hand lets go of my arm and I slam into his back, unaware that he had just stopped. "Sorry," I mumble.

"Shh," he says. "Listen for her."

"Listen for who?"

"Shh."

We stand for so long that I start to get bored. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness and I still can't see anything. I take a deep breath in and slowly exhale, my passive-aggressive form of protesting. Raine's fingers wrap around my wrist again. I wonder how he found the exact perfect spot on my wrist on the first try. I wonder a lot of things all at once. He pulls me closer to him, his cold leather jacket pressing against my chest. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know this is weird. But it's the most human contact I've had in a while, so I don't object. His lips find my ear. He whispers, "Do you hear anything?" I shake my head. "No."

Several minutes pass. There is literally not a single sound around us. My eyes close because there's no reason to keep them open. I imagine the sound of the trains that used to stop here. I try to hear something, anything, that Raine wants us to hear.

I hear nothing. Then I hear a sigh. "Come on," he says, pulling me back the way we came. Once we reach the stairs outside, my eyes start working again and I yank my arm free. My knees feel a lot better now that the blood has dried. Raine follows me down the stairs and back on the sidewalk. There are no cars on the road. All the houses across the street are completely black.

"Well that was boring," I say. Raine's holding a small notebook angled toward the only light post around us. He scribbles something on the page, flips to a new page and keeps writing. "What are you doing?" I try peeking over his shoulder but he pulls back and slips the notebook inside his jacket. "That's classified."

"Whatever," I say. "I'm going home."

"So it's boring? That's it?" Raine walks with me away from the train station.

"It's in the top five most boring things I've ever done."

"Most girls would have been terrified."

"Of you, maybe."

"Of the Weeping Woman, maybe."

"I didn't hear any weeping woman in there."

He kicks a rock on the sidewalk and we watch it skip along ahead of us. "I know. It's hard to get her to come out."

I feel stupid even asking it, but I have to make sure we're on the same level here. "Are you talking about a ghost?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because that's what I do."

"Ah," I say all sarcastic like.

"You really weren't scared in there." He takes out his notebook again, writes something and stashes it back in his jacket. "Incredible."

"How is that incredible? There was nothing to be scared of, except maybe being alone with some guy I don't know."

"What's scary about that?" he asks, raising his eyebrow at me. I can't help but smile like a star struck stupid tween at a pop concert. "I don't know you and you’re luring me into dark places."

"I think I want your autograph. I've never seen anyone so damn brave."

"If I'm so brave, are you going to let me walk home by myself?" I ask.

He shoves his hands in his pockets. "Nope."



Amy Sparling is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her daughter, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world. Amy Sparling is a pen name for YA author Cheyanne Young.



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