Tuesday 2 April 2013

Experiment in Terror Series 1-5 by Karina Halle

Reviewed by Willow

Darkhouse (EiT 1) 3.5 Stars

There's always been some­thing a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she's been deal­ing with a quarter-life cri­sis and post-college syn­drome like any other twen­tysome­thing, she's still not what you would call "ordi­nary." For one thing, there's her past which she likes to pre­tend never hap­pened, and then there's the fact that she sees ghosts. Luck­ily for her, that all comes in handy when she stum­bles across Dex Foray, an eccen­tric pro­ducer for an upcom­ing web­cast on ghost hunters. Even though the show's bud­get is non-existent and Dex him­self is a mad­den­ing enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threat­ens her life and seduces her with a sense of impor­tance. Her uncle's haunted light­house pro­vides the per­fect cat­a­lyst and back­drop for a hor­rific mys­tery that unrav­els the threads of Perry's frag­ile san­ity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dan­ger­ous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.

It's not my normal kind of book, but I've heard people rave about the series and as is was free I thought I'd give it a go. I think this was a good book to introduce you to the characters. I loved Perry. She felt completely real with her feelings, I loved the fact that she was scared, but ultimately still did things that lead her into crazy situations. I know a lot of my book friends absolutely love Dex. I have to say that at this stage I didn't really connect well with him in this book, but I get the feeling that he will grow on me in later books. I wouldn't say the book was scary, it was a little creepy but at times I was laughing and I was telling my husband about bits that were happening in the book as i was reading which is a good sign that I was drawn in and enjoying it. Although its not exactly a short book, It felt short and didn't take a long time to read. I have only given it 3.5 stars as I thought something was missing and I didn't connect with or get Dex but being the first book in the series I think this will change as the books progress. I found myself wanting to know more about Perry's past, if her feelings about Dex will actually come to anything and well, just more about Dex in general. I am definitely looking forward to the next book and wish I could read it next, but I'm just going to take a little break from Perry and Dex

Red Fox (EiT 2) 4 stars

In the for­got­ten town of Red Fox, a Navajo cou­ple is tor­tured by things unseen and by motives unknown. Wild ani­mals slink through their house in the dark, a bar­rage of stones pound their roof nightly, and muti­lated sheep car­casses are turn­ing up on their prop­erty. Armed with a cam­era and just enough to go on, Perry and Dex travel to the des­o­late locale, hop­ing to film the super­nat­ural occur­rences and add cred­i­bil­ity to their flail­ing web­cast. Only their show has a lot more work­ing against them than just grow­ing pains. Tested by dubi­ous ranch hands, a ghost from Dex's past, and shapeshift­ing decep­tion, the ama­teur ghost hunters must learn to trust each other in order to fight the most ancient of myths...or die trying.

Another great book from Karina Halle. As I've explained in my review of Darkhouse these aren't my usual type of reads, but after reading Darkhouse I was left wanting to know more about the characters and people tell me the series does get better with each book. Well they are right, although I didn't find this Book as creepy as Darkhouse, I felt it had something that I felt was missing in the first one. I felt it had more depth to it, it felt much more meaty.

This time Dex and Perry are off to New Mexico to investigate some strange goings on at a ranch. We find out that Dex has been contacted by an old friend, Maximus and asked to come down and help. At first Dex and Perry think they are going to investigate a poltergeist, but it soon becomes clear that this is something very different and they will discover, far more terrifying. Dealing with strange animals, people on the ranch not telling them the whole truth and Navajo stories and beliefs, Dex and Perry soon realise that making a show is the least of their problems.

It did have a slightly slow beginning for me, but it certainly made up for it later! It felt like the second part of the book was all go. I did guess who was behind it all early on, but Karina kept throwing things in that had me doubting myself.

Max intrigued me and whilst he appeared to be looking out for Perry, the tension between him and Dex made me uneasy. I didn't quite trust him although he came through in the end.

Perry once again was great, funny and kick ass when she needs to be, but real. Not perfect and scared when she should be.

I have to say that I'm still not sold on Dex completely yet, but I certainly warmed to him more. I felt he was a lot more likeable in this one, but I'm not quite there yet.

I was slightly disappointed that we didn't get to know more about Perry's background and some of the questions I had after Darkhouse answered but I guess that's more to come in further books.

One thing I do want to know now though is will Dex and Perry ever get together?

The Benson (EiT 2.5) 3.5 Stars

A short, sexy and scary read.
The Benson hotel in Portland, Oregon might look like your ordinary, swanky turn-of-the century hotel, but deep in the heart of this historic icon, lie a few restless souls with secrets that won't stay buried.
Amateur ghost hunters (and your favorite "will they or won't they" pair) Perry Palomino and Dex Foray spend an evening exploring the hotel for their Internet show "Experiment in Terror" - but this is no ordinary hotel and this is no ordinary episode. There's someone here in the Benson, someone dead, who will push the boundaries of what the duo know about ghosts and challenge Perry's very notion of the truth.

3.5 stars, very short, but I liked the story line going back to ghosts and hauntings

Dead Sky Morning (EiT 3) 5 Stars

With the Experiment in Terror show finding some success, amateur ghost hunters Perry Palomino and Dex Foray embark on their most terrifying investigation yet. A tiny, fog-shrouded island in the rough strait between British Columbia and Washington State has held a dark secret for decades: It was a former leper colony where over forty souls were left to rot, die and bury each other. Now a functioning campground, Perry and Dex spend an isolated weekend there to investigate potential hauntings but as the duo quickly find out, there is more to fear on D’Arcy Island than just ghosts. The island quickly pits partner against partner, spiraling the pair into madness that serves to destroy their sanity, their relationship and their very lives.

Ok so this one was definitely the scariest book of the series so far. The first part of the book we get to see Dex and Perry hanging out together, not on a ghost hunt. I had been wanting to see how their relationship would work without all the madness and life or death stuff they usually face, so I pleased to see this. this part of the book was good, but once they got underway with their latest ghost hunt, it was amazing.

Dex and Perry go to investigate a small island which is now a campsite, but it was originally a leper colony where 40 lepers died. It's not really camping season though, so they are going to be on the island on their own. After borrowing a friends boat they sail off to the island. When they first get there they have difficulty securing the boat. Having been told to stay on the boat at night so it didn't drift away, that's where Perry decides she's staying. Dex has other ideas though and tells Perry he is camping on the island. Whilst Dex is hauling his stuff over to the island in a dingy, Perry thinks she sees a leper in the trees, then she sees a hand on the window of the boat. That's enough to change her mind and she decides to go with Dex after all.

At this point I was totally creeped out already and nothing had really happened, Karina did a really good Job of setting the scene and making it feel eerie. Little did I know that this was just going to be the tip of the iceberg and actually quite tame at some of the stuff to come. Unable to get back to the boat they are stuck on this island while strange things are happening around them, with the island trying to divide and conquer, can they trust each other?

I really did enjoy this book, although I have liked the others I was not completely sold on the series, but I definitely am after this one. With just enough insight into Dex and Perry in a normal setting and secrets shared whilst on the hunt I feel like I'm really starting to know them at lot better. Perry as always is funny, although I still think she's awesome she did make some silly decisions and Dex, well whilst I am still not head over heels for him, this book has made me like him a lot more. Im really looking forward to the next one.

Lying Season (EiT 4) 5 Stars

Ama­teur ghost-hunter Perry Palomino has bat­tled ghosts, fought off skin­walk­ers and skirted the fine line between life and death. But can she sur­vive bunk­ing down in Seat­tle for a week with her partner (and man she secretly loves) Dex and his perfect girl­friend, Jennifer? And can she do so while being tor­mented by a mali­cious spirit from Dex’s increas­ingly shady past? With love and life in the bal­ance, Perry must dis­cover the truth among the lies or risk los­ing every­thing she's ever cared about.

Erm what the hell just happened?? It can't end like that!!!
Ok so far with the EiT books the story lines have been about the ghost hunts that Dex and Perry have done, with their relationship on the smaller side. This book is a total reversal of that I loved that we were getting to see more of them outside of a ghost hunt, and seeing how the relationship was working, developing. In this book Perry goes to stay with Dex and Jenn so that they can investigate a mental hospital in the area. whilst having to deal with seeing Dex with Jenn, Perry is also stalked by a ghost from Dex's past. it started off creepy, but IMO it wasn't as creepy as the previous book, but you know what that's ok because this book was entirely focused on Dex and Perry themselves. We find out more about each of their pasts in this book than the others put together. I love Perry to pieces and I felt her pain having to watch Dex with Jenn, but Perry why didn't you tell Dex when he asked if you loved him??? This book was definitely angsty! As for Dex, reading this book I actually started to get what all this Dex fever was all about, I've not really been on the whole Dex bandwagon, but boy did this book change my mind, that is until the end!! What the hell Dex?

On Demon Wings (EiT 5) 4 Stars

When the life you wanted has crumbled beneath your fingers, there's nothing left to do but pick up the pieces and soldier on. You've done this before.
But what happens when you no longer feel like yourself anymore? When fires spontaneously start-up around you, when you hear growling coming from underneath your bed, and you no longer recognize your face in the mirror. What happens then?
Ghost-hunter Perry Palomino doesn't have much time to find out. Now, the evil she used to hunt is a lot closer to home. It's inside of her, taking over her life bit-by-terrifying bit, and there's only one person who can help her.
If part of her doesn't kill him first.

No no no, it can't end like that!! I thought the ending to the lying season was bad but this is worse!! Ok so I only gave this one four stars, why? I actually don't know but I thought it was missing something, maybe that was Dex, maybe it was something else, I honestly can't say. What I can say was that this book was definitely angst filled and my heart just broke for poor Perry!!
We start off the book after the events of the lying season, Perry is back home, alone having quit The EiT show and left Dex. She is starting to try and build her life back together to what it was before she met Dex, only she starts to realise that the Ghosts didn't get the memo. She starts to think that she is being haunted, she suspects its Abby but she's not sure. Her parents think she is going crazy, her shrink thinks she is having a break down due to recent trauma (I cant say what because its a spoiler!)[ she finds out she is pregnant with Dex's baby as she has a miscarriage (hide spoiler)]. Maximus turns up and offers to help, and Ada is on her side, but the only person who can truly understand and help her is the one person she cut out, the person who broke her heart.

I loved seeing Ada and Perry getting on better and Ada helping Perry, being on her side and being involved in the story more. Maximus is a Total Douchecanoe in this book, I didn't like him much before, I definitely don't like him now! We get to learn who crazy clown lady is to both Dex and Perry and finally start getting answers. I love Perry to pieces and this book is all about her, but I did find myself missing Dex and the banter.

The ending, just as Lying season was, this is a cliff-hanger. I am so glad the next couple of books are out because I would be going crazy having to wait for the next one!!