Paranormal Double Shot

See my review for Book One here

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Book Two
Written by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa Sheinmel
Paranormal, Supernatural
Published April 26th 2016
320 Pages
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia
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Sunshine's Luiseach powers have been fully awakened. For months now, Sunshine has felt spirits everywhere. She hears their voices, feels their emotions... It's intense and sometimes overwhelming. She tries to ignore them, but it's impossible. Hoping to get her powers under control (and hoping for answers to her never ending questions) she agrees to start training with her Luiseach mentor, leaving her family, and her friend Nolan, behind.

But Sunshine's mentor doesn't understand her attachment to the humans in her life, and she can't forgive his abandonment of her so many years ago. The only thing getting Sunshine through the terrifying and creepy training is her new, distractingly attractive, friend, another young Luiseach.

Though Sunshine's mentor is reluctant to answer her many questions, she finally learns the truth about her lineage, as well as the rift that threatens the future of Luiseach and the human race... And the crucial part she has to play in repairing it.
Only a few months ago, sixteen year old Sunshine and her adoptive mother moved to Ridgemont Washington where Sunshine discovered she is no ordinary teen. She's a Luiseach, guiding spirits onto another realm and the last of her kind. In what is now a sixteen year old war brewing between the segregated Luiseach, believing that while Sunshine lives, another of their kind will never be conceived and restless dark spirits will inherit the earth.

For the first time since learning of their fate, Sunshine and her protector Nolan will be separated and parting on regretful words. Missing Nolan while trying to come to terms with her training is taking it's toll. Battling demon possession and dark spirits plays only a small role in who Sunshine must become but local Lucia, also a fellow Luiseach, isn't making it easy. 

Kelly's Thoughts

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl series is a fun, entertaining series that's a breath of fresh air. In a market flooded with true to life contemporaries and heavy fantasy novels, paranormal young adult reads feel as though they are too few and far between and Sunshine Girl brilliantly bridges that gap. In the same vain as Anna Dressed in Blood, The Awakening of Sunshine Girl follows the story of Sunshine who is still coming to terms with being branded a Luiseach, a role in which she sees spirits of those who have passed and has the ability to guide them from our world. But unlike her fellow Luiseach, Sunshine's abilities to feel each spirit and their lives is not only what sets her apart. She is the last Luiseach to have been born, on the day of her birth women miscarried and have been unable to conceive in the past sixteen years, dividing the Luiseach community and igniting a war between the segregated factions.

We also see Sunshine taken away from her mother to be cared for and trained, leaving Nolan behind. I enjoyed the lack of romance, not that Nolan and Sunshine are officially together as she cannot touch him without experiencing excruciating pain. But the separation element allowed Sunshine to grow as a character and also establish why she was abandoned as a newborn child.

Where The Haunting of Sunshine Girl was all about establishing Sunshine as a character and learning about her abilities. Sunshine is a girl who is still unsure of herself, often lacking in confidence but while making her relatable despite her abilities. It also felt like a more mature installment in the series, which I really enjoyed. I missed Nolan's character, as he is absent from the main storyline but readers still see glimpses of their separation through Sunshine's dreamscape, a new development with her abilities.

The Final Verdict

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl series is captivating, entertaining and has invigorated the young adult paranormal genre. With the emphasis on Sunshine, her place in the world and not reliant on romance, it's a breath of fresh air. The Awakening of Sunshine Girl is often brutal and fierce, introducing a horror type suspense to the young and young at heart. Really enjoyed it.

May contain spoilers for book one. Check out my review here

Desolation Demon Road Book Two
Written by Derek Landy
Fantasy, Paranormal
Published April 8th 2016
512 Pages
Thanks to Harper Collins Australia
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Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell, five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.

Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill, a small town with a big secret, a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.

And that night is coming.
Amber and Milo are back on the Demon Road and headed for the small country town of Desolation Hill, a town known for hiding from the darkness that spills into our world. After the massacre in New York, The Shining Demon Astaroth has sent his Hounds after the unlikely duo, and the town offers sanctuary against those who seek to hide. But Desolation Hill isn't what it seems.

The town is perfect. Too perfect. The close knit community is friendly, the town is charming but only to those who reside there. To an outsider who is passing through on the Demon Road, the townsfolk are hostile and quick to escort tourists to the boundaries of town especially with the upcoming festival that is quickly approaching. But Amber and Milo aren't the only ones new in town.

A group of amateur investigators have reached Desolation Hill, chasing a local urban myth that sees children being chosen and taken against their will. Meanwhile, a town resident has discovered he has a doppelgänger when his neighbour is murdered and the crime concealed by the local police.

For one night each year, the town celebrates the protective barrier waning and the violence spreading throughout the streets. With no means of escape, Amber will need to fight her way to freedom but only now she has a group of friends willing to die for the cause.

Kelly's Thoughts

Desolation begins shortly after the massacre of New York, with Amber and Milo fleeing the clutches of Astaroth, the Shining Demon Amber's parents entered a pact to sacrifice their daughter. After killing his representative, the unlikely duo are back on the Demon Road, destination Desolation Hill in the hope of seeking refuge from Astaroth's Hounds.

Milo and Amber haven't had the best working relationship, seeing he was firstly employed to ensure her safety. Now the two have fallen into an awkward partnership under the guise of a being on a road trip with her Uncle. But along their journey, their relationship begins to change, the usually gruff and stoic Milo seeming more at ease with his teen companion. And Amber could really use a friend.

The town of Desolation Hill reminds me of Pleasantville, a facade of perfection but under the surface lies a sinister secret and Amber and Milo aren't the only tourists in town on the eve of the pending festival. It was a strange mix of lightheartedness and horror, and while the main storyline kept me intrigued, the new characters introduced were a little too many and left me unable to connect with the storyline. The introduction of Kelly and her group of van driving investigators of the strange and paranormal were akin to the Scooby Gang, dog included. In among the death and destruction, it was a bit too jovial and as a reader, it felt a little awkward and forced.

I can understand why Amber is lacking in self confidence, but the emphasis placed upon how plain and ordinary she is as a human and how extraordinarily beautiful she is in demon form still makes my eye twitch. The romance was welcomed in that regard as Amber's love interest could see her human beauty, but I had wished that she wouldn't have needed that potential romance to feel validated.

There's also a reappearance of a past character that seems to make little sense. Appearing with little fanfare and disappearing just as quickly in a blink and you'll miss it series of moments. I'm hoping readers will learn more about why he's hanging on, in an incredibly creepy form that's at odds with his original character.

The Final Verdict

I loved Demon Road, the humour, the adventure and the horror elements blended seamlessly to create a wonderfully entertaining storyline and although I did enjoy Desolation overall, it felt a little too busy with the introduction of too many new characters. I hope the third series installment will return to the magic that was Demon Road, with Amber's storyline at the forefront once again rather than trying to be a little too funny and falling flat.


  1. Oh I had no idea Demon Road was going to get a sequel(s?), that's what I get for not reading it in a timely manner I suppose lol I'm sorry to hear book 2 isn't as good, with any luck it'll pick up again with book 3 :)

    1. I hope so too Wattle. I loved book one but book two let me down, it was just a bit too busy and didn't seem to further the storyline much at all sadly.

  2. Well, at least one sequel pulled through, even if one didn't. Both series sound good though, so hopefully the next book in the Demon Road trilogy pulls through.

    1. I'm loving the Sunshine Girl series, it makes you realise that there's not enough horror type ghost reads in young adult. Such a wonderful series and excited for the next book!

  3. I was eyeing both these books on my recent bookstore jaunt, but now that you've reviewed it, they don't sound like my cup of teas at all. I'm kinda glad I didn't take them home. Otherwise, they'll be sitting on my shelves unread. Lol. Definitely the type of books I have to be in the mood for.

    Brill reviews, love.

    1. Thanks Joy. The Sunshine Girl series is pretty good, quick reads that fall on the side of creepy but fun entertainment, but sadly Desolation fell flat for me. A shame because I loved book one. I hope the finale can redeem itself.

  4. I love how Sunshine had her limitations but she was still able to pull through and still be relatable.:) Can we all just take a minute and enjoy just how LOVLEY that cover is??

    1. And on the cover is actually Paige herself, the author. I seen the making of the cover on YouTube and didn't realise it was her on the covers. They're spectacular aren't they!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I didn't know about Sunshine Girl until the first book came out...I guess it was something on Youtube first? Which is cool.

    Sorry you didn't really like Desolation though!

    1. It was Lauren, I'm really enjoying the Sunshine Girl series. It's such a fun and entertaining read, if not pretty creepy in spots too.

  6. Woow, a book based on a Youtube series? That's rare! The only one I can think about is The Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet! Wonderful reviews :)

    1. I still haven't read that one Lola, but I loved the YouTube series. Yeah, you're right. I don't think there's many around unless you count books that are written by YouTubers and those are few and far between as well. It's a great series, I'd love to see what you think of it.


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