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Grey and windy, it’s a Tom Waits and Neil Young kind of day – ‘Harvest Moon’ is one of the best songs ever written and you don’t need a reason to put on Waits.

Even though the cover for Rosemary Clement-More’s Texas Gothic drives me a little mad, the story sounded like a fun, perfect for fall book. But seriously cover designer, how is blowing hair in a girl’s face meant to sell me on anything? Were you trying to tell us things are about to get wiiiindy? Make us want to enter this hairy world of smoky lettering? Maybe I’m alone in wanting to get this girl a head band, but the evocative title is begging for a better cover.

Texas Gothc by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Bad cover. Bad, bad cover.

Meet the Goodnight sisters: Phin is a super intelligent, quirky ghost hunter and Amy is the self-proclaimed warrior who’s tasked herself with trying to convince the world her family is normal. She’s also quirky only she doesn’t know it.

The sisters are looking after their aunt’s Texas farm for the summer. Aside from the goat in the tree, things are going okay until Amy meets Ben, their cute, but grumpy cowboy neighbor who blames her “kooky” aunt for his family’s troubles beginning with the angry ghost on his property. Why would he blame the Goodnight family? Probably because they practice magic and the whole town knows it. Making bath and beauty products that work “like magic” hasn’t exactly kept them under the radar.

When a construction project unearths the bones of a long, long dead body, Amy’s summer gets interesting in every way she’s tried to avoid. The more Amy resists the dark spirit haunting her, the more everyone comes to agree that she’s the only one who can get rid of the dangerous, potentially murderous ghost. Then there’s the mystery surrounding the old bones thought to belong to the “Mad Monk”. Who was he really and is he the same cold spirit sending men to the hospital when he’s not freezing Amy?

What I liked about the book was the perky pace, sister relationship and author’s selective use of history. It’s easy to see why young readers would enjoy it.

Sometimes I get this very specific idea of what the story and mood of a book will be, based on nothing but a deceptive title. Don’t expect horror, dark romanticism or any other richly atmospheric words that come to mind when you read “Gothic”. This isn’t any of that. Texas Gothic is a lite mystery, an under-cooked genre soup with ghosts, witches, wild west, pyschics, procedural forensics and more. In order for a mystery to work for me, I have to want to solve the puzzle. I didn’t here.

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