Review: Bone Dressing by Michelle Brooks

TITLE: Bone Dressing
AUTHOR: Michelle Brooks
PAGES: 360
FORMAT: Kindle
ISBN: 978-0615477596
BUY IT: Amazon
RATING: 3/5 [I’m trying out a new number system. I hate numbers. They really aren’t all that useful.]
FOR: Fans of hardcore, passionate romance, the supernatural, and high school dramas.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT … THE DARK THAT’S BEEN CHASING SYD FOR MANY LIFETIMES HAS FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH HER … Sydney Roberdeau lost her parents as a young girl. Waiting for her life to start and the freedom that will come with her eighteenth birthday, Syd spends much of her time haunting the local cemetery. It is there, stretched out among the dead, that she feels most alive, most at home. Until one rainy night when Beau, Sarah and T.J. crash her ghostly sanctuary, appearing out of nowhere, turning her already inside-out world one degree past upside down. Syd must now revisit past lives, dressing in the bodies of her previous selves … bone dressing. Her only chance to outrun the evil breathing down her neck is to face her own worst nightmares and her strongest desires. But if she can’t stay out of trouble in this life, how can she possibly fix mistakes from past lives? And just how many lives has she lived, loved and lost? What is Syd exactly, and what will she risk for the life of a man she doesn’t remember, the man she spent a lifetime with, the man she loves? Everything … including her very own life? Bone Dressing, the first in a series of seven books, will carry Syd and Beau on an adventure that transcends life itself.

I’ll start off by saying that this is not my usual genre. I’m not a big romance reader, so that factors a lot into my rating. I go more for the supernatural side, so I don’t get into the long romantic scenes as much. And this book has a lot of romance. So if you like romance, then I definitely recommend it, because Brooks really knows how put passion into words. There were moments between Rachel and Jesse that I just thought were so sweet, especially when they were bantering, and others when I could really feel the intensity and love between them—me, the non-romance reader. So keep that in mind. It’s a personal thing. Anyhoo.

All in all, Bone Dressing is a solid read. Conceptually, it’s very clever. A girl going back to her past lives to fix things up? What a fresh look at time travel! It’s that concept that got me to pick this up in the first place, and I thought Brooks did a great job of bringing us into the past life seamlessly. We were suddenly faced with different characters, but there was enough of Syd left in that it felt comfortable instead of jarring. Writing-wise, I’m on the fence. I love Syd’s personality, hands down. She’s a fantastic main character. Broken and traumatized but she knows that she’s to blame for some of her problems, and she’s also strong enough to fight for her own solutions. Her voice comes through so strongly in the narration that you have no doubt she’s her own person. That said, sometimes the metaphors pile on so many that I feel like Brooks could have stuck with one and gotten the same point across. Then again, Syd is a gusher, so it makes sense for her to go overboard. It’s a tricky middle ground and I think whether you love it or not is going to come down to personal opinion. As for the other characters, Brooks did a great job of differentiating them. I love Patricia. I just want to hug her!

Plotwise, it’s slow going in the start but it picks up to a nice exciting clip by the middle and races excitingly to the end. (Keeping in mind that longer romantic scenes aren’t my thing, so I wasn’t as enthralled by those as by the later plot elements.) There’s a bit of first book syndrome here. When you’re writing a long series, the first book has to bear a lot of weight. You need to know the rules but still leave enough mystery to keep them reading. That said, there were a few mysteries I would have thought more necessary to learn in a first book: the biggest one being, what is up with Beau? For example, Brooks handles the mystery of Mr. A perfectly: he’s introduced, he’s clearly a major player, and by the end we know enough about his role to feel satisfied, but there’s still enough left out that we want to find out more. Beau and co. are just a little too elusive for my tastes. I’m also a little iffy about some of the other supernatural elements centering around Jesse and Rachel, to be vague. I’d have enjoyed it just as much if it were just a story about past lives; adding more elements is ambitious, and it’s going to be difficult to keep up with. But again, this is a first book, and how Brooks handles it in the later books will make or break it.

So, overall, Bone Dressing is worth a read, especially if you’re a romance reader and are looking for a new take on paranormal romance. Brooks definitely has a fresh outlook. It runs a little long at times writing-wise, but Brooks has a strong sense of character. Syd is funny, sarcastic, and the kind of protagonist you want to root for. With Bone Dressing: The Dreaming coming up, I’m very interested to see how the many facets of the first book develop and grow—and of course, what Syd’s next life will be!

Don't forget to check out Michelle's website, She's very involved with her fans.

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