Wednesday, October 28

{Discussion Review} Amy Harmon - Slow Dance in Purgatory & Prom Night in Purgatory

"Being with you always feels like flying," Maggie whispered.
"And being with you brings me back to Earth."

Orphaned from the age of ten, 17-year-old Maggie finally finds a permanent home with her elderly aunt in a small Texas town. Working part-time at the local high school, she becomes enmeshed in a fifty-year-old unsolved mystery where nothing is as it seems. Who is the boy no one else can see? And what do you do when you fall in love with a ghost? This volatile and mismatched romance is doomed from its start, as Maggie struggles to hold on to yet another life destined to be taken from her. Secret love and hushed affections are constantly threatened by outside forces resulting in a terrifying race to stay alive.

What made you decide to read these books?
Veronika: As some of you might know, I'm a huge fan of the Mediator series by Meg Cabot, so when a reviewer compared Slow Dance in Purgatory to that series, I knew that I needed to read this series asap. The fact that I enjoyed Making Faces and Infinity+One by the author, helped the book get onto my to-read-first mental list.

Ruzaika: Well, first off it was Vera who introduced me to these  books, so Vera? I love you *sloppy kisses*. As soon as I read the blurb I wanted to read them because they sounded awfully similar to the Mediator series which, again, I read after Vera's consistent pestering. I LOVE the Mediator series, so OF COURSE I had to read these books!

How did you like the plot, and do you think the author executed it well? 

Ruzaika:  I loved this beautiful paranormal romance! The plot was very intricately woven, especially in Prom Night, so kudos to the author on that. Fair warning, be sure to have Prom Night lined up to read as soon as you finish Slow Dance because while the first book was great on its own, the two together combine to make the most beautiful story ever! It's amazing how the author managed to come back in a full circle, tying up loose knots along the way.
This is my first time reading Amy Harmon, and it sure is NOT gonna be the last!

Veronika: Well, I don't have such a glowing opinion as Ruzi does. Like she said, the plot is intriguing, yet I wasn't completely satisfied with the way the author executed it. The book had a very uniriginal start and even after the story got interesting I found myself having to drag myself through quite a few slow parts. These parts -and a couple of other problems I had that I'll mention later on- made me unable to get fully invested in the story.

Did you have trouble keeping track of things or understanding certain things?

Veronika: Not really, rather I lost interest at some parts, but that's another story. As for the time travel aspect of the novel, I think the author wrote it in a way that made it easy to understand, especially if you read the sequel closely after Slow Dance. I really liked how everything connected in the end, yet I've read many books that portrayed time travel more efficiently.

Ruzaika: Slow Dance was pretty straightforward. I did have a few questions regarding Johnny, but they were dealt with in the sequel. Prom Night meanwhile, was a teensy bit confusing- I'm sure the author must have felt so at times too ;) The way the author dealt with the time travel aspect was what made it feel a bit difficult to follow, but I'm not complaining because it all made perfect sense at the end.

How do these books stand out from others tackling the same concept?

Ruzaika: One thing I loved about this books is how the author used song titles (in Slow Dance) and lyrics to fit in perfectly with the chapters. I also loved the glimpses into the 50s. Infact, that was what I loved most about Prom Night!

VeronikaI completely agree with Ruzi, the song titles were a huge plus to the first novel and I was sad I didn't have the chance to listen to them while reading. 

What did you think of the romance aspect?

Veronika: The romance didn't take my breath away but by the end I was rooting for Maggie and Johnny, so I think you could say it grew on me. Due to the lack of development it had a very instalove like feel to it and I found it more cheesy than I'd have liked in a paranormal romance. One thing's for sure, this couple gets no way close to my otps.

Ruzaika: Same here. I didn't find myself exactly rooting for them at the beginning, you could say I was curious as to how the story would turn out to be. By the end of Prom Night, though, I was totally hoping for things to turn out okay for them, even though the romance wasn't very erm, romantic, in my opinion. Anyway, I loved how they grew to understand and how they came through it together despite everything working against them.

What's your opinion on the characters, your fav/least fav. characters?

Ruzaika: In Slow Dance, I have to admit the characters lacked depth, but it was amended in Prom Night where we got to know the characters much more intimately. As I mentioned, I loved the parts in the 1950s where we got to know a host of characters well. I loved meeting Lizzy, she was so adorable! And OMG, I hated Roger with a passion, he was awful. Oh, and Shadrach! He never knew when to draw the line in Slow Dance. Thinking back, it's kind of funny how he laid back in Prom Night- he wasn't as annoying. I wonder why. 
Anyway, I wish we had known more about Johnny and Maggie in book one because I'm sure that would have made us love them all the more.

Veronika: I wasn't a fan of either of the main characters, to be honest, and I think this is the reason why I had a hard time getting into the story and swooning over the romance. Both Maggie and Johnny were quite clichéd - Maggie being the misunderstood, friendless girl who suffered tons in her life and Johnny being the tough manwhore who was obviously wanted by every single female. These type of characters simply don't amaze me anymore. The secondary characters were even less unique, and by the end of the second book I felt like the author might have even forgotten about some of them, or at least about their problems. Why introduce Shad's issues with his mother if we're going to stop talking about it altogether in the sequel? The only really likable character was probably Lizzie, but unfortunately we barely learnt anything about her.

Ruzaika: Unfortunately, I do agree with you one that.

Which book did you like more?

Veronika: Definitely Slow Dance. It's true that the second novel had a lot more to offer plot-wise, but at many times it felt too much, like the author was trying way too hard to connect every little detail. Unlike Ruzi, I didn't feel like the characters unfolded more in that one either, on the contrary - as she mentioned in relation with Shad - some of the supporting characters either changed out of the blue, or were left with little, if any role. Moreover, the story had the same concept as the first book and it felt like we were back at the first step all over again. The first novel, while not perfect, was at least thoroughly enjoyable, the second, not so much. I have the feeling that if Harmon had wanted to, she could have easily wrote the two stories in one book, with that correcting most of the problems I had with the books as individuals.

Ruzaika: Prom Night pour moi! :D  I loved Prom Night better mainly because of the perfect logic and concept. I loved the time travel aspect, and I must mention this again, life in the 50s. Despite the tiny problem with the characters, they weren't all entirely unlovable either. The author seamlessly moved to and from the past to the present and dealt out the twists perfectly. I do agree with Vera, though. The author could have easily written the whole thing off in one book and be done with it- particularly the reason why it's important that you read them together. Anyway, I loved how the author came back in a full circle to right where it all started, while giving us the satisfaction of knowing how things would end for Maggie and Johnny.  I'd definitely recommend these books to anyone who loves paranormal romance with time travel and ghosts!

How did you rate the books?

Ruzaika: Slow Dance, despite it's shortcomings, was a quick, fun read. Even though thinking back I find certain faults with it, I'll rate it four stars just because it was awesome while reading. Prom Night, I LOVED. So four glorious stars be my rating!

Veronika: I ended up giving three stars to both novels. Slow Dance was a good enough start to a series but both character and plot wise could have been much better. Prom Night had a very interesting concept but its structure was too similar to the first book's for me. 

"That which has been is now; that which is to be has already been."

When I first saw this cover it was a love at first sight kind of thing for me, so I just had to create a Bookstopper Outfit for it. The red dress was pretty much given and from then I tried to find the most fitting accessories to it. Finding the simple, yet elegant jewels was easier than I expected and they look quite good put next to each other, like they are from the same set. I was super-glad when I found this gorgeous Michael Kors clutch, but had to realize that all the red was a tad bit overwhelming. To somehow offset that a bit, I added a simple black blazer, and voliá the outfit was created! Share with me your thoughts on this outfit and for more visit my Polyvore profile

{Bookstopper Outfits} Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon


  1. I really like the format of this discussion review and the way both of your answers came together and what different opinons both of you have about the books. I would love to see more posts like this in the future because they're rather lovely and the outfit? I LOVE LOVE LOVE the dress. I can't say no to a red dress. The shoes are also gorgeous but I can't wear high heels for the love of me so hahaha

    1. Thanks, Noelia! We'll definitely use this format later on, as well, because we really liked working with it. Yay, so so glad you love the outfit! Haha, we're completely opposites in that because I can't imagine living without high-heels lol.


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