Saturday, 20 August 2011

Review: Deception by Lee Nichols

Deception (Haunting Emma #1) by Lee Nichols
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: September 5th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett. But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.

A rich New England setting filled with mystery, tradition, and prep-school intrigue make Deception the perfect choice for fans of series like Kate Brian’s Private, as well as all those paranormal fans. The shocking ending will leave readers desperate for book two.
(from Goodreads)

I’m a huge fan of ghost stories, so was really looking forward to reading Deception, and I can tell you, it did not disappoint! Deception was everything you’d want in a ghost story; witty, spooky, sexy and mysterious - a fabulous read!

Deception begins when Emma’s parents go on holiday – and then don’t come back. Suddenly, Emma is left all alone, with no way of reaching her parents or contacting her family at all. She thinks maybe there’s no signal, which is why her parents aren’t answering their phones, but when her house party is busted by the police, Emma is taken away, and sent to live with Bennett – her brother’s old friend, and her newly appointed legal guardian. Moving in with Bennett doesn’t quite turn out like Emma imagined – she’s left alone most of the time, she has to start a new school and Bennett acts like he doesn’t really care about her. Soon, however, Emma starts to uncover secrets surrounding her and her family, and realises that as much as she wants to be normal, her powers make her far from average. But these powers aren't all they're cracked up to be - someone is after Emma, and everyone she loves could be in danger because of her.

I really liked Emma, and she was definitely one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much. She was funny, with a great (sometimes sarcastic) sense of humour, and I absolutely loved reading about her. There was a point where she thought she was going crazy and couldn’t tell whether the ghosts she were seeing were real or not, and I found the jumble of thoughts going through her head really realistic – anyone would feel the same in that situation! She was a very believable teen – frustrated over her relationships (there was undeniable attraction between the Emma and Bennett that made for some great reading), worried about her family, but alongside her normal life, she was also part of another world, and could see and communicate with ghosts. Emma’s abilities, though recent, became such a part of her that I couldn’t imagine her without them now! She was very involved with the ghosts, and they all liked her because she didn’t treat them as disposable objects, but as people.

Bennett, Emma’s guardian, was another reason I loved the book. He was a fantastic love interest – a bit stern and very mysterious, but also very sweet and caring at times, and obviously protective over Emma. He was also gorgeous, which always helps, and was older than Emma by three years, which meant he often teased Emma about being young, which annoyed her to no end, I’m sure. The best part about Bennett though, apart from the obvious connection he and Emma had that made me relish every scene they were in together, was trying to guess the mystery behind him. He never spoke much about his own life, and I never really knew what his motives were until the end, when a little information was revealed. However, the guy was still shrouded in mystery. Bennett used to be a good friend of her Emma’s brother Max, but Emma didn’t know why they stop talking, only that they’d had a fight on some unknown topic. I’m really intrigued by what happened between those two, and can’t wait to find out more in the next book!

Other characters I really liked were the ghosts Emma talked to – especially the ones that tended to the house she was living in, like Celeste, who was kind and motherly and funny, and Nicholas, who was a little boy ghost, fascinated by new toys and games like Game Boys and tetris. My favourite ghost though was probably the Rake, whose backstory was so interesting and yet heartbreaking, and who was also the one that taught Emma to fight and protect herself. Emma had some great human friends too - Harry was brilliant, with his Latin jokes and knowledge on every student at school, and really made me laugh – while Sara was the first female friend Emma had at Thatcher Academy, and helped her out with girly things like dresses and hair. Natalie was another intriguing character – at first I didn’t know whether to trust her, but she seemed to really want to be Emma’s friend, and had suffered a lot in the past. As Emma warmed to her, I warmed to her and began to like her a lot more.

The ending of Deception was nothing short of amazing – just as I thought everything had wrapped up, something happened that made me narrow my eyes in suspicion. There was no huge cliffhanger, but the last page has definitely made me curious enough to want to dive right in to the next book. Luckily I have a copy, or I think I’d go crazy having to wait!

Overall, Deception was an exciting, engaging, fast-paced story, and I really enjoyed it. I’d recommend it to anyone that loves ghost stories or great romances – this book has both!


  1. Oh wow, this sounds awesome! I got a copy this week and you're making me really excited to read it. I've seen it around, but hadn't really read much about it. I think your "a ghost story; witty, spooky, sexy and mysterious" line summed up exactly why I'm going to love this. With that combination, how can it go wrong?! And I'm very curious to learn more about Bennet now! Great review!

  2. Sounds great! I've wanted to read these books ever since they were first released in the US. Can't wait to get started! :)

  3. Great review!! I loved the Rake too =] Thiswas so good, can't wait for the sequel!

    The Cait Files

  4. I've heard amazing things about this series! Especially about Emma; everyone seems to love her!

  5. Great review, I have to say though I wasnt impressed with Emma until about 50 pages before the end! lol... sorry but she just bugged me! :( I loved the story though! It was brilliant and I cant wait to start the sequel!

  6. Love the review! I am so excited to hear it is so good as I am reading it this week. I love the sound of the mystery behind Bennett :)

  7. oh wow what an awesome review :)
    it is quite infectious ~ can't wait to get into my copy this week :D

  8. This sounds like an awesome book! =D I need to read my copy soon!! LOVE how you describe Bennett!

  9. I've heard really good things about this series but haven't had the time to start it. I'm looking forward to finding out the mystery behind Bennett. I like that there's no cliffhanger and yet the ending still makes you want to read book two right away. Great review!

  10. I'm so happy you loved this book!!

    I just adore this series! and I totes want my own Bennett!!!!

    Great review! :)

  11. OOH! You've just made me really excited to read this book!


Comments are better than frosted cupcakes :)