BOOK REVIEW: Crystal Balls by Amanda Brobyn
I'd been looking forward to reading Crystal Balls for a long time, having been entranced by its gorgeous cover. Seriously, I'm like a book-cover magpie, and absolutely loved this one. Also, being a fan of the paranormal made me drawn to this book as well. After all, it focuses on a successful estate agent whose life is about to change after visiting a psychic fair. It was an intriguing premise, and needless to say I was eager to get my hands on it.
This is Amanda Brobyn's debut novel, published by Poolbeg Press, who have brought us some great authors including the lovely Claire Allan, and released in late February. So I had an inkling that this was going to be good, and Amanda doesn't disappoint.
Having left her past as a struggling actress far behind her, estate agent Tina enjoys her life. She's a successful businesswoman about to expand her agency, with her pretty, hardworking assistant Chantelle to help her. However, when Chantelle begs her to come along to a psychic fair, Tina can't be more unconvinced. A non-believer in all things mystical, Tina goes along merely to accompany her wide-eyed friend, immediately shunning the idea that a crystal ball could hold secrets of the future. However, a meeting with a medium is about to change Tina's life for good...
The crystal ball tells Tina to trust her own decisions, and to expect the arrival of her soulmate anytime soon. And what's more, they probably already know each other. With this in mind, Tina becomes more expectant and dependant on what the stars may bring. And when handsome, confident property developer Brian Steen walks into her life as a work colleague, it's obvious that he wants to be more. But when their attempts to get personal continuously fail by way of awful (yet sometimes hilarious) happenings, Tina's not entirely certain that fate wants them together...
Now a firm believer of the unknown, Tina is determined to make things work with the patient and lovely Brian. But is this really what's on the cards for Tina? And is trusting her own decisions really a wise idea, with that one dream from the past still lingering behind?
I personally enjoyed Crystal Balls - it's a well-written, funny and fast-paced novel and if you're fond of the snappy Kinsella-esque writing style, you'll probably enjoy this! Tina is a confident, strong character. At first I found her to be a little too confident, but it didn't take long for me to love her and find it refreshing to read about a headstrong character, especially when her reliance on the supernatural prevails!
The only thing which got to me about this novel (preventing me from giving it five stars) was Tina's past. Throughout the book, Tina makes harsh references to her past as an actress. It's not unusual for someone to have had a past career, or to have failed at a showbiz ambition, which is why I assumed that Tina had done something bad or shameful in her acting days that made her hate that part of her so much. She looks back on it with such distaste (and quite a build-up) that I expected some kind of shameful revelation towards the end of the book, but it never came. It left me feeling as though I'd missed something, and maybe I had, especially when Tina takes up an acting role towards the end of the book. I had obviously read the bitterness that Tina had felt at not fulfilling her dream as something different.
However, that issue aside, I found that Crystal Balls was a great read, and a promising debut. I look forward to seeing what else Amanda has in store!
You can also check out Trashionista's review with Amanda Brobyn here.