A Mellifluous, Soul-Expanding, Unforgettable Story: a Review of EVE by Shani Struthers

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My Review

A mellifluous, soul-expanding, unforgettable story that adds meaningfully to a wonderful series. This is the kind of fiction I adore … larger-than-life, deeply original stories that change readers in ways they may not initially fathom.

I love how the plot thoughtfully unfolds, including the unsettling, intriguing history at its heart. I also enjoyed the multiple tributary ghost stories and how they all tied together. The relationship between Theo and Ness is rich, complex, and heart-warming, and both characters are well developed. I bought this book to read over Christmas, quickly discovering that the story, while centered in many ways around Christmas, is unquestionably strong enough to be read during any month of the year.

Well done, Shani Struthers.

Synopsis

What do you do when a whole town is haunted?

In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.

In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.

Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.

They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who shouldn’t even be there …

Click here to learn more about this author and to see this book on Amazon. 

 

Yours in literature,

JGC.

 

 

Review of Descent by Kristina Stanley: an Enjoyable Read with Lingering Local Color Panache

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My review: 

I enjoyed the easy, natural pace of this book and the interesting plot developments. I was especially enchanted by the local color panache that the author brought to the novel. It is obvious that Kristina Stanley has rich experience in her book’s setting and successfully makes it a character in the novel, almost leaving the reader with the wistful desire to escape to a beautiful ski town and start anew. The thoughtful crescendoing of the story and well-crafted denouement also make this a mystery novel well worth the undertaking.

Synopsis: 

When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.

Click here to learn more about this author and to see book on Amazon. 

 
Yours in literature,
J.G.C.

A Chilling, Imaginative, Haunting Ride: Review of Twisted Vengeance by Jeff Bennington

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I began this novel before an overseas move and it became temporarily shelved. However, the deeply creative and luring premise of the book stayed in my mind and brought me back. Isn’t that what good books do? I was able to come back and barely miss a beat. And I’m glad that I finished this book.

The way the author skillfully meshes the characters’ pasts with the serpentine road of the boy’s mysterious journey and paranormal flights keeps the reader well engaged and hungry for more. But what sets this book apart is the creative enigma and evil tapestry of the boy and his past. In fact, the plot of the strange youngster is, I feel, the heart of this novel … so much so that I wished the author had developed it even further.

I like the way the author brought in the police investigations and other very human elements; they gave an otherwise disturbingly supernatural novel a certain plausible gravity. The twists toward the end of the novel will leave everyone not just entertained, but spooked before bedtime.

Very well done and certainly worth the read.

Yours in literature,
JGC.

Click here to see this book on Amazon

Blood Curse: Unapologetically Human and Plenty of Panache

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A thematically consistent, superbly crafted, and unapologetically human addition to a great trilogy.

I was stirred by the raw emotionality and imagination of Lakota Honor, and this second book continues with the same successful panache. It is obvious that Blood Curse is well researched by its interesting historical details and engaging settings. The main characters are multi-dimensional and, most notably, their inner worlds are talentedly revealed by Flannery. Reading her, I sometimes almost think she is some distant relative of Dostoevsky. Also, the twists in the novel are genuine and keep the reader suspended right through to the denouement.

I highly recommend this book, not just for its notable contribution to an excellent series, but for its virginal denudation of its characters’ hearts and souls.

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Yours in literature,
J.G.C.

Gutsy and Pleasantly Eccentric: Review for Red Herrings by Kenna McKinnon

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A uniquely courageous and quirky whodunit with a fresh voice. I love the unabashed courage of the narrator, as well as the refreshingly original pace and approach to the story. The characters were fairly well developed and interesting, the setting enjoyable, and I also enjoyed the natural pace of the story leading to a relatively twisty denouement. I found the voice that the author captured for the novel raw, revealing, and fascinating.

Click here to give this one a spin.

Yours in literature,
J.G.C.

A Ghost Story I Shall Remember: Review of JESSAMINE by Shani Struthers

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This is a novel that is remarkable in its natural, unhurried flow, as well as a hauntingly beautiful charm that births from making its surroundings, along with its past, equally vital characters in the story. The only other time I have been this enchanted by such a tale was when I first watched the movie, Ghost Story (1981), which achieves a similar narrative tapestry.

Just like the simple, eerie painting that Struthers makes into a minor character, everything in this well-crafted novel is unveiled in a seamless, less-is-more, gentle ghosting of the reader. While all the characters are appropriately developed, Jessamine, Stan, and Finn are particularly well done. I can even still hear Finn’s voice after the novel has ended. The personal character growth of Stan, but especially Jessamine and Finn, is impressive. The scenery adds such integral setting to the novel, and is so well described, I find myself desperately wanting to visit Scotland and its lochs. Furthermore, the main house of the novel ranks up there with top haunted house settings. Finally, I really enjoyed the way the ghosts in this book add chills without going too far. And the denouement is as beautiful as it is deft.

What a delightful novel. One I shall remember.

Yours in literature,

J.G.C.

Book on Amazon