Tag Archives: 5 Star Review

Review: Giving Up the Ghost by Marilyn Levinson

7 Jun

Marilyn Levinson

Giving Up the Ghost

Unical Press

Blurb: After her divorce, Gabbie Meyerson moves to the sleepy town of Chrissom Harbor, Long Island, to teach English at the local high school. She settles into her rental cottage above the Long Island Sound and discovers she has a housemate–the ghost of Cameron Leeds, who used to live in the cottage. Cam insists his death was no accident, and implores Gabbie to find out who murdered him eight months ago. After she recovers from her initial shock, Gabbie agrees to investigate.

Review: The Three Things I Love About “Giving Up the Ghost”

1) Every character is fully developed

No matter how big or small the role a character plays, Marilyn gives each character her full attention. Take Jill Leverette as an example. She is not a main character, but we know that Jill is married to Fred, had an affair with Cam (our murder victim), Theo (Jill and Fred’s daughter) caught Jill and Cam together and resents her mother, Fred is having his own affair with a coworker… The family dynamic for these supporting characters is intriguing, and it’s because of Marilyn’s attention to detail in character development. As a result, it’s impossible not to get drawn into the drama that’s boiling in Chrissom Harbor.

2)  Everyone is a suspect and capable of murder

Marilyn doesn’t hold back when it comes to murder suspects. Every man, woman, and child are considered suspects. Marilyn slowly reveals the secrets the residents of Chrissom Harbor are trying to hide, complicating the plot, adding to the suspense, and drawing you deeper into this small community. I also enjoyed how Marilyn explores the darker side of simple, primal emotions like jealousy, friendship, and love. With Cam being a flirt and a ladies man, the women of the town loved him yet were secretly jealous when he showed affection to another. Cam was also a business man who made sure that he came out ahead in every deal, making his friends and business partners jealous of his money and resentment towards his selfish behavior. 

3) Gabbie is a smart, curious protagonist

I loved playing detective with Gabbie in this novel. Gabbie is smart, a teacher, and really cares for the community of Chrisson Harbor even though she arrived not too long ago. After agreeing to help Cam find out who murdered him, she gets to know her fellow residents. Gabbie has a way of asking the right questions – vague with a hint of curiosity – and playing up the fact that she’s new in town. She is a great friend to Cam, a good detective, and fits into Chrissom Harbor perfectly. 

Overall, Marilyn is my favorite mystery author hands down. Her writing style is easy to read, making it easy to keep track of all the characters in the novel, the pacing is consistent, and the plot perfectly unfolds,  revealing the murderer at just the right time. I highly recommend Giving Up the Ghost. 

Review: Dreams of Reality by Beth Bares

19 Apr

Beth Bares

Dreams of Reality

The Dreams Trilogy, Book 1

Blurb:

Be careful what you wish for… Elizabeth’s dreams have evolved into daytime visions that are becoming reality. Thinking she is losing her mind, those closest to her, are forced to confess their true identities and that Elizabeth’s unusual birthmark is really the mark of the Seventh Power. She doesn’t know whether to be freaked out or thrilled that her life-long wish has come true. But when her newest vision clearly displays evil and darkness within the most powerful immortal council, fear takes precedence over all other emotions. Elizabeth wants to embrace this new world and face whatever danger it may involve. But she is determined to achieve it on her own terms and not those from some century old, egotistical males.

Review:

Dreams of Reality is a fantastic story, and I’m very excited that this is the start of a new trilogy. This story is very well written, the pace is perfect, and the plot is so engaging that this book is very hard to put down. The story line keeps you hanging from the beginning to the end, which totally triggered my need to devour this story as soon as possible.  I couldn’t wait to find out when Elizabeth would be told about her mark and see the revealing of her magical powers. On top of secrets, some very cool magical powers, and a new world that has just opened to Elizabeth, we get to see Elizabeth as a normal girl who attracts the love of James and Andrew’s, which adds a layer of love, friendship, and romance that I really sank my teeth into.

Elizabeth and James are my favorite characters.  James is Elizabeth’s best friend and is madly in love with Elizabeth. He is unconditionally loyal to Elizabeth, and that’s a quality that I fell in love with. I enjoyed Elizabeth’s character so much because she is a normal girl who is confident enough in herself to take a leap of faith and see where life takes her. In fact, my favorite scene is when Elizabeth discovers her seventh power and slams guys to the wall. I laughed so hard at that part. Elizabeth was definitely kicking butt. 

This is the first novel that I’ve read by Beth Bares and it certainly won’t be the last. I’m completely hooked to this trilogy and I’m looking forward to reading what happens next!

The Campbell Odyssey by Bruce Cooke

22 Mar

Bruce Cooke

The Campbell Odyssey

Bruce Cooke’s “Campbell Odyssey” is a touching story about two very different people who met and fall in love in the early Australia era. At the heart of The Campbell Odyssey is a love story of Elizabeth and Rory. Elizabeth loves her family so much that she sacrifices her wants for her family’s happiness, moves to Australia and agrees to marry a much older man.  Rory, on the other hand, returns to Australia to relieve the shame he has brought to his family because of his debonair and rakish lifestyle.

Elizabeth and Rory were enemies at first. It took a boating accident that put Elizabeth, her husband, and Rory in mortal danger. It is during this scene that Rory learns about the importance of responsibility and Elizabeth starts to cares about him. Although the love between Elizabeth and Rory is deep, Elizabeth remains loyal to her husband and Rory has no choice but to leave her.

At this point Susan, a dignified convict woman who is falsely accused of stealing a brooch, enters the picture as she is being transported to Australia. Susan is the face of era in which injustice often befalls convict people and lower class people. Bruce Cooke did an excellent job exploring the lives of the people who have been sent to Australia around the 19th century, and doesn’t shy away from the lives of convicts, the women who prostitute themselves and men who become thieves.

The Campbell Odyssey is a wonderful story about the inspirational life-changing journey of Rory Campbell. This story shows how Rory changed from a careless young rake into a mature and empathetic man who discovers Australia’s sheep industry. The Campbell Odyssey is a magnificent story which successfully describes a dark era of 19th century. It is very well researched and full of accurate facts.

Reviewer: Aretha

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