Tag Archives: Book 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


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.


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!

Kicking Ashe by Pauline Baird Jones

14 Mar

Pauline Baird Jones

Kicking Ashe (Project Enterprise 6)

Blurb: When you save Time’s tush—or its version of one—it ought to cut you a break, not  kick your tush some where and some when. Though boo yah on providing a hot guy in leather to pull that tush out of the impact crater that Ashe so did not make despite the somewhat damning evidence to the contrary.  Continue reading

Further Explorations By David Russell

23 Feb

David Russell

Further Explorations

David Russell doesn’t hold back in Further Explorations. I enjoyed reading about Cedric and Janice. They share so many of the same qualities, thoughts and experiences. Reading about characters with a lot in common was a breath of fresh air, as most wo/man pairs are drawn together by their differences, opposites attract and all. Cedric and Janice, on the other hand, are drawn together as if they are one being no matter how much physical distance is between them.

As Cedric and Janice take off to different parts of the world, we get to experience the depth of their understanding of each other, their wild experiences, and how they communicate with one another. For example, Chapter 15 was especially memorable because their instinct told them that their beings had fused, that they were in absolute synch wherever in the world each of them was, whatever the physical distance between them.

Further Explorations is a great read because David really focuses on getting into the character’s mind. This novel does a great job communicating the experiences of Janice and Cedric, and pulling your mind into their connection. David’s descriptive writing is rich and any woman who loves a slow burning read will enjoy Further Explorations.

Red Deception By J.C. Murtagh

20 Feb

J.C. Murtagh

Red Deception

Red Deception is phenomenal. I am just crazy over this story. Judith Timbolt is a wife to a timid husband, a mother to a small child, and the daughter-in-law to an ungrateful mother-in-law and an abusive father-in-law. I was only four pages into the novel, and I was ready to escape her life. I was yelling at my Kindle: Your family stinks! Leave them all behind Judith!

So when Judith comes across the opportunity to switch identities with a woman wearing fine clothing, she takes it [literally takes the clothes off this woman’s back], and I cheered her on all the way. Judith has the most wonderful time with her new identity as Lady Lora Noire, but the terrible lies she must tell end up coming to bite her in the rear. I really felt for Judith. I could see the truth closing in on her, and there was nothing she could do about it. The biggest casualty was the love she shared with another.

This story is so powerful because you could see it actually happening to a friend, someone in your family, and even yourself. Every woman has felt the need to escape. Could you imagine if the opportunity to live a better life came at your most desperate hour? J.C. does an excellent job developing Judith’s family members. I absolutely hated her husband, mother-in-law and father-in-law for different reasons, and was completely satisfied with the ending. I also liked how J.C. handled Baron Blacwin’s emotions. Betrayal is difficult to get over, and I thought J.C. really made his feelings ring true to the circumstances.

J.C. is such a talented writer. Her storytelling is incredible. She produces characters I definitely care about, and I can’t wait to read J.C.’s next piece of work, The Kings Trust Book 1.

Gangbusters by Michele Hart

15 Feb

Michele Hart


Faith is a selfish and a very stubborn woman. She has a one track mind on winning a Pulitzer and believes that uncovering a new drug called Blindfold will help her achieve her goal. This makes her the prime target to a group of criminals intent on seeing Blindfold sold on the streets. Continue reading

Duty Calls by Sherry Gloag

14 Feb

Sherry Gloag

Duty Calls

Black Opal Books

I truly enjoyed reading Duty Calls by Sherry Gloag. The story starts out slow during the first chapter; however, chapters two through five pick up the pace which leads to an ending that you absolutely can’t put down. You will definitely be hooked by chapters six through fifteen. The ending is my favorite part of the book because it really pulled all the story lines together and made a full circle. I like how Rachel experienced the same cycle that Rafe experienced. The fact that Rafe chooses to make positive decisions for himself made me feel really good about how his character has grown and changed, especially since his decisions help break the cycle for Rachel and Lyzzie. Continue reading

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