Last month I was invited by Debra Glass, author of over fifteen books in her respected genres, to read and review her new Young Adult paranormal romance, Haunted. I’m quite picky when it comes to that particular variety of novel, but the original synopsis of Haunted drew me in and I knew I couldn’t pass it up. History, romance and emotional turmoil heat the pages as we follow seventeen year-old Wren Darby from Atlanta’s bustling society to the quiet sprawling town of Columbia, Tennessee. Her family’s abrupt change of scenery comes after a tragic accident leaves her best friend dead and Wren with scars of the spiritual, mental and physical sort. She’s haunted by the traumatic event, the sudden psychic ability that allows her into the thoughts of others and the disfiguring wound on her face as constant troubling reminders. But when she arrives at her new home Wren comes to realize she’s being haunted by something else entirely: the ghost of Jeremiah Ransom, a Civil War soldier whose family occupied the home lifetimes earlier. After being mortally wounded in battle and dying within the house, Jeremiah watched his family live out their lives as he remained invisible, passed on yet never able to leave; but, whether by the lasting effects of the accident or perhaps an unexplainable mystery of fate, Wren can see him. And feel him. And, as time leads her to discover, she can fall in love with him.
No sooner does Wren become accepting of her new and unusual situation than she finds herself in the crosshairs of Briar, a local girl who too has had an experience with a ghost in the small town. Briar’s story is a dark and disturbing one, and her ordeal has left her determined to eradicate every other ghost on earth, starting with Jeremiah. As Wren struggles with her fears and the overwhelming power of her feelings for a ghost she must also battle life, death and the in between to secure her own beloved future.
Haunted is fast-paced and absorbing; an enchanting read that transports the reader to the gently rambling Tennessee countryside both in present day and during the throws of the otherworldly Civil War. Luscious history peppers the narrative as Jeremiah’s old-time southern ways fuse with Wren’s modern sensibilities, and the result is a spellbinding marriage between a fairy tale romance and a dark, enticing ghost story.
Author: Debra Glass
Genre: paranormal, romance, young adult
Publisher: Champagne Books
Release date: October 13, 2011
Source: Debra Glass (C/O)
Buy the book: Kindle
Connect with the author: Ghostly Ever After, blog | Facebook
When I was contacted late last month by author Kate Bennett with the opportunity to review her debut novel, Inevitable, she described it to me as, “a young adult contemporary romance with a slight supernatural element.” This goes a long way to describing her own modesty because approximately six chapters into the book the reader realizes that the “slight supernatural element” is actually an unexpected and original twist that will not only secure your rapt interest in the novel, but will keep your attention clinging to it even after the final pages. (And for the record, it doesn’t involve vampires!) What it does involve I can’t precisely say because that will just spoil the entire element of surprise, which is a great contribution to the book’s overall charm.
What I can tell you is that Inevitable, which was published in January, boasts a charming series of characters made all the more interesting when they’re thrust into unimaginable circumstances. The heroine, NYU student Carina Lombardi, zings the narration along in a way reminiscent of a smart, attentive young Bridget Jones. She has her flaws; she’s a bit strong-willed and has a few life lessons to learn, but it made her all the more endearing to me in the end. The object of her affection – and perhaps in a way the true protagonist of the story – is fellow student Jared Taylor. He’s mysterious, handsome, shy and seemingly perfect. As the story unfolds, folds itself back up and unfolds again, we find that Jared too has his imperfections. Carina and Jared form a strong connection early in the book, but one moment shatters everything and Jared must challenge time and mortality to stop what soon becomes the inevitable.
I’m not sure if there’s a word to accurately describe what I felt at the last pages of Inevitable, but I think I would linger on “fascinated”. Kate Bennett has an unassuming writing style that charmed me into a comfortable familiarity from the first, but as she weaved her story I realized that this little book would pack quite a punch. She’s fearless in her storytelling; she handled a supremely difficult plot with confidence, carried two would-be perfect characters into the realm of imperfection and rounded the entire book out with an ending as boldly original as the plot twists itself. I was genuinely impressed with her daring exploration of life and time, and perhaps most importantly with the way she consistently encouraged the power of love to triumph over everything else, even the inevitable.
Author: Kate Bennett
Genre: fantasy, romance, young adult
Publisher: Amira Rock Publishing
Release date: January 20, 2011
Source: Kate Bennett (C/O)
Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Blog | Twitter | Facebook