This is a tightly crafted romantic suspense novella with good characterization and a unique perspective on the paranormal. Don’t expect subplots or mu...moreThis is a tightly crafted romantic suspense novella with good characterization and a unique perspective on the paranormal. Don’t expect subplots or much subtlety; the pace starts off at a trot and picks up to a gallop within pages, holding that speed effortlessly and barely giving the reader a chance to breathe. In some spots, there’s no place to pause or set the book aside; it’s that tight.
Sometimes it’s too tight. Kim Bowman’s writing here provides little scene-setting and less detailing. (Something she changes with her second book, Ghosts in the Graveyard.) Another 5,000 words or so, spent in providing some backdrop and background details, would have deepened the reader’s enjoyment and participation, providing a deeper “feel” for the story. However, this would have slowed the novella’s ripping pace, and some readers may disagree with this assessment.
The main characters are wonderful and very real as they race flat-out, defying fate and protecting the lives of their loved ones. All in all, this is a nice debut novella, recommended for fans of fast-paced paranormal romantic suspense.(less)
[SPOILER ALERT] This is author Kim Bowman’s second release and another fast-paced paranormal novella with good action, although it’s sometimes a comed...more[SPOILER ALERT] This is author Kim Bowman’s second release and another fast-paced paranormal novella with good action, although it’s sometimes a comedy of errors rather than death-defying conflict. [END SPOILER ALERT] In contrast to her debut novella, Wayward SoulWayward Soul, here she takes the time and words to weave a setting for her action, using evocative language to draw the reader into the spell of her story. She does a good job at providing sufficient setting details early so that when the action starts, she can keep the prose crisp and the pacing fast without sacrificing the reader’s attention.
These are wonderful, excellent, absolutely real characters. Bowman has a knack for writing a youngster’s perspective for adult readers, taking this reviewer back to childhood. I don’t know if this ability would translate to writing YA, but it might be worth her while to try.
In short, this is one of the best ghost stories I’ve read since Kipling’s “The Phantom Rickshaw.” [SPOILER ALERT] Must admit, the twist at the end got me; I did not see it coming, despite the clues planted throughout. [END SPOILER ALERT] All in all, a worthy second effort, and the writer shows growing maturity and strength. I’m a fan.(less)
Kay Springsteen delivers again. (Warning: spoilers below!)
This contemporary holiday romance stars Ashley, the art gallery owner from Heartsight by Kay...moreKay Springsteen delivers again. (Warning: spoilers below!)
This contemporary holiday romance stars Ashley, the art gallery owner from Heartsight by Kay Springsteen, and Nick, a Marine facing deployment to Afghanistan. Their separation is naturally heart rending, with both remembering good times they've shared (loved the bumper boats scene) and worrying for the future. Add in adorable Bella, a Down syndrome child, her parents Trish and Dan, all from Heartsight, and new characters Estelle Eastman and a dog named Hal, who aren't what they seem.
The story's fun rockets along to an ending perhaps predictable but wholly satisfying. Springsteen's knowledge of Marine procedures clearly stems from either personal experience or that of a close friend, rather than Internet research. As usual, her relationships build believably through the novel without relying upon sex scenes for their fire, so if you're looking for heavy romantica this one isn't for you. I personally enjoyed it to the last page. (less)
This is a plot-driven romantic suspense novel, and that combination seems a bit odd, as most romances are character-driven. But hey, one of the beauti...moreThis is a plot-driven romantic suspense novel, and that combination seems a bit odd, as most romances are character-driven. But hey, one of the beauties of the self-publishing movement is the unexpected crossover, such as science fiction romances, or inspirational steampunk, or whatever. So maybe a plot-driven romance isn’t that far off. The combination works pretty well for the suspense portion of the book, but less so for the romance. It’s a nice plotline, well considered and planned; with characters to match, this would be an easy five-star review.
[Spoiler alert.] At an archaeological association convention in Bath, Dr. Carolyn Williams presents her theory regarding the location of the ancient Roman temple to Minerva in the city, as the temple’s whereabouts remain a mystery to this day. The temple is presumed to hold the lower portion of a priceless statue of the goddess; the statue’s head is in the Bath museum. She’s aided in her search by her mentor, Dr. James Cochran, and by Dr. Greg Porter, a former fellow graduate student who’s sometimes attractive to Carolyn and sometimes infuriating.
Because of the statue’s value, and because the temple would also contain other valuable antiquities, some unscrupulous bad guys are also seeking its location. When Carolyn presents her theory, she becomes their target. In the meantime, Greg is troubled not only by the bad guys, but also by some strange dreams, which seem to place him and others around him back in the fifth century. As dream after dream contains valuable clues to the temple’s location and contents, Greg comes to suspect that perhaps Minerva, the goddess who controls the passage to and from the afterlife, has perhaps reincarnated him in her service.
It’s a competition to find the temple and the statue’s torso, with the good guys subtly aided by Minerva and their lives on the line. The events are well told, although the bad guys’ motives aren’t entirely explained. (But that’s always an issue for thrillers, where the choice often comes down to ambiguity or one of those corny villain speeches where he Tells All.) The manner in which the bad guys get their desserts is fairly satisfying, but also a touch disappointing, with Minerva putting the notch on her divine holster rather than the good guys. The deus ex machina would have felt more acceptable if there’d been a few more examples of such throughout the book.
[Spoiler alert end.] All in all, this is an enjoyable read, not too long, not too short, well paced, and well constructed. For suspense readers it’s recommended, but less so for romance readers; the characters need more fleshing out before the romance feels deeper than a plot device. Note that one of the bad guys’ bodies was never found, leaving open the potential for a sequel; with more character work, this would make a great foundation for a mystery or thriller series. As well, two maps, one showing the layout of the underground caverns and another showing the various levels of Bath, would have been helpful.(less)
Lee Allen Howard delivers with this horrific little tale of elegant vengeance. Between the ugly elder sister, the creepy boyfriend, and the abandoned...moreLee Allen Howard delivers with this horrific little tale of elegant vengeance. Between the ugly elder sister, the creepy boyfriend, and the abandoned teenager, he maintains tension without graphic violence to the story's immensely satisfying conclusion. The most horrific element is the stark believability of the situation, and his spare, straightforward writing style delivers just deserts, with a side of French toast.(less)
I'm an independent voter seeking alternatives to the two political party machines. What Cantor, Ryan, and McCarthy have to say isn't complicated: they...moreI'm an independent voter seeking alternatives to the two political party machines. What Cantor, Ryan, and McCarthy have to say isn't complicated: they know the GOP lost their way since the mid-1990s, they explain how it happened, and they outline their plan to get the party, and the nation, back on track. I was already familiar with Cantor and Ryan; I follow them on Facebook, have read interviews from both, and generally approve their Young Guns splinter within the GOP. Cantor is the Young Guns' leader and GOP Whip, while Ryan is a thinker, examining issues (unemployment, the debt, health care, etc.) and laying out plans to address them. McCarthy, whose specialty is election strategy, hasn't been in the limelight as much, but I found his discussion of some candidates on the ballot for the 2010 mid-term elections interesting.
This review is for the book, not the politics nor the party. A five-star rating could have been earned through tighter editing (a couple grammatical lapses, no typos that I noticed) and a bit less repetition. Granted, they wanted to ensure their point came across.(less)