Reviews

Book Review: Curses

“CURSES – A PARANORMAL MYSTERY,” BY CALVIN DEAN

PUBLICATION: NOVEMBER 4, 2016

cursesSynopsis: GHOSTS & A HAUNTING CAST OF CHARACTERS. “Edge of your seat suspense and laugh out loud humor.” If you like ghost stories that keep you on the edge of your seat, make you laugh out loud, and take you on a profound emotional journey, you’ll like Curses.

Martin Gallagher buys an old house in the country. While pursuing Hannah, a widow from the neighborhood, he encounters a sexy but psychotic ghost named Agnes. To make matters worse, Agnes is dead-set on derailing his blossoming romance.

“Just my luck. A woman wants me and there isn’t a breath of life in her.”

Meanwhile, an eccentric medium offers to help Martin exorcise his home, but this means resisting the temptress, encountering the bizarre, and braving supernatural encounters. Can Martin overcome his desires and fears long enough to lift the dreaded curse?

“I recalled Madam Zelda’s advice—avoid Agnes. Have nothing to do with her. Yet there I stood, drool on my chin, tangled in her wicked web, rendered powerless to resist.”

Curses is three connected paranormal mysteries that elicit horror, laughter, warmth, even tears. Cozy up with Dean’s haunting cast of characters and enjoy a delightfully humorous tale of the paranormal. If you dare.

“If you haven’t discovered Calvin Dean’s books yet, you’re missing out on a talent to watch.” -Teri Polen, author

Curses is a paranormal mystery with horrifying scenes and a haunting cast of characters that will make you laugh out loud.

My Review:

“Curses” is very different from anything I have read lately and is certainly a genre-defying novel. This book is comprised of three different, but interrelated stories about curses and ghosts. Martin is a handsome advertising retiree that has left the city life in Memphis for a small town and a beautiful, old home in Sycamore Grove. Ready for a relaxing and peaceful retirement, Martin plans to spend his time gardening and tinkering around his house. He meets his beautiful neighbor, Hannah, with whom he quickly forms a friendship with a possibility for more, but soon realizes he has more “neighbors” than expected. Between seeing strange people in his yard and hearing footsteps and arguments in the middle of the night, Martin begins to question his sanity – until the day he meets Madame Zelda in the grocery store, who soon confirms his suspicions that he is sharing his home and property with ghosts. 

Martin meets several different ghosts throughout this book, but one ghost named Agnes is the most troublesome. She’s beautiful and desirable while also being stubborn and refuses to leave. While he’s trying to help various ghosts move forward to the afterlife, Martin is also constantly experiencing new and strange phenomena in his home, battling Agnes and her temper and trying to build a relationship with Hannah – without letting her know about the ghosts. Martin’s funny and sarcastic personality, especially his inner dialogue, make this book funny and spooky all at the same time. 

So, I started out loving this book, primarily because of Martin. He’s intelligent, calm, funny, and creative all at once. Martin’s patience is tested over and over dealing with the strange sights and sounds he experiences while also trying to appear sane and in control. Parts 1 and 2 were my favorite, but honestly, the author lost me a bit in the 3rd story. I liked it at first, but without giving spoilers it ended up being quite silly regarding one of Martin’s final visitors. I still don’t get where that came from and why it was included but overall this was a light, fun read. Each story, as well as, the book as a whole was extremely creative and entertaining. Kudos to Calvin Dean’s creativity and imagination while composing these 3 stories and all of Martin’s adventures. “Curses” is classified on Amazon as literature and fiction/horror/ghosts, but I would add humor to the top of the list. There are definitely some creepy elements, but Martin’s light-hearted reaction to everything that happens softens the spookiness and suspense. This is not the book for you if you are looking for straight-up horror and ghost stories, but more for the person that wants a little bit of creepy mixed with humor and creative problem-solving!

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Calvin Dean by visiting his web page. 

Purchase “Curses” on Amazon. 

Reviews

Review: Who Killed Edie Montgomery?

WHO KILLED EDIE MONTGOMERY? (THE MYSTERY OF THE HAUNTED MANOR),

BY C.M. BLACKWOOD

PUBLICATION DATE: JUNE 12, 2016

who killed

Synopsis: Life’s a bowl of cherries, as they say. Until someone chops your head off.

In the year 1933, an alcoholic, cynical 32-year-old named Mary Meade inherits a manor. Her great-uncle just passed away, so his house and all his money go to her. When she arrives at the house, though, she finds much more than she bargained for: including strange servants, a murder mystery, and – oh, did we forget to mention? – GHOSTS.

Despite her cold demeanor, Mary is romantically drawn to a spirit named Jessica Price, who was killed in 1879 by a madman named John Drum. Mary and Jessica fall in love, but of course, the story is much more complicated than that.

Shortly after the death of Mary’s great-uncle, a young woman named Edie Montgomery was found gutted and beheaded on his property. Now her spirit is trapped inside the manor.

John Drum killed Jessica Price. But who killed Edie Montgomery?

Review: I’m not sure where to begin with this action-packed ghost story, “Who Killed Edie Montgomery,” by C.M. Blackwood! This is absolutely a page-turner from beginning to end and is full of tons of surprises! Mary Meade had a normal and happy childhood and relationship with her parents until she told them she was in love with another girl named Ruth. Mary’s world becomes a lonely, dark place until 4 years later when Ruth pays Mary a visit. Although relieved and elated to finally be together again, the happiness is short-lived when they are caught by Mary’s mother, resulting in traumatic consequences. Fast-forward 14 years and Mary is living with her miserable, alcoholic father when she learns that she has inherited Meade Manor from a great-uncle. Mary leaves her miserable father and miserable life behind, but upon arriving at Meade Manor, she begins to learn of gruesome deaths that have happened there and the ghosts that won’t leave. Mary and one of the ghosts, Jessica soon fall in love, but other ghosts in the house are dark and evil. Mary won’t leave despite several warnings from others, therefore, she tries to figure out who all of the spirits are, who all was killed by John Drum, and who killed Edie Montgomery.

I really enjoyed this novel, most of all because it is absolutely unlike anything I have read before. Props to C.M. Blackwood for such a creative imagination! There are a lot of ghosts, creepy stuff going on, and a lot of guessing “whodunit” in this novel. Every time I thought that this character did this or that, I ended up wrong – which I loved. There’s such a huge cast of characters in this novel, both living and dead, that I can’t mention them all but the main people are Mary, Jessica, the Carrolls, and John Drum. There are several other ghosts and a variety of nosy people mixed in resulting in everyone seeming to be a suspect in the recent killings. The author blends this ghost story with funny dialogue to lighten the mood at times, but otherwise, it’s about living people trying to stay alive and trying to figure out who is killing who, as well as, dead people stuck, unable to move forward and still mourning the loss of their lives. If you are offended by gory, bloody stuff, this may not be the novel for you. The author is very descriptive in her writing, leaving nothing to the imagination regarding the killings, but I thought it worked and was appropriate in this novel. The author created such strong characters in Mary and in John Drum, although in different ways. You find yourself cheering for Mary and completely amazed at her determination and bravery. Although frustrating, John is also an incredibly strong character and presence. Although charming at times, you keep wanting him to go away and grant peace to all of these lost souls, but he just doesn’t, nor does he care that everyone wants him to go away – maybe because he’s an evil ghost, lol! My only negative comment about the novel was the ending. I don’t give spoilers, but what the group was suddenly able to do just confused me. However, I must say I was surprised by the ending and never saw it coming!

“Who Killed Edie Montgomery” is definitely a different and unique read, but a great novel. It is a fast-paced read and you will not be able to put it down until you know who was responsible for which things. As stated before, C.M. Blackwood has a very creative and imaginative mind, as well as, an impressive writing style for such a new author. Anyone that enjoys mystery/suspense/ghost thrillers will love this novel!

Purchase “Who Killed Edie Montgomery?” from Amazon.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.