Book Review: Curses



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. 


Book Review: The Last Minuters



last minuters

So you’ve decided that you want to commit suicide, but now what? Olin Wish’s novel, “The Last Minuters” is the story of a recent divorced Margaret and her visit to the famous Precipice Hotel. Not your typical hotel, it is infamous for being extremely expensive, luxurious and indiscreet. It is also where many go to commit suicide, jumping off of their balconies into an enormous gorge.

Upon Margaret’s arrival, she meets an infomercial star, Shannon Japan, whom she has swooned over for years, and they very quickly become intimate. There are other unusual guests, but no one really talks about why they are there because it’s basically understood and there are strict privacy rules. The rooms are designed and decorated just for you based on a questionnaire prior to your visit, and the service and food are impeccable. Wish’s novel takes us through the life and death of various characters that for various reasons have chosen to end their lives but weaves the tale through stories of the hotel, monsters and green flames in the fireplace that has been lit since the hotel opened in the 1900’s. We learn about some of the characters’ pasts and troubles that have brought them to The Precipice Hotel, in addition to gaining some insight and history about some of the hotel’s employees. Throughout the novel, there is a strange mix of romance, passion, sadness and the unexplained.

Now…  What to say about “The Last Minuters?”  First of all, this is an odd novel. I applaud the author for his quirky, unusual story idea, especially the setting. The hotel is intricately described and Wish’s writing easily transports you to being at The Precipice Hotel, taking in all the sights and sounds. I also feel that for such a short novel, the author developed Margaret rather well. You cannot help but empathize with Margaret as you read about her life and events prior to her visiting the hotel. Other than Margaret, however, I was left with a lot of questions about the other characters. Wish provides background information about what they had done in their life professionally but leaves you feeling like you missed some things about them overall. There were things I loved about this and things that I truly didn’t understand why they were included, such as the monsters in the gorge, but it was overall an interesting read. If you like quirky stories that are a mix of fantasy, horror, and a little romance then this should be next on your list of books to read. Although this wasn’t really my kind of book, I was very impressed with the author’s writing, use of language, and dialogue. And again, definite points for creativity and for imagining a strange, magical place.

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