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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review of To Catch a Spirit by Carrie Pulkinen

I received this from the Modern Good Reads group on Goodreads. If you're not familiar with it and you love books, you should seriously consider joining. You receive free books in exchange for providing honest and prompt reviews.  Sometimes you get a real stinker. Other times you get a gem like To Catch a Spirit.


Allison Dupuis is a psychic who runs a small healing clinic out of an antique store in Detroit. She is also terrified of ghosts due to an unfortunate encounter that left her scarred.  While at the home of a Detroit's Most Eligible Bachelor of the Year, Logan Mitchell, she meets a ghost. More importantly, she meets Logan. The two form an immediate connection despite both of them, for different reasons, wanting to avoid commitment. When Logan becomes aware of the increasingly violent spirit haunting his house, he reaches out for help. In the process, Allison and Logan deal with their undeniable attraction to each other.

What I Liked.

I liked many things about this book. First off Logan. At first he appears to be a typical romance hero. He's a rich playboy with a fear of commitment. He also has a heart of gold. He focuses on charities and investing in troubled business to help save jobs. One thing that makes him unique is the excellent manner Pulkinen handles his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I'm more than a tad OCD myself. Not quite to Logan's level but close. So many authors deal with mental illness incorrectly. Pulkinen does it justice.

I also think this is an excellent example of the Paranormal Romance genre done right. It has just the right about of ghostly/psychic elements and more than enough romance to keep those fans interested too.  This one is not for children as it does have several detailed sex scenes. I have no talent for writing sex scenes. I have great respect for those who can carry the emotional impact of the activity without wallowing in description of body parts.

As far as Allison is concerned, she is immediately likable without being overly perfect. She is flawed and makes bad decisions. What I was most impressed by was how fully realized she was. I was completely engrossed in the story by the end of the first chapter.  

On another note, I also enjoyed seeing Detroit portrayed in a positive light. I live right next door to Detroit (in Windsor, Ontario, Canada). Looking at the empty buildings or listening to the reports of violence in the news, it is easy to forget there is a positive side to the city. There is also a lot of money in the state. So kudos to Pulkinen for shining a bright light on the good side of  Detroit.

Carrie Pulkinen

What I Didn't Like

The last 40 pages.  It honestly feels like the last few chapters were unnecessary for the story. I won't give more away to avoid giving spoilers but there is a section that could very easily have been the end. Then the story took a detour adding, to my mind, unnecessary entanglements. Having said that, those more interested in the romance side of Paranormal Romance may find this section one of their favour sections.

I did like the last chapter. The book has a nice, solid ending that is completely satisfying.

In Conclusion

I recommend this book wholeheartedly. Pulkinen's writing is spot on, the character dynamics are perfect and the plotting/pacing is very tight.  I will definitely put her other books on my "to read" list.

Important Links
To Catch a Spirit on
To Catch a Spirit on
Here's the Book on Goodreads
Carrie Pulkinen's Official Blog


Amazon: M Joseph Murphy on Amazon: Paperback and ebook
Smashwords: M Joseph Murphy Author Page on Smashwords
Kobo: M Joseph Murphy Books on Kobo

Friday, May 17, 2013

Review - Mythology by Helen Boswell

I first met Helen on Twitter (@HelenBozz ). I admired her sense of humor and genuineness long before I read her book.  At the time I met her I had a string of 10 other books to get through, mostly indie authors who gave free books in exchange for review.  I purchased Mythology 3 months before I finally got around to reading it. 

It was well worth the wait.

I read Mythology right after reading Divergent and Insurgent by @VeronicaRoth. In comparison, I found Mythology significantly better written and more interesting than Divergent. No disrespect to Veronica Roth. It’s simply a sign of how well-constructed and entertaining this book is.

On Boswell’s website, she lists the following synopsis for Mythology:

Born with an unusual power to see the dark memories of those around her, Hope just wants to be a normal teenager. But on the first day of her senior year of high school, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a transfer student named Micah Condie. At first glance, Micah seems like a boy that most girls would dream about. But when Hope's powers allow her to discover Micah's darkest secret, she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of mythical entities she never dreamed existed. 

It sounds like typical YA subject matter. However, this is not your typical high school paranormal romance novel.  Hope is a perfectly flawed and genuine young woman. There is nothing idealized about her. She makes cringe-worthy mistakes and deals with real-life problems with a believable mixture of strength and fragility.  Ten pages in, Hope feels like a real person rather than a caricature.

I had a similar experience reading Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. The main character of that book, Rachel Morgan, is a perfect character because she is so far from perfect. She makes mistakes. When she fails, it makes you root for her all the more.  The same goes for Hope Gentry.  Near the middle of the book, you learn she has survived a horrendous experience. It is refreshing to see the topic deal with in such empowering honesty in a YA novel.  Judy Blume would be proud.

Needless to say, I am hooked on Helen Boswell. I look forward to whatever her next project is.

Links for Helen Boswell:

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