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About the Author
Clarissa Johal is the author of paranormal novels, THE ISLAND, VOICES, STRUCK, and BETWEEN. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s swinging from a trapeze, or taking pictures of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters, and every stray animal that darkens their doorstep.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I won't summarize, that's what the rest of the post is for, and I don't want to spoil the read. What I will say is I read this in one day, with several unwilling breaks. Ms. Johal grabs you by the fears and immerses you in her boiling cauldron of seething spiritual oppression. Heart pounding, breath holding, fist clenching scenes made shivers run up and down my spine more than I care to remember. Throughout, I rooted for the good guys and kept an eye out for the bad guys.
Ms. Johal created realistic, likeable characters. Most books I don't like result from unlikeable heroes or heroines but Gwynneth is a girl after my own heart. She's sweet, sensitive, and broken. Her motivations for her actions are unselfish as she struggles with a full on spiritual attack.
Throughout the story, I was never sure what was coming next. Who was helping Gwen, who was hindering her, who she'd end up with? Hell, would she even survive? The pace was perfect: gave me just enough detail to satisfy my need to create an image in my head while keeping me on the edge of my seat, needing to turn the page. Turn the page!
I loved the characters, especially best friend Seth. I mean, really, hot best friend who's neat, tidy and cooks like a Parisian chef? What's not to like? Fenton, her good friend and co-worker, kicked her ass or hugged her, whatever the situation called for. Every woman needs a friend like that.
Horror is not my usual pick. I love paranormal but I've got a pretty active imagination and Ms. Johal did such a superb job painting the story, giving life to the shadows, that I have to admit having trouble falling asleep. Actually prayed a little harder, a little longer than usual. And maybe I had to sleep with the light on in the bathroom. Not that I really needed it. (Totally needed it!)
This. Is. A. Must. Read!
A storm comes and Gwen is struck by lightening. That alone is scary enough. But how scary is it when you wake up and learn of Julian? Uh he shows her some rather unpleasant things, that well, I wouldn't want to deal with. Seth is her friend and he is kind and protective. How would he or any of her friend feel if she mentioned Julian? Maybe it would send her to the nut house if she talked. Gwen will have to say something before her friends just explode with worry, she can't just sit there doing nothing. Gwen isn't as open as I would have liked, so it left her friends out and I wish she would have given them more. Though it all somehow worked and didn't change how I thought of the book.
The darkness Gwen faces is difficult and it will win if she doesn't do anything about it. It was the type of darkness I don't typically read, and yet I couldn't put the book down. It was something that grabbed your interest and made you go on until you had nothing left to read. Plus even after being able to go home, Gwen isn't free of this darkness. Her little buddy still comes around and won't just stop because she is home. So he offers her something. Gwen has no idea what she will do. Is he good? Or is he just playing a mean trick?
I so loved this book and didn't put it down until the very end. I really wish there was something after this book. It just needs to be continued and give me some more Gwen. These characters were written really well and the overall story flowed just right and it knew when to really grab you. This is something different for me to read and I actually liked it! Which is great because I can be picky of new reads! So everyone should give this book a chance, something different can be a good thing.
I hope to read more books from Clarissa! I give this one 5 stars!
Gwynneth moves to San Francisco after a bad break up. Her best friend, Seth, encouraged her to make the move and be his roommate. Seth even has a friend that helps her obtain a job at Homestead, a retirement home. Gwen is well liked by everyone at the retirement home, but becomes especially good friends with Fenten, a fellow employee. One of the residents, Mrs. Hannah Engel, becomes a favorite with Gwen to the point of spending extra time together even if it’s not Gwen’s day to work. Everything seems to be falling into place until the night Hannah dies unexpectedly. Her death sets in motion a chain of events that changes Gwen’s hold on reality as well as endangering anyone that she deeply cares for.
I was so mad a Gwen (as if she was my BFF) a number of times for not being open with old and new friends that could have been a huge help in her struggles against the evil that is trying to claim her. At the same time it’s easy to understand why Gwen is afraid everyone would think she is crazy if she tells them about the stranger, Julian, and the horrible things he shows her. Seth is so concerned and protective how can Gwen resist him. Heck, I couldn’t! Fenten and Poppy, friends of Gwen, are wonderful sub-characters! Would love to see a couple of books with them as the main protagonist, they are that engaging.
There is a flow to the story that works. Characters are very authentic making it easy to be pulled into their lives and even believe the craziness. Ms. Johal does a great job with the dialogue. There is a natural rhythm to the interaction between characters. The storyline was a new one for me which made it that much more intriguing. All in all was a very entertaining book.
Happily RECOMMEND to anyone 16 and older.
I was completely blown away by this book. I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up and I was glued to the pages the entire time. There was so much going on and all of it was hidden and Clarissa only allows you to see small snippets. I couldn't figure out what was going on, if Julian was a good guy or a bad guy, or whether Gwen was going nuts. I was definitely intrigued by the story and didn't form an opinion until towards the end.
Speaking of the end, I did have a bit of an issue with the end. There is a moment that I cannot speak about because it will be a spoiler, but it kind of irked me because it was too quick. It seemed like It could have been written a little differently and it would have been much better and more believable. But, I understand why it happened and I know that it was the right decision. I just didn't like the execution of it. Is it enough for me to not like it or not recommend it? No. It's just a personal irritation of mine that most people may not even pick up on.
This story has a lot of different aspects in it: there is humor, romance, suspense, action, and drama. This is a read that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire time. Clarissa will take you on a roller coaster of a ride that will leave you breathless and your heart pounding. It is a very hard read to put down once you start. I absolutely loved her gay friend Fenten and loved how doting Seth was. The book made me hungry all the time because Seth liked to cook so he was always cooking some yummy food. It made me wish I had a Seth in my life. I give this 4.5 books.
Read this book, but beware. You may have trouble getting anything else accomplished until you are finished and can tear yourself away from it.