Intriguing and well-crafted but frustratingly slow.



From the Resonance series , Vol. 1

A young woman skilled in astral projection falls in love while a secret war brews in this urban paranormal fantasy novel.  

Sophia Walsh, 25, is in her fourth year as an “astral projection specialist” at San Diego Consulting Corporation in the Psi Solutions Division. She uses her paranormal abilities mostly for government clients, to help collect intelligence, rescue hostages, and find missing persons. Sophia also has some telepathy and occasional precognitive dreams, though it’s her twin brother, Thomas, who’s the real telepath. A new employee at SDCC is Nate Barclay, best friend of Sophia’s ex-fiance. The two soon feel a strong mutual attraction that becomes deep and passionate. Meanwhile, though, tragedy strikes when Sophia’s mentor is murdered. Disturbing evidence arises that someone has been interfering with Sophia’s and other psychics’ precognitive abilities while also placing them under electronic surveillance; suspicion falls on John, boyfriend to Sophia’s best friend and co-worker, Diana. Telepathic and other investigation reveals John had disguised his true identity and is part of a mysterious organization. A confrontation with him yields explosive information about a secret worldwide power struggle brewing among psychics—but are Sophia and friends on the right side of it, and can John be trusted? In her debut novel, Greenhall combines steamy, well-written romance with intelligently handled paranormal and thriller elements. Scenes of Sophia at work are especially effective, giving readers insight into the several ways her gift provides essential information. It makes sense that other, shadowy forces might be arrayed against official government contractors, and Greenhall sets several factors into play: An innovative gamma-ray headset, for example, could prove vital. But, perhaps because future books in the series are planned, many pages are spent on inessential details. Also, despite their abilities, Sophia and Nate are cut from the standard romantic cloth: two hot young people hot for each other with conventional obstacles (she’s guarded; he’s quick to be jealous). Their erotic relationship is the book’s centerpiece but far less interesting than the barely-getting-started thriller plot.

Intriguing and well-crafted but frustratingly slow.

Pub Date: March 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9998166-0-8

Page Count: 329

Publisher: Forward Progress Media, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2018

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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