Tag Archives: ghost

Recommended Reads: The Tassamara Trilogy by Sarah Wynde

The Tassamara series is one I’m very happy to recommend to readers of urban paranormal fantasy – particularly if you enjoyed the TV show ‘A Town Called Eureka‘!

I originally blogged my review of A Gift of Ghosts here but I am including that review in this post, too, for the sake of completeness. 🙂

When reading each of my reviews in this post, please bear in mind that they were written independently of one another, immediately after reading each book!

A Gift of Ghosts (Tassamara, #1)A Gift of Ghosts by Sarah Wynde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description

Akira Malone believes in the scientific method, evolution, and Einstein’s theory of relativity. And ghosts.

All the logic and reason in the world can’t protect her from the truth—she can see and communicate with spirits. But Akira is sure that her ability is just a genetic quirk and the ghosts she encounters simply leftover electromagnetic energy. Dangerous electromagnetic energy.

Zane Latimer believes in telepathy, precognition, auras, and that playing Halo with your employees is an excellent management technique. He also thinks that maybe, just maybe, Akira Malone can help his family get in touch with their lost loved ones.

But will Akira ever be able to face her fears and accept her gift? Or will Zane’s relatives be trapped between life and death forever?

My Review

A Gift of Ghosts is a book I enjoyed on many levels.

The lead characters are strong, with doubt and uncertainty as much a part of their relationship as the attraction.

I thought the conflict between Akira’s scientific, analytical approach to her gift, and the reality of her experiences, was realistically portrayed. As she learns more about her gift, and its apparent limits, we in turn discover more of her past, such as who broke the bones in her hand – and why.

There’s plenty of humour, too, not least from the cast of ghosts in attendance. Akira’s interaction with the ghosts brings an unusual and quirky feel to the story.

No dull moments, no wasted scenes, just a really enjoyable, intelligent read. So glad it’s the first in a series… the sequel, A Gift of Thought, awaits!

A Gift of Thought (Tassamara, #2)A Gift of Thought by Sarah Wynde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Description

At seventeen, Sylvie Blair ran away from the small town of Tassamara, Florida. She joined the Marines, traveled the world and made a life for herself, but she never forgot what she left behind. Now a close protection security consultant (aka bodyguard) for a spoiled teenager in Washington DC, her empathic gift helps her keep her charge safe, if not out of trouble. When her past catches up with her, though, in the form of her telepathic high school sweetheart, Lucas, she’s forced to face her regrets even as she tries to decide whether his ridiculous stories about ghosts and Mexican drug cartels are signs of insanity or somehow true.

For Dillon Latimer, meeting his mom comes too late—it’s been five years since the drug overdose that killed him. But a little thing like death isn’t going to get in Dillon’s way when he decides that his parents would be much better off together. Unfortunately, it’s not easy for ghosts to influence the world of matter, especially when every choice Sylvie makes takes her deeper and deeper into danger. Can Dillon keep his mom alive long enough for her to live happily ever after with his dad?

My Review

Another great read from Sarah Wynde! I really do enjoy her writing, and the world and characters she’s created within (and beyond) Tassamara.

I liked finding out more about Zane’s brother, Lucas, and his past; and also more about Dillon as he continues his existence as a ghost. This isn’t Akira’s story (her tale was told in A Gift of Ghosts, the first in the series) but I was pleased to see her character pop up again here!

The only trouble is, the more I read of this series, the closer I get to finishing it…

A very strong 4 stars.

A Gift of Time (Tassamara #3)A Gift of Time by Sarah Wynde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description

She thought she could see everything. Time is proving her wrong.

Ten years ago, Natalya’s ability to remember the future cost her the life she wanted when her vision of her fiancé’s death tore them apart. Ever since, she’s considered her precognition more of a curse than a gift. How can she live in the present when the future looms so large?

But when the night she’s long dreaded finally arrives, Natalya’s vision and reality diverge. She and her ex, Colin, are drawn into a web of the unexplained, led by a mysterious little girl. Who is Kenzi? And where did she come from? The little girl might be the reason Fate has spared Colin’s life, but could she also bring Natalya and Colin together again?

With Colin, Kenzi, her family, the townspeople of Tassamara, and a set of circumstances that nobody could foresee, Natalya must solve the puzzle of a lifetime. Her discovery that her gift is not the only one at work will change the lives of everyone around her as time becomes precious in a most unexpected way… and the clock is ticking.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book (the third in the series) – it was like meeting up with an old group of quirky friends! I was pleased that Akira and Rose had important supporting roles, and key character Nat is easy-to-like.

But for me, the show-stealers were one little girl, and a sheriff named Colin, which really did add that Sheriff Jack Carter/A-Town-Called-Eureka vibe (definitely a bonus as far as I’m concerned!)

I think this might be my favourite book in the series. If you’ve read and liked the earlier books then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one.

[I can’t find a Twitter account for Sarah Wynde, but she has a Facebook page here.]


Have you read any of this series? Did you enjoy it? If you haven’t read it yet, does it appeal to you?

~ Joanna

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‘John and Elsa’ ~ A Duet of Flash Fiction Tales for #FridayFictioneers

FF 24 Oct

 [Image ©  The Reclining Gentleman]

Joanna’s story ~ ‘John and Elsa’

They’d been happy on their island. John had fished. Elsa had sat beside him, absorbing their togetherness, drawing it around her like a cloak of contentment.

Now, John fishes from the dock. But Elsa knows he catches nothing. He often forgets to bait his hook. He sits alone, staring ahead, lost in memory.

Elsa’s ethereal form drifts around his hunched figure. “I’m not in the past, John, I’m right here,” she whispers. “Remember me, love, but let me be with you. Don’t imprison yourself in our past.”

A breeze ruffles the waves. John shivers. They’d been happy on their island.

[100 words]


And now a surprising counterpoint from Ron! 😉

Ron’s story ~ ‘John and Elsa 2’

His head went down below the grey waters again.

She sat patiently on her island throne as she had done for many seasons, waiting, warming as she watched him.

Head up again, he smiles, chewing, and makes his way back to her. She looks at him in wonder.

Standing on the island shore he stretches up and flaps his huge white wings and exclaims, “Your turn to feed, my turn to sit on the eggs.  How many more will fly this year do you think?”

“At least two of the four eggs should fledge, a good season,” she replied.

[ 99 words]


Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge to writers to craft a 100-word story using a photo prompt. To read more of the stories written this week, click the little blue froggy below.

If you enjoy writing and would like to take part in Friday Fictioneers, please visit Rochelle’s blog for the “how to” guide. Rochelle does a wonderful job of managing the whole Fictioneers thing, and all are welcome.

If you’d like to read any of our earlier stories, they can be found here and on our old blog.

You’re welcome to connect with us on Twitter: we are @LazuliPortals.

Joanna and Ron | The Lazuli Portals


Recommended Read: Never Alone

Never AloneNever Alone by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Description from Amazon

Life is all about the choices we make….

 Holly is the envy of all her friends; she has lived with the gorgeous Will for five years. She supported him whilst his IT company grew and a life split between homes in the UK and Los Angeles beckons, offering them a glamorous and exciting lifestyle.
A series of terrifying encounters unleash an inherited psychic sensitivity within Holly and she begins to wonder whether the path she’s on is the one she’s destined to take. The thought of hurting the people she loves the most causes her to bury her emotions, until fate takes a hand. Suddenly her perfect life begins to unravel…
“It’s a gift to be shown something that allows you to make a difference and alter the outcome of someone else’s life. However, the weight of the responsibility that goes along with that is huge and what about the ethics? The thing I have to ask myself is how did my actions change the future?”  –Holly Elizabeth Atherton
What I thought of it

For anyone whose psychic abilities are awakening, the new experiences and sensitivities can be scary and unsettling. Linn Halton deals with Holly’s increasing psychic awareness with empathy and compassion, whilst also keeping the storyline interesting and moving along at a fast pace.

I found Holly, Matt and Celia very likeable. It can be difficult for some people to deal with burgeoning spirituality and/or psychic awareness, and I was glad that Holly had people around her who could offer her unconditional support as her perceptions and interests changed.

As with Linn Halton’s other books, the characters in Never Alone are well-rounded and believable. The book holds plenty of tension and pushed me to keep reading so that I finished it within two days.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about the ending – all I will say is that Never Alone was a genuinely enjoyable read, and earns a solid 4 stars from me. I’m looking forward to starting the author’s ‘Angels Among Us’ series soon.

Connect with Linn on Twitter @LinnBHalton

View all my reviews

~ Joanna

Recommended Read: The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales

The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting TalesThe Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Description from Amazon

A wonderfully atmospheric collection of stories from one of our most captivating writers, inspired by ghost stories, traditional folk tales and country legends from England and France. These tales are richly populated by spirits and ghosts seeking revenge; by grief-stricken women and haunted men coming to terms with their destiny – all rooted deep in the elemental landscapes of Sussex, Brittany and the Languedoc.

The collection will include The Mistletoe BrideLa Fille de MelisandeRed Letter DayThe Lending LibraryThe House on the Hill…

What I thought of it

Writing short stories is a somewhat different art to writing novels, so I was intrigued to see how the author of the bestselling Languedoc trilogy would handle the shorter form. These tales were written over several years (some published, some not), but all have been edited for this anthology. As the title suggests, the underlying theme is that of the ghost story, perfect for dark autumn nights with the log fire ablaze!

For me, the memorable stories are:

  • Red Letter Day: An atmospheric story traced by the ghostly whispers of the Cathars, and one which highlights the author’s love of the Languedoc region of France.
  • The Drowned Village: A Breton-inspired tale of water and fire and legend, and one which I raced through as the story progressed.
  • The House on the Hill: Set in Sussex in the 1920s, a clever and spine-tingling story of love, loss and forgiveness. This is my favourite of all the tales.
  • The Ship of the Dead: A masterful tale of a Finistere fishing village and the Ankou, a story which relentlessly carries the reader forward in its quiet horror.
  • The Revenant: This is a darkly wonderful tale of the mists and the marshes and debts to be paid by the living.
  • The Yellow Scarf: This timeslip tale, rich in detail and history, gave me chills; not because it was spooky, but because of the way it resolved.

Many of these tales remind me of Daphne du Maurier’s work, which is certainly no bad thing in my view!

Nearly a 5-star read for me.

A massive thank you to Ron for buying me this book . . .  and for getting it signed by the author herself! 😀

View all my reviews

~ Joanna

Recommended Read: The Silent Touch of Shadows

The Silent Touch of ShadowsThe Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Book Description on Amazon

Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.

Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?

What I thought of it

The prologue alone led me to purchase this book; the phrasing was perfect. This leads us into the two related stories of genealogist Melissa, her daughter Jolie (a beautiful name, literally) and veterinarian Jake, and the historical romance of Sibell and Roger, which dates back to the tumultuous Wars of the Roses.

The stories from the two timelines are cleverly knitted together to slowly reveal the answer to the mystery haunting Melissa and Jake. With ghostly interference, swordplay, dysfunctional families (in both 15th century England and the present), and the bloom of new love, I found much to enjoy in this book and will be sampling other titles written by this author.

~ Joanna

View all my reviews