Through a Mirror, Darkly by Kevin Lucia

Through a Mirror, Darkly by Kevin Lucia
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (146 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Through a Mirror, Darkly is a Supernatural Thriller collection masked as a novel. With elements of mystery, suspense, and otherworldly horror, Through a Mirror, Darkly successfully delves into the worlds of Lovecraft, Grant, and the mysterious Carcosa.

“Arcane Delights. Clifton Heights’ premier rare and used bookstore. In it, new owner Kevin Ellison has inherited far more than a family legacy, for inside are tales that will amaze, astound, thrill…and terrify.

An ancient evil thirsty for lost souls. A very different kind of taxi service with destinations not on any known map. Three coins that grant the bearer’s fondest wish, and a father whose crippling grief gives birth to something dark and hungry.

Every town harbors secrets. Kevin Ellison is about to discover those that lurk in the shadows of Clifton Heights.”
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Through a Mirror, Darkly is a Supernatural Thriller collection masked as a novel. With elements of mystery, suspense, and otherworldly horror, Through a Mirror, Darkly successfully delves into the worlds of Lovecraft, Grant, and the mysterious Carcosa.

Have you ever wished you could peek into the corners of other people’s lives that they don’t want anyone to see? Not everyone is honest about what’s really going on with them, after all.

All of the stories in this anthology are set in the same small town. It was such a clever way to organize them. Because of this, though, I strongly recommend reading these tales in order. This isn’t the kind of collection that one should skip around in.

“Suffer the Children Come Unto Me” is about a priest name Bill Ward who is wrestling with a dark secret while also attempting to figure out who or what is threatening the students at the school where he works. One of the reasons why this story worked so incredibly well for me is that it took its time to reveal clues about what was going on. Slowly building up the tension like this was a smart choice for the subject matter. It made Bill’s dilemma much more frightening than it would have been otherwise.

It took me a while to get into “Yellow Cab.” The narrator is a cab driver who keeps experiencing hours of lost time while on the job, and his memory loss only seems to be getting worse as the plot progresses. While the premise was fascinating, the pacing was so slow in the beginning that I had trouble staying interested in what would happen to the main character next. It would have been helpful to have a few more hints about what was going on in the early scenes. The ending would have been even more fantastic than it already was if I had a few more hints of what was coming along the way.

I would have liked to see more character development in “Admit One.” Bobby Maskel’s thoughts about his working at a metal salvaging yard were interesting, but I never felt like I got to know him well enough to truly be intrigued by what was going on when he discovered something bizarre in the piles of junk that customers had dumped off at his job.

“And I Watered It, With Tears” shows what happened to a man named Andrew after his marriage disintegrated and his life fell apart. Something inexplicable happens while Andrew is waiting in line to pay a long-overdue bill. The plot twists were incredibly well done. While I enjoyed the whole book, “And I Watered It, With Tears” was definitely my favorite entry because of how much time the narrator spent showing the audience what was going on in Andrew’s mind.

Through a Mirror, Darkly made me shiver. This is a good choice for anyone who is in the mood for something chilling.

Zach’s Rebound Girl by Monique DeVere

Zach’s Rebound Girl by Monique DeVere
Publisher: Crystal Swan Publications
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Chick Lit, Comedy
Length: Full Length (241 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Television property renovator Maddison de la Botella is popular, adored, and on the brink of snagging the opportunity to restore her ancestral home. Life couldn’t glide along more smoothly. That is, until the night she discovers the sexy man ogling her in her hot tub is none other than Zachary Canady!

He’s still way too gorgeous, still makes her heart flip—and still sees her as just a friend. Back in uni, as her best friend, Zach made sure she understood men wanted exciting women. And there was nothing exciting about Maddie. Now ten years on, here’s her chance to make him notice she’s a living, breathing, desirable woman—even if she almost cracks a tooth to prove it.

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Party boy meets quiet nerd. An unusual friendship becomes a spicy romance.

Zach’s Rebound Girl was a classic romance in the first part of the story. It took some time for the mystery and the suspense elements to come to light. Actually, the mystery and the suspense elements were practically non-existent in the first part of the story. When it did come to light, the development was slow at first and then it took off. It kept me on the edge till the end.

Maddison was a nerd in college who had a crush on her best friend that secretly turned into love over time. Zachary always had a special place in his heart for Maddison. After college he has a successful business but he wants his best friend back. Maddison is a renovator in a television show. However, when incidents starts happening on the set her friends and Zach suspects there is more to it than simple accidents.

Zach and Maddison parted on less than amicable terms when they were in university. When Zach left without informing Maddison, it hurt her beyond anything. She wants Zach in her life not as a best friend but as a lover, a partner. Will they be able to get past their insecurities and secrets to commit on a forever after?

Both of the main characters, when they meet after years apart, have a lot of chemistry and passion between them. I could see it even if they couldn’t right away. That also played a big part in keeping them apart until they start to really communicate. One other thing I loved about these characters was, even after years without really seeing or talking to each other they knew and understand each other, as well as believed that both of them has changed somewhat in those years apart.

This is a book for the romance lovers who love a little bit of mystery and suspense added to it.