Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can I write a Book Review? - PAST MIDNIGHT by Mara Purnhagen

As mention previously, Twitter has become an excellent networking tool as I make contacts through out the entertainment industries: I’ve gotten to chat with fellow writers, comic book artists, animation producers, and publishers.

Because of networking with those publishers I’m doing a something different with this column. I’m writing a book review. Or, I hope I am. Those familiar with my writing will know this won’t be an ordinary book review.

Through Twitter I connected with Harlequin Books when they made a request for bloggers to read a few of their Paranormal Romance novels and write about them. So that’s what I’m doing. Harlequin provided a list of books and I selected three to read and see if this was possible for me. If from the first of these is any measure, I chose rightly. So…

Tonight’s ghostly tale is:


by Mara Purnhagen

Published by Harlequin TEEN

It’s hard enough for a normal teenager to make friends when they move into a new school, and the greatest fear is that their parents will embarrass them. For Charlotte Silver, who sees herself as far from normal, being embarrassed by her parents is only a small part of her horror. Her family are paranormal investigators with the intent of disproving the existence of ghosts. This time the ghosts have chosen to prove they are very real by attaching themselves to their daughter. Charlotte must discover if the ghosts are haunting her or asking for her help while trying to maintain the semblance of a life at school.

Hopefully that said everything it needed to with out any spoilers.

PAST MIDNIGHT drops us quickly into Charlotte’s life and relationship with her family. How she both admires and is jealous of her sister Annalise, and how she feels ignored by her parents who are always into their work.

Then introduces her and us into the world of a new high school.

I was very pleased that no time was wasted on the “new kid” cliché of being scorned by everyone else. Yes, there is one who doesn’t like her and makes it well known, but Charlotte is a strong girl doesn’t let it get to her and is soon making friends and fitting in with out too much trouble.

That’s when local secrets are discovered and the ghosts go bump in the night.

I won’t go on any further about the story, other than to say I really enjoyed Mara Purnhagen’s take on both the supernatural and the natural world of high school. All the characters were interesting and multi-dimensional, and not one cheerleader acted like a ‘cheerleader’. That alone was refreshing.

One other reason I enjoyed PAST MIDNIGHT was its ease of reading. No, I don’t mean it was a simple book, by no means. Charlotte and all her friends are intelligent and worth getting to know. What I mean by ‘ease’ is in the practical ability of reading it.

Let me explain. Though I know the sales of e-books are increasing, I haven’t yet purchased a tablet reader like a Kindle or iPad, (if you’ve read my previous blogs on my job search, you’ll know why). In the past I have found reading extensive amounts of text on my computer monitor to be tedious and I would quickly loose interest and move on to other things like drawing my comic book or my own writings. (It’s also why I don’t like my blogs to be extremely long.)

I say all that to make a point. When I opened the pdf for PAST MIDNIGHT, I placed it on the right side of my monitor to read while working on other things. The intent was to read a little at a time, but quickly found myself distracted from my work and returning to reading the novel. With each new page of Charlotte’s life I wanted to read more and was never once bothered by the fact it was on the screen.

Maybe it was because Purnhagen’s writing style is smooth and similar to my own, (more likely it's a whole lot better than mine), but I actually found it difficult to stop reading and was hoping for another chapter after the last.

Even though I’m not a teenager (by a long shot), this was an enjoyable book worth my time, and I am truly interested in reading Mara Purnhagen’s other books (there are two sequels to PAST MIDNIGHT in the works). This time I’ll even purchase them myself.

Now if only I had a tablet to read them on.

That was an interesting little experiment. Let me know if you think I should do other book reviews, or comic and movie reviews (My blog about Megamind earlier this week doesn’t count. ). I’ve still got two more of the Harlequin books to read; even if I don’t do reviews will let you know what I think.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Who looks forward to having someone write a review of his novel when it’s finally published.)


Emma Cunningham said...

Thanks, Kevin! It's a great book review. Thanks again for being interested in doing some reviews.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, Kevin! I'm glad you liked my book.