Monday, October 14, 2013

5 Star ARC Review & Giveaway: Tangled Souls by Jana Oliver (Presented by Dark World Books)

Tangled Souls

Wiccan Gavenia Kingsgrave’s psychic gift, the ability to talk to the dead, comes with strings attached. As a Shepherd, she escorts them into the hereafter, but not all the souls want to cross over, and some can be downright vicious. When her latest case involves a heart-breaking hit-and-run victim, Gavenia is stressed to the max. The last thing she needs is a no-nonsense private detective on her tail, even if he is a handsome Irishman.

Former homicide detective Douglas O’Fallon possesses his own psychic gift, one he’s denied for years. Hired by a wealthy client to prove that Gavenia’s a con artist, he is skeptical of the witch’s claims she can speak to the dead. If he finds her gift is genuine, then he will be forced to accept his own. When their two cases intersect, opposites attract. But will they be able to set their differences aside long enough to outwit their foes – both the living and the dead?

Guest Post by Jana Oliver

A Tangled Web

The heart of any novel is the lead characters. Not only do they have to be believable, they have to possess a complexity that warrants the reader’s interest. In short, the characters better have a strong “back story” (their personal history) and compelling “issues” that must be resolved over the course of the novel.

Authors spend a great deal of time working out those elements to ensure the story is strong. To that end, I purposely chose to make Tangled Souls’ two lead characters from opposite ends of the religious spectrum.

Douglas O'Fallon is a red-haired Irishman who has lived in the US for a number of years. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, which is reflected in his career as homicide detective in Los Angeles.

He's Roman Catholic and pretty devout, despite two divorces. He and his priest (O'Fallon's former partner and ex-homicide detective Avery Elliott) are best friends. Now a private investigator, O'Fallon has a deep distrust of most things supernatural, which is awkward since he's psychokinetic (has the ability to “pull” images off everyday objects). That "gift" makes him very uncomfortable, if not physically ill, especially when he was working crime scenes. In fact, he took early retirement just because of that problem.

My hero is cynical and stubborn; a man who has lost at love more than once and yet still believes he’ll find the right lady. His “history” and his disdain for psychic charlatans immediately puts him at odds with my heroine, Gavenia Kingsgrave.

Gavenia is from a different faith tradition: she’s Wiccan, as is her aunt. Her "gift" came to her late in life, just a few months before, and now she is a Shepherd, tasked with helping the souls of the dead to make the journey toward The Light (Heaven). It's a difficult and heartbreaking job with a high burnout rate. Her Ethereal Guardian (Bartholomew Quickens) is trying to teach her the ropes, but even Bart isn't allowed to tell her everything.

In addition to the “job” stress, Gavenia has some serious emotional issues stemming from a horrific event when she was a teenager, making it hard for her trust men.

So we have one pigheaded Irishman going head-to-head with an equally stubborn young woman, both with romantic baggage. Put them on the mean streets of L.A., with a murder mystery to solve and dangerous ghosts on the loose, add in a dash of romance and that’s Tangled Souls. Personally, it’s one of my favourite tales if nothing more than for Gavenia and O’Fallon’s love story.

Book Details:

Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: Nevermore Books; 1 edition (August 25, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0970449070
ISBN-13: 978-0970449078
Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches


O’Fallon disliked stakeouts. You sat in your car; your butt got sore and your shoulders stiff while you waited for your quarry to do something interesting. Most of the time they never did. Except on one notable occasion when he and Avery were caught in the middle of an impromptu gang war, their car windows disintegrating in a blizzard of lead. His current situation was just the opposite; Gavenia Kingsgrave departed the Alliford residence about half an hour after she’d arrived, her clothes tidy and her hair in pristine condition.

“No quickie,” O’Fallon observed. Somehow that pleased him, though he wasn’t exactly sure why.

As he followed her on her daily rounds, she committed no untoward acts other than failing to come to a complete stop. Nothing sinister at all, unless you counted the fact that she was currently inside a New Age shop.

“Low on eye of newt, no doubt,” O’Fallon snorted.

He eagerly embraced his bias against all things New Age, and for that he blamed Shirley, his second wife. A seemingly sensible Catholic when they’d married, she’d hared off into the supernatural shortly after the honeymoon. Their small apartment became home to three stray cats—reincarnated souls, she called them—countless crystals, and enough incense to put the Vatican to shame. Seamus had rebelled, pulling feathers out of his tail in frustration until he resembled a bedraggled gray football.

O’Fallon took the hint; if Seamus wasn’t happy, neither was he. He filed divorce papers at the six-month anniversary. Not quite a Hollywood record, but it left a scar nonetheless. The last he’d heard, Shirley was living with her lover—another New Age woman—in Portland. That was the ultimate blow to his male ego.

Tangled Souls - © 2013 – Jana Oliver

Purchase Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Sapphyria's Review:

I would be lying if I didn't say that I went into this book with a bit of hesitation. I had the mindset that no one Jana writes about will ever be as complex, headstrong, and completely lovable as Riley and Beck were. If you haven't read her 4-novel Demon Trapper's Daughter series you are seriously missing out, by the way.

I couldn't have been more wrong!! Gavenia is a Wiccan - a true witch - that is also psychic, sees the dead, and is the Shepherd who helps souls cross over into the next plane. She doesn't accept payment for her services, choosing to earn a living by transcribing documents instead. When the father of a young boy killed in a hit and run accident requests her help, she has no idea where this incident will take her. He won't cross over until he sees Merlin - his black lab and best friend. The problem? When her client's wife left, she also took the dog and now no one, including his wife knows where Merlin is. As Gavenia attempts to locate the dog, she is trust into the path of PI Doug O'Fallon.

Doug O'Fallon is a former police officer, who also has a psychic gift, however, he chooses to deny it instead of embracing it. When the mother-in-law of Gavenia's client hires Doug to find out just what exactly Gavenia is up to, he also has no idea the journey he's about to take. As he investigates Gavenia, he also takes on the case of young man that committed suicide leading him into the proverbial lion's den when Doug soon discovers that the precinct where his priest's young son works, is full of corruption; his friend's son Adam, partnered with the ringleader.

Unbeknownst to both Gavenia and Doug, the cases they are working on (all of them) intersect and the end results will shock you.

Gavenia is a very likable, down-to-earth character but also stubborn and willful. She has some serious emotional and physical baggage from her childhood that has beaten her down and plummeted the amount of self-esteem she has. Her romantic life isn't great either since losing her boyfriend in a car accident. The fact that she isn't airbrushed model perfect makes her character even more astounding.  Her interactions with her Guardian, Bart, are priceless and sometimes he steals the show.

Doug is a man who also has a horrific past that he discovers he hasn't been able to move past. Between his job as a cop and the emotional wreckage he drags behind him, his inability to maintain a lasting relationship is beginning to take its toll. He fights between the way he was raised - devout Catholic - and the psychic abilities that have been bestowed upon him, allowing us to see a multi-layered Irishman with depth.  His inability to accept Gavenia's polar opposite way of living has a way of righting itself and Jana Oliver does a wonderful job evolving him and his attitude.

The interactions between Gavenia and Doug are very emotionally charged which radiates to the reader as well. There is a balanced amount of humor and the banter between Doug and Gavenia is natural and comfortable. These two characters, along with the secondary characters, were well written and interesting. The background given for not only Doug and Gavenia, but Gavenia's sister, Doug's priest, and others enriched this novel and gave us enough back story to put everything together.  This is a descriptive novel in that enough detail is given to form the scene in your mind without overdoing it and not allowing your creative mind any room to move.  Overly descriptive novels tend to become wordy and boring - Tangled Souls does not become either of those things.

Tangled Souls is one of those books that grabs you and pulls you in right from the beginning. I became wholly engrossed in the novel, completely captivated by not only the interactions and budding relations but the story has a plot - a strong plot. And, unfortunately, some of the situations developed in the novel could be based on reality. At the end of the book when I looked back at the cases both Doug and Gavenia became embroiled in, I sighed and thought to myself, "I wonder how often families end up doing the atrocities that go on in this book." Probably more often than we know.

Please Note:   This book contains adult scenes.

Paperback ARC Review Copy Courtesy Of:  The author, Jana Oliver, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Sapphyria's Rating:

a Rafflecopter giveaway About the Author:

Jana Oliver has the perfect job—she listens to the voices in her head and then writes their stories. Her latest creation, BRIAR ROSE, is a dark steampunk retelling of Sleeping Beauty, complete with Hoodoo, a vengeful Civil War ghost, and metal magic (Sept. 2013 Macmillan Children’s Books). In Jana’s young adult DEMON TRAPPERS Series, Riley Blackthorne, Atlanta’s first girl Demon Trapper, takes on a host of Hellspawn and their diabolical masters. This award-winning series has spread across the globe, with editions in ten countries. Jana’s foray into time travel and alternate history resulted in the Time Rovers Series. Set in 1888 London, the series deftly blends time travel, shape-shifters and Jack the Ripper. The trilogy received twelve awards, including the Prism Award for Time Travel and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense. When she’s not daydreaming, she can be found savoring a growing collection of single malt scotch and old books. Visitors are always welcome at her website:


Jana Oliver said...

You are not the only devoted Demon Trappers reader who went into this book with some trepidation. Gavenia and O'Fallon's story was written some ten years ago, long before Demon Trappers, but it refused to just sit under my bed and be quiet. So I dusted it off, let an editor clean it up and now it's seen the light of day.

I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed it.

Wendy Beck said...

Looking forward to it. Sounds awesome.