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Of Stone & Mist by Donna Hawk
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Of Stone & Mist

by Donna Hawk

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A copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Of Stone & Mist is a perfect book to read in the Fall or around Halloween. It is a haunted house story filled with ghosts and an intriguing mystery of a missing girl.

Jessa is a photographer struggling to make ends meet until she meets the Eschers. They're a rich couple who are desperately searching for answers to their missing daughter Maria's case. The police have searched and nothing has been found these several years that Maria has been missing. The Escher's hire Jessa to take photos and investigate their daughters rich fiancé, Mitch. He's a politician with a perfect record and a charming personality, who lives in a huge Victorian house called Bristol House. As Jessa starts to sneak in and photograph the house, she suspects the house has many ghastly secrets. But as she develops a flirtation with Mitch she starts to fall for his charms...could he really have murdered Maria?

While I did find this novel to be a creepy and unexpected ghost story, I did have a few problems with it too. First of all, I felt like the pacing was a little off. The storyline kept dragging, which was weird because there were plenty of shock and awe moments littered throughout the novel. They just needed to be more evenly spaced. I also had a lot of frustration with the main character, Jessa. She takes a huge sum of money to investigate this guy and his house-- basically stalking him. I found it hard to believe that she seriously thought he was a murderer. If she did, how could she go on a date with him? Or continue to make him angry? Time after time she would have these creepy things happen to her at Bristol House where she would tell herself if she made it out alive she would never go back-- yet she kept going back.

Another big thing was I felt there were too many elements that made up the whole "mystery" behind the haunted house. We have a key, a door, a crazy relative, a family mystery, little shadow creatures, a Groundhog Day scenario, and a time loop. The shadow creatures, time loop, and Groundhog Day scenario are never explained. If it's never explained and chalked up to overall hauntedness-- it's unnecessary and makes the story confusing. I think there should have been a clear explanation for all of those things. Also, where did the key come from? Why in the first place is there a door in the house? We never learn those things and that bothered me. How it all wrapped up nicely in the end wasn't believable either. Vernon forgiven by his family? But why was he so evil to begin with?

There were a lot of good things about this story too though. As annoying as Jessa was, she's as also very feisty and courageous. She didn't lean in Mitch and was more courageous than he was! She didn't fawn after his money and failed to be impressed by it. These are all amazing qualities of a MC! I also really liked how I didn't know where the story was going. I continually was surprised and freaked out! It definitely was a creepy read. I liked also that it took place in my home state of Wisconsin. I don't read enough books that take place there and it was fun reading about Madison! :)

Overall I think this is a perfectly scary and atmospheric read for a cold fall day. For a debut author, I have high hopes for her future books and I think many of the kinks in this book are inevitable with a first novel. I'll definitely be reading more from this author, and I hope she decides to do more horror in the future! ( )
  Diamond.Dee. | Jul 3, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0985339004, Paperback)

It’s all photographer Jessa Bennett can do to understand the bizarre, unnatural world of speaking to dead ancestors that Maria believed in, but Maria has been missing for three years, and everyone assumes Mitch Conner has gotten away with murder. Hired by Maria’s parents to find out why, Jessa clandestinely snoops in Mitch’s historic home, Bristol House. She finds more questions than answers: what is the medallion key to the dead world; why does she keep feeling like her mornings are repeating; and why does the postcard of Bristol House keep changing? But mostly, why does Maria’s ghost show up first in Jessa’s camera, then in her dreams? What does Maria want? The ghosts of Bristol House come alive to draw Jessa into a world she didn’t think existed outside of nightmares, and she uncovers a hundred and fifty year old secret in order to solve the mystery of the missing young woman.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:47:01 -0400)

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