The Possess Saga by J.A. Howell (book reviews)

by Stefany on April 2, 2013

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I was recently hanging out on Facebook and came across a new series looking for interested bloggers to review.  I read the blurb and knew I had to be involved.  I know this is so different than anything I have reviewed recently.  But, I have told you all time and again that I am a very flexible reader.  I read almost anything!

The Possess Saga (as of now) is 2 books.  The first book is Possess and the second book is The Untimely Death of Brody Walsh.  These are classified as paranormal romance books.

Possess

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Synopsis

Stumbling off the bus in Midtown, Harley Martin thought she found an escape from her old life.

She soon realizes it was anything but that.

Low on cash and options, she manages to find herself a cheap but surprisingly nice apartment. The catch? The last tenant, Brody Walsh, killed himself.

Or did he?

As disturbing dreams and hauntings start to occur, Harley realizes there may be much more behind the previous tenant’s death than a simple suicide. She finds her life further entangled with his when she learns that her new boss, Nolan, was also his best friend. Could this handsome but evasive pub owner have something to do with Brody’s death?

Trying to piece together the events surrounding Brody’s death proves to be a daunting task, but Harley can’t give up. Brody won’t let her. He is still in the apartment with her, trapped in limbo until she finds his killer.

But he’s not waiting for revenge.

Harley’s next.

The Characters

Harley is our main female character. I found her to be likable and fun.  She has had a rough go with things and still manages to see the positive in things around her.  She is so much braver than I would be.  You see, as Harley’s apartment starts to do crazy things, she stays and tries to ignore them (at least at first).

“I turned to cross the living room toward the kitchen, but froze when a cold shiver passed through me and the hairs on my arms stood on end.”

I would have been so far out the door you wouldn’t see my butt on the street.  But, as time goes on, Harley finds out that it isn’t just her apartment that is haunted, but her too.

“The toothbrush dropped from my mouth as I started at a tall dark figure standing behind me.”

I love her ability to see all these things but continue to live in the apartment, and also in denial!

“Hmmph, just my imagination.  There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

“Ghosts are not real.  Spirits are not real.  This is not real.”

Brody died in her place and he is now “haunting” her to help him settle his supposed suicide.  He finds that Harley is easy to reach so he continues to reach out to her and get her attention.  During this time, Harley is dealing with the feeling of being watched outside her apartment, the strong attraction she has to her boss, Nolan, and the fear of being found by Jackson, her abusive ex.  Harley finally (with some well-taken advice) decides to “let Brody in”.  She is told that no matter what, she can’t just “get rid of Brody” any longer and moving out of the apartment will not help.  She has to figure out what he is trying to tell her.  This leads to a number of events that would have had me in the hospital mental ward.  Seriously.  She is one tough cookie to deal with all she did.  All in all, she did well considering the strange occurrences and Brody did well to make her know how he felt too.

“There were words written as if someone had dipped their finger in paint and scrawled them across the canvas.  ‘I’m sorry Harley’”

Our main male character (besides Brody who is a silent participant for most of this book) is Nolan. I love Nolan.  Nolan is one heck of a nice guy who can’t seem to catch a break it seems.  People in town look down on him; a fact that Harley realizes but doesn’t understand why at first.

“He should have known better than to let him criminal of a son run this place.”

Ack! What did you do Nolan????  I wanted to love Nolan but I was getting a bit worried about all this criminal talk and then Harley sees scars and finds out that Nolan was stabbed!!!  What kind of mess was he involved in to get stabbed?  *sigh*   I was so worried my sweet Nolan was going to be a not-so-sweet guy.  Nolan proved time and again how sweet he really is though so I kept hope.

“It’s just that, I would be upset if something were to happen ta ya, Harley.”

Awww, we love him, right?  Nolan really does irk me at times though.  He says he likes Harley but he seems to play games with her.  She and I both agree with this, by the way.  He goes from hot to cold with her emotions.  It makes me want to just scream at him.  In the end, Nolan decides that he does care for Harley and he will let her know.  Harley has trouble accepting that though and they both act stupid (my opinion) and turn away from each other.  But, do they come back to each other?  That is for me to know and you to find out… dun dun dun!!!!

We have a few other characters in this story.  One is Brody, which I mentioned plays a mostly silent part throughout the book.  I say mostly because he does get to come out and play briefly with the help of Harley.  The other character that I am looking forward to seeing more of in the future is Aggie. Aggie is a tough chick… like don’t cross her or you will be cut… kind of chick.  Whew!  That girl is rough.  She is also very sweet and probably the best friend a girl or guy could ask for.  You learn that Aggie and Brody were friends too but their friendship could have progressed to much more if they were given more time together.  Awww, poor Aggie!  Her heart is broken.  I just loved her strong spirit, humorous personality, and determination to get Harley and Nolan to give-it-up-already and just be together.

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Now for book #2…

Untimely Death of Brody Walsh

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Synopsis

Brody Walsh’s life is left in disarray when his girlfriend is found brutally raped and murdered. But it completely shatters when his best friend, Nolan is arrested for the crime.

Even as the media is portraying him as a monster, Brody knows Nolan isn’t capable of murder.

That leaves the question: Who is?

Once the trial begins, Brody discovers just how little he knew about his girlfriend, spurring him to dig into her past for possible answers. And as Aggie, his long time confidant and childhood crush, stands by his side through all of this, he finds his own past resurfacing when his feelings for her reignite. But as the media and the prosecutors close in on Nolan, ready to convict him for a crime he didn’t commit, Brody will be forced to make a choice.

A choice that will lead to his untimely death.

The Characters

For this book (which is very small by the way and is a quick read), there really are two main characters.  Harley is there but she is more in the background.  You have Brody and Aggie for most of this story.  Brody turns out to be a true sweetheart, if not a bit dense when it comes to love.  All I wanted to say to him was “geez man, the girl likes you.  Get your head out of your butt and tell her you like her too!”… but I didn’t.  I kept these harsh words to myself.  I felt sorry for Brody too.  He was shunned by his own community after the death of his girlfriend.  Even though there is no evidence that he did it, he was still treated horribly.  He is a good guy through and through though… how he is able to forgive the things that Nolan did to him… well, let’s just say he is better than I.  I’m not sure I would be so forgiving.

That said, Nolan does play a role in this book but he is the one in jail and going through trial.  This is where you find the full extent of what Nolan’s past is that Possess started talking about.  Nolan really is a good guy doing a bad thing that leads to really bad consequences.  The man learned a valuable lesson the day he decided to ummm, well he learned a valuable lesson when it came to Brody’s girl, Claire.  (I am really trying not to give out spoilers on these books!)

I felt so bad for Aggie in this book.  The poor girl kept giving her heart to Brody on a silver platter but he just kept giving it back.  She must have really cared for him to put up with his dumb self for so long.  Aggie’s pain upon Brody’s death was heart breaking.  Ugh, I felt so bad for her.  Her poor heart was just shattered.  I wanted to hug her… and this is the reason I am excited to see more of her in the future of this series.  The poor girl deserves love!

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Final Thoughts

I’m going to combine my final thoughts on both of these books.  Overall, I loved the story.  Despite being different than anything else I have read recently, I think they were fantastic.  J.A. Howell is a fantastic storyteller.  There was a bit of romance, suspense, paranormal, and drama all combined into one (or two) books!  One thing that troubled me at first was the large amount of accents the characters had.  Nolan, Brody, a police officer, some random ignorant dude on the sidewalk, Angus (the bakery owner), and even Aggie at times, all had an accent.  I knew why some of them did from the reading but was confused on the others.  What I failed to realize was the relationship some of the characters have goes way back (Brody and Nolan) and that there is a large population that is from other countries in this town.  Once I fully understood that, the whole thing was easier for me to grasp.  I actually really enjoyed the accents too.  In my head I have an *awesome* Irish accent.  I’m just sayin’.

Another thing I enjoyed was the way the second book expanded on what you already know plus gives you so much more detail into the story line.  Brody’s story in The Untimely Death of Brody Walsh was touched on a lot during the first book but Brody tells the story in the second.  I won’t give it away, but I also love how and to whom Brody is talking to during the second book.

These were really fun books to read and didn’t take much time at all to get caught up in the story.  As you know, that is always a plus with me.  Any book that can grab my attention and hang on usually ends up being a good read in my mind.  I would give these books a strong 4.5 to 5 stars.  I went ahead and upped them to 5 on Goodreads.  Why?  Because I do think the story was good, it stuck with me well after finishing, and I keep going back to the storyline in my head to see if I could have figured out how it all went down before J.A. Howell decided to tell us.  Any book that has me thinking that long after finishing is well deserving of those 5s.

About J.A. Howell

J.A. Howell

J.A Howell is an office drone by day, and a writer by night. Her love of writing took off when she was eleven years old and decided to fill a composition notebook with stories to read to her friends. Many years (and notebooks) later, not much has changed. She still loves writing and sharing her works with others. When she isn’t writing, she can often be found trying her hand at whatever artistic pursuit strikes her fancy. J.A. Howell resides in Apopka, FL with her husband and their menagerie of animal children.

Where to find J.A. Howell

Facebook  |  Goodreads  |    Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Website

Where to find the Possess Saga

Possess on Goodreads  |  The Untimely Death of Brody Walsh on Goodreads

Possess Trailer  |  The Untimely Death of Brody Walsh Trailer

As if that wasn’t fun enough, I have some more fun for you!

There are Mini-Episodes located on J.A. Howell’s site (http://midtown-underground.com/bonus-content)!!  But, there is one slight problem… The episodes are password protected! How do you unlock them?  The answer is simple.   Just follow along with the blog tour.  Each stop will have a shamrock on it, with letters in Blue, Yellow, and Red written on them. Keep track of the letters, and what color they are, and by the end of the tour, you’ll have 3 passwords!! Below is the link to each episode and what color belongs with what episode! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

First Password (Blue)-http://midtown-underground.com/possess-episode-1
Second Password (Yellow)-http://midtown-underground.com/possess-episode-2
Third Password (Red)-http://midtown-underground.com/possess-episode-3

Here is ToBeThode’s shamrock!!

possess tour shamrock

And here is the other fun part… yes more! The giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I received copies of the books mentioned for the purpose of review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyffani Clark Kemp April 2, 2013 at 10:04 am

Great post and great review! J.A. is such a great writer and I happen to know that Aggie has a story coming soon. =) *giggles* I think you’ll love it!

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Stefany April 4, 2013 at 1:35 am

I know and I am psyched!!! Thanks for stopping by the blog. :)

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Kristina Haecker April 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

These seem like really good books! :) Great review!

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Stefany April 4, 2013 at 1:35 am

Thanks Kristina! Thanks for stopping by the blog today. :)

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nannypanpan April 4, 2013 at 11:50 am

they totally look like books my sister would enjoy
nannypanpan@gmail.com

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