Category Archives: Diana Copland

Review: Secrets of Neverwood Anthology

neverwoodTitle: Secrets of Neverwood by G.B. Lindsey, Diana Copland and Libby Drew
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Paranormal (ghost), Romance
Word Count: 166,000
Book Rating:B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Three foster brothers are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. They have nothing in common but a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother–that upon her death, they would restore the house and preserve it as a home for troubled boys.

But going home is never easy.

Cal struggles to recover from past heartbreak, while Danny fears his mistakes are too big to overcome. Devon believes he may never break down the barriers that separate him from honest emotion.

On the path to brotherhood, they discover the old mansion holds more than dusty furniture and secret passageways. Audrey’s spirit still walks its halls, intent on guiding “her boys” toward true love, and an old mystery stirs up a new danger–one that could cost the men far more than just the house.

Secrets of Neverwood includes:

One Door Closes by G.B. Lindsey

The Growing Season by Diana Copland

The Lost Year by Libby Drew

166,000 words

Stories also available for purchase separately.

The Review:

The Secrets of Neverwood anthology is an outstanding novel about three foster brothers who return to their childhood home after their foster mother Audrey passes away and leaves them her estate. Consisting of three novels written by three different authors, each story focuses on a different brother as they work through their personal issues and find love while struggling to restore the dilapidated mansion so they can continue Audrey’s legacy of helping troubled boys.

One Door Opens by G.B. Lindsey
Word Count: 59,000
Book Rating: B

The Secrets of Neverwood anthology begins with G.B. Lindsey’s One Door Closes. Calvin “Cal” Ware kept in close touch with Audrey and in the aftermath of her death, he is overwhelmed by the financial burden of renovating the rundown Victorian home. Adding to Cal’s stress are his strained relationships with his foster brothers, and his renewed acquaintance with his first love, Will Cabot.

One Door Closes is written from Cal’s perspective but he is not an easy character to get to know. He is haunted by his unresolved relationship with Will and he finds it virtually impossible to talk about anything in his past, including the reasons surrounding their break-up. Cal’s secrets are alluded to on numerous occasions, but nothing concrete is revealed until nearly the very end of the story.

Cal’s interactions with his foster brothers are tense and often overshadowed by some of his bitterness for past events. He finds it difficult to ask them for help and since both men are as close-mouthed as Cal is, he has no idea what their intentions are regarding their inheritance. The tension between the men continues to mount until Cal’s resentment leads to a much needed discussion about the future of the house.

Both the paranormal and romantic elements of One Door Closes are understated for much of the novel. Audrey’s ghostly appearances are vague in the beginning and the reasons for her visits remain unclear until the story’s conclusion. Cal and Will eventually rekindle their teenage romance but this does not occur until very late in the book.

G.B. Lindsey’s One Door Closes is a fabulous introduction to the Secrets of Neverwood anthology. I am very intrigued by the glimpses of Cal’s foster brothers and I am very much anticipating their stories.

The Growing Season by Diana Copland
Word Count: 53,000
Book Rating: B+

The Secrets of Neverwood anthology continues in Diana Copland’s The Growing Season. Daniel “Danny” Redmond is the youngest of the foster brothers and he left Neverwood four years earlier and found nothing but heartache when he was betrayed by the man he thought he loved. Deeply saddened by Audrey’s death, Danny feels closest to her when working in the gardens they both loved and his role in the renovations is restoring the grounds to its former beauty.

Danny’s relationship with his foster brothers has improved, but he is quick to jump to conclusions with landscape architect Sam Ignatius’s unexpected arrival. Although the situation is quickly smoothed over, their relationship is uneasy and complicated by Danny’s unanticipated attraction to Sam.   Like his brothers, Danny has a painful history that he finds impossible to discuss and his unresolved issues quickly come between him and Sam.

In The Growing Season, the paranormal and romantic aspects of the storyline are much more prevalent.   Danny is comforted by Audrey’s presence and she takes on a much larger role in the men’s efforts to keep Neverwood.   The romance between Sam and Danny grows steadily throughout the story and it is an absolute joy watching love blossom between the two men.

The Growing Season by Diana Copland is a superb addition to the Secrets of Neverwood anthology. Although this story primarily focuses on Danny and Sam, glimpses into his brothers’ lives reveal how the changes in their personal lives are having a positive effect on their relationship as well.

The Lost Year by Libby Drew
Word Count: 54,000
Book Rating: B+

The Secrets of Neverwood anthology concludes with Libby Drew’s The Lost Year. Devon McCade is the oldest foster brother and he is definitely the most enigmatic of the three. Although he kept in touch with Audrey over the years through letters, he never returned to Neverwood after he left. While Devon is behind the renovation 100 percent, his career as a photojournalist requires frequently travel. Returning home after his most recent assignment, Nicholas Hardy asks for Devon’s help in locating his runaway son, Robbie.

The Lost Year is a little different than the other stories in the anthology since some of Devon’s story takes place away from Neverwood. He and Nicholas form a close bond during their search for Robbie, but both view their relationship as short term. Surprisingly, although he tends to be emotionally distant, Devon falls hard for Nicholas but he remains very wary of opening up and letting Nicholas completely into his life.

Like his foster brothers, Devon is still struggling to put his painful past behind him. He was one of Audrey’s first (and most difficult) foster children and she felt his loss the most keenly. The reasons behind his behavior and departure are deeply rooted in his dysfunctional childhood and it explains much about Devon, including his career choice. While his relationship with his brothers is much improved, the fact that he is not at Neverwood full time is still cause for uncertainty and they are very wary of his involvement with Nicholas and Robbie.

As with The Growing Season, the paranormal portion of the storyline is much more pronounced in The Lost Year. Each of the brothers experiences their encounters with Audrey’s ghost differently and her role in the storyline increases along with their fight to keep Neverwood out of the hands of an unscrupulous developer. The conclusion of this story arc is rather dramatic and extremely satisfying!

The Lost Year by Libby Drew is a marvelous conclusion to the Secrets of Neverwood anthology. It is well worth the wait to uncover all of Devon’s longheld secrets but it is watching him fall in love that is so incredibly gratifying.

Secrets of Neverwood is a wonderful collection of stories that is written by three very talented authors. Their writing styles are unique and quite distinct, but each of the brothers’ stories seamlessly flows from book to book. Each novel stands on its own and concentrates on an individual brother as he triumphs over his past and falls in love. But to fully appreciate the transformation of the three foster brothers and their relationship, I highly recommend reading all three books in the anthology.

 

 

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Filed under Carina Press, Contemporary, Diana Copland, Erotic, GB Lindsey, Libby Drew, M/M, Paranormal, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Secrets of Neverwood

Review: A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland

Title: A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal (Ghost/Psychic), Mysery
Length: 81,000 words
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Detective Matthew Bennett doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the spirit of a murdered child leads him to her body, he’s shaken to the core–and taken off the case. Unable to explain his vision, or to let go of the investigation, Matthew turns to renowned medium Kiernan Fitzpatrick. Though he has doubts about Kiernan’s claims to communicate with the dead, Matt is nevertheless drawn to the handsome psychic, who awakens feelings he thought were long-buried.

Haunted by the lingering spirit of the little girl, Kiernan is compelled to aid in the search for her killer. The chance to get closer to the enigmatic Matt is an unexpected bonus. Although Kiernan’s been betrayed by people who turned out to be more interested in his fame than in himself, with Matt he’s willing to risk his heart. As the two men grow closer, Kiernan helps Matt rediscover that life offers no guarantees–but love offers a reason to believe…

81,000 words

The Review:

If you are a fan of paranormal ghost stories, then you are going to love Diana Copland’s A Reason to Believe. It is a captivating mystery starring Matt Bennett, a police detective who is quite skeptical of psychic phenomena and a famous medium, Kiernan Fitzpatrick.

Matt Bennett is no stranger to tragedy and he is still recovering from a traumatic loss of his own when he is called to the scene of a missing young girl. Matt is led to the victim’s body by an unlikely source: the ghost of the victim, Abby. With his career already on the rocks, he is placed on administrative leave when he admits Abby’s spirit led him to her body. In an attempt to help him understand what he experienced, his sister in law and best friend, Sheila, takes Matt to “A Paranormal Gathering” where Kiernan Fitzpatrick is conducting psychic readings. With Kiernan’s (and Abby’s) assistance, Matt is soon hot on the trail of a killer.

The two protagonists of A Reason to Believe are fully developed, three dimensional characters. Both men have complicated pasts and although their personalities are complete opposites, they perfectly balance one another. Matt is a no-nonsense and slightly cynical cop with a sharply analytical mind who does not believe in communing with the dead despite his experiences to the contrary. Kiernan is light-hearted, full of energy and the more impulsive of the two. He is comfortable with who he is and completely at ease with his psychic abilities. The chemistry between the two men is sizzling and their relationship positively simmers with sexual tension.

The mystery aspect of the storyline is very well done. Although I was able to guess the killer’s identity fairly early on, I was completely stumped as to the motive for the murder. But what I really enjoyed the most about A Reason to Believe is the paranormal element of the plot. While I am not a fan of paranormal stories with shapeshifters, vampires, etc, I do love a good ghost story, and I can honestly say that Ms. Copland far exceeded my expectations with this part of the storyline. Kiernan’s psychic readings were just incredible and Abby’s ghostly appearances were spooky yet very moving.

A Reason to Believe is an outstanding read that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense. It is an incredibly sexy romance with absolutely delightful cast of characters and a compelling mystery. Diana Copland is a fabulous author and I am crossing my fingers that we will see more of Matt and Kiernan in future books.

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Filed under A Reason to Believe, Carina Press, Contemporary, Diana Copland, Ghosts, M/M, Mediums, Mystery, Paranormal, Rated B+, Review, Romance