by Yasmine Galenorn
Series: Whisper Hollow #1
Published by: Penguin
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Fifteen years ago, I ran away from Whisper Hollow, Washington, a small town on Crescent Lake in the Olympic Peninsula. But truth is, if you were born here, you can never really leave. I’m Kerris Fellwater, and when I returned, I inherited my grandmother’s house—and her gift. As a spirit shaman, it’s my responsibility to drive the dead back to their graves, because around Whisper Hollow, people—and secrets—don’t always stay buried. When I was little, I was told my mother ran off. But now it looks like she was murdered. With the help of my mysterious neighbor Bryan, we begin to unravel the mystery of her disappearance, and in doing so, unearth a dark force seeking to bury Whisper Hollow. Now I must work with the dead, rather than against them, because our enemy will do whatever she can to destroy the town, and she means to start with me.
Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn is the first in The Whisper Hollow series. It is an urban fantasy filled with Irish and Russian mythology that takes place in a small Washington town on Crescent Lake in the Olympia Peninsula. Autumn Thorns with its fleshed out world and heated romance held me spellbound and I look forward to visiting again.
The mystical town of Whisper Hollow is cut off from the rest of the world and inhabited by unique humans and supernatural beings. Lay-lines run through the town and the veil between the living and dead is thinner. Families stay for generations, and others find themselves drawn to Whisper Hollow and never leave. The town holds secrets and all is not as it seems. Do not ignore the hair- raising feeling on the back of your neck or the warning calls of the crows.
I am tickled that I decided to read Autumn Thorns. Galenorn’s books have a readability about them that allow the reader to slip into the stories she creates. She brilliantly described the town and provided a solid understand of the world all while dangling information about things to come. She cleverly weaved in Irish and Russian lore, magic, supernatural creatures and unique methods to create both the tone and the setting. The whole book had a spooky, creepy, otherworld vibe too it and I quickly fell under its spell.
Our protagonist is Kerris Fellwater. She has inherited her grandmother’s home and her gift. Her family has been charged with taking care of the dead/spirits. Kerris left Whisper Hollow for city life in Seattle, but signs began appearing telling her it was time to return home. With her grandmother’s passing she must quickly assume her role as spirit shaman to protect the living from the dead. Secret societies, murder, prophecies, and dark unnatural things moving against Kerri added suspense and danger to this well-paced story.
Kerris is not going to be a pushover, and while she does not know all the rules involving her gift, she is quick on her feet and lets fact rule. I love how strong she is and imagine she will be a force to be reckoned with. Bryan is her mysterious neighbor and love interest. Bryan’s history is interesting and his role will be an important one. He is quiet, and protective. He does not strut around like an alpha unless necessary or during playful times making him quite swoony. I absolutely adored Kerris’s best friend Peggin. The girl has spunk, attitude and packs heat. We meet other key players, and those in power. We learn of our enemies and are giving hints of what to expect as we continue the series.
Autumn Thorns delivers a heated romance as it aligns Kerris with those who will strengthen her gifts. The romance was steamy but remained a side dish to the overall storyline. It had believability and their physical and emotional responses felt genuine.
Autumn Thorn fleshed out the world and its characters. Its dark world, mythology and characters all have me wanting to return. Galenorn wrapped up the murder mystery and successfully ensnared this reader with the overall arc of Whisper Hollow.
Read an Excerpt
When I found them, I’d drop a hint to the owner, and about fifty percent asked me to come in and deal with the spirits. And kicking their astral butts, so to speak, is what kept me from falling over the edge of the cliff into La‑La Land. I began to create my own rites and rituals from the training Lila had given me before I left home, and for the most part they worked. There were a few missteps, some of them embarrassing and a few downright dangerous, but overall, I managed.
In my personal life, I kept to myself. I had met a few friends but no one I felt like I could trust, other than keeping in touch with Peggin. Mostly, I read a lot, and I’m a speed reader and I have a photographic memory when it comes to what I read in books.
I have a lot of time to pursue my hobby. See, once people find out that I hang with spirits . . . well . . . it goes one of two ways: Either they’re afraid of me, or they glom onto me in hopes of gaining tomorrow’s lottery numbers or finding out if old Uncle Joe had actually squirreled away money some‑ where and forgot to leave a note about it in his will. Being a spirit shaman doesn’t make for easy dates, either. When guys find out that I can chat up their dead sisters or friends and get the lowdown on what they’re really like, that usually ends the date. At first, their fear— couched as “It’s not you, it’s me”— bothered me. After all, the boys in Whisper Hollow had accepted me for who I was, quirks and all. So it seemed like a pale excuse. After a while, though, I learned to ignore the brush‑ offs and eventually, I stopped dating, for the most part.
But now I was going home, where everybody in Whisper Hollow is eccentric, in one way or another. Everybody’s just a little bit mad. And I realized that I was actually looking forward to it. Especially since my grandfather was dead and could never bother me again. At least . . . that was my hope. Because in Whisper Hollow, the dead don’t always stay put where you plant them.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
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