Monday, June 25, 2018

Book Review/Giveaway!! Echo Moon, by Laura Spinella

Echo Moon
(Ghost Gifts, Book 3)
Laura Spinella
Trade Paperback, 428 pages
Montlake Romance
May 22, 2018
Fantasy, Magical Realism, 
Paranormal Fiction, Romance

A past life, a past war, and a past love. Peter St John can’t foresee a future until he confronts his past sins.
When photojournalist Peter St John returns home after a two-year absence, the life he’s been running from catches up. For years his mother’s presence, coupled with Pete’s own psychic gift, has triggered visits to 1917. There, he relives battles of the Great War, captures the heyday of Coney Island on canvas, and falls in love with an enchanting and enigmatic songstress named Esme. Present-day Pete still pines for Esme, and his love endures…but so does his vivid memory of killing her.

When he discovers family heirlooms that serve as proof of his crimes, Pete will have to finally confront his former life. He also meets a young woman—who is more than what she seems—with a curious connection to his family. As century-old secrets unravel, can Pete reconcile a murder from his past before it destroys his future?

I received a complementary copy of this 
compelling novel from TLC Book Tours, 
in exchange for my honest review, 
and I can honestly say that I loved it! 
All opinions are my own.

This riveting, well-crafted novel packs it all in -- paranormal events such as ghosts and time travel, mystery, suspense, and romance. Furthermore, all of these elements are seamlessly tied together, for the perfect, compulsive, until-three-in-the-morning read! The plot moves along beautifully, without missing a beat, with clues and twists that, while not always action-packed, do keep the story moving forward.

The fascinating background includes life in New York City right before and during World War I, following a troupe of traveling carnival performers led by one Oscar Bodette, their leader and impresario. We get to meet some of these performers, but the one most important to the story is Esmerelda Moon, ersatz psychic seer, whose true talent is singing. 

Peter St. John, the male protagonist, has been psychically tormented for years -- he keeps seeing visions of the moment in which he killed the woman he loved, back in 1917. That woman is Esmerelda Moon, whom he nicknamed "Esme", back in her time, when he was known as Phineas ("Phin") Seaborn, painter and photographer.

The story moves back and forth between the present day and the early 20th century, with Pete frantically attempting to discover clues to his horrible visions, which have kept him from living his present life to the fullest. In past years, he has escaped from the madness by immersing himself in his career; he is a photojournalist who has covered many important world conflicts. 

On a recent visit to his parents, the past catches up with him, and he realizes that he can no longer avoid facing it. A mysterious postcard -- what his mother, Aubrey, a powerful psychic in her own right, calls a "ghost gift" -- becomes a very important clue. Messages suddenly appear on this card, and Pete knows he must follow the clues.

The novel is full of very vivid characters, starting with Pete himself, and including his parents, Levi and Aubrey, Grace, his ex-girlfriend, whom he left because he was afraid to be in a relationship he might end up sabotaging, and, of course, Esme herself, whose beautiful spirit shines throughout the story. Then there's one Benjamin Hupp, who is obviously just as smitten with Esme as Phin is, but whose intentions toward her are rather dubious. All of these characters bring their various emotions and conflicts to the story, and all of them leave an indelible mark on the reader.

The story of Esme and Phin is a bittersweet, very romantic one, and I found myself wondering how on earth he could have killed her. I must admit that this put me off at first, since I don't like to get inside the head of any criminal, unless I'm fairly certain that said criminal will get his/her just desserts in the end. However, the more I read about Esme and Phin together, the more I doubted that he had, indeed, killed her. Yet, the evidence was all there.... So this added to the mystery and suspense.

I totally fell in love with Phin/Pete! (Heck, they even have the same initials -- P.S.) Whether in the early years of the 20th century, or the early years of the 21st, he was a wonderful character! Pete's integrity, his commitment to excellence (a trait he shared with Phin, his "alter ego"), as well as his relentless search for the truth about his life, while wanting to make sure that no one close to him suffered because of his outbursts (caused by his uncontrollable visions), made him a very appealing character. Furthermore, he was actually very romantic, both as Phin, with Esme, and as Pete, with the girl whom he ultimately met, later on in the novel.

Esme was just as wonderful! She fell head over heels in love with Phin, and she was a sweet, gentle soul who had been wronged by people who could have crushed her spirit. That they never managed to do so is a testament to her courage and strength, as well as her determination to succeed as a singer. She and Phin made a great couple, so my "trips" back to 1917 were full of wonderfully magical moments, although they were tinged by the oppressive feeling of the impending tragedy.... (And I kept thinking, "Please, don't let it be really Phin who did it, please.....")

I have always been fascinated by the topics of psychic phenomena and reincarnation, and it was great to see both combined into this novel! The topic of time travel is also a fascinating one for me. I thought that Spinella handled all three just right, making it very easy for this reader to get totally immersed in a captivating tale!

In addition to all of the above, this novel has a most unusual and totally original structure -- traditional chapter headings are used for the portions of the story that take place in the present time, while, for the parts that take place in 1917, the headings are those used for plays. For example, the book opens with "Act One, Scene I, Brooklyn, New York, 1917", which is then followed by "Chapter One". These alternate throughout the novel. I found this technique extremely interesting! These changes also made it very easy to know when one was in the early 20th or the early 21st century.

Summing up, I am giving Echo Moon five well-deserved stars! Spinella is simply a terrific storyteller! This is such a beautifully written work, with characters that become totally real, and events that capture the reader's attention to the end, that I simply could not give the book any less than the five stars!

Now I need to read the other books in this series! I know they will be just as fascinating!


Purchase Links

This giveaway is sponsored by TLC Book Tours. They will be giving 
the prize to the winner.
A Night's Dream of Books is only hosting this giveaway.

You can WIN a signed,
paperback copy 
of Echo Moon, Book 3 in the 
Ghost Gifts series!!

This giveaway starts at midnight today, 6/25/18, and ends at midnight on 7/2/18!


You must be 13 or older to enter,
and actually perform the action
for all the entries selected.

You will have 48 hours to reply to an
email notification of your win.
After that, another winner will be chosen.


These are the previous installments 
in this great series!! 
Click on the covers 
for the Goodreads pages!

Laura Spinella is the author of the Ghost Gifts trilogy—including Echo MoonForetold, and the #1 Kindle bestseller Ghost Gifts—as well as the highly acclaimed Unstrung and the award-winning novel Beautiful Disaster. She is a two-time RITA finalist who consistently receives reader and industry praise for her multifaceted characters, emotional complexity, and intriguing story lines.
Spinella lives with her family near Boston, where she can always be found writing her next novel. She enjoys hearing from readers and chatting with book clubs.

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!


  1. Super review Maria. The book sounds very good. Stories that take place in two time periods are popular these days. They can work very well however. This one sounds like it embodies a lot of realistic emotions as well as good plot and characters. It is interesting thaf this is the third book in a series. It sounds more like a standalone series.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks for the compliment!! <3 <3

      Yes, this book is VERY interesting! I love the dual timelines, as well!

      The dialogues in this book are EXCELLENT, and the characters are SO vivid, you really get involved in the story. So yes, there are a lot of very realistic emotions!

      You're also right that this book can be read as a standalone. However, I do want to read the other two books in the series.

      I see that you've entered the giveaway. Good luck to you, and thanks for entering!

      Thanks for the great comment, too!! <3 :)

  2. Wow. Great review and I can see how much you really loved this one. You know, I own Ghost Gifts and honestly had no clue it was part of a series. I love dual timelines in books and the concept of reincarnation is fascinating so I better put these on my reading list!

    1. Hi, Barb!

      Thanks for the compliment!! <3 <3

      Yeah, I SURE did!! And I KNOW you will, too, Barb! So yeah, you should read "Ghost Gifts". I want to read it, too, and then move on to the second book -- "Foretold".

      Dual timelines and reincarnation are favorite topics of mine, as well!

      Thanks for commenting!! Hope you're going to enter the giveaway!!


  3. Oh my god, this book sounds like it was written for me. Sounds like it has a lot of different and amazing themes. I need to read it!

    1. Hi, Steph!

      I'm glad you like it!! I only wish this were an international giveaway, but the prize will be awarded by TLC Book Tours, and not me. If I were the one giving away this book, FOR SURE the giveaway would be international!

      This book does indeed have amazing themes!! Hope you get to read it!!

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. I have heard of Author Laura Spinella and would love to read her Ghost Gifts Series. Thank you

    1. Hi, Linda!

      Oh, you have? GREAT!! I hope you get to read the entire "Ghost Gifts" series!!

      You're very welcome for the giveaway! Thanks for entering!! <3 :)

  5. Thanks for your fantastic review for the tour!

    1. Hi, Heather!

      You're very welcome! As you can see, I GREATLY enjoyed this novel!!

      Thanks for the lovely comment!! <3 :)


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