Marc reviews ‘Stumptown Spirits’ (Legend Tripping #1) by E.J. Russell. The book was published by Riptide Publishing on May 16th, 2016. It is 270 pages long and the cover was designed by L.C. Chase.
RGR received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Read my interview with E.J. Russel HERE.
The cover and blurb really intrigued me. I love paranormal stories and I had to check out this book.
What price would you pay to rescue a friend from hell?
For Logan Conner, the answer is almost anything. Guilt-ridden over trapping his college roommate in a ghost war rooted in Portland’s pioneer past, Logan has spent years searching for a solution. Then his new boyfriend, folklorist Riley Morrel, inadvertently gives him the key. Determined to pay his debt—and keep Riley safe—Logan abandons Riley and returns to Portland, prepared to give up his freedom and his future to make things right.
Crushed by Logan’s betrayal, Riley drops out of school and takes a job on a lackluster paranormal investigation show. When the crew arrives in Portland to film an episode about a local legend of feuding ghosts, he stumbles across Logan working at a local bar, and learns the truth about Logan’s plan.
Their destinies once more intertwined, the two men attempt to reforge their relationship while dodging a narcissistic TV personality, a craven ex-ghost, and a curmudgeonly bar owner with a hidden agenda. But Logan’s date with destiny is looming, and his life might not be the only one at stake.
Find out more about Stumptown Spirits
I loved the idea of this book and there was a lot of potential, but the execution was not always as smooth as I hoped.
From the very beginning I was intrigued by this book. The cover looks great and made me want to find out more about it. The blurb was interesting and the story archs itself was great.
I’m really interested in movies and TV shows, so the inclusion of a paranormal investigation show hooked me. The book gives a behind the scene look of a reality TV production and I enjoyed that aspect. While I have never watched those kind of shows, the fact that readers know ghosts are real in this story creates a wonderful tension. There is a sense of danger, something mysterious in a very fake ‘Reality TV’ world.
The Urban Legend used as basis for the TV show was fantastic to explore and the stakes were high with a friend being stuck as ghost for years. On the surface it is really my kind of story and there is much to like about it, but there were many details that just didn’t quite work for me and made me unable to connect with the story and the characters in the way I had hoped.
There were some cheesy dialogues, several plot holes and some character actions that did not make sense to me.
I thought Logan was courageous and loyal to his friend. He did not forget about him and sacrifices everything to try to rescue him. However, the path he chose to help his friend seemed unneccesarily self torturous to me. Especially that he insisted to hurt himself and Riley when other choices were possible.
Riley seemed very nice and I liked his friendship with the TV director and his struggle to fit in. I identified with him, until he risked his heart to finally get answers about Riley’s betrayal (after just barely escaping physical violence) and acted extremely immature, walking away from all the answers he seeked.
The basic construct worked well for me and I liked the characters far more when they stopped being stupid and worked together. I wouldn’t even mind for the characters to act stupidly or make mistakes from time to time. We all do. It’s more about how it happens. I never found it credible for Logan to think making his own life so miserable that he was almost suicidal was the best course of action. Nor had I ever expected Riley to let Logan use him and not even try to get the answers he wanted so desperately. Nor did I expect them to get aroused during a hate crime that put them in serious danger, because they were so hot for each other. There were several such moments that pulled me out of the story.
There were great moments in the book as well and it was really fun at times and had me interested in finding out how the author would resolve everything in the end. It’s not a bad story, but it could have been an amazing story and I felt disappointed that the book wasn’t able to reach its potential.
6/10 Pots of Gold (60% Recommended) – Compares to 3/5 Stars
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
Connect with E.J.:
- Website: ejrussell.com
- Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author
- Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/
- Google+: plus.google.com/+EJRussell