I m always up for a good haunted house tale, and when that haunted house happens to be an old psychiatric hospital well, consider me intrigued I ve been disappointed on than one occasion when the haunting was passed off as just a psychotic delusion, or the craziest of the patients were exonerated by the presence of the supernatural, but everything I read about Circe suggested that Jessica Penot wouldn t settle for either easy out.I still had my doubts, especially around the mid point, but Jessica ultimately provided a reasonable balance between the two worlds.There were two aspects of the book that really sold me on the story the atmosphere and the characters This is a very dark, claustrophobic feeling book, and one that weighs heavily upon the reader It s the kind of book that feels as if it should be read in a darkened corner, preferably with a storm battering against the windows, no matter how much you may feel the need to escape into the open sunshine Jessica does a masterful job of situating the reader within the corridors of the hospital, so much so that you can smell the mould and the disinfectant, and feel the rough textures beneath your fingertips.As for the characters, they re not particularly likeable, but they re strong and fully realized something I can truly appreciate David doesn t start out as a bad guy, just an ambitious, well meaning young man with a significant flaw He s actually introduced as being deserving of our sympathy, so it s quite a shock when we see him selfishly engage in some anonymous, no strings attached, alleyway sex As for what happens later well, let s just say this man has issues His wife is an interesting character, a woman who balances herself between cultures, but she doesn t have much of a role to play which is a shame Cassie is a great character, dangerously seductive, but charismatic and captivating enough to overcome the reader s better judgement You know damn well she won t be good for David, but you can t help but be perversely fascinated by the paths down which she leads him.I m pleased to say the story didn t develop quite as I had expected, which is always refreshing I thought I had the ending figured out, but Jessica packs a few nice twists and turns into the story before she lets us go Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins Awesome book By an author I never heard of, I was so pleased These are the rare treats one finds picking a cheaper book to kill a few minutes, and suddenly being transported into an amazing new realm by an amazing new author Way to nail it, Jessica Penot Such amazing descriptive talent I am awed An unredeemable narrator and way too much fat shaming for my taste. This book was given to me as part of the author s book tour in exchange for an honest review I love a story that makes me pissed off at the main character.Some readers are all about the likeability factor You have to like the person in the story in order to continue the journey While I think that is true, I also think that showing your main character to have horrible flaws is an intriguing way to keep your reader in the moment That s just what Jessica Penot does in her novel, Circe.Here s the synopsis When Dr David Black takes an internship at a very old psychiatric hospital back home in Alabama, he vows two things that he will be a better husband to his beautiful and loving wife Pria, and that he will stop cheating on her Then his enigmatic supervisor Dr Cassie Allen, a self proclaimed witch with ties to the underworld, begins to draw him into her darkness David finds it hard to resist her wicked sensuality, but even harder to resist her evil pull As strange and violent deaths pile up left and right, David realizes that Cassie s psychotic behavior is connected to the mysterious hospital itself There a demonic force threatens to destroy everything that David holds dear his wife, his family, even his very sanity.I really expected the paranormal element in this story to be what drew me in After all, I m a paranormal freak While the strange factor is pretty awesome in this book, it s actually the characters that intrigued me and made Circe a great read I was really torn on my feelings about Dr Black On the one hand, I liked that he was willing to work hard and take on the tough floor of Circe s mental institution, but it really irritated me that he continued to cheat on his wife, Pria He worships her in so many ways, but yet, is unable to be faithful to her He wants to be a good doctor, but he is drawn to the odd happenings at Circe The idea of being a father is upsetting to him, and yet, he wants to be one, too Some moments he hates his newly forming family, and at other times, he can t imagine living without them Pria was also an interesting character She knows what s going on with her husband, but sticks by him, pledging her love Normally, I would be turned off by what I would consider doormat behavior, but I think this character has just enough likeability to make the reader root for her and not feel that she is being taken advantage of.And then there s the bad guy Or girl in this case, the bad girl Cassie s a real piece of work with few scruples and a morbid dedication to her job I thought Penot did a great job of creating a witch character that wasn t too over the top and yet still incredibly creepy.The plot is fast paced and tight No complaints there I read this in about two days and didn t want to put it down Jessica Penot has several other novels released and I will definitely check them out Of the many, many things I ve reviewed or read this summer, Circe rates high on my top ten lists Book Title Circe Author Jessica PenotPublished By Lachesis PublishingAge Recommended 18 Reviewed By Kitty BullardRaven Rating 4Review Jessica Penot is an amazing writer with the ability to write a psychological thriller that will leave you wanting to crawl under the covers and hide Circe , is about a man that would do anything to make his wife happy, even though he s still unable to stop cheating on her So, when the couple moves back to their old home in Alabama and he takes on an internship at a local mental asylum called Circe , he doesn t realize the true insanity that will consume him or what his ambition will cost him in the end.A classic story of one human being realizing that the line between perfect sanity and insanity is paper thin and sometimes it s hard to tell the difference between the two A fantastic tale and very commendable book I would definitely recommend it Read This book had me a bit confused at first because I couldn t quite grasp what was going on However, the I read the I realized this was not your ordinary horror novel Just like a mystery, you have to dig deep to find the secrets hidden within.Dr Black is a very complicated man at least from my perspective At times he seems to know exactly what he wants and others, he s not so sure I find him to be utterly confusing because of to me it seemed like he had a split personality For one thing, he loves his wife and would do anything to make her happy, but he also thinks that if he physically not emotionally cheats on her then he s not really being unfaithful.Due to the well written plot, I just had to find out what was behind the closed doors of Circe and that alone motivated me to keep reading Cassie and Dr Black s odd relationship was both frustrating and I say this because he is a married man and interesting They are both strange yet, they seem to fit together somehow Of course, this all adds to the enigma that Circe is.I would be lying if I said I didn t enjoy this interesting story, because it was not what I was expecting As an avid reader, I appreciate tales that are outside the box and I think this is one of them If you re looking for a story that will leave you guessing most times incorrectly what comes next then this is a book for you. This book blends the story of a couple, their friends, and their work with an otherworldly aspect It is at times grotesque, but also compelling Penot captures and hold the reader s attention throughout the book I m looking forward to Circe s sequel. Amazing. Dr Black Is A Good Man With A Few Vices He Is Willing To Sacrifice His Career For His Wife, Pria He Takes An Internship At A Hick Institution In Southern Alabama To Make His Wife Happy, But Once He Is Situated In This Old Hospital, He Finds That Old Habits Die Hard He Is Sexually Compulsive And Easily Seduced By His Supervisor, Cassie, Who Takes Him To The Bowels Of The Institution And Shows Him Its Tragic History As Dr Black Loses Himself In His Obsession With Cassie, He Becomes Convinced That She Is The Key To Circe S Mythology And Magic And A Series Of Bizarre Murders Leaves Him Convinced That She Has Opened The Gates To Another World Madness And Sanity Begin To Blur For Dr Black And He Becomes Entangled In The Mystery At The Heart Of Circe A Mystery That S As Old As The Ancient Hospital Itself A Mystery That Could Incriminate Cassie, An Old God, Or Dr Black Himself David Black will do anything for his wife, including sacrificing his own career in order to make sure she stays happy Returning home to Alabama, he takes an offer to work at the old psychiatric hospital called Circe He s not thrilled about the idea in general, but Pria s happiness is of the upmost importance and overrides all of his desires What Pria wants, she gets, and what she wants is a stable home in Alabama, one she demands he provide for her.Settling into his new life at Circe, things are anything but normal Most especially when David finds himself drawn to Dr Cassie Allen She s beautiful, brazen, and she also claims to be a witch While he s not exactly sure if she s actually what she claims to be, he s willing to give her the benefit of a doubt She intrigues him to no end and he wants nothing than to discover the secrets she harbors within Circe s walls.Lost within Cassie s allure, David finds himself immersed within a world he never thought possible Her dabbling in the dark arts makes him wonder if he s begun to lose his mind as the body count within Circe s walls begins to rise He tells himself that Cassie doesn t have a hand in what s happened, but deep inside he knows better Her behavior is downright psychotic and she s doing things he can t quite explain.His wife has started to notice the changes in his demeanor, demanding that he tell her exactly what he s up to She loves him and wants to stand by him, but she needs to know what s wrong in order to help him get better.David, on the other hand, isn t quite sure as to what is real or what is a figment of his imagination His time within the facility has started to play heavily with his mind, making him question his very sanity There s something different about Circe, something he can t quite explain He knows he ll need to figure out what that is if he s to succeed in coming back from the brink of darkness Unfortunately, that s easier said than done.While this is not your usual paranormal read, I think Jessica did a beautiful job in drawing out each element of the story s otherworldly setting quite beautifully It s chock full of intrigue, suspense, and quite a few instances that make you go, Wait did that just happen Granted, there are also quite a few spots that make you go Eww, but I think that s what makes Circe truly unique The facility is a character in itself that leaves the reader wondering what will happen next within its walls Beautifully crafted, it s a story that will keep you turning pages until the very end.
I am a counselor and writer who lives in Alabama with my dogs, cats, children, and other strange creatures I love things that go bump in the night and I love escaping from the real world into stories that whisper of something fantastic.
- 208 pages
- Jessica Penot
- 15 August 2017 Jessica Penot