Author: Vicki-Ann Bush
Narrator: Marcus Rothenberg
Length: 8 hours 38 minutes
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: June 10, 2020
Genre: YA Paranormal
For Alex McKenna, high school is just a distraction from the love of his life Margaret, with whom he can’t wait to spend more time once they get to college. In many respects, Alex is just an average 17-year-old boy…except for the fact he’s a transgender medium born from a long line of Strega witches, possessing the ability to communicate with ghosts.
With the help of Margaret and his talented Strega great-grandmother, Alex will learn how to strengthen his abilities. The dead need Alex to help them reconcile issues they left behind, and he finds that he needs them, too.
As his abilities multiply, assisting the dead becomes an outlet to channel his new energy, giving him the strength to come to terms with who he is as a transgender male and how far he will choose to go.
Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently reside in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting the sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.
Newly released on September 24, 2019 from The Parliament House, the YA Paranormal LGBTQ, Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths. A series of books that will feature a seventeen year old, transgender boy with paranormal abilities.
Author has several titles that have received Reader’s Favorite Five Star seal, as well as the 2017 & 2018 winner of, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading.
Coming October 20th, 2020, the release of book 2, Alex McKenna & The Academy of Souls.
Marcus Rothenberg is a voiceover artist born and raised in Springfield, Illinois. After high school, Marcus joined the Air Force as an air traffic controller. Once out of the service, he began to pursue his passions, including his dream career as a voice over artist. Marcus began pursuing voice work full time in November of 2019. Since then, he has lent his voice to multiple projects ranging from commercials, to commissioned Dungeons and Dragons character voices, to full length audiobooks. He currently lives back in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois and is continuing to use his voice to fuel his passion. When Marcus is not recording, he enjoys table top games, video games, reading, and kayaking.
Alex felt like an outsider. Maybe it was because he suspected his abilities made his new stepmother nervous; he hoped not. That would mean she might act differently toward Wilby once he got the know. It was quiet with no one home, and he liked that. He had time to think and do some uninterrupted research. There was homework, but it took a backseat to the more pressing issue–murder. Over the years, he had managed to figure out the balance. Even when things were out of hand in the spirit world, he found a way to make up what he missed in the living one. Not to say it wasn’t difficult. A second search through Google produced several failed attempts at learning any new information until he came across a small paragraph. The only thing that could remotely explain the frozen bodies was Flash Freezing. The victims would have had to come into contact with liquid nitrogen at a deadly -320.8°F, which could be feasible for Mr. Earley if he were frozen and then dumped. Or, Grace Johnson. However, none of that explains Mrs. Brewster. How would the murderer just freeze her head while it was still attached to her body?
Having the gift of sight would probably be helpful, but would it be scary? Imagine you are sleeping and you suddenly wake up to find a ghost sitting on your bed or standing over you, just waiting for you to open your eyes. That would be pretty terrifying for some. For others, it might be entertaining. Who knows. In this world filled with paranormal activity, Alex McKenna is the lead character and Bush has added a little bit of spice to his character. He sees ghosts! Who doesn’t love that?
Alex lives with his mom and his younger brother. His mom’s family has the gift of sight, the ability to see into the spirit world, but Alex frets that his brother won’t possess the gift since he hasn’t yet shown any signs. His grandmother helps where she can, but things are starting to fall on Alex’s shoulders now seeing as his mom tries to avoid the sight. All he wants to do is help them. When a dead body with a frozen head is found in his small town, he knows immediately that he has to become involved. This is definitely not natural. He enlists the help of his best friend, Margaret, and his mom. Getting his mom involved would only be possible if he gave her no ultimatum; he knows she seems them too, but she can’t hide from it. Looking into as much research as possible, it slowly leads them to the past…which happens to have a great deal to do with the house that he lives in. His beloved home once had a wicked past, filled with hate, that he never saw it? How is that possible? When another body is found the same way, Alex knows he is just barely scratching the surface and needs to find something fast. As if on queue, his grandmother reveals a pattern between murders. The killings seem to occur every six days leading up to Halloween. Wicked! Knowing a timeline helps, so Alex sets out to find as many answers as he possibly can before its too late and another death is on their hands. What awaits him, Margaret, and his mom is nothing more than the insatiable lust for revenge. Who’s revenge is the question? And once they’ve invited it in, how will they survive?
Bush has an interesting take on this YA Paranormal story. She’s included some mystery, suspense and a bit of a romance. From the narration, it is a bit hard to tell whether the story has been written well, as the narrator stumbles over a few words and repeats himself a few times throughout. These errors are few and far between, and should not hinder enjoyment of the story. Rothenberg does show his skill in his ability to captivate his audience by drawing personalities into the characters that Bush has created with his voice. His narration is entertaining and suits the story quite well. The pace appears to be well kept and steady during voice relay, while the tone of story switches back and forth between a light and more serious setting in the appropriate places. If you are interested in reading YA Paranormal, supernatural mysteries, and suspense, you may want to pick this one up.
An audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a four-star rating to Alex McKenna & the Geranium Deaths by Vicki-Ann Bush.
Q&A with Author Vicki-Ann Bush
Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook. For me it was a dream come true. I’d been with my previous publisher for over seven years and none of my books were offered in audio. Honestly, the first day I saw it on Amazon and heard the excerpt, I cried. But that didn’t answer the question. My publisher, The Parliament House, auditioned narrators and sent me a sample of one they thought would be a good fit. I agreed, and after that it was primarily waiting for everything to be completed.
Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? For this book, yes. It was part of my contract with the publisher.
Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? Actually, yes. The protagonist Alex McKenna, was written for someone very close to my heart who is transgender. I wanted a character that is transgender but that component of his life is his. He shares what he wants and the rest is focused on the paranormal.
If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? Since time travel is one of my favorite topics, I love this question. Yes, I would absolutely travel back in time. I’d center it around my family, see my grandma when she was a kid, and my mom and dad too. Maybe revisit certain precious memories of my childhood and the childhood of my children. Oh and the early 20th century, 1910 – 1939.
If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles? I’ve been looking at various young adult, trans male actors, and one that stood out to me is Theo Germaine.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”? My sister in-law and brother both drive daily for a specimen company. They’re on the road for nearly eight hours a day, five days a week. Audio books allow them to enjoy the stories they don’t have time for and the books help keep the day interesting. So I’d say to those who question the validity of audio vs. “real reading”, understand that not everyone may have time to read with the pages between their fingers but it doesn’t mean they should be denied the stories they love.
How did you celebrate after finishing this novel? My go to is wine (red of course), Mexican food, and dark chocolate.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? Since I’ve done both, I think for a series the pros are being familiar with the characters and the background. Cons are you’re trying to outdo the last book and keep the existing characters fresh. For a stand alone, I think for me it’s only pros. You create, build, and then when it’s over you move on.
What’s next for you? Releasing on October 20th, 2020 is the second installment of the Alex McKenna series, Alex Mckenna & The Academy of Souls.
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