Great read 🏆

This second installment plunges readers into yet another ghostly mystery of epic proportions. Time is against Alex and his new comrades as their search leads them to a place no soul wants to wonder, the Underworld where souls become lost eternally.


BOOK DETAILS:

  • Author : Vicki-Ann Bush
  • Narrator : Marcus Rothenberg
  • Publication Date: March 30, 2021
  • Length : 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Series : Alex McKenna, Book 2
  • Publisher : The Parliament House
  • Genre: YA Paranormal

After surviving a harrowing case, Alex McKenna just wanted to rest. Unfortunately, his plans are interrupted by the ghost of seven-year-old Haven, who is lost in an in-between realm.

Despite his great-grandmother’s warning, Alex crosses the bridge between the living and the dead, sending him and his girlfriend into the world of the Academy of Souls, a high school for dead teens who are unable to complete their journey.

There, Alex meets Ophelia, Haven’s teenage sister, who’s been searching for her for more than a century. Together, with a few friends he meets along the way, Alex must cross the treacherous terrain of the Underworld in-between to save Haven from the clutches of the Soul Gatherer and reunite the sisters.

Listen to an audio excerpt here.


OUR REVIEW

Ophelia trembled as a cool breeze swept across the base of the neck. She shivered. Whipping her head around, a shadow danced across the glass of the large rectangular window toward the back of the room. Everyone in the room stopped what they were reading to look up. The air carried a feeling of discontent that wrapped itself around the room squeezing out every drop of pleasure.

Chapter 1, Alex McKenna & the Academy of Souls

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 and solves mysteries! Who doesn’t love that?

This story begins with a little bit about the Academy of Souls and Ophelia’s current state, a ghost. Once dead, she resolved herself to finding her lost sister’s soul instead of letting herself accept the light. She’s had plenty of chances, but without knowing if her sister has found peace too after her soul was taken by a snatcher, she can’t leave the in-between. Locked in an alternate school overlaying an actual school in the living world, she becomes quickly aware of Alex, a boy who can see ghosts, her specifically, and who may have also had contact with her sister. Alex McKenna and his girlfriends/sidekick just unwrapped a horrific mystery, but is all too willing to jump into this one to help Ophelia and friends. It is now just a race against time to find Ophelia’s sister, Haven, but will they be in danger of separating from their souls as they progress?

Bush dives into a ghost realm, filled with creativity and original content. While some scenes are a bit extreme, the overall plot is entertaining. The character development does provide a bit of confusion at times with the multitude of extended mention of frivolous characters that do not contribute to the story-line, but this narrator does not disappoint. 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.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Originally from New York, I currently reside in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, I find inspiration from events that have been in my life for as long as I can remember. Inheriting the sensitivity to the supernatural from my family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.

Released in September 2019 from The Parliament House, Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths. The first book in a YA, Paranormal, LGBTQ series, that features a seventeen year old, transgender boy with paranormal abilities. Book Two, Alex McKenna & The Academy of Souls, debuted October 2020.

I have several titles that have received Readers’  Favorite Five Star seal, as well as the 2017 & 2018 winner of, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Most recently, Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths,  received the Gold medal in the Readers Favorite Book Awards Contest for Young Adult, Paranormal.

How did you select your narrator? Marcus had narrated the first book and I loved his voice so there was no other choice for me on the second one.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? There was. Amry is inspired by my cousin, Mary. We lost her to cancer a couple of years ago and it had a huge impact on my family. I used my perception of Mary as a teen and created the character, Amry. I’ve also dedicated the book to her.

Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? I think the action scenes can be brought to life and become very vivid in audio a bit more than reading them.

Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams? Yes, Alex. I was struggling with a scene, not sure which direction I wanted to go in. Alex came to me in a dream and laid the whole thing out. It was pretty convenient. 

Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? Yes. Alex is from New York, the Yankees are mentioned in the series, and Italian and Chinese food. I also have several songs from different decades in my Spotify Playlist for each book.


ABOUT THE NARRATOR

Marcus Rothenberg is a voiceover artist born and raised in Springfield, Illinois. After high school, Marcus joined the AirForce 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 2018. 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 tabletop games, video games, reading, and kayaking.

Alex McKenna Series

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