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I have to respond. I'm so happy for all the good credits Joel gets for his "Caraliza". It was so much fun to work with him, reading the whole story about that scared wonderfull girl and making it all come together. It felt so special to be a part of it although I live at the other side of the world and never have met Joel in real life (yet). It was also special to share this with Kelly, our eldest daughter who made the photografs and designed the cover for the book. Hope lots of people will discover this wonderfull story and have the fun in reading it. Once you started reading you hardly can stop, I promiss you that. Your friend for ever Irma
Irma van der Staal Dutch translator for 'Caraliza'
[This] is a surprising ghost story that debuts in the slums of New York in 1919. At first I was surprised at the setting because I don’t believe my brother has ever been to New York and although he is old – I know he wasn’t alive after the turn of the century. But in spite of that he was able to give me (the reader) a clear picture of what it might have looked like and how the people behaved. I found this to be very intriguing.
This is not only a ghost story, it is a love story and the way Joel unfolds the love between two of the main characters is at once tender and delicate. I don’t know if he labored over this or if it just popped out of his head onto the computer screen, but the naive attitude portrayed by the two young lovers is refreshingly sweet considering the bold raunchy world of print and film these days.
Click here to read Kevin Kirkpatrick's full review of Caraliza
"The brilliant glow of his soul in their mouths as Caraliza prevented its escape into the air."
Caraliza is a gripping but also lovely, potent novel that is about human endurance, connection, and our capacity for love despite distance and time. What makes the book so incredible is the fact that it constantly surprises. Like any good book, there's a dynamic here that is difficult to recreate in summary if I want to do the story justice, but I'll try: Caraliza is about the endurance of genuine romance, the beauty of hope, the ability to imagine and remember love so vividly that it becomes immune to death. This book is part mystery, part fantastical, part dark realism, and yet it is the baffling and remarkable nature of love that drives each plot shift, injects each gritty scene with beauty and softness, and clearly defines each character's role. Caraliza is a beautifully written and utterly unique work that, like love, is sure to endure.
Jen Knox author of 'Musical Chairs'
I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. It's so much more than a paranormal romantic mystery. The living breathe life into the dead. The dead have a message, a story they need told to the living. A menacing ghost terrorizes a family. In this book, the love is so tangible it made me sigh with envy. The author's words and style are beautiful. I found myself transported right into the scene, right into each era. I was totally immersed in the story. I enjoyed my time in the naughty closet.
I haven't read anything this moving or beautiful in longer than I can remember. The book made me want to cry. I gasped at the unexpected twist at the end. I loved Shelly and Evan as much as I did Caraliza and Yousep. This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you finish reading it.
Jen Hilborne author of 'No Alibi' and 'Madness and Murder'
Where do I start reviewing this book. First, I wish it was a true story, because I would go there on my next vacation. Joel pulls you into this story so niely. You want to meet the characters- you will fall in love with the characters. You will feel all the ups and downs, good times and bad times. This book covers a 75 year span, at least, and you will enjoy reading about the different time periods.the only time I was disappointed was the end. Don't get me wrong, I loved the ending, but hated that it had to end!
Barbara Ensign a Smashwords reader
Author Joel Kirkpatrick pulls us in emotionally from the very first pages of this sad tale of a teenaged Dutch girl sold into servitude and near starvation in an early 20th century New York slum, and the young man who is doomed to save her from her oppressor, and at any cost. Their story spans almost an entire century, full of rich, well-developed characters and paranormal twists that will keep you guessing until the complete mosaic of their life together is revealed in the very last pages. A story that is sad, chilling, and uplifting.
Mark Paul Jacobs author of 'Yaakmen of Tyrie' and other fine works.
The cover of this book is what first drew me. Caraliza, the cover, is haunting, stark and beautiful. I soon found out that Caraliza, the book, is as well. This is a story of brutality, survival, deceit, revenge, and enduring love. Kirkpatrick opens with a brilliant piece of historical fiction. He then effortlessly transitions to the current day, yet we don't lose the characters we've grown to love. They haunt us, as they haunt the pages of the book.
This isn't a fast-paced thriller, nor is it meant to be. Kirkpatrick takes his time, allowing the story to unfold at its own pace. Suspense, intrigue, despair, mystery, romance, terror, love, tragedy and hope fill these pages. By the end, I felt like I'd come to know the characters as friends. And I was sad to see them go.
Darcia Helle author of 'The Cutting Edge' and other fine works.
Gems: Caraliza is a story possessed by stark hauntings that will grip your nerves from the first page and drag you into a grisly nightmare that will both seduce and frighten the reader. Much like the photo of Caraliza, it is impossible to turn your eyes away from the macabre on the page and within them, a person will see both beauty and horrible abuse. However, the ghastliness is not achieved through simple shock value, but by displaying an imaginary realness and believable richness of history. It is also amplified by the love that creates a harmonious balance and chilling sensuality that is genuinely romantic. The intimacy between characters will bring a tingle to your skin and a sigh to your heart. Caraliza is a great achievement in pairing the paranormal with romance. It’s stunningly grounded and had me holding my breath at parts in the story. The plot is not obviously predictable, although readers might think themselves clever by assuming they’ve figured out what will come. However, the twist isn’t so extreme that it implodes. Clues are dropped along the way like breads crumbs and with each sorrow comes a morsel of joy. It is as if one can not be achieved without the other. I absolutely adored the line, “I’ll not wait to die to haunt him.” This story will haunt me for some time, but much like Shelly, I welcome the sensations and fright. It too made me feel alive and perhaps, a bit spooky for loving it so much. It is a rarity for me to read a book twice, but I will revisit this story again. As far as I’m concerned, Caraliza is an absolute MUST read and one I will return to. So no, I will not share my copy.
Flaws: The book has left me speechless in this department. A terrible shame that I did not write it, but I applaud the author who did.
Bitsyblingbooks.com Charlie Courtland, author of 'Dandelions in the Garden', and 'The Hidden Will of the Dragon'.
I just finished this book and the only words that I can use to describe it right now are that it was absolutely, positively one of the most amazing books that I have ever read! Just read it!!
Karen Ratkowski a Goodreads reader