Monday, January 12, 2015

BOOM! Read my review of Struck by Clarissa Johal

Welcome to the blog tour celebrating the 1 Year Anniversary of the release of Paranormal Gothic Horror Novel ~ STRUCK by Clarissa Johal.   Follow the tour (schedule posted below) to read new reviews, interviews with Clarissa, and exclusive excerpts. "The shadows hadn't been waiting. The shadows had been invited."

~About the Book~

After a painful breakup, Gwynneth Reese moves in with her best friend and takes a job at a retirement home. She grows especially close to one resident, who dies alone the night of a terrific storm. On the way home from paying her last respects, Gwynneth is caught in another storm and is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of being rescued by a mysterious stranger. Following her release from the hospital, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift--one that will stay the hands of death. Gwynneth is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something more sinister... for as he shares more and more of this gift, his price becomes more and more deadly.
Book Details:
Genre: Paranormal Gothic Horror
Author(s): Clarissa Johal
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
ISBN: 978-1-61937-690-8 
Number of Pages: 255
Price: $4.99

~About the Author~

Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn’t happened yet.
*Member of the Author's Guild
Coming May 19, 2015 from Permuted Press
VOICES, a paranormal psychological horror
STRUCK, a paranormal gothic horror
(2014) Musa Publishing
*Indie Book of the Day Award
*Nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014
BETWEEN, a story of the paranormal
(2012) Musa Publishing
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats
PRADEE, a young adult fantasy
(2010) CreateSpace
*Second round finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012
Short stories:
PIGEONS, published in the literary journal Susurrus
THE ROPE, published in the literary journal Susurrus
A WAY OF LIFE, published in The Sacramento Bee
Find Clarissa Online:
Praise for STRUCK:
Lovely Reads
"This book grabs you in right away and hold your attention...I so loved this book and didn't put it down until the very end." Read More ~ Lovely Reads
Bex 'n' Books
"This is a spooky thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won't be able to put it down because you must finish it to see what happens, even if it keeps you up late at night to do so." Read More ~ Bex'n'Books 

Bibliophilic Book Blog
"STRUCK will get beneath your skin from the very beginning. Gwen’s a likable character with a difficult past and tenuous future after meeting Julian. I liked the secondary characters, especially Fenten and Poppy. The characters were definitely all well-developed and engaging." Read More ~ Bibliophilic Book Blog 
Straight from the Library
"The characters are well drawn and likable....The action is fast paced-- I read the book in one sitting." Read More ~ Straight from the Library 

~Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)~

How did you come up with the idea for STRUCK?
Some stories begin as random scenes, some as characters, and some are born from asking the question, “What if?” I was hit with the idea of STRUCK while running on a forest trail near my house. It was during a thunderstorm and I wondered what it would be like to be hit by lightning. I write about ghosts and things that go bump in the night and in essence, those entities are energy. What if a portal was opened by a lightning strike? And what if that portal allowed the energy from those entities to escape? The idea was intriguing and I went to bed still thinking about it. That night, I dreamt I stood in a field, with lightning striking the ground all around me. But the lightning wasn’t just releasing electrical energy, the lightning was releasing negative entities from the Otherworld. I woke from the nightmare in a panic, thinking those entities had somehow attached themselves to me. And so a story is born.
I went on to research the effects of being struck by lightning, interviewed several lightning survivors, and began writing STRUCK. I’m continually amazed how a, “What if?” idea can expand into a novel.
What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?
I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be. As far as continuing—truthfully? I think I’d go nuts if I didn’t write.
What made you choose the genre of paranormal gothic horror?
I started out writing fantasy fiction. I was working on the second installment to my PRADEE series when there were two characters that kept showing up on the page, over and over. They didn’t belong in fantasy novel, nor did they belong in my story! But their backstory came to me so vividly, that I set aside my series and wrote my first paranormal novel, BETWEEN. I’ve been pulled into the Otherworld permanently now. The ideas come faster than I can write them down.

~My Review~

Look at this peeps! A rare book review by me!

Just so you know up front, I did receive a free copy of Struck by Clarissa Johal in exchange for an honest review. I don't do a lot of book reviews on the blog, mainly because I don't read fast enough to meet blog tour time frames, but this was one opportunity I'm glad I didn't pass up.

I enjoyed Struck. It's well written and suspenseful till the bitter end. It's the story of a struggling artist struck by lightning who begins to have increasingly terrifying visions she can't explain, nor can the reader. For someone like myself who doesn't read a lot of suspense, I found the book maddening at times because I wanted more information than I was getting, but it kept me reading, which is the point of suspense, right? Although I must admit I began to despair when I was 75-85% done with still no explanation in sight. At that point, the main character lost all my sympathy by shoving away all her friends for some still unexplained reason. I got that she thought she needed to protect them, but it seemed like it was out of her control at that point.

I liked the secondary characters, especially Fenton, but I couldn't help wondering if he was a bit too much the stereotypical sassy BFF. And I did have one nit pick toward the end when the characters start burning sage to ward off evil spirits and make comments about the smell of burning roasts. The sage Native Americans burn is  a wild plant very different from culinary sage. I've never burned culinary sage, but I doubt it smells like the sweet sage Native Americans burn. Overall, I found Struck to be a well crafted, suspenseful read. I give it four stars!

~Tour Presented by~

~Tour Schedule~

January 1: Tour Kick-Off
January 2: Exclusive Excerpt
January 4: Review
January 5: Review
January 7: Exclusive Excerpt
January 9: Exclusive Excerpt
January 12: Review
January 15: Exclusive Excerpt
January 17: Review
January 19: Exclusive Excerpt
January 20: Exclusive Excerpt
January 21: Interview
January 23: Exclusive Excerpt
January 26: Interview
January 28: Review
January 31: Reviews (by 3 different tour hosts) 1) 2) 3)


  1. Thank you for taking the time to review STRUCK and for hosting me on your blog, Lisa!

  2. Thank you for reviewing Struck and hosting Clarissa!

  3. Happy to have you Clarissa! Thanks for the great read :)