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Reviews for The Ghost's Host and Wildflower

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Reviews for Wildflower

Family, both blood and chosen family, is an important and dominant theme in this novel.

Yes, the story is one of unexpected survival, but it is also about resilience, determination and being true to oneself. It is also about freedom. The freedom to live by your own means and hands and wits, as well as the freedom to live true to your heart.

All of these themes and elements are not only woven masterfully into the story but are the bedrock of the tale. The novel has so many layers that blend so seamlessly into one another, that long after I turned the last page, I was stunned by how much depth there had been. In fact, I would argue that “Wildflower” has more profundity and meaning than many classic pieces of literature I studied in school.

To refer to the writing as “atmospheric” is a little bit of an understatement. For most of the novel, we are in the Ozarks with Lily, but we also tag along to the Texas coast, wander the beach against an incoming hurricane, and dig our toes into the sand alongside Lily. No matter where she is, we are transported there with her. The author brought her skill to each page so thoroughly that I never doubted where we were. And I certainly never wanted the story to end.

I would have been very happy to have this book be twice as thick, and it is not a short novel. I fell in love with the settings, the people Lily meets, and of course, with Biscuit.

Have you ever read a novel and been so taken by it that when you were done, you mourned its completion? That was me with Wildflower. And I’ll warn you now, it might do the same for you. In this day and age of clickbait and manipulative media, you need to read Wildflower. It will change you, and you will be better for it. Get it as soon as you can. You won’t regret it. author, Carolyn McBride

I felt a kinship to Lilly with her thoughts and emotions throughout her journey in the book. Collins did wonderful job in making me feel a part of the story with her character descriptions and storytelling. And her visual descriptions of the mountain and beach were equally great.

As a child growing up in the woods near my home I studied the trees and birds too and can totally relate to this quote “He said the trees were singing songs”, I equally can related to the beach scenes, having spent 100s of hours walking gulf coast beaches as an adult.

This is the second time this week I’ve read about mushrooms being connected under the soil and that they send electrical connections to each other. Reading it here was a deja vu vibe and sent tingles up my spine.

The romance is there, and lots of angst too. And yes of course like other reviewers I would have liked more of it. But in a way it fit perfectly for this book.

Highly recommended for anyone liking an adventure story with a dash of romance. And beautifully written words. reviewer, Cheri

First off: don't go into reading this book thinking it's a romance. Yes, there is a bit of that, but if you think that's it you're going to not like this book as much as it deserves. Lily is on her way to Texas with her mom when their small plane crashes in the Ozarks and almost everyone dies. At eleven years old Lily needs to find a way to survive and she does so quite nicely for the next 8 years in a rough environment.
The writing of this part is poignant, you follow along in Lily's mind, living the joys, grief, tension, fear and loneliness that she goes through. Her connection to Jessica is believable and beautiful, yet this is not the focus of this book. For me the focus was Lily and her personal growth, adjusting again to life and the expectations that brings, whether it's from family or otherwise, finding your spot in life and living that life happy and fullfilled.
I for one greatly enjoyed this book, for a romance it's too light on the romance and the time spend together as a couple, rushing to a HEA. Yet as story about a slightly different girl, growing up on her own in the wild and coming to terms with herself and her position in the world it is a delightful read. reviewer, Domi

Reviews for Wildflower

Through the descriptions of the environment, the challenges, and Lily's feelings and thoughts, I felt as if I were an invisible and mute companion to Lily. I fell in love with her from the first moment, and I just wanted to take the little girl and later the young woman into my arms and protect and support her.

The main themes are the will to live, trust, sadness and grief, loneliness, finding joy in small things, unexpected friendships, and finding your own way - and fighting for it. Told in beautiful, flowery, figurative, and sometimes poetic language. The words flow like a brook through the wilderness, becoming a raging torrent, only to ripple peacefully again shortly thereafter. reviewer, Sandra

This was a really fascinating and heart-wrenching tale.

The details of MC Lily's time in the wilderness is so fraught but with such perseverance, you really root for her every step of the way, and feel deeply for all she has been through. reviewer, AnnMareeofOz

The authors words are wonderful and I felt every heartbreak, fear, loneliness and love.
The wilderness and survival technics were very interesting. The action scenes were scary and breathtaking. I was always surprised and not sure what was going to happen next.
Back in civilization the story turns into a very stormy emotional love story that truly tugs at your heart. reviewer, Cheryl

Reviews for The Ghost's Host

Witty, irreverent and irresistible! I haven’t had this much fun reading a novel in quite some time. Collins’ humorous story about past lives, ghosts and psychics had me laughing out loud more times than I can count.

Renee is a wise cracking, end of the pandemic but refusing to live unencumbered best friend of Ellen. They have been friends since childhood with Renee being not so secretly in love with Ellen since the seventh grade. In an attempt to free Renee from her self imposed constraints Ellen accidentally manifests a ghost who believes Renee is her soulmate.

Collins has a gift for creating eccentric characters and I am not sure which one I love more. They are all so vastly different yet equally appealing. Being a novice writer Collins has mastered her craft of storytelling. You are invested in Renee from the opening chapter and your interest never wavers throughout.

Although the novel is shorter than is normal it is perfectly written and edited to be a full and complete read. You are not left wanting by any measure. The Ghost’s Host is a must read novel for 2022 sure to engage and entertain all. reviewer, Della B

This is oddly entertaining. It's a fun paranormal novel and I like it. Renee's psychic best friend Ellen, accidentally summons a spirit who latches onto Renee and comes on to her thinking they are soulmates and the pair have to figure out a way to get rid of her. The storyline with the ghost, Katherine, is bizarre but I was entertained because Cathleen Collins is just so good at the humour.

I also really love the dynamics between Renee and Ellen. They are best friends but it's not completely platonic. Renee never hides the fact that she's been in love with Ellen since forever but the feelings appear not to be mutual. Ellen is hard to read and she side-steps all of Renee's advances, but the odd part is that it's not awkward at all. They still engage in playful banter and they flirt, and it's so fun when they interact. reviewer, pipsqueakreviews

This book was definitely a trip to read. It's odd to say a story involving ghosts really wasn't spooky at all, and that's not bad! The Ghost's Host was more a rom com and at times was deeply introspective, and that lead to a really creative way to tell a story.

The Ghost's Host follows Renee Chambers who is on a bit of bad luck recently, she needs a new job and is very afraid of the world around her with germs. After her psychic best friend Ellen urges her to apply at a bookshop, that leads her down a whirlwind of events leading her to be constantly followed by a ghost named Katherine who thinks they are soul mates. But to figure out how she is tied to Katherine Renee might have to examine herself in ways she didn't anticipate.

This book can be a little tricky to describe without going into too many spoilers. And while also the blurb does reference many plot points it doesn't spoil the main emotional parts of the book which is good.

This book is really funny! Renee and Ellen are a perfect match for each other both in witticisms as well as pushing each other to try things. I was grinning though a large portion of the story. But more than that this story does get a little emotionally heavy towards the end but Collins finds a way to make it work pretty well and have it all thematically compatible.

My main issue with the book, especially in the last third of it was when Renee got deeply introspective the tone of the book got a lot more "tell" as opposed to "show" in explaining it's events. And it wasn't bad necessarily but it did kinda take me out of the immersion.

This is a really good and creative debut from Cathleen Collins and I'm looking forward to what she has next! 4/5 reviewer, Jamie

Reviews for The Ghost's Host

An intriguing tale!

Renee finds herself in some strange company after a job interview and spending time with Ellen, her best friend who dabbles in psychic practices. Katherine, a ghost who is convinced Renee is her soul mate, joins them on a journey of fun and madness, whilst borrowing the odd body here and there alone the way. To discover the past and settle Katherine’s unruly spirit, Renee must uncover the truth, no matter what.

This was a lot of fun, a little crazy and mad, but that really suited Katherine’s spirited existence in Renee and Ellen’s world. The more I read, the more intrigued by everything I became and in the end had a lot of fun trying to piece everything together to get the truth with Renee and Ellen. It was very exciting and filled with moments that made me smile and laugh.

Cathleen has produced a short tale that encompasses comedy and a little humour with something a little paranormal and dark natured. The mix of characters, from Renee and Ellen as best friends, to Adrianne, Renee’s new boss, made for great dynamic and the relationships between them all held such importance in getting all the facts and uncovering Katherine’s true reasons for existing and making the assumptions about them that she did.

I really enjoyed reading the story and am excited to know what Cathleen will write next. Hopefully, some future stories might also include Ellen, Renee and Adrianne, as I would love the chance to get to know them all even better. reviewer, Carol Hutchinson

Ghost Lite. A lot of humour mixed in with a pretty pissed off poltergeist. Reminded me of Lila Bruce’s Chasing Shadows not because the books are similar in any way, more because this is not a scary, horror filled novella, more it’s a humorous look at how some wayward lost soul/poltergeist tries her hardest to screw up an already screwed up woman and her best friend and how they deal with the (accidental) haunting.

I liked the silly and at times zany approach to life shared by best friends Renee and Ellen. A friendship for life. Little do they know when Ellen practices her psychic skills on an unsuspecting Renee that they would release a very determined spirit with love on her mind. I loved how the silliness changes into something deeper requiring Renee’s new boss Adrianne to be called on for help. Renee’s inner monologue sets the tone throughout and makes for an entertaining if off kilter read. This might not be to everyone’s taste but sometimes you just have to go with the flow and you will be rewarded.

Impressive debut and an author to watch. I will be happy to read another book by Cathleen Collins. reviewer, AGirlCanDream

Renee Chambers has had a bad run lately. She has quit the job she spent years in college training for and is still paying off the loans, her best friend who she she’s been in love with for years refuses to talk about a potential future together, and she has gained a ghost stalker who thinks they are soul mates. As Renee and best friend Ellen try to get rid of the ghost their are endless shenanigans. This was a very cute shorter novel and I’ll be on the lookout for future books by this author! The dialogue was witty and had me laughing out loud. If you want a fun read to take your mind off life this fits the bill! reviewer, Ashlee

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