Jul 21, 2013


“I had my first psychic dream when I was nine. Psychic implied power, and powerful wasn’t a word I’d use to describe myself. I couldn’t foretell the future or conjure visions at will, but I couldn’t think of a more fitting word to describe what I sometimes saw in my dreams.”

For 23-year-old Mackenzie Hill, tossing her life down the garbage disposal is easy after a painful incident shatters her life. Her heart is bleeding, and moving to Watcher’s Point is a chance to start anew, only she isn’t prepared for the guy who walks out of her dreams and into the flesh. Literally . . . because she’s been dreaming about this sexy stranger for years. 

Mackenzie is even less prepared to face the dark nature of her dreams. They’ve turned disturbingly gruesome, full of blood and murder, and when they begin to coincide with the media’s headlines, she and Aidan realize her visions might be the key to stopping a madman from killing again.

Only Aidan has painful secrets of his own, and perhaps the biggest danger of all is falling for him.

I received a copy of this story for an honest review.

Christina Jean Michaels debut novel “Epiphany” is an engrossing and intense romantic suspense story that hooked me early. Once I started reading it I had a hard time putting it down for pesky things like sleep, work, or paying attention to my hubby (sorry babe). I could not believe that this was a book from a first time author. Also, I have a special place in my heart for books that gross genres and “Epiphany” does that very skillfully. There’s mystery, danger, romance, and a steaminess that’s trademark New Adult. This is a very solid read.

Twenty-three year-old Mackenzie Hill is doing her best to restart her life in her mother’s hometown of Watcher’s Point. The problem is the prophetic dreams that have haunted her since she was a child are getting more violent and more terrifying. She trudges through day-to-day life until she’s faced with her literal ‘dream man’ Aidan Payne. Mackenzie knows Aidan’s face well as he’s been featured in her nighttime visions for years. His entrance into her life is anything but accident.

“In the middle of the funhouse chaos stood the man I’d dreamed about countless times. He turned away, but not before I glimpsed despair in his eyes.” 

Aidan lost his wife to a serial killer by the name of the Boise Hangman and he’s out for revenge. They key to finding the madman responsible lies in those frightening dreams that Mackenzie can’t stop.

“My dreams held me prisoner in fragmented horror. Sound bites of tortured pleas… a flash of waves trailing down the naked curve of a woman’s back…” 

Mackenzie and Aidan have amazing chemistry and the development of their relationship is believable. Both have suffered tremendous losses but continue to fight without coming across as whiny or desperate. The two are damaged but doing the best they can to move cope and move forward. Their struggle to accept a little happiness with each other while faced with mounting danger is touching.

“Though we didn’t voice it, the fear was there stifling the air. He couldn’t guarantee his safety any more than I could mine, and the fact that I’d dreamed of his death was something I suspected neither of us wanted to face.” 

Michaels does a great job of keeping the reader guessing. When the Big Bad of the story was finally revealed, I was pleasantly surprised and confess I had pegged the wrong character.

“His expression was so empty – distorted into something unrecognizable – that if took me a few seconds to realize who towered over me. I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing.” 

My one small complaint (and it’s a super teeny one) is that the story at points almost feels too big. Michaels has ambitiously crafted a very detailed world with multiple plot elements and sometimes it got hard for me to hone in on what should be the core focus of the story. Poor Mackenzie has to juggle hiding a life-time of psychic visions, coping with the after effects of being violently assaulted, being betrayed by her childhood sweetheart, lies about her paternity, dealing with a jealous/drunk possible half-sister, unwanted attention from an insistent suitor, and becoming a potential target of a serial killer. Then there’s Aidan coping with the death of his wife, the loss of his journalism career, the interference of his super wealthy/super powerful father, odd interactions with his empathic brother, lies about his paternity, alcohol dependency, and the growing task of keeping Mackenzie safe. 

Separately all of the pieces are interesting and very well written but put together as the story builds; it occasionally feels a tad too much. The large scope of the story may tie in to the fact that “Epiphany” is part of a planned series called “Legacy of Payne.” The second novel in the story will be called “Awakening,” and will focus on Logan Payne, Aidan’s brother.

Overall, I found “Epiphany” to be an exciting, enjoyable read and I highly recommend checking it out. “Awakening” will be going straight onto my TBR list and I’m looking forward to see what Christina Jean Michaels has in-store next.

Happy Reading.

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