Blog Book Tour | The novels of Sharon Lewis Koho feat. the series “The Painting on the Pond” – this is a review of the first novel (entitled the same) and is INSPY Suspense!

Posted Monday, 11 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess began Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Painting on the Pond” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this series first appealled to me to be reading:

I have a healthy appetite for INSPY stories – sometimes, I like to seek out the authors I haven’t heard of previously if only to take a proper chance to get to know them ‘now’. When it comes to the authors who are published through Cedar Fort (and their imprints), I have rather good luck in finding the stories I appreciate reading. Since this was an older duology published by the publisher, I thought, why not? I have been keeping notes on the stories recently published within the past ten years or thereabouts, as I only just discovered their stories a handful of years ago myself – starting with my readings of UncoveringCobbogoth!

I also happen to feel drawn to stories set out West – this one is meant to encourage us to go into Alaska, a destination I have oft wanted to visit for it truly is part of the untamed Pacific Northwest! I do appreciate gentle stories, filled with affirmations of life and a quiet cadence of dramatic elements rounding out the journey we take with the characters – thus, I felt these two stories by Ms Koho might be a good fit for me and I was excited to take a walk inside her novels!

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Blog Book Tour | The novels of Sharon Lewis Koho feat. the series “The Painting on the Pond” – this is a review of the first novel (entitled the same) and is INSPY Suspense!The Painting on the Pond
by Sharon Lewis Koho
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

An intriguing plot meshes the past and present into a story that takes David Young down a path he never imagined in this crisp, clean mystery novel. City-born artist David Young has traveled a difficult journey during his twenty-seven years. It has finally taken him to a spectacular valley in the Pacific Northwest. Settled in a comfortable cabin he is free at last to explore, paint, and create the future of his dreams. However, a mysterious woman’s disappearance, a haunting legend, and unsettling dreams unnerve David, threatening his hopes and plunging him into the most formidable struggle of his life. While he is engulfed in mystery, adventure, and romance, an unseen hand draws him to his destiny, and into the rugged wilderness of Alaska.

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Suspense

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1555177034

Also by this author: to Walk in his Moccasins

Also in this series: to Walk in his Moccasins

Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st September, 2003

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 189

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

NOTE: Generally speaking, in my experience of reading stories published under the imprint of Bonneville Books, it means the story will be LDS Fiction – rooted in the Mormon faith, however, I did not find this to be the case in regards to the novel ‘The Painting on the Pond’. If anything, it was very lightly INSPY, in regards to the characters acknowledged their spirituality in gentle undertones throughout the content of the story – they prayed and they were open about their concerns, fears, etc but there wasn’t a moment where I would say this was ‘definitively LDS’ as other releases from Bonneville Books would have been as they focused more on the traditions of being Mormon.

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The Painting on the Pond Series:

The Painting on the Pond by Sharon Lewis KohoTo Walk in His Moccasins by Sharon Lewis Koho

The Painting on the Pond is a prequel for To Walk in His Moccasins which makes me believe this series could in theory be a duology and completely contained within these two installments.

NOTE: In regards to the date of publication, the copy I received of this book is copyrighted in the original year of publication [2003] – however, it was re-printed and released in [2017]. The irony there is the fact according to online resources showing the differences in cover art – the art work on my copy is reflective of the 2017 edition vs the 2003 – yet, the inside details claim mine is [2003].

Converse via: #INSPY #Suspense & #RealisticFiction

About Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho grew up on a small ranch near the town of Inkom, Idaho. Her beloved father died when she was five years old, and she and her siblings were reared in humble circumstances by a hard-working and courageous mother.

In her youth, Sharon discovered she could create any world she wanted to visit, or any story she wanted to be a part of by climbing high in the trees bordering her cherished ranch. Daydreaming there amid songs of birds, rustling leaves and the babbling of the nearby creek, inspired many wonderful stories. Sharon married Bill Koho from Nampa, Idaho in 1967, and they were married thirty years until his death in 1997.

She is the proud mother of six children. Although she is a Licensed Practical Nurse by profession, she has had much more experience in creating and telling stories. Her favorite thing to do is to spend time with her children and grandchildren. She also enjoys visiting, traveling, camping, reading, writing, swimming, and any adventurous idea that pops into her head.

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my review of the painting on the pond:

Where I felt a stronger connection with the story was when David literally stopped talking and where the descriptive narrative could entice us into ‘where’ he was in regards to the setting. When it is being described for the first time – of how nature and the harmony of plein-air painting is on the spirit, you first start to truly connect with the story itself. Especially since he’s near a body of water, where the hues of colour being reflected off the surface are almost writing the muse to be created by his paint and brushes on canvas. You can feel the moment because anyone who has spent time out-of-doors, in-sync with their surroundings has felt the same quiet awe of simply being still and present.

It is here, where we see a more humbled impression of David – of a tortured artist who has guilt of pursuing his own dreams in deference to addressing the needs of his mother; even if the guilt is only swinging one way. He is the son who never meant to act selfish in his own wants if someone else had a greater need of his own, yet this is how he had felt; partially because he felt a certain protective pride of attempting to shield his mother from her own hurts in life and partially because it seemed unfair his life could move forward in a progressive manner if his mother could not follow his path. They were each at a different crossroads – one was on the brink of coming into confidence as an artist and as a man whilst the other was dealing with a medical reality no one would find easy to deal with consistently each day.

In the background, the lingering bits of suspense are seen through the apparition of a woman – as she is merely a waif of an image – a fleeting observation by an artist willing himself to focus on his art in a place where no man has left a trace of his visitations. There is a sense of foreboding in her repetitive appearances, a nudge towards the reader her reasons will be known eventually but for now, she is merely half a figment of an over-active mind bent on self-recrimination for a guilty conscience he needs to learn to live without encumbering himself.

If anything gets me to sit up in a novel it is the lightly etched out murmurs of Gothic overtures – such as an old estate gone to seed, a mysterious woman who may or may not be of the living and a legend surrounding a disappearance everyone in towne is fully aware of but hasn’t quite resolved. If my readers remember, I recently read one I was so fully absorbed inside, it was truly hard to let go of the character(s)! I could have had a bit more rounding out of this segue in the narrative – rather than leaning on the small talk in towne. Where you get invested is by what the local librarian is telling David – but then, unfortunately there is a bit of a rushing of forward motion, where I would have preferred time to stand a bit stiller. It was here where I was expecting David to investigate the estate or at least, have seen if he could have uncovered a bit more of the fragmented past to better understand what he is seeing in the woods – what happened instead was a jumble of sequences all quashed together.

The flow felt off in this section – as I could see what the writer wanted us to find in this part of the novel – of the growing awareness of what David is feeling and how he’s pulling the pieces together of what he’s observed, but rather than knit those elements tight and make it feel cohesively united, I felt like we were shifting from one scene to the next without fully exploring one of them at a time. Also, there was a lot of predictability in this novel – the patterns of continuity were easily identified if not outright guessed before we arrived in the next scene, which made it quite disappointing, as although I love reading gentler stories, I still like to stay surprised.

Although I admit, the shift between David being with Jerry on a fishing trip to David encountering a medical emergency on the trail was a bit disconcerning – although, slightly humourous (ie. in regards to what happens to Jerry’s fish!) what I appreciated more is the arrival of Kimberly! She was a strong female with a head on her shoulders – well suited to mountain living, thinking fast on her feet and knowing what to do when an emergency calls for ready action and not crumbling nerves! I liked her instantly because she brought a new perspective into the story-line which I felt was needed.

Your almost not quite prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions arriving next – I appreciated getting to understand better what happened to David’s Mum. It was resting just past the shadows, awaiting for one of the characters to feel comfortable enough to clue in the reader – but when you find out the details, it grabs at your heart. It is too easily relatable – especially to anyone who has had a close relationship with their parents, you can readily step into that role of being the teenager and having to await the courage to hear news no one can really prepare to hear in their lifetime. That’s the hard part about life itself – if we don’t find ways to lean on our faith, to bolster us during the difficulties which arise out of the blue, we’re surely find ourselves lost; like a boat without a rudder.

The back-story on Kimberly was happily connective to the heart of the novel – at least to what was inspiring David up until this point. Both of them were on a collision course to meet, but similar to IRL scenarios, the timing of a meeting is sometimes more important than the meeting itself.

During the hospital sequences, there were a series of flashbacks when Jerry and David were in school – honestly, I don’t believe these aided the story at all, as in most of them, its petty hjinks kids get up and the tone of the narrative shifts quite a bit. It seemed rather odd to insert such a large collection of flashbacks when I felt it might have been better served to keep us focused more in the immediate trauma of what was happening to David. In fact, the hospital scenes could have trouble been more powerful if they had been highlighting how Jerry and Kimberly were developing a friendship-in-arms by how much they were believing their faith was going to see them through this latest obstacle.

To put it another way, from someone who has lived through more than one medical crisis and emergency in her family – it isn’t often the place or time to have long discussion based conversations on the past but rather, it is a time to focus in on what is going on moment to moment in the hospital itself – from getting updates from the staff, to sorting out visiting hours to taking time away for your own sanity, either to go to the cafeteria for food you don’t even feel like eating or grab a cuppa of coffee. Your emotions are all over the board – so finding characters who are right-minded enough to handle such detailed disclosures of their adolescent years felt a bit odd when they had a serious medical crisis on their hands to live through in the here and now. I suppose this was the only way the writer felt she could insert information necessary to the back-story of the novel but for me, it irked my ire as it felt rather false and forced. The only exception is the sequence involving Jerry’s father – where I felt it was more authentically tied together.

There was another time jolt from the hospital to shifting the novel into Alaska – thankfully, I’ve researched Alaska enough to find my way along with David and Kimberly but it was another moment where I felt a lot of the scenes were increasing a bit too quickly. This novel has a few issues with moving slowly and then, speeding up to where you nearly feel whiplash for how quickly everything begins to resolve, tie together or alter in both circumstance or situation. Even when they were travelling out of state, not everything was as it appeared to be and in that instance, I did appreciate the nods towards continuity.

I honestly just struggled from the start to the finish of the novel – I hung in there, reading it because I honestly believed in the characters and had hoped in the end, I’d appreciate the journey. There were sections I preferred over others, especially where you felt you were tucked into the scenes rather than simply flying through them. I don’t always like a quick-step pace in a novel, especially a Sweet Romance as half the joy is being lost in the moments which arrive to give you further insight into the characters – how their relationship evolves and what connects them into a strong bond. Some of that I felt was lacking round the edges and in other ways, I did feel connected to both Kimberly and David. I felt for her though – David has an impulsive side to him I don’t believe she will be able to tame!

There was a lot of medical descriptions in this novel, too. I have taken such a long absence from reading medical dramas, I was cringing a bit in a few places only because I’m out of practice! It wasn’t too terrible but you definitely felt ghost pain from the injuries everyone incurred that much is true! At one point, I felt it might be too many medical emergencies for one story – almost as if the only way to show positive character growth was to have someone go through a life and death situation, if that makes sense!? Either way, I was thankful I stuck through it to the end – if only to better understand Marnie, as after all this novel isn’t really about Jerry, David or even Kimberly – this is Marnie’s story to tell!

Realistic Fiction Overlays within Hard-hitting subjects:

→ Paraplegic disability caused by a drunk driver

→ Potential TBI: traumatic brain injury and paralysis caused by a spooked horse

→ Suicide of a parent

→ Alcoholism

The third subject mentioned is lightly highlighted in a flashback sequence but is altogether just as difficult to read as if we were pulled in directly to the person’s memory. You don’t realise going into this slow-brewing Contemporary Romance that it is going to have an arch of direction rooting it in the ledger of #Realistic Fiction.

The writer addresses each of these issues with compassion and open honesty – she doesn’t write a narrative which judges but rather seeks to show how despite the adverse circumstances which can arise in a person’s life, through a person’s faith and the hope they lean on during these darker moments, a future can be achieved. It is a story about living your faith as life alters right before your eyes – how circumstances are never meant to define us as it is how we set (or adjust) our attitude to rise above what happens in our lives which seeks to say more about us than the event(s) themselves.

I am attempting to mention harder hitting topics which arise in the stories I am reading as I am mindful a lot of readers have personal triggers and sensitivities towards the inclusions of topics which might personally affect them. I know I have my own list which encompasses both of those myself, and therefore, I wanted to let readers who might look for a lighter INSPY this is definitely one which is going to pull at your heart more than once.

on the inspy suspense styling of ms koho:

I admit, I struggled at first to get the rhythm of this novel – as the dialogue and the narrative were a bit on the raw side of delivery. I understood the gist of what Ms Koho was trying to impart to us – as she was attempting to set the scene and apply the layers of what drew the wider lens of suspense around this singular entrance of her lead character – for her artist was newly arrived in an awe-inspiring area of the country where his renewal in his creative pursuits is one-part inspired by his surroundings and one-part enabled by his change in locale (ie. having relocated from the city). However, having said that – a lot of the opening bridge is being told to us rather than enveloping us inside his head – into his thoughts and allowing us to see what is happening to him or rather still, what he is feeling through his emotions. A lot of start and stops, if you will, as I had to re-align how she began the story in order to get into sync with her writing.

Ms Koho has instilled a beautiful ghost story into the background of her novel – one which involves an old estate, a lost love and a woman who refused to give in to what life revealled. Her true strength is her convicting narrative – where you get to alight in her thoughts, seeing how she wants you to see her characters and it is the better half of the novel. She likes to enlarge your perception and get you to think about the different possibilities before she reveals what is truly going on.

Where she errors a bit is showing dialogue and conversation – something I admit, is one of the harder bits to writing, as being a writer myself, I’ve had my own struggles with both of these concepts, which is why I noticed the disconnections. It isn’t that she isn’t on the right track with the dialogue, it’s merely the fact the words don’t joss together correctly. The words feel a bit on the forced side of the ledger rather than the ease of a conversation you’d feel comfortable having aloud with a friend or acquaintance of your own. That’s the trick and proof in the pudding – how dialogue sounds aloud!

One thing Ms Koho relies a lot on is the presumption we’ll go along with believing the suspenseful bits – it’s hard to describe really – I read a lot of Mysteries, Suspense & Thriller stories – but I like the aspect about them where I feel lost inside the ambiance of where the writers are taking me. Where I don’t have it all sorted out, where the more ominous undertones are not as readily apparent as they could be – their more elusive and aloof. In this story, sometimes the suspense gets a bit blurry – there are pieces of clarity here and there, but other times, your being told quite a lot of what you’d rather see through the character’s eyes or experiences. Plus, not everything should feel a bit too neat and too tidy to where the illusion is lost.

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of SLB Tours and Cedar Fort, Inc:

Singing Librarian Book Tours blog tour hostess badge is provided by SLB Tours and is used with permission.Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

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Follow the Virtual Road Map

by visiting the blog tour route:

especially as this is a tour offering the chance to win copies of the books

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Book cover of “The Painting on the Pond” & “To Walk in His Moccasins”, synopsis for “The Painting on the Pond”, the blog tour banner and SLB Tours badge were all provided by SLB Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 11 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Art, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Sweet Romance

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