Deborah J. Hughes
on Jan. 10, 2012 :
This was a great read! The romance between Jeanie and Sam was sweet and became more compelling as the story progressed. I particularly loved learning about a new culture as I read the story - thought that aspect made this book even more enjoyable. The paranormal fear factor was pretty high and the story became edge-of-your-seat, nail biting suspense as it sped along to its conclusion. I don't usually read books that have blood and gore (not overly done here but the supernatural violence was rather gruesome for my usual tastes) but this story caught and held my attention to the very end. Personally I would classify this book as "horror" because of its spook factor involving a particularly evil entity but it's also a great paranormal/romance suspense story as well. No vamps and werewolves to be found but a girl who can see ghosts and a boyfriend determined to protect her at all costs! Loved it. Highly recommend it.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Jan. 2, 2012 :
Jeanie can see ghosts. Even though the mood in the opening chapter is light and focuses more on Jeanie’s hurt feelings about her ex fiancé and about her hunt for a suitable husband, that fact alone – in this novel there be ghosts – made me hesitate at first. I don’t read horror, and ghosts scare me. But I liked Jeanie’s character and her plight, and I read on.
Good thing I did. This is a complex book, working on many levels and transcending literary genres, and I found it to be in equal measures a romance and a gritty thriller. It isn’t a “pretty” romance played out in beautiful mansions and other romantic settings. The protagonists aren’t Hollywood superstars, with the perfect families or jobs. Jeanie and Sam are real people with real families who have their internal and religious conflicts (a nice confrontation of the older native gods with the newcomer, Christian god) and superstitions.
The thriller/suspense thread of the story is very realistic and vivid. Often we enter the bad guy’s head and observe the workings of a sick mind, presented and described wonderfully, capturing the madness and conflict inside him.
The two threads, the romance and the thriller, are perfectly woven together, the fear and need to discover the murderer driving the two protagonists together and bringing to light smaller conflicts, such as between Sam and his mother on account of their different religions but also the prejudice leveled at Jeanie because of her uncanny ability to see through the veil.
The story balances very well the beautiful romantic moments, with sad instances (especially with the child ghosts) that had me wiping my eyes and terrifying moments when the murderer was on the hunt. The pace is quick and the situations engrossing. The only reason it took me some time to finish is that, being so afraid of ghosts, I could only read this book during the day (I usually read at night).
Not to forget, another reason I liked this book so much is the portrayal of a society and culture that I’m not used to seeing in paranormal novels; Singapore. I find myself fascinated with the Orient, its mysticism and traditions, and the author paints this world vividly, its blend of east and west (also exemplified by the protagonists’ western names), the struggle between the new and the old, the modern and the traditional in everything from religion to clothing to the way of thinking and the gap between the generations.
This attention to detail, this polished feel to the world, the characters and the language, the fast pace and the believable characters, the many levels of conflict and the intertwining plots are the reasons I highly recommend this book to lovers of paranormal suspense, sweet romance and thrillers.
(reviewed 84 days after purchase)
on Nov. 29, 2011 :
Su Yin Tan’s Bright Links, Dark Links is a paranormal romance that stands above the crowd for several reasons. First, reading non-fiction books about other cultures is boring, but learning about those cultures as a “side effect” of enjoying a story is wonderful. What’s even better is when it’s an excellent story like this one.
The story starts with twenty-something Jeanie Shen who can see and communicate with spirits, going on a blind date with twenty-something Sam, who just moved into a house in which two strange deaths had occurred a short time earlier. Jeanie visits Sam’s new house and encounters the mysterious spirit of a frightened boy. Shortly thereafter a supernatural presence attacks Sam in the house.
The two’s romance blossoms as they discover that Sam’s house is connected to a string of international tragedies involving multiple sets of twins and a diabolical magical plan.
This is not your run-of-the-mill angsty paranormal romance with beautiful suffering people meandering around and brooding, instead you have something much closer to a real life scenario with real people that that dives into the supernatural which makes it a bit more similar to horror and that combined with the strength and novelty of the story, the quick pace, and the focus on the “thriller” aspects make this a heckuva of a read. I was also glad that Tan relied on suspense and tension instead of gore to carry the horror portions.
Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys pacey and scary romance novels with protagonists you can root for.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Nov. 20, 2011 :
Being a horror fan, Bright Links Dark Links was right up my alley. The story revolved around Jeanie, a young lady who could see dead people, and the chain of events that soon unfolded into paranormal madness when she visited her new-found boyfriend's house for the first time. The story plot is sound, with enough twists and turns to keep you interested. But being a somewhat avid consumer of horror and gore, Bright Links Dark Links was a tad too mild for me. Character development-wise; Jeanie eventually shaped up from a weak damsel in distress (a quirk that doesn't quite agree with me) to face her deepest darkest fears in the end but the author could definitely do more to make her characters even more memorable.
All in all, a well-written tale of suspense that is well-worth the few hours I spent reading it.
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
on Nov. 2, 2011 :
Bright Links Dark Links revolves around the story of Jeanie and her ability to see beyond the real world. Her longing for a life partner is a strong study of the need for love, but also of self-doubt – Jeanie is anxious about revealing her powers. She meets Sam and inadvertently gets involved in thwarting a supernatural scheme to raise the dead. Bright Links Dark Links is a story that shines – the themes of tradition and modernity are interwoven well, and Jeanie and Sam’s relationship takes one or two twists and turns before they are plunged into the maelstrom of a spirit world where evil forces are invading and causing mayhem. It's a compelling story, both thought-provoking and moving, as the reader begins to question what is real or not real, and how events are influenced by forces beyond the control of ordinary people. It is a thoroughly entertaining read, with buckets of tension throughout. Recommended.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)
on Oct. 3, 2011 :
Is the ability to see spirits a gift or a curse? Jeannie sees her unique ability as a detriment that makes her abnormal. For her, even the simple act of driving past a cemetary can be a terrifying experience. But when the ghost of a frightened young boy appears to her and begs for help, she finds it impossible to refuse. Bright Links Dark Links is a chilling and suspense-filled ghost story that captivated me right from the beginning. It has a level of creepiness similar to that of The Grudge, and I found it difficult to put down once I started reading. Set in Singapore, this well-written book speaks easily to readers from Western countries or anywhere in the world. Looking forward to reading more from this talented author. Highly recommended. Five stars!
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)