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Title: Specter

Author: Katie Jane Gallagher

Published: 7th of July 2019 – Hidden Bower Press

Format: Ditigal – 383 pages

Hello Hello! How are you all?

I’m so happy to be bringing you my latest review today, which is another #blogtour organised by Dave from @The_WriteReads for one of the #BBNYA2020 finalists. I read the 10k of this book during the second round of the competition so as soon as the blog tour for Specter by Katie Jane Gallagher was announced, I jumped on the chance and I’m so glad I did!

Specter came 8th place in the BBNYA competition. I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads tours team. All opinions are my own.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors.

If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website here, or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 author sign up form here. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering.

If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)!

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!), and the book blogger support group The Write Reads.


Horror aficionado Lanie Adams should be thrilled when two eighties-era ghosts materialize in her bedroom. Yet after a fainting incident unbecoming of a horror nerd, she would rather her haunting just go away—the ghosts’ waterlogged voices and ice-cold auras are more terrifying than any movie.

Enlisting the help of Ryan, an entirely-too-cute stoner, she makes it her mission to put the spirits stalking her to rest. Some sleuthing reveals that their sleepy Connecticut town is host to a shadowy, decades-old conspiracy.

If Lanie wants to say a final goodbye to her ghosts, she’ll need to keep digging. But it’s important to tread carefully. The culprit is still in town—and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.


Specter by Katie Jane Gallagher is a horror, fantasy, paranormal standalone that just keeps on giving and surprised me from page one. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I read it in one single sitting.

I am not much of a horror fan, but since last year, and some other @The_WriteReads tours, I have been branching out and trying to get into horror more. This book was not scary to me, but it is definitely spooky, so it’s a great choice if you want to slowly tiptoe into scarier reads.


This book is set in Enville, a small town in Connecticut and I automatically had the feeling that this was going to be a really atmospheric book. I’m the kind of reader who likes imagined, fantasy worlds a lot more than contemporary settings, but I actually quite liked the setting of Enville, although, it wasn’t my favourite part of the book.

I suppose this is more of an urban fantasy setting because the paranormal/horror/fantasy elements jump into the real world. I feel like this made it more believable and I definitely liked it.


Lanie: Lanie was a character that I quite liked from page one and as the book went on, I liked her more and more. She is a horror aficionado and for someone who loves all things horror, the first time she encountered the ghosts she was terrified. I especially liked how she and Ryan became a team and started trying to figure out the mystery of the ghosts and other elements, I liked that the most and I also really liked their character. I don’t usually like characters with “special abilities” outside a proper imaginary fantasy setting, and I can’t say much about this, but I think it kind of grew on me.

Ryan: I was not sure about Ryan the first couple of times that Lanie spent time with him, but again, as the story moved forward, he also grew on me. I will say that the characters in this book are also not my favourite elements because the plot is what really did it for me. I did feel that sometimes the characters were lacking and maybe a little flat, but I felt like they made up for it at the end!

Spooky characters: I really can’t say more than what is in the blurb, and that is that there are ghosts in this book, but I could not believe my eyes when I finally found out who the ghosts were, why they came from, why they were “haunting” Lanie and what Lanie had to do to be rid of them. This was a part that I loved and it was so intriguing to get to know the ghosts more, especially one of them!  


Ghosts/haunting: This is the part in horror books where I usually run screaming because I am a little bit of a wimp and I’m not used to reading books with ghosts and horror elements. However, I did not find these scary in the slightest, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad book because I don’t think the intention was for the story to be scary. So, if you are a bit of a scaredy-cat like me but still feel like you would get on with this book, give it a try because the whole ghosts and Lanie being haunted plot was so interesting.

Atmospheric setting: The thing about this book is that it is not scary but in my opinion, it is a lot more atmospheric and that’s what made me love it. Atmosphere and setting are two of the biggest and most important pieces of a book for me and it can be make or break if the plot and characters are already a little wobbly. I did find the characters to be a tad flat, but the plot and most importantly the atmosphere made up for it. All throughout the book, you can feel that something sinister is afoot and I think the author did a great job of making this book gloomy, sinister, atmospheric and dark, without scaring her readers senseless. This bit is a big bonus for me.

Mystery/sleuthing duo: If there is something I have learned to love in the past little while, it is a mystery intertwined in another plot and a team of sleuthing characters. I loved finding out things about the house in which Lanie lives, try to figure it all out with her and Ryan, see them piece everything together and then the final reveal was shocking but also cleverly done. This is a little bit set on conspiracy theories and I will stop there with that detail, but I loved this part and found it to be so unexpected! I also really liked seeing Ryan and Lanie become a team, and maybe a little bit more?

More than you first think!! This book was one that took me on a wild ride and as I said, I read it in one single go. It was raining outside and I was on my sofa, with a big fluffy blanket, a fire roaring and it was just the perfect set-up to read this book. You’re going to go into this book thinking it’s just a simple case of a haunting and ghosts running amok, but it is so much more than that and I did not see it coming at all. The ending was my favourite part of the book when everything was explained and even though it’s crazy and kind of unbelievable, it is really quite surprising how everything fit together and was tied up by the author.

Trigger Warnings: ghosts, death, alcohol, drug use, torture, kidnap, disappearance.


This was a book that I would not have picked up had it not been for the BBNYA competition and I am just so grateful that I got the chance to read this book and discover this author. When I read the 10k a few months ago, I knew I wanted to pick up the full version later, so being on this tour is such a great thing.

The writing style and the pace of this book were also really good elements, and they helped me stay completely immersed in the story. There were a few times where I thought that the story dipped a little and the characters felt a little flat compared to what I would expect from that particular time in the book (I know I am making no sense, so sorry), and that is why my rating is a tad lower. However, I did think that the author’s writing style was very enjoyable. the plot and atmosphere were my favourite parts and the author did a great job pulling these two off.

I gave this book 4 stars and I thoroughly enjoyed it (you can find my full ASPECTS rating below). This is the kind of atmospheric, spooky, horror book that I like and I think it will help me ease into more scary stories, but this one was great! If you like something a bit out of the ordinary, with a really clever, unique and mysterious plot, a great atmosphere and some really big twists, then this is the book for you, and I highly recommend it!

Thank you once again to the teams over at @WriteReadsTours and @BBNYA_Official, as well as the author. I will definitely be reading more books by Katie Jane Gallagher.

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe.

Stay tuned for more #BBNYA2020 blog tours coming from me!

Ellie xx


Katie Jane Gallagher is the author of Specter and The Gold in the Dark. Her stories feature relatable, realistic characters who get swept up in extraordinary events. An avid reader of YA and genre fiction, she has a self-proclaimed affinity for the best sorts of trash.

Born and raised in Illinois, Katie currently lives in Connecticut with her stupendous, half-human half-neanderthal husband and their dopey boxer dog. She graduated magna cum laude from Connecticut College in 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature and a minor in history.

Katie’s Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreadsSpotify


Atmosphere – 7

Start – 6.5

Pacing – 6

Ending – 7.5

Characters – 7

Theme – 6

Style – 6.5

Total = 46.5

This list includes some affiliate links. If you decide to purchase a book from one of my links, I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here:  Amazon UK  – Amazon FRAmazon USAbeBooksThe Book DepositoryWaterstonesBarnes and NobleScrib’dBlackwell’sBetterWorldBooks

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