Reviews
If English is your second language, you are more than welcome to place a review in your native language. When a few are collected, we will create a special page for them. Cheers!



'Caraliza'   I have to respond. I'm so happy for all the good credits Joel gets for his "Caraliza". It was so much fun to work with him, reading the whole story about that scared wonderfull girl and making it all come together. It felt so special to be a part of it although I live at the other side of the world and never have met Joel in real life (yet). It was also special to share this with Kelly, our eldest daughter who made the photografs and designed the cover for the book. Hope lots of people will discover this wonderfull story and have the fun in reading it. Once you started reading you hardly can stop, I promiss you that. Your friend for ever Irma
Irma van der Staal Dutch translator for 'Caraliza'


Click here to read Kevin Kirkpatrick's review of Breathing into Stone

Click here to read Kevin Kirkpatrick's review of Caraliza



'Breathing into Stone': Anoria is the daughter of a renowned Italian sculptor, Antonio Lisi. She has been raised among the beauty of marble. Anoria longs to touch and create beauty with her own hands. She is a modern day feminist. When I started reading this story I felt as if I was experiencing life in this Italian village. There are many layers to this story, love, passion, relationships, humour, heartache, suspense, mystery and intrigue. This is one book I would definitely take with on a vacation, or just a long lazy weekend. It is not meant to be rushed through. It is meant to be savored and enjoyed.
Georgiann Goodreads reader



'Shared': 
What happens when something impossible is proven true? And what happens to people when the truth is simply too hard to accept? Shared arrives at the impossible truth slowly. It draws the reader in because we need answers to the questions laid before us.

Rachel is just a child, a very special child suffering from an affliction that has no name. Set in 1800s, a time where both medicine, religion and culture all had the potential to polarise belief and understanding. As we learn more about Rachel the shocking truth is hinted at and eventually proven. It is revealed so well that it does not feel that impossible after all. The title of the book is our first clue. What is it that is shared'? It is life? Is it reality? Or maybe their very soul? The story continues as Rachel's own God fearing mother struggles to understand - and begins to suspect her child is the result of evil. Everyone who knows and loves Rachel has their own struggle of belief. Her doctor, her priest and her father. Some are able to accept her and some are not.

When the story moves to the opposite side of the world, New Zealand - we see a completely different way of living and of viewing the sick little girl. The native Maori people are not bound by religion or oppressed by society. They do not see Rachel as sick at all. They see her as she truly is and accept her because even though they have never met her, they have known her all her life.

Shared is a story of opposites. Opposites sides of the earth and cultures. Religion versus atheism. Science versus creation. We are torn between taking sides, but left feeling comfortable choosing elements from both. With so much division there is only one person who shares everything, yet takes no sides. Rachel - a child with a special gift.
I don't want to give too much away. But what I will tell you is that Shared will linger with you long after you turn the last page. The questions its raises, the solutions it offers, the beauty it portrays, will be pondered for a long time.
Tessa Apa author of 'Gateway to Celesta'




'Caraliza': "The brilliant glow of his soul in their mouths as Caraliza prevented its escape into the air..."

Caraliza is a gripping but also lovely, potent novel that is about human endurance, connection, and our capacity for love despite distance and time. What makes the book so incredible is the fact that it constantly surprises. Like any good book, there's a dynamic here that is difficult to recreate in summary if I want to do the story justice, but I'll try: Caraliza is about the endurance of genuine romance, the beauty of hope, the ability to imagine and remember love so vividly that it becomes immune to death. This book is part mystery, part fantastical, part dark realism, and yet it is the baffling and remarkable nature of love that drives each plot shift, injects each gritty scene with beauty and softness, and clearly defines each character's role. Caraliza is a beautifully written and utterly unique work that, like love, is sure to endure.

Jen Knox author of 'Musical Chairs'




'Caraliza': 
This is a love/ghost story spanning 3 generations. In the first part of the book, we learn the story of a tragic relationship between two poor young people and then we jump forward and enter the lives of a family that is affected by that tragic love 75 years later. I guess the theme might be that actions may have consequences for a long time and that love can overcome adversity.

First of all, let me say that I am not much of a fan of romance novels. The romance was much more emphasized than the mystery here, so for me the mystery developed rather slowly.

Secondly, I find the third person narrative stilted and the grammar/language struck me as from the early 20th century. I accepted that in the first part set in 1919, but when the story was set in 1994 and the language remained the same, it didn't fit. ("Shelly loved the old building dearly. Her favorite outings would be those which took her and her kin to the shop,...") At one point, I thought the book was a bad translation from, perhaps, the Dutch that was sprinkled throughout the book. To me, third person keeps me an arm’s length away from the characters.

Thirdly, there are any number of misspellings in the book that were distracting.

And lastly, I could not feel anything except annoyance at Shelly, and I couldn't see what Evan saw in her!

I do rate a book on how it engages my emotions, or challenges my thinking with a good puzzle, and having admitted I am not a great romantic, this book did not grab me all that much. For romantics who like a little ghostly mystery, this might be more your cup of tea.
Liz Goodreads reader




'Caraliza': I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. It's so much more than a paranormal romantic mystery. The living breathe life into the dead. The dead have a message, a story they need told to the living. A menacing ghost terrorizes a family. In this book, the love is so tangible it made me sigh with envy. The author's words and style are beautiful. I found myself transported right into the scene, right into each era. I was totally immersed in the story. I enjoyed my time in the naughty closet.

I haven't read anything this moving or beautiful in longer than I can remember. This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you finish reading it. 
Last night, I had to find a quiet corner of the house to re-read a couple of the paragraphs so I could take in the beauty of the way they are written. They almost made me cry (and would have if I wasn't such a cold-hearted Brit). I thought about the pieces I read long after I turned out the light. I gasped at the unexpected twist at the end. I loved Shelly and Evan as much as I did Caraliza and Yousep. To me, this book is like a relationship: at the beginning I was intrigued and wanted to know more; about 30% in I was fairly well vested; 50% in I was in love with the story. I see a long-term relationship ahead with the author (in a literary sense, I hasten to add, in case his wife reads this review). Caraliza is....well, read it for yourself. I can't do it justice in a review.
Jenny Hilborne author of 'Madness and Murder'. 




'Breathing into Stone'
Open this book and you're opening a door to the eighteenth century. You'll step into Anoria's world, where the best sculptors breathe life into the marble they carve. Anoria is the daughter of renown Italian sculptor Antonio Lisi. She has been raised amongst the beauty of marble. But she longs to touch the marble with her own hands and create her own beauty, a job that typically belongs to a man. Anoria is a modern day feminist. She knows no boundaries.

This story has many layers; love and relationships, passion, intrigue, humor, heartache, suspense and mystery. The setting is vivid and I felt as if I was experiencing life in this Italian village. The characters beckoned me into their world with a subtle pull, then held me still as their world became mine.

Breathing into Stone is not a fast paced adventure. This one is meant to be savored.
Darcia Helle author of 'Hit List' and many other fine books.



'Caraliza': Author Joel Kirkpatrick pulls us in emotionally from the very first pages of this sad tale of a teenaged Dutch girl sold into servitude and near starvation in an early 20th century New York slum, and the young man who is doomed to save her from her oppressor, and at any cost. Their story spans almost an entire century, full of rich, well-developed characters and paranormal twists that will keep you guessing until the complete mosaic of their life together is revealed in the very last pages. A story that is sad, chilling, and uplifting.
Mark Paul Jacobs author of 'Yaakmen of Tyrie' many other fine books.




'Breathing into Stone': Your book was wonderful. Wow, OH, Wow!!!
Donna Mehl an ARC reader.




I thought "Shared" was an awesome novel. Every time I thought I knew what would happen something else happened. Definitely not what I call a light read. The characters acted true to form as real people do...we believe they should do or act a certain way but no, they have to prove us wrong so much of the time. The descriptions of the New Zealand & Maori areas were a wonder to read. I would recommend this to anyone that I know who has an open mind!
Gail Runge Smashwords reader.




'Breathing into Stone':
This is a spellbinding work of fiction. The characters come alive on the page and become real; the reader is a spectator, watching their lives unfold. I feel like I know the little town of Resceto and would be able to find my way from Anoria's house to Pia and Tito's house. I could see the sculptures in the garden and in front of the church. In fact I would love to visit. When I reached the last page, I felt it was time to say goodbye to friends... I didn't want it to end. Anoria was so real and so enigmatic that I wanted to be able to follow her life forever.

Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick has documented the lives of fictional characters, but in doing so he seems to have created another world somewhere back in time, a captivating and enchanting world that welcomes the reader and takes them far away.

Antonio Lisi is a master sculptor. He is said to breathe life into stone when he creates angels and religious sculptures and other work that is commissioned. Many of his sculptures look like his daughter, Anoria. Particularly the sculpture of The Lady which stands outside the church in Resceto. The author allows us to glimpse into the world of this master sculptor, shrouded in mystery and superstition. For years, Antonio has not allowed his daughter to watch him work. He has his reasons, but in keeping her away from the marble she loves, he has kept her in an arrested state, almost as if she were a piece of his marble not yet transformed to life. Anoria is blessed with the same talent as her father of being able to see the figures in the stone work before they are created, but more so; she seems to have an understanding of marble that no one else possesses. Her beauty captures the heart of a priest, Novia, who has become bitter and angry and is now feared by all. Novia tries to plot against Antonio Lisi with the aim of fleeing the church which he feels has kept him captive, when his unhealthy obsession with Anoria takes over his mind.

You will find drama, humour and wisdom within the pages of 'Breathing into Stone.' Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick has created a masterpiece. His characters may breathe life into stone when they chip away at marble, but Kirkpatrick breathes life onto paper when he writes.
Maria Savva author of 'Second Chances' and other fine works.




'Shared'
is a thought-provoking, philosophical story that is at times heavy going, but unlike anything I've read before. I was enamoured of Rachel, the little girl who is the main character, but greatly angered by others in the novel. However, even when I was irritated by those characters, I still couldn't stop wondering what would happen next and what was behind the mysterious 'faints' that Rachel suffers.

I felt that the novel became heavier on faith, religion and philosophy as it went on, and I have to say it made me lose interest to some extent. I loved the interactions between Rachel and her family, was outraged on her behalf when she was poorly treated and pleased when things went well, but I found that the greater the focus on faith and religion, the less engrossed I was.

On the plus side, I was fascinated by the descriptions of colonial New Zealand and Maori culture, interested in the implications of Rachel's condition and genuinely came to like many of the characters. 'Shared' isn't a light, fluffy holiday read, but if you stick with it, it can be inspiring and raise many philosophical questions.
Katherine Ryan Smashwords reader.




The cover of this book is what first drew me. Caraliza, the cover, is haunting, stark and beautiful. I soon found out that Caraliza, the book, is as well. This is a story of brutality, survival, deceit, revenge, and enduring love. Kirkpatrick opens with a brilliant piece of historical fiction. He then effortlessly transitions to the current day, yet we don't lose the characters we've grown to love. They haunt us, as they haunt the pages of the book.

This isn't a fast-paced thriller, nor is it meant to be. Kirkpatrick takes his time, allowing the story to unfold at its own pace. Suspense, intrigue, despair, mystery, romance, terror, love, tragedy and hope fill these pages. By the end, I felt like I'd come to know the characters as friends. And I was sad to see them go.
Darcia Helle author of 'The Cutting Edge' and other fine works.




I confess that I am no science geek. In fact, before reading this book (Harmony's Passing) I knew as much about black holes as my dogs know about physics. Upon finishing this book, I feel like I've inadvertantly had a high-level astronomy lesson while enjoying a great story. Harmony's Passing is a great mixture of science, suspense, relationships and romance.

(Joel) Kirkpatrick's research and understanding of his topic, along with his passion, make the hard science fun for even the most science illiterate (like me!). The emotional story behind the science and the interplay between the characters tugged at my heartstrings, offering the perfect balance between the scientific world we live in and the emotions that drive us forward.
Darcia Helle author of 'The Cutting Edge' and other fine works.




Gems: 'Caraliza' is a story possessed by stark hauntings that will grip your nerves from the first page and drag you into a grisly nightmare that will both seduce and frighten the reader.  Much like the photo of Caraliza, it is impossible to turn your eyes away from the macabre on the page and within them, a person will see both beauty and horrible abuse.  However, the ghastliness is not achieved through simple shock value, but by displaying an imaginary realness and believable richness of history.  It is also amplified by the love that creates a harmonious balance and chilling sensuality that is genuinely romantic.  The intimacy between characters will bring a tingle to your skin and a sigh to your heart. Caraliza is a great achievement in pairing the paranormal with romance.  It’s stunningly grounded and had me holding my breath at parts in the story.  The plot is not obviously predictable, although readers might think themselves clever by assuming they’ve figured out what will come.  However, the twist isn’t so extreme that it implodes.  Clues are dropped along the way like breads crumbs and with each sorrow comes a morsel of joy.  It is as if one cannot be achieved without the other.  I absolutely adored the line, “I’ll not wait to die to haunt him.”  This story will haunt me for some time, but much like Shelly, I welcome the sensations and fright.  It too made me feel alive and perhaps, a bit spooky for loving it so much.  It is a rarity for me to read a book twice, but I will revisit this story again.  As far as I’m concerned, Caraliza is an absolute MUST read and one I will return to.  So no, I will not share my copy. 

Flaws: The book has left me speechless in this department.  A terrible shame that I did not write it, but I applaud the author who did.
BitsyBling.blogspot.com (Charlie Courtland)




Gems:
  'Shared' is a unforgiving and unforgettable tale that will linger long after you put it down.  The style is merciless and I can only hope it is appreciated by those who read it.  The rhythmic tone waves from one world to the next, taking the reader into one life and then, pulling them out to awaken in another.  At first, I was disoriented at the lack of  ***  to indicate a shift in time, but then I realized what a stylistic necessity it was to omit the breaks from the pages.  Often, writer's bend to format habits to please the general reading audience.  Where someone might think it a mistake, it is actually enriching the experience.  In this case, it enhances the written word and seduces the reader into the breathing text.  Being jolted from one place in time is a unique style quality of the writing.  Those who have studied creative writing will undoubtedly enjoy this book because it is a wonderful example of the use of style and a refreshing reminder of why we write and study the classics. 

Flaws:  It seems I'm having my own internal debate when it comes to finding flaws with the text.  Certainly, there are aspects that I could mention that might make the story more entertaining, but it would come at a cost.  There is repetition of both journeys and certain wordy scenes, but when viewing the text in it's entirety, it seems so connected to the flow that if cut, the story might suffer some of it's beauty and richness.   So I say, give in to the journey, the repetition, and try to hang on until the end.
BitsyBling.blogspot.com 
(Charlie Courtland)




"About 'Shared'...Okay...so far I love it. I have had to read it from my phone or laptop when I have had time...wish I had printed it off because I would be finished by now.
But so far, the story line is great!....[it] is chilling......to my soul...
After finishing the tale:
This is an extremely moving a"chilling" book. Your heart is drawn to little Rachel and her doctor as their lives become entangled. This is not a book that you will easily walk away from. It has "haunted" my dreams and left me with goosebumps."
Candace Crown




"People just read the books of Joel! I loved reading Caraliza and Breathing into Stone.
The characters are so much alive! When you start reading you hardly can stop.....you DO want to know what is happening next and next and next......You get sucked into the story!
It will be so much fun for everyone to read those books and they look lovel
y!
Thanks Joel for sharing those with me.....hugs"

Irma van der Staal




"I loved the book Caraliza, it really gave me the chills! It is really a pageturner. I couldn't put the book down, so it didn't take me long to finish the book. I love how the different characters come together and how the end is written (can't tell why because it will spoil the end for people who didn't read it). It is a one of a kind book and it is better than many books that are written by a very experienced writer. I am looking forward to your new book Joel!"

Kelly van der Staal




“I finished your book last week and I loved it, and I didn't see any sign of Joel while reading it. I went back and read some of Harmony’s Passing after I finished Breathing into Stone...what a difference. You can definitely see your growth as a writer. Your characters in Breathing into Stone were awesome but Novia is still a slimeball. To me, the biggest surprise was your Songbird chapter. What a terrific twist that made! Overall, the book was fantastic and so far, out of what you've written it’s my favorite! Thank you for letting me read it.”
Mikela Valdez author of 'Where's my ferret story?'