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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Haunting of the Wired Monk by J.A. Williams is the first book of The Coventry Ghosts series. Leanne had just had her first kiss; the last thing she expected was to die. After her death, she's left to haunt the place where she died - the Wired Monk Coventry coffee shop. She's determined to fulfill her purpose - to thank those that tried to save her life - but every time she tries to communicate she drives another cleaning lady away, until her mom takes the job. Now she'll do whatever it takes to reach out to her family. When a ghost kitten becomes a new resident at the shop, the two decide to make the most of their afterlives. When someone alive starts stealing ghost essences, Leanne turns to her family and friends to save her new world.
J.A. Williams begins the story with Leanne's death, then jumps straight into exploring the unique ghost community in the afterlife. Leanne first feels trapped by her ghostly state, unable to leave the coffee shop and having to follow these ghost laws that state she can't interfere with human affairs and can only contact people at certain times. This state quickly flips when she discovers a newfound freedom in her afterlife, allowing her to connect with those she left behind. She finds a real sense of fun in being a ghost and even makes new friends within this ghostly community. It's interesting to explore her journey as a ghost, because she's able to have a new sense of self and confidence. It feels like a second chance for her. Before her death, Leanne had started to push away her little sister as she was entering into the dating world, but her afterlife gives her a chance to have a better relationship with her sister.
The most unique character is Sara, a kitten who died outside of the coffee shop and chooses to stay around as a ghost. She's a quirkier aspect of the story with the ability to talk, yet she fits perfectly into the tone of the world and adds a sense of playfulness to the story. The tone remains fairly light, even with the darker elements throughout. The murder and mayhem are subtly touched upon without too many grotesque details. Haunting of the Wired Monk explores life and death through the adventures of a teenage ghost whose destiny it is to save the living and the dead.