Book Review: The House in the Middle of the Street by Jennifer Sklias-Gahan

There once was a house, and it sat in the middle of a simple and quaint treelined street. A beautiful woman named Rebecca lived in this house with her faithfully devoted husband and their newborn daughter. They were happy, and they were proud.

The house had originally belonged to a great-great-aunt of Rebecca’s named Minerva. She lived in the house all the days of her life, and she died there on the very last night of the year. In her final earthly wishes, Minerva bequeathed the house to her next of kin and all of its belongings, including a golden sealed letter reading “Instruction for the Keeper of the House”, to be given to whomever took legal ownership of the house.

None of her next of kin came forward to claim the house. Some neighbors speculated that the relatives passed on such a beautiful home because of the rumored hauntings attached to it; the wild sobs of a young woman heard through the winter winds as the year closed, coupled by a sturdy knocking at the front door that emanated onto the street. The house sat and sat, empty until the law firm handling Minerva’s estate located Rebecca as being the next in the family line to inherit the house and all its belongings, if she so wanted.

Rebecca and her husband were thrilled and received the house gratefully. This stroke of luck came at just the right time in their lives as they were starting a family. With the arrival of autumn, Rebecca and her husband moved into the house welcoming this new chapter in their lives, on this street, and in this house. It was the house of their dreams. As the last leaves of autumn blew out, in came the arrival of their first child; their daughter was born.

On the very last day of the year, Rebecca prepared a “special” bread for her family’s first New Year’s Eve together. As she opened the kitchen window to let in the cool winter breeze, she heard a sturdy knocking at their front door. She peeped out the window and saw two children standing there, a boy and a girl.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Although this story is short, it’s worth the read. The writing is eloquent, but the story is creepy. I loved it!

There are different ways to enjoy the book. I had the chance to listen to the audio while watching the video storybook. It was great! That’s the version I recommend, but I think if I had to choose between the kindle or audiobook, I’d read it. The author did a wonderful job with all of the versions.

Just remember, you don’t have to welcome everyone into your home.

About the Author

Jennifer Skliás-Gahan is an American actor, writer, and producer.

In 2018 she co-founded the film production company, 18 Bleecker Films. Matilda, written and starring Jennifer, produced by 18 Bleecker Films, won the best short award on the festival circuit along with qualifying for the Academy Awards. Data Management, co-starring Jennifer will be released on DUST a sci-fi platform of Gunpowder and Sky on January 2023.

Tonight Is Your Night, written and co-starring Jennifer, is a short film being released by 18 Bleecker Films December 2022.

Jennifer will direct her first short film, THE CLOCK SHOP in winter 2023.

Jennifer is presently working on a documentary threading together interviews filmed in the last 10 years to present from the “MasculineUS” project, a not-for-profit multimedia project promoting positive images of women who occupy a BLIND SPOT in society.

“The House in the Middle of the Street” was written and narrated by Jennifer. It is a gothic fable about an old house, its occupants and the yearly visit of a boy and a girl on New Year’s Eve….that knock and knock and knock until they are invited in.

Jennifer wrote and narrated The House in the Middle of the Street as well as performed its music.

She wrote this tale to be listened to in the vein of the ancient tradition of storytelling she grew up with in her Greek family. She narrated The House in the Middle of the Street as well as performed the music used in its sound design and its opening and closing theme.

Book Review: The Juke by Ted Persinger

2016-04-08_1525Title: The Juke

Author: Ted Persinger

Genre: Dark Fiction

Publication Date: November 29, 2015


About the Book

Who is a man when he loses everything?
Fire destroys and fire creates…
We wonder, don’t we, at the people we see on the streets? The homeless. Unfortunate souls. Addicts. Violent felons. What compels them? How did they end up there? How does a person find himself holding a gun and committing a crime? Shooting heroin from a dirty needle? We avoid them, turning our faces away from the sight of them, hoping the courts will warehouse them so we are safe in our middle class lives.
Frank Joseph is successful by any measure. Family. Career. Church. He has what anybody would want. All that ends one night, and his life takes a new direction…a drastic course change. Facing the fires of life’s trials, he is consumed by the heat…so he flees justice. He becomes a new man wearing a new mask. But who will he be? How will he adjust to the new lives he finds himself living? How will he care for the ones he loves?
The Juke is a tragedy, exploring Frank’s descent from “success” to the darkest corners of society. He finds himself living places he could never have imagined. Along the way he builds new love, a new family, and a new life. Will he survive the ghosts of his past? Is he locked in a pattern of self-destruction?


My Review

I received a copy of The Juke for an honest review.

I picked up this book thinking that I would read a couple chapters before I went to bed. I didn’t go to bed nearly as early as I usually do because this is one of the few books I could not put down until I was finished. I had to know what happened next. I so wanted things to work out for Frank.

The Juke really makes a person think.  Frank thought he was a successful man with a happy home, supportive church, and good friends. One night is all it took for his life to descend into a spiral. He finds out just who he can, or can’t, depend on in his hour of need. And then things really fall apart!

The character of Frank is well developed and I could understand why he did everything he did. He had to deal with so much and, although he made some poor choices, I was impressed how he was able to finally turn his life around. But then, it’s hard to escape your past.

The Juke is dark and depressing and I loved it. I like Ted Persinger’s writing and the ending took me by surprise. I definitely recommend this book!


Available on Amazon.



About the Author

2016-04-08_1525_001I was born and raised in Sacramento, CA.  I spent my high school years under-achieving academically, while simultaneously trying my hand in music.  I played in a few bands, but enjoyed little success (but had a LOT of fun!).  I joined the Air Force at the ripe old age of 20, really more in the hope of getting some basic skills.  I found myself 24 years later retiring.  Throughout my long career, I found myself reading and dreaming of becoming a writer, though my work always got in the way.

 After a short time in the private sector, which I didn’t enjoy, I moved overseas and became a high school English teacher in international schools.  I spent most of my time based in Thailand, but traveled throughout Europe and Asia.  The work was fantastic, the students were wonderful, and I enjoyed my time immensely.  Traveling and seeing the world is every bit as amazing as it sounds.

 Being an English teacher forced me to dig in deeply to literature, far more than I had ever before.  Over the 5 years I taught, I gained much greater insights into what writing really is.  I think it took being an English teacher to inspire me and provide the discernment I needed to finally write.  I now see a path to putting my amorphous ideas into a (hopefully) readable structure.