Tag Archives: paranormal

Burned to a crisp title

Review of Burned to a Crisp (Gingerbread Hag Mystery #1), by K.A. Miltimore.

I came across and claimed an Audible code for a copy of Burned to a Crisp (Gingerbread Hag Mystery #1), K.A. Miltimore. I don’t honestly recall where though.

About the bookHedy Leckenmaul runs a strange little bakery in the sleepy town of Enumclaw, Washington. Her bakery may be bizarre but it is the non-human guests who stay at her home, along with her resident ghost, and her menagerie of talking animals that truly is strange. Hedy hosts a waystation for supernatural travelers and while hosting two such travelers, the town is rocked by an arsonist who is kidnapping women, and pitting the residents of Enumclaw against each other. Hedy and her friends must solve the mystery when one of their own vanishes, leaving them racing to find out who is behind it all before it is too late.

my reviewThis was pretty good, if not quite to my tastes. It does depend heavily on being quirky and cute, with the main character just being the sweetest lil thing you could imagine. *Insert eye roll.* Maybe it was the way she was voiced, but for all the world she reminded me of Ms. Frizzle, from The Magic School Bus. I’m not so much into the nice-nice protagonists, with their utter lack of grey, which the heroine and all the good guys here are. Despite that I do appreciate that the book is well-structured (though the pace sags in the middle a little), there’s a pleasant little FF side romance, the mystery isn’t blatantly obvious (though not too hard to figure out either),  I liked the characters themselves, and the narrator did a fine job. All in all, I might read another Gingerbread Hag Mystery, but I’m in no rush about it.

 

Lore and Lust

Review: Lore and Lust, by Karla Nikole

I purchased a paperback copy of Lore & Lust directly from the author, Karla Nikole, after seeing an Instagram post about having some for sale.

            
The slow burn vampire romance you didn’t know you needed…

Haruka Hirano is alive, but not quite living. Surviving but not thriving. As an elite purebred vampire in the twenty-first century, he is broken. Content in his subpar existence.

He is done with life. But life is not finished with him.

When he receives a formal request to oversee an antiquated vampire ritual at Hertsmonceux Castle, Haruka grudgingly leaves his home to meet another purebred. The vampire is not what he expects. Truly, he is unlike any vampire Haruka has ever encountered: cautious, innocent and with the warmth and gravitational pull of the sun.

Lore and Lust is an exploration of cultures, contemporary society and romance. It puts a whimsical spin on traditional vampire lore, while also creating a vivid new world where love is love. No questions asked.

I’m not sure how to rate this one. It’s a perfectly fine book. If I had to choose one adjective, I’d say it’s nice. It’s a nice book about nice people (vampires) getting together to form a nice, supportive relationship amongst their nice families/friends. The only thing missing is the inclusion of nice little babies.

And there is nothing wrong with any of that. It is a lovely, squishy, feel-good, slow-burn romance that was actually great as an election night distraction. The problem with all that nice, squishy, feel-goodness though, is that it leaves little room for tension, which combined with the third person present tense writing leaves the reader feeling distant and slightly bored. But more importantly, it isn’t what that absolutely stunning, but honestly dark and brooding cover led me to expect. In fact, I don’t feel it represents the tone of the book at all, as much as I love it. And I do; I bought the book on the strength of my love for it alone. So, how do you rate a book that’s perfectly lovely, but misrepresents itself? I don’t know. Right down the middle, I guess.

Outside of the mismatched tone and cover I only had one real complaint, the lack of significant female characters. There are only three females in the book, all relatively minor side characters. Two of them are grasping and manipulative and the third is dangerously close to being the cliched sassy, Black BFF (and I’d bet the love interest/heroine of a future book). Though Nino‘s Italian, so maybe that stereotype is somewhat ameliorated.

The editing is clean. There’s one point when Hau is sitting on the Tatami but gets up from the couch. But other than that, which might have been a misunderstanding on my part, I didn’t notice anything about the editing. Which is what you want in editing, right? And the mythos around vampires is a fresh one, which isn’t easy in a genre as well-trod as sexy vampires.

All in all, the book wasn’t what I expected, but also pointedly wasn’t bad. I’d certainly read more of Nikole’s writing and of the Lore & Lust series.

Review of Matchmaking Beyond the Veil, by Mara Townsend

I’ve had Matchmaking Beyond the Veil, by Mara Townsend, for a while. I think I picked it up as an Amazon freebie.

Description from Goodreads:

Endure the company of his rival…or suffer ghostly retaliation.

Emery Belmont is a snarky, uptight realist who likes his life ordinary. Like any skeptic, he’s content using mundane explanations to write off signs of paranormal activity. That’s no longer an option when the spirit haunting his house wrecks his new kitchen, forcing Emery closer to facing the supernatural truth. Desperate for a new handyman, he unknowingly hires his hot ex-rival from high school to fix it. Paxton Santos, Emery’s former lacrosse team captain, followed in his father’s footsteps to take over the family business. Annoyingly, Emery requires his talented hands more than he needs to keep Paxton out of his life. However, getting Paxton to leave after the repairs may prove difficult with the meddlesome ghost taking a shine to him, which Paxton seems to take in his grating, good-natured stride, remaining irritatingly unruffled by numerous weird occurrences.

Emery is bombarded by mysterious paranormal hijinks, keeping Paxton at arm’s length, and deciphering things that aren’t quite what they seem. There’s nothing Emery hates more than an unfinished puzzle. In his determination to solve this one, Emery reluctantly opens himself up to new possibilities all while trying to remain firmly rooted in life the way he prefers it—orderly, logically explainable, and, above all else, ghost-free.

Join Emery and Paxton as they face off with a spirit that has no limits to how far it will go to push them together, enduring locked doors, faulty plumbing, and sharing a bed. Together they are determined to navigate their way out of this mess using any means necessary to send the ghost packing. Will they make it out of the traps awaiting them before their pesky tormenter gets any other ideas to make things worse and further blur the line between them?

Review:

Soooo, I hated this book. That’s a pretty blunt, but true statement. I finished by force of will alone and I frequently felt like I would never reach the end. The problem was that I simply HATED the main character. Emery was selfish, snobbish, and self-centered. And he was just as selfish, snobbish, and self-centered at the end of the book as he was at the beginning. He didn’t even grow as a person or character. The fact that the Paxton was too much of a kind himbo to realize Emery was actually being cruel doesn’t make Emery’s abusive behavior less horrendous. And Paxton was a gem. I didn’t want to see him saddled with Emery in the least.

Then there were the completely graceless changes of mind on Emery’s part. He spends his whole life hating his high school rival (who holds on to shit like that) and then SUDDENLY out of nowhere decides it was all one-sided and in his head. What’s more, he thinks Paxton is the same as always. So, kind and generous and giving? If that’s how he’s always been, how am I supposed to believe anyone (except maybe a selfish, snobbish, and self-centered asshat) would think him the machiavellian villain Emery was supposed to have believed him to be. It was 100% unbelievable. The transition between never being willing to enter a relationship and desperately wanting one with Paxton was just as sudden. And the reason Emery never again wanted a relationship was never addressed, despite being harped on forever.

If you’re hoping for some good paranormal fun, don’t look here. It doesn’t even enter the book until the halfway mark and then it’s ridiculous. All in all, I am really glad to be done with this book and I will not be continuing the series.