Tag: 3.25 Reviews

Guest Review: Champion of Her Heart by Juniper Kerry

Posted October 5, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Champion of Her Heart by Juniper KerryReviewer: Tracy
Champion of Her Heart by Juniper Kerry
Series: Warriors of the Augur Nebula #1
Publisher: Scary Octopus Press
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating 1st person
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 227
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Smart-as-a-whip Callie has a doctorate in Alien Studies. Unfortunately, her grant money has run out, and with it, her rent money. Desperate for a job, she turns to her high-power father, who has an idea: he will appoint her as the liaison for the Xalke - a race of aliens looking for breeding partners. With his daughter in charge of introductions, Grant Holland knows he can find a way to build new business partnerships. Callie is willing to make connections for her father. ...That is, until she meets Prince Dek. Now, the idea of introducing him to beautiful women makes her stomach hurt.

Dek has been sent to Earth with a clear purpose: find female volunteers and bring them back to his planet to breed. Unlike some of his fellow princes, Dek isn't against the humans, nor is he against babies. When he sees Callie, he knows right away that she is the woman for him. But for some reason, Callie resists. Though she seems to melt when he touches her, she also keeps pushing him into another woman’s arms. Dek has only a week before he must return to his home; can he win her heart in time?

Champion of Her Heart is the fifth book in the Warriors of the Augur Nebula series by Juniper Kerry. It is a steamy romance, featuring inter-species pair-bonding, love at first sight, and a guaranteed happy ending.

Callie has finished her PhD in Alien Studies as she lives in a world where Aliens are friends of Earth.  Certain aliens (the Sarta) have been on Earth for years and have started factories and stripped the Earth of its resources.  Why would we want to continue being friends with them? Not only are they friends, but Earth’s governments go a bit far in keeping them happy, obviously. One of the ways they are doing that is allowing representatives of the Denne race from the planet Beshtast to come and collect human women who would like to move to their planet and breed with them.  All voluntarily, of course.

The Denne have discovered that human woman are compatible with them (see books 1-4 to see how that came about), and they don’t die after giving birth, which is what has been happening for centuries with other alien races that are compatible.  One of the Denne Princes, Dek, has come to Earth with 4 warriors to choose women who would like to live on Beshtast and breed with the Denne.

Callie is the liaison between the Denne and the women who have volunteered.  She’s planned events to keep them busy, show them a bit of Washington D.C. and coordinated gatherings to meet pre-selected candidates. When Callie first meets the aliens as they step off the spaceship, she never imagines that she would be so drawn to Prince Dek.

Prince Dek is shocked when he steps onto Earth for the first time and finds his pair-bonded mate right in front of him.  He must convince her to come back to his homeworld with him, which is not going to be as easy as he thinks, as Callie has no intention of leaving Earth.

CoHH is book 5 in the Warriors of the Augur Nebula series.  It is a little different from books 1-4 as it takes place, for the most part, on Earth and not on Beshtast like the other 4 books.

In this book Callie and Prince Dek are pair-bonded – basically fated mates.  They feel a pull towards each other.  Dek knows what he’s feeling almost immediately, but obviously Callie is a little confused as to why she feels such a strong pull to this alien.  Dek is all that is strong, kind, thoughtful – I’ll admit, he’s a pretty good guy (considering I didn’t care for him all that much in previous books) but Callie keeps herself away from him.  She has no desire to leave Earth and she’s determined to find him a mate that’s not her.  This really confounded me, I must admit.  She’s down on her luck, no job, nowhere to live, her dad isn’t making anything easier even though he’s got pots of money, and she doesn’t want to go live with the prince who she’s falling in love with.  What is wrong with you?? Lol  Ok, I see that it’s scary to consider leaving the life you’ve known for something completely unknown, but really, why stay?

The author does a pretty good job of making us understand that Callie wants to feel needed and that she’s making a difference in her life and others. She also finds a solution to the problem, but I won’t tell you what that is. 😉

There are things about this series that I really like.  I like that it’s high on girl-power and that the human women in the books are trying to make the aliens see that they aren’t just things to breed, but people with emotions, needs, rights, etc.  That part is great.  On the other hand I find it a bit ridiculous that the aliens throughout the series are so well versed in just about everything, but they have no idea what tears are, or that little nub that is part of a female’s anatomy. But they know all about going down on a woman? Lol  Ok, whatever.

Overall I find the series entertaining.  The books are pretty short (200-250 pages) and are quick reads.  If you like sci-fi and alien romance, then this might be one for you to check out.  This does say that it’s a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading from book 1 to understand everything that’s going on.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 22, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale, Steampunk
Pages: 323
Length: 9 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date--after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette--the witch who cursed her--Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2) by Nancy Campbell Allen has flavors of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, along with Steampunk and other Fantasy elements.

Everyone knows Daniel owns a fleet of Airships. What they don’t know is that he often smuggles Shifters out of the country to save them. When an inspector suddenly turns up on one of his voyages, he is not happy. Even worse? Doctor Isla Cooper blackmails him into letting her on the ship as well.

Isla is suffering under a curse that puts her into a death-like sleep every night. She’s afraid time is about to run out and she’ll be permanently at rest, so she forces her way aboard Daniel’s ship so she can visit an Island she’s sure houses the witch who created her curse.

I really loved Isla. She was tough and no-nonsense. Her sense of duty to her family was misplaced, but I loved how loyal she was to them. I also liked Daniel. He, too, had a strong sense of right and wrong, and that worked well for him. Even so, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first. It moved slow in parts and I found myself getting impatient/bored toward the middle of the book. I also didn’t care as much for the overall story-arc as I did the previous book.

I enjoyed the romance and the world is fun and interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book, even if this one was a little slow.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-stars


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Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 30, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5.5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: None
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 443
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people.

After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

Andrea and Raphael’s romance started earlier in the series. Raphael pursued her pretty heavily and they ended up moving in together, but then Raphael thought Andrea chose her job over him, and it pissed him off. Then she disappeared without a word and made things worse. Now she’s back, and her best friend, Kate Daniels, has hired her to work with her as a PI. Aunt B, Raphael’s mom and Alpha of Clan Bouda, is after her to join the Pack. Raphael turns up with a bimbo in tow. To top it all off, Andrea has a new case that needs her attention.

This is a .5 book. It’s set in the world of Kate Daniels, but Kate doesn’t play a very large part in the series. Andrea is dealing with things in this book while Kate is dealing with something else.

Holly: I’ll be honest, this isn’t a favorite of mine. I really like both Raphael and Andrea as Kate’s friends, but I didn’t love reading about them as the main characters of the novel.

Casee: I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. I don’t know if I would have felt different if I hadn’t listened to it on audio. It was the southern drawl that Andrea had when she was trying to get information or act menacing that really annoyed me.

Holly: I think that’s funny, since I know you’ve enjoyed other audiobooks in the series and they’re all narrated by the same person.

Rowena: I liked this one. Sure, I didn’t like it as much as I liked some other of the other books in the series but I still enjoyed it.

Holly: There were parts I liked, but as a whole this isn’t one of the better books in the series.

Casee: I found Andrea to be extremely annoying. Raphael was just meh.

Rowena: I thought the romance between Raphael and Andrea was nice and angsty. I thought Andrea’s struggles made sense for her background and when she got her revenge against what Raphael did to her house? I loved it.

Holly: Both Andrea and Raphael got on my nerves at different times in the story, but I do like them as a couple.

Casee: Ascanio was actually my favorite character in this book. I am really enjoying how his character is developing.

Holly: Ascanio definitely does some growing up in this book. I liked him a lot. I really liked the scenes with Aunt B, too.

Rowena: Ascanio is really growing up and I’m liking what I’m seeing with his growth. You can see that he really respects both Kate and Andrea. I also really enjoy the friendship between Kate and Andrea.

Casee: My favorite part was when Kate showed up toward the end.

Rowena: I think the weakest part of this story was the whole Anapa thing. I can’t say that I was all that invested or even interested in all of that. I was just there for Andrea and Raphael, seeing Kate and Curran and our other friends. Still, it was good.

Casee: I’m with Wena on this one. I wasn’t invested in the actual plot. I was there for the same reasons. I love the friendship between Kate and Andrea. Kate won’t let Andrea get away with anything, not even her own emotions. I enjoyed the romance between Raphael, but they were both such dicks about it at the beginning that I had a hard time. I expected to be annoyed with Rapahel (Holly), but I was surprised to be annoyed by Andrea since she’s so kickass in the previous books.

If the book was half as long as it was, I would have been good.

Rowena: Oh and in the beginning when Raphael brought Rebecca to Andrea’s office, I wanted to kick him in the dick. I was super mad at him for a lot of the beginning of this book. I spent more time annoyed with him than I ever did with Andrea. When Andrea finally comes clean about everything to him, I felt how stupid he felt. LOL.

Casee: I wanted to junk punch Rafael when he brought Rebecca to the office too. How old are we? Seriously.
I did find it incredibly amusing when Andrea played the carpet prank on him. Lol.

This one gets a 3 out of 5 from me.

Rowena: This was a nice little appetizer before I jump right back into a Kate and Curran story. I’m ready for Kate and Curran again. I’m ready for some Derek and Julie goodness too. I’m also very interested in getting to know Ascanio more too. This one gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me. It was a solid read but not a favorite.

Holly: I agree this is a good in-between novel, though. As much as I love Kate, it’s good to step outside her head for a minute. Speaking of, I love how we get to see Kate from a different perspective here.
I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann Aguirre

Posted April 14, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann AguirreReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 275
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

He's awkward. He's adorable. He's alien as hell.

Zylar of Kith Balak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he'll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This 'human being' is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She's frazzled. She's fierce. She's from St. Louis.

Beryl Bowman's mother always said she'd never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn't know what the hell's going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

Ames, Holly, and I are back with another joint review. Actually, I could have sworn we posted this last month but it’s nowhere to be found so maybe all of this clean air in California has me trippin’ but anyway, here we are again. It was Ames turn to choose our book of the month and she chose something a little different for us to read. Her choice was Strange Love by Ann Aguirre and it was my first alien romance.

Strange Love features Beryl Bowman, a human from St. Louis and Zylar of Kith Balak. Beryl was just minding her own business, cleaning up after a Ren Fare festival when a freaking alien abducts her and dog, Snaps. He takes her back to his home, an alien world where her and Snaps are implanted with a device that helps her understand what everyone is saying around her. Not only does she understand the aliens but Snaps can talk too!

Zylar was supposed to have picked up his intended but mistakes Beryl for his intended and because they can’t get back to Earth anymore, Beryl has to choose between staying with Zylar in this new place and trying her hand at the Alien Bachelor, which they call The Choosing, or she can go off on her own and try to survive in a strange place, on an even stranger planet. Things start heating up the longer Beryl is with Zylar. Who knew that she would fall head over heels in love with an alien.

Alright guys, what did you guys think?

Holly: This was a totally unexpected book from AA. She generally writes darker novels, but this was light and campy. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for it at first. The whole “Alien Tinder/Mistaken Identity” was silly and pretty over the top. The Choosing got my attention, though. It was interesting watching Beryl and Kerr go through the challenges, and I thought Zylar was really sweet. Snaps (the dog) was pretty funny, too.

Ames: I’m glad I picked this one. From the moment Beryl was abducted and the translator was implanted I was cracking up at Snaps. AA definitely nailed how a dog would talk IMO. I liked Beryl’s character too. She had her inner freak outs about what she was going through but she practical at heart and that carries her through. Zylar was interesting. I liked how he wasn’t confident in himself and how Beryl helped him overcome his self-esteem issues. His freaking brother was the worst.

Holly: His brother was the worst. I didn’t like him at all.

I thought it was cute how Zylar struggled with his self-esteem and Beryl helped him. He was pretty adorable all the way around. Omg I cracked up when he kept calling her “Terrible One”.

Ames: Yes! Terrible One! And how he thought her smiles were scary!

Holly: And when she explains she’s showing she’s happy, not threatening anyone, and he’s like “Aww. Okay. That’s great. But maybe let’s not tell anyone about that…?” Haha.

Still, there were a lot of things that bugged me. It was pretty silly, which I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t like how Zylar’s family treated him, or the final resolution of the book. I guess I wanted something different from them.

Rowena: Like Holly, it took me a while to get into this one because it was silly and I didn’t really know what to expect from an alien romance but I’m glad that I stuck with it. I did enjoy getting to know Beryl, Zylar, and Snaps. I thought they were a lot of fun. I agree with you both about Zylar’s brother. What’s his name again? I wanted to push him off an alien cliff.

The ending was a weird one for me and though I can understand why we got that kind of ending, I wasn’t a real big fan. I thought Snaps was adorable. When he first started talking and seeing how excited he was, it had grinning like mad. I also loved how sure he was in Beryl. The way that he told Zylar that Beryl doesn’t get lost. She found Snaps. She found Zylar and they’re still found? I thought that was super sweet.

Holly: I thought Snaps was cute. How loyal he was. Such a good doggy.

Ryvken? That guy was a tool. I was glad to see how that played out, but I’m still irritated with the way the book ended.

Are you planning to read the next book?

Ames: I will read the next book. I liked the characters and the world-building. Holly had mentioned earlier this wasn’t AA’s typical style of writing but since its been a while since I’ve read AA, I didn’t recall enough to compare it to her past work. I do like my sci-fi romps so I really enjoyed this one. Although I agree with Wena over the ending – I was hoping for better for them.

What did you guys think of Helix, the AI? I think that’ll be interesting to see how that character develops. I will say this, the secondary characters were excellent. I liked Kurr and Helix. AND! Snaps tiny dirt babies. Seriously, Snaps was the star here. haha.

Holly: Ha! As soon as Snaps gained the ability to talk, I knew he’d be your favorite. Oh man, the dirt babies. I literally laughed out loud.

I’m curious to see how things develop with Helix, as well. I didn’t love how things happened with him, but I do want to read the next book. I agree that the secondary characters were good. I wonder if we’ll see more of Kurr in future books?

Rowena: I knew that you’d love Snaps too, Ames. It was hard not to since he was super adorable and super funny. When he first started talking, I immediately thought that it was exactly how I thought dogs thoughts would be. And the dirt babies!! Haha!

I really liked the growth in Zylar’s character. His insecurities made me want to kick some serious alien ass but I liked the way that Beryl was able to help him.

As much as I enjoyed Zylar, Beryl, and Snaps, like Holly, I thought a lot of things were silly and Zylar’s family pissed me off. I’m not sure that I would continue this series. I did like Helix and am curious about his character growth, but I think that I would actually just bug you guys to tell me about it then read it myself. I’ve never read an alien romance before and I don’t know, I guess I prefer my Sci-Fi stories to be a little darker, a little more serious. Am I the only one in that camp?

Holly: No, I’m with you. I generally prefer my SF to be darker. I did enjoy this story as a whole, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue. Maybe at some point in the future. Never say never, right?

I think I’m going to give this 3.25-3.5 out of 5.

Rowena: Yeah, same here. I might read it eventually, but I’m not in a rush to.

This one gets a 3.25 out of 5 from me.

Ames: I liked this one a teeny bit more than you two. I’m giving this one 3.75 out of 5. I would recommend.

Holly: You know what I forgot to mention? How effing annoying the “Butt Stuff” joke that ran throughout the book was. The first time, okay. The second…eh. But after that? So much no. Every time she woke up, or turned around “Well, nothing is in my butt”. WHY???

Rowena: LOL! Yeah, I didn’t even think it was that funny the first time she said it.

Holly: I didn’t laugh the first time, either, but I saw her joke. After that? Nah. Miss me with that.

Ames: I must have skipped over those. I didn’t find those funny either.

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I started this book months ago and quit about halfway through. I was mostly just bored with the story. I was recently on a flight and forgot to download a new audiobook, so I turned this one on since it was already on my device. The second half was much better than the first.

Nina Linden is struggling to keep her landscape business afloat since her former business partner and ex started sabotaging her. Though the place is said to be haunted and/or cursed, she takes a job to bring an abandoned private island back to life. Billionaire Deacon Whitney wants to revive the Whitney Estate, the family’s private island that’s rumored to be cursed. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses, but he knows others do so he’s paying double the rates. Nina doesn’t expect to be attracted to Deacon..or to be having strange visions of herself as a maid in a gothic mystery.

Deacon’s flighty cousin, interior decorator ex-girlfriend and architect best friend are there helping, along with a cleaning service. The novel jumps around a lot, and in the beginning I had trouble following everyone and everything. I came to really like the cast of characters and the way the novel flashed back and forth between the developing romance of Deacon and Nina and Jeff, the architect, and Cindy, the owner of the cleaning service, but the second half didn’t make up for the first.

I enjoyed the setting and the romance. Harper is generally good for a laugh, and I found myself smiling several times over the antics of the characters. The mystery plot was kind of a dud, but I enjoyed the paranormal/ghost aspects. Not my favorite of Harper’s novels.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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