Halloween is all about the spirits coming out…which is my excuse for tossing in books with spirits and mediums for this year’s Halloween Reads series.
The season is in full swing!
In these books I review here, ghosts are characters, rather than just replayed tapes of past events. Ghosts provide a lot of literary latitude in that there is no agreement what they are or if they actually exist, so I like the different ways writers use ghosts as characters.
Like the witchy cozies, the covers are cartoony and clearly marketed at women, and the main characters are gorgeous and single. Of course, they were all single in my witchy books too, to provide room for the sexy mysterious guys to move onto the scene. Again I break my usual rule of no books with references/pictures of shoes, drinks, rings, or handbags on the cover but maybe I am becoming a little more flexible in my old age. Actually, I think I would have been able to read for pleasure more when my brain was being stretched all the time in graduate school if I had something like this that was lighter to enjoy. I should have cut these books a break long ago.
Spirits, Stilettos, and a Silver Bustier, Deanna Chase
You can’t really beat New Orleans for the setting of a ghostly story. I went there the summer I turned 21 and I was struck by what a really cool place it was. Of course, it is the only place in the South I have really ever been, but it felt so different from where I lived, and with the darkness and the voodoo…yeah. Really cool. I went on a ghost tour of the city, some of the stories I was told there having been debunked/de sensationalized in Ghostland, but the place still feels magical and mysterious. Also, I went pre-Katrina. I don’t know what it is now.
A single woman pursuing her art while owning a successful coffee shop in New Orleans with friends, both alive and dead, certainly counts as wish fulfillment for me. I was not sure if the author could pull off the boyfriend thing without being totally weird, but she did. Interestingly, the main male ghost figure in this story and in the other one I discuss in this post are dead rum running gangsters from Prohibition, except this ghost is kinder and a romantic partner, while the one in the second book I review is a rascal and a pain in the butt still dedicated to his glory days in his death. Interesting both authors chose rum runners for their bad boy ghosts, even if one is kind and gentle and one is a pain.
Also, the killers in this one had the same motive as the killer in Any Witch Way You Can. I like seeing how the idea was handled differently between the books. I would read more in this series too. I know I say that about all of them, but that is okay. Just means that cozy mysteries with paranormal themes are a complete and total rabbit hole for me. We all have to accept our various rabbit holes. Embrace them.
Deader Homes and Gardens (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Book 4), Angie Fox
Audible knows how to take my money. They have this team of marketers that must sit in meetings with their basic white bitch crystal ball that reads my mind. They had a 4.95 sale and this book was on it, which is how I read the fourth in the series before I read the first. I actually bought the first book after I read this one, because I wanted to know the backstory that the characters reference. And it’s okay that I know a few other things. Usually Audible is all tricksy about having a sale on the first in the series, not the fourth one in. Seems random, but the BWB (basic white bitch) crystal ball must have said it’s cool because it was.
Anyway, this was a haunted house mystery with a troubled family, one of those rambling abandoned old Southern plantations. Again with the setting. It was a little freaky in parts, and the heroine almost gives up because it gets too scary for her and I like that added touch of realism. I would be scared crapless dealing with ghosts and it sometimes seems unlikely in books how cool people are about chatting with the dead. Like it’s nothing.
I am wending my way through darker reads for more of my Halloween-y posts, reading my favorite self pub/horror writer, and a more popular writer whose work I am dabbling into the first time. I think we need some haunted houses up in here, even though I already did some castles.
Comments/shares/likes! Are you ready for some slightly darker seasonal reads?