Wednesday, November 21, 2012

REVIEW: "SOMEBODY TELL AUNT TILLIE SHE'S DEAD" (Toad Witch Series, Book 1) - by Christiana Miller

(Toad Witch Series, Book 1)
by Christiana Miller

REVIEWED BY: Books4Tomorrow


A little magic can go a long way -- to really screwing up a girl's life! 

Mara is having the worst month of her life. At least, that's what her cards tell her and they've never been wrong. She's evicted from her apartment, loses her job and is banned from Beverly Hills. So when the tarot cards predict her imminent demise, she uses a little magic to make her world right.

Suddenly, an aunt she's never met dies, leaving Mara as her sole heir. But when Mara moves into her inherited home, she discovers Aunt Tillie never moved out. She's still one pissed-off old lady, even post-mortem, and she blames Mara's magical meddling for her death.

When Mara accidentally releases a demon and awakens the spirit of the most powerful witch in history, Tillie's ready to kill her -- literally. It's the only way she can think of to save the girl from herself. The witch and the demon, however, have other plans for Mara's body.


The title of this book instantly triggered my curiosity. What the heck happened to Aunt Tillie, and how does she not know she’s dead? Or is it only that she wouldn’t stay dead and buried? And why does she have to be told she’s dead? All sorts such questions raced through my mind when I downloaded this book while it was free for kindle. Well, I finished it a couple of minutes ago, and let me tell you fellow bookworms, this one is a keeper.

The entire time I was reading this book, I couldn’t tell where the story was heading. Nothing in this novel is predictable, although the ending was a little too cliché for my liking. The first half of the story moves a little slow because the author spends a lot of time on character development. I, a stickler for character details, had no problem with this and happily cruised along. The second half of the book moves to the cottage where all the real action and drama takes place. Things get more intense around this time and the pace noticeably speeds up. What really kept me stuck to the pages though was the side-splittingly hilarious dialogue and wickedly witty banter between the two main role players. There is also a smidgen of romance – if you can even call the flirting between Paul and Mara that – but fortunately it was kept to a minimum. A fan of romance in books I certainly am not.

I was crazy about Mara and Gus from the word go, and I loved how vibrantly the author painted these two characters to make them a perfect fit as bosom buddies. Mara is a smart-mouth, tough-love, character who doesn’t easily get swayed by the many curveballs life throws at her. She’s a typical, Scottish-American with a fondness for jeans and tee-shirts, and she’s smart, impulsive, and an all around sincerely nice witch with an unfortunate dose of bad luck on her side. Once I got to the end of the book, I was amazed at what a strong character she is to have endured and survived the ordeals she had to suffer. But Gus on the other hand, was undoubtedly my favorite character. He’s exactly the type of loyal guy friend any girl would love to have in her life. Gus is a flamboyantly eccentric Greek-American Celtophile with a flair for the unfashionable whose wardrobe often resembles “Pirates of the Caribbean” meets “The Craft”.

However, as much as I enjoyed all the laugh-out-loud moments and the craziness of all the events that took place in Mara’s life, I was slightly disappointed with the last third of the story. Once Mara and Paul’s bodies were possessed by Lizette and Lucien’s spirits, it felt to me as though the story was losing its momentum. I didn’t really understand Lizette’s back story and I couldn’t feel sorry for her or Aunt Tillie as their history was only mentioned in passing. I still have no idea how Lucien fit into Lizette’s life or what he was of her other than her bedmate. In all honesty, I couldn’t really figure out how Aunt Tillie fit into the grand scheme of things except for being a supporting character used as a decoy so the reader has no clue as to who the real villain is. As much as I enjoyed most of the characters, I felt that some of the supporting characters were really unnecessary and didn’t add much to the story. But other than that, this novel really has a lot going for it. I couldn’t put it down until I had read the last page, where loose ends were tied up nicely, but enough was left over for the next book in this series.

Due to the amount of profanity and explicit content, I wouldn’t recommend this book for readers below the age of eighteen. For everybody else, this book is really worth it, even if it’s only for the fantastic dialogue with hilarious come-backs, and two really terrific main characters. Oh, and of course you have to read it so you get to meet Lord Grundleshanks the toad. If you ask me I’ll say he was the real hero in all this.


“Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead” by Christiana Miller has 113 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



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