Friday Review: Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead (Toadwitch #1) by Christiana Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this cozy urban fantasy mystery, Mara (a practicing witch) is having a bad year. She’s been evicted from her apartment, fired from her job, and she is persona non grata in Beverly Hills. And now, her Tarot cards are predicting her death. She decides to use a little magic to change her life and soon enough, she learns of the death of her Aunt Tillie- which her magical intervention may have caused. Tillie’s house in a backwoods town in Wisconsin now belongs to Mara. When she arrives, Mara finds that Tillie hasn’t really left. She’s now a very pissed off ghost who blames Mara for her death. Tillie also has some cryptic warnings for Mara about the house, and when Mara starts to explore the old building, she unwittingly releases a trapped witch bent on using Mara to gain back her old life, and the ghost of the witch’s lover. Mara’s old friend Gus and her newly acquired pet toad are coming to her rescue, but will they be in time?

This was a fun book. It takes a while to get really started and the beginning is kind of a long set-up for the main action, but it wasn’t uninteresting to read, if a bit drawn out. Some of the characters are a bit one-dimensional, the evil witch is pretty simply evil, and Gus, Mara’s gay witch friend is a bit over the top, but they all work in this story. In all, it’s not a deep, twisty mystery but there was enough to make me keep reading. There is some explicit sex (it is a romance, after all). Humor is a constant through the story, and there are one-liners everywhere, some of which are clever. It isn’t packed with action, but the tension builds to a decent resolution. The toad, Lord Grumbleshanks, was one of my favorites.

Fans of romance mysteries with a large dose of paranormal background should find this one a decent, if quick and light, read.

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