Must Love Ghosts by Ani Gonzalez #Review

Must Love Ghosts by Ani Gonzalez #ReviewMust Love Ghosts by Ani Gonzalez

Series: #1 Banshee Creek
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Small Publisher on September 7, 2015
Pages: 167
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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three-half-stars      four-flames

I read the blurb and thought this sounded perfect for a fun, fall lighter spooky read.  I hadn’t tried the author so that added to my interest.  The book set things up in the beginning exactly in a way to pull me in- cozy mystery meets romance with a hint of magical realism.  Now, while my early excitement waned a tad, I still had a good time with the story.

The book opens with Mike Stone returning to the States after his last overseas tour of duty.  He’s weary of heart for the task he needs to do.  He has come to the small old Virginia town of Banshee Creek to deliver a gift from beyond the grave from his best buddy Cole Hunt to the woman who was Cole’s fiancee and Mike’s secret love.  He caught one look at Abby Reed up on stage in Germany while he was on leave and fell into love only to discover she was with Cole.  He could only play her friend and share grief after Cole was killed.  One doesn’t encroach upon your best friend’s girl even if she is now free especially since she was so in love with Cole, right?

Abby Reed is a music-loving free spirited gal from her quirky colored house to her love of Banshee Creek’s famous legend and past time of being a paranormal lover’s dream haunting grounds.  She has found a home in Cole’s home town.  But when handsome and straight-edged, Mike Stone, arrives unexpectedly on her doorstep, she realizes that there is more between them than a long-distance friendship.  Mike is her opposite and she can see all the conspiracy theory-aliens among us-ghost hunting crowd that are her friends has him skeptical and nervous, but he plays along for Halloween Banshee Creek-style and is willing to explore the heat between them.  He even challenges her to pursue her heart- her music, but he doesn’t plan on sticking around.  She’ll have to make her and Banshee Creek irresistible.

Alright, as I said, this one is a bit of everything.  And maybe because it was a bit of everything, it suffered a little.  It had dragging spots and kept me constantly in a state of waiting for something more to happen or needing more.

Now that said, I loved the early description of a small town gigged out to the nines for Halloween, the hints of spookiness, the fun and light crowd of quirky characters, and Mike’s observations of it all coming from a man who grew up in foster homes and his only home had been the military.  He was such a straight arrow and it was hilarious to see these nutty people from his perspective who believed in The Mothman, aliens, and everything legendary or paranormal and were willing to drop everything to go on ghost hunts.  He was easy going and just rolled with it making him so much more likeable.

As to the characters, the larger cast of characters were the fun and quirky types that I do enjoy in a small town situation.  Caine the big bad biker looking guy who led a group of searchers and explorers and actually had a strong academic background beneath it all, Abby’s best friend Cassie who was flirty, snarky and also had a brilliant brain, and the others- all so colorful and lively.

Mike was a good strong lead.  He loves the idea of ‘home’ and wants to find it, but he is convinced that he can’t have it with Abby since she was his best buddies’ gal and forbidden fruit for so long.  Abby was fun and I enjoyed her connection with her folk music and her town, but I felt Mike went a bit deeper than she did.  For much of the book, I didn’t feel it went much beyond lust and it didn’t, but then she did have that epiphany moment in the end.  The epilogue was the right touch to finish convincing me that all would be well with this pair.

So, in the end, it was a fast read with a light plot and steamy couple set against an entertaining small town Halloween.  Those who want a light distraction for the fall will find it with this story.

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #304 PNR
New to Me #124 author/series
Mt. TBR #101
Blogger Shame #43
Books N Tunes #41 Crooked Still’s Aint No Grave

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Ooh this one does look like a good fall read. I’m glad the epilogue smoothed things out for you!

    • It was a nice light-weight and perfect for my tastes in spooky reads. 🙂

  • i love small town mysteries, sorry it didn’t like up to what you had wanted. I am curious tho… the dragging parts ugh….

    • It’s possible it was a mood thing for me. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen and maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a slow developing one and needed my excitement right out of the gate.

  • Sounds just ok to me. I like fall reads or seasonal reads and a Halloween type read is fun when I’m in the mood for it.

    • Yes, it was okay. I’d probably read more b/c I liked the people and setting, but I won’t race out to do it.

      And, exactly, Mary. It will definitely be a mood thing.

  • Debbie Haupt

    Yeah exactly Sophia Rose sometimes less is better as far as mixing genres 🙂 its a fantastic cover though

    • It was a cute story, but yes, it bogged down with all it had going on. Definitely a whimsical cover that matches the tone of the story well.

  • Oh I remember seeing this out and about somewhere. Sounds like a good time even with the draggy bits. You really don’t see too many halloween-ish books!

    • Yes, the strong Halloween flavor was what grabbed me. I don’t see many and I wanted that. Looking back, I feel like my mood was partially responsible for the draggy stuff. I have to be in the mindset for cozy mysteries and I think I was more in the paranormal romance mindset so the pacing jarred me. But, that said, I wasn’t entirely sure where things were going with the overall story for much of the time.

  • This pretty much sums up my thoughts of this one as well. I read your review on goodreads a while back and thought the same then as well, how we seem to be on the same line when it comes to this books. It was a fun and light read, but had a bit too much of everything and didn’t fully pull me in. But still a good read overall and as I have the box set I will pick up book 2 and 3 eventually.
    I did like the town, it was a fun setting. And Abby and her house seemed so quirky. I do agree that I would’ve liked to see a bit more than just the lust, although the epilogue also made me believe things would be right between these two and they did seem right for another. I just would’ve liked to see that friendship they shared a bit more.

    • Ha, yes! I’ve noticed that we seem to be on the same page about books quite a lot. I liked the overall book though as you could tell there were things that weren’t quite there for me, but I think I’d read more if I had them handy. I’ll be curious about your thoughts on the rest of the series when you pick them up.

      And agreed, the romance was told with the beginning missing since there were glimpses of the earlier friendship that would have helped me work up to this point in the story and buy into the romance more.

  • Yay! This sounds like a great read especially that Halloween is fast approaching. Great review Sophia. And oh, I noticed the new theme of your blog, love it!

    • Definitely a fun read for Halloween, Vanessa.

      Yes, Shari has been updating. Fun to see the collage of family for the header. 🙂