Review: A Ghostly Mortality by Tonya Kappes

Posted May 17, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 46 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Ghostly Mortality by Tonya Kappes
A Ghostly Mortality
Narrated by Tiffany Morgan

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
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Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #6
Genres: Mystery Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on March 31, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

So, that big stunner at the end of book five left me so curious.  How was Emma Lee going to handle this one?  This light, often giggle-worthy paranormal cozy mystery series just stepped out into deep waters and I was in anticipation for how it would go.  Well, it wasn’t exactly a slam dunk, but it was a deeply emotional listen in some ways.


Review

A Ghostly Mortality is book six in the Ghostly Southern Mysteries.  Most of the stories could be read or listened to as standalone though I do think they are best read in order.  This one, however, is tied too tightly to the book that went before it and is more a continuation of a side plot in that one.

Emma Lee is wrapping up her previous Betweener client case and handling two funerals while going distracted that her infuriating stuck-up sister, Charlotte Rae, who took off to work at a rival funeral home, won’t sign the papers to end her association with the family funeral home.  Emma Lee gets excited when Charlotte shows up thinking she’s there to give her the papers.  But, Charlotte Rae is beyond the ability to sign papers and needs Emma’s help in her ghostly side of the business.

Emma uncovers a surprising scandalous side to her sister’s life and a confusing path of evidence that she needs Jack Henry’s help to untangle.  But, along with her Betweener work, Emma Lee must come to terms with Charlotte Rae’s passing and the two sisters must come to terms with each other after the way things got so acrimonious in the end.

So, this series has been a bit of a roller coaster experience for me.  I have a good time with parts and end up shaking my head at other parts.  A Ghostly Mortality is one I feel badly for not loving more.  I was deeply touched by Charlotte Rae’s death for Emma Lee’s sake and I was really moved by the lesson that both sisters learned through this time together solving Charlotte’s murder.  They really got to know each other and come to a better understanding than they ever did when Charlotte was alive.
But, that said, I just never settled into this one.  In the beginning, it was a prologue and four chapters of rehashing, sometimes verbatim, the events of the last half of the previous book.  Then, Emma Lee pulls a pair of my pet peeves- dishonesty and unkindness with Jack Henry- all to stubbornly be the one to poke and nose about for evidence.  Neither was provoked or necessary.  It isn’t a large part of the story, but when she does this stuff it always leaves a sour taste in my mouth that other poignant or funny moments- and there are many of these- did eventually brush me past this.

The mystery had me pretty much stumped.  I had no idea.  There were some obvious suspects and motives, but it kept checking out.  Yeah, didn’t see that coming.  And, oh… new twist on Emma Lee’s betweener talent shows up there in the end and interesting about her personal life…

Incidentally, the ghost cat was a hoot!

Tiffany Morgan was a delightful narrator who is the voice of the series for me.  She has all these characters down solid.  I like the way she narrates from Emma Lee’s perspective and she has a comedic timing that makes me chuckle.  This book showed me she can dig deep and deliver the sadness of loss so well.  I teared up.

So, mixed bag, but I was glad to have listened in.  It’s an entertaining series as a whole and a paranormal cozy mystery series that I can recommend to readers/listeners who appreciate that melding of genres.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.


Challenges Met

Audio #35
COYER Quarantine #27
New Release #52

 

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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.

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RO P
2 months ago

Never heard of this author, but I always enjoy a really good mystery. Sending some air hugs your way, Super Sophia! RO

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  RO P

Well then I’m glad to put her on your radar, Radiant Ro! Appreciate the hug and gave you an extra squeeze right back. 🙂

Ethan
2 months ago

This sounds like a really fun series, even if this one wasn’t as good as some of the previous installments.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

It makes me laugh often even when a few things rattle me. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I think I would enjoy this series. I don’t believe I have tried this author Sophis.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Oh man, they are fun. I love her other ghost mystery series too. 🙂

Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures)

Nice review. I’ll have to check this series out. Maybe my library has them.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Hopefully they do. Mine does not. 🙁

Carole's Random Life in Books

This is a series that I think I would like to try at some point but I do worry that I would have some issues with it. When a book rehashes the previous book, that is great for readers that have taken a long break between books but not so great for readers who already know what is going on. It does sound like it is worth a shot!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Up until now, there was no rehashing done just the odd mention now and then of a previous case or situation so I don’t know why it was like that. I kept waiting for it to skip ahead to new material and it took a while. If I had a print copy, I could have just skipped ahead easily and barely noticed, but it was tougher when it was audio.
But, definitely a fun series and worth the go. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
2 months ago

I haven’t read this author yet but I’ve herd good things about her books. A ghost cat sounds fun.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

She has so many series and I’ve only tried three, but they were all funny and light. He was a hoot!

Beena Khan
2 months ago

I haven’t tried this series, I haven’t read a good ghost story lately. This sounds wonderful.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Beena Khan

These are light and fun with the ghosts being part of the comedy. 🙂

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

I’m glad that the mystery kept you guessing, and that the ghost cat was a hoot! This sounds like a fun series, and I’m glad you enjoyed this story overall. The narrator sounds fantastic! Excellent Review Sophia 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Yes, the mysteries are clever and it is great how so many genres layer together well in this series. Tiffany Morgan is superb. 🙂

Jenea’s Book Obsession

This is a new series to me and it sounds like it would be a good one, and I do like when an author stumps us with the mystery.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Oh fun! Glad to introduce you to the series, Jenea. The mysteries are sometimes tough ones that I have to wait to the end to get the reveal.

Nadene
2 months ago

The author is new to me. The series sounds fun. It’s good you still had fun with this installment despite the issues you highlighted. Great review, Sophia.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Nadene

Yes, they are pretty good even when I get some small annoyances from them. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
2 months ago

Oh I see the love hate thing you’ve got going Sophia Rose and totally understand where you’re coming from. When authors step out of character or do things that leave me scratching my head about I often wonder why they did that. I remember just recently reading for a Library Journal review an author that is always a slam dunk for me but out of the blue she has the adult characters that never before even mentioned it smoking weed and I’m like where did that come from. It actually kept the novel from getting a coveted starred Library Journal… Read more »

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Yeah, that four chapter recap was just crazy. It was like a quarter of the book and so unnecessary. It does make you scratch your head at times when authors do weird moves like that.

Jen
Jen
2 months ago

I continue to enjoy your reviews of this series, Sophia. It also reaffirms that I made the right decision for me in not picking it up for review. The author’s writing has some great ideas and great moments, but also some that aren’t so fabulous. Sounds like that continues with this book.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Jen

LOL, I’ve done that before- let another reviewer’s thoughts help me decide if I want to take the plunge into another series. 🙂 This might be my last of this series for review- at least, for a while, because I did get more irritated than usual with some stuff. I have a few of her Kenny Lowry ones on my Kindle that I might go back to catch up on. 🙂

Felicity Grace Terry
2 months ago

OOH! Sounds good but I’m really not looking to begin any more books that form a series. Still, an author and series to keep in mind, I love that the ghost is a hoot.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Yeah, committing to a series can make me hesitate, too. Ha, that ghost cat cracked me up the way it got into mischief.

Yvonne
2 months ago

I really want to read this series. It sounds like such a good one. Great review!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Yvonne

Oh fun, Yvonne! Glad to put you onto it. 🙂

Ashley S.
2 months ago

I love paranormal cozies, so I definitely need to check this series out. 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Ashley S.

Oh yes, then this is the series for you to grab up, Ashley. 🙂

Lola
2 months ago

That sounds well done how this one is a continuation of the previous book in a way. Sounds like there is a lot going on between the two sisters in this one and how the main character has to solve her sisters murder. That’s too bad you never fully settles into this one. I don’t like dishonesty either, especially when the main character is dishonest with the love interest. I can see why it took you a while to get over that and the prologue doesn’t sound like a good start for those who still remember the events form the… Read more »

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Lola

Yeah, the dishonesty gets to me because I know how it would kill a real life relationship especially when its over something really big like that. I loved how the author built up that relationship thread from the beginning with the two sisters. It was neat getting to know Charlotte better and her side of things from this book. Ha, it was a really tough mystery. 🙂

Lover of Romance
2 months ago

Its always such fun to see a melding of genres. Always appreciate a good mystery. Great review.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

I love how this is so many elements, too. I think I look for this in a cozy mystery. 🙂

Melliane
2 months ago

I really enjoy this series but I need to read the last books

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Melliane

I think I’m nearly caught up. There are three more? Though I do pause a bit between so they don’t go stale for me. 🙂

Carole Rae
2 months ago

This does sound like a series I would totally like…sooooo…maybe 😉

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Yes, maybe so! 🙂

Sarah @ All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

I want to give this series a try – cozy and paranormal?!?! Thank you!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Yeah, doesn’t that sound fab together, Sarah?

Sarah @ All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Quite! My library system has the first six – and in physical copies, no less. I am also submitting requests that the library purchase the last two in the series.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Oh cool! That’s a good start. My library doesn’t carry any, but I should put it in the list of suggestions they take b/c they have tons of straight cozies, but few with a twist like this paranormal element and I suspect lots of people would enjoy them.

vvb
vvb
2 months ago

Glad to hear this brought chuckles.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  vvb

They are hilarious, Velvet. 🙂

Nadene
2 months ago

This series sounds fun. Thanks for the recommendation

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Nadene

Sure thing, Nadene! 🙂