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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!
This is a full-length novel, at 88,500 words (332 pages).
"This was so much fun to read I didn't want it to end! If you are looking for a paranormal story that has it all, this is it!" -- Wickedly Bookish
"Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead is a must-read for paranormal lovers. Christiana Miller is an author to keep an eye on!" -- Melanie's Book Addiction
"Get ready for a psychic roller coaster ride. This book is a tour de force novel of magic, spellcraft and over all chills." -- Everything Magical and Middle Eastern
"A charming, well written, fun novel well worth the read. Ms. Miller's humor is delightful! Come fly with her through the bewitching life of Mara - you won't be disappointed!" -- FMAM Mostly Mystery Reviews
"If you want a great indie paranormal adult read that will keep you turning the pages and guessing what will happen next, then pick up this book and give it a read." -- My Guilty Obsession
"Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead was a tremendous amount of fun to read. Christiana Miller's background in the TV industry shows in her confident, imaginative plotting and idiosyncratic characters that leap off the page with the power of their intention within the story." -- Reading is My Super Power
WHAT OTHER AUTHORS ARE SAYING:
"A spellbinding tale about the families we are born to--and the ones we choose. It captivates from the first page and holds on until the final, shocking conclusion. You won't want to miss it!" -- Barbra Annino, Opal Fire: A Stacy Justice Mystery
"Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead is a fine romp through spookyland, with enough paranormal creepiness to chill your blood. Witches, demons, magic spells, oh my! There's just enough intrigue and magic spells to keep you on edge, and Miller's hilarious one-liners leave you begging for more. Highly recommended for fun but scary reading on dark, stormy nights." -- Bonnie Turner, Down the Memory Hole
2012 Silken Sands (RWA) Star Contest, Reader's Choice Award -- 2nd Place Award Winner, Paranormal
2011 Best Read, Wickedly Bookish Awards. "This indie gem stole my heart with its fun humor, endearing characters, and thrilling moments. The transition from funny to chilling was at times immediate, combining these two elements very enjoyably." -- Wickedly Bookish
This book was a lot of fun to write. And yes, there will be more books about Mara, Gus and Lord Grundleshanks the poisonous toad!
For my Wiccan readers, who are curious about the quarter system used in the book, this story uses the Northern Quarter system as it's used in Traditional Witchcraft, rather than the Golden Dawn Quarter system, which is more widely used in Wiccan circles.
How does one even begin? So very well written! I enjoyed every moment of it, even when things got a little dicey towards the end. Just as everything in our heroine's LA life is closing in around her, a gift from the grave comes to her rescue...or does it? Our poor heroine is so very haunted that she can't tell from one moment to the next what is real.
A real page turner right to the very end. A lot of witchcraft, a lot of humor, a really great set of characters...and Christiana Miller is off to the races. Oh, and don't forget Aunt Tillie! She's a pistol.
This is such a great fun read. It has a little of it all. It has magic and mystery. Mayhem and humor. A little bit of dark magic, a little bit of light magic. Ghosts and demons. Big city, small town. Witty best friend, death and destruction. Love interests and did I mention magical toads?
Okay, so you sort of get the idea, this book will appeal to just about everyone and has just about everything you could ask for in a great paranormal read.
A great heroine, Mara, who is no push over and knows how to take charge and get the job done and while she isn't perfect and is still learning about who she is and what she can do, she didn't run away from her troubles. Instead she faced them on head first and did what needed to be done.
I loved the humor and just the all around witchiness (totally made up that word) of it all.
And then we have Gus. Ah Gus. How to describe thee. Actually, I can't describe him other than to say he is the kind of friend that you would want in a crisis. The kind that is loyal, funny and always has your back.
I really hope that there will be a second book out soon because I definitely plan on reading it. I want more adventures with Mara and Gus and I want to know more about what becomes of them and the new life they took on and what more is in store for them.
So in short, if you want a great indie paranormal adult read that will keep you turning the pages and guessing what will happen next, then pick up this book and give it a read.
As the title said, enjoyable lightweight chick lit. Author is excellent at dialogue. Sometimes the motivations for actions on Mara's part are pretty skimpy--she feels a heavy foreboding, evening is turning dark into nightfall; scary woods--but she just can't resist going forward instead of sensibly going home and waiting for daylight. Hangs around the village looking at the shops, goes to the cottage at sunset, when it's becoming dark and scary. That sort of thing. A little contrived, if you ask me.
I loved the back-and-forth with Gus, though it got a bit heavy handed at times. I wanted to ask, don't you ever respond except in a smart ass sarcastic mode? Enough, already.
Good plot, satisfying ending. "Toad Witch Series" but the toad wasn't that interesting, important only marginally. But then how do you make a toad into a brilliant conversationalist or a key character? I didn't think the title was particularly appropriate.
Loved the book. It has everything in it. I want more. The story was well written, I don't like frogs,toads but I loved the toad in the story. The best friend is the best, we all want a Gus in our life. Loved the cottage. A must read
***This review originally appeared in my Romantic Geek Girl blog***
"At the beginning of this whole, surreal journey, I had no idea you could be evicted from your body as easily as you could be booted out of your apartment."
"One of the problems with being a witch is when you ask the universe a question, it generally gives you an answer. Or at least enough of one to ruin a perfectly good week."
And thus with not one but with two killer opening lines, Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead begins.
Writing a line like that - let alone two lines - takes skill and craftsmanship. With much anticipation, I began reading.
Mara is a witch living in Los Angeles. She's a witch, but she's very leery of magic for many a reason, and she tries to keep it to the smaller stuff that can't come back to bite her.
Around her 27th birthday, she's about to get kicked out of her apartment by her fundamentalist Christian landlady.
So she worries over it and talks smarty-pants with her gay best friend and fellow magic user,Gus.
And then Gus talks her doing some magic against her will.
And then something bad happens, and she has bad dreams and bad feelings about what is about to come, especially since *dum dum dum* her mother died at the age of 27.
And then she frets and talks smarty-pants with Gus.
Then the landlady comes back to reiterate witches are evil and she's still evicted.
And then Gus reassures her, and talks her into doing magic against her will.
And keep going like that through the first half of the book.
Let me stop here for a bit. This is not going to be the most complimentary review, so I'd like to say right now what I liked and give the story it's due. The author has a fantastic voice with dialogue, especially that "you are a pain but I love you" dialogue that occurs between long-time friends. The book has that everyone-is-crazy humor, sort of reminiscent of the early Stephanie Plum books, and the author does it well. And as shown by those opening lines, the author knows how to string together a sentence in a clever way.
Now to the problems. The biggest one is the story has horrific pacing. The above back-and-forth takes almost half of the book (and this is novel-length, so that's a lot of between friends bickering). The first few rounds between Gus and Mara were fun and had me smiling, but when we got to a third of the way through the book and that was all that had happened so far, I was getting frustrated. Bickering does not a story make.
Once we got to around the 40% mark and still no story forward momentum, I put the book down... and ended up forgetting about it.
Not long ago I came across the title and went, "Oh yeah, I'm in the middle of that, aren't I?" I actually debated with myself if I wanted to restart it again. But I remembered what I liked about the story and the fact that sometimes the second half of the book might be better than the first, I decided to go forward and finish the book.
About the halfway point we get to the heart of the story: Mara inherits her Aunt Tillie's cottage far, far away from LA. Once there, Mara deals with colorful locals, the ghost of her Aunt (who may/may not have her best interests at heart) a love interest, and the possibility the house itself wants to kill her... or worse.
I wish I could say the second half makes up for the first, but that's not the case. Because of the over long set-up, this part of the story is rushed. There is so much tossed into it that the story is superficial - we're never really given a chance to absorb anything, so we don't have any deep feelings for what's happening.
Also, Mara goes from being a character in her own right into taking specific actions because she needs to do them or else the story won't work. Multiple instances I thought to myself, "Would the character I saw in the beginning do this?" From my point of view, the answer was usually no. Again, because of the rushed nature of the second half of the book, the author wasn't able to convince me of these changes. Also, in this part of the book Mara deals with her issues surrounding her Mother, but once again, everything is so rushed that what should have been poignant and added some depth to the story was barely a blip on my screen.
The humor that served so well through the first half of the book becomes a detriment in the second half. Humor can be used to increase tension and dread, but in this case, the author was not able to pull that off. Instead, the humor turned what should have been high tension instances into shoulder shrugs.
The small-town residents are barely more than cut-outs, and the love interest isn't. It felt like the author needed a male body (I can't say more without going into major spoilers but anyone reading the book knows what I mean) and threw him in there. The only love story in this book was the love between a woman and her Gay Best Friend Forever.
And the ending - what was that? In all honesty, by that time, I just wanted it over and was like, "Fine. Good luck everyone."
Bottom line - This author creates wonderful dialogue and fun supporting characters, and her humor speaks to me. On the other hand, she has no idea how to pace a story, she spends too much time on things that she shouldn't and way too little time on areas that need more in-depth exploration, her characters tend to be a little superficial, and she hasn't learned how to use her humor to amplify the tension - instead, the humor dilutes it. Will I read her again? Yes, but I would want to know who her editor is first.
The only reason I even gave this book two stars is because occasionally I would find myself laughing over something her friend Gus said. I kept reading this book hoping it would get better, but it never did. I am shocked that people gave this 5 stars. Also, the subtitle for the book is the Toad Witch Series. How is this the Toad Witch series? She took the toad with her on her trip, but it pretty much sat in it's cage throughout the entire book. Also it states that toad was magical. Where was the magical toad? She hallucinated that she heard the toad talk in her head...and that was the only thing magical about the toad. I am sorry, but this book was a waste of time to read. All I can say is that I am never trusting some of these reviews again.
Christiana Miller is a novelist, screenwriter and mom who's led an unusual life. In addition to writing for General Hospital: Night Shift and General Hospital, she's had her DNA shot into space (where she's currently cohabiting in a drawer with Stephen Colbert and Stephen Hawking), she's been serenaded by Klingons, and she's been the voices of all the female warriors in Mortal Kombat II and III. If her life was a TV show, it would be a wacky dramedy filled with Dobies and eccentric characters who get themselves into bizarre situations!
The best way to make sure you're notified of future releases, giveaways and sales, is by joining her e-mail list at: http://eepurl.com/LeSnn
If you want to know more about her, you can chat with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChristianaMiller.author or on Twitter @writechristiana
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