author: Brittany Kelley
series: Happily Haunted Afters #1
published: 7 September 2022
genre(s): romance, holiday/seasonal
source: Kindle Unlimited
buy/shelve it: Amazon | Goodreads
rating: | series rating:
Nothing is spookier than a second chance at love.
I’m done juggling dead-end jobs and deadbeat boyfriends. It’s time to nail down my goal of owning a hotel — and fix my friendship with my ex-best friend, Jack Colson. He's a big shot investor, and I’m going to need one. Nailing him barely crosses my mind.
I might actually get my life in order, especially if I snag the deep (and deeply weird) discount for staying an entire weekend at my dream property. It’s hard not to fall in love with the place. Though I could do without the creepy doll that lives there, the noises Jack insists are raccoons, and the eerie AF abandoned hotel I’d need an even spookier amount of money to renovate.
The worst part is, I’m falling for Jack… again. He'll never invest if he finds out I have feelings for him. But as we work through the phantoms of problems past, we’ll have to figure out if the property is infested with rodents — or something else that goes bump in the night.
Happily Haunted Afters is a spooky, spicy standalone small-town romantic comedy with a happily ever after guaranteed.
- a few notes
- mini review in 5
- full review
content warning: ❗some graphic violence❗
POV: 1st person; dual
keywords/phrases: family, new beginnings
tropes: second chances
cover notes: I love the cozy feel of the cover, perfect for a seasonal read.
- Emma was treated terribly by both Jack, the love interest, and her sister.
- They continually justified their behavior with “you know I love you.”
- There were a few undeveloped subplots that felt forgotten by the author.
- While published in the romance genre, it felt anything but.
- The last 25% was full of errors, bring me out of the story over and over again.
why I chose this book
I wanted a cozy fall read, and the cover and blurb promised exactly that.
This is touted as a romance, but it felt anything but romantic. The love interest, Jack. was truly awful to Emma. Her sister was no better. The two of them spent most of the book treating her badly. They are incredibly condescending to Emma, who is just trying to achieve her dream. Worse, they are often purposely cruel and hurtful to her, and then they turn around and give her the tried and tired line… “but you know I love you.” Very cringey.
There also is just no escaping the misogynist vibes with Jack, seen in the way he thinks of Emma, the things he says, the way he treats her for most of the story.
There were also some references to things that happened pre-book that were either never really explained, or were explained too vaguely. That made it feel as if they were intended to go somewhere eventually but just never did.
It really became messy for the last quarter or so of the book. There were instances with a character switching genders with in the same paragraph. There was one event involving a fall into a hole. It began with one character, changed to another character a few paragraphs later. Then in the next chapter, that fall never happened.
It takes a lot for me to comment on editing, but it when it actively removes me from the story, it’s an issue. That and the cringe factor were just too much for me.
- 2023 Alphabet Soup: Author Edition Reading Challenge
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