Book Review: Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We’re In Trouble! by Christiana Miller

Posted October 6, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We’re In Trouble! by Christiana Miller

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

Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We're In Trouble! by Christiana Miller
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery, Cozy
Published by HekaRose Publishing on September 7, 2014
Pages: 287
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead, Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We're Kidnapping Cupid!, Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We're Canning Demons!, "A Tale of (Two) 3 Witches"

Second in the Toad Witch Mysteries cozy paranormal mystery series and revolving around Mara Stephens and her relationships with Gus and Paul.

My Take

It’s an interesting set of interactions. The more rational Mara trying to have a relationship with the erratic Paul who’s suffering through Post-Possession Stress Disorder while living with the gay flamboyance of Gus. I guess it would make sense that Gus would interact with the Faery realm. And no, it has nothing to do with his being gay.

Miller is using first person protagonist point-of-view, so we always view it from Mara’s perspective. From Gus’ crazy choices to baby’s unexpected abilities to the incredibly rude and interfering Aunt Tillie and the freaked-out Paul.

Mara is too gullible and accepting of Gus’ antics. Nor do I understand why she’s still interested in Paul. He is such a jerk. To be fair, I guess I can understand his worries about the baby: horns, wings, hooves, claws . . .

Gus . . . he is a crack-up and so very irresponsible. It’s pretty accurate when the Devil says he’s his poster child!

There are some fun observations about the Dobies. There is also a lot of back-and-forth about whether Aunt Tillie really is still around — Gus totally disbelieves her. I reckon it’s because it doesn’t suit Gus’ plans.

I don’t really get what is going on with Grundleshanks. He’s dead? He’s not dead? He’s a ghost? He’s got a bit of Lucien in him?

It’s crazy magic

The Story

After Gus flips the seasons and manages to bring summer into winter, everything starts going weirdly wrong. Summer refuses to leave. Household electronics start going haywire. When J.J., a local boy, vanishes from Mara’s car, Mara begins to suspect he’s been turned into a rat. But it’s such a crazy idea, who could she possibly talk to abut it? Then, her dead Aunt Tillie shows up to warn her that Gus is in trouble—big trouble—and it’s up to Mara to save him.

Before Mara can stop him, Gus opens up a portal to Hell and the Devil comes calling. Now, she’s got her hands full, trying to find out what happened to J.J., assure Paul she’s not going to give birth to a mythological creature, and broker a truce between Gus and the Devil before Gus becomes Hell’s newest resident.

The Characters

The pregnant Mara Stephens, a.k.a. Miss Thing, is a witch who can see the dead and has inherited her aunt Tillie’s cottage. Tillie McDougal is her very snarky, deceased great-aunt who lives in a skull. Mara has two Dobies: Aramis and Apollo. Adele had been her mother who lets slip about a brother.

The flamboyant, ego-driven Gus Andrakis is her best friend, a witch, who’s a cross between Jack Sparrow and Harry Potter. He’s also mad keen on organic foods. Lord Gundleshanks II is his otherly toad. (Lord Grundleshanks I is living with Gus’ friend, Andwyn, in Utah.) Zed had been Gus’ SUV that he traded to Mara for her red Mustang convertible, Sally.

Devil’s Point, Wisconsin, is . . .
. . . where Aunt Tillie’s wards-protected cottage is located — it had turned J.J.’s great-great-grandfather Jarvis into a rowan tree. Eleanor had been his wife. Paul, a writer, is Mara’s off-again (mostly), on-again boyfriend, who just got a job as the Creative Writing professor in Old Main University’s MFA program. Daniel is Paul’s great-grandfather in a nursing home. Raoul is one of the nurses and a part-time barber/stylist/make-over artist; his wife is pregnant. Daniel’s honeys include Gladys, Ruthie, and Carolyn. Mrs Norbert is another resident. Doc Brady. J.J. is the stoner clerk from the Trading Post; Anna is another clerk and J.J.’s cousin. J.J.’s buddies include Buddy, Moe, and Rafe. Duke Gronwy of Rattenshire is the rat who appeared in Mara’s car.

Officers Brand and Chen are local police looking for J.J.

Los Angeles
Mama Lua is a Voodoo Queen who runs the Crooked Pantry.

Lady Lisette McDougal, Mara’s great-great-great-great-grandmother, is still being pursued by the Wild Hunt. Lucien Odega was one of the fallen angels, cursed to walk in a human body. They had possessed Mara and Paul in Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead, 1.

George Ewart Evans wrote a book on magics. Jack is a guy Gus met in Chicago. Forrest was a meet at the gas station, who pokes into their lives. Great-uncle Bertram is in the cemetery.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a cartoon graphic with a twilight sky of black to turquoise and a silhouette of a cottage, trees, and a cemetery on various ridges. Mara is on the left with her long, curly black hair, her green sleeveless T-shirt ballooning over her expanded tummy with tight-fitting blue shorts to the knees with a couple of skulls nosing up around her. On her right are three red-topped mushrooms studded with white. The biggest ‘shroom is a tiny little house . . . for Grundleshanks?? At the top is the title in four parts: the top is a pale blue, the second line is white with the third and fourth lines in a bright yellow.

The title is quite the contradiction, for she doesn’t need Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We’re In Trouble!, she already tried to warn ’em.

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