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 She's Dead by Christiana Miller
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by HekaRose Publishing on April 23, 2011
Source: my own shelves
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First in the Toad Witch paranormal fantasy series and revolving around the witchy Mara Stephens and her two sidekicks.
This was so cute with the good versus the bad, light versus dark, with the circle of life taking on a whole new meaning. In a scary way! Although, that twist with Aunt Tillie took awhile for me to get my head around. Miller did a nice job on the backstory — yay! — without any info dumps! Mara did have a unique childhood, and I suspect there could be a story there as well.
That Gus is a mover and a shaker, lol, constantly trying to help Mara. Only, his ideas are a bit on the dicey side. He does crack me up. And he certainly makes Mara’s life a lot more fun! Lenny, however, what a jerk! After all these years, and he’s tossing Mara aside!??
It was annoying that Aunt Tillie keeps referring to the curse but never does provide any explanation. How can you expect someone to run if all you do is tell them to?
”…if I have to kill you to keep you out of harm’s way, so be it.”
We know everything Mara is thinking, as Miller is using first person protagonist point-of-view from her perspective. I gotta confess Mara’s thoughts were somewhat annoying. Sure, she’s a good person and probably too realistic with all her worries and concerns.
As for the guests at the birthday party…jesus. Some childhood they’re having.
I do wish Miller would learn the difference between possessive and plural punctuation.
In spite of that, I definitely want to read more about “Aunt Tillie”!
A witch who abides the rules, it hasn’t done Mara much good financially. Broke, unemployed, and handed an eviction notice from her overly religious building manager, Mara is desperate for some good news.
Only, it’s bad dreams that bring what could be good news. Even if there is a ghost or three trying to kill her.
Mara Stephens is an actual witch who abides by the rules. Her dad is dead, which inspired Mara to stop the search. Katherine, her mom, is also dead, and both try to warn her. Tillie McDougal is a great-aunt Mara never met. Owen had been Tillie’s husband. Lady Lisette McDougal is Mara’s great-great-great-great-grandmother. Lucien Odega is her ever-present bodyguard, companion, and lover.
The eccentric Greek-American Celtophile Gus is her best friend, a witch, a freelance reader (I want that job!), and flaunting his gayness. Lord Gundleshanks is his otherly toad. With his own mind. Zed is Gus’ Ford Escape Hybrid that he trades for Mustang Sally.
Devil’s Point, Wisconsin, is…
…where Aunt Tillie’s cottage is located. Jarvis IV, a.k.a., Little J or J.J., mans the trading post. His great-great-great-great-granddaddy Jack got turned into a tree. Auntie Mae runs a B&B. Doc takes care of the swelling. Mrs. Anderson is the librarian. Sam has a bad habit of sleep-driving. Michelle is a teller at the bank. Del Angels is the mortuary who laid Aunt Tillie out.
Paul Raines is the new teacher at the high school and a writer. Daniel Roake, his great-great-grandfather, wrote a book about the old houses in Devil’s Point.
Over in Oldfield, Roy runs a chopper service.
Gloria Lasio is the new building manager who is obsessively obsessed with religion. Lupe is her youngest daughter. Manuel is her gay brother. Lenny has been a friend from way back, a neighbor and now the owner as he bought the building.
Mama Lua is a witch doctor who knows the dark side and runs the Crooked Pantry with “groceries only a witch could love”. Ellen Reese owns a gift shop. Pagan Pride is a market fair.
Mr. Lyra, a movie producer, is giving his daughter, Kimmy, a birthday party. Tommy McGregor taught Mara a lesson in karmic payback.
1600s in Devil’s Point
Ten-year-old Bobby Wheeler was paid off. Matthew Gilardi is a gay witch and Witchfinder General to King James of Scotland.
Cromm is an old sacrificial god. Gwyn ap Nudd leads the Wild Hunt on Samhain. Lady Rhiannon is a Queen of the Underworld.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a cartoon of midnight with a crescent moon and bats flying about a lit-up house on a hill with tombstones in the yard below it. A curly-haired Mara in an off-the-shoulder mauve T and bright blue pants sits on top of a light wood coffin, one leg crossed over her knee while Grundleshanks sits at her feet wearing a peaked witch’s hat with a red hatband. The title spreads across the top in a combination of light and pale blue and gold in a curly font while the author’s name is in white block letters on the bottom left just above a skull with glowing eyes.
The title is confusing, ‘cause Aunt Tillie already knows. So why it needs be that Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead has me clueless.