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review 2018-07-07 18:50
Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We're In Trouble! (ToadWitch #2) by Christiana Miller
Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We're In Trouble! (The Toad Witch Mysteries Book 2) - Christiana Miller
After being possessed by ancestors who were up to no good, Mara's now pregnant with a witch, possibly demon child.  Mara may want the baby but that doesn't mean Paul, her boyfriend who is struggling from post possession disorder is on side. If that were not enough, Gus, the man that she can always count is obsessed with the remains of Lord Grundleshanks - a deceased magical toad. Aunt Tillie knows that things are about to go desperately wrong but can Mara figure it out in time to saver her best friend?
Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie We're In Trouble is the perfect book to pick up to relax on a beautiful lazy S afternoon.  It's light and it's fun and an extremely easy read.  Don't go into expecting anything earth shattering and you should have a good time with it. 
Miller did more world building in this second outing for Mara and Gus and we learn that Devil's Point is actually quite aptly named.  Sure, living on top of a hellmouth means that Mara and Gus can work magnificent spells now but maybe just maybe there's a reason there are limits to a witches powers.  Even though Mara and Gus have only recently gotten over their latest bit of trouble with the supernatural, Gus's stubbornness means that they are full steam ahead because after all, rules are meant to broken right? 
What makes this book interesting is the constant bickering between Gus and Mara.  They are like wild siblings who love each other but cannot seem to stop snarking. I love that Gus completely supported Mara's choice to keep her baby and even offered to step into the role of father figure in place of the deadbeat Paul,  even though Gus constantly wishing for a boy was somewhat irksome to me. 
I really want Gus to have his own life separate from Mara. As it is, he's already picked up his life and moved to Wisconsin because Mara did. Then there's his obsession with every morsel of food Mara puts in her mouth barbecue she's pregnant. It's a stark contrast to Mara's assertions about her body. Throwing out all of Mara's favourite foods because he didn't think she should eat them any longer is crossing a line. Then there's the issue that Gus finally got a boyfriend and of course, it's the devil. They both agree that they want happiness for the other and while their relationship is great, Gus being so intertwined in Mara's life turns him into GBFF and that's a trope. It is further problematic that Miller just had to come up with a reason for these two to kiss. Ummm nope. Let Gus be the gay man that he is. 
Mara showed real backbone when she stood up to Paul declaring that since the baby was in her body that it was her choice.  It's not often in media that we have such strong declarations of female reproductive freedom.  I will however say that Miller only chose this stance because Mara had chosen to keep her baby.  Media is generally speaking reluctant to take this tact when a woman is choosing to have an abortion.  I liked that Mara not only justified her decision by claiming her body but that she also told Paul he could choose the level of his interaction with the child.  

As for Paul, him going through post traumatic possession disorder while played for laughs at times is actually very important. Quite often, in this genre, characters go through unspeakable things and they seem to just magically bounce back from trauma after trauma with no ill effects. Paul recognising that he needed to seek mental healthcare when dealing with the after effects of having his body possessed is really important, even if he couldn't tell his psychiatrist the whole truth about what was troubling him. Where Paul's trauma did fall down was his concern about the baby having hooves or horns. Yes, to the medical staff it made him seem unstable and it was absolutely played for laughs; however, given that he was possessed by a demon, it's not an unreasonable concern. 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2018/06/somebody-tell-aunt-tillie-were-in.html
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review 2018-05-15 17:29
Aunt Bessie Provides
Aunt Bessie Provides - Diana Xarissa

I really like these cold case stories, and this one was intriguing; Constable Hugh Watterson brings Bessie a cold case of a man's body found twenty years ago on the beach and after looking into the few men who left around the same time, only two are unaccounted for, so which one was the man on found on the beach? It's always fun to watch as Bessie and her police friends brainstorm over take-out and hash out the investigation, and the many twists and turns kept the pace moving quickly. And as always with the Aunt Bessie books, it's not just the mystery that keeps me coming back, it's also the on-going evolution of the characters and the charming world the author has created. A light, enjoyable read, perfect for a rainy afternoon.

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text 2018-04-21 06:27
OT: I'm an aunt!

On Tuesday, my sister gave birth to two adorable little girls. So now I'm an aunt as well as a mom. Throughout the pregnancy they've been nicknamed Sunflower and Sesamy and I guess we'll still call them that from time to time. :)


Little darlings

Source: crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/185460.html
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review 2018-03-23 16:13
Aunt Bessie Observes
Aunt Bessie Observes - Diana Xarissa

Janet and Joan Markham were first seen in a previous Aunt Bessie book and now have a series of no-murder cozy mysteries, and I enjoyed watching them team up with Bessie. In the Markham Sisters mystery The Jackson Case, a pair of con-men swindled a charity out of its proceeds from a charity auction. and in Aunt Bessie Observes, both found murdered. I'm not really sure what Bessie observed, other than the horrifically garish theme cottage that neighbor Maggie fixed up (which made me laugh out loud!) but this was still an entertaining and enjoyable read with a fascinating cross-over mystery.

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review 2018-03-23 01:43
Aunt Bessie Needs
Aunt Bessie Needs - Diana Xarissa

This was one of the better ones in the series, I think. I loved the intricately twisty plot and the addition of Pete to the foursome to investigate. With many suspects and an unknown motive, it was challenging to figure out who murdered Julie and who the real target was and the twist at the end was suprrising.  I have to say, I didn't much care for Laura, and I suspected she wasn't truthful about her past. I won't lie, I cheered when she left.  Poor Henry, he doesn't realize he dodged a bullet.

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