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18 February 2017

The Skeletons of Scarborough House by Kitty French

In honor of the book makeover ... and next month's release of the second book ...

(the rambley stuff below is largely a reprint from my original review 
-- the book is retitled, but my thoughts remain the same!)

*************Rambley Stuff*************

I have to admit that I got a bit giddy when I saw this on NetGalley (well, first on Twitter to say it was on NetGalley) because omigosh that COVER! How freaking fun is THAT? Then, as per my norm, I did some Amazon-ing about Kitty French to see what else she may have written.

(February 2017 Note:  The new cover is cute ... but the first cover won my heart.)

Erotica.

Uh-oh.

If you've been around me for any significant length of time you'll know that I don't do steamy sexy stuff well. (Not written, anyway.) I didn't want to request a book because of its awesomesauce cover only to end up skimming it between my fingers as they mostly covered my eyes hoping for something positive and non-erotic to gently jump out at me.

After I was finished hyperventilating, I saw that Kitty French is also Kat French so Amazon-ed some more and felt a bit more optimistic since Kat writes romantic comedy/chick lits and has been compared to some authors I have come to adore.

So I hit the request button.

From the beginning I laughed so hard that I had to stop drinking my coffee for fear of spurting it all over my desk.
'He's not mum's date, her's mine. Or else, he was,' I mutter, and then I'm distracted as a beer-bellied pensioner in a soup-stained shirt slowly materialises through the ceiling, his flannel trousers not quite meeting his bony ankles. Stay with me; I see dead people, remember? As do my mother and grandmother, who also watch him descend with matching expressions of distaste. (3%)
Yep, Melody Bittersweet can see and converse with ghosts. Her mother and grandmother are focused on connecting the living and the dead. Melody, much to her mother's dismay, wants to help them move on. They constantly put a cramp on her social life and any attempt she makes at getting a non-ghost-related job. When she turns 27 she decides to do something worthwhile with her life and starts her own ghostbusting business with her best friend, Marina. They also take on the tall and timid Artie as a "trainee" as a favor to his father -- who happens to be dead. Oh, and we mustn't forget Babs -- 1973 Ford Transit.

The Bittersweets aren't the only act in town. Leo Dark, Melody's ex-boyfriend, is a bit of a celebrity ghost whisperer and when Melody and Marina see him on the television at the site of his latest case they decide (with the help of Melody's Magic 8 Ball) to try and nab the job for themselves.
Leo doesn't answer straight away. He's too busy rearranging his features through a speedy cycle of 'hello ex-girlfriend who I dumped acrimoniously, oh shit you've got your vicious sidekick with you,' and 'don't come a step closer, this job has Leo Dark stamped all over it.' (14%)
Needless to say, Leo isn't thrilled when the owner of Scarborough House gives Melody a key to the house and declares that whichever one solves his ghost problem first will be the one who gets paid. On their first official visit to the house Melody encounters the ghosts in residence -- the elderly Isaac and Lloyd, and the young and handsome (and flirtatious) Douglas.

Have I mentioned yet that I have a super huge weakness for hunky ghosts? I blame it on watching movies like The Ghost & Mrs Muir and Topper almost religiously when I was young. Only thing better than a hunky ghost would probably be a hunky pirate ghost. You must know by now how I feel about pirates.

Anyway, the three brothers are cantankerous and hilarious and have been stuck in the house together for 45 years. There's a little question as to which of them actually killed Douglas way back in 1910 and, apparently, none of them are going anywhere until the case is solved.

Of course it won't be so easy as to just get one of them to fess up and *poof* they go. Don't forget there's also Leo butting around and local hot-shot reporter/supernatural-skeptic Fletcher Gunn is determined to prove that it's all just "a load of hokum bollocks."

I failed to mention that Leo and Fletch are also gorgeous and, of course, since Melody supposedly hates both of them you probably know where this is going:

Fasten your seatbelts, kids!
It's a ghostbusting murder mystery love triangle (oh wait -- Douglas. So a love square? rhombus?) romcom!

I'm ridiculously glad that I hit that request button. Along with the whole ghostbusting murder mystery love polygon romcom-ness, we also get Melody's obsession with sweets and superheros, plenty of references to Ghostbusters and Scooby Doo and other nerd-tastic delights, and the oh-so-amazeballs Grandma Dicey (who's still boinking Grandpa Duke even though he died 20 years ago). I seriously can't remember the last time I laughed this hard. The team even ends up getting a dog along the way -- Lestat, the one-eared pug from above. He's absofreakinglutely hilarious in his own right and, possibly, a little bit evil.
I bought new slippers yesterday, fancy knitted boots with fur inside, and I like them enough to sleep with them under my pillow. He knows it, of course. You don’t get to be a mafia boss without knowing everything that’s going down in your manor, and at 6.05 a.m. I feel one of the boots start to slowly slide out from beneath my head. It’s enough. It’s a direct threat. Get up, or the slipper’s history. I open my eyes and there he is, eyeballing me with the pompom of the boot locked firmly between his jaws.
I bare my teeth and growl at him, but he just sits there. I think he’s counting down in his head.(63%)
Now, it's not all a big huge laugh-fest. There are some incredibly emotional moments that had me reaching for my always-present tissue box. Having it not be non-stop hilarity or non-stop heartbreaking made it all that much better. A girl can take only just so much laughter and/or tears, after all. In fact, there really isn't anything I've found to complain about. Well, perhaps a lack of actual pirates (even/especially in ghost form) but it is the first in the series so maybe I'll luck out down the line.

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