Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Review - 'Spellbound in Sleepy Hollow' by Eimer, Lario and Brux

Review 

The three-story anthology centers on the modern day von Tassel sisters, their ghost aunts and the legend of Sleepy Hallow and the Headless Horseman. This antho sounds like a fun, interesting tale based on the Headless Horseman legend but it falls short in my opinion. 
All three stories are written in first-person POV. I prefer third-person but decided to give this antho a chance because I love folklore. 
The best part about these stories were the ghost aunts. The Headless Horseman cursed Katarina, Elizabeth and Cassandra, along with their true loves, two hundred years ago. Too bad all three couples are stubborn—they refuse to communicate with their beloveds to break the curse—so they’ve remained ghosts for over two centuries. The ghost aunties are very close to their living nieces, and their romance with their ghost ex-lovers play a role in each story. The only thing I didn’t like about the aunts was that the authors always called them ‘aunties’. After a while, reading ‘Auntie this’ and ‘Auntie that’ grew tiresome. It made all three heroines sound like children. 

Bewitching her Enemy by Patricia Eimer 

Stephanie von Tassel is the youngest sister of three witches and very immature and stubborn. 
In a nutshell, she makes a deal with the Headless Horseman to win a fight against a powerful witch, Agnes Nog, and the Horseman curses Stephanie, her ex-boyfriend Carson, her sisters, her aunts, her aunts’ lovers and her sisters’ lovers. All six couples have to find true love in five days or be forever cursed to walk the earth as ghosts. Normally, in a romance book, it’s the hero or heroine (sometimes both of them) who defeats the bad guy, but it’s not so in this book. The inactivity on Stephanie’s and Carson’s part weakens their strength of character. Also, a lot of people witness this pivotal moment but no one seemed shocked, worried or scared. It didn’t make sense. 
The best part about the book was every scene with Auntie Katarina. I was more interested in Katarina’s rekindling relationship with Brom von Brandt, than with Steph and Carson, but I thought it was a little ridiculous that neither ghost had talked in two hundred years. Actually, it’s like that with all the ghosts in all three books. They’re all stubborn as rocks. 
2 Stars 

Under his Spell by Rosalie Lario 

Brianna von Tassel is struck speechless when the unrequited love of her life, Jason Palmer, shows up at the family inn. She crushed on him when they were 13 years old but he only thought of her as a friend, but of course she holds that against him even though they’re now in their mid-twenties. He’s the star of a ghost hunting show on the Travel Channel and he’s there to check out the inn for ghosts. Not good since the inn is crawling with them. 
The villain in this story turns out to be Jason’s producer and co-star of the TV show, Trish, who has the hots for him. Jason finally notices Brianna and finds out a few secrets of his own buried in his past. 
Auntie Elizabeth didn’t play a large role in the story, unfortunately, and her reunion with her ex-lover of a ghost, Edward, was too short. It was my favorite part and I wanted more. 
Brianna and Jason fall in love and that’s that. 
3 Stars 

Hexing her Ex by Boone Brux 

Of the three stories, this was my favorite. 
Lexi von Tassel is the oldest sister who’s crushing on her ex-boyfriend, Tristan, who’s now the handyman she hired for the inn. Their romance blossoms quickly and I really like Tristan. He has a secret that’s bound to shock everyone and I didn’t expect it, which is amazing since I can normally guess what’s about to happen before it does. 
Auntie Cassandra is a wonderful, fun-loving ghost with a vengeful side. Lexi and Auntie Cassandra were hilarious together and I loved their bickering. Cassandra is madder at her ghost of an ex-lover, Jacob, than the other ghost aunts were at their ghost ex-lovers and I don’t blame her for it. Jacob’s horrible wife, Abigail, is a ghost, too, and even two hundred years after their deaths she still strives to keep Cassandra and Jacob apart.
I really liked that the author decided to include the other couples from the previous stories in this one—Stephanie and Carson, Katarina and Brom, Brianna and Jason, Elizabeth and Edward. I enjoyed seeing how the characters were progressing in their relationships but I wish we had more scenes with the ghost aunts and their beaus. 
I probably would’ve rated this story higher but I felt confused about the timeline of the story. All three books take place over about a week but, in one scene, Lexi says she has a few hours to break the curse and then, in the next chapter, she has two days to break it. Maybe I just misread? The story arc that spanned all three stories was tied up nicely but there were loose ends strictly for this story. Again, maybe I just missed reading it, but how did Jacob and Abigail die? Also, Cassandra claimed her sisters—Katarina and Elizabeth—were away from home when Cassandra died but I’d read in book one that Katarina died first. A possible inconsistency here between books 1 and 3, or maybe I just misread again. I don’t know, but I didn’t care to reread.
3 Stars

All three stories were interesting with fun characters, but they just didn’t hit the spot for me. Still, I recommend this antho to anyone who likes folklore and American legends. The stories are well-written by new-to-me authors who obviously know their craft and I plan to look for more books by them in the future. 

3 Stars for the anthology overall 

Disclaimer – I downloaded this book from the publisher as a Free Promotion. I am a reader. I am not paid or compensated in any way, shape or form for this honest review. I will not change or alter this review for any reason unless at my discretion.