Review: How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser

How to Date Dead GuysHow to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser
Under the Blood Moon #1
Genre: Post-Apocalypse Horror
Publication Date: July 15th, 2014
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Synopsis from Goodreads:

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts.” But when cute Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one…

Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a young man determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.

Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will appeal to the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.

Wendy’s Review

Half of me was really looking forward to How to Date Dead Guys, and the other half of me was really nervous.  I worried that my hopes were so high that I was bound to be let down.  I really knew nothing about the book, other than the synopsis and title.

Here’s what’s interesting though.  When I finished it I felt both let down, and driven to immediately read the next one.  I can’t remember another time where I was unhappy with a book, but unable to prevent myself from continuing.  (I’ve already read the first 35% of How to Ditch Dead Guys.)  I can also say that while the first half was a little more miss than hit, I also felt that the story slowly found its stride.  Despite being unhappy with the twists and turns, I was actually enjoying myself in the reading.

What I Loved: I loved the concept that in her grief Emma discovers powers inside herself that allows her to do witchcraft.  (It’s kind of a childhood dream of mine.  The Secret Circle is my preteen favorite.)  I loved that her grief and guilt caused her to cook up a spell that would bring people back from the dead.  I loved the relationships that she developed between herself and the men she pulled out of the river.  I loved how even when they were a bit of a jerk to each other, they wound up caring about each other anyway.  I particularly loved Jake.  Everything about Jake.  I love how everything seemed to circle back to Emma’s real world.  It was an interesting way to show a balance.  Oh, and I looooved Jake.

Where I Struggled: I didn’t like that witchcraft was given a negative spin.  It was ‘dangerous’, it was messing with ‘bad things’.  It brought about ‘horrid nightmares’.  That line of thinking is tired, in my opinion.  I also struggled with Emma.  Actually, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure how much I like her at all.  She felt one dimensional to me. On the flipside I was so sad for her.  It was really hard reading about her making these connections -Jake- but knowing they were only temporary.  I wanted to hold onto those connections, and knowing she wanted that too made the story pretty sad.  It also didn’t help me, as the reader, when the ‘dead guys’ were the most well developed characters.

Nevertheless, I can’t tell if it’s because of what I loved or what I struggled with, something about the story -probably Jake- made me want to delve right into the next one.  I wonder if when I finish the second, will I still be as gung-ho about reading book three.

Thank you to Curiosity Quills Press via Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 Stars = C+

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