In The Well of Tears, a teenager and his gnome boyfriend end up on a quest to find a mythical well with healing waters. In The Fangs of Freelance, a vampire accountant and his friends deal with ghosts, gangs, grand mages, and other sorts of trouble. In Straight Outta Fangton, a fairly young vampire gets mixed up in the nefarious plans of a powerful old vampire. Enjoy my mini reviews for these three paranormal/urban fantasy books!
The Well of Tears by R. G. Thomas
This series is really cute and sweet, and I absolutely love that it's got garden gnomes because you rarely find books about those. The relationship between Thaddeus and Teofil is so nice and healthy, which is wonderful to see in a book for young readers. The family relationships are great and loving too. The series is just too young for me though. Personally, I'd say it seems more middle grade than young adult, although it's listed as young adult by the publisher. The plot was fairly simple, and tough topics were kind of glossed over. The dialogue also felt too formal/simple sometimes. Overall I really think this is a lovely series though! And the first book gave me such happy feels. It's turned out to be not quite for me, but it could be perfect for kids/younger teens looking for positive LGBT+ rep.
The Fangs of Freelance by Drew Hayes
Much like all the others so far, this was another enjoyable audiobook. Fred may be a quiet accountant who's better with numbers than people, but he's honest, sincere, caring, introspective, and self-aware, and I love him for it. He's also very loyal and, despite not liking confrontation, will step forward and put himself at risk if it means helping his loved ones. I will say though, I don't know if it was just because I listened to all four books one after the other, but I did get a bit bored during this one. I think part of the problem was that some of these memoirs (the books are told as kind of a grouping of short stories, referred to as memoirs, I think) just weren't very exciting. Overall though, it was still another light, touching book in the series!
Also, just a random note... *MILD SPOILER* Smiling with his fangs at the gang leader and then lifting up his shirt to show that his stab wound was healed was the most badass thing Fred has done so far lol. Well, not really, he's done other badass things, but this one was just so smooth and calculated. Way to go, Fred! *END SPOILER*
Straight Outta Fangton by C. T. Phipps
*I received an audio copy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*
This book just kind of missed the mark for me, but I think it was me, not the book. This was a fun take on vampires that allowed for both the decadent, sexy kind as well as a more down-to-earth, human kind. Our protag, Peter, was Black, a veteran, a little bitter about his current situation but with a good sense of humor, and definitely on the down-to-earth side of the vampire spectrum. I just never really got into the story though, and I can't quite place my finger on why. I think I got a bit lost when it came to the politics and the flashbacks, and I didn't feel an emotional connection with the characters. Or maybe this was just an unfortunate case of choosing the wrong format (I struggle with audiobooks, but I really liked the sample and needed to give my eyes a break, so I went for it). And although I did chuckle sometimes---and outright laughed at the very last line of the book---not all of the humor worked for me. There were a lot of pop culture references I didn't get.
But I did really like the sweet but banter-y familial relationship between Peter and his creator, some of the stuff about the vampires and how their society worked was interesting, and there was a mix of humor, intensity, action, and realism (including things like bigotry) that a lot of people will likely enjoy, especially anyone who's looking for a grittier vampire story.
As for the audio, I didn't love all the voices, but I actually didn't mind the female ones, and I thought Cary Hite did a great job with the main character. He made the narration sound natural, and his tone matched the humorous, quippy feel of the book.