I had a friend ask me once if I believed in ghosts. See…he (my friend) is a cynic of epic proportion. If you can’t see it, touch it, or invite it over for brunch, it doesn’t exists. Religion, spirits, gut feelings (in his eyes) these are all random blabberings of uneducated minds. So when my answer to his question was a resounding yes, let’s just say his respect for my sanity plummeted a peg or two. (Or ten.) But of course me, being the stubborn mule-headed female that I am, insisted my beliefs deserved a voice. So I set out to gut check Senor Skepticism and prove that I am not a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever walked into a building and (without warranted reason) became overwhelming sad, (or at the very least creeped out?) Been awash with emotion that you couldn’t explain? No? Hmmm… Maybe I am crazy. But let’s pretend for a second that you do/did. Feel the emotions of the room, that is…not agree that I’m crazy. This happens to me regularly. Mostly in older establishments. A prime example, (since I am a Texan) The Alamo. I can’t step foot into that place without the immediate onset of struggled breathing and dripping eyes. Some of you might chock this up to state pride. Trust me…that’s not it. If I’m being honest, I could careless about the historical significance of The Alamo and how it applies to my current living situation. I’m just not that girl. But the weight I feel hovering around me the second I pass it’s threshold is undeniable. It’s like I can feel the pain of every person who has ever walked through that building let alone died in it. Cemeteries, churches, hospitals…they all keep me on edge. I am not afraid of them, they just effect me in a very unconscious way. It’s these feelings that I contribute to ghosts. I mean…why the hell else would I burst into tears at a state monument or a cemetery that is seven states away and isn’t home to a single soul I have ever known? Someone is trying to tell me something, and as senile as it makes me appear, I try my hardest to listen.
I grew up in a town that boasts a nationally recognized haunted restaurant. A town that has an exact replica of the Muster Mansion just waiting to be trolloped through. Where Bonnie and Clyde had their final shoot-out. Ghosts are the RULE where I come from, not the EXCEPTION.
But what they hell does any of this have to do with “Kiss Me Hello?” Well duh! It’s a ghost story. And chances are if you thought I needed a one way ticket to Shutter Island after just a few paragraphs, you are going to think Sara Blakemore (the protagonist of Ms. Rigel’s little story) is in dier need of a straight jacket and a frontal lobotomy.
But first, how about we learn a little more about Sara and her see through friend Joss.
One of the most impressive things about Ms. Rigel’s writing is her ability to utilize all of her characters. In most books you have buffers. Characters that make appearances, add a few lines of dialogue (meaningful or abstract) and then blend back into the woodwork. No harm, no foul. But Rigel does not subscribe to this theory. If she introduces a character, you better take note, they WILL at one point or another have a reason for being there. And this is especially true in “Kiss Me Hello.” From the hippie bookstore owner (who makes the best coffee in town) to the Mayor/Cafe owner (that makes the worst cup of coffee in town) everyone plays a part. And while at times their plot submersions are a little hazy (for example Sara’s overbearing/bigoted parents) in the end ALL of their journeys (and grievances) make sense. Adding depth to a book that could have fallen very short (in regards to characters) due to it’s length. (A very hasty 182 pages.)
But…while I respect Rigel’s ability to vet out an eclectic cast (and keep them active in a story) that doesn’t necessarily mean I “liked” her characters. As a matter of fact, I hated several of them. Including Sara, until around the 70% mark, when she finally realized she was being a whiny, dimwitted, pushover. Sound harsh? Trust me… it’s not. In the beginning of the book Sara finds out she is being cheated on. (Which…I didn’t find all that shocking. You know that saying, “If he ain’t getting it from you he’s getting it from somewhere?” Six months of zero sexy time with her husband was a pretty big giveaway.) At first she is appropriately affronted. She yells, she storms out. Bravo! Girl power. Two chapters later…she’s making excuses for his bad behavior and begging him to come and cuddle with her. I wanted to gag. I also wanted to punch her assclown of a husband Bram in the face. With my foot.
Luckily, I was so intrigued by the “hot ghost” and flying vine spikes that I could look past my irritability and read the story for what it was. A weak woman’s road to thriving independence (and self-confidence.)
As for said road. It was a little stumbly at first. Focusing too long on insignificant details (like coffee) and not enough on the important ones (Hello!!! There’s a dead dude living in your house. A HOT dead dude, who keeps saving you from your debilitating clumsiness. Tell me more about HIM!) Mid-way through (however) the story evens out, and sub-plots appear. (Can you say “evil realtor with an agenda?”) Transforming a story that I was (until this point) determined to deem “meh” into a very solid “Hey, this isn’t half bad!”
It’s important to note that “Kiss Me Hello” has more “gothic” qualities than romantic ones. (Old creaky houses, ghosts, mysterious deaths.) But I think it’s THOSE qualities that will set it apart from it’s peers. Lips smackers are a dime a dozen. Haunting tails of entombed love…not so much.
In the end? This was another solid effort by Ms. Rigel. A solid effort that had a pretty fantastic (surprise) ending!
If you are a fan off-kilter romances, this one just be a nice addition to your TBR.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: If he SEEMS shady. Chances are he is. Keep eyes on your men ladies!