Title: Smoke in the Mirror
Series: Road to Blissville: Book Five
Author: Aimee Nicole Walker
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 214 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Paranormal
At a Glance: With a lot of romance and chemistry, plenty of humor and a dash of paranormal mystery, this sweet and fun read is highly recommended.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Memphis Sullivan thought he was coming to Blissville to help his cousin out, but instead, he gained three meddlesome females, a tribe, and a permanent home. More than a year later, he owns a popular comic book and vinyl record store and doesn’t think his life could get any better. That all changes when the star of his favorite television show and bad-boy fantasies rides into town and spices up his vanilla world.
Lyric Willows’ decision to visit an old friend in Blissville will change his life in ways he never dreamed possible. The paranormal investigator is immediately drawn to the mysterious disappearance of the town’s founder in 1850 and rumors that his former home is haunted. More alluring to Lyric than the history of Bliss House is the immediate connection he feels to the adorably geeky owner of Vinyl and Villains, who also happens to be his friend’s cousin.
Lyric becomes Memphis’s houseguest when he decides to stay in town to conduct a paranormal investigation. Tight spaces lead to sexy encounters, and before long, ghosts aren’t the only things that go bump in the night. The more they unravel about Anthony Bliss’s disappearance, the more tangled in one another they become. How is it possible for two virtual strangers to feel like they’ve known each other for their entire lives? Was their love written in the stars, or is it nothing more than an illusion?
Review: I find myself in a constant state of waiting anxiously for the next installment of anything that is released in the Blissville universe. For me it really is a universe, and I am not picky about which book releases when. There are (as far as I know) three series which take place in Blissville— the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries, The Lady is Mine Series, and, of course, this one. The quaint town is one of those places where people are always meddling in each other’s business, shenanigans can always be found, and love seems to be in the air. Pretty much as soon as the next book in any one of these series pops up and is available, I dive into it with a ravenous hunger and devour the words and story in barely a blink of the eye, and then I settle in to start the vicious cycle over and over again.
I love the town of Blissville. I love the small-town vibe, which is described in such detail I am now at a point where I pretty much picture the town in my head, and it’s like my own little ongoing television show with quirky characters and always something happening. It feels to me almost like a Stars Hollow; it’s as if the town is its very own character, and I just adore it to pieces.
Memphis I love so much. I have been intrigued by him since he moved to Blissville to help out Emory (his cousin), but I truly got attached and needed his book after I read This Time Around, where he is a more prominent secondary character. Do you have to read the prior books in the series to love Lyric and Memphis? No. I suppose Smoke in the Mirror could be read as a stand-alone, but I truly to do recommend starting at the beginning, or heck, go back and begin with the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries to really get immersed in the Blissville network and players. You can enjoy the book by itself, but for me the fact that I know the whole history makes it all the more pleasurable. I was already attached to Memphis coming into this, and after him getting his HEA, I feel like I got an extra dose of the warm fuzzies.
Lyric is not a resident of Blissville. He is a paranormal investigator looking into the mystery of the haunting of Bliss House. Memphis is best friends with the owner of Bliss House, and somehow Memphis finds himself offering for Lyric to stay with him during his investigation. There is insta-lust and attraction, and the sparks fly pretty much from the get-go. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey as the comic book loving, superhero t-shirt wearing nerd nabs himself the bad boy of his dreams. The two set the pages on fire with their chemistry, but they also make you say awwww with how dang sweet they are together, which gave the budding relationship a dimension and connection beyond lust. In fact, I think Memphis may be my favorite main character so far in this series. He is quirky and cute while being confident in his skin. Memphis and the Big Bob disaster had me laughing to the point I had to literally wipe a tear from my eye. I love it when I can see how two characters bring the best out in each other, fitting into each other’s lives despite the differences, making the connection they have more tangible.
Blissville has had a little trace of paranormal through the different series set the in universe. There was a tad bit of ghost tampering as well as Emory’s psychic abilities, giving it just a touch of something supernatural. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize this as a paranormal series, as that is never really a main plot point; rather, there’s just a little sprinkling to keep things interesting. While Emory can see the future, Lyric’s talent is communicating with ghosts through different methods. The mystical portion of this story is a little more prominent than in some of the other books, as it is the reason Lyric is in town in the first place. But don’t get too excited about a ton of spectral interaction; it’s there, but minimal. Most of the mystery is good old-fashioned research and putting the puzzle together. I think I would have liked a bit more time seeing Lyric work his ghost magic and seeing what happened in San Francisco in more detail, but I also get this is first and foremost a romance, and too much focus on the ghostly interactions could change the perception of the series as a whole, when the supernatural is not present in every book.
Despite not getting as much ghost action, I honestly love this series. I am a huge fan of Aimee Nicole Walker’s ability to create such diverse and interesting characters that keep me wanting more and more. If you are looking for sweet and hot read with relatively low angst, plenty of quirky characters and humor, then jump into the Blissville world and give it a shot. I am sure glad I did.
You can buy Smoke in the Mirror here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07FBPLBN8?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]