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Mixed Feelings

Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam

Mixed Feelings by Olivia R. Burton is the first book in the Paranormal Pacific Northwest series, or PPNW, and it surrounds the life of one Gwen Arthur, therapist and empath, which means she is able to sense and experience other people's emotions, a particularly good trait in a therapist. Gwen is also addicted to sugar, which is not a great trait, regardless of who you are.

It all starts when Gwen is visited by two imposing monsters she dubs Laurel and Hardy, because one is wiry and thin and the other is hulking, but both are pretty terrifying. The scariest part of it is that she's met them before, when she was only 4 years old and they came to suss out her powers. This time, however, they've come asking for her help and appear to mistake her for someone with far greater powers, someone who can figure out who has been kidnapping young powered children and then rescue said kids. Gwen is going to need a lot of candy to get through this...

...which is going to be tough, since her health-conscious assistant Chloe is always looking over her shoulder and trying to make her eat vegetables. But Chloe is also her best friend and probably the most capable person she knows, so it's all good. Then there's Mel, the hunky private detective who works in the same building and also happens to be a werewolf; oh, and he's always trying to get into Gwen's pants, probably because she's the only one who has ever really said no to him.

Then there's the candy thief - someone who keeps breaking into Gwen's home and office, stealing or consuming all of her sweets, even the ones she's most carefully hidden. To make matters worse, the candy thief leaves snarky pink post-it notes everywhere, some with very useful info and others, well they are just annoying. As Gwen, Chloe, and Mel seek to solve the mystery of the missing kids and hopefully rescue them, they'll use the gifts of an odd little witch named Merrin and her gorgeous blue fae keeper, Evadne, make a number of trips to The Internets (the pastry/coffee shop at the bottom of their building) and they'll go up against a few otherworldly creatures, the likes of which they've never encountered before. Will they make it out alive? Only time and a dozen gluten-free vegan donuts will tell.

The characters in Mixed Feelings are utterly delightful and it's a quick read since it pulls you in and doesn't let go. Even as Gwen despises Mel and his smarmy ways, as a reader, I loved him and could easily visualize the looks he gives Gwen and her responses. As for the bad (or maybe not so bad) guys in the book, they are vividly described as well, as are Gwen, Chloe and Mel's encounters with them, sometimes disturbingly so, but to great effect. The book is also chock full of nerdy nods and pop cultures reference galore, which makes it especially fun for anyone of the geekish variety, of which I most definitely am.

The cast of characters and the mystery surrounding them is an utterly delightful blend in Mixed Feelings and I can definitely see them in future adventures together. The world of the PPNW is absolutely one that I'd love to visit again, but only through the pages of a book! Highly recommended.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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