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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review: Accidentally Ever After (Accidentally Paranormal Series, Book 11) by Dakota Cassidy

Click here to buy Accidentally Ever After (Accidentally Paranormal Series, Book 11) by Dakota Cassidy

Antonia Vitali is hiding out in Jersey working in a discount clothing store. Her boss is a young, pretty nightmare that makes Antonia wish she was anywhere but there.

And in an instant she was.

Now she's in Shamalot with the ladies from O.O.P.S., a zombie reindeer, a great blue ogre with a tiny voice, and Jon Doe – a heroic reindeer herder with perfect, well...everything. To get home, she must embark on a quest wearing a get-up that would bring a proud tear to a beauty queen's eye. But like any fairy tale, this one has all the trimmings: danger, magic and a whole lot of derring-do.

Time is running out, can Toni get to the castle in time and find eternal happiness on the way?

Dannan's words plucked a memory in Toni's brain.
The one where she wished she were anywhere but the outlet mall?
No. Nuh-uh.
Crap, crap, crap. She really was responsible for them landing here.

As the eleventh book in the Accidentally Paranormal series, Accidentally Ever After defies series fatigue with a freshness that made it a delightful page-turner. Dakota Cassidy went all out with the world-building here, and that fearless dive into the deep end of the fantasy pool is why this story works. Had she gone half-measure, or tried to weigh it down with more of a hand-wringing heroine, it would have fallen flat. This story isn't as emotionally wrought as some of the others in the series, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment, or the ending.

Eschewing a rehash of the fairy tale twist, Cassidy gleefully mows down the trite stories without losing the crux of their existence, e.g. the journey is more important than the destination. The humor is clever and quick.  Familiar characters are lampooned with tongue-in-cheek affection that is more of a wink at the reader than a gratuitous laugh grab or mocking eye-roll. Of all the Accidentals it's the most self aware, giving a sense that Cassidy is laughing with you, even while she openly acknowledges foreshadowing.

While Toni's character feels familiar, she's different enough to remain interesting. Jon Doe is a true fairy tale hero, but his charm doesn't grate or feel overused. The peripheral characters are almost more interesting, running the gamut of personality and silliness, and definitely round out any rough edges.

The pace is swift, without being frenetic. Every scene has a purpose toward Toni's quest. Cassidy twists the end a bit, making Accidental Ever After stand out in the series. There is a strong lead in for another book, which will delight fans to no end.

Once again, I found myself laughing out loud, feeling warm fuzzies, and looking forward to the next book in the series.   

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