Review: Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase

Posted November 26, 2010 by Carmel in / 4 Comments

Title: Strange Neighbors
Author: Ashlyn Chase
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release: 2010
Pages: 384


He’s looking for peace, quiet, and a little romance…
There’s never a dull moment when hunky all-star pitcher and shapeshifter Jason Falco invests in an old Boston brownstone apartment building full of supernatural creatures. But when Merry MacKenzie moves into the ground floor apartment, the playboy pitcher decides he might just be done playing the field…
A girl just wants to have fun…
Sexy Jason seems like the perfect fling, but newly independent nurse Merry’s not sure she’s ready to trust him with her heart…especially when the tabloids start trumpeting his playboy lifestyle.

Then pandemonium breaks loose and Merry and Jason will never get it together without a little help from the vampire who lives in the basement and the werewolf from upstairs…

I decided to read this book because I was looking for something a little lighter than my previous reads. Higher on the chick-lit and lower on the gore. This novel definitely fits the bill. There are a few paranormal elements in the story but they come across as quirky personality traits as opposed to an alternate reality. Sort of like if a friend of yours has a larger than average nose. Yes it’s noticeable but you won’t not be their friend because of it. Vampires, shifters, witches and other paranormal beings are portrayed along the same lines. There’s something off about them but nothing significant enough to be a deal breaker.

I found the first half of this book very confusing. The story is about a bunch of different supernaturals living in the same apartment building. Chase lost me when she introduced tons of new characters all at once without explaining what type of beings they were. There were hints here and there that I eventually pieced together but it did take me a good chunk of the book. This left me feeling frustrated and a little lost. Especially when it came to the ghost, Chad. The reader meets him within the first couple of chapters. I got that he was a ghost, but what I didn’t get was whether everyone else could hear him or not. As the story progressed it became obvious that only a select few of the supernaturals were sensitive to ghosts. But at first, I couldn’t help but wonder who this guy was and why he didn’t stop talking! Kinda annoying!

As is standard in most chick-lit novels there is quite a bit of R-rated action happening. Which is fine by me! When done right I find that a few steamy chapters really add to the story. Strange Neighbors did not pull it off. After reading a few sex scenes I was left feeling like the author got all of her ideas from Cosmo magazine. Not to mention that she didn’t even try to re-phrase them in her own words. It felt a little like plagiarism to me. Throw in some tired clichés and gross/awkward moments and I was left wondering where Chase got her inspiration for these encounters. I sure hope it wasn’t from real life!

The book got better at about the 3/4 mark. The characters were coming together and the sex writing got better. The end chapters focus more on the love story between Jason and Merry. Which is kinda sweet if you’re able to get passed Jason’s crazy desires to be monogamous and to marry his girlfriend. Their courtship is very unconventional and not in a good way. Their relationship comes off as borderline stalker-esque.

It took me almost a full week to read this book, which is highly unusual for me. I just couldn’t get into it. The story was weird and the writing style just wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t categorize this book as paranormal, it’s more romance/chick-lit. Strange Neighbors is an easy read that doesn’t require too much thought. I haven’t decided if I’ll try The Werewolf Upstairs when it’s released in the new year. This book is an interesting mix but left me feeling like my time could have been better spent elsewhere.

My Rating:

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I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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4 responses to “Review: Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase

  1. I agree with most of what you said Carmel, I had to force myself several times to finish this book,
    sadly Strange Neighbors was quite a disappointment, and I so wanted to like it because of the cute and quirky cover. 🙁

    ps. I love your cute paw prints rating 😀

  2. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve given you the Versatile Blogger Award. Come and check it out. love the background for your blog!