Review: Cocoa Curses: A Christmas Paranormal Cozy Mystery by Erin Johnson
New to me author Ms. Johnson comes to me via ... Facebook. Yes, another random FaceBook recommendation caught my attention so I picked it up. I loved the cover. It is adorable with the white fox. There was only a title scene with the white fox to my disappointment. This story is mixed for me. If it was purely on enjoyment, perhaps a 1 star. Overall this may be closer to a 2 star. Here's why I ended up with a 3 star.
The writing is well done. Ms. Johnson does a good job of writing a cohesive story which is well edited and the writing voice is smooth. The world building is a bit light but I figured that is because there are other books in this series that already covered it. From a polished story, this book is done well. I rated this a bit leniently due to the polished writing. Why didn't I like it?
Honestly, I had to force myself to get through the book because I couldn't stand the lead character. Rudie has zero self confidence and is a bit too whiny for me. She is more than self effacing; she self sabotages. Her personality doesn't draw me in and it is completely unbelievable for her be tasked with solving a mystery. It could also be that the cozy mystery genre is not for me. I figured this would be similar to a Ms. Fletcher type story. Yes and no. This is an amateur sleuthing but Rudie has absolutely zero qualifications. This comedy of errors with her figuring out "whodunnit" is combined with a love interest that is at best, awkward to witness. The interactions between Rudie and Archer are painful. Their bashfulness and lack of ability to just "do it" wasn't cute. It wasn't adorable. It was abysmal and detracted from the story. I'm sure there are people like this in real world; I just don't care for them nor do I want to read about them. This book is obviously not designed for someone like me.
This mystery is more for someone who is a wall flower who feels either bullied or overlooked. If someone has low self esteem and expects validation from the outside world, this book may resonate for you. The romance is sweet. The mystery contains a bit of twists and turns. The incorporation of magic is nice. This cozy mystery is recommended to readers who like amateur detective work by a character who questions every move she makes.