GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: The Accidental Gatekeeper (The Accidental Midlife Trilogy Book One) by Carla Rehse + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Monday, July 5, 2021

Book Review: The Accidental Gatekeeper (The Accidental Midlife Trilogy Book One) by Carla Rehse + giveaway

The Accidental Gatekeeper (The Accidental Midlife Trilogy Book One)
by Carla Rehse
06/14/21
Genre: Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Number of pages: 299
Word Count: 82,880
Cover Artist: Damonza
Turning the big four-five isn't a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that's gone to hell in a handbasket.

It's bad enough that Everly's drug-selling husband is in jail and her adult daughter blames her for the situation. But now the FBI wants her to turn witness, while her husband's criminal friends want to keep her permanently silent. With no other safe haven, Everly returns to her hometown. A place she hasn't visited in twenty-seven years. And didn't leave under the best of circumstances.

It’s not that Everly has a problem with her hometown, exactly, but since it sits next to Hell’s Gate, there's bound to be a few issues. Like the archaic rules set by the angels who run the town. Or the fact that the townsfolk feel Everly abandoned her duties as one of the members of the town's founding families. But between celestial politics or getting gunned down by a drug cartel, Everly decides to chance finding sanctuary back home.

After a little good-versus-evil stunt at the town's border, Everly is let back in and for the first five minutes, things are great. Everly's mom hasn't started nagging and she has a whole bottle of wine to herself. But after minute six, all hell breaks loose. Everly gets bitten by a hellhound, faints in front of her hot-and-single old high school boyfriend, and accidentally becomes the town’s Gatekeeper to Hell. A job she never wanted, isn't trained for, and can't shake off like gum stuck to her shoe. And as much as she's flipping out, the celestial ruling body aren't too pleased about it either.

Before Everly can take a deep breath and figure a way out of this mess, an angel gets killed, humans go missing and the town shuts its magical borders. Now Everly is trapped inside with dying angels, rampaging demons, and a witch with a murderous agenda. Plus, an archangel and his army surround the city and are itching to contain the town's problems with a heaven-sent big boom. The only way out is for Everly to learn how to use her newly acquired Gatekeeper powers. But with no handbook provided, there's a snowball's chance in hell she'll figure it out in time.

The Accidental Gatekeeper is a story about a soccer softball mom, who is just trying to do the best she can for her daughter while the rest of the world, including heaven and hell, throws every spanner, screwdriver, and hammer in her path!

What I Liked
The premise might not be exactly unique but readers get a fun book out of it. It's something that after having read so many books, I still find those featuring protagonists who aren't teenagers or in their twenties rare and refreshing! In addition, readers get the full-body experience of what it means to be thirty and above. Throwing your back, knees that refuse to bend, and other such details made the character feel genuine.

The story's humorous and keeps you interested throughout. Decent worldbuilding too, with some new quirks that surprised me--like weres, vamps, and pixies being hellspawn.

Drool-worthy male lead, who was the same age as the MC, and didn't behave like an alpha-male at all. He supported the woman he secretly loved rather than try to control her.

The over-the-top metaphors might not enthrall every reader out there, but they sure made me laugh. My favorite was pearl-clutchy, which the heroine used to describe the celestial council's behavior. It was purrfect!

What I Didn't Like
Having been raised the way the heroine had been, her level of cluelessness didn't make a lot of sense. Sure, some things came to her instinctively once she wore the mantle of the Gatekeeper. But the other stuff? She should already have known about it. Even with the misogyny that the celestial assheads practiced, Luna managed to be resourceful and a font of knowledge. Our heroine? Not so much. Also, she kept running into every fray without weapons or a plan. Someone mentioned she came off as a cross between Charley Davidson and Bridget Jones, and it's a good description.

Even though the MC was running from her problems in the mortal world, we don't see any of the parties intruding in this installment. It was purely supe-drama from the start to the finish. I understand this is just the first book, but threatening situations are only meaningful if they come with consequences. 

All in all, a book that I enjoyed reading. Would love to try book 2 too!

2.5 sheep*





Reviewer: Midu Reads
Most of my go-to series are 3 starrers
*No rating - wasn't my genre/dnf'd so rating it would be unfair
1 sheep - won't be picking up another book in a series  again
2 sheep - average read with overused tropes and cliches. Will give the author another try/only continuing because of OCD, so must finish a series
2.5 sheep - liked the book but was put off because it was overly long/illtreatment of a character the author had me invest in and so on.
3 sheep - enjoyed the book but have reservations because I expected to be wowed and wasn't
4 sheep - was unputdownable
5 sheep - formed an emotional connection, will read the heck outta this series

Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE
When all the good choices have disappeared faster than kids at chore time
If eighteen was the age of exciting self-discovery, then forty-five was the weary age of having zero shits left to give.

What did it matter if my husband of twenty years was rotting in federal jail? And that our chiropractic clinic had gone belly up, leaving me jobless? Or that my friends had turned from “we’ll help hide a body” to “we’ve got your back until the reporters hit our lawn?” I also didn’t care that the DEA had frozen our joint bank accounts and seized our assets. I never liked that house anyway.

Homeless. Jobless. Friendless.

Add in a pickup truck, beer, and an old dog and it would be the most pathetic country song played on the tiniest fiddle ever. I gritted my teeth as the wipers shrieked across the windshield. Nothing like driving through a late-October downpour to add to your misery, and the constantly patched roads in this part of Central Texas didn’t handle rain well.

My phone rang with its cheerful tone that I kept forgetting to change. Sadie’s name lit up on the display, and I almost knocked it off the dashboard holder while hitting the speaker button.

“Sadie? Is everything okay? How’s Laney?” I really hoped the trembling in my voice wasn’t audible. My daughter hadn’t spoken to me in two months, refusing to answer my calls or respond to my texts. Her girlfriend had even gone so far as to block me on her social media.

“Mom? Where are you? God, this connection sucks.” Her voice had a recognizable anxious edge to it. I wanted to ask if she was taking her meds, but at twenty-one Sadie hated coddling. “Someone needs to talk to you.”

“What?” I eased onto the shoulder of the road, then placed the truck into park. “Who?”

“Mrs. Collins? Uh, Everly Collins? This is Sam Duncan, your husband’s attorney? We really must discuss your husband’s case.”

I glanced at the clock on my dash: 10:33 p.m. Duncan was raking in some serious OT.

“What the hell are you doing with my daughter?”

“Mrs. Collins?” He lowered his voice. “I know you’ve been advised not to speak with me. But you really need to before certain other people do. We can meet anywhere you want.”

“Listen to me, you scum licker. Tell my husband and his thug buddies to leave my kid out of their mess. I’m not afraid of their flaccid threats and won’t be intimidated.” I slapped at the phone to turn it off, sending it careening to the passenger floorboard, out of reach and therefore away from temptation.

I didn’t have the money to replace the stupid thing, but the desire to take out my frustration on the helpless and innocent electronic device was strong.

Part of me wanted to turn the vehicle around, race to Sadie’s apartment in Austin, and kick the crap out of that attorney. But I knew the truth. Sadie had taken her dad’s side and was angry I’d snitched on him. She would do whatever she could to get him out of trouble. What was a little money laundering for drug dealers, after all? She might have my dark hair and eyes, but unfortunately, she inherited her father’s defective moral compass.

A lesson for all the kiddies: choose the sperm donor for your progeny well.

About the Author:

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Carla holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Angelo State University. Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of the colloquialisms “y’all” and “bless your heart.”

Find out more about Carla and her books at carlarehse.com and connect with her @CRehse on Twitter.

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Turning the big four-five isn't a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that's gone to hell in a handbasket.
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