Disclaimer: I am friends with the author; however, I purchased this book for full price.
I happen to know that the author spends time every year in Longboat Key, Florida. Her love for this place shines through the pages of this entertaining book, filled to the brim with sweetness, humor, and just enough touches of horror to appeal to horror and non-horror fans alike. I’m one of the latter, so part of me (like any good skeptic character) kept waiting for the realistic “truth” to come out. No spoilers here, but the actual truth is both perfect for the story told and just ridiculous enough to appeal to a vast cross-section of readers.
The same can also be said for the romance side of this book. Emory and Connor are adorable, both separately and together, and Bauer does an excellent job of building in their history so that the eventual relationship feels natural rather than like a rushed summer fling. Like Longboat Key, the actual secondary characters in this book are also incredibly dynamic and fleshed out enough to add genuine interest rather than serving as caricatures.
Bauer seeds this book with plenty of horror references and relies on obvious tropes to tell this story, then also completely subverts them. The surprises within take these tropes as inspiration but make them all the more delightful for the reader. I highly recommend this book to all fans of Bauer’s previous work, and while it made for fun summer reading for me, it would also be a treat for Halloween or any time of the year.