Review: BETTER HAUNTS & GARDEN GNOMES by Michelle M. Pillow


Lily is not exactly thrilled at having to check out the creepy old house she and her brother inherited from their deadbeat mother, emphasis on dead.  After growing up fostered by others so Mom could run off and do whatever, they’re not particularly fond of her.  But, it’s been a few years, so, legally, they need to deal with it.

The house is like something the Addams Family would use to get away from it all.  Falling apart, possibly infested with mold and mice, and other icky things.  Lily and her brother doubt they can afford their inheritance.  It’d take a lot of time and money to bring the old shack up to code.

A crazy old lady calling herself Aunt Polly shows up to walk them around the house and talks like the garden gnomes in the front year are living creatures.  Oh, yeah, she’s flipped, Lily and her brother are sure of it.  They’re also sure Magic is not real and they need to unload this property pronto.

Meanwhile, a dude named Nolan knows Magic is real because he has to deal with all the weird creatures in Lucky Valley from encroaching on the perfectly mundane ones.  He’s sure Lily and Dante are bad news ’cause, after all, they come from that super weird Goode Family of witches.

Guess Lily and Dante never got that memo.

The will leaves the whole ‘stack of firewood,’ as Dante calls it, to Lily, because family tradition is the oldest child gets the big stuff.  But, Dante gets to know his real first name is Florus and mommy left him a moldy old trunk.  Their sister Jas gets a key to a safe deposit box and whatever’s in it.

Oooh, mysterious, huh?

Lily and brother still just wanna get the flock outta Dodge.  But, then, its explained that a family trust was set up to cover renovation expenses and other such things.  Okay, so they give it a try.  Maybe turn it into a Bed & Breakfast.

No one wants to work on the house, paid or not.  And Nolan is determined to discourage Lily and family by finding and enforcing every single code violation he can nitpick out of the situation.  The Goode Family may have been determined at self-preservation, including financial rewards to members for each child they produced.  But, the local folk wish they’d just go away.

So Lily and Dante are a little surprised when they show up at the house and find some work already done.  Aunt Polly tries to bring them up to speed, whether they like it or not.

Meanwhile, back to Nolan, he thinks Lily is something pretty special, despite being a Goode witch.  But, that’s not as unnerving as knowing her Aunt Polly has no qualms with bringing up the fact that his family literally howls at the moon.  It’s really kind of embarrassing to think of his being a werewolf becoming common knowledge.  Nevertheless, he shows up to the creepy old house for a dinner party.

Lily doesn’t really seem to have him on radar as anything other than another annoyance on her list.

Negative opinion among the general population comes to a head when someone sets the front lawn on fire and paints graffiti on the house, insisting they leave.

The supernatural shenanigans continue as Lily tries to figure herself and the situation out.  You get used to it.  By the time Aunt Polly said Dante was all tied up and needed some alone time, I took her literally and suspected she was responsible.

Also, there’s a pet lobster named Herman.

Will Lily embrace her heritage?  Will the Good Witches of Unlucky Valley set everything to rights?  And what is it with those Garden Gnomes all lined up in the hallway anyway?  Who is that crazy homeless chick anyway?

This is a great start to a new series.  Pop on over to   and check it out.