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Haunted Heroine
Heroine Complex #4
by Sarah Kuhn
DAW, $16.00, 400pp
Published: July 2020

The fourth book in the smart, snarky, and action-packed Heroine series follows Evie Tanaka, Aveda Jupiter, and Bea Tanaka as they combat a new supernatural threat.

Everything in Evie Tanaka's life is finally perfect. As a badass superheroine, she defends San Francisco from demon invasion on the regular. Her relationships with superhero partner Aveda Jupiter, little sister Bea, and hot, half-demon husband Nate have never been stronger. Maybe it's possible for a grad school dropout turned put-upon personal assistant turned superhero to have it all?

Just when she thinks life can't get any better, Evie learns she's pregnant. Everyone around her is overjoyed…but Evie has major doubts about whether she's cut out for motherhood. Before she can dwell on her dilemma, a local women's college reports a string of mysterious "hauntings," and Evie and Aveda are called in to investigate, going undercover as grad students during the creepiest time of the year: Halloween.

As she confronts terrifying ghosts and lives out a bizarre version of the grad school life she left behind, Evie can't help but wonder about the road not taken: what would her life be like if she'd stayed here instead of pursuing superheroing with Aveda? And can an overwhelmed pregnant superhero truly have it all?

She's about to find out.

The best feature of Sarah Kuhn's writing is the humor. While I'm new to reading her work, I'm finding her snarky, smart comedy part of what makes the books so fresh and original. I'm a sucker for humor and wit in my stories and every author I love shares some facet of this trait. Sarah Kuhn is rapidly beginning to become a favorite. But if it was only the comedic elements that wouldn't make it nearly as good. So I'd like to talk a bit about her newest in the series and why I liked it so much.

To begin with, the characters grow and change. The original novel starts with a character unmarried and not as confident. By the time, we meet up with Evie Tanaka in Haunted Heroine, she is married, confident, pregnant, and has a brand new life with her best friend, sister and husband. But nobody is perfect and no life is perfect. Evie has doubts and fears that linger from her college days and now she must go back and confront those feelings. It is her confrontations and reliance on her friends that teaches her new skills and helps her learn about herself and her power. That kind of powerful writing, the ability to have a character doubt themselves but rise to a challenge and change over the course of a book is what makes a strong story.

She and her friends aren't perfect, they make mistakes. But she and they learn from them to find the solution to the problems happening on her old campus. Part of what also makes the story compelling is it isn't straight forward. Those causing the problems aren't always who you think, nor are all the college students. Everyone has a piece of the puzzle and that helps draw out the mystery and the action.

The romance elements are smoking hot, but honest to who the characters are. And while the relationship in the novel is male/female, some of the other relationships depicted are of different sexual orientations as well as including other genders beyond male and female. I find the author's ability to include that level of diversity part of the draw of her writing.

If you love humor, mystery, diversity, and compelling action with unique and strong characters, you will love the latest in Sarah Kuhn's Heroine series. I loved the thoughtful growth of the characters, the comedy, and the realistic emotions in the story. The resolution is unexpected and the romance beautifully truthful. I can't wait to read more about the characters and world of the Heroine Series.

Rating: 5 out of 5 ghosts. ~~ Andrea Rittschof

For more titles by Sarah Kuhn click here

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