REVIEW: Midsummer Night’s Steve by Sandra Sookoo
“Three months have passed since Steve Compton’s last visit to Crystal Falls. Now he’s back, but far from pleased about it. Convinced there is more in the air than clean living, he’s a journalist on the hunt for a story that’ll launch his career into the stratosphere.
Zoe Nickles loves the small-town atmosphere, the people, and most especially the great hiding places in Crystal Falls. She’s heard rumors about the magical aura in the tiny town, and when her powers come to fruition one June night, she knows the whispers are true. She’s the Tooth Fairy–with a sexy new look!
But there’s a problem: a nosy reporter is on Zoe’s trail, with just enough street smarts and cynicism to thwart her ability to practice her newfound skills. Can she convince him Cristal Falls is harmless before he tells the world about the town’s “unique” quality, or will Steve blab the news, putting Zoe and all the paranormal residents at risk?”
Dear Ms. Sookoo,
Okay I’ll start this out with something that is directed more at the publisher than you. This is the second book I’ve reviewed from Lyical Press that the blurb has mistakes in it (note how the name of the town is spelled two different ways). Readers notice these things and from the comments posted to “Green’s Fees,” they don’t like it.
On to my thoughts on “Midsummer’s Night Steve.” This is a novella in which the idea and blurb of it entertained me more than the book. Novellas are tricky things – sometimes they work beautifully for me as did the first work of yours I read, “The Eighth Night,” and sometimes they don’t. In this case, it didn’t. This is a part of a series and I felt like I got dropped right in the middle of it. You include some information about what went on in a previous novella that has Steve in it but I still felt somewhat lost.
Crystal Falls is a strange little town. Steve’s earlier public pronouncement that he’d seen a leprechaun there didn’t bring all the fruits and nuts rushing to this town. Really? With all the
kooks people willing to believe in the strange and unusual in the US not even the National Enquirer arrived? I also wasn’t sure just how much all the townspeople know about the Institute of Magic. Some seem in the know and others clueless but then perhaps they were being coy around Steve.
Zoe is a happy soul who Believes! and has since she was a child. She’s also always been attracted to all things dental so her being the Tooth Fairy makes sense. But is she just local in a chain of Inter/National branch offices or is she The Only One? It’s not made clear in story but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for her to go solo if she’s keeping her day job. And while the outfit she’s given to wear would be an adult’s wet dream, I have my doubts if it’s appropriate garb for any young child, who just happens to wake up while Zoe is collecting their tooth, to see. Okay, I know I’m throwing cold water on the hawt of the story but she is supposed to be the Tooth Fairy and the Tooth Fairy’s main job description revolves around the kinder set.
More about my problems with the paranormal stuff. Zoe unexpectedly gets her magic and a paltry set of instructions – kind of like Japanese stereo instructions with some info missing or abbreviated. It’s “Oh So Secret” but come on, the Institute should have at least given her a phone call to help a sistah out. She then immediately screws up and breaks two of the rules which should have gotten her wings revoked but no, she traipses around at dusk Revealing All with none of the consequences that were threatened.
So Steve – our intrepid reporter – sees Zoe flying in her sexy get up and realizes he’s got his big story. Then with contradictory statements, Zoe tries to obfuscate things. Well, she confuses me. She’s supposed to keep everything hush hush but ends up literally chasing after Steve trying to convince him she’s the Tooth Fairy. So much for keeping things under wraps or facing the loss of her magic
Zoe knows Steve is after a story but does she take precautions on her next nightly run? Nope. She flies straight out her bedroom window giving Steve a great photo op. Zoe how smart are you? Then when she discovers him trailing her she first gets mad and wants to know why he’s there. What? Then she agrees to go live on camera and tell the world her story. Huh? For love? For all the misunderstood people in the world – I’m not quite sure only she changes her mind. And then backs off.
Steve’s pissed off because he’s lost his job – why he doesn’t apply at the National Enquirer (who ought to have sent a reporter there anyway) I’m not sure. But I’m not truly convinced he’s anything but upset about his job until suddenly! he’s in love. ?? So, to lose the residual baby tooth he’s got, does he go to Zoe in the dental office? Why no! He gets a biker to punch his face. Then, bleeding profusely, he goes to the office where Zoe realizes he loves her, gets him in the dental chair and proceeds to do the hootchie scoot on his lap before finally kissing the pain away after which they rattle the dental equipment.
Like I said, I think this is a cute idea but the execution of it didn’t work for me. There were too many loose ends and niggles for me to just ease into the slipstream of the fantasy and once that happened, the magic of it was gone for me. Zoe is confused about what she wants and Steve spends most of the time acting like a self involved twit. In the end, I’m not totally convinced of their feelings beyond some hot sex and lusting. D
You have more patience than me. Main characters that lack the usual common sense makes me tune out.
I kept at it because of how I’d enjoyed “The Eighth Night.” And the fact that it was relatively short and once I’d gotten past a certain point, it didn’t take too long to finish. Kind of like eating one pop tart and thinking, “might as well finish the other one or it’ll go stale.”
I love the idea of someone getting a paranormal power and a set of badly translated instructions in multiple languages and arcane diagrams, like DIY furniture assembly, then funnysexytimes ensue. But it sounds like it didn’t work that way in this book. I might put “The Eighth Night” on my incredibly long TBR list, though. But I’ve sworn off Poptarts :)
@klio – I liked the idea of DIY instructions too but then Zoe breaks many of the “hard and fast” rules and nothing happens. I want internal consistency in world building.
But do give “The Eighth Night” a try. Sometimes I’m willing to try whatever an author might dish up on the strength of one good book and “Eighth Night” was one such for me.