Of Ghosts and Geeks
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Pages: 105
Goes Well With: Blueberry gelato and Doctor Who reruns

I was a little hesitant to review author Molly Ringle’s Of Ghosts and Geeks because I wasn’t sure it would fit the Lunch Break E-book mold. At 105 pages, it’s pretty long for an LBE, but if you’re a quick reader (or have a generous lunch hour), you could probably bang it out during your break at work. I think you’d be glad you did; this is one of the best short novels I’ve read in a long time.

Gwen Walberg is an English professor at her local college, and she considers herself to be a geek. She wears Wonder Woman t-shirts, watches Firefly and Stargate SG-1, and collects Star Wars figurines, so I’d have to say she’s right in her assessment—not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’ve been known to harbor a crush on one Captain Mal Reynolds (and his crewmember, Jayne) myself.

Given her geeky predilections, Gwen is very excited to come across a very rare antique book in a dusty old bookstore, so she snatches it up. Once she returns home, Gwen realizes that it’s not just any book—it’s a haunted book. The ghost, Violetta, was a young lady living a rather repressed life during the Victorian age and met an early end while pursuing a little naughty excitement. Since she was denied spicy romance in her own life, Violetta makes it her job to force other couples into romantic entanglements—or else. The ghost plays matchmaker between Gwen and her landscaper, Paul Chang. Luckily, Paul is an easy-going guy, and he doesn’t mind a little spectral sexual harassment. But when Violetta’s interest in him and Gwen turns violent, the two have to figure out a way to ditch the ghost once and for all.

Of Ghosts and Geeks is very funny and a joy to read. I’m sure it helped that, as a geek myself, I got every joke and even sympathized with Gwen and her search for a guy with just the right amount of geekiness (enjoying Star Trek is one thing; wearing Starfleet pajamas is something else entirely). I really liked the character of Paul Chang, too; he’s so laid-back and sarcastic that I couldn’t help but fall for him a little. And while I’ve never been one to desire diversity just for the sake of diversity, I enjoyed seeing a love interest that happened to be a minority.

The only real problem I had was with the ghost, Violetta. She oscillates between whimsical and unhinged, and I never really bought her mania. She comes across as more melodramatic and hysterical—in the true Victorian sense of the word—than truly dangerous. I had a hard time buying her maliciousness at the end because of how blithe she had been in the beginning of the story. But, in the grand scheme of things, the flawed ghost really didn’t detract from the plot all that much.

The story doesn’t really feature any love scenes. Normally, I’d be disappointed by that but instead found it a nice change of pace to see an author leave it all up to the readers’ imagination. Sometimes less really is more.

All in all, I found Of Ghosts and Geeks to be a perfectly charming book—and a wonderful way to pass an hour. I will definitely keep it in my “must read” file, and I suggest you do as well.

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