Review: Aladdin’s Samovar by Lauren Sweet

Posted July 9th, 2012 in book review / Leave a comment

Aladdin’s Samovar

Book #1 of the Samovar Mystery Series

by Lauren Sweet

Publisher: Self-Published (September 2011)
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense
Format: eBook
Source: Review Request by Author
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

Summary
A nice, normal, boring life—that’s all Amber Polaski ever wanted. One where she’s not unchaining her flaky New Age mom from endangered trees, bailing her out of jail, or getting dragged to naked pagan rituals. But when Amber finds a sexy genie in her antique brass samovar, any hope of normal goes up in smoke.

It’s just one tiny little wish—to find her long-lost father. What could go wrong?

Plenty. Dad shows up, all right—with a computer drive full of stolen data and angry mobsters hot on his trail. Now Amber has Fugitive Dad holed up in her Manville, NJ duplex, fending off the Mafia on one side and the FBI on the other. And she has Jasper the genie lounging in her blue plush recliner, conjuring chocolate chip cookies and passing himself off as her boyfriend. While Jasper is trying to tempt Amber with more disastrous wishes—and his seriously hot thousand-year-old body—Amber and her mom are forced to fight off Mafia assassins with nothing but chutzpah and household appliances.

It’s time for Amber to call in the B-team: Iggy the homeless dwarf, Tim the ecoterrorist, and Wanda the Fairy Dogmother with her pack of Happy Puppies. Together, they need to save Dad before the Mob makes him disappear again—permanently! ~ Goodreads

At a Glance
I loved the humor in Aladdin’s Samovar. I was on the edge of my seat laughing and biting my nails the whole time. Sweet has a way with words that I haven’t seen before.

The Good
Here’s the Story…
Amber just knew it. When she saw that damn genie smoke his way out of her samovar, she knew that accepting the offer for one wish would be a bad idea. But did she listen to her instincts? Noooo. One simple wish, to have a relationship with her father, blew up in her face…in a big way. Dear, old dad is on the run from the mob. And he just so happens to have a computer drive the mob is willing to do anything to get back. Now Amber has to deal with a thieving father who was never there for her, a sexy genie who is always causing trouble, and a hippie mom who is pretty much naked half the time, all while trying to keep everyone out of the clutches of the bad guys.

Looking for a Laugh?
 I had so much fun reading Aladdin’s Samovar. It wasn’t what I was expecting. So few writers have a sense of humor that really catches my attention. This book is pure entertainment. If you are looking for a laugh and a suspenseful story, this is the book for you.

Amber the Determined…
I felt so bad for Amber. She really gets the short end of the stick almost every time. All around her people keep spewing lies, and she is finding it hard to discern truth from fiction. She tries to live a normal life, but the people around her are driving her crazy. She’s already had to deal with a mom who rather be naked, chanting to mother earth while smoking a little somethin’ somethin’ than getting a job and respecting authority. Then that tricky genie, with his ever-shrinking clothes has to make things even worse. With his sexy smirk, irresistible eyes, and muscle, oh god, the muscles. Woah, okay, getting off topic. Sorry, I got distracted by the yummy pictures in my head. Anyways, Amber can only be described as strong, determined, and caring. Even as the world crumbles around her, she supports her family as best she can, even when she wants to hate them. I have to admit, I don’t know if I could have kept my cool in the situations she was put in.

The Parental Units…
My favorite character was the mother, Indigo. She was so free-spirited, flighty, and hilarious. She had me cracking up every time she came on scene. She was also mysterious. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to Indigo. Amber’s dad, on the other hand, was not my cup of tea. He was a manipulator and a liar. Even when Sweet tried to shine a good light on him, I couldn’t find myself liking him. I think Amber would be better off without him.

Just Jasper…
Then we have Jasper. Oh, Jasper. So pretty, so mischievous. You can’t trust a genie. But who can say no to a sexy man in very little clothing? All I knew by the end of this book was that I wanted a genie of my very own. No, I wanted Jasper for my very own. Sure, he’s not trustworthy at all, but he is so nice to look at and he did help out occasionally. Jasper even broke a few rules to help Amber with the naughty mob people, even if he did it in unconventional ways. I liked watching Jasper gain a little humanity bit by bit. Especially because he did it for Amber.

Iggy Not So Biggy…
I don’t want to get too much into Iggy the dwarf because I want that to be a surprise. for when you read this book. But let me just say, even though he was only in the book for short spouts of time, he left an impression on me that I will never forget. Ha ha, how’s that for mysterious?

All-Nighter Type of Book…
Sweet has a fine hold on her story telling abilities. She knows how to mix equal parts of humor and suspense, which is what makes Aladdin’s Samovar a all-nighter type of book. The plot was well thought out and the pacing was pretty good. But it’s the characters that made me like this book so much. I was often surprised by the twists and turns and the truth behind all the lies Amber kept getting fed. This book has a refreshing concept for the paranormal fiction world, which made it that much more fun to read.

The Bad
Many of the descriptions in the book were a little too much for me. Sweet describes some mundane things that could have been taken out to help the pacing.

Though I love humor, especially during frightening parts, it got kind of annoying. The serious moments got underplayed because of the humor. I wanted to be scared but never really got there.

The Snuggly
There is a lot of sexual tension in this book that I just loved. A lot of flirting, some touching and kissing. But no actual sex…yet. Jasper is just fascinating to watch. He’s so smooth and loves keeping Amber on her toes. I can’t wait for whatever it is between them to evolve.

Overall
I am very happy that Sweet contacted me to review her book. It’s nice to step away from the vampires and werewolves and step into a world of genies. This book captured my attention right away. Sweet had me laughing out loud for half the book and left me satisfied by the last page. Now I must wait impatiently for the next installment of the series (I hope there is a book 2, Sweet, because there are a lot of potential story lines left untapped in the world you have created). Highly recommended.

Excerpt
He stepped forward. Amber, never taking her eyes off him, grabbed for one of the steak knives still lying on the table. Her fingers closed around the handle, and she waved it threateningly. “All right, that’s far enough. Put your hands in the air and back slowly towards the door.”

The eyebrows went up again. He put both hands in the air, and Amber could have sworn she saw the corner of his mouth twitch. “Please, o homicidal one, not the pickle fork. Anything but the pickle fork.”

Amber looked down at her hand. Not a steak knife. Crap. “I’ll have you know there are fifty-seven documented ways to maim a person with a pickle fork.”



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