Cover Image: Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

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Member Reviews

Read it, loved it, and I'm already wanting more. Wes and Hudson were amazing characters and that storyline...I was hooked from the word 'Go'. Not Dead Yet has everything I love: second chances, mystery, and secrets that come back to bite you in the ass. Book two cannot come soon enough.
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This is a new to me author and., holy hell, what an amazing story.  There isn't one thing I didn't like about it.  I was riveted from page one.

This is a paranormal mystery with MM romance thrown into the mix for some spice.  It's a tender second chance romance that builds gradually and feels so damn genuine.  Add to that the ace rep, and I think I've found a new favorite.

"I couldn't imagine needing to have sex so badly that you'd seek out a random hookup--let alone have a backup reserved."

The mystery kept me on the edge of my seat and was perfectly interwoven with the slow burn romance.  When I wasn't biting my nails or swooning from the feels, I was giggling at the random funny moments (Cue random Ghostbusters reference.)

The side characters were equally as engaging.  They fit seamlessly with the plot and added extra depth to the story.

There is not one thing I didn't like about Not Dead Yet.  In fact, I loved everything, and I can't wait for the next installment.
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This review is based on an ARC.

This book hit all my buttons so it's no wonder I loved it. Paranormal, mystery, a cast of multi dimensional characters and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. The pacing was excellent, never a dull moment and the writing really drew me in. I loved Wes the friendly not ghost and his sass. 

There were quite a few issues with words cutting off to the next page which was irritating, but as this is based on an ARC that may not be the case in the future.
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4* Best to read slowly and carefully to avoid confusion about how the not-ghost thing works.

I enjoyed this book, but I started it and got a bit lost and then came back to the beginning, started off slower and this time round, understood a couple of things that I'd missed, that clued me in about Wes. For the purposes of trying to help fellow readers, here's a quick spoiler-free summary:

Wes died in 1933, but was brought back by a witch, a relative of the person who killed him, because she felt that he'd been betrayed. She and her descendants have become his family and his protectors of sorts; his BFF is the witch's granddaughter, and she loves to mother him, though she's significantly younger than him. 

Nowadays, Wes is not technically a living person, and yet he's not dead. He's kind of like a ghost in that he can visit/travel/exist/observe, unseen in a ghostly otherworld, where he's invisible, and yet still be in the (our) real world in corporal form. He uses his non-human skills to aid him in his investigative job, and he's had normal human relationships, and a particularly significant one with Hudson, a cop, but they broke up. There's  been no pining (hurrah, so refreshing!) and no contact between them for more years than I could believe (yes, my mouth kind of fell open). Hudson does know about Wes, btw, and that wasn't an issue in their break-up - hint, hint, but no spoilers, 'cos this book is too good to spoil! 

Wes can't age, but Hudson is now 58yo, and has had his own unusual experience with life. I can't say what, as it would spoiler the tale but I can tell you that neither I nor Wes had been expecting the reveal. And, I wasn't expecting the prickliness between the guys, either, but that makes for realism in the tale, given the reason for their split, and because of the length of time they've spent apart. Let's say that these guys had more believability factor (and zilch fluffiness) than a lot of leads in MM romance. Yay!

So, we have one younger guy of sorts (though not technically) and one older, and I think that Hudson right now is the oldest ever male lead I've read about in a book, but he has a secret and it all works. WORKS, being the operative word, not to be mistaken for WORKS OUT. Because, as the book ends, it's clear that each guy has unfinished personal business, and that they also have unfinished business together, whether they like it or not. 

33 years after their break-up, the guys reunite when Wes stumbles across a murder that comes under Hudson's investigation, and then Wes stumbles across Hudson engaged in something that blows Wes's perceptions and beliefs about him out of the window, and which leads to the introduction of a new character. A totally unexpected character, Evan, who was really sweet and likeable and childlike (to say more would be a spoiler), and who ended up being a biggish part of the tale. I really hope there's more of him and his future since his changes... in the next book. 

And there's an actual storyline that makes you wonder, makes you think you're up to speed with things, then there are twists and more and more incidents occur, and then someone puts two and two together and there's a light bulb moment. Or, rather, moments - i.e., plural - on the part of more than one main and secondary character. I must admit that I wouldn't have had either the light bulb moment, or the maths moment, and I did need to concentrate a lot and go with the flow a lot, too. I can tell you that I really appreciated the 'brain needs to be fully engaged' aspect of this tale.

I can't really say too much more, other than that there's more than one supernatural being/type/connection in this tale, and that it's a tale that works well, that has unexpected twists, and that has betrayals that you don't see coming, and one that you think you've seen, but turns out to be more an unfortunate accident with an unexpectedly sweet and sometimes funny consequence. 

I'm definitely up for reading book 2, though there'll be about 7/8 months from now to wait for it, as it's not out til summer 2019 (yes, this one was good enough to make me curious and go nosing), but it'll be worth it, however Hudson and Wes end up, as there's a lot going on in their worlds.

ARC courtesy of Carina Press and NetGalley, for my reading pleasure.
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A great mystery and paranormal mixed up together.
Wes and Hudson, two main characters are so good together that they don't even see it. Hudson is a detective, Wes is a recovery specialist.
Together they are trying to solve a couple homicides. They also have some history, thirty years of history. 
Also, Wes is a ghost, of a certain kind. So between them they think they 
should be able to solve this murder real quick. 
Of course stuff interferes. There is a bunch of twists and turns.
A best friend, Lexi. 
Plus there is vampires. All combined to make a excellent mix of paranormal,mystery and a touch of romance.
A well done book. Looking forward to what happens in book 2.

(Given a copy for an honest review)
(Thanks)
(NetGalley)
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Today I am here to rave about Jenn Burke’s Not Dead Yet! That book had been on my radar for a while – I eagerly awaited every #1linewed on twitter and gobbled up any bit of information she dropped on the writing process of the series, hoping she’d post another snippet of it. So of course I immediately requested it on NetGalley when I saw it was up on it. I was lucky that I didn’t have to wait long to be approved for it and – not kidding – I dropped everything to immediately start reading. I had a moment of “pleeease let me love this” right before I started and then I was already swept off my feet.

I’m not exagerrating when I say that I devoured Not Dead Yet and enjoyed every single minute of it. All while I was reading I thought I should slow down to savour the story more – but I could not resist. I needed to know what happened and how it ended. And for the two days it took me to finish the book I pretty much read whenever I could catch a minute to do so. (Sidenote: one of these days my boss will catch me sneak reading!)
 Once I was finished though the story wouldn’t leave me alone. I kept thinking about Wes, Hudson and rest of the gang. I wanted to go back and read the book again already; I suspect there is a reread gonna happen sometime soon!

What I absolutely loved, loved, l-o-v-e-d about Wes and Hudson’s relationship was how much time they took to get to know each other again, to work through their past and to built up a foundation of trust again. Between the last time they saw each other and the beginning of the book are 33 years, so I felt like they needed that time – anything else would have felt rushed and also not helped to create a lasting relationship this time. Especially because they never were just lovers to begin with – they used to be best friends too before they split up – so I really appreciated Burke giving them the time to work through it. This also worked perfectly to let us readers get to know them individually and learn about their past – what happened when they were together but also what they went through after they broke up 3 decades ago.
 I will admit that there were times when I was a bit frustrated and wanted them to just kiss already – but at the same time that sweet, delicious, anticipation made the book so much better and I think Burke found the perfect balance between too soon and not soon enough. I definitely think that those of you who love slow burn and second chance romances will love this.
 I also want to mention how special it was to me as an ace reader to see Hudson not just being understanding but also being so respectful of Wes’s boundaries and I really appreciate how much care Burke took to include explicit consent in every intimate scene. That shit is my kryptonite and I wish we’d have more stories like that; and not just when one of the main characters is ace, but in general I want an aboundance of explicit consent!

While reading Not Dead Yet I realised that I sort of have a thing for thieves paired with cops like Wes – though he prefers the term recovery specialist -, or Aiden Maar (Fortitude Smashed) or Amory Vaughn (Heart of the Steal). Compared to Wes and Hudson trying to solve those murder cases and them falling in love (again) Wes’ professional life as “recovery specialist” does take a bit of a backseat in the story. Though it still created a bit of tension between him and law-abiding Hudson. Making for some awesome bickering and snarking.

Additionally to the main characters the side characters were freaking amazing and really helped to bring the story alive. Each of them felt like a real person, with hopes, personal motivations and fears.
 I fell head over heels in love with sweet Evan. I liked the different dynamic between him and Wes and him and Hudson. And I hope that one day he will get his own spin-off story because if there is a character that desereves a happy ever after it’s him! And Lexi! She’s the kickass best friend everyone should have – like seriously, I wish I could jump into the book and be her bestie! I love her and can’t wait to see her again in book two!

Regarding the mystery aspect of the book I feel like I can’t say too much or I would spoil it – especially because a big part of why I love this was the guessing and speculating. Typically I don’t tend to be so invested in mystery stories, but Burke kept me on he edge of my seat. I CAN say however, that I 100% enjoyed that the mystery aspect was just as layered as everything else in this book. Burke not only crafted beautifully multidimensional characters, the mystery part was just as captivating. While I had the smallest of inklings about who was behind the murders, Burke still surprised me with the reveal and how everything was ultimately connected.

Burke easily managed to make me feel pretty much the whole spectrum of feelings while I read Not Dead Yet. I laughed out loud – the kind that lasts forever and you start giggling whenever you think of the thing that set you off in the first place. She made me tear up because I was so happy and excited for the characters but I also cried of sadness. She made me feel frustrated with Wes and Hudson but also feel compassion for them, I was afraid everyone wouldn’t be alright at the end of the sory and overall there was just so much love and excitement for reading a book and about a world I could get completely imersed in. What I’m trying to say is that I could relate to both Hudson and Wes so much that I felt like I was part of their lifes for a short time.

Surprisingly this was actually my first book by Burke – a fact I can’t actually comprehend because I’ve followed her on twitter for ages and I own several of her books. It definitely wasn’t my last though – and not just because I’ll gobble up the other two books in the series as soon as they’re released. I’m also excited to dive into her backlist titles.

Not Dead Yet ends with some questions answered and new ones being revealed and I am freaking excited to explore them in book two! This is for sure one of my favorites for 2019 – and the year hasn’t even started yet! I hope you pick up this book because it’s a gem and I’m so grateful that I got to read it.
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Once I understood the ghost-but-not-a-ghost thing, I enjoyed this book a lot. The supernatural plot elements were solid as was the plot. Definitely adding this author to my must-read list.
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