Title: Some Assembly Required
Author: Lex Chase and Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages
At a Glance: A humorous love story involving some big box chain stores and the afterlife.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.
Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the cat—even though he’s allergic—because his ex’s new place doesn’t accept pets. He’s always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.
Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.
When Benji appears in the CASA café, Patrick considers the naïve spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benji’s relentless optimism chips away at Patrick’s sarcasm, making him question if there’s something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furniture—there’s always some assembly required.
Review: It’s not often I read stories involving ghosts. I enjoy it when I do, most of the time, but usually the ghosts are part of some sort of paranormal investigation. This book, however, breaks those rules, and I must say it was not only entertaining but unique.
Both Benji and Patrick are ghosts. Having been killed by CASA brand furniture, they reside in the purgatory that is CASA, helping other ghosts—or Impressions—prevent similar accidents from killing more people before they are able to pass on. Patrick and Benji are different, however, and don’t pass. Neither do Karin or Agnes.
When Benji ends up at CASA, he is drawn to Patrick, and after what feels like a whirlwind ghostly romance, the two continue to dance around each other. But as Benji soon—or not, as the case may be—discovers, time moves differently in CASA when one is dead.
There are three stores in this book that represent the various stages of the afterlife. CASA is purgatory, Wallville is hell, and Scope appears to be heaven. It shouldn’t be too difficult for readers to figure out what those stores are modeled after, especially when the logos and signature colors are revealed, and I must say I got quite a good laugh—several times—at the jibes thrown at Wallville. It was clever and made the story that much stronger.
Quite a few moments of the book, especially at the end, left me aching for Benji and Patrick. When Benji makes a few startling discoveries, which I cannot reveal without giving too much away, I teared up and, in one case, cried for him. Patrick’s revelation was a little more difficult for me to understand, but no less heartbreaking.
And the passion! This book contains one of the most, if not the most intense love scene I have ever read in romance. Lex Chase and Bru Baker truly did a remarkable job of describing what Benji and Patrick were experiencing, and it quite literally took my breath away. I read through it once quickly, in the moment with the boys nearly as frenzied as they were, and then went back to reread it for the brilliant details the authors included. I may have even had to fan myself after one of the readings, but I plead the fifth on that one.
Whether or not you are a fan of paranormal stories, this is one that is not to be missed. It’s full of fun characters from the main heroes Benji and Patrick to the enigmatic Agnes and the long-suffering guide, Karin. There’s also the mysterious Henry, who just sits in the CASA café, pushing around meatballs and leaving out crossword puzzles. Is he human or ghost? Patrick certainly can’t figure him out, and their interactions (or lack of them) are amusing.
I highly recommend this book and look forward to more collaborations from these authors.
You can buy Some Assembly Required here: