Book Review: How to Date Dead Guys (The Witch’s Handbook Book 1) by Ann M. Noser

When Emma's crush, Mike, drowns in the campus river on her watch, she, along with Mike's family, blames herself. Unable to stand the guilt and grief, she uses a spell from a mysterious book to try and raise him from the dead... but she gets Sam instead, a suicide victim who jumped into the river last year, Jake, a former frat boy, and some others, each with their own story. Feeling responsible for them, she helps each one with any unfinished business they have, but the river isn't quite done with them, and not everyone is so sure Emma should be using anymore witchcraft for fear that it's doing more harm than good.

Book Cover - How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser
Title: How to Date Dead Guys
Book Number: Book 1 of 3
Pages: 304
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I didn’t expect this book to affect me the way it did.

With such a quirky, fun title and premise, even though I read some other reviews, I didn’t quite believe them. But listen to the other reviews and listen to this one—the character development, and the development of relationships between characters, for Emma, all the dead guys she brings back, and even some of the smaller side characters was real, believable, and absolutely phenomenal.

And the book was so much more meaningful and deep and touching and heart-wrenching than I thought it would be. I don’t full-on cry over books, but I did shed some tears and get watery eyes numerous times while reading. I’m a series girl because it usually takes me numerous books to really connect to characters and get emotional about them, but every dead guy introduced in this book somehow managed to worm his way into my heart. I just really felt for the characters and the struggles and heaviness of the situations they were in, and I couldn’t believe how quickly I got attached to each one.

As for the premise, I was imagining that the main character would do a spell and then a bunch of ghosts would rise up and follow her around. Instead, well, I’ll let you have the fun of discovering it as you read and just say it was very unique and creative and kept getting more interesting and complicated (in a great way) as the book went on!

I did have some general issues in the beginning (like the immaturity of the protagonist), but they faded away as I got sucked in, and eventually they all proved to be a purposeful part of the story.

So this wasn’t a dark book, but it wasn’t rainbows and unicorns either. It was fun and quirky, but it was also serious and emotional. It would make me laugh on one page then cry on the next. And even though this book dealt with topics of death and life and what it means to really live, it didn’t so much make me think as it just made me feel. Overall, it was just kind of beautiful.


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  1. Annika @ Hiding Books

    This actually sounds right up my alley! I’m usually the same as you – I need time to get attached to characters. I do like urban fantasy – and I’m also dreadfully morbid sometimes and just want to read books where death is kind of an important factor. *shrugs*
    This sounds so promising..! Thanks for the review, I’ll definitely add this to my list! 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay! I’m glad I was able to help you find a book you’re interested in 😀 Death is a huge factor in this one, so it does sound like the perfect book for you! (By the way, Hereafter is another book about death/afterlife I read recently. It’s very different in terms of plot and characters, but you can check that one out too!) And don’t worry, I don’t think you’re morbid. I think it’s interesting the types of things people like in books since books are kind of a way of exploring and experiencing things that we never would in real life, and everyone has their own reasons and different things they find fascinating. I mean, I love dark books and also like books about the afterlife and even Hell and whatnot. This is totally turning into an off-topic discussion, haha, but the point is… I don’t know. I don’t think there was a point lol. But there’s no judgment about reading preferences on this blog! Looking forward to seeing what you think of this one after you read it 🙂

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    “…it didn’t so much make me think as it just made me feel.” <– THIS! Yes this is my kind of book, indeed, Kristen. I can't wait to learn what happens when the spell is cast but mostly I can't wait to meet all these characters and get attached! AND FEEL! It does seem like the kind of book that's going to be fun. But I think you know I like deep and dark books – books that do make me think. But most especially books that touch me.
    I think it usually does take time for me to become attached to a character…but there have been exceptions. 😀

    1. Kristen Burns

      If you like books that are touching yet also fun and that make you think and feel, then this is perfect. Though I’m afraid I’m getting your expectations too high which never turns out well, haha. But really, mark my words, this will be one of those exceptions! It was for me at least 🙂

  3. Daniela Ark

    I JUST got this ARC! One day before it got archived 🙂
    You just visited and read my Camp Plan Kristen right? And left a wonderful comment [because you are the bestest of all blogger friends]
    and WHAT DID I SAY????
    Didn’t I say NO NETGALLEY this month????
    So WHAT DID I JUST DO TWO seconds ago??
    Yup! Went to netgalley and requested the second book!
    Because my bestest blogger friend said book one had affected her so much! Because she said it was “meaningful and deep and touching and heart-wrenching” and had her all watery eyes!
    [and well because I’m hopelessly undisciplined but I rather blame you and your good review 😉 ]

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh but this book is so good and you’re going to love it so you’re going to NEED that second book (which is also great, btw). So you’re not allowed to have regrets about requesting that one lol. I will take full credit (or blame, you know, whatever you wanna call it) for helping you make that good decision 😉 I can’t wait to see what you end up thinking about this one!

      And yes, I did just comment on your post lol (and aww, you’re the bestest of blogger friends too *virtual hug*)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Right?? It doesn’t sound like it would be a touching type of book from the title and the description. But it’s both touching and fun, all wrapped into one! Definitely a bonus 🙂

  4. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I just noticed that the second book is on NetGalley. You’ve completely convinced me with your review, but do you know how many books are going to be in the series? Lately, I feel like I only want to read completed series because I’ve been forgetting them too much!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I tweeted the author to ask how many books there will be lol, so I’ll get back to you. I was under the impression that there would be three. I understand the completed series thing though. I love to binge read series so that I can remember all the details and get the full effect of the story, but I just can’t help myself from starting more incomplete series when the books just look so darn good. I’m reaching the point where I’m becoming ashamed to admit how many series I’m in the middle of. I’m using a word document just to keep track lol. But whether you decide to start now or wait, you should definitely read this one!

  5. Lola

    The whole raising people from the dead can be such an interesting trope and I like how it not always has the consequences you want. I am glad to hear your issues with the book faded fast and it sounds like you really enjoyed this one. I hardly ever do the full cry over books either, but I have gotten tears in my eyes a few times and only a few books that really made me cry. I like the sound of how it’s fun and quirky, but also deep and emotional. Sounds great how the author managed to get all of that in one book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was funny because I had jotted down three specific issues I had in the beginning, but then every single one ended up getting addressed in the book. For example, the mother and brother of the guy who dead acted ridiculous at the funeral, and I thought the author was writing that as normal behavior since the MC accepted it, but later on the other characters were even talking about how they weren’t handling the death well and were acting inappopriate, etc., and then they apologized and whatnot. So they were purposeful things.

      Anyway, yeah, if a book can make my eyes water or a couple tears fall, then that means it has made me pretty emotional. And the combination of fun and emotional was fantastic 🙂