Mini Reviews: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy – The Well of Tears, The Fangs of Freelance, Straight Outta Fangton


In The Well of Tears, a teenager and his gnome boyfriend end up on a quest to find a mythical well with healing waters. In The Fangs of Freelance, a vampire accountant and his friends deal with ghosts, gangs, grand mages, and other sorts of trouble. In Straight Outta Fangton, a fairly young vampire gets mixed up in the nefarious plans of a powerful old vampire. Enjoy my mini reviews for these three paranormal/urban fantasy books!

The Well of Tears by R. G. Thomas

Book Review: The Well of Tears (The Town of Superstition Book 2) by R. G. Thomas | reading, books, middle grade, young adult, gnomes, lgbt+
Title: The Well of Tears
Author: R. G. Thomas
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Book Number: Book 2
Pages: 189
Rating: 3 stars

This series is really cute and sweet, and I absolutely love that it's got garden gnomes because you rarely find books about those. The relationship between Thaddeus and Teofil is so nice and healthy, which is wonderful to see in a book for young readers. The family relationships are great and loving too. The series is just too young for me though. Personally, I'd say it seems more middle grade than young adult, although it's listed as young adult by the publisher. The plot was fairly simple, and tough topics were kind of glossed over. The dialogue also felt too formal/simple sometimes. Overall I really think this is a lovely series though! And the first book gave me such happy feels. It's turned out to be not quite for me, but it could be perfect for kids/younger teens looking for positive LGBT+ rep.


The Fangs of Freelance by Drew Hayes

Book Review: The Fangs of Freelance (Fred, The Vampire Accountant Book 4) by Drew Hayes | reading, books, vampires
Title: The Fangs of Freelance
Author: Drew Hayes
Book Number: Book 4
Pages: 348
Rating: 3.5 stars

Much like all the others so far, this was another enjoyable audiobook. Fred may be a quiet accountant who's better with numbers than people, but he's honest, sincere, caring, introspective, and self-aware, and I love him for it. He's also very loyal and, despite not liking confrontation, will step forward and put himself at risk if it means helping his loved ones. I will say though, I don't know if it was just because I listened to all four books one after the other, but I did get a bit bored during this one. I think part of the problem was that some of these memoirs (the books are told as kind of a grouping of short stories, referred to as memoirs, I think) just weren't very exciting. Overall though, it was still another light, touching book in the series!

Also, just a random note... *MILD SPOILER* Smiling with his fangs at the gang leader and then lifting up his shirt to show that his stab wound was healed was the most badass thing Fred has done so far lol. Well, not really, he's done other badass things, but this one was just so smooth and calculated. Way to go, Fred! *END SPOILER*


Straight Outta Fangton by C. T. Phipps

Book Review: Straight Outta Fangton (Straight Outta Fangton Book 1) by C. T. Phipps | reading, books, vampires
Title: Straight Outta Fangton
Author: C. T. Phipps
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 198
Rating: 3 stars

*I received an audio copy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*

This book just kind of missed the mark for me, but I think it was me, not the book. This was a fun take on vampires that allowed for both the decadent, sexy kind as well as a more down-to-earth, human kind. Our protag, Peter, was Black, a veteran, a little bitter about his current situation but with a good sense of humor, and definitely on the down-to-earth side of the vampire spectrum.

I just never really got into the story though. There was too much plot for one book, at least for the first book in a series, in my opinion. I got a bit lost when it came to the politics (all the different groups and schemes and motivations) and the flashbacks, and I didn't feel an emotional connection with the characters. And although I did chuckle sometimes---and outright laughed at the very last line of the book---not all of the humor worked for me. There were a lot of pop culture references I didn't get.

But I did really like the sweet but banter-y familial relationship between Peter and his creator, some of the stuff about the vampires and how their society worked was interesting, and there was a mix of humor, intensity, action, and realism (including things like bigotry) that a lot of people will enjoy, especially anyone who's looking for a less sexy vampire story.

I listened to the audiobook for this, narrated by Cary Hite. He did a great job at bringing some of the characters to life, especially the main character. His tone matched the humorous, quippy feel of the book. Aside from the more emotional moments (especially if the character was screaming), female voices sounded good enough. Thoth's slight Caribbean accent sounded fine (though I'm not super familiar with Caribbean accents). My one issue was that sometimes the narrator sounded a tiny bit stiff or unnatural with strange pauses and cadence. It was a small enough issue that it was still a decent audiobook though.

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read, slightly updated after my 2nd read.*

Reread Ratings:
3 Stars (1st Read - 2018)
3 Stars (2nd Read - 2020)


Talk to me!

Have you read any of these paranormal/urban fantasy books?
Do you know of any other middle grade or young YA with LGBT+ rep?
Do you like vampires who defy expectations?
Have you ever been unable to get into a book and couldn't figure out why?


Your Thoughts


16 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy – The Well of Tears, The Fangs of Freelance, Straight Outta Fangton

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  1. Lindsi

    I really like the cover for Straight Outta Fangton! The text seems at odds with the background, but I like it! I’m sorry you weren’t able to get into the story. Do you think it was listening to it instead of reading? Recently I started the audiobook for Strange the Dreamer, but it wasn’t for me. I switched to a physical copy and I’m enjoying it more now. It’s a bummer some of the humor fell flat, though. Hmm, I like the concept — it seems like there’s a wide variety of vamps included.

    I hope you’re doing well! I feel like we haven’t talked in ages! You used to be my late night person, but I’ve been making myself go to sleep lately, lol.
    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really like the cover too! I do think it might’ve had to do with listening instead of reading, but I guess I’ll never know. Regardless, it was not a bad book, and I really do think it was just a me-not-the-book thing.

      Oh no! You’ve converted to the dark side of people who go to sleep early! No wonder we haven’t talked in a while, haha.

  2. Greg

    Gnomes! Love that cover too. Definitely looks good for younger YA/ MG or whatever. And Straight Outta Fangton cracked me up. Sounds like it has some humor, but sorry to hear that one didn’t quite work for you.

  3. verushka

    I think yours might be the first review of Straight out of Fangton I’ve read, and I think I might avoid the audio and try reading it — it’s the promise of some humour that has me hopeful this might be better read than listened to.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Maybe check some review from other people who are more accustomed to audiobooks? I know you like audio. I just really struggle with it. A lot of people seem to love it though!

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    The Fangs of Freelance sounds like a fun one, but definitely not a series to read one after the other it seems, which is fine! And I love MG and YA that feature LGBT+ rep. We need more of it!!


    1. Kristen Burns

      It is! But yeah, maybe take some breaks between books lol. Agreed, we do need more MG/YA with LGBT+ rep! That’s why I wanted to share this one on the blog, despite it not being quite for me.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It would. We really need more cute LGBT+ books for young readers. It was the gnomes that made me pick the up in the first place cuz I hadn’t either, haha.

  5. Lola

    The Well of Tears sounds like an unique read and that’s great that it has such a healthy relationship. And garden gnomes! I don’t think I ever came across a book with those.

    That’s good to hear Fangs of Freelance was another good book in that series. Sometimes binge reading can be great, but with other series I can get a bit more easily bored with a series when i do. Fred does sound like a fun main character.

    Too bad Straight Outta Fangton missed the mark for you a bit. I am not too fond when a book has too many pop culture reference, especially when i don’t get half of them as it feels like I am missing something then. The sweet and banter-y relationships with his mentor sounds great. It can be hard to full figure out sometimes why a book doesn’t quite work for you.

    1. Kristen Burns

      This is the only story I’ve read with garden gnomes!

      Yeah, it turns out some series are better off spread out a bit.

      That’s what’s risky about pop culture references. Some readers won’t get them, and it does kill the book a bit when that happens.