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Strange Neighbors #1

Strange Neighbors

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He's looking for peace, quiet, and a little romance...

There's never a dull moment when hunky all-star pitcher and shapeshifter Jason Falco invests in an old Boston brownstone apartment building full of supernatural creatures. But when Merry MacKenzie moves into the ground floor apartment, the playboy pitcher decides he might just be done playing the field...

A girl just wants to have fun...

Sexy Jason seems like the perfect fling, but newly independent nurse Merry's not sure she's ready to trust him with her heart...especially when the tabloids start trumpeting his playboy lifestyle.

Then pandemonium breaks loose and Merry and Jason will never get it together without a little help from the vampire who lives in the basement and the werewolf from upstairs.

354 pages, Paperback

First published May 7, 2010

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About the author

Ashlyn Chase

52 books446 followers
Ashlyn Chase has been a registered nurse for 20 years. During those years, she wrote articles for professional journals and a thesis, but eventually, thank goodness, discovered the joy and freedom of writing fiction.

Ashlyn considers herself lucky. Her degree in behavioral sciences is a combination of psychology and sociology, so she has worked with and studied people most of her life. She never has to write out exhaustive character sketches to understand her characters or predict how they will behave. That doesn't mean they don't surprise her. Sometimes they take her on grand unexpected journeys. For her, it gives "character driven novels" a whole new meaning.

Ashlyn has learned to go with the flow. To enjoy the journey is not only one of her writing goals, but also a challenge in life so she tries to follow where the story takes her. As such, she has lived in 17 different places over the years. At last, she's all settled down and comfy in New England.

Is there a grand design or do we decide our own fates? Perhaps if the powers-that-be have a plot, then they also give us the right to revise it. Ashlyn has certainly made detours on her path, but she thinks she's better for it. She's having fun at any rate and hopes that if she enjoys the journey, so will those around her—including her readers.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 298 reviews
Profile Image for An Abundance of Books.
192 reviews144 followers
November 8, 2010
I will preface my review with saying that I understand that every book is an author's baby. They invest so much time and energy, working hard to create the best story they can.

I saw this book awhile back on Book Chick City's wish list post and thought it had a neat premise. The whole book had so much potential. Unfortunately the heroine was wishy washy, jumped to ridiculous conclusions, the hero needed to grow a backbone, too many supporting characters, the side stories overwhelmed the main story, there was too much telling instead of showing, and not enough pronouns or proper nouns used during conversations with multiple characters.

Merry has grown up with an overprotective father after her mother died, so I understood her driving need to live on her own. She moves into a building with a nosy apartment manager (Jason's Aunt Dottie) and a hot owner. She and Jason hit it off right away, and despite some reservations, she decides to go for it: a serious relationship with a famous baseball player. For Jason's part, he's very nervous, but really wants to make this work with Merry. He's half shapeshifter (making him lose control of his shifts when under a lot of stress) so he's very careful around the paparazzi. He doesn't want to freak Merry out about being constantly photographed or made up stories in the gossip columns. Ok, all of that made sense and that's where it ended.

Aunt Dottie calls the police about every little thing, Jason says she's going to alert the media to where he lives, but she doesn't listen and he doesn't stand his ground. Dude, grow a backbone and make yourself heard! He's so worried about his secret being found out but he doesn't take real steps to protect himself. Merry blames everything on PMS, I got so sick and tired of it. It's her standard excuse for being crazy. And she flips out over the dumbest things. She finds out that her birth father (Merry was adopted) is a vampire. She takes this information in stride. Jason gets really nervous on their way to her adopted father's house for Thanksgiving and he turns into a falcon. Merry totally flips out, leaves him, and goes the rest of the way to her dad's house. A little bit later Jason makes it to the house and her dramatic response is:

"Never having been exposed to anything so bizarre in her life - except a vampire father and a haunted apartment building - all she could think of to do was protect herself. Protect her family. How could she expose them to... what? A magician? A shaman? Some kind of weird animal spirit possession?"

What? Seriously? She's okay with her family visiting her in her haunted apartment building with her vampire dad living in the basement, but Bird Boy is too much?! Really? Another example: when her birth father was telling Merry about her birth mother, he described her as someone who spoke her mind, didn't let herself get pushed around and, "was passionate about everything she did. She stood for good causes. She believed in doing the right thing even if it wasn't the easiest thing." Sounds like a nice lady who tried to do what was right even it if was hard. Merry's response: "You mean she was some kind of an agitator? Or zealot?" I just wanted to bang my head agains the desk, that is such a ridiculous conclusion to jump to. I know it's a paranormal romance, but Merry's thought processes and reactions didn't always seem realistic. She also believed everything printed about Jason, she never listened to anything he said. She was so quick to go into punishment mode. Like the time he was going to be auctioned off for charity, he told Merry about this and she knew it was for charity. Later on she sees a tabloid article showing Jason in three pictures - one with her, one with the lady from the charity auction, and one where it looked like he was hugging/kissing someone (a fan jumped on him). She knew he was cheating on her and wouldn't listen. Eventually Jason got through to her and it was all okay, that darn PMS was just making her overreact. Argh!

By this point every little thing the characters did was irritating. Merry's adoptive father kept telling her she was too young and impressionable to live on her own. Excuse me? She sacrificed a lot to live at home and help out while not going to the college she wanted to. She's a grown woman with a good career in nursing, and you don't think she can handle herself? He was one more person on the list that needed to be smacked. Dottie whined constantly. I felt a bit sorry for her, she really believed that she was being helpful (in a horrifically rude way), but somebody needed to stand up to her and set her straight.

The writing also tended to get fairly repetative and explanations could get very long and tedious. For example, The Seasonal Pill of Doom. Merry decides to go on the seasonal pill. Fine, great. And for those who don't know what the seasonal pill is, the author explains it. At great leangth. Twice. I felt that The Seasonal Pill was taking over the book. The first time around I got tired of the explanations and just wanted it to end. The second time around, I became frustrated and irritated. Enough with The Seasonal Pill already, lets get on with the story!

There were also tons of support characters. These characters were interesting and I had assumed might have spinoff stories. Unfortunately It was like Chase was trying to make their stories fit in with Jason and Merry's story. The entire narrative started to feel really crowded and I was having a hard time keeping up with who was who. Then there was the side plot of Chad the ghost (a reporter who was possibly murdered by the government in the 60's) that could have been interesting, but it started to compete with the actually story. There was one scene where there were several people in his old apartment arguing. Unfortunately, I had no idea who was talking. It was just a list of dialogue with the occasional gender specific pronoun thrown in (that helped a little). I re-read the section three times, Thinking that maybe I'd skipped a name in there somewhere. I gave up and put the book down for several weeks after this particular exchange.

When I finally picked it up again, I found that I just didn't care. I didn't want to devote any more time to this book. I was done. This is only the second book, after Little Women, that I've refused to finished. Then I started looking for reviews to include links to, and it seems that everyone enjoyed this book. What? Where did I go wrong, why didn't I like it also? I feel bad because I really did not like this book, I'm writing a negative review about somebody's hard work, and now I'm a bad person because I'm the only one who didn't like it. (I'm not even listing all of my negative points because it would be overkill.) Ok, maybe not a bad person, but I must have missed something to dislike it when general opinion is fairly positive.

Verdict:
I'm sorry guys, but I just could not stand this story, it's characters, anything. I didn't find it funny, romantic, or fast paced. I didn't even finish the book, which makes me think it's probably not fair for me to review it, but I need the closure. Half a star guys, this story had so much potential but it fell so, so short.
Profile Image for Laurie Garrison .
711 reviews172 followers
November 25, 2010
This is erotic author Ashlyn Chase first book in her new light paranormal romance series. I found this a good start for sexy humors series. Life is never dull in this apartment building full of paranormal creatures. You get one noisy Aunt, one nasty ghost or I should say one ghost that may get on your nerves and more. Then you throw in one snoopy reporter that could spell disaster for the whole building.

Merry never knew what she was getting into when she moved into her new apartment. She not only got an apartment full of paranormal creatures, but a few new surprises along the way one in particular would be the hot new landlord named Jason who happens to be an all-star pitcher. What could possibility happen by just having a fling with the hot all-star pitcher anyway? Well you have to read and find out;) Both Jason and Marry were very enjoyable to read.

This is a nice light read with a hot romance. There is plenty of sexual tension between Marry and Jason and of course you get the hot sex to go along with it.
Profile Image for Ursula.
7 reviews5 followers
April 27, 2011
I’m not going to lie. I like a good, cheesy paranormal romance here and there and often find the light, easy reading to be the perfect mind numbing candy I need. I never expect a lot from this type of book – nothing earth shattering, no new revelations or deep thought provoking stuff but this book....ugh.

It started out OK with an interesting premise. An apartment building full of supernatural creatures, a new neighbor, a love interest, etc. but halfway through the book if it had been an actually book I would have thrown it across the living room. There were so many instances where the characters and plot could have been developed a little more and I know this is supposed to be the first installment of the series but if the author doesn't give enough interest and character development to make me care about what happens to the characters then who cares if there’s a number 2 or 3 in the series?

That being said my two main complaints were the often unnecessarily detailed and drawn out sex scenes where the language was repeated over and over again for almost every scene. I’m all for romance novels and some steamy scenes but they began to feel like page filler. The main female character, Merry, also seems not well thought out. At times I felt she came across as childish, immature, naive and not very “experienced” but these perceptions were often rocked when it came to her dialogue in the sex scenes.

My last complaint, and the reason for wanting to toss the book, was the number of times PMS and the “seasonal pill” was mentioned. Is the author getting some kick back from the makers of this birth control pill? Do we really need to read a few pages of Merry going on and on about PMS and being on the pill? And, do we really need a detailed explanation (twice) about how this seasonal pill works? It seems irrational and honestly, as a woman, insulting that a female character (a nurse at that) would blame all her irrational moods, behavior, crying, and indecisiveness on PMS. What age are we living in?

Towards the end of the book things began to fall apart and almost every little thing was annoying. We have the character of Aunt Dottie who is constantly interfering in things but then towards the end (even though she’s been tied up by a vampire and attacked by a bird man) she seems content to smile and leave for a vacation with her shifter-bird husband like nothing happened. Really? Because um, if I were tied up by a vampire I think I’d have a little more to say about the matter.

Verdict:
At the end of the day I could not stand the story, the characters or the plot. I didn’t even find it humorous. I kept reading in the hopes it would round itself out and because I rarely don’t finish a book. It’s a shame, I think the story had potential and could have been fun. Unfortunately, it fell very short.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shannon.
263 reviews11 followers
September 6, 2011
Laugh if you want (and roll your eyes, too) but I expect a little less lameness in my supernatural romances, thank you very much. Suspension of disbelief isn't hard when a book is well-written or, at least, entertaining. This was just...bad. For so many reasons. Lame, repetitive dialog that doesn't move the story forward. Flat characters, and far too many of them. Sex scenes that come out of nowhere and seem to be added simply because the author doesn't know what to do next. A bunch of story lines that draw attention away from each other; seriously, I just finished the book two days ago and can hardly remember what it's about. Unless it's about the benefits of the seasonal pill and the protagonist's habit of blaming her childish behavior on PMS. Because there was a lot written about that.

I don't think Chase is a bad writer. In fact, I have her second book in this series checked out from the library and I'm willing to give it a try. But I honestly can't understand how this dreck got published. I've considered writing myself and have even tried my hand at it but, ultimately, gave up because my dialog read a lot like what's printed in these pages. And yeah, I could take that as a sign that I should try again, but the truth is that I wouldn't want to publish anything that looks like this. Because this, while not necessarily bad, sure as heck isn't good.

Profile Image for Vivian.
404 reviews12 followers
August 24, 2011
I was thinking earlier that I should finish this book, but I realized it wasn't on my Currently Reading shelf. It took me a minute to think about what happened in the second half, that's how much of an impact the book had on me.

This book had so much going on, with multiple different plots involving several different supes, none of it left an impression at the end of the day as the "main" storyline. I guess it is supposed to be the romantic angle between the two lead characters, but that was like a drive-by romance, the characters meeting and falling into bed/love with each other after a day.

While there were some bright, funny moments in the story, a lot of it I just found annoying. The idiot aunt, excessive plotlines, a hero who chooses flight over fight (not in the smart way, but in the I'm-too-chicken-to-stand-up-for-myself kinda way), unbelievableness of countless number of things.

Most of me thinks I could've been satisfied not finishing the book, but there's a small part of me curious about the next one, so the story had some charm to it. Maybe if it pops up for free or I happen across it in a library, definitely not something I'd pay for.
Profile Image for Kari.
81 reviews
March 10, 2012
Merry MacKenzie has finally--finally!!--moved out of her overprotective father’s house and into an apartment in the big city. On her first day in Boston, she meets her landlord, ace pitcher Jason Falco, who helps her move in. Intrigued by a gorgeous woman who isn’t impressed by his fame, he asks her out, and they start a sweet romance. But Jason has a secret, and between a nasty, alcoholic paparazzo trying to save her flagging career, and someone from Merry’s own past, their relationship might be over before it starts. And that’s not to mention the rest of the building’s quirky tenants!

Where to start with this book? I can’t say I hated it. That would imply that it engendered strong feelings of any sort. This book is the type of fluffy, forgettable contemporary romance that pops up enough to make me wary of the whole genre. I wouldn’t even classify it as paranormal romance--the fact that many of the characters are magical creatures of one sort or another felt almost tacked on. The heroine is a nurse who’s put her life on hold for the past nine years, helping raise her younger brother after her mother died. Her father is extremely overprotective, which Ms. Chase clumsily overplays at almost every opportunity. Her brother has ADHD, yet acted more like a 5-year-old on a sugar high than an 18-year-old on Ritalin. Merry herself is rather flat; she only has one scene of strong emotion--a quick display of jealousy when Jason meets one of her flirty coworkers. Other than that, she seems to just float along. I think the ghost has more backbone than she does.

Jason seemed a little more real, but not by much. He’s extremely protective of his privacy, which is one reason he bought and renovated the apartment building in the first place. He’s instantly attracted to Merry, but at first it seems more for her lack of interest in him than anything she says or does. I really disliked his interactions with his bitch of an aunt--he gave his uncle a job as the building’s super, and Dottie seems to think it’s her place to stick her nose into all the tenants’ business. She likes to call the police at the drop of a hat, despite knowing her nephew’s desire for privacy, yet each time he skirts the issue and just forgives her. Both Dottie herself and the way Jason acted toward her really brought down my enjoyment of the book. If she were my aunt, I would have kicked her out after a month.

The rest of the tenants were entertaining. A pair of witches operate a phone psychic line--and a phone sex line. Chad, the resident ghost was a hippie reporter in the 60s who was murdered in his apartment and likes to watch soap operas with the raven shifter who works in the morgue. We can’t forget the sexy werewolf and the vampire who lives in the basement! The supporting cast brought this book up from a bad read to merely forgettable, especially the subplot where a detective comes in to solve Chad’s murder.

The plot seemed to skip around a lot, something that bothers me in most books. The conflict for the first third was the paparazzo and her libelous reporting coming between Jason and Merry. Then it was Jason’s own “deep, dark secret” (his words, not mine!)--he and his family are shape-shifters. And THEN it was Merry’s insecurities, and a touch of family drama. Each plot thread was wrapped up tritely (especially the paparazzo storyline--gag!), with barely any overlap. The shape-shifter mating aspect was poorly done; I’m all for fated mates and life-long mystical bonds, but this mythology was a little ridiculous. And for an author who got her start in the erotic romance genre, I was really unimpressed with the sex scenes.

If it seems I had strong feelings on this book, well, I don’t. It was a pleasant enough read, with issues that didn’t bother me terribly at the time, but came rushing back when I set it down. I doubt I’ll seek out the next two books in the series. I think most of my problems with “Strange Neighbors” come from approaching this as a paranormal romance set in contemporary times, rather than a contemporary romance with paranormal elements. If you’re into chick-lit romances, this might be right up your alley. Unfortunately for me, it’s not up mine.

2/5 stars.
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,373 reviews290 followers
June 1, 2010


Merry wants independence. She is 25 and have been living with her dad and brother all her life. She wants a bit of Sex and the city, and she has found the perfect flat to start her new life in. At once she catches the eye of the landlord, a certain hunky baseball player named Jason Falco. Perhaps she will get to have a bit of fun after all. Jason on the other hand is not the all American guy that he seems to be. He is a shape shifter, and he is looking for that special someone, and Merry seems to be all that and more.


Merry is sweet, it is hard not to like her. Jason is a hunk, and lusting after her. But who said romance was easy? Throw in a paparazzi in search of a story and their fling can turn ugly. That reporter, grrr, did not like her, and that was the only time I thought Merry was too sweet, at the same time, it was the right thing to do. Do not worry she has got claws too.


Jason wants something more, because he needs something more when he is a shifter, romance can be a bit hard, not to mention sex. He can't fall too hard to a girl, because he, he mates for life. Something you have to love in a guy.


Did someone say sex, oh yes, Ashlyn Chase has previously written erotic romances, and trust me, she knows what she is doing, and there is some mind-blowing passion in here. For a sweet contemporary paranormal romance there is bed action too. Fear not.


Then there are the tenants. Oh they are the best. Jason's aunt who calls the cops all the time, such a busy-body. The scary looking guy in the basement who is obviously a vampire. Konrad, who does seem to have some werewolf tendencies, Nathan who surely has something going on too. Chad, your friendly neighbourhood ghost *coughs* or should I say your annoying neighbourhood ghost who wants to keep his bachelor pad and haunts it. Then there are two witches upstairs who seems to be having mind-blowing sex all the time, or? This is not your average sort of building.


I liked the witches, they were fun. I hope to see Nathan find a girl one day, even if he does not want it, and I have a sneaking suspicion who Konrad might fall for. And there is Chad, oh yes annoying Chad, lol, but have to love him too. He wants to find out who killed him and so this book is also a mystery when they try to find his killer.



Now where was I, yes there is romance, hot passion, an aunt trying to snoop around, fun tenants, and some shocking details about certain persons promised. All is not how it seems, but then by reading about the tenants I am sure you guessed that so far.



Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: It looks cute and fun

Reason for reading: From the publisher

Final thoughts: A fun paranormal with romance, and passion promised.
Profile Image for Jadaloves.
126 reviews3 followers
May 1, 2011
I was drawn by the cover of this book and thought that I was in for a great read, but as they say, you should never judge a book by the cover. It took me forever to finish this book because it didn’t really keep my interest. Now I won’t say this book was terrible, but it could have been a lot better than it was. Or maybe my expectations were just too high.

Merry, an adopted girl from Rhode Island decides she’s had enough of small town life and caring for her father and brother, and decides to move to the big city. There she intends on leading a very “Sex in the City” lifestyle with her best friend Roz and stake out her independence from her family. But upon moving into her new building, Merry meets handsome, famous Baseball pitcher Jason Falco and immediately begins a whirlwind romance with him.

Soon Merry find herself surrounded by a whole host of cooky characters and neighbors that have just a little bit more than the usual going on behind closed doors. I think the only thing I really enjoyed about this book was all the Strange Neighbors. The story and plot was just unrealistic to me, even in knowing it was a paranormal, and even trying to suspend disbelief. It was pretty disjointed and incongruent.

There were entirely too many subplots and side stories being told in this book, but I suppose they were there to distract the reader from the fact that the main plot was so boring and unrealistic. The romance between Jason and Merry went entirely too fast. I’ve always been a fan of relationhips that build, a little hemming and hawing, back and forth, and verbal sparring. The dialogue was corny, and it was a bit vulgar at times. There was also way too much inner dialogue. Some thoughts of the characters we just didn’t need to be privy to. It was too much telling in this book and not enough showing. I think a lot of circumstances were too easy and much was taken for granted or assumed.

Despite my gripes about the book, I somehow liked the majority of the characters. Though they were pretty shallow, Chase does somehow make you care for them. Since I already bought the second in this series, I will be reading it and hoping the writing gets better. But the jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll get the third book.

Alright effort from Chase, but she needs to keep working. I could see how the story could be good, but it just didn’t deliver.

Profile Image for Megan Riverina Romantics.
1,115 reviews68 followers
December 13, 2012
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat Rating: 4 out of 5


The Title: The title of this book just says it all for strange neighbors are what Merry gets when she moves into her new apartment.

The Cover: The cover artist for this book did a superb job! The swirls easily convey the whimsy that is contained in this story. I just love the eyes along the right border. If you look closely you can see a witches hat as well as some fangs. Very cool!

The Story: Merry MacKenzie has finally left the nest to live on her own. Too long had she lived with her extremely overprotective dad, taking care of him and her little brother after her mother passed away. It was time for her to be out on her own so she could spread her wings (are you getting the aviary imagery?). She was so pleased with her apartment and even more so with her hottie landlord, star baseball pitcher, Jason Falco. The only thing was, her neighbors were kinda... strange. The building had a residential ghost, two witches, a vampire and shapeshifters. How was it that all of a sudden she found herself surrounded by the supernatural?

Shapeshifters and witches and vampires, oh my! Ashlyn Chase's writing is delightfully witty and I found myself laughing out loud numerous times. I laughed so much that I had members of my family questioning my sanity because they could hear my laughter rooms away!

I have only one complaint about this book and it's this: the POV was constantly shifting. It made my head spin but I can only take a little away for this because I enjoyed the story so much.

This story was light and fun, the sex steamy, and I had a hard time putting it down. The secondary characters were a hoot (especially Gwyneth) and they rounded out the storyline nicely. This apartment building is full of all sorts of possibilities. I can't wait to read more!

Funny line...

“I do declare! I'd rather jump barefoot off a six-foot step ladder into a five-gallon bucket full of porcupines than see anything bad happen to you."
"I don't think that's necessary, but the situation scares me a little”
Profile Image for Kristina.
126 reviews67 followers
May 29, 2010
'Strange Neighbors' was totally fun, witty, and hot! I really enjoyed this one!
Ashlyn Chase created a cast of characters from every walk of "life" if you want to call it that LOL! It was a light hearted and fun paranormal romance that totally sucked me in and kept me wanting more. The main character, Merry, was great. I loved that she was a woman about my age, thrown into this freaky world, and managed to find love in strange places. (ha! get it? Strange places....yeah, I'm a dork!)
Anyway, I also liked the fact that since it was so light-hearted, the two main characters weren't getting it on every other page. Now don't get me wrong...I like it in some books! This one had just the right amount of romance and intimacy; the "getting it on scenes" (as I shall call them) that were in the book were surely hot!
I loved the storyline; I don't want to give to much away on it because it's a classic one with a paranormal twist. I thought the author did an excellent job with it!
To summarize my thoughts: this book was totally enjoyable. I liked the author's writing and hope to see her write more books based on these characters!
Profile Image for Mary Kirkland.
510 reviews20 followers
March 30, 2019
Merry just moved into her new apartment and right away is attacked but a couple of guys come to her rescue. It turns out that the building she moved into not only has a hottie for a landlord but also witches, ghosts, a vampire and a werewolf. But Jason is hiding his own secret from everyone. Jason and Merry find themselves attracted to each other and start dating.

A few things get thrown in their way but they pull through after a few hiccups. I really liked the other residents in the apartment building. It was fun getting to know all of them but it did seem like there was a lot going on in this story. The fact that this seemed more like Chad's story and trying to figure out who killed him more than it was about Jason and Merry's romance was a little irritating for me.

Jason and Merry come across as a bit immature and their personalities just fell a little flat for me. But it did get a bit better because of all the interactions with the neighbors. Some of the other characters are great and I am looking forward to learning more about them. I usually really like this author's books but I didn't really care for Jason and Merry so this book didn't hit all the right spots for me.
Profile Image for Lexie Szalanczy.
20 reviews2 followers
July 10, 2016
Couldn't Finish It

I had to stop a little before halfway because I couldn't take all the ridiculous.

(Spoilers)

It starts out pretty decent. There's insta-lust, but I've read stories where it's handled pretty well. This is not one of those stories, because the heroine is just so godd*amn annoying.

Merry is a nurse who somehow doesn't know the phrase "serious as a heart attack". And if there's one way to sum her up, it would be "crazy! Crazy! I am really crazy!"

She throws a temper tantrum because Jason prevents her from spending thousands she doesn't have during a bidding war on him. When a magazine spread about Jason's "cheating" comes out, Merry is perfectly fine on the phone with her father. And I mean fine--it wasn't even like she was struck with doubt but put on a brave voice for daddy dearest. But in the next scene with Jason, she's pissed and just gives him the cold shoulder AND HAS TO BE FORCED INTO HAVING A CONVERSATION. And there's no reason for Merry's paranoia about cheating--all signs point to happy parents, and she doesn't even mention any past relationships. I can only assume her backseat sex encounters were with men who didn't have to spend time in her company otherwise.

And when Jason's father has a heart attack, Merry's first thought is that he's actually trying to dump her. Yes, I too claim my parents are seriously ill in order to break up with someone. How else would you do it?

And then this psycho decides to track down the paparazzi who published the cheating article. I don't even know how they found her. And I'm no fan of the paparazzi, but if you're going to date a celebrity, you can't track down and threaten every reporter who writes a misleading article. IT IS NOT REALISTIC AND IT JUST SCREAMS "I AM OUT OF MY MIND".

Merry and her friend Roz also go to a club while Jason is away. Which is fine--people still deserve to go out and have fun even in a relationship, so long as trust isn't breached. Except Merry have the impression she was actually looking for someone, but no one measured up to Jason, so oh well. And Roz advises her not to tell Jason about their night out because it would "hurt him". I don't even know what to say to that, so I'm just going to leave it.

I stopped when we find out who Merry's real father is. A vampire. Who happens to to live in the same building she moves into. And also blabs to the paparazzi about her. I can't. I just cannot even.

And Jason is completely driven by sex. Sure, he's better than Merry, but that is a low bar.

And the POV isn't limited to the two main characters. Basically everyone gets a turn on the merry-go-round. And I don't even know why I care about these other characters because they're flat and boring and add nothing to the story. Aunt Dottie--a busybody old (?) aunt who continually makes a fool of herself, and isn't regarded highly by anyone. Chad--a sassy black ghost who makes a nuisance of himself and whose death is somehow important. Morgaine--the long-suffering psychic witch who works a phone-sex line for cash. They're called personalities. Get some.

There are also sex scenes by the way. Not a good or a bad thing, just putting it out there.

So if you have nothing better to do, I challenge you to try and read this. See how far you can get. But everything is so ridiculous and Merry is TSTL and I couldn't take one more second of it.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,016 reviews179 followers
June 3, 2010
Merry MacKenzie to prove to her overprotective father that she is not his little girl anymore. She moves out and into an apartment building. It just so happens that Merry’s land lord is Jason Falco. Jason is a pitcher for the Boston Bullets.

The first time Jason lays eyes on Merry, he is speechless. He asks Merry out on a date and is turned down. No one has ever said no to Jason until now. Jason is impressed by Merry. She does not seem to be interested in Jason for his celebrity status but for him as a man. If Merry and Jason want any time alone…good luck. First there is Jason’s noisy, Aunt Dottie, then there is Chad, a ghost haunting the building, Sly, the vampire who lives in the basement, Konrad, the werewolf and a bunch of other crazy and kooky characters.

Strange Neighbors is a wild and hilarious read. You will want to read this book over and over and over again. Ashlyn Chase scores big. Fans of paranormal will enjoy this book. There were just too many great characters to choose a favorite from Merry’s naive ness to her neighbors, Aunt Dottie getting into everyone’s business, Chad’s sarcastic attitude, and everyone else in between. I had a blast reading this book. It has been a long time since I can say this about a book. Strange Neighbors is a must read.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Nesbit-comer.
690 reviews4 followers
January 12, 2013
I really wanted to like this series. Heck, I bought two of the books and got them signed when I met the author at RT 2012. I sadly just could not get past the bad dialog and somewhat robotic characters.

"In that case, I apologize for my fan-boy brother. It's weird, but even though he has Attention Deficit Disorder, he can remember all kinds of trivia about things that interest him, like sports."

"He behaved himself in front of you. If I don't call him tomorrow, he'll be all over my case and chew me out like I skipped school. I don't usually tell people this right off the bat, but we lost my mom when I was sixteen. She had just stepped out for a carton of milk and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was second degree murder, but the guy got off with manslaughter. Ever since then he's barely let me out of his sight."

People just don't talk like this.... and these are both in the first chapter.
Profile Image for Anna.
497 reviews144 followers
May 28, 2010
Merry has just moved out on her own for the first time. She loves her new townhouse apartment. Her new landlord Jason is very easy on the eyes. Jason himself hopes to snag some alone time with his new tenant. But throw in a vampire, a werewolf, a ghost, two witches and a nosy aunt and craziness is bound to ensue.

I loved the premises of this book. Paranormal creatures as neighbors- talk about never having a dull moment. Strange Neighbors was a light enticing read. Funny, romantic with healthy dose of the paranormal. This story had an entertaining cast of characters. The ending was one of my favorite parts and I don't mean that in a bad way, I just thought Jason and Merry's HEA was really sweet and the perfect ending.
Profile Image for Bridget.
574 reviews129 followers
May 28, 2010
Merry's living situation is exciting to say the least. She moves into a home that is owned by a baseball player names Jason. Merry's got a major crush on her new landlord. She had never heard of him before, but she must admit that she is now a fan of this yummy pitcher. The most intriguing part about Merry's new living space is the Chad, a ghost. Surrounded by vampires and witches is a bit of a new experience for Merry. Who said change had to be bad, especially when it includes a romantic partnership with an unbelievably handsome man?

The romance in this book kept me sweating. I love how the characters interacted with each other and how the plot built up perfectly. If you are into the whole paranormal romance genre, then you need this book.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,805 reviews476 followers
November 17, 2010
A very light PNR that revolves around a famous baseball player in hiding and a young nurse who moves into his apartment building. Humorous at times yet grating at others. Our main protags, Jason and Merry have some HAWT chemistry together but their external and internal dialogs come across as childish and I found myself cringing at some of the things they said. The secondary characters are a blast and keep the story flowing, though I do wish we would have gotten to know Konrad and Sly just a little bit better. Jason's aunt needed a good smack in the head. Really, the things you let family get away with. Sheesh.
The ending felt unfinished but it seems to be geared to continue into her second in the series.
Profile Image for Monica Hills.
796 reviews17 followers
October 30, 2022
2.5- This novel had its moments but there were parts that just felt very disconnected. Plus I really did not care for the main character, Merry. I hated how she blamed things on her PMS. I also felt like this novel didn't know what genre it was supposed to be in. There was a mystery going on with a ghost, but also there was very graphic sex scenes which was fine but it was more like erotic, but then there was also a twist to another character. It just didn't flow at different parts. I will say though that it did live up to its name, Strange Neighbors.
Profile Image for Carmel (Rabid Reads).
706 reviews381 followers
November 26, 2010
I decided to read this book because I was looking for something a little lighter than my previous reads. Higher on the chick-lit and lower on the gore. This novel definitely fits the bill. There are a few paranormal elements in the story but they come across as quirky personality traits as opposed to an alternate reality. Sort of like if a friend of yours has a larger than average nose. Yes it's noticeable but you won't not be their friend because of it. Vampires, shifters, witches and other paranormal beings are portrayed along the same lines. There's something off about them but nothing significant enough to be a deal breaker.

I found the first half of this book very confusing. The story is about a bunch of different supernaturals living in the same apartment building. Chase lost me when she introduced tons of new characters all at once without explaining what type of beings they were. There were hints here and there that I eventually pieced together but it did take me a good chunk of the book. This left me feeling frustrated and a little lost. Especially when it came to the ghost, Chad. The reader meets him within the first couple of chapters. I got that he was a ghost, but what I didn't get was whether everyone else could hear him or not. As the story progressed it became obvious that only a select few of the supernaturals were sensitive to ghosts. But at first, I couldn't help but wonder who this guy was and why he didn't stop talking! Kinda annoying!

As is standard in most chick-lit novels there is quite a bit of R-rated action happening. Which is fine by me! When done right I find that a few steamy chapters really add to the story. Strange Neighbors did not pull it off. After reading a few sex scenes I was left feeling like the author got all of her ideas from Cosmo magazine. Not to mention that she didn't even try to re-phrase them in her own words. It felt a little like plagiarism to me. Throw in some tired clichés and gross/awkward moments and I was left wondering where Chase got her inspiration for these encounters. I sure hope it wasn't from real life!

The book got better at about the 3/4 mark. The characters were coming together and the sex writing got better. The end chapters focus more on the love story between Jason and Merry. Which is kinda sweet if you're able to get passed Jason's crazy desires to be monogamous and to marry his girlfriend. Their courtship is very unconventional and not in a good way. Their relationship comes off as borderline stalker-esque.

It took me almost a full week to read this book, which is highly unusual for me. I just couldn't get into it. The story was weird and the writing style just wasn't for me. I wouldn't categorize this book as paranormal, it's more romance/chick-lit. Strange Neighbors is an easy read that doesn't require too much thought. I haven't decided if I'll try The Werewolf Upstairs when it's released in the new year. This book is an interesting mix but left me feeling like my time could have been better spent elsewhere.
Profile Image for Aymee.
598 reviews18 followers
March 20, 2011
**Four and a Half Stars**

Merry is one of those characters who can either be very endearing and relatable, or such a complete hot mess that you just want to slap. See, she’s never been out on her own, having taken over the running of her family after the death of her mother. While not very worldly, she’s not exactly naïve either, which is refreshing. I loved Merry to no end, I was happy to see that she was not the kind of first-time-in-the-city girl that has no clue whatsoever. Her innocence and lack of experience is charming and a natural part of her allure, instead of making her seem helpless and weak. I think one of the things that helps with this is the fact that her romantic interest, Jason, finds her rural charm just that – charming. In the end, however, she proves herself as an independent and strong woman with a mind of her own. She’s a wonderful balance of fun and sexy, wrapped up in one woman.

Jason is my kind of guy all around. Pro baseball pitcher, hunky, and carrying a secret. Okay, so maybe I’m not all about the man in my life carrying deep, dark secrets, but in my fiction it’s just fine. I was happy to find he wasn’t arrogant in any manner, but a good ol’ boy from Minnesota with his feet firmly on the ground. Having been all around the world, his experience balances out Merry’s inexperience in a good way. They learn from each other and feed off the other’s emotions and actions in a way that real couples do. Together they make a cute and believable couple. And they’re not perfect, either. Another nice touch. She’s not immediately accepting of his dark secret, but they talk things out and make it work, like you would in the real world. That, in my opinion, makes a story that much better.

Strange Neighbors is a fantastic book that will provide something for your every need. The first thing you notice is the author’s wonderful sense of humor. You won’t go for more than a page or two without a giggle of some kind, and most likely a full out laugh. The second thing you notice is that the building they live in? Yeah, it’s peopled with nothing but the oddest of critters – a ghost, shifters of every kind, a couple of witches, and a vampire in the basement. Lastly, you are sucked in and held by the wonderful budding relationship between Jason and Merry. And I don’t mean just the sex – although that by itself is a reason to read this novel, hot, steamy and very satisfying – but the whole ritual of finding and getting to know someone well enough to fall. I love how all the elements of this story work together to build a better and more complete world. I also loved the fact that the shifters in the building aren’t the kind you’d expect, either. All in all, there’s not anything you’ll find to disagree with here.

And now, if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got The Werewolf Upstairs loaded on my Kindle, just waiting for me… (PSSST… it’s $2.36 at Amazon right now, go buy the sequel!)

Profile Image for Harriet.
1 review
August 16, 2013
Forty pages. I ambled through forty pages of this book, and I can't even tell you how I managed to get that far.

description

Every page I read made me want to pull my hair out. I don't even know why this book made me so mad, except that I have no freaking idea how it got published in the first place.



Sure, these are all things I could probably ignore. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To conclude: I have read first time Fanfiction that is better than this book.

Would I ever finish this book? No, not even, not even if it meant having the audiobook for Fifty Shades of Grey on repeat for the rest of my life.
Profile Image for Adriane.
420 reviews14 followers
July 18, 2011
* Disclaimer * I don't really read romance novels, I mean I read one Nora Roberts book, and some of the paranormal novels I read have romance elements or sexy times within the story. So I don't have a whole lot to compare this to thematically.

Now having said that, I was thouroughly unimpressed with this book, the overarching story and outside conflicts to the romance were less than compelling. The main character had ridiculous mood swings which she attributes to PMS, which I hate as an excuse. If I'm PMSing I recognize it and tamp down the crazy, this girl rode it like a roller coaster, not to mention she would be madly in love one second then super stand-offish the next, it was just really frustrating. The male lead was no better, but at least he wasn't crazy and he trusted her more. His aunt Dottie was downright unbearable though. Luckily the heroines friend Roz, Konrad, the witches and Sly made the thing much more readable. In fact the only reason that I'll probably read the next on is that it stars Roz and Konrad, who from the snippet at the end of this book that I read will have more depth and be more fun to read about.

Now again I don't know if this is because it was an "erotic romance" or what but there was a whole lot of sexy-times in this book, and they were pretty mundane. I mean obviously they were sexy cause they were describing sexy time, but if I start laughing at the verbage or take extra seconds out of my reading to figure out what the hell a "mons" is it's noe as good as it could have been. Now I may have been lucky so far and Nora Robers and Laurell K. Hamilton are just better writers and that's why I never laugh at their romance or sexy time, or maybe this writer is good and this book was just her warm-up lap for the series and since I've never read anything else by her I don't know any difference.

I just hope the next book is better than this one or I won't be reading the third. I'm not saying this book is terrible, I just have too much to do to waste my time on mediocrity.
Profile Image for Julie.
535 reviews140 followers
June 10, 2010
I love reading paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels — that’s no secret. The stories are inventive and exciting. But more often than not, they deal with assassins, slayers, wars between species, ect… Sometimes after reading a few of those books, you need to find something light and quirky where the evil adversary is just some crazy aunt or some over-ambitious photographer. You need a funny read full of attractive characters that’ll keep you giggling. “Strange Neighbors” by Ashlyn Chase is such a book.

The story is more contemporary with a paranormal twist. Okay, a lot of paranormal twists, but still… In the same apartment building you find four shape shifters (three birds and one wolf), a vampire, two witches and a ghost. I didn’t really quite understand why the ghost’s plot line was important, but he was very funny. I also didn’t quite get why there was some paparazzi chick there (her plot line also seemed kind of ineffective) but I guess the hero and heroine needed an obstacle other than the ‘obvious’ one. Jason and Merry were lovely, but the real scene stealers were the other tenants — they were just silly! I continuously wanted to smack the aunt, but I think that was the point. The story jumps from one story line to another, but the author’s transitions are written with such ease, you don’t feel annoyed or like you have to read ahead to see what’s going to happen next.

This book was quite enjoyable. Will I read it again? Most likely not. But I really enjoyed it while I was reading it. It was quick and easy and I looked forward to picking up again when I had to put it down. I am curious as to where the tenants of this building will be headed next and I am definitely going to pick up the next book from this series due out February 2011.

3/5 stars
Profile Image for Melindeeloo.
3,029 reviews156 followers
June 28, 2010
2.5 stars - New neighbors - some 'strange', some annoying

Asserting her independence after helping her father to raise her younger brother, Merry's finally moving into her own apartment. Merry's 'new start' in the big city seems to be starting out pretty darn good since Merry has caught the eye of her hunky neighbor/landlord baseball star Jason Falco. But everything is not going to be that easy for Merry, a close call in a mugging, dealing with Jason's fangirls and stalker paparazzis, and an overprotective father who wants her to come 'home', Merry is going to have to work for her happily ever after.

Light, humorous and with a whole lot of steamy stuff, I liked a lot of what author Chase had to offer in Strange Neighbors. Both the leads are flawed but still likeable - Jason's pretty non-confrontational for a jock and Merry has some growing up to do if she wants to be involved with a hot celebrity. Less fun are Jason's nosey Aunt who manages the building and a hippyish ghost, and unfortunately, these two get a good deal of screen time. Despite the fact that the pair's contribution to the story lets us get to know the other neighbors better, I found them irritating and not funny and they dropped my enjoyment of the story by half a star. But what will likely have me coming back for more is the 'strange neighbors' themselves, there's an interesting mix of paranormals inhabiting Merry's building: Witches who run both a psychic hotline and a phone sex business out of their apartment, a vampire living on the sly in the basement, and a mortitian with a secret. This supporting cast has a great deal of potential, so I'll probably take a peek when series continues with The Werewolf Upstairs.
Profile Image for Kelly.
4,788 reviews167 followers
January 10, 2012
I have something to confess. Something dark. Something that stains my soul. I'm not a big fan of chick lit type books. You might be thinking, "Well, duh, Kelly. We've seen the type of books you read and, anyway, this isn't chick lit." Well.... no, this isn't chick lit. It's like paranormal cuteness. You know what I mean? It's funny. I don't always do well with funny. Is that weird? Don't answer that. Anyway. The point I'm trying to make is that this isn't my usual type of book. Yet... Yet, I liked it.

The book itself was a little light on the angst I tend to lean toward (there was some, don't get me wrong, but it didn't hit critical levels with me *sad face*) and I thought some of the things that happened were very convenient but I LIKED THE BOOK. I liked Jason. I like Merry. I liked the various residents of the apartment building. I wasn't so much impressed with the reporter chick, but ... well, whatever. You love some, you hate some, right?

Overall, while this type of book is still a little too light for my usual reading taste, I enjoyed dipping my toes into a different genre. What can I say? I like my books dark. Dark and bloody. Still, enjoyment was had. I'll take that as a win!

-Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal
Profile Image for Linda.
2,944 reviews2 followers
October 15, 2010
Merry McKenzie Always Knew She Was Adopted With Her Dark Latin Looks A Dead Giveaway. When Her Adopted Mom Died She Took Over The Duties Of Cooking And Looking Out For Her Younger Brother, But After Finishing College To Become A Nurse, It Was Time For Her To Have A Place Of Her Own. She Saw An Ad In The Boston Paper And Immediately Rushed To Get Her Apartment And Leave Rhode Island And Her Over Protective Father.

Jason Falco Was Very Private About His Life And As A Pitcher That Signed A Ninety Million Dollar Contract, He Bought A Building In Boston And Let His Aunt And Uncle Managined It. It Was The Perfect Place And To Live In The Penthouse! Normally, He Let Aunt Dottie Do The Rentals But He Was Glad That He Was Available To Help A Hot Looking Woman Move In And Just One Look At Her Told Him She Was "The One". But Would She Accept His Dark Secret?

Ashlyn Chase Spins A Delightful Story Filled With Unusual Tenets, Including Witches, Shifters, A Vampire And A Ghost Name Chad Who Did Not Want His "Pad" Rented And Scared Off All Potential Renters! Strange Neighbors Blends A Healthy Dose Of Sex With Compassion For Lila Crum, An Alcoholic Reporter Who Had It In For Jason To Save Her Job.
Profile Image for Crystal.
545 reviews35 followers
June 8, 2010
Strange Neighbors is a fun, romantic romp that passes an afternoon wonderfully. I was engrossed in this apartment complex and it's inhabitants from the beginning. Merry is just out on her own and she's been thrown into a building with a lot of interesting characters. The most interesting of which is Jason Falco, a great baseball pitcher. The sparks fly between Jason and Merry from the beginning, but with strange happenings and even stranger events going on, it feels like things may never click between them.

I loved this book for the romance and the characters. Both were very entertaining. The plot moves things along well and it never lags so the book is wholly enjoyable. Strange Neighbors was a quick enjoyable read with paranormal elements and I really hope that there are more books that will make this a series because there are many of the characters I want to learn more about plus I would love to see more of Jason and Merry.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0
Profile Image for E.J. Stevens.
Author 52 books1,667 followers
September 6, 2010
What happens when a bunch of hot paranormals end up living in the same apartment building? Loads of hilarity and lots, and lots of sex! Strange Neighbors is a fun romantic comedy with a few paranormal twists. Some of the characters seem a bit shallow, but not every paranormal can be a brooding philosopher. The humorous elements were a nice touch. The phone sex witches in apartment 3B had me laughing out loud. Everyone has to make a living, right? Strange Neighbors is a light, yet steamy, paranormal read perfect for taking to the beach or a lazy trip to the park.

I recommend Strange Neighbors to readers of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and especially to fans of steamy romance with a touch of paranormal. Warning: explicit sex.

** This review originally posted on my blog: www.FromTheShadows.info **
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