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I told myself I’d only return when hell froze over, and I was going to have to eat those words.


Do not start this book right before going to bed. I made this mistake and spent the night doing everything but sleeping. I ran through the characters in my mind, I played the what-if game, and I even pondered how good Rose’s pimento cheese sandwiches would taste (which led to an search). I kept telling myself – 🛑🛑🛑 – you’ll find out tomorrow, #LetItGo. Morning inevitably arrives, I’m exhausted and I couldn’t care less – Touch of Smoke is a magical Appalachian mystery, a dark and edgy contemporary romance with casual jinni undertones – Karissa Laurel – I humbly bask in your story-weaving💙

Rikki has wanted nothing for years but to hightail it out her small town of Evansville nestled in the Smoky Mountains. So why, after three years, did she go back? Hmm, well, I know of course but I’m not about to engage in Spoiler Sport Country.

*Note – In a world of ‘the series’ this spectacular stand-alone is everything. What you get: characters who feel real, plots that leave you fog blind and book clenching, nail-biting, teary-eyed, and sighing in satisfaction. Although I am gratified with Touch of Smoke as a stand-alone – no one can read this book and fully favor a ‘The End’ (seriously, I would be content with an Evansville novella centered around Rose’s cooking – Laurel knows how to make a mouth water)…

I tried to precog the ending – good luck with that one… save yourself the stress and don’t even try. This is the first book I’ve read by Karissa Laurel and the die is cast, she is a 5-Star author, a definite pleasure to read and I’m thrilled to spread her name in a fiery sky display worthy of a battle jinni💙 If you would like to purchase this title the link is below. If you would like to receive an email when I post new reviews, Subscribe Now!

Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy of Touch of Smoke! I plan on checking out Laurel’s The Norse Chronicles series next! I suggest signing up for her newsletter at (just in case she happens to post Rose’s recipes…).