Spirits Smirits by K.B. Draper: Book Review

Spirits Smirits by KB DraperSpirits Smirits by K.B. Draper is about AJ Mattox, an ex-cop and current demon hunter. She travels the country with her best friend Danny Whitefang, and her new girlfriend, Ranger Ashlyn Parker (former park ranger, truth be told).

The best friend—she’s had since the age of seventeen when she accidentally received Danny’s destined hunter spirit into her own body, thus becoming a total demon-hunting baddass.

The girlfriend—she picked up a few months before when they faced off against the queen of Hell in a little Podunk town in Mississippi, where Ashyln’s ranger station was located.

The Reyna (Queen of Hell) got pregnant via a fallen angel and the resulting kid was predicted to usher in the age of apocalypse. That was why AJ and crew did a snatch and grab on the baby and have been on the run since Mississippi.

Eventually, the months of constant chase and battle become more than even the intrepid crew of demon hunters could handle and their plan to protect the baby, nicknamed Apoc, literally goes to Hell. Unfortunately, AJ and her hunter spirit, Norm, are the only ones who can go to Hell to rescue the little tot. And Hell is definitely not the place for someone with a poor attitude and a smart mouth. The mission seems straight forward enough, but as they always say “the devil is in the details.”

Note: You don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this adventure because a lot of little back history details are sprinkled in throughout the novel. But reading Demons Shemons certainly won’t hurt.

The Characters

The main character of Spirits Smirits, Addison Jo (AJ) Mattox is annoying. As I noticed in the first book, she comes across as two parts Wynonna Earp and one part teenage boy. I found it less endearing in the second book than I did in the first, maybe because there was even more emphasis on AJ than the other characters in Spirits Smirits. But despite (or maybe because of that), AJ tends to grow on you and you find yourself rooting for her in whatever situation she falls into.

As always, the supporting cast is funny and baddass in their own way.

Ashlyn is highly capable, despite not having fancy demon hunter training, she’s also funny and sweet. It’s a nice foil to AJ’s abrasive and oft-times snarky personality.

And Danny is that slightly younger brother that would be anyone’s dream sibling (If they were to actually wish for a younger brother). He’s nerdy, loyal, and has a sense of humor that puts him right up there with AJ and Ashlyn.

The Writing Style

Draper does an excellent job keeping the action fast and the humor flowing. And believe me when I tell you that action and adventure is certainly at the forefront of this novel.

While I don’t think the unsuspecting reader will be left behind, you should definitely hold on for the ride. The first person view point also seems to fit well with the humor style of the book. You really get to be AJ with her smart mouth and inconvenient thoughts. And being in her head you’ll figure out fast enough that AJ has two primary thoughts. Ass-kicking and sex.

The Pros

I actually liked the fast pace and the humor of the book. Sometimes you just need a good action novel to get your heart pumping and to lighten things up. Draper does the action well with scenes I could both visualize and laugh at. (In the appropriate places, of course)

The Cons

I will say that by the second book I found AJ’s humor to be a little grating. But I’d probably find someone like AJ to be a little grating on first meeting so that’s pretty good that Draper pulled me along as well as she did.

I loved the fight scenes (excellently done) but I thought the initial entrance to hell was a little too drawn out. My thoughts were “Just get on with it already,” but the author bounced back nicely and slid me right into the action before too much time could pass.

The Conclusion

Oh man, I don’t usually see a lot of solid action books with those speculative fiction elements that I so love. I needed a pick me up and some fairly mindless entertainment, and the fast pace of Drapers second Demon’s novel certainly delivered. I mean, sometimes I want to watch a rom-com at the theater, and sometimes I want to see a sassy woman kicking ass. Spirits Smirits was definitely of the kick-ass variety. Oh, and funny too. You won’t want to miss them if you like your action with a side of snark.

Excerpt from Spirits Smirits by K.B. Draper

I patted my pant pockets. I looked at Danny. “Keys?” 

“You had them last!” he barked, wide-eyed as he watched my pat-my-pockets routine. “I told you, you should’ve left them on the hook by the backdoor!” Danny’s voice went a little squeaky. “A little organization every once in a while wouldn’t hurt anyo—”

“Ah, guys,” Ashlyn pointed out the windshield at the fog, now twenty yards away. 

I yanked the keys from my front pocket and jammed them into the ignition. 

“You had—” Danny started. I smiled. “The whole time. Now aren’t you glad they’re not hanging by the door?” I didn’t wait for Danny’s answer before I fired Woody to life and slammed him into reverse. Our heads (well, only mine, Ashlyn, and Danny’s, as Apoc was currently abiding by safety regulations and strapped into his kid’s seat) hit the roof as we speed bumped the demon Ashlyn had just taken out at the rear of the vehicle. 

I jerked the wheel hard to the right, whipping Woody’s ass around so we could go headfirst out the driveway. 

We let out a collective sigh a couple of miles down the road when there was no sign of fog, the Demonic Baby Collection Agency (DBCA), or responding law enforcement in our rearview.

“So, fog. That’s a new one,” I offered to lighten the mood. 

“I can’t believe you had the keys the whole time,” Danny replied.  “Really? You really can’t believe I had the keys the whole time? Wow. I thought we were more in sync than that.” I tsked. 

Danny groaned.

“Yeah, and see, I totally knew you were going to do that, so I hate to say it, the failing might come from your side of the bus.” I got a muttered “whatever” in response. 

I checked the rearview. Apoc was bopping his head to an unknown beat and Ashlyn was giving me her well-practiced “you’re ridiculous” headshake. A gesture that gave me an oddly satisfying delight in the soft spots of my heart. I brought my attention back to front and center, glancing down briefly to check the gas gauge. We were dangerously close to E and Woody was a gasoholic. “Need to get gas. How far to the nearest station?”

Danny clicked a few buttons on his phone. “Five miles. I’ll put a call in to Grand when we get there to let him know about all this and that we’re back on the road again.”

“Sounds good,” I replied.

Ashlyn joined me at the gas pump. “You okay?”

I swiped our card, punched the unleaded button, and then removed the nozzle. “Yeah. I’m good.”

“That was a good little drop-off,” Ashlyn said, raising my shirt to see the already healing wound that marked my side. She ran delicate fingertips on the black and blue skin. “Healing,” she confirmed. 

“You good?” I asked, putting the nozzle in Woody’s tank and flicking down the little metal lever so the gas would keep flowing without my assistance.

“Yeah, fine,” she answered. 

I pulled her into my arms and kissed her forehead when she leaned into me. “Tired of this rodeo yet?” 

“You’re not getting rid of me,” Ashlyn replied into my shoulder.

“That’s because of the tongue thing, isn’t it?” 

She leaned back so I could get the full effect of her eye roll. “Orrrr it’s because I want to help save mankind from unknown wrath and destruction.”

“And a little bit of the tongue thing?” I asked, nipping at her bottom lip.

She laughed. “Yes. Fine. You got me. It’s a little bit of the tongue thing.”

“I knew it! I mean, I could tell when you—”

“Okay, okay. Enough. You’re amazing in bed. The end.”

“And out of bed. Oh, and after—”

She kissed me. Probably in an effort to shut me up, but I didn’t care.

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Series

Demons Series

Demons Shemons

Spirits Smirits

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781365585647

K.B. Draper Online

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Note: I received a free review copy of Spirits Smirits by K.B. Draper. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site

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K. Aten

Born and raised in Michigan, Kelly is a latecomer to the writing scene. She works in the automotive industry coding in Visual basic and Excel. Her avid reading and writing provide a nice balance to the daily order of data, allowing her to juggle passion and responsibility. Her writing style is as varied as her reading taste and it shows as she tackles each new genre with glee. But beneath it all, no matter the subject or setting, Kelly carries a core belief that good should triumph. She's not afraid of pain or adversity, but loves a happy ending. She's been pouring words into novels since 2015 and probably won’t run out of things to say any time soon.