Book Review: Grilled Cheese and Goblins: Adventures of a Supernatural Food Inspector by Nicole Kimberling

Grilled Cheese and Goblins: Adventures of a Supernatural Food Inspector

Author: Nicole Kimberling
Publisher: Blind Eye Books (October 9, 2018)
Paperback, 317 pages
Goodreads     Amazon

Summary
Vampire Hunter. Leprechaun Fighter. Food Inspector. Keith Curry has his work cut out for him. NATO’s Irregulars Affairs Division is a secret organization operating in thousands of cities around the globe. Its agents police relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world, protecting citizens from both mundane and otherworldly dangers. Former chef turned NIAD food inspector, Special Agent Keith Curry found out about magic the hard way and is now determined to keep dinner safe for everybody. Includes the novellas Cherries Worth Getting, Magically Delicious and the never-before-published Bring Out Your Best plus bonus shorts and more!

Rating: 4 stars

Review
OK, first off, this is not one continuous story, which I’d have known if I’d read the blurb. Instead it’s three shortish novellas with a few sort of bonus chapters that make some connections between the novellas thrown in. It’s not what I was expecting, so I was thrown for a loop when what I thought of as the “book” ended at about the 30% mark (about 100 pages) and was followed by a sort of … epilogue? bonus chapter? 

So I did some digging and what this book actually is is a compilation of two existing novellas, Cherries Worth Getting and Magically Delicious, interspersed with some little one-shot slice-of-life bonus chapter like short stories of Keith and Gunther’s life, as well as a brand new novella, Bring Out Your Best.


Full contents:

  • Cherries With Getting (mystery/detective novella) 
  • Cookie Jamboree (one chapter holiday slice-of-life short story)
  • The Little Golden Book of Goblin Stories (one chapter slice-of-life short story)
  • Magically Delicious (mystery/detective novella) 
  • The Most Important Meal of the Day (one chapter slice-of-life short story)
  • Bring Out Your Best (mystery/detective novella)


I don’t really care much for short stories, so I almost quit reading when I got to the second little slice-of-life short story after the first main novella. I’m glad I kept reading, because the other longer novellas are very good. 

Grilled Cheese and Goblins is a great Urban Fantasy detective series with a little side of M/M romance, though the focus on romance tends to show up more in the short stories. I love Kimberling’s world building and how her magical world exists alongside the real world we live in every day. Keith has some major character development throughout the book (despite it not being one continuous novel!) as his relationship with Gunther progresses, and I love how much his attitudes about the extra-human community change – and how his eyes are opened so much to how they are treated (or mistreated) once he has some skin in the game with his boyfriend being trans-goblin. So yes, this is a fun Urban Fantasy read, but you can also draw your own comparisons to how people are truly being treated IRL because of race, sexual orientation, gender, ability… The final novella especially felt really politically charged.

I can’t wait to read more about Keith Curry and his investigations, and Grilled Cheese and Goblins made me want to give me detective novels a try (normally not something in my preferred list of genres!)

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