The newest release from Jasmine Walt and J.A. Cipriano is amazing. Ghosts and Grudges is book one in the newest reverse harem series The Shaman Queen’s Harem. While set differently than many of other Jasmine Walt books I have read, this is one of her best yet. The book centers on pre-med student and part time restaurant worker/owner Aika. Aika is strong willed and beautiful Japanese American woman, but with a sadness to her that gives her character even more depth. Her mother is dying from cancer and the weight of their world rests on Aika’s shoulders. She attempts to do her best keeping her mother’s restaurant in San Franciso’s Japantown in good working order while her mom is sick. Little does she know that one male diner can change her life forever. While she works, she often looks forward to the visits by Shota, a local chef wanting to buy her mothers hot pot restaurant Shabu Shabu House.
After her run in, Aika begins to notice things she never had before, it seems that if she looks at certain people she seems so much more. In this she runs into Raiden a yoeki (ghost) shaman. Raiden attempts to keep Aika safe and helps her return home only to have Aika’s mother kidnapped by a yokai, or a Japanese monster for a shaman that has been locked away for 2000 years.
Aika finds out that she is in fact a yokai shaman and has the ability to summon the different types of monsters to do her binding.
She groups with Raiden and even Shota (who ends up being Raiden cousin) to go on a mission to retrieve her mother no matter what.
This newest book is well written and seamless between the two writers. While there is a lot of Japanese lore in the book, there is a glossary at the beginning and terms are explained throughout for those that wouldn’t have any knowledge. Aika’s transformation from timid shop girl to strong and understanding of the world she lives in is so well written it makes her a very good heroine. Her tribulations only make her stronger as she fights to find her place as a yokai shaman in this new world for her. Reading her story you don’t want it to end.
I loved all of the Japanese lore and meeting all of the different Yokai and Yoeki and how they each worked with their shamans. Looking forward to the next installment.