Dixon and Yuri are settling into life together after the Precious Greetings disaster. Things are going well between them, but Dixon is troubled by the fact that his uncle Fonzo is still missing. When Dixon’s cousin gets a mysterious postcard that appears to be from Fonzo, Dixon and Yuri decide to do some digging to see if by chance Fonzo is still in the town depicted on the postcard.
It turns out the place is called Taco Town, and when Yuri and Dixon arrive, there is no sign of Fonzo, but things are definitely a mess. It is clear some sort of magical practitioner has been there as the kitschy tourist town has definitely seen some tampering. It is not clear if the magic was attempting to do good or cause harm, but either way, things are definitely awry. Now Dixon and Yuri must do their best to put Taco Town to rights, and hope it leads them one step closer to the mystery of what has happened to Fonzo.
Trouble in Taco Town is a cute novella that reunites us with Yuri and Dixon from Jordan Castillo Price’s ABCs of Spellcraft series. The first story, Quill Me Now, was part of a multi-author Valentine’s Day collection, and I found it quite charming, so I was happy to hear that the author was using it as a launching point for the series. We learned in that first book that Dixon’s uncle Fonzo is missing, and while Yuri understandably has his doubts about Fonzo after the events of the first book, Dixon is still desperate to find him. This story takes Yuri and Dixon off to a small, novelty town where they hope to find Fonzo, but end up finding a crazy mess that they must untangle. As with the first story, there is a lot of humor here and things are presented with a lot of lightness. There is a bit of an absurdity, but it is grounded by the nice world building, entertaining characters, and the well done story.
I appreciated that in this book we get more time in Yuri’s POV, as that was something I felt was missing from the first story. We didn’t quite get to know him as well as Dixon, but that balances out well here. These are guys with two very different personalities, but I really enjoy them together. Yuri is much more hardened by his past and not quick to trust. His instinct is mostly to mind his own business and avoid others. But Dixon is all sunshine and light, eager to jump in and help out, always seeing the bright side of things. I like the way they each bring something out in each other; for Yuri it is a bit more joy in life, and for Dixon a little more caution and stability.
I do wish we got more of the magical world here. While there is clearly magic happening in Taco Town, I really enjoyed the ins and outs of spell crafting that the first story really delves into, and I wish we got more of it in this book. I think that is a high point of the series for me.
The next book in the series, Something Stinks at the Spa, has just released and the guys are on the road again. I am really looking forward to more of their adventures.
All That Glitters is a free short that is set between Quill Me Now and Taco Town. You can download it by following the instructions provided in either of those books.
In this story, Yuri and Dixon are now a couple and striking out in their own spell crafting business. The two men are headed over to Dixon’s parents’ house for dinner, and we see Yuri’s uncertainty about meeting Dixon’s family. They are much warmer and more loving than his own family and Yuri knows how important they are to Dixon. At first, Dixon’s parents are a little cool towards Yuri, but it doesn’t take long for him to show them his true self, as well as how much he cares for Dixon. This one is sweet and fun and has a similar playful and light tone as the main books. I read this one before Taco Town and it was a nice way to jump back into this world and get set up for the next book.