I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
I'm pretty sure I bought this one because it had some good reviews, I'd heard good things about Riptide Publishing, and I liked the cover.
Wyatt and Ash got along almost instantly, which led to them falling in bed together only hours after meeting each other, something I tend not to be fond of in romantic storylines. On the one hand, I liked that Wyatt promptly messed it all up. It meant that their relationship didn't turn smooth and boring – Wyatt had to work at fixing things between them, and a simple apology wasn't enough. On the other hand, it made for occasionally uncomfortable reading, and I wasn't entirely convinced by Ash's later forgiveness. I thought the two of them should have talked things over more. Still, I enjoyed their mutual love of history, and they made a cute enough mismatched couple. Wyatt, the blushing academic, and Ash, the charismatic showman with tongue rings he switched out to match his mood and/or clothes. I had no clue so many different kinds of tongue rings existed.
Noah and Caleb made an even better couple, in my opinion. They had a few very nice moments that made me wish they had their own book. Sadly, one of the areas where The Gravedigger's Brawl failed a little was in characterization. I barely felt like I got to know Ash and Wyatt, much less Noah and Caleb. It was hard to remember that Delilah and Ryan even existed. The fun banter mostly made it easy for me overlook this, though.
As far as the scary stuff goes, I'll just start by saying I'm a horror lightweight. Some of the spooky bits worked on me and some did not. I tensed up whenever Ash, Wyatt, or the others heard strange sounds in the dark or felt that there was something behind them. The dripping from the ceiling was a nice touch. However, the ghost itself didn't really scare me for some reason, and the attempts to inject doubts about whether Ash had really seen the ghost didn't throw me at all. I think part of the problem was that I like spooky, dread-inspiring atmosphere, and this book never sustained that feeling for long. I actually found myself wishing that the story had been scarier than it was.
All in all, I really liked Roux's “voice” and Ash and Wyatt were a reasonably interesting couple. It was also kind of refreshing that there was absolutely no gay-related angst - no homophobic board members making things hard for Wyatt just because he was gay, no homophobic museum goers. However, the horror aspects could have been better, especially since they were more the focus of the book than the relationships were.
(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)