Book Review: Beast or Famine (The Circus of Unusual Creatures #4)


Hello Acrobats, Bearded Ladies, and Firebreathers,

How’s it going? I’m impatiently waiting for the true start of fall and Halloween season, and in the meantime I’m finding it hard to focus on schoolwork. I just wanna roll around in some leaf piles, man!

Anywho, while I wait for sweater weather, I’ve been reading a bunch too.

This time I read Beast or Famine (The Circus of Unusual Creatures #4) by Tammie Painter

Wow, two ARC reviews in a row! I’m a huge fan of Tammie Painter, and this is also the last read before I kick off my Halloween read bingathon that will probably last at least until mid November. I’ve loved each book in this series so far, but can the author keep up the awesomely hilarious hijinx? Let’s find out. On to the review!

Series Review Links

Book Review: Hoard It All Before (The Circus of Unusual Creatures #1)

Book Review: Tipping the Scales (The Circus of Unusual Creatures #2)

Book Review: Fangs a Million (The Circus of Unusual Creatures #3)


A seaside eating contest.
A cheating, song-stealing, and all-around-no-good ex.
And a chain-smoking unicorn doling out dating advice.
What could possibly go wrong?

The Circus of Unusual Creatures has been invited to perform as the feature act at the Seaside Family Fun Fair’s annual eating contest.

Right from the start, trouble is brewing. Trouble that, to everyone’s surprise, has (almost) nothing to do with Fergus now referring to himself as The Love Guru.

Besides foul moods over the weather, the working conditions, and sand wedging itself, well, everywhere, tempers really flare when Molly’s ex-husband, Albert, shows up for the competition.

Albert has a bad track record. He’s cheated in a previous eating contest, he’s stolen Molly’s music, and he’s got an ogre-sized secret that could destroy the fun fair.

So, when the competition turns deadly, Duncan — dragon and amateur sleuth — has a long list of people who wouldn’t mind sending Albert six feet under. Problem is, two of his friends are the most likely suspects.

Matters only get worse when Duncan discovers Zin has agreed to a partnership that reeks more than a rotting sack of fish heads.

Plus, Pepper’s been so busy prepping food for the contest, she’s failed to keep up with Duncan’s omelet needs.

Seriously, no dragon should have to sleuth in these conditions.

Can Duncan find the killer before they strike again? Will Zin lose his circus to this partnership? What relationship disasters will Fergus cause? And what is up with those ogres?

Find out in Beast or Famine, Book 4 of The Circus of Unusual Creatures Mystery series.

~ ~ ~

Set in a 1930s that’s just a tad different than what you’re used to, The Circus of Unusual Creatures is a delightfully humorous cozy mystery series that features a detecting dragon, an aura-spotting centaur, a chain-smoking unicorn, and plenty of other quirky characters getting into all kinds of trouble as they stumble their way through clues, crimes, and perfectly cooked omelets.

If you like fantastical mysteries that mix in laughs with murderous mayhem and mythical beasts, you’ll love, not only this silly story, but also the first three books in the series: Hoard It All Before, Tipping the Scales, and Fangs a Million.

Note: While this cozy mystery is mostly clean, it does have a lusty, chain-smoking unicorn who makes more than a few naughty innuendos, a dragon who drinks, a tiny bit of mild swearing, and (obviously) there’s a murder or two along the way.



***Brief disclosure***

I am an Amazon affiliate and earn a tiny commission for purchases made through the Amazon links in this post at no cost to you. It’s a great way to help me keep things running on my blog if you’re already intrigued enough to make a purchase. 


The Review

Talk about a daring dragony tale of circus-sized proportions!

Like the other books in this series, I had a ton of fun with this one.

Duncan and the rest of Zin’s traveling circus have the pleasure of performing alongside the Seaside Family Fun Fair’s annual eating contest. Well, maybe pleasure isn’t the best word if you consider the poor state of the fair. Regardless of the shabby surroundings, the eating contest starts off well enough until someone’s life is threatened by a mysterious case of poisoning. With no time to lose, Duncan and friends put on their detective hats to catch the elusive poisoner.

If you’re familiar with this series, then you’re gonna love this one. I loved the lighthearted wit that Painter showcases throughout the novel. Who knew macabre and whimsy could go hand in hand so well?

I also enjoyed all the food references. A zucchini and mozzarella omelet sounds too good to pass up, that or one of Pepper’s chocolate filled croissants … Mmm… Oh right, the review!

Duncan was silly as always, but we get to see some long-distance interactions between him and his lovely dragon girlfriend. It gave some nice growth to him and we get to see a slightly softer side to him. I hope they’ll get to interact more in the next book!

This world keeps getting bigger, and I love all the developments we got through this plot. New creatures and variations of ones we’ve seen before kept things fresh, and with a poisoner lurking around the chapters flowed very nicely.

If you love dragons, mischief, and a little bit of mayhem, you can’t go wrong with this one!


That’s A Wrap!

Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!

Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!

Have a great day!


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