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Sunday, July 24, 2016

58) A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell

The Blurb :

Even the most skilled sorceress can’t ward off a lawsuit, and Lily is not at her enchanting best with her hands full as the temporary leader of San Francisco's magical community. So after her potbellied pig Oscar head-butts rival clothier Autumn Jennings, Lily tries to make peace without a costly personal injury case.

But any hope of a quiet resolution is shattered when Autumn turns up dead. As one of the prime suspects, Lily searches for a way to clear her name and discovers a cursed trousseau among Autumn’s recently acquired inventory. Lily must deal with a mysterious dogwalker and spend the night in a haunted house as she delves into the trunk’s treacherous past. She’s got to figure out who wanted to harm Autumn fast, before the curse claims another victim…

My Thoughts :

The Witchcraft Mysteries are an old favourite of mine and I can't believe this is already the eighth installment!  Juliet Blackwell is one of the best Paranormal Cozy Mystery writers and this series, as well as her other, have been keeping me happy for years!  I really look forward to the books and A Toxic Trousseau was one of my favourites so far in the series.

It seems things are heating up in the series and there are a few things that happen in this latest installment that are obviously setting the scene for things to come.  Maybe the next book will tie everything up and see the series coming to an end but I really hope it is just the beginning of the storm to come.  Fans of the series will have a squee moment next the end and right at the end a wow moment.  Also right from the beginning there is a certain mystery regarding a satchel that doesn't get explained completely but offers some interesting twists to the story as a whole.

Dog lovers will be happy with this book because they four legged pooches are everywhere.  There is also some great history tidbits and of course a very exciting mystery, a haunted house and Oscar shenanigans!  Everything that I have come to expect and enjoy from the series and this author with some wonderful characters and a lovely location.

Well worth reading if you like your cozies to have a paranormal twist.  Also worth reading if you just like cozies or witches.  There is something for both here.  Can't wait for the next installment!  It should be very very interesting if all that happened in the last few chapters of a Toxic Trousseau is anything to go by!






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Saturday, July 23, 2016

57) Beauty by Robin McKinley

The Blurb :

When the family business collapses, Beauty and her two sisters are forced to leave the city and begin a new life in the countryside. However, when their father accepts hospitality from the elusive and magical Beast, he is forced to make a terrible promise - to send one daughter to the Beast's castle, with no guarantee that she will be seen again. Beauty accepts the challenge, and there begins an extraordinary story of magic and love that overcomes all boundaries.

My Thoughts :

Robin McKinley has been on my radar for so many years.  I am pretty sure I have a book or two of hers on my shelves somewhere.  Regardless, she has never made it onto my serious to be read pile and it is only because of my book club that she made it there now.

Beauty is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale that everyone knows and many love.  Now I am not even a huge fan of film or TV series remakes so this wasn't exactly a thrilling prospect for me.  I can't understand why writers feel the need to rewrite stories that are already wonderful and famous.  However this was the book club pick and I was very curious about the story.

It turned out that Beauty wasn't a bad read.  It was actually a nice easy one that captured the well known story but also added some nice little additions that didn't ruin the fairytale at all.  I was pleasantly surprised at how the book grabbed me and didn't really let me go until the end.  It was well written and I was very invested in the characters and their lives.

Well worth taking a look at if you like the Beauty and the Beast tale.  It isn't horrid and it doesn't ruin a thing.  Still a love story and full of magic and awe, Beauty is beautiful.





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Friday, July 22, 2016

56) Crowned and Moldering by Kate Carlisle

The Blurb :

When Mac Sullivan—famous thriller writer and Shannon’s new beau—first moved to Lighthouse Cove, California, he bought the historic lighthouse mansion that the town is named after. Mac needs help cleaning up the place, and Shannon is more than happy to get her handywoman hands on the run-down Victorian.

But during demolition, a grisly discovery is made among the debris—the bones of a teenage girl who went missing fifteen years ago. Locals had always assumed Lily Brogan ran away from her difficult life, but it seems her troubles followed her to the grave. If Shannon has any chance of getting her renovation back on track, she’ll need to tackle the cold case. But with new suspects coming out of the woodwork every day, she’ll have to be careful to pry the right secrets and clues from the poor girl’s problematic past…

My Thoughts :

This third installment in the Fixer-Upper Mysteries was another pleasant read.  While the murder mystery plot this time around was a bit of a cold case there was quite a lot going on all over the place to keep things nice and fresh.  A new face appeared and some old stories were told.  It was another lovely visit to Lighthouse Cove.

I really enjoy the concept of this cozy.  The renovation/contractor angle is an interesting one and it isn't too forced.  There are always some nice little bits and pieces mentioned but it isn't too much.  I also really like the characters.  The suspense regarding Shannon's relationships is also keeping me reading.  Actually so much of this series is enjoyable and I can't wait for more.

Lighthouse Cove is a place I would love to visit and Shannon is someone I would love to call a friend.  I am really looking forward to the fourth installment which comes out later this year and I will definitely continue to listen to this series because the narrator does a great job.

Definitely worth reading and one I can recommend listening too.  Also there is a little, tiny paranormal twist.  Don't get your hopes up though!  It is really very very minuscule but it is still there and I like it.






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Thursday, July 21, 2016

55) A Hiss-tory of Magi by Harper Lin

The Blurb :

Cath Greenstone, her cousin Bea, and her hippie aunt Astrid live in Wonder Falls, a small town near the mystical Niagara Falls. They run the Brew-Ha-Ha café, and naturally, they’re witches hiding in plain sight along with their three magical cats, Treacle, Peanut Butter, and Marshmallow.

When Brew-Ha-Ha's baker is burnt to a crisp, along with their beloved café, Aunt Astrid lets out a big family secret: a powerful spell book, a Greenstone heirloom from the Salem days, has been stolen from its secret hiding spot in the café. If it’s fallen into the wrong hands, black magic could destroy not only Wonder Falls but the world.

A secret society… A new detective with a shady past… A once-bullied local returning to town as a multimillionaire.

Who in town could know Cath’s family secret? Cath, Bea, and Astrid must use their witch powers to uncover the deadly truth. Cath communicates with their cats, also magically inclined, and they help uncover more than one secret lurking in wonderful Wonder Falls.

My Thoughts :

This book has been on my radar for a while and on my Kindle waiting for me.  As part of a challenge to read some of those older to be read books on the pile, this book was picked for me to read in the month of July and I managed to be pretty punctual about it!

A Hiss-tory in Magic is the debut book in the Wonder Cats Mysteries and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  There was a great combination of magic, cats and mystery to keep me hooked until the very end and I found myself reading this one really quickly.  Actually it was just one morning of curled up in bed with this one, it was that lovely.

Not a totally new concept, witches, cats and all but this series certainly has some nice little twists here and there to keep it feeling fresh.  Also the lovely characters and cats made this one even more enjoyable to read and I can't wait to read more in the series.

Well worth checking out if you love a good paranormal cozy mystery and also a nice quick read for your Summer reading pile.  I am sure I will be reading the next book in the series very soon!





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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

54) Looking for Mr. Good Witch by Joyce & Jim Lavene

The Blurb :

A sea witch has been leaving bodies in her wake up and down the Carolina coast, baffling authorities who are finding drowning victims with no water in their lungs. The fin-icky female will continue to kill young male witches until she finds her perfect man—the one who survives her mating ritual—so she can live for another hundred years. And now coven hopeful Brian Fuller is about to be ensnared in her net.

Retired witches Molly and Elsie, along with the ghost of Olivia and her daughter Dorothy, need all the help they can get to stop the sea witch. Aided by a selkie and a crème puff–craving mermaid, they’re determined to keep Brian out of her murky clutches. But are they all about to get in over their heads?

My Thoughts :

It was sad to read this second book in the Retired Witches Mysteries and know that both authors have passed away in the last year.  They have written so many amazing cozy mysteries and I haven't even read half of them.  I even thought about not reading this one because I was sure there would be no third installment.  However there is a third part listed for release on Amazon so I decided to read this one asap.

Now I don't remember really liking the first installment and I can't honestly say I loved this second installment.  The content and concept is good but there is some kind of fluency missing that I am used to from this husband and wife writing team.  I often felt like the story jumped/had gaps and I also kept forgetting how old the witches are supposed to be.  It is a good series but this hasn't been one of the best.

The plot this time around was interesting and it kept me reading until the end but the ciffhanger ending made me glad that I checked to see if there was indeed a third installment.  Of course I will be checking out, what is most likely the last installment in this series but I have to say that the Missing Pieces series is much better.  Although I haven't read all there other books yet and may find another favourite.

One thing is for sure, even if this isn't my personal favourite, both writers had a gift and it will be greatly missed.  Make sure you check out there books.  Definitely one of the best cozy mystery writers!





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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

53) Decaffeinated Corpse by Cleo Coyle

The Blurb :

When an old friend of her ex-husband develops the world's first botanically decaffeinated coffee bean and smuggles it into the country, Clare Cosi, manager of Village Blend, believes it's a business opportunity she needs to investigate...at least until the first dead body shows up.

My Thoughts :

Sorry for the radio silence here but it is Summer and I have been away enjoying a little time off.  Hopefully things will get back to normal now that I am home again.

I actually finished listening to this fifth book in the Coffeehouse Mysteries about a week ago but didn't get around to posting about it before my little trip.  I have to admit it is now, a week later, hard to remember exactly what happened in the story but I do remember how annoying this series is.

Clare is so aggravating!  Her know it all attitude, the way she treats her daughter, the constant coffee snobbishness and her bad detective skills all make me want to smack her.  However there is something about this series that keeps me going back for more.  It obviously appeals to many readers because there are sixteen books in the series and it doesn't seem to be over.

The plot this time around was very weak, confusing and also quite boring.  I had no idea what was going on most of the time but I still managed to finish this one and wonder why I had bothered. Though I am sure at some point in the near future you will see a review here for the sixth book because there is something that makes me want to come back for more.  Maybe I am hoping Clare changes?  Maybe that her daughter disowns her?   To see how things go with her detective? or maybe I am just hopeful for a nice big 'fall'.





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Saturday, July 9, 2016

52) The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones

The Blurb :

As a Part-time PI and fulltime grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers?

Those are just a few of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murder, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…

My Thoughts :

Another superb installment in the Charley Davidson series awaits fans in The Curse of Tenth Grave.  It has everything that, anyone following the series, would expect from Darynda's amazing series about Grim Reaper Charley Davidson.  The continuing story is filled with the usually wit and fun while the regular characters show up when they are needed and sometimes when they are not.  The plot in this tenth installment is on par with all the previous books and there isn't a bad word you can actually say about this or any of the installments in this fantastically original series.

If you haven't already had the pleasure of reading this series then get to it as fast as you can.  Charley is funny, crazy and sometimes annoying but she solves cases and looks after the good people.  She even gets involved with cases that don't even pay.  In this case she checks out a children's home where the inhabitants have been mysteriously dying due to a curse.  All the while she tries to solve the mystery surrounding a disappearance that could see an innocent main going to jail.

But it isn't just murder and mystery in Charley's world that makes this series so readable.  There is the supernatural aspect that weaves its way into the story.  Ghosts, gods and lots more are all entwined in the story which gives away a few secrets in each installment.  Despite many questions getting answered there are always more discoveries and twists that keep things going.  Which makes this series even more exciting, addictive and original.

I absolutely love this series and even though I managed to get a review copy of the book I still waited until the Audio version came out.  Why?  Because this is just one of those series that is made even more special and amazing by the wonderful narrator.  If you are looking for an audio, love audios or just want to try one, then I highly recommend this series.  The whole sass and wit that is Charley is captured by the narrator so well.  It makes the story even more enjoyable.

So in conclusion, make sure you check out this series.  Make sure you start from the beginning.  Oh and definitely give the audio version a chance.  Can't wait for more!  Keep them coming!





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