Tag Archives: witchy chicks

Home for a Spell by Madelyn Alt

I finished Madelyn Alt’s latest in the Bewitching Mystery series, Home for a Spell, this weekend, and I have to say: I was disappointed.

Product Description: As the newest witch in Indiana, Maggie O’Neill already has plenty to deal with. So being hobbled by a broken leg doesn’t help. Neither does the fact that her best friend and upstairs neighbor is getting ready to tie the knot with her own boyfriend and move away. This leads Maggie to wonder if it isn’t time to find herself a new pad.

But when she finds a place, Maggie’s dream of new digs turns into a nightmare: the apartment manager is found dead before she can even sign the lease. And Maggie finds herself not only searching for a new home- but for a frightfully clever killer.

This book has no paranormal elements, despite the series title, book title, and description of Maggie as the newest witch. And while certainly there are allusions to supernatural happenings and forces, and the pretense of a home-finding spell, the paranormal elements of the previous novels in the series are left out of this one completely. Add that missing element to a slow, boring mystery, and this book doesn’t cut it for me. And, I love the previous ones in the series. My disappointment is great, and I feel badly just writing this review. I hope that Alt pulls out a winner next time or I am afraid this series will die. Maggie just wasn’t interesting this time around.

Happy Reading (of something else)!


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Vacation & The Witchy Chicks

This writer is taking a short vacation from blogging. Regular posts will resume on June 30. In the meantime, I am going to recommend you visit one of my favorite author blogs: The Witchy Chicks. I have reviewed several books by these women here on this blog, so they will feel familiar to you. And, if you want to read something by them, I suggest you start with their Round Robin stories. Each year, the authors tell a story Round Robin start to finish. This year’s, A Faerie Story, begins here.

Happy Reading!

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One Hex of a Wedding by Yasmine Galenorn

I read the last (book 5) of the Chintz ‘n China cozy mystery series by Yasmine Galenorn, One Hex of a Wedding, last weekend in a reading marathon while I was trying to avoid other commitments. 🙂 This finale to the series focuses, as the title might suggest, on everything that could and does go wrong leading up to Emerald and Joe’s wedding.

If you have read any of this series, you know that Emerald owns a tea and china shop, but most of the books focus on her relationships with her friends and family. This one is no different. The product description reads, “Wedding bells turn to sour notes for Emerald O’Brien. Her fiance is wounded by gunfire, her ex-husband becomes the prime suspect, and her maid of honor is being stalked. Now it’s up to Emerald to divine if the incidents are related. Includes a charm recipe.”

Emerald is off of work to plan and pull off her wedding to Joe, her younger fiance. During this short time period, Em’s ex-husband shows up and ruins her engagement party, the groom-to-be gets shot, her best friend is being stalked, her intended wedding gown is ruined, and she receives a hexed necklace to wear at her wedding. There is not much more that could go wrong.

Since I have mentioned these things in my earlier blogs about books in this series, I will point out that again there is no tarot in a book about a tarot reader, and there is little of the shop (the Chintz ‘n China from the series title). This book, actually, could be one in a coffee series as much time as Emerald spends stopping to get and or drinking some coffee combo drink or another. There was also a bit less sex / sexual innuendo this time around, but the “f” word was used very often, which may put off some readers of cozies. However, it was enjoyable to read about daughter Miranda’s first love and the family dynamics of Emerald’s birth family since we have seen so little of them previously. I missed Harlow’s baby and the neighbors who played prominent roles in previous books, though.

Nonetheless, Emerald weathers the storm, and solves the mystery (who is the stalker?), and gets married. The marriage is of course a fabulous way to end the series.

I enjoyed these characters, and I think I will miss them! To read another review of this series finale, visit Kate Austin (one of the witchychicks). Happy Reading.

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Yasmine Galenorn’s Harvest of Bones

Book 4 in the Chintz ‘n China cozy mystery series is A Harvest of Bones. I have been reading this series as part of the Cozy Mystery Challenge sponsored by Kris Meyer at her Not Enough Books blog. Like the first and third of the series, this book has a few characteristics that cozy readers might not expect, a sex scene and some language, but I think the author does it on purpose. I’m totally guessing, but I’d imagine from what I have read about her that Galenorn doesn’t want to be classified or have her books classified, so she purposely includes just enough of the unexpected to defy exact categorization. I may be projecting, though. 🙂

The product description reads, Tea shop owner and psychic Emerald O’Brien has stumbled onto the ruins of a 50-year-old house rife with supernatural bounty, including a ghost and whispering plants. Now it’s up to Em and her friends to delve into the past and lay the secrets of the dead to rest.

Since I have talked about it in my other posts about this series, I will start with the fact that there is absolutely no tarot in this book at all. With the description above, it certainly doesn’t need to be, but earlier books were marketed with Emerald being a tarot reader (as opposed to psychic). So, again, I missed it. In addition, Emerald was on vacation in this book so her shop, the Chintz ‘n China part, was again not really much of the story, though Em did stop by and check on it every once in a while. And, she had several conversations with an employee about her (ex)boyfriend, though that part of the story wasn’t resolved. And, Harlow’s new baby was conveniently absent.

Having said that, though, the mystery of this book was all-encompassing, and the characters were engaging. The mystery surrounded a ghost, her bones, and her cat along with her aged and mentally unstable lover and his twin sister, a society matron. The running social commentary about class status was interesting, and the connection to such ideas was made relevant at the end of the book in a clever way. We weren’t left thinking that social class was an issue of the past and that time had changed society’s views. We saw a contemporary example as a character made a real connection to her life.

Much of the side plot of this novel, though very much connected to the main mystery, was surrounding a missing pet, momma cat Samantha. A note at the beginning of the novel suggests that Galenorn had lost a pet for a period of two weeks and experienced the emotions and the tribulations of her hero in trying to find that pet. The book ends with a “Charm to Call a Lost Pet Home” and some practical advice for doing so.

I missed some of the characters from the earlier books, specifically the feisty neighbors, but I did appreciate seeing White Deer again. I do look forward to the last book in the series One Hex of a Wedding with a bit of sadness. I am glad to have reached it so I can see the story, but I am sad to see the series end.

Happy Reading!

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Murder Under a Mystic Moon by Yasmine Galenorn

The third in Galenorn’s Chintz ‘n China cozy mystery series is Murder Under a Mystic Moon. The product description reads: After psychic medium Emerald O’Brien literally stumbles across the body of her friend’s best buddy, the police blame the death on a cougar attack. But Emerald senses something else wandering the forest–a killer of a more human kind. The back cover reads:

With her teenaged daughter’s birthday on the horizon and the town’s autumn festival in full swing, Emerald has her hands full with party preparations and teashop specials. But a request from her friend Jimbo has her using her abilities to look into the disappearance of his friend. In the woods surrounding the Klickavail Valley enclave, Emerald senses a strange energy manifesting itself-before literally stumbling across the body of Jimbo’s friend. While the police are willing to blame the death on a cougar attack, Emerald knows there’s something else wandering the forest-something that resembles the Klakatat monster of legend, but may actually be a monster of a more human kind.

I have enjoyed reading this series (which I have bought and downloaded from the Sony eReader Bookstore), and this book was not a disappointment. The characters continue to develop, relationships continue to grow, and murders continue to be solved. And, so far, it’s not boring. This book does lack some of the suspense of the first two, but it is replaced with an ethereal focus on the mythical (or not) creatures of the Earth. That focus, and its conclusion, is more mystical and appealing in many ways. It allows the reader to contemplate the land and our connections to it in unique ways.

Like the first in this series, the book does include a sex scene that is kind of unexpected for a “cozy,” but it was not very graphic or very long, so I hope that won’t keep you from reading it. Also, like the others in the series, the shop (the chintz and china) was really an after thought. And, although used a bit more in this book than the previous two, the tarot was still not very present. Emerald did consult the cards at key times in this book, though, which made the tarot more important to her (and thus more important to the reader).

There were several things left hanging / unexplained in this book (which is, I assume, because it was planning for the next installment), like why did a customer give Em a crystal ball and what destroyed Jimbo’s carrots? They weren’t major plot details, though, so certainly I am not anxiously awaiting the answers.

The book ends with a “recipe” (a charm) for “Mystic Moon Dreaming Pillows” which sounds, well, dreamy! I wish I add all of the ingredients. I could use a good night’s sleep.

Happy Reading & Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Candace Havens’s Bronwyn the Witch Series

Another witchy chick, Candace Havens has a trilogy about Bronwyn the Witch that I have recently finished. These three books focus on Bronwyn, one of the most powerful witches in the world, and her romances and exploits as the personal bodyguard of the British Prime Minister, a Sheik, and a Rockstar. I downloaded all three books from the Sony eReader Bookstore.

Charmed & Dangerous (from the author’s website)
When Bronwyn turned twenty she took the oath to protect, and for the last five years she’s kept that promise, working as a kind of one-witch secret service to the British Prime Minister. Her arsenal includes a combination of potions, spells, explosions, mind-reading tricks, and general butt-kicking skills. But Bronwyn has a soft side, too-especially when it comes to Dr. Sam, the favorite physician of her new hometown, Sweet, Texas. He’s smart, funny, adorable, everything she could want in a man. Except he’s also a warlock-a big no-no in Bronwyn’s book of dating. Being a witch is definitely getting in the way of her sex life. If zapping evil jerks is easy, why is finding a boyfriend so hard?

Charmed & Ready (from the author’s website)
After spending most of her life single-practically an occupational hazard for a witch-Bronwyn’s finally found a sexy warlock to love. But it’s going to take more than a few love spells to keep him from getting jealous about her latest gig-protecting a rock star named Zane from the creepy Goth guys in cloaks who keep showing up at his concerts and zapping his mojo. Bronwyn would like nothing better than to blow them up in an inferno of Love That Red smoke, but they’re proving elusive. And in the meantime-what girl wouldn’t want to hang with the hottest man in music?

Charmed & Deadly (from  the author’s website) 
Bronwyn is used to making enemies-when you dedicate your life to ridding the world of evil magic dudes and dudettes, it can happen. So when she first realizes that an attempted hit on the Prime Minister was really for her, it’s just “same spell, different day.” But then something about this hex reminds Bronwyn an awful lot of an ex-Jason Gladstone, who was her college sweetheart until he tied her up and tried to drain her of her powers. Talk about a date from hell.

These books were quick, fun, easy reads. They are clearly inspired by Buffy and / or Charmed, so if you liked either, you’d enjoy these. I wished Bronwyn would not have been near death or recovering from near death experiences quite so often, but otherwise, I have no complaints. The format of the books in diary / journal form with a quirky count at the beginning of each entry (Example: Witches with really angry boyfriends: 1, Spells: 2, Potions: 3) provides entertaining previews. The hero is snarky and empowered. The love interests are hot. The settings are exotic. The magic is fun, and the ass-kicking is awesome. What more could a girl ask for?

Happy Reading!

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Yasmine Galenorn’s Legend of the Jade Dragon

The second in the Chintz ‘n China Series, Legend of the Jade Dragon, is a fun cozy mystery read with a paranormal twist. 

Back Cover:
Delicious Blends of Tea aren’t the only draw at the Chintz ‘n China Tea Room–Emerald O’Brien, owner and medium, also offers her customers a tarot reading. But Emerald, a single mother of two, never saw herself as a sleuth–which proves that even seers make mistakes.

Legend of the Jade Dragon

Tarot cards never lie. So when they predict chaos and bad luck for her last client of the day, Emerald gets more than a little worried. For her trouble, he leaves Em a charming jade statue of a dragon–and dies in a hit-and-run accident outside of her shop. When other terrible things begin to plague Em and her family, the only explanation is the jade dragon. To thwart its evil spell, she’ll have to follow a trail of heartache all the way back to China’s Ming dynasty–and its ancient mysteries. . .

My thoughts . . . I liked this second in the series even more than the first! There was less “back story” for us to get to know the characters so the action moved much quicker. Again, though, like the first book, there was little tarot; in fact, the only tarot in this book was in the opening scene. There was also little tea, though that was imperative to the story line this time around. There was some new magic in that Emerald spends much of the story trying to figure out how to break a Chinese curse. The history / research was interesting.

I liked the characters this time around. A character from the first book that I didn’t like much was absent from much of this one. Instead, we got to explore several characters in greater detail (the neighbor Horvald, for instance) and a new character, biker Jimbo who turns out much differently than anticipated. I like the continuing development of the children’s characters, as well–at least Miranda. Now that I think about it, we don’t see Kip develop much, and we see nothing of his magical abilities in this book despite their prominent role in book one.

I do think Emerald is a bit melodramatic, so when she is accused of such by her best friend, I felt for the friend. I think that the criticism was dead on, so I hope that it develops in the next book (some attention to her friend’s needs, maybe). However, who knows how I would react if my family was under a curse, and I was in a race against time to break that curse and save my family from the dire consequences. I’d probably be fairly dramatic myself. No, I definitely would. I am anyway!

Like book one in the series, this book also has nice twists and turns so that the mystery(ies) are not too easily solvable. I don’t spend anytime thinking to myself “Duh! Why hasn’t she figured it out?” And, there is a neat charm at the end to cleanse your spaces.

Again, I got this book at the Sony eReader library. I read it for the Cozy Mystery Challenge, and I will read the next book in the series.

Happy Reading.

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