Blog Tour – Magick & Mayhem – REVIEW

Large Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents Magick & Mayhem by Sharon Pape, May 1-May 14, 2017 - includes a picture of the author and the cover of the book.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m happy to bring you a spot in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Magick & Mayhem, the first book in the Abracadabra Mystery series by Sharon Pape. It’s a decent start to a new series.

Book Cover: Magick & Mayhem: An Abracadabra Mystery by Sharon Pape - dark aqua background - large black cat with green eyes outlined with a city inside the body with yellow letters for the title.

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Synopsis

Twenty-something Kailyn Wilde has learned to embrace her unpredictable life as a descendant of small-town New Camel’s most magickal family. She just didn’t expect to inherit her mother and grandmother’s centuries-old shop, Abracadabra, so suddenly. The surprises keep coming when Kailyn goes to finalize the estate at the local attorney’s office—and stumbles over the body of her best friend Elise’s husband . . .

As a brash detective casts the blame on Elise, Kailyn summons her deepest powers to find answers and start an investigation of her own. What with running a business, perfecting ancient spells, and keeping up with an uninvited guest of fabled origins, Kailyn has her hands full. But with the help of her uncanny black cat Sashkatu and her muumuu-clad Aunt Tilly, she’s closing in on a killer—who will do anything to make sure she never tests her supernatural skills again!

Review

While this is definitely a decent start to this new series, Magick & Mayhem, almost didn’t make the cut for me. I found it to be very disjointed and confusing at the beginning. However, I enjoyed the second half of the book much more than the first half, which redeemed it a bit.

The characters are definitely interesting. Kailyn’s certainly fun and inquisitive. Aunt Tilly & Merlin add some extra spice to the group. They’re fairly well-rounded characters, though it didn’t really seem like it at first. At first, they simply seemed all over the place and not developed at all. I’m not a fan of the heroine who decides that she must poke her nose in when she really doesn’t have that much of a reason. I can see where Kailyn thinks she has a reason, but honestly, until her friend is actually arrested, it seems pretty flimsy at best.

The descriptions of the settings were okay, but not great. I had a hard time imagining many of the settings, including Kailyn’s shop and house. It would’ve helped to have a little more detail there.

The story line… thankfully it got better as the book went on. The first half of the book, I was very confused by the secondary plot and found that getting in the way of the main plot line. The longer the book went on, however, the better the two plot lines merged and successfully played off of each other. I also did not know who the villain was until it was revealed. I was off on the wrong track completely.

Normally, when I’m reading a new book, I give the book 50-100 pages to reel me in (depending on the length of the book). However, when I’m reading a book for review, I don’t do that for the most part (there has been one exception to that). In this instance, I’m glad I didn’t stop reading because it did get better the longer it went on and by the end of the book I actually found myself enjoying it!

I do recommend this book, mostly because it gives a decent introduction to the characters that we’re sure to see in the future. I do plan to give the series another try when the second book comes out in November. I’m hoping that the writing style of that book will be more like the second half of this one when everything was starting to finally gel together.

*** Thank you to the author and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. ***

About the Author

Author Sharon Pape - Older caucasian woman with auburn hair, wide eyes with no glasses, and a smile wearing a dark grey or black jacket.

I started writing stories as soon as I learned how to put letters together to form words. From that day forward, writing has been a part of my life whether it was my first attempt at a novel in seventh grade or the little plays I wrote for my friends to perform for neighbors and family. After college, when I was busy teaching French and Spanish to high school students, I was also writing poetry — some of it in French.

After several years, I left teaching to be a full-time mom, and when my two children started school, I went back to writing. To my delight I found that the muse was still there, still waiting patiently for me to come around. My first novel, Ghostfire, was published at that time. It went on to be condensed in Redbook magazine (the first paperback original the magazine had ever condensed.) Then came The God Children and The Portal. Redbook also published my first short story, which was subsequently sold to several foreign magazines. With two great kids, a golden retriever and a loving, supportive husband (whom I’d met at the beach when I was fourteen — but that’s a story for another day), I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be in my life. But fate had another plan for me, and it went by the name of “breast cancer.”

Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was that the cancer was discovered at such an early stage, but at the time it was all very overwhelming. Once I was back on my feet, I wanted to help other women who were newly diagnosed, worried and afraid. I became a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and went on to run the program for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. A number of years later, with the help of my surgical oncologist and two other volunteers, I started Lean On Me, a nonprofit organization that provides peer support and information to breast cancer patients. When Lean On Me celebrated its tenth anniversary it no longer required as much of my time, and I once again found myself free to pursue my first love — writing.

Author Links

Webpage – Facebook –  Pinterest – Twitter

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Thanks for joining me today on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Magick & Mayhem! Click on the banner below to go to the main tour page where you can find information about all the stops on the tour!

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Crime & Poetry – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars.

Crime and Poetry is the first book in the Magical Bookshop mystery series by Amanda Flower. It’s a pretty good start to the series.

Crime and Poetry: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower book cover - winding staircase around a tree trunk with cat sitting on the stairs, a front counter with an old-fashioned cash register and books.

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Brief Synopsis

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you…

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good…

line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
© Graphic Garden

Review

This was a very good book and I enjoyed it after I finally got into it.

I had a little trouble getting into it at first because of the supposed location. I’m very familiar with the section of Western New York that this book is set in and it took me a while to figure out what part of the Niagara River they were based on. At first I was confused because so much of that area has the river in a gorge and the communities are several stories above, but there is an area that is similar to what was described and once I figured out that area was where the fictional town is, it was easier for me to get into the actual story. The setting descriptions were great. They were a nice balance of description versus imagination.

I enjoyed the characters in this book. While Violet has a tendency to go looking for trouble (which can be a pet peeve for me), she’s not one of the “too stupid to live” heroines that you sometimes see in cozies. Grandma Daisy is awesome and I absolutely adore her. The characters are rich and strong, complex and easy to identify with. I look forward to seeing how the various characters grow and their relationships change throughout the series.

The story line moved along at a decent pace. There was only one time that I thought it was moving a bit slowly, but that feeling didn’t last long.

All in all, I’d say that this is an excellent start to a new series and I look forward to reading more from this author!

Providence Unveiled – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars

Providence Unveiled book cover - Memory (teenaged girl) with purple hair and black/purple dress holding sword with Will (teenaged boy) in the background

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Synopsis

A wicked plot dating back to the very beginning of Avall is coming to its end, and Memory is a vital part. In order to save her friends, Memory will break all the rules. With all worlds put at risk by her actions, she will have to step up and make the greatest sacrifice to repair Avall and make the world something better than before.

Review

Providence Unveiled by Selina Fenech is the last in the Memory’s Wake Trilogy and it provides a fantastic ending to the whole excellent trilogy.

The characters are just as “real” and believable as they have been from day one. The plot line is action packed, just like the first two books. It kept me riveted from page one all the way through the end. I was a little disappointed when I learned who one of the “true” villains was, but only in the sense that I had really liked the character and was disappointed that they turned out to be so evil.

I’ve enjoyed the whole trilogy and don’t think that the author could have written a better ending to it. Memory, Eloryn, Roen, & Will grow throughout the book and at the end you find that they’ve all come a long way from where they were at the beginning of the first book in the trilogy, Memory’s Wake.

Treat yourself and enjoy!

Memory’s Wake – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Memory's Wake book cover - Memory with black hair that has pink tips, dressed in her broken heart tshirt - Silhouette of a dragon in the background

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Synopsis

Lost in a world full of monstrous fairies, a troubled sixteen year old has to find out who she is and why her memories were stolen before she is found by those who want her dead.

She takes the name “Memory” and knows she has just one goal – to find her way home, wherever that is. But this land is strange. No technology to be seen, and iron is banned, thanks to a pact the humans have with the magical creatures who share their pre-industrial era world. In her t-shirt and torn jeans, Memory knows she’s different, even before she performs impossible magic.

Haunted by her past, chased by a dragon, wanted by the king and stalked by the strange, handsome savage that seems to know her, everyone is after Memory, and she suspects it’s not just for her eye-catching outfit. Her forgotten past holds dangerous secrets that will challenge everything she believes and risk the lives of everyone she loves.

Memory’s Wake contains over 45 illustrations by the author and artist.

Review

Memory’s Wake by Selina Fenech is not only the first book in a trilogy but it’s also Ms. Fenech’s first published book. She is a successful fantasy artist in Australia and now has several other books under her belt, including the rest of Memory’s trilogy.

I was already excited about this book coming out as Ms. Fenech is my favorite fantasy artist and I had learned about it through her newsletter. I was not disappointed at all! This is a wonderful debut novel for teens and young adults.

The book starts out on a high energy adventure and it never really slows down. The world that has been created in this trilogy is full of magic and wonder and yet is still believable. The characters are refreshingly real. They’re not perfect and yet they’re not completely bad either. Memory, Eloryn, & Roen are teens and behave as teens have for centuries. They’re thrust into a situation in which they’ve never been in before and they don’t know how to handle it. On top of the fact that they’re still learning who they are and what their purpose in life is. They don’t make the right decisions all the time. They get angry with one another and wish they could be somewhere else, but in the end, it works out.

The villains are just as realistic as the main characters and can be frightening and yet still very believable. We can see how the villain became the man he is.  Then, there are the marvelous illustrations. They really add to the story line, both the full-page illustrations and the smaller, more whimsical doodles that precede each chapter.

I look forward to seeing what happens to all of these characters in the next two installments of the trilogy.

Reviewers Note: This was written in 2011 when Memory’s Wake was first published. Since then the other two books in the trilogy, Hope’s Reign and Providence Unveiled have been released and are just as great.

Some Like it Witchy – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Some Like it Witchy by Heather Blake book cover - Yellow background for text areas - teal house in background of cover with Darcy (young adult woman with black hair, wearing a tank top & jeans, with a small dog

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Synopsis

The Enchanted Village is abuzz when the old Tavistock house finally goes up for sale. Darcy’s friend Curecrafter Cherise Goodwin is hoping she will have the winning bid on the home, but Darcy can’t shake the feeling that something bad is about to happen—and her magical instincts are usually right.

Sure enough, while Darcy and Cherise are looking at the property, they discover real estate agent Raina Gallagher stone-cold dead on the floor. Clutched in her hand is a gemstone amulet and, on the wall above her, a large red A. While Raina had no shortage of enemies, there’s also a dark legend about the house itself. To track down the killer, Darcy must unlock the secrets of both the deceased and the estate—and she’ll need to act fast, because revenge is a deal that never closes.…

Review

Some Like it Witchy by Heather Blake is the fifth book in the Wishcraft series and I absolutely loved it. For those not familiar with the series, it’s a cozy mystery series set in a neighborhood in Salem, Massachusetts called The Enchanted Village. Most of the folks who live and work there are non-crafters, but the crafters live there and utilize their crafts (different areas of magical knowledge) to earn their living.

I was riveted to the book the whole time and almost finished it in one sitting. In this series, I usually have some idea of who the villain is, but I’m never 100% sure until it’s revealed at the end. In this particular installment, I had no inkling of who the villain was until the end. The twists and turns in the plot are enough to keep anyone guessing!

Our heroine has been away from the village for most of her life and I like the way Ms. Blake has us learning about the customs/practices right along with Darcy. In every book, we learn a little more about it. This book gives us more clues as to who the Elder might be, but it’s not completely revealed to us.

The supporting characters in this series add so much to the story line and enrich the tales greatly. In this one, we see Mrs. P. in her new role in the series.  I highly recommend the whole series, but this one was absolutely wonderful.  Of course, the sad part is waiting for the next installment in the series.