BLOG TOUR – Black Arts, Tarts, and Gypsy Carts – REVIEW

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4.5 out of 5 stars.

Welcome! Today, I’m hosting another blog tour from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. This time it’s for the book Black Arts, Tarts, & Gypsy Carts, the 2nd book in the Spells & Caramels series by Erin Johnson.  I absolutely love these books!

BLACK ARTS TARTS AND GYPSY CARTS

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Synopsis

With the Summer Sea Carnival visiting the enchanted island of Bijou Mer, Imogen jumps at the chance to help run the royal bakery booth. It’ll get her out of the palace and allow her to continue avoiding her feelings for a certain engaged prince.

Imogen’s plans to lay low are shattered when the world-famous necromancer, Madame Zerna, is found dead, sawed in half on the dark magician’s table and Imogen’s friend Rhonda is caught red-handed. With incriminating evidence piling up against Rhonda, Zerna’s rival, Imogen promises to help clear her name by finding the real murderer.

But between running the booth, encouraging Maple as she struggles to lead as head baker, and taking spell lessons from the friendly strong man, Imogen’s got her hands full. And it’s no easier getting information from the evasive dark magician or Madame Zerna’s secretive assistant. Even Rhonda’s hiding something.

With the Night of the Dead fast approaching, and Rhonda headed for a maximum security witch prison, Imogen races to unearth the real killer in time to save her friend. But in a mysterious carnival where nothing’s as it seems, will Imogen have the magical powers to keep from being on the chopping block herself?

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Review

I loved this book and even tho’ it doesn’t quite have that extra pizzazz to put it up to a 5-star rating, it’s a solid 4.5 in my opinion.

I adore the characters in this series. Imogen, Maple, Iggy, and Hank have all become almost like friends to me and I really care about what happens to them and how they react to situations. Imogen’s a little too impulsive for my personal taste, but she at least does slow down and think sometimes, just not all the time. I still love her though. I love her enthusiasm and her intelligence. She’s a good friend to Maple and Iggy as well.

The setting of Bijou Mer is great. I love the descriptions of the area and buildings. Ms. Johnson does a nice job of discussing the settings without going overboard with her descriptions. I’m able to easily imagine the carnival grounds, the cemetery they visit, etc.

The plot line moves along steadily.  There were two villains. One I knew from the start. The other wasn’t quite as obvious and I was actually disappointed because I had liked the character a lot and hated to see him as a villain.

All in all, it’s a fantastic installment in the series and I highly recommend it! I do recommend starting with the first book, Seashells, Spells, and Caramels as there is backstory that you need to understand. You can find my review for that book here.

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About the Author

ErinJohnson

 

A native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

 

 

 

Author Links

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Thanks for joining me today for another wonderful blog tour about a fantastic book! If you wish to visit other sites on the blog tour, please click on the banner below!

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BLOG TOUR – Seashells, Spells, & Caramels – REVIEW

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4.5 out of 5 stars.

Welcome! Today, I’m featuring a stop on the Great Escape Virtual Book Tour for Seashells, Spells, & Caramels, the first book in the Spells & Caramels series by Erin Johnson! It was an absolutely delightful read! I really enjoyed it!

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Synopsis

Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.

When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.

Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom’s big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.

It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.

With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it – because it just might.

Review

This was an absolutely delightful read! It didn’t quite have that magical touch that made it a 5-star read, but it’s a solid 4.5 in my opinion!

Imogen is a wonderful character, full of spunk and makes the best of whatever situation she’s in. She’s well-developed, complex, and full of life. I’m looking forward to getting to know some of the other characters further as we get further into the series, especially Maple, Sam, Iggy, and Hank.

The setting was great. I thought the descriptions of Bijou Mer were delightful and magical (which is only fitting). I could imagine everything pretty well but yet could still use my imagination to fill in details.

The mystery was pretty good. I did have an inkling of the culprits, but I wasn’t sure until closer to the end. It ended up that I was right, but it didn’t spoil the rest of the story for me.

All in all, this magical mystery is a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the sequel coming out later in November!

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About the Author

ErinJohnson

A native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh.
In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Website: www.erinjohnsonwrites.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EJohnsonWrites.
Twitter:@EJohnsonWrites

 

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Thanks for joining me today for this stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Seashells, Spells, & Caramels. If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page where you will find a list of participants!

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Spells and Scones – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars.

Spells and Scones is the sixth book in the Magical Bakery series by Bailey Cates. I think this is my favorite in the series so far. I’ve enjoyed the series, but this is the first one I’ve felt was worth 4 stars.

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Brief Synopsis

When the bookshop next to the Honeybee Bakery hosts a signing for a Savannah radio celebrity’s new self-help book, magical baker Katie Lightfoot is happy to provide some delectable desserts. A big crowd has turned out for the event, curious about the book (and maybe to sample some goodies), but the final chapter comes too soon for the author when she is found dead at the event.

The prime suspect is Angie Kissel, a former witch whose familiar was once Katie’s own terrier, Mungo. Katie is at first hesitant to help, afraid of losing the little dog who has become so important to her. But after a little nudge from Mungo himself, Katie decides to try to conjure up the real killer—before Angie gets served…

(Source: Goodreads Description)

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Review

I really enjoyed this latest installment of the Magical Bakery series. I’ve enjoyed the series, they’re certainly entertaining, but they haven’t always received a real high rating from me. This one actually rates a 4 out of 5. This is one I’d actually be willing to read a 2nd or 3rd or 4th time.

I felt that this time around, the story was much more complex and involved. The first few books, I pretty much figured it out way before the end. A couple of them, I figured out before I was even halfway thru the book. I had a slight suspicion of the villain but I was never entirely sure until right at the very end of the book.

I felt we got to know our characters even better. I will admit that I was a little surprised at a particular part between Declan & Katie (not saying anymore about WHAT part as I don’t want to spoil anything!). I was mostly surprised because Katie had made things pretty clear in that area in previous books. But, it works out in the end.

All in all, I really enjoyed this installment. I do suggest reading the other books in the series before jumping in and reading this one. There’s nothing wrong with the other books. They’re fun to read and certainly entertaining. I just liked this one better!

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About the Author

Middle aged caucasian woman with medium length black hair, no glasses, and wearing a black shirtCricket McRae (aka Bailey Cates) enjoys home crafts like food preservation, cheese making, candle making, and fiber arts. She writes the Sophie Mae Reynolds Homecrafting Mystery Series. As Bailey Cates, she also writes the Magical Bakery Mysteries.

For two years Cricket managed her own soap making business, including all product design, manufacturing and marketing. The recipes included in her first book, Lye in Wait, are all Cricket’s original formulations. She has also worked in a variety of other fields ranging from drivers license examiner to program manager for a major software firm. This fulfills her mothers warning that she’d never have a regular job if she insisted on studying philosophy in college.

(Source: Goodreads Author Page)