Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.

AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Author: Heather Blake
Plot Type: Chicklit Cozy Mystery with Witches
Ratings: Violence3; Sensuality2; Humor3
Publisher and Titles:  Obsidian
     It Takes a Witch (1/2012)
     A Witch Before Dying (8/2012)
     The Good, the Bad, & the Witchy (4/2013)
     The Goodbye Witch (5/2014)
     Some Like It Witchy (5/2015)
     Gone with the Witch (5/2016)

This post contains my reviews of books 1 and 2 in this series and back-cover blurbs for books 3 through 6. I have stopped reviewing this series mostly because chick lit cozy mysteries are not my favorite genre. I will, however, continue to post links to new titles and the publisher's back-cover blurbs of all of the new books. 

     This light and fluffy series is set in the Enchanted Village, a small-townish, witch-themed neighborhood in Salem, Massachusetts, where twenty-something sisters, Darcy and Harper Merriweather, have come to live with their Aunt Velma (aka Aunt Ve) after the death of their father. The girls' late mother (Ve's sister) was a witch, but the girls were never told of their witchy heritageuntil now, that is. In this world, witchery is hereditary, and each witch family has a particular specialty (e.g., Herbcrafter, Numbercrafter, Curecrafter, Vaporcrafter). 

     If a Crafter marries a mortal, the situation gets complicated: "He or she had two options. One was to reveal the Craft to the spouse. In that case, the Crafter forfeited his or her powers...and became a Halfcrafter (...essentially...a mortal)....The other option keep the Craft a secret from a spouse, thus leading a difficult life of lies and magical subterfuge, but retaining the ability to perform magic. The clueless spouse in that instance did not become a Halfcrafter, and held no knowledge of the Craft at all." (A Witch Before Dying, p. 37) Further complicating things, the children of a marriage between a Crafter and a human are full Crafters, with the talents of their Crafter parent. In a marriage between two Crafters of differing types, their child is born with both abilities, but one is much stronger than the other. Different children of the same union have different skill strengths.

     The Merriweather sisters are Wishcrafters. If they hear someone say "I wish...," they are obligated to fulfill that wish provided that the wish-maker is a mortal (not a Crafter) whose motives are pure, and that the wish does no harm. The Enchanted Village is brimming over with all kinds of witches, but Darcy and Harper can't tell the difference between the witches and the normal humans. Aunt Ve won't identify the witches for them because she wants them to figure things out on their own (one of several illogical plot manipulations), which results in some miscommunications and comic moments. 

     Witches are required to abide by certain rules, chief among which is that they are not allowed to let any humans know that witchcraft exists. Witches who break that law suffer sever consequences. The witchcraft laws are enforced by a mysterious entitya female known as the Elderwho summons the lawbreaker to a tree in the middle of the woods where she appears to them as a light with a voice. Wishcrafters must abide by some additional rules: "not interfering with life and death; and the fact that we can't grant our own wishesor the wishes of other Wishcrafters." (A Witch Before Dying, p. 16)

     If you enjoy reading humorous witchy mysteries, here are some similar series. Click on a series title to go to my review: Madeline Alt (BEWITCHING MYSTERIES); Annette Blair (VINTAGE MAGIC); Linda Wisdom (JAZZ TREMAINE/HEX SERIES); Victoria Laurie (GHOST HUNTER MYSTERIES); Heather Webber (LUCY VALENTINE). 

                  REVIEW OF BOOK 1:  It Takes a Witch                  
     The conflict is set in motion when a local woman, Alexandra Shively, is murdered and Aunt Ve's boyfriend, Sylar Dewitt, is arrested for the crime. The Crafters believed that Alexandra was a seeker (a normal human who wants to be a witch), but she always claimed have a witchy heritage, and she managed to antagonize most of the Crafters in town with her cocky behavior. Everyone is sure that Sylar is innocent, but at first there are no other suspects, so Darcy and Harper begin to investigate the case themselves. Darcy is the primary focus of the plot as she makes friends with Nick Sawyer, a handsome widower and a former highway patrol officer, and his daughter, Mimi. As Darcy investigates, she keeps running into Nick, and they begin a tentative friendship that has some romantic overtones. Eventually, the murderer is caught, Darcy and Nick move a few more steps into their relationship, and Harper finds a possible boyfriend of her own. One story line that runs through the book is Darcy's curiosity about whether Aunt Ve's cat and/or Harper's dog are familiarshuman spirits in animal bodies. The answer to that question is a stunner that comes at the end of the story.

     The plot has a number of other secondary threads involving some of the quirky townspeople. In fact, this is really a cozy mysterykind of like a Miss Marple storythat is, if Miss Marple had been a cute young witch in small-town New England. To be called a cozy mystery, a story requires an amateur sleuth, a small town, quirky townsfolk, and a body that just shows up (with no real gory details). This book meets all those requirements.

     If you enjoy reading lightweight chick lit, you might enjoy this one if you can ignore the sprinkling of illogical actions on the part of some of the characters. The idea of wish-crafting witches results in some humorous situations, but it seems entirely far fetched and doomed for failure as a plot device. People say, "I wish..." all the time, so one would have to expect that the girls' lives are going to be filled with one strange and awkward situation after another. What if someone says, "I wish for world peace" or "I wish for the end of global warming"? Neither of these wishes would harm anyone and they both seem pure in motive, so conceivably, they would have to be granted if a Wishcrafter heard them. Naturally, none of the characters will be voicing either of those wishes, but still, the whole idea seems to have innate problems. The wishes that do get granted are ones that either move the plot along or provide a moment of comic reliefwith both being obvious plot manipulations—with "obvious" being the key word here. To read or listen to an excerpt from It Takes a Witch, click HERE to go to the book's page and then click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon.

                 REVIEW OF BOOK 2:  A Witch Before Dying                 
    As the story begins, Darcy is hired by Elodie Keaton to clean out her mother's home prior to putting it up for sale. Patrice Keaton disappeared a year and a half ago, shortly before Elodie was to have been married. As Darcy learns more about the troubled lives of Elodie and her mother, she discovers that most of their woes can be traced to the Anicula amulet, a magic-imbued black opal that allows anyone within close proximity the ability to grant both harmful and benign wishes for themselves or othersboth Crafters and mundanes. As the main plot plays out, Darcy learns just how dangerous the wish-granting Anicula can be and what damage it has done to people in the Village.

     In the meantime, a burglar has been breaking into Crafters' homes in the Enchanted Village at an alarming rate, always rummaging through belongings, but never taking anything. Nick, who is the Village's new police chief, is at his wit's end trying to keep up with the investigations, but he has been unable to catch the perpetrator. Another story line relates to Aunt Ve and Sylar's upcoming wedding, which ultimately may not be a happy event for either of them. The story lines begin independently, but soon begin to interweave.

     Darcy's romance with Nick takes a baby step forward as they share their first passionate kiss, and, with behind-the-scenes assistance from Darcy, Harper hooks up with Marcus Debrowski, the lawyer we met in book 1.

     One humorous story thread is taken directly from Seinfeld's final season--the episode in which Jerry dated a girl who looked beautiful in bright light, but scary ugly in shadows. That's exactly the ongoing situation with Andreus Woodshall, a sometimes handsome roving gem dealer who once dated Patrice and who has an interest in the Anicula. 

     Once again, illogical events are numerous, with characters acting independently without confiding in friends and having temporary memory black-outs when they can't remember some bit of essential information until just the right time in the action. Still, if paranormal cozy mysteries are your cup of tea, you'll probably enjoy this one. To read or listen to an excerpt from A Witch Before Dying, click HERE to go to the book's page and then click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon.

          BOOK 3:  The Good, the Bad, and the WitchyBack-Cover Blurb           
     Darcy Merriweather is Enchanted Village’s newest resident Wishcrafter—a witch who can grant wishes for others. But as Darcy prepares a celebration for a magical florist, she discovers that every rose has its thorns.

     When magical florist Harriette Harkette decides to throw a lavish eightieth birthday party for herself, she hires Darcy’s Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service, As You Wish, to plan the soiree. But turning eighty isn’t all Harriette is celebrating—the Floracrafter has recently created the first all-natural black Witching Hour rose.

     Darcy works hard on planning an extravagant celebration that will make Harriette feel like the belle of the ball. But when cake delivery boy Michael Healey—a former employee at Harriette’s greenhouse—is found dead, the celebration is abruptly cut short. Now Michael’s ghost has imprinted on Darcy, meaning that they’re bonded until she can untangle the thicket surrounding his murder—and what exactly it has to do with the Witching Hour rose. To read or listen to an excerpt from The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy, click HERE to go to the book's page and then click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon.

              BOOK 4:  The Goodbye WitchBack-Cover Blurb               
    As Enchanted Village's resident Wishcrafter, Darcy Merriweather has the power to make other people's wishes come true, but what she really wishes is that she had the power to uncloak the invisible man who’s stalking her best friend.

     Darcy's closest friend and fellow witch, Starla Sullivan, hoped she'd never see her ex-husband, Kyle, again. Two years ago he tried to kill her, and he has been a fugitive ever since. Now Starla claims to have seen him back in Enchanted Village, but it seems she’s the only one who can see him. To everyone else, her ex is invisible.

     Darcy only wishes his motives were as transparent as the rest of him. Since the police can't arrest someone they can't see, it's up to Darcy to find the secret behind Kyle's latest disappearing act—before he does something they can't see coming. To read or listen to an excerpt from The Goodbye Witch, click HERE to go to the book's page and then click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon.

             BOOK 5:  Some Like It WitchyBack-Cover Blurb               
     Wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather can charm desires into reality, but as the national bestselling Wishcraft mysteries continue, she won’t be able to magically avoid trouble when death holds an open house.

     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. To read or listen to an excerpt from Some Like It Witchy, click HERE to go to the book's page and then click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon. 

               BOOK 6:  Gone with the WitchBack-Cover Blurb               
     Darcy and her dog Missy are determined to put their best foot forward at the Enchanted Village’s annual Pawsitively Enchanted pet contest. She’s happy to lend a hand when the show’s organizer hires Darcy to keep an eye on things among growing suspicions that someone is sabotaging the event. But Darcy’s quest for justice is thrown off the scent when her lead suspect is found dead at the competition.

     As if a murder weren’t bad enough, someone begins snatching up prize-winning pets right from under their owners’ noses. Darcy is determined to protect the pampered participants at whatever cost. But she’ll have to work fast to sniff out the thief before she becomes the next victim of a killer determined to stop her dead in her tracks. To read or listen to an excerpt from Gone with the Witch, click HERE to go to the book's page and then click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon.

No comments:

Post a Comment