chez_jae: (Books)
Thursday, I read the last of Home for a Spell by Madelyn Alt. It's the most recent book in her "Bewitching Mystery" series, and now I'm all caught up until the next release!

Still hobbled by a cast from breaking her ankle, Maggie has moved in with boyfriend Marcus so he can chauffeur her around and help take care of her. When Maggie learns that Marcus is going to put off taking some classes because she "needs" him, she puts her (unbroken) foot down and decides to find a ground-level apartment.

Maggie goes to check out a complex, and while the manager seems a bit skeevy, she thinks the apartment is a good deal. Marcus takes Maggie back the following morning to sign a lease, and they find the manager dead. They are drawn into the investigation when police ask Marcus, who's a computer whiz, to see if he can find anything on a damaged flash drive that was found at the scene.

While Marcus works that angle, Maggie is realizing that all of the tenants of the complex are young, pretty women. When Marcus finds compromising photos on the flash drive, all of them of the apartments' tenants, they have a motive for murder. But, who done it?

I did enjoy the story, but not as much as I've liked others in the series. For one thing, the author barely touched on the "witch" aspect of her "bewitching" trope, and I found that disappointing. I like the paranormal element!

Favorite line: I just hated the thought that I was another of those loose ends.

I wish I could give this a 3 1/2, but I'll give it a 4, as a nod to the series as a whole:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I finished reading A Witch in Time, by Madelyn Alt, last night. It's part of her "Bewitching mysteries" series, featuring Maggie O'Neill.

Just when Maggie and her hot new boyfriend Marcus are about to take it to the next level, Maggie's meddling mother calls in a panic. It seems Maggie's sister Mel has gone into labor early, and the entire family is at the hospital.

Marcus is a good sport about postponing things, and he even agrees to accompany Maggie to the hospital. While there, Maggie gets stuck in an elevator, overhears a sketchy conversation, witnesses other odd behavior, and after spending the night with her sister, she manages to break her ankle while trying to leave the hospital the following morning.

When Maggie and Marcus stumble upon a murder, they use their psychic abilities to sift for clues. In the meantime, Mel's husband has gone awol, Maggie's ex-boyfriend Tom is cozying up to his not-so-ex-wife, and Marcus claims that Tom has been sending the local cops by to watch his house. Has all of Stony Mill gone mad?!

:D

Favorite line: I only wished I could eat with that same lackadaisical absence of guilt. Instead, I had to worry about the elastic on my underwear creating unsightly ripples.

Good story, but not quite as engrossing as others in the series. Four of five:

♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I completed Where There's a Witch by Madelyn Alt. It's part of her "Bewitching Mystery" series.

At a fund-raising carnival for a local church, Maggie witnesses an intense argument between a young couple. When the woman's body is found at the site the following day, Maggie does her civic duty and recounts the incident to the police. However, she can't help but feel that the man who was arguing with the victim is innocent of the murder.

During a ground-breaking ceremony at the church, workers accidentally uncover a sealed cellar. Maggie and some of the others with empathic abilities feel as though something was released. Afterwards, two of the teen girls that work at Enchantments with Maggie convince her to try communicating with the spirit via a Ouija board. The spirit begins communicating with Maggie, giving her vague warnings, such as "be careful", "sister" and "you'll see".

Meanwhile, Maggie is even more conflicted with her love-life. Her supposed beau, police officer Tom, wants her to distance herself from the "witchy" element at Enchantments, while Marcus is part of said element. Maggie is finding it more difficult to fight her attraction to Marcus, especially when she and Tom so seldom see one another.

Hm. I truly enjoy this series, but I think this was my least favorite so far. For one thing, the story focused more on Maggie's love-life than on the mystery. There was no digging around for clues from Maggie at all, unless you count trying to get answers from the spirit. Plus, Maggie's interfering mother made me want to smack her, and Maggie's gossip-mongering sister needed an even bigger smack. It was her loose lips that led to several townspeople shunning Maggie's boss, Felicity, and her shop, Enchantments. On top of all that, the murderer was almost too ridiculously easy to guess. Nevertheless, I will continue reading books in this series.

Giving this one a four out of five:

♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Yesterday, I began reading No Rest for the Wiccan, by Madelyn Alt, and I stayed up late to finish it. Hooray for three-day weekends!

This is the fourth installment in the author's "Bewitching Mystery" series.

In the midst of a hot, not-quite-yet summer, Maggie is helping at the store, watching boring reruns on TV and trying to figure out her romantic life. When Maggie reluctantly agrees to help her bedridden sister, she discovers that Melanie's house may be haunted. Maggie calls on her spiritual friends to help out. After Melanie spills the beans about Maggie's boss being a witch, a newly-widowed woman comes to the store, seeking help for the negative energy that has been surrounding her late husband's business. The energy at the place leads Maggie to suspect foul play.

During the story, Maggie also adopts a delightful kitten (or maybe it was the other way around?), and she finds herself torn between the two men in her life: her kinda-sorta boyfriend Tom, and the attractive, enigmatic Marcus.

Wonderful, engaging story! Five stars:

★★★★★
chez_jae: (Books)
Just finished reading Hex Marks the Spot by Madelyn Alt. It's the third in her "Bewitching Mystery" series.

While scoping out potential new items to offer in Enchantments, Maggie accompanies her boss Felicity to a local craft fair. There, Felicity is smitten with a large, Amish-made armoire, but loses it in the auction. Maggie can't help but notice the man who carved the armoire is quite handsome, but she senses something a bit off about him. When the man is murdered not long after, Maggie happens on the scene and is compelled to investigate the psychic impressions she begins receiving as a result.

These books are largely cozy paranormal mysteries with just enough creepiness thrown in to keep them from being too fluffy. It was fun, following the development of familiar characters and meeting some new ones. I enjoyed the book, but it was my least favorite of the series so far.

Four stars hearts (for February!):

chez_jae: (Books)
I stayed up a wee bit late on Wednesday night to polish off A Charmed Death by Madelyn Alt. This was the second book in her "Bewitching mysteries" series.

Maggie is working the holiday season at Enchantments when a trio of mean girls come into the shop. Their leader begins to pick on another customer, a Goth girl, and Maggie has to intervene. When the leader of the girls turns up dead a couple of days later, Maggie feels compelled to investigate. Her searches turn up clues that have eluded the police, but Maggie's meddling puts her in danger.

I enjoyed this story as much as the initial installment. Previously introduced characters are present, along with some new ones. Maggie is learning to embrace her own abilities as a witch, as well as utilize them when she needs to. Looking forward to more!

Four stars:

★★★★

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