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Started reading Ghost of a Potion last night, and I finished it today. It's the third book in Heather Blake's "Magic Potion" mystery series.

On the eve of Halloween, Carly Bell Hartwell only wants to hide herself away. This is the time of year that ghosts rise from the grave, seeking help to cross over before the end of All Souls' Day. Carly once had a bad experience with a less than wholesome spirit, and she wants nothing more to do with ghosts, preferring not to use her witchy talents to help them. Unfortunately for Carly, she is expected to attend a gala costume ball at a recently renovated mansion. When a member of the historic preservation society is murdered at the party, his ghost appears to Carly. Now she must help Haywood cross over by solving his murder. As if that weren't enough, the primary suspect in the crime is Patricia Jackson, mother of Carly's boyfriend, Dylan, and the woman who has made it clear she doesn't want Carly as a daughter-in-law.

Now, Carly has two reasons to find out who killed Haywood: one, to help him cross over, and two, to score points with both Patricia and Dylan. She begins by questioning other members of the historic preservation society, uncovering sins and secrets of the past and a blackmail ring that goes along with. In addition, other ghosts latch on to Carly, multiplying the number of tasks she has to complete in a limited amount of time.

I think this is my favorite in the series so far. Carly is getting more of a backbone in her dealings with not only Patricia, but also her own mama. It was interesting to follow along as she unearthed clue after clue and tried to piece them together, and it was heartening to see her warm to her task of helping ghosts cross over. I confess that I had no idea who the culprit was until the reveal. Clever! Also, the very end of the story was quite poignant, and it had me wibbling a little.

Favorite lines:
♦ "Well slap me nekkid and sell my clothes!"
♦ "Let's see if he has an alibi before we go killing anyone. And really, I should get first dibs."
♦ "Sometimes people make certain choices and think they need to live with those decisions, not realizing that they have the power to make another choice altogether."
♦ "Lemon makes me thirsty, and this music is making me stabby."


Very good! Fun and lively characters, a nifty mystery, and plenty of feels. Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
On Thursday night, I finished reading One Potion in the Grave by Heather Blake. This is the second book in her "Magic Potion Mysteries" series.

Carly Bell is helping her mama get ready for a big society wedding when Carly's old friend Katie Sue unexpectedly returns to town. Katie Sue has a new identity as Kathryn Perry, MD. However, she has a score to settle with the family involved in the wedding. Carly is convinced that danger surrounds Katie Sue, and her intuition is proven right when Katie Sue is murdered on the eve of the wedding.

Carly feels partially responsible, thinking she could have prevented the murder; as a result, she begins asking questions around town to find who had a motive. The family hosting the wedding is comprised of politicians, some of whom may have something to hide, while Katie Sue's mother and stepfather are petty criminals and may have been jealous of Katie Sue's new life. Add in a mysterious package, some missing jewelry, and the mysterious illness of Katie Sue's sister, and there was a lot going on in this book.

I also enjoyed the building (re-building?) relationship between Carly and Dylan.

Four out of five:

♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading A Potion to Die For, which is the first book in author Heather Blake's "Magic Potion Mystery" series.

I'm sorry I didn't begin reading these sooner--what a cute story! Our intrepid heroine is Carly Bell Hartwell, who hails from a long line of witches. She owns Little Shop of Potions in Hitching Post, AL. Carly's life is filled with creating potions, renovating her "new" home, rolling her eyes at her triplet aunts, dodging her mother, avoiding her ex-fiance, and hoping not to run into her nemesis and cousin, Delia Bell Barrows.

As if Carly doesn't have enough on her plate, the town lawyer is found dead in her shop, clutching one of Carly's potion bottles. In order to clear her name and quiet the resulting gossip, Carly begins investigating the murder on her own. Soon, she has more suspects than she can shake a stick at.

This was a delightful story, set in a small, charming southern town, filled with crazy, colorful characters. The author did a wonderful job of keeping me guessing right up to the end whodunnit. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series.

Four clovers:

♣♣♣♣

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