chez_jae: (Books)
Finished reading Spells and Scones, by Bailey Cates, tonight. It's part of her "Magical Bakery" mystery series, featuring lightwitch Katie Lightfoot.

The book store next to the Honeybee Bakery is hosting an author signing, and Katie, Lucy, and Ben are catering the event. During the author's appearance, a few people berate her for her irresponsible relationship advice, which harmed their own relationships when they tried to follow it. After the event, the store owner asks the author, Dr Dana Dobbs, to sign some extra copies of her book. She is later discovered dead in the back room, the victim of poisoning.

The most likely suspect was a young woman who was escorted from the store after trolling the author, as she is found crouched over Dr Dobbs' body. Later, Katie learns the woman used to be a practicing witch, and that Katie's own familiar Mungo, once belonged to Angie. Katie doesn't think Angie murdered Dr Dobbs, and even Mungo is encouraging her to defend the woman.

As Katie delves into the investigation, things are further complicated when Steve, whom she once dated, returns to town, and Declan, her boyfriend, springs a surprise proposal on her.

I enjoyed the story, but I must say, I think I've read at least half a dozen murder mysteries that use the old "author murdered at his/her book signing event" trope. Come up with something new, people! I also didn't like that Katie still seems to have feels for Steve. He's an odious creep, and even Mungo agrees with me on that. Hmpf.

Favorite line: "Some of your decisions are going to be wrong. That's okay. Life teaches you how to live it the longer you do it."

Four of five:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I spent a good portion of Monday reading Magic and Macaroons by Bailey Cates, and I finished it last night. It's part of the author's "Magical Bakery" mystery series, featuring protagonist Katie Lightfoot.

When Katie and her coven are meeting at the Honeybee bakery after hours, a young woman comes to the door, calling out for Katie in desperation. Before she collapses, she tells Katie that she was told to seek her out if she needed help. It's up to Katie to figure out who the woman was and how she knew to seek help. The search for information leads Katie to delve into Savannah's voodoo scene.

The story was fast-paced and engrossing, but there were enough lulls to allow me to catch my breath. I enjoy reading about the day-to-day operations of the Honeybee bakery, as well as the more domestic scenes between Katie and her boyfriend Declan. Katie learns more about her destiny as a lightwitch. The author introduced just enough suspects to make it difficult to guess whodunnit, without bogging the story down with too many potential killers. The final showdown was a bit less fraught with danger and drama than other stories in the series, but it was satisfying, nonetheless.

Five of five!

♦♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Tonight, I finished reading Some Enchanted Eclair by Bailey Cates. This is the fourth installment in her "Magical Bakery Mystery" series.

The story continues to follow Katie as she works at the Honeybee Bakery and learns more about being a hedgewitch. When a movie production comes to Savannah, the Honeybee lands a lucrative catering job. The job falls through when the person who hired them ends up murdered on the set. A psychic informs Katie that she will be the one to solve the murder. Thus inspired, Katie begins to do some digging on her own.

I enjoyed the developing relationship between Katie and Declan, and Declan learns something about himself that he never knew. Katie also finds out some truths she wasn't ready for. The story introduced some new characters, and it featured several potential suspects. I was kept guessing up until the end.

The only disappointing thing was, the type-set in this book was larger, which means I didn't get as much book for my buck. Still, it was a light, fun read, and I'm giving it four stars:

★★★★
chez_jae: (Books)
I just finished reading Charms and Chocolate Chips, which is the third book in author Bailey Cates' "Magical Bakery Mystery" series.

Katie has been dividing her time between the Honeybee Bakery, her boyfriend Declan (yay!), and her volunteer work at Georgia Wild. When Katie arrives at the non-profit's office, she discovers that the woman who ran it has been murdered. When members of Katie's coven are targeted, including Katie herself, she has no choice but to launch her own investigation.

In the meantime, Katie's mother, whom she has been estranged from, pays a surprise visit, and the two begin mending fences. Katie is still learning her Craft and struggling to comprehend her powers as an uncommon lightwitch.

This may have been my favorite book in the series so far. I'm pleased that Katie has chosen Declan over Steve, and I was kept guessing right up until the end as to who the perpetrator was.

Five stars!

★★★★★
chez_jae: (Books)
I took advantage of my unplanned day off to finish reading Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti by Bailey Cates. It's the second installment in her "Magical Bakery Mystery" series.

Having learned she's a witch, Katie has been getting more comfortable practicing magic and using its practical applications in the baked goods she creates for the Honeybee Bakery in Savannah. She still can't quite commit to either of the two men in her life, Declan or Steve.

On a picnic with Declan, she discovers a dead body with an intriguing tattoo. Searching for information about the tattoo leads Katie into all sorts of danger and intrigue, and she relies on both Declan and Steve to help her unravel the mystery.

So far, these books are entertaining, as well as sweet and spicy. Hah! I do find myself cheering for Declan, however. He's a fine, Irish gentleman, whereas Steve comes across as arrogant and pushy. Of course, the "bad" boy is the one who makes Katie's girlie parts tingle.

I'm giving this four stars. I'd give it five, but the character of Steve sours it for me.

★★★★
chez_jae: (Default)
Yesterday, on my afternoon break, I finished reading Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates. It's the first in a new cozy mystery series called "Magical Bakery Mysteries".

The story was cute and fun, with enough actual mystery to keep the pages turning. Katie Lightfoot has just moved to Savannah, GA to help her aunt and uncle open their new bakery. Soon, Katie learns her aunt is a witch, and that she is, too.

Before the bakery opens, it hosts a meeting, after which Savannah's resident harridan argues with Katie's uncle and then is murdered outside the bakery. Katie's uncle becomes a prime suspect, and she begins looking into matters in an attempt to clear her uncle's name.

Along the way, Katie is introduced to her aunt's coven, meets her familiar (a terrier named Mungo), and spends time with two different hunky guys who happen to despise one another.

As far as the guys go, I'm cheering for Declan. He's Irish, need I say more? Ha ha! But the other guy, Steve, may be all rawr and sexy, but I don't like the way he treats Katie. He keeps pressing her for a dinner date, she keeps declining, so he shows up at her door with take-out. While that may seem bold and charming to some, it got my hackles up. If he didn't respect her wishes when she said 'no' to dinner, what else might she say 'no' to that he will just barge right through? *shakes head*

In spite of my personal dislike for Steve, the book itself was delightful. I'll be watching for more of this series.

Four stars.

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