chez_jae: (Books)
Came home, finished reading The Witch's Grave, went out to feed the livestock cats, and now I'm doing my "book report"! It is part of author Shirley Damsgaard's "Ophelia and Abby" mystery series.

The story was rather bland, compared to others in the series. At a fundraising event, Ophelia meets a man she feels an instant connection to, only to see him get shot right in front of her. Although she only just met Steven, Ophelia feels compelled to investigate the incident, since local police aren't sure it wasn't simply a hunting accident. When someone takes a shot at Ophelia later, the police take notice.

In the meantime, Ophelia keeps having dreams hearkening to the era of WWII, about a young French woman named Madeleine. Abby believes Ophelia is dreaming of a past life, which may explain why she felt drawn to Steven.

Cue a bunch of following up on leads, more scares, more dreams, a few rituals to tap into her abilities, and voila! Personally, the dreams threw me out of the current story, and I hope it's not something the author explores further in future books.

Favorite line: I found it hard to imagine living in a place with no stars.

Not very impressed with this one--three stars:

***
chez_jae: (Books)
Late this afternoon, I finished reading The Witch is Dead by Shirley Damsgaard. It's part of her "Ophelia and Abby" mystery series.

Abby's elderly Aunt Dot comes for a visit, bringing the wisdom of Appalachian witches and faeries to exasperate Ophelia and charm her ward, Tink. The man who helps Dot deplane leaves Tink with an "icky" feeling, and when he is later murdered in his own funeral home, Tink blames herself, thinking she could have prevented his death, had she simply warned him.

Things get more complicated when Tink's dog finds a skull while Ophelia and Tink are at a campsite, and Tink blurts out that she's being punished for Mr Buchanan's death. Now, the sheriff is asking questions, the townspeople think Tink knows more about the murder than they do, and Ophelia is afraid for her ward's safety.

Complicating matters for Ophelia is dotty Aunt Dot, whom she and Abby are trying to stifle while she's visiting. Also, Ophelia's friend and co-worker, Darci, wants to take college classes, which necessitates Ophelia having to hire part-time help at the library. Then, Darci drags Ophelia to a speed-dating event, and the man she meets there seems charming at first, but he soon puts Ophelia off with his forward behavior. When Tink disappears, Ophelia is left with trying to solve the murder of Mr Buchanan, even though the runes are telling her that Tink's disappearance is the result of lies and secrets from her past.

So much going on in the story! Aunt Dot was only too eager to get involved in an "adventure" with Ophelia and Abby, much to their chagrin, and when Tink vanishes, Dot keeps insisting that the faeries guarding her say she's okay. In the meantime, Darci is jealous of and vexed with Gert, the new library employee, and a man from Ophelia's past reappears just when she needs a friend.

Favorite line: A sound suspiciously like that of a sob came out of my mouth. I'd been drunk under the table by a ninety-one-year-old woman.

Fast-paced, at turns funny, angsty and creepy. I figured some things out, and others caught me by surprise. Good book, five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Between last night and this evening, I knocked out Witch Hunt by Shirley Damsgaard. It's part of the author's "Ophelia & Abby" mystery series.

Ophelia is adjusting to motherhood after adopting teenage medium Tink. She's also learning to embrace her heritage as a witch.

Ophelia, however, is concerned about her best friend, Darci. It seems that Darci's new boyfriend, police officer Danny, is a tad too controlling for Ophelia's peace of mind. After Darci's birthday party at a local bar, a member of a biker gang is found murdered, and Darci's cousin, Becca, is the primary suspect. Darci begs Ophelia to help her clear her cousin's name.

Ophelia is reluctantly drawn into the investigation. Along the way, she is hassled by another member of the biker gang, her home office is broken into, and items in her home are mysteriously moving or missing. In the meantime, Tink is getting flack at school from a trio of mean girls, and Ophelia and Abby are at odds.

The subplots were many and varied, but they wove together nicely. I had several things figured out before they were revealed, but I still enjoyed reading along as Ophelia figured them out.

Favorite line: "Just don't pin who you are on who you're with..."

Good story, five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
I finished reading The Trouble With Witches before bedtime. It's part of author Shirley Damsgaard's "Ophelia and Abby" mystery series.

When a friend asks Ophelia to use her psychic gift to help find a missing teenage girl, she is reluctant at first to get involved. Ophelia doesn't trust her abilities that much. Her grandmother Abby, however, thinks they should travel to Minnesota to see if they can help.

Ophelia and Abby set up camp in a vacation cottage, near the new age research facility owned and operated by Jason and Juliet Finch. Ophelia fears it may be more of a cult, especially since it's the last known location of the girl they are trying to locate. She soon meets the Finches, along with their odd niece, Tink, and another denizen of the area, a Native American who may or may not be a shaman.

Ophelia stumbles upon an old cottage in the woods, and she senses a dark presence there. Now, it seems that instead of being up against other psychics or witches, they may be in for a battle against something truly evil.

This is probably my favorite of the series so far. There was a lot going on, and it kept the pages turning. I didn't guess who dunnit, and it was nice to be surprised for once! One thing that bothered me, however, was when Ophelia was preparing to do magic. She created her circle, then stepped out of it to get something and returned. I'm no practioner, but I don't think you're meant to step in and out of a closed circle!

Favorite line: "Sea salt--a good witch never leaves home without it!"

Four of five:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
After the game, I finished reading Charmed to Death by Shirley Damsgaard. It's the second installment in the "Ophelia and Abby" mystery series.

While Abby is embroiled in a battle to prevent a massive hog operation from setting up shop in the county, Ophelia becomes involved in another murder investigation when she stumbles upon a dead body near the firm's headquarters. The victim was killed in a fashion that was similar to the way Ophelia's friend Brian was murdered five years ago. Now, Ophelia is in danger, as is her beloved grandmother Abby. It's up to Ophelia to decide if she wants to confide in detective Henry Camacho, a play-it-by-the-book cop who may not believe that Ophelia is a psychic...and a witch.

The story was engrossing, and the killer was creepy in a mad sort of way. I thought it was rather easy to figure out whodunnit, but it was still fun to read along and see Ophelia put the pieces together.

Favorite line: "And as long as we remember, they're really not gone, you know."

Five of five:

♦♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Thursday night, I completed Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard. It's the first book in her "Ophelia and Abby" mystery series. Ophelia Jensen is a small town librarian with a big secret: she's a clairvoyant descended from a line of Appalachian witches. Ophelia tries to ignore her gifts, while her grandmother Abby embraces hers.

When a strange man comes to town and begins asking lots of questions, Ophelia may find herself relying on her talents when unfortunate incidents begin happening.

This was an interesting book. Ophelia's stubbornness was part of her charm, and her resistance of Rick's charms was formidable. Ha ha! He was rather persistent, which turned out to be a good thing. I have other books in the series, and I am looking forward to reading them.

Four stars:

★★★★

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