chez_jae: (Books)
I used my "extra hour" last night to finish reading Putting on the Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene. It's the third book in their "Retired Witches" mystery series.

Molly, her friend Elsie, and their protege Dorothy, are invited to the home of Dorothy's boyfriend, Brian, for Brian's birthday. Brian comes from money, and the event promises to be posh and elegant. Their friend, Olivia, is not welcome, since most witches abhor ghosts. Olivia, however, finds a way to tag along.

The entire Witches' Council is there that evening, and Molly and her coven come across one of the Council members, who has been attacked and left for dead. The woman manages to speak her last words to Molly, but Molly can't make sense of them.

Brian's grandfather, a Council member, puts the entire castle on lockdown for 24 hours to find the culprit, and he also summons the witchfinder, an actual member of the Spanish Inquisition, whom the witches have imprisoned for centuries. The first person he wants to interrogate is Molly.

There was so much going on in this story! From the murder, to the reappearance of Dorothy's father, to a familiar who turns out to be a shapeshifter, to interference from the Bone Man. Molly and her coven are run ragged, trying to hunt for clues, dodge the recriminations of other witches, keep Olivia hidden, and keep themselves out of trouble.

I felt like some loose ends were not adequately tied up, which was disappointing. Also, I learned that Joyce Lavene passed away before the book was published, which makes me wonder if her husband will continue with the series.

Favorite line:"And I was longing for a bit of intelligent conversation that didn't have anything to do with giggling or the cat."

Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Sunday night, I finished reading Looking for Mr Good Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene. It's the authors' second book in their "Retired Witches" mystery series.

Molly and Elsie, and their ghost friend Olivia, are still trying to find two more witches to take over their coven, so that they can finally retire to Boca Raton. Olivia's daughter Dorothy is already in, and male witch Brian has been hanging around the ladies often, because he's sweet on Dorothy. When news reaches them of young, male witches being murdered in the area, Molly and her friends agree to take extra precautions.

Molly begins having visions of the Bone Man - a terrifying individual that witches only seek out in times of desperate need. Feeling as if she's being summoned, she goes to visit him. The Bone Man wants Molly to find his wife and bring her to him. In return, he will protect her husband and son from the wrath of the Witches Council, a wrath that Molly incurred by telling her husband that she is a witch.

Shortly after her visit to the Bone Man, Molly and her friends realize that Brian is acting strangely. He tells them he's met the perfect woman, and that he can't wait to be with her. The ladies fear he is about to become the next victim of the Sea Witch.

I'm loving these stories! It's fun to read about mature women, especially those who persevere, in spite of the fact that their talents are waning. Elsie is just dotty enough to be comical, Molly is kind and wise, and Olivia is still quite vain. Dorothy's powers are increasing, but even she may not be able to save Brian from the clutches of the Sea Witch.

Favorite line: "People who don't talk to cats don't know what they're missing."

Five out of five:

♦♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Just finished reading Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene. It's the first book in their "Retired Witches" mystery series.

The story is told in first person pov by Molly. She and her witchy friends, Elsie and Olivia, are aging, and their magic is waning. They are looking to find and train three new witches to take over their coven, so that they can finally enjoy retirement. Unfortunately, soon after they identify shy young librarian, Dorothy, as a potential recruit, Olivia is murdered, and their spell book is stolen.

Molly's husband, Joe, is a homicide detective, and he is working on Olivia's case, while Molly and Elsie do their own behind-the-scenes investigation. Olivia's ghost returns to lend a hand, but she has no idea who killed her. In the meantime, other witches in the community have had magical artifacts turn up missing, and the three witches begin to suspect that another witch is trying to steal power by taking the items. The Grand Council can't, or won't, help, and it's up to Molly, Elsie and Olivia, along with their cat familiars and two young witches to save the day.

Incredibly cute story. I loved that the heroines were older, mature women. Olivia was a hoot, both in life and death. I liked that non-magical family members were kept in the dark regarding magic, which meant Molly had to do a lot of sneaking around to avoid her husband, and Elsie had to dodge her overprotective daughter. The characters were well-drawn and interesting, including the secondary characters.

This is a series I am looking forward to reading more of! Five stars!

★★★★★

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