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Stayed up too late last night to finish reading The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy, which is part of Heather Blake's "Wishcraft Mystery" series.

Wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather is asked to help plan a grandiose birthday party for Floracrafter Harriette Harkette. Harriette is celebrating her 80th birthday, along with her prize-winning black roses. When the cake delivery is late, Darcy goes outside to check for the bakery's van. She stumbles across the body of Michael Healey, who was meant to be delivering the cake. Michael used to work for Harriette, and when his ghost imprints on Darcy, she is compelled to help solve his murder. Soon after Michael's death, some of Harriette's contemporaries are also attacked, and everything seems to indicate that Harriette is behind it. Darcy, however, feels that Harriette is being set up, and she sets out to prove it.

Fun story, lots going on, what with the murder, the attacks, a festival in town, the disappearance of Aunt Ve's cat, Harriette's unknown fiance, and the fact that one of Darcy's friends seems to have attracted a secret admirer. I am liking the slow pacing of Darcy's romance with police officer Nick, but I am finding Aunt Ve's stunts to be a tad tiring. Another thing I don't really like is that Wishcrafters can't be photographed; they appear washed out in any photo. I guess it bothers me, because it's only Wishcrafters, and not any of the other magical crafters, who can't be photographed. It makes no sense.

Favorite line: Her hopes had risen higher than a kite in a windstorm.

Other than the minor aggravations, this was an enjoyable story. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I have a couple days off work, which allowed me to finish reading A Witch Before Dying this afternoon. It's the second installment in author Heather Blake's "Wishcraft Mystery" series.

Wishcrafter Darcy is busy helping her aunt Ve get ready for her upcoming wedding. However, an acquaintance begs Darcy to help clean out her mother's house. Seems that Elodie's mother was a hoarder who left town over a year ago, and Elodie has her own upcoming wedding to pay for.

While at Patrice's house, Darcy finds the woman's remains hidden away in the junk. The police aren't ready to rule it a homicide, so Elodie asks Darcy to help solve the mystery surrounding Patrice's death. As a relative newcomer to the Enchanted Village, Darcy's investigation turns up more secrets regarding her neighbors than she ever wanted to know. Along the way, she is also searching for the stolen Anicula, an amulet that can grant unlimited wishes, and that was last known to be in Patrice's possession. To compound things, there's been a series of break-ins in the village, an alleged Peeping Tom in the neighborhood, a rash of food poisonings, and someone seems to be sabotaging Ve's wedding.

Too bad Darcy can't grant her own wishes to figure everything out.

The story was charming and fun and just a little creepy. I am enjoying the characters, including the familiars, and the romance between Darcy and Nick is coming along.

Favorite lines:
♦ Why did I suddenly feel like I was in a bad safe-sex commercial?
♦ "If anyone can pull off a third boob, it's you."


Solid four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
On Thursday night, I finished reading It Takes a Witch, by Heather Blake. It's the first book in the author's "Wishcraft Mystery" series.

Darcy Merriweather has only recently learned that she and her sister Harper are witches, and that their particular talent is the ability to grant wishes. The two of them have moved to the Enchanted Village to live with their Aunt Velma, who is training them to use their Craft.

While Darcy helps Ve with her business, called As You Wish, Harper takes a part time job at the local bookstore. On the night that the bookstore hosts a meeting of local businesses, one attendee is found dead in the alley behind the shop. Velma's beau, Sylar, is discovered hovering over the body and is arrested for the murder. Ve is convinced he's innocent, and Darcy feels compelled to help her aunt by trying to ascertain who may have wanted Alexandra dead.

The author introduced several quirky characters, including security consultant Nick Sawyer, who becomes a potential romantic interest for Darcy. The story was fun and lively, but I felt the solution of the murder, and the "who dunnit" fell a bit flat. Still, it was a good book, and I do have others in the series.

Giving this one an average rating of three:

♦♦♦

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