- Adult Fiction: 3
- Adult Nonfiction: 0
- Young Adult: 0
- Children’s Fiction: 1
A Potion to Die For (Magic Potions Mystery #1) by Heather Blake – Yet another new cozy mystery series. The Magic Potions series is set in Hitching Post Alabama and follows the exploits of Carly Bell Hartwell (you must say this with a syrupy sweet southern drawl for full effect). Carly owns a genuine magic potions shop and is competing with her cousin – Carley is a white witch and her cousin is into hexes. There is a long-standing family feud over who rightfully owns the “special” magical ingredient that provides that special something to Carley’s potions. As the mystery begins we find Carley literally running from a mob of people…I started to not like this book right away. It paints the rural South in an unflattering light that I think is supposed to come off as poking fun in a light and fun way. I found it heavy-handed and most of the characters are so stereotypical, not much in the way of actual personality. Typical for the genre, there is an obnoxious but lovable parent (the mother in this book) and a father-daughter bond where the father uses the daughter to deflect the mother’s crazy. Also, for those who are easily triggered, the love interest is a former fiancee of the main character who she vocally is rebuffing, but internally (of course) melts at the sight of him. He, on the other hand, does not respect her boundaries and while I realize that the author is trying to create playful banter and portray him as a long-suffering love interest, this actions and dialogue come off as condescending (the female lead obviously needs a man to take care of her type stuff). All of their interactions set my teeth on edge. The setting and witchy flavor of the book is right up my alley so I will give the second book a try, but it’s unlikely that I will read this long-term based on what I have already read.
Bad Moon Rising (Pine Deep #3) by Jonathan Maberry – Bad Moon Rising is the concluding volume of the Pine Deep series and is set in the fictional town of Pine Deep Pennsylvania and takes place in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Maberry manages to strike a nice balance between info dumping, pacing (not too fast, not too slow), and keeping up the suspense for the reader as to how things will ultimately pan out. I actually liked all of the information provided by Jonatha on the history and probability of the baddies featured in Maberry’s novel. Good stuff and definitely a nice twist on what is typical for the genre. I gave it a solid four stars, I won’t go into detail as that would likely spoil the build-up for anyone who hasn’t read the first two novels.
The Scarlet Slipper Mystery (Nancy Drew #32) by Carolyn Keene –Another fun romp of a mystery for Nancy and her pals. I’m having a lot of fun reading through the series.
All Around Town by Mary Higgins Clark – Printed in 1992, the premise is severely dated and a bit heavy-handed (I feel like I am using that phrase a lot lately) focusing on memory loss (or memory repression), multiple personalities, as well as child abuse and abduction. These were all pretty common plot devices in the 80’s and early-mid 90’s. The main characters are two sisters, the younger sister having been kidnapped at age four and later recovered. The older sister a successful attorney (presumably out of guilt about her sister’s abduction) and the younger sister a college student. The mystery/thriller is kicked off fully when a tragic event happens after the obligatory backstory, putting the younger sister into a downward spiral that introduces several mental health professionals and taking off full force from there. What seems like one plotline quickly takes off in several directions, weaving together to tell the full story of what happened to the younger sister way back when. Overall, a decent plot and kept me interested until the end though it was fairly predictable. I gave All Around Town three out of five stars on Goodreads.