Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review & Scavenger Hunt Contest: Spell Booked (A Retired Witches Mystery) by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Here is a general announcement regarding the scavenger hunt!  Please read:

Hi everyone!!  Please read the following to make the scavenger hunt a lot of fun!

Please go to each stop on their assigned date as the authors have a very special giveaway. They are giving away a handwritten grimoire of spells, a print copy of the novel itself ~Spell Booked, and a willow wand with a velvet case. 

Each stop will have clue words in their post that will have to be put together to create a Witch’s Spell. 

To enter the giveaway readers will have to collect all the words and put them all together on the giveaway entry form after the last stop. Good Luck everyone!!

About Spell Booked:

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…

Book Details:

Spell Booked
(Retired Witches Mysteries)
New Cozy Series
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 2, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425268254

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Sapphyria's Review:

My first reaction to the name of the series, A Retired Witches Mystery, was "Why on earth would witches want to retire?" You never here of a witch retiring. I would take this dream and make it mine, staying involved in witchcraft until the end of my days.

Joyce and Jim Lavene's witches, however, are a very different sort.  As a witch ages, they lose magical potency.  As such, in order to retire gracefully, each witch has to find their replacement to take their place in the coven.  That is what Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are attempting to do when a rogue witch shows up and murders Olivia.  Now not only do Molly and Elsie have to find their own replacements for the coven, they have to find one for Olivia, and figure out Olivia's killer.  Add in a secret that Olivia has harbored for a long while, a demanding ghost, a mundane husband who's also the cop investigating Olivia's murder, and you have a great cozy mystery.

One of the first time's we meet Olivia I was immediately struck with the though that she must be channeling her inner Blanche from The Golden Girls.  I love that show. Olivia's character is modeled after her (even if the authors didn't intend that to be the case).  After her death, Olivia isn't content to just stay buried, however, and the crazy antics that went on before her death amplify.  

Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are fantastic main characters.  They are strong and feisty - rebelling against the Council that refuses to take care of the rogue problem.  Sure they get into trouble but what cozy mystery main doesn't?! Each witch is written in a way that, although we don't get huge amounts of backstory, the reader will feel like they've know these women for what seems like ever.  

The plot is developed nicely with a few twists tossed in to keep the reader guessing.  The end of the story felt a bit rushed to me but, ultimately, I didn't see it coming.  There are absolutely no giveaway hints that led me to the conclusion brought to us by the Lavene's.  

If you're looking for a different kind of witch story then look no further.  Spell Booked will keep you engaged with it's humor, wit, and overall unique take on the life cycle of a witch.  I will certainly be on board with the next novel in the series.

Review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Sapphyria's Rating:

About the Authors:

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

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Patricia T said...

Thank you and congratulations, to Joyce & Jim, on this new series!

Carol Summers-Kolber said...

Always look forward to a new book from this dynamic duo! They're the best authors.

Sapphyria said...

Thank you, Patricia and Carol, for stopping by!

Marty the Manx said...

Thanks for the review! It sounds great!