From the back of the book: “When Lee Barrett joins a former student’s bridal party as maid of honor, she expects cake tastings and dress fittings. But wedding planning becomes more peculiar than Lee’s scrying talents could ever predict. There’s a magical baker, a best man with a checkered past, and a talking crow named Poe as the ring bearer. There’s also a kindly old man dead under his apple tree – one of a series of unexplained deaths hanging over the Wiccan community…
“With witches dropping dead before they even come out of the proverbial broom closet, Lee’s best friend, River, fears she might have somehow unleased a terrible curse on the city. Now, aided by Poe and her clairvoyant cat, Lee sets out to investigate. Are lives being claimed by vengeful supernatural forces—or by something more shocking? She soon discovers, casting light on the wicked truth can be one killer commitment…”
The publisher has a fairly good teaser for this book – but there’s so much more happening that what they’ve indicated. Salem, Mass has been invaded by crows! Not just a few hundred, but thousands upon thousands of the loud and messy birds. Various events among the witch community leads Lee to believe the crows have something to do with the dying witches. Its kind-of-spooky-like, ala’ Hitchcock’s The Birds.
The mystery is well written and intriguing. If I’d read it over a shorter period of time, I certain I would have figured out the murderer – it was, after all, someone totally obvious. But, as it took me a week to read, only because I was keeping an eye on the other cats and my finch flock. This book is #6 in the series and our library hadn’t even ordered #5! Mom put in a request to them purchase it, so I’ll have to read that one when it comes in. Also, I’m wondering if the author is moving on to a new series because the main event in this book nicely closes a mystery that happens in the first book – sort of bookended the series. I suppose I’ll have to wait a bit to find out! But, if you’re considering a cozy mystery series and you don’t mind a few witches sprinkled in, the try the Witch City Mystery series. It’s very good!
Rating 4 out of 5 paws – it pays to have a cat on your side when solving a puzzle!
From the back of the book, “After learning that she comes from a family of witches—and adopting a familiar named Alistair—artist Annabelle Briton has made beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her home. Together with her coven, this good witch is trying to put a stop to magic and murder most foul.
“When Anna takes Alistair to see local veterinarian Ramona Forsythe, they meet the most famous cat in town: Ruby the Attitude Cat, spokes-feline for a pet food brand. But then Ramona turns up dead and Ruby goes missing. It seems like the murderer used magical means, so it’s up to Anna and Alistair to catch a killer and cat-napper as only a canny cat can.”
I’m really enjoying this series of books. I don’t mind the witchcraft – its presence in the story is minimal and the witches are always working for good and not evil. The star of the story is of course, Alistair, a thoroughly magical cat that can appear and disappear at will (I would love to know how to do that!). He is very important in solving the mystery, despite Anna’s frustration that he won’t do things her way. He’s a cat, after all! The mystery is totally engaging and I didn’t guess the murderer at all! The only thing negative I have is, that like the other two books, as soon as the mystery is solved, everything jumps ahead several weeks as the author is wrapping up the book. It’s a little too fast for me – after the slower pace of the story, the rapidity of the wrap-up is just too much. Slow it down, Delia! Let me savor saying goodbye to Anna and Alistair until the next book!!! I’m going to miss them!
Rating 4 out of 5 paws – fun, page-turning, and riveting cozy mystery to read on cold winter nights!!
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2014
From the dust jacket: “Every good witch needs a black cat. This is the story of one special cat and her good witch: a perfect twosome, whether they are mixing potions, growing magical plants, or dreaming of wild broomstick rides under a full moon.
“Harriet Muncaster’s warm, whimsical illustrations celebrate the playfulness of mother-daughter relationships everywhere.”
The story is very cute but what really won me over are the illustrations. They are a mix of freestanding drawings within a handmade 3-D miniature background. The drawings are ink and watercolor on heavy paper, cut out and positioned within the background. And, they are quite simply, amazing! So wonderfully artistic and detailed that each time I look at them I see something new. This is the author’s first children’s book and I certainly hope it’s not the last. The artwork will inspire many kittens (and cats, too!) to try their paw at making their own miniature scenes. This is one book we want to add to our permanent collection!!!
Rating 5 out of 5 paws because the artwork is AMAZING!!!!!
A Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014
From the dust jacket, “All the witches in witch land are afraid of humans. The human ways are so mysterious. Why do those humans go house to house every Halloween saying “Trick or treat!” just to get candy? All witches know candy tastes yucky.
“But a brave little witch doesn’t think so. Before you can say “lollipop,” little Witchling is off to experience Halloween firsthand and to go get some candy for herself! Candy, yum!”
The Halloween book is really cute with the young ‘Witchling’ discovering for herself just how yummy candy is (well, at least to people, not cats). However, the best part is the Witch’s cat – an orange tabby, Kitty, is certainly not silent or without opinion! I also loved all the little details, like, “Graveyard Barbie” complete with “cut-out graves.” Then there’s the “Easy-Bake Cauldron” where the Witchling is attempting to make Slug & Spider Stew and Kitty’s standing nearby with an empty plate! This is the kind of Halloween story I like – fun and surprising!
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because who doesn’t want to see a witches cat ride a broomstick??
Rom the back of the book: “After discovering her mystical heritage—and being adopted by a furry feline familiar Alistair—artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth and her old coven for the first time in decades.
“But being a witch doesn’t magically put money in the bank. When she’s hired to paint murals for a new coffee shop, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Annabelle and her coven to evict the restless spirit before the grand opening.
“Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus pocus. When her search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop—and a dead body—Annabelle, Alistair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer.”
With the second installment of this mystery series, I have been thoroughly won over by the author. The author constructed another excellent mystery and I truly had no idea who was the murderer until the ‘Big Reveal’. There were so many good suspects, so many threads to the mystery, I was completely mystified! I liked how the author continued Annabelle’s exploration into witchcraft – she approaches it with trepidation and a healthy dose of respect. Of course, my favorite character is Alistair – I love how he can appear and disappear at will; I wish I had the same skill! I would pop in at mom’s work every now and then just to surprise her!!
As a cozy mystery, the murder takes place way off stage and Annabelle is threatened with violence a couple of times. We meet a different policeman – who is thoroughly obnoxious and the subject of civil disobedience and drug use (pot) is brought up by a “hippie-type” couple. There’s also a budding romance which may evolve over time, but nothing untoward in that department takes place. This is a nice PG-rating-type book, that if you don’t mind reading a mystery with witches and magic, that is easy to enjoy.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws because it kept me guessing throughout the book, and that’s my favorite kind of mystery!! Book 3 will be out soon and I can’t wait!!