Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: 'It Takes a Witch' by Heather Blake

✰✰✰✰ After the recent death of their father, Darcy Merriweather and her little sister, Harper, need a change. When their only living relative, Aunt Ve, invites them to live with her in the Enchanted Village in Salem, Massachusetts, they jump at the opportunity. It seems they never got to know their mom very well and after joining the family business, Darcy and Harper learn a family secret. They come from a long line of witches known as Wishcrafters, who have the power to grant wishes with spells. What could possibly be better?

As Darcy and Harper take new jobs and get to know the residents, they quickly discover that things aren't so rosy in this magic-themed tourist town. With a pickpocketer running amok, more trouble soon arrives in the form of a dead body. When the obvious clues point to Aunt Ve and her beau, Darcy pushes her newfound abilities to the max. Meanwhile, a handsome widower mysteriously appears every step of the way as Darcy follows the twists and turns of this charming mystery to a surprising conclusion.

The Bottom Line: This supernatural cozy mystery is a quick read. After finishing the first installment, I can't wait to read the rest. Highly recommended for fans of cozy mysteries who enjoy a little romance as well. This would be fun to take to the beach or on vacation.

Details: It Takes a Witch: A Wishcraft Mystery by Heather Blake. Paperback published by OBSIDIAN in 2012. 320 p. ISBN: 978-0-451-23552-7 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Book Review: 'Night of the Living Deed' by E. J. Copperman

✰✰✰½ Alison Kerby is a recently divorced, single mom looking for a change. Deciding to follow her dream, she purchases a large Victorian house on the Jersey shore. With lots of hard work and determination, she plans to turn it into a guesthouse. However, when an accident leaves Alison with the ability to see and talk to ghosts, Alison suddenly has a problem. Her house is haunted!

The ghosts that occupy Alison's house insist they were murdered, and they won't leave Alison alone until she solves the mystery. As the deadline for completing the renovations looms near, Alison starts receiving threatening emails. With the safety of her daughter and herself at risk, will Alison be able to solve the mystery in time? Check out this quirky, spooky mystery to find out.

The Bottom Line: This is the first book of the entertaining Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries. It's the perfect pick for weekend or beach reading. Recommended for fans of cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist.

Details: Night of the Living Deed (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery) by E. J. Copperman. Paperback published by Berkley in 2010. 336 p. ISBN: 978-0-425-23523-2 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: 'Putting on the Witch' by Joyce & Jim Lavene

✰✰✰✰½ It's Brian's birthday, and the coven is invited to a Witches Ball. It's the opportunity of a lifetime to get glammed up and visit a magnificent, magical castle in an undisclosed location. It's also a great time to put their worries aside. With the troubling arrival of Dorothy's notoriously wicked father, the search for their missing spell book has gone cold.

The festivities are just beginning when Molly, Elsie, and Dorothy arrive. Unbeknownst to them Dorothy's ghostly mother, Olivia, has tagged along as well. It's all fun until a member of the Grand Council of Witches turns up dead. The obvious suspects are the members of our favorite coven. As they set out to clear their name, the castle is locked down for twenty-four hours and a real Spanish Inquisitor is released to conduct an investigation. With time running out, the coven must quickly solve the mystery before anyone else gets hurt or the wrong person is blamed. It seems the clock is ticking all too quickly.

The Bottom Line: The third installment in the Retired Witches Mysteries is a house party style cozy that will keep you guessing with lots of twists and turns. Fans of paranormal cozies will enjoy this quick weekend read. Highly recommended for young adults too.

Details: Putting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mysteries) by Joyce & Jim Lavene. Paperback published by Berkley Prim Crime in 2016. 304 p. ISBN: 978-0-425-26827-8 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review: 'Cinderella Skeleton' by Robert D. San Souci

✰✰✰✰½ Boneyard Acres is home to Cinderella Skeleton, her evil stepmother, and two evil stepsisters. Cinderella Skeleton is forced to do all the housework. When it is time for the Halloween Ball, she begs to go. All the girls want to win Prince Charnel’s heart. Unfortunately Cinderella is forced to stay at home until a good witch agrees to help her get to the ball. She leaves with a warning that everything will change back at the break of day.

Cinderella Skeleton causes a stir at the ball. Everyone is intrigued by this beauty, but she remembers the warning to late. As she rushes to return home on time, she leaves behind a clue. Prince Charnel has been charmed. He searches high and low for his mystery guest. Will the Prince ever find his true love? Will Cinderella Skeleton ever be free of chores? Check out this spooky treat to find out. 

The Bottom Line: This ghoulish retelling of a classic fairy tale with rhyming verses will delight kids in grades 2 – 4. Catrow’s dreamy illustrations in watercolors and pencil are spooktacular and vivid. This visual treat is highly recommended. 

Details: Cinderella Skeleton written by Robert D. San Souci & illustrated by David Catrow. Hardcover picture book published by Silver Whistle in 2000. 32 p. ISBN: 0-15-2002003-9 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Book Review: 'Zombelina' by Kristyn Crow

✰✰✰½ Zombelina is an adorable little zombie girl who loves dancing. She boogies with bats and glides like a ghost. When she gets carried away, her mom drops her off at dance class. Unfortunately, things don’t go so well. Her human classmates don’t like her, but she practices every day anyway.

When the day of the recital arrives, Zombelina freezes. She can’t dance. When someone screams, Zombelina’s classmates and the audience flee. Wondering what to do, she hears a familiar sound. Finally, with her family there, Zombelina gives a dance performance to remember.

The Bottom Line: This is the charming tale of a little girl who just loves to dance. Told in rhyming verse with colorful illustrations, children ages 4 – 8 will enjoy this tale with a spooky setting.

Details: Zombelina written by Kristyn Crow & illustrated by Molly Idle. Hardcover picture book published by Walker Books for Young Readers in 2013. 32 p. ISBN: 978-0-8027-2803-6

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Book Review: 'The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything' by Linda Williams

✰✰✰✰ One autumn afternoon, a little old lady set out to collect herbs and nuts. She walked and walked until it began to get dark. Along the way she encountered the CLOMP, CLOMP of a pair of shoes; the WIGGLE, WIGGLE of a pair of pants, and the SHAKE, SHAKE of a shirt. Even though the little old lady was not afraid of anything, she ran home and locked the door behind her. Then she heard a KNOCK, KNOCK at her door. Will the little old lady, who is not afraid of anything, open the door? Read the book to find out.

The Bottom Line: Check out this version of the classic tale at your local library. This is a cumulative story about bravery with a clever twist ending. Kids ages 4 – 8 will be enchanted by the folksy watercolor illustrations. Recommended for seasonal storytime reading.

Details: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything written by Linda Williams & illustrated by Megan Lloyd. Hardcover picture book published by HarperCollins Publishers in 1986. 32 p. ISBN: 978-0-690-04584-0 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review: 'A Very Brave Witch' by Alison McGhee

✰✰✰✰ Witches are afraid of humans, but one brave little witch isn’t. She has done her homework, and one Halloween night she decides to fly in for a closer look to see what the human are up to. Humans do have some strange habits. When she decides to fly in for an even closer look, she bumps in to a real little girl. Though both are a tiny bit afraid of each other, they soon become fast friends.

The Bottom Line: This easy to read picture book is perfect for little ones who are a bit shy about making friends. McGhee’s gentle story about overcoming differences along with Bliss’ engaging illustrations will appeal to kids in grades PreK – K. Enthusiastically recommended for story time reading too.

Details: A Very Brave Witch written by Alison McGhee & illustrated by Harry Bliss. Hardcover picture book published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/ A Paula Wiseman Book in2006. 32 p. ISBN: 978-0-689-86730-9