Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Goodbye Witch

The Goodbye Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery, #4)The Goodbye Witch by Heather Blake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Darcy's best friend Starla rushes in to As You Wish, panic-stricken because she's just seen her ex-husband for the first time since he tried to kill her two years ago, Darcy is determined to keep her friend safe. The trouble is, no one else can see Kyle, and how do you defend against someone you can't see? While Darcy's police chief boyfriend focuses on locating the fugitive, Darcy turns her attention to puzzling out why Kyle has suddenly reappeared after all this time. As with everything in this magical village, all is not as it seems, and unraveling the secrets to uncover the truth can be painful in more ways than one.

This is my favorite book in the series so far. The character development is especially strong for a cozy mystery, and I really enjoyed the relationships between all the major and even the minor characters. I admit, I was teary-eyed on more than one occasion! Bring on book #5!

For readers' advisors: character and story are both strong. There is no sex, bad language, or on-screen violence. There is magic, however, as most of the main characters are witches or related to witches. Contemporary setting--a magic-themed neighborhood of Salem, Massachusetts.

View all my reviews

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Mill River Redemption

The Mill River Redemption: A NovelThe Mill River Redemption: A Novel by Darcie Chan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the early 1980s, Josie DiSanti flees to Mill River with her two young daughters after they lose everything in a house fire, including Josie's husband.  The trio takes refuge with Josie's aunt, a lovely, generous woman Josie barely knows, and they begin to rebuild their lives.  Twenty or so years later, a tragic accident breaks the bonds of sisterhood.  A decade goes by in icy silence, until their mother's will forces Rose and Emily to live side by side one summer and work together to solve the clues to unlock their inheritance.

It's easy to get hooked into this story and the lives of these characters.  The nonlinear storytelling keeps readers in suspense for much of the novel, wondering what exactly happened the night of the fire and how is it possible that two sisters went from being devoted confidants to mortal enemies?  Eventually I did get a little impatient and wished Chan would hurry it up and tell the backstory faster, as she alternated between the early '80s and present day for most of the book.

The road to Rose's alcoholism was paved with Josie's good intentions, and my heart broke for them even as I inwardly groaned and chided her for focusing too much time on her career--a completely understandable series of mistakes that predictably snowballed into a giant mess.

I haven't yet read the first of the Mill River books--Mill River Recluse--so I'm not sure how much the characters overlap, but I got the feeling with this novel that the secondary storylines must have picked up where they left off in the first book.   I'm hoping the same is true in the next book, since it seemed like there was still more story to tell.

For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, primarily.  No on-screen sex, but a little bit of bad language.  Many thanks to NetGalley for the free ebook copy I received in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews