31 October 2013

Ghosts and witches and magic, oh, my!

In celebration of All Hallows' Eve, I'm reviewing two books with paranormal themes.   Enjoy!

Charms and Chocolate Chips (Magical Bakery #3) by Bailey Cates (Obsidian mass market, 5 November 2013).

Katie Lightfoot is settling nicely into life in Savannah.  She's made some friends (especially the members of her "book club"), is volunteering at a local conservation non-profit, and  her relationship with firefighter Declan McCarthy is progressing nicely.  She's concentrating on developing her craft (both as a baker and as a witch), and hoping not to stumble over any more dead bodies.

Unfortunately, the latter wish doesn't come true.  She arrives at the offices of Georgia Wild for her volunteer shift and finds her friend Wren in shock after discovering another volunteer sprawled across her desk, obviously dead, probably murdered. 

Katie feels compelled to investigate the killing, not only because of her association with  Georgia Wild, but also because she senses that dark arts might be involved. 

The third installment in this series lives up to the standards of the first two.  We learn much more about Katie's history, and why she's still a novice witch.  As always, there are detailed (and tempting) descriptions of food and cooking, and recipes for some of Katie's concoctions are included.

The Thrill of the Haunt (Haunted Guesthouse #5) by E.J. Copperman  (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 5 November 2012).

Alison Kerby's guesthouse is doing quite well, despite the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy, thanks to her agreement with the tour company whose clients want to stay in a haunted house.  Her hopes that she won't have to make use of her P.I. license are dashed when a homeless man is killed soon after asking her to help him get rid of the ghosts that are haunting him.  A longtime nemesis of hers insists that Alison investigate the man's death, because obviously it resulted from Alison's declining his request.

Meanwhile, a strange woman checks into the guesthouse just to ask Alison to prove her husband is cheating on her. Another guest wants to rid the house of evil ghostly spirits, and Alison has a tough time convincing her that her ghosts aren't evil, and she doesn't want them exorcised.

At the same time, she's renovating the game room, raising her daughter, and trying to establish her budding relationship with her childhood friend Josh.  Yes, Alison is feeling a little overwhelmed, and she finds herself taking her frustrations out on resident ghosts Maxie and Paul. 

Once again, E.J. Copperman has concocted an absorbing story of the normal, abnormal and paranormal, laced with humor and charm. 

FTC full disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for review copies of the books. 

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