The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) by Karen Hawkins

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Pages: 369

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: July 30, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am ashamed to admit I have had this on my NetGalley account for almost a year. The excerpt was intriguing but it seemed every time I started to read the book I lost interest. It is personal. I have a parent who is showing signs of dementia and I had a hard time reading about Mama G. Finally during this time of social distancing I opened up the book and was entranced. It was still hard to read regarding dementia but it actually helped me process what I am going through.

The book is filled with a little magic, a little romance and a lot of agapae love. You find yourself believing things will be alright in the grand scheme of things. Faith in yourself and others will get you through most anything.

I agree with a few other reviews I’ve read that the ending felt rushed but that was ok. It is kind of like real life in that we have months that are filled to capacity with things and other months that are not.

I am ready to read the next book in the series which I believe may be coming out this summer.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher, Gallery Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. Prepare to fall under its spell.

Verse and Vengeance (A Magical Bookshop #4) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 260

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: December 10, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

My favorite of the series so far.

A fast-paced read with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing until the end. Verse and Vengeance had me stumped on the killer right up to the reveal. I thought I was pretty good at guessing the killers but I was proved wrong.

Even after four books, I’m still intrigued by a magical bookstore. I’ve often wished I could visit Violet and her store to see what book it would pick for me.

Even if you aren’t a fan of the paranormal or magical world but love cozies you have to give this series a try. I’ll think you will be surprised how fast you will fall in love with Cascade Springs.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley:

With the help of Walt Whitman’s works, magical bookshop owner Violet Waverly puts her pedal to the metal to sleuth a bicycle-race murder that tests her mettle.

A bicycle race is not Charming Books proprietor Violet Waverly’s idea of a pleasant pastime. But police chief David Rainwater wheelie wants them to enter the Tour de Cascade as a couple, so she reluctantly consents.

The Tour de Cascade is the brainchild of Violet’s Grandma Daisy. The race is a fundraiser to build the Cascade Springs Underground Railroad Museum. But not everyone in this Niagara Region village supports the race. As if the bike race weren’t tiring enough, pesky private investigator Joel Redding is snooping around Charming Books. It takes all of Violet’s and Grandma Daisy’s ingenuity to keep Redding from discovering the shop’s magical essence–which communicates with Violet through books.

When Redding perishes in an accident during the race, David discovers that the brake line of the private eye’s bike was cut. Worse, Violet tops his list of suspects. As Emerson the tuxedo cat and resident crow Faulkner look on, Charming Books steers Violet to the works of Walt Whitman to solve the crime. But no other names ring a bell as culprits, and as David’s investigation picks up speed, Violet will have to get in gear to clear her name.

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber

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Pages: 329

Publisher: Forge Books

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Bookbub:

Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Cafe.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the cafe and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

My Review:

Evocative. Magical. Heartbreaking. Hopeful.

A beautiful novel that will move you to your core. Heather Webber is a fresh voice to women’s fiction. You will want to eat this novel up in one sitting but I promise you it is worth taking your time and savoring every bite. Let the story seep into your soul and fulfill you.

Fans of Southern fiction will not want to miss this. I am already missing my time at the Blackbird Cafe.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Root of Magic by Kathleen Benner Duble

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Pages: 216

Publisher: Random House Children’s Publishing

Published: June 11, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Willow knows the unknown is scary. Especially when your little brother has been sick for a long time and nobody has been able to figure out why. All Willow wants is for her brother to get better and for her life to go back to normal.

But after a bad stroke of luck, Willow and her family find themselves stranded in an unusual town in the middle of nowhere and their life begins to change in the most unexpected way. Willow soon discovers that the town isn’t just unusual—it’s magical—and the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined.

Will Willow find that this could be the secret to saving her family—or discover that the root of magic could lead them to something greater?

My Review:

Would you want to know what each day would bring before it happened? This is the question Willow must answer when a terrifying accident brings her and her family to Kismet, Maine.

The Root of Magic is a story filled with the wonders of magic, love, and acceptance of yourself and others.

Appropriate for children of ages 8 – 12. There is no foul language and no sex (a first kiss only). It would make a great read-aloud for families. Discussions will abound.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Random House Children’s Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Murders and Metaphors (Magical Bookshop #3) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 12, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.

NetGalley: Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.

Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’sLittle Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case inMurders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.

Book 3 in the Magical Bookshop series is a smash hit! Full of well developed and diverse characters with plenty of charm and wit. Just enough magic sprinkled throughout to make one believe in magic again. The right amount of romance with no love triangle, YAY!

Little Women is the book chosen to help Violet solve the murder and I am impressed how it was woven into the story. It has fueled my excitement to re-read Little Women. In fact, I have already requested a copy from the library.

Until this book, I have never heard of ice wine or the ice wine festival so my interest is piqued and I am looking forward to researching this interesting festival. Do I see a future vacation?

Fans of books about books and bookshops will love this cozy mystery series.

Books in Order:
1. Crime and Poetry
2. Prose and Cons
3. Murder and Metaphors

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Death and Daisies (A Magical Garden #2) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 248 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: November 13, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fiona is putting the finishing touches on her Climbing Rose Flower Shop and working on making Duncreigan her own cottage. Her baby sister has flown over from Nashville to “find herself” after college. Fiona is also learning that not everyone in town is welcoming her with open arms. Minister MacCullen thinks she is trouble like her godfather and wants nothing to do with her or her business. After one of worst storms to hit the area in decades the minister is found washed up on the beach. Will Fiona’s new love, Chief Inspector Craig, suspect her once again?

In book two of the Magic Garden Mystery series we seem to jump right back in to Fiona’s life. I love when you can open a book and feel like you never left. Just as the first book, it was a fast-paced read that you do not want to put down. Fiona is still strong and a take no prisoners kind of gal. My judgment is still out on the addition of her sister Isla. She adds to the story but she can be whiny to the point I want her to go back to Nashville.

There is some magic in the book with the garden and Fiona being able to see visions but the magic is more background. It doesn’t overshadow the mystery.

I would definitely suggest you read this series in order so you don’t ruin the surprises each book offers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Flowers and Foul Play (A Magic Garden Mystery #1) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: May 8, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fiona left Nashville, TN behind and all the memories, good and bad, of her rotten ex-fiancé. Her godfather left her his cottage in Scotland and she travels there to see what life has in store. Finding a dead body in the cottage garden within an hour of arrival is not what she was expecting. Fingers point to her because she is not Scottish but as clues start being pieced together the list of suspects is long and intriguing.

I adored this book! Fiona is one of the best female sleuths out there in cozy mysteries. She pulls herself up by her bootstraps and keeps on trucking. After being jilted by her fiancé for the cake decorator she flies by herself to Scotland, rents a car, drives and finds a dead body and she still does not run home and hide. Instead she starts investigating not knowing anyone in her new home. I am not sure I would have been brave enough to travel to a foreign country by myself much less investigate a murder on my own. She is caring, loving and genuine. You will find yourself a little in awe of her.

I am so excited for this new series. I usually do not read cozy mysteries set outside of the USA as I find them sometimes filled with too much detail explaining the customs and beliefs of the country it takes place in but Amanda Flower puts just the right amount of detail in the story not to be overwhelming. I am enchanted with the beauty she describes of the countryside in Scotland.

Magic is touched upon lightly throughout the book and makes it very interesting to see how it will unfold. I love the idea of a garden that blooms and rejuvenates on its own. Can you imagine watching such beauty unfold?

I don’t think you will be able to put this down once you start. I am interested to hear your thoughts once you grab a copy and lose yourself in the beauty of Scotland.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.