Reading Wrap-Up {1}

Hey, there! So, some changes are coming to my blog. Book of Secrets is at a crossroads, should I quit or do something different? I love reading and books more than ever, but writing reviews – not so much.

I’ve decided that most of the books I read will just get a super-quick mention in a “Reading Wrap-Up” post every few weeks, monthly, or longer. Books I’ve received for review will probably get a separate post, though there will probably be fewer of those in the future. I’ve been utilizing the library more and more for new releases, as opposed to requesting them from NetGalley, etc. (Though I still have plenty of NetGalley & Edelweiss books to get through!) Anyway, I hope this new system works. I’d hate to give up 5½ years of blog work!!

Without further ado, here is my reading wrap-up (for non-review books) for the past several weeks (click on the title to find on Goodreads):

WutheringHeightsNovel

Wuthering Heights
by Emily Bronte
★★★★★

“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” Now that’s my kind of love story. A tad melodramatic, sure, but dang. Haunting, haunting.

 

MagicAndMacaroonsMagic and Macaroons
by Bailey Cates
★★★★½

This is book five in the Magical Bakery series, and it was just as wonderful as the previous ones. I loved meeting the infamous voodoo queens of Savannah. A strong mystery with a dash of witchy woo-woo.

 

WhereTheyFoundHerWhere They Found Her
by Kimberly McCreight
★★★★★

One of my favorites this year. It’s told from the point of view of three women, Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, who become entangled in the mysterious death of an infant. Strong characters, intriguing psychological suspense, and a fantastic ending. Loved it!

 

BonesOfYouThe Bones of You
by Debbie Howells
★★★★

This was a dark and chilling tale, partially narrated by the murder victim postmortem. Fast paced and multi-layered mystery. I enjoyed the small English village setting too.

 

JaneEmilyJane-Emily
by Patricia Clapp
★★★½

The malevolent ghost of a hateful girl haunts young Jane and her Aunt Louisa. This is a Gothic classic first published in 1969. The story is set in Massachusetts around the turn of the last century. Spooky in parts, but nothing too scary. Lots of drama, and some romance too.

 

RuinFallsRuin Falls
by Jenny Milchman
★★★★½

I swear I had a knot in my stomach the whole time I was reading this book. So suspenseful!! While on a family vacation, Liz Daniels wakes up to find her children are missing. Many layers to this mystery, and Liz is reluctant to trust anyone. Milchman’s first book was okay, while this one was great.

Book Review: SOME ENCHANTED ECLAIR by Bailey Cates

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Series: A Magical Bakery Mystery, #4
Publisher: Signet
Released: July 1, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


When Hollywood invades Savannah’s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches’ coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie’s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie’s “fixer” fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy.

But when someone fixes the fixer—permanently—and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects…before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor…


SOME ENCHANTED ECLAIR is my favorite so far in the Magical Bakery Mystery series. Baker and witch Katie Lightfoot gets wrapped up in another murder mystery, this time on the set of a Revolutionary War movie being filmed in Savannah.

The murder victim was a “fixer,” as in he was in charge of fixing personal and professional problems for the cast and crew, which means he had some interesting connections, and knew a lot of dirt on a lot of people. The movie’s big star has a personal psychic who tells Katie that she’s meant to find the murderer, and luckily she’s got her Spellbook Club coven to help out.

This was a puzzling mystery with just the right amount of paranormal intrigue. Katie learns a little more about her powers and why she seems to be a magnet to murder mysteries. Katie’s boyfriend Declan gets a big surprise from a long lost family member in a rather amazing way. I can’t wait to see what happens with this new revelation. I felt like I got to know the Spellbook Club members more in this book, and I enjoyed seeing their characters develop.

I love this series, and it just keeps getting better and better! Highly recommended to fans of light paranormal and culinary cozy mysteries.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: CHARMS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS by Bailey Cates

CharmsChocolateChips
Series: A Magical Bakery Mystery, #3
Publisher: Signet
Released: November 5, 2013
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Between brewing magically spiced treats at Honeybee Bakery and volunteering with a local conservation group, Katie Lightfoot barely has time to see her firefighter boyfriend, Declan McCarthy, much less delve further into her destiny as a witch. But avoiding her fate won’t be as easy as whipping up a new recipe—especially when Katie finds herself once again mixed up in murder.

When a fellow volunteer for the conservation group is found dead, Katie’s mystical senses tell her that there’s more to the death than meets the eye. Her suspicions are confirmed when members of her coven are targeted next. Katie will have to embrace her powers quickly…or she may find herself chewed up and spit out by some serious black magic.

 ———

CHARMS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS is a delightful continuation of the Magical Bakery Mystery series. This time around, Katie is faced with murky, woo woo filled swamps, endangered bats, and the mysterious murder of a local environmentalist.

First, I’ll get my complaint out of the way. In the first two books, Katie was being wooed by firefighter Declan and Druid/reporter Steve. She’s finally made her choice, and she picked the wrong guy! That’s strictly my opinion, of course. 😉 I’m still holding onto a glimmer of hope for my man.

Katie is a recent transplant to Savannah, and a lot has happened in her life since her arrival. She’s running an enchanted bakery with her aunt and uncle, practicing her craft as a hedge-witch, and becoming a skilled amateur sleuth. Katie also discovered that she is a light-witch and magical catalyst, which she’s having a hard time with. Basically, she must fight evil, and wrong situations seem to find her so she can right them.

The murder mystery in this book grabbed my attention. I really enjoyed the environmental angle, and the subtle magical elements too. When a volunteer at a the conservation group Georgia Wild is murdered, Katie is compelled to help track down her killer. The group is trying to stop a land development deal of a swamp from going through which threatens the habitat of an endangered, possibly extinct, bat. There were plenty of viable suspects, and though I picked out the killer early on, I wasn’t clear on the “why” until the end.

Katie is a down-to-earth, sensible character who’s doing a fine job as a newbie in the world of magic. She’s still very confused over the light-witch revelation (me too), and I’m hoping that gets explained better in the next book. Sweet Aunt Lucy and the rest of the Spellbook Club (a.k.a. Katie’s coven) play a big role in this story. I don’t know why, but I still have a hard time keeping track of who’s who, even after three books! I was a little annoyed with coven member Cookie this time. She was cold and distant to Katie the whole book, and her reason was kind of silly.

Overall, I enjoyed CHARMS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Exciting mystery, enchanting setting, and bewitched baked goods. Looking forward to Katie’s next adventure.

Rating: 4 Stars

Book Review: BEWITCHED, BOTHERED, AND BISCOTTI by Bailey Cates

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Series: A Magical Bakery Mystery, #2
Publisher: Signet
Released: December 31, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher

As a new witch—not to mention owner of Savannah’s most enchanting bakery—Katie Lightfoot is still getting used to casting spells, brewing potions, and mastering her magical powers. But that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to enjoy a picnic with firefighter Declan McCarthy…until she stumbles upon a corpse.

The dead man’s tattoo reveals he was a member of a secret society—and it turns out he’s missing an object that was very important to the group. When Katie learns the killer was after more than the man’s life, she and her Aunt Lucy leave the baked goods on the rack to cool and set off in hot pursuit of a killer.

———

BEWITCHED, BOTHERED, AND BISCOTTI is the second book in the Magical Bakery Mystery series, and I enjoyed it even more than the first.

Katie Lightfoot is settling in as co-owner of Honeybee Bakery in Savannah, and getting used to her new found magical powers. While having a lovely breakfast picnic in the park, Katie and Declan (one of her two love interests) find a dead body.

The deceased man’s mysterious tattoo fascinates Katie, and with help from her other love interest, Steve, she finds out he belonged to a super secret group of powerful (and misogynistic) druids. She also learns that the man’s killer may be planning something darker and more dangerous when some important books from his library go missing.

Katie and the witchy ladies from the Spellbook Club reluctantly join forces with the devious druids to catch the killer.

The mystery in this book was a bit darker and more complex than the first book, and it really drew me in. Magic in this story was explored on a deeper level as well, though Katie used her smarts, not magic, to figure out the culprit.

The Declan-Katie-Steve love triangle continues, and Katie doesn’t seem any closer to deciding who she wants most, though readers get to learn much more about Steve in this book. (I’m really liking Steve.)

BEWITCHED, BOTHERED, AND BISCOTTI is a must read for fans of paranormal cozy mysteries. I can’t wait for the next in the series!

Rating: 4½ Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: BROWNIES AND BROOMSTICKS by Bailey Cates

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Series: A Magical Bakery Mystery, #1
Publisher: Signet
Released: May 1, 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher

Katie Lightfoot’s tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah’s quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy’s cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren’t just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben’s name and find the real killer..

———

Tired of her unfulfilling job in Ohio, Katie Lightfoot packs up her possessions and heads south to Savannah. The opportunity to work with her aunt and uncle in their new bakery is too good to pass up. Just days before their grand opening, a woman is murdered just outside the bakery – a woman that Katie’s dear Uncle Ben had just argued with. When a witness says a man fitting Ben’s description was at the scene of the crime, the police make him the prime suspect.

Knowing that her kindhearted uncle could never harm anyone, Katie starts her own investigation of the murder. With the help of Aunt Lucy and the members of her unusual book club, as well as a sexy newspaper reporter named Steve and a hunky fireman named Declan, Katie uncovers several possible suspects that all wanted the deceased out of the way. But the most shocking thing Katie learns is that Aunt Lucy is a witch, and magical abilities run in the family.

BROWNIES AND BROOMSTICKS is an enchanting start to a new cozy mystery series. There was much I liked about this story: unique characters, a bakery full of tempting treats, an intriguing mystery, and the perfect location for all of this – Savannah, Georgia. There’s even the start of a complicated love triangle! Steve and Declan have bad blood between them, but they both take a strong liking to new-girl-in-town Katie. I enjoyed the magical aspects of the story, including information on the craft and spell casting. This is a light and fun paranormal cozy, and I will definitely go forward with the series.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.