One Potion In The Grave – Heather Blake

One Potion in the GraveTitle: One Potion In The Grave
Series: A Magic Potion Mystery, #2
Author: Heather Blake
Published: Signet, October 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository]

From the author of the Wishcraft Mysteries

Carly Bell Hartwell’s love potions are always in demand in Hitching Post, Alabama, the wedding capital of the South.…

When Katie Sue Perrywinkle walks into the Little Shop of Potions, Carly is surprised and delighted to see her old childhood friend. Katie Sue fled her hometown and a troubled family over a decade ago. But she’s not back for a social visit. She’s come to settle a score with Senator Warren Calhoun, who is in town for his son’s high-profile wedding.

But before Katie Sue has a chance to voice any objections, she’s forced to forever hold her peace. After finding her friend dead, Carly vows to find her murderer. Were the corrupt Calhouns willing to go to any lengths to avoid a scandal? Did Katie Sue’s family take the term “bad blood” to a whole new level? And why did the bride-to-be come to Carly for a love potion? As Carly gets closer to the truth, a killer is planning a very chilly reception.…

I’ve enjoyed reading the Wishcraft Mysteries by Heather Blake.  When I saw the release of the  Magic Potion Mysteries  last year, I grabbed and devoured the first book A Potion To Die For in one setting.  I liked Carly as well as her family and friends, and when One Potion in the Grave was out last week, I bought a copy.  I’m happy to share that I like this one even more than  A Potion To Die For.

Carly was the owner of the Little Shop of Potions.  She’s a healer and she’d been using her gifts to help many people.  When her childhood friend Katie Sue Perrywinkle paid her a visit and later on found dead in the woods, Carly knew she must do something to find out why her friend was killed.  What she didn’t expect was the danger she’d be in when she started sleuthing around.  Could she uncover the truth?

I must say Carly wasn’t the smartest amateur sleuth that I’ve read but I liked how loyal she was to her family as well as her friends.  She loved coffee and anything chocolaty, and I liked that she’d get her mama some sweet pastries when she knew her mama was under stress.  It’s really fun to watch her interact with her aunts – her aunts could be extraordinary dramatic and hilarious – and I had a few good laughs when she talked with her friends, Ainsley and Caleb.

The Perrywinkles weren’t the cleverest bunch and the Calhouns?  They were calculating!  They wouldn’t mind using their money and connections to get what they wanted, and so you could imagine how frustrating Carly was when many of her potential leads turned out to be dead-ends.  There were a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and when the truth was revealed, I liked that it brought out more goods than bads – I just loved the people living in this place called Hitching Post!

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P.S. If you like stories set in a small town with people who are mostly friendly and a little quirky and wild, you’ll have an enjoyable time reading the Magic Potion Mysteries.  There is currently a book giveaway (US only) at Lori’s Reading Corner (end date: October 21).  So hop over now, and Good Luck!

Unbreakable – C C Hunter

UnbreakableTitle: Unbreakable
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark, novella
Author: C. C. Hunter
Published: St. Martin’s Griffin, September 2014
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com]

He isn’t everything he says he is.  He’s even more…

Who is Chase Tallman, the newest member of Shadow Falls? What made him into the sexy, mysterious vampire he is today? And what led him to Della Tsang?

Step back in time and unearth the secrets that haunt him.

The secret of how he became a vampire—and how he knows so much about being reborn.  Secrets about his first love, his family–and what steers him toward Della, the beautiful, complicated girl he just can’t seem to stay away from. The one who makes him want things he thought he’d given up on long ago.

It all began with a research study, a palm reader, and a plane crash that sent him on a quest…for a love that’s unbreakable.

If you’ve read Reborn,  you’d know Chase Tallman was a new student at Shadow Falls.  He’s a vampire – a sexy, mysterious one – who seemed charming, dangerous and very capable of bringing out the cranky side of Della.

In Unbreakable,  we got to see Chase before he became a vampire.  He was an ordinary teen who loved his family and had a crush on his sister’s best friend.  He was fiercely protective and I liked that he didn’t back out of awkward situations and was always ready to take a stand even when things were tough and uncomfortable.

The novella is short.  It’s about 55 pages long but it helps me see Chase at a new angle.  To be honest, I didn’t know if I wanted to get to know Chase when I read Reborn.  He seemed to be a guy with an okay personality but he didn’t sound appealing to me.  But now that I get to know him a little better, I feel more eager to pick up book two and find out if he’s really on the good side.

Can’t wait to get reconnected with Burnett, Della and their friends in October 2014…

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Sisters’ Fate – Jessica Spotswood

Sisters' FateTitle: Sisters’ Fate
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #3
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Published: Putnam Juvenile, August 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][bookdepository.com]

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

Since reading  Born Wicked,  I’ve been wondering about the kinds of awful things that might happen to turn the sisters against one another in the grand finale.  I got my answer in Sisters’ Fate.  And while it’s heartbreaking to witness all the brutality, chaos and deaths, I loved this book so much that I’d made a note in my planner to carve out time in the upcoming weeks to re-read the entire series.

The ending of Star Cursed  (book two) was agonizing.  Cate was deeply hurt and I wasn’t surprised to see her unleashing her anger in this installment.  It’s quick to see who Cate’s true friends were and I liked that we got to see some blossoming friendships among the witches living in the convent.

With Maura continued to act as though she knew what’s best for all witches, it’s not difficult to imagine how antagonistic things were among the sisters.  Tess was troubled by her nightmarish vision and when her bigger sisters kept fighting so much, she didn’t know who to turn to for comfort and support.  And it certainly didn’t help when Cate was exposed and became the most wanted witch in all of New England!  Things went downhill from there and the prophecy was ominously fulfilled, with heart-wrenching moments that made me gasp, cry and sigh.

In the end, I felt I understood all three sisters in ways I’d never expected.  They were all courageous, brave and powerful in their own way, and I felt I learned so much about sisterly bond through reading this series.

While I’d hoped to see what New England might become when Tess grew older, it’s satisfying to learn that most things ended on a hopeful note.  If I could make a wish, I’d wish that a spinoff series would be written featuring Tess as the main character.

Would you like to see more of Tess?

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Opposition – Jennifer L. Armentrout

OppositionTitle: Opposition
Series: Lux, #5
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: Entangled Teen, August 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][The Book Depository]

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

This was one of my most highly anticipated read of 2014 and I felt so relieved to share that this book not only met but exceeded my expectations!

Katy and Daemon continued to amaze me with their wits, charms and oh-so-sarcastic remarks.  It was really fun to see them in action and I liked the way they bantered.  There were a few romantic scenes that were steamy and sweet and I liked that this pair never ceased to love one another despite the awful circumstances that they were in.

I also liked how things were unfolded in this installment.  The pacing was fast and there were a few wacky, unexpected surprises.  I liked that the theme of true loyalty was explored.  I knew the Luxen, human and Origin had their own agenda, but it still shocked me to see how cruelty, selfishness and vengeance could be played out in such monstrosity in the story.  It was sad to see all the hardship that Katy had to deal with, and I was just happy that in the epilogue she had plenty of the bookish stuff that she loved, including a brand new shiny red MacBook!

If you adored Daemon, you wouldn’t want to miss what he came up with to stop his race from destroying Earth.  And you surely wouldn’t want to miss what he did to make sure that Katy could stay safe and sound in the end.  Read Opposition,  and you’ll see why this series has reached #4 on the New York Times YA series list in August 2014.  And don’t forget to go here to read the special post that Armentrout had for all her Lux fans.

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Some Enchanted Éclair – Bailey Cates

Some Enchanted EclairTitle: Some Enchanted Éclair
Series: A Magical Bakery Mystery, #4
Author: Bailey Cates
Published: Signet, July 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository]

FLOUR POWER

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…

I was in the mood for some cozy mysteries, and when I saw the cute book covers of this series, I couldn’t resist but purchased all four books at once.

The stories are fun to read.  Here, we have Katie Lightfoot, a baker who discovers the truth about her heritage in book one, Brownies and Broomsticks, and gradually learns to embrace her special abilities as the series unfolds.  In Some Enchanted Éclair,  Katie learns that helping a fixer to fix things up can be a precursor of ominous consequences.  Can she help to find the killer without getting herself into more trouble?

I like Katie.  She is hardworking, intelligent and intuitive.  While she still has some resistance towards her witch-y destiny, she doesn’t let that ruin her everyday life.  It’s fun to see her bake, serve customers at the register, and go running with her dog, Mungo, while pondering on what she can come up with to solve the crime.  And when she employs her abilities to make things right, I love that she offers everything she has wholeheartedly and with zero hesitation.

This installment is slightly different from the previous books.  There aren’t as much witch-y action but there’s a big surprise revealed that both shocked and amazed me when I learned about the details.  I don’t want to spoil the fun here but I think the effect of this big surprise will linger and we’ll learn more about it in the upcoming installments.

If you love Cairn terriers, you’ll love Mungo the Magnificent.  He’s Katie’s familiar and he’s such a cute little dog.  He likes human food and would actually throw looks of dismay when dry kibbles were served!  As you can imagine, he adds a lot of joy to the series.

Although each book has a mystery of its own, I think you’ll enjoy the story a lot more if you read the books from the very beginning.  I especially enjoyed the character development in book two, Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti and book three, Charms and Chocolate Chips but if you’re looking for a plot that’s entertaining and pleasurable to read, don’t miss Some Enchanted Éclair.

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Eternal Dawn – Rebecca Maizel

Eternal DawnTitle: Eternal Dawn
Series: Vampire Queen, #3
Author: Rebecca Maizel
Published: Macmillan Children’s Book, July 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.co.uk][the book depository]

Lenah has sacrificed everything — including the love of her soulmate Rhode — to save Rhode and the world from a vampire plague. But when the only good vampire left is murdered, she knows she must avenge his death. The problem is that the murderer is her former boyfriend, Justin, who has not only become a vampire himself, but one of the most evil she has ever encountered. Lenah knows she will have to kill him in order to save her twenty-first-century friends, but can she do it? The answer is clearer when she discovers that Justin’s taken her beloved Rhode hostage and is slowly turning him into a vampire too. But Rhode no longer remembers Lenah, and killing anyone is now against her nature. Will the heartbreak of seeing Rhode corrupted lead her to take a path from which she may never be able to return?

What a beautiful conclusion to one of my favorite series!

At the end of Stolen Nights,  Lenah thought her sacrifice – her separation from Rhode and her departure from the twenty-first century – would be enough.  In Eternal Dawn,  she found that things weren’t moving in a merry direction and her twenty-first-century-friends were in huge trouble.  Could she help to make things right for her friends?

It was great to see Lenah reunited with her friends.  I was particularly surprised by an old face that I thought I’d never see again, and I loved how Lenah chose to be honest and share what she knew upfront with her friends in this installment.  She surely had grown up a lot in this series!  No longer pettish, she earned respect from those who were wise (and powerful) and I was happy that she got to be reacquainted with Rhode.

Rhode seemed a bit more boyish in this installment.  Probably because he had no memory of his past, he seemed less experienced.  While his nature as a warrior had never changed, he was less sure of what he could do when he was being thrown into the midst of chaos and violence.  I liked that he was still noble but it’s a little disconcerting to see him in a helpless state when he was being taken as hostage.

I’d never liked Justin but still, I was pretty shocked when I discovered how evil he’d become.  I guess I’d never assumed him being capable of brutal torture and killing.  Anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you, as he was the evil of all evils here.

Events from the past were weaved into the story to give us a better picture of why things were what they were in this installment but I did have to look up a few things from the previous books to refresh my memory.

Overall, I loved Eternal Dawn.  And I’d recommend this series to all vampire fans.

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