Publication Date: 11/05/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Bailey Cates on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Books in the series:
Brownies and Broomsticks (2012), Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti (2012), Charms and Chocolate Chips (2013)
Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from Charms and Chocolate Chips, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
A HALF-BAKED HEX
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 the third book in Bailey Cates' Magical Bakery Mystery series. This is a culinary cozy with a magical twist. Cates not only teases the readers taste buds but she also takes them on an adventure into the life of hedgewitch, Katie Lightfoot. The paranormal elements in this book are light and centered around the ancient tales of "green" witches who used the earth elements to help their family and neighbors in times past. Cates does a fantastic job of creating a magical atmosphere that is both believable and enchanting.
The Magical Bakery series is one of my favorites. There are many different types of paranormal cozies on the market today from ghosts to psychics and everything in between. Cates' approach to magic is a little different and in my opinion very unique. She takes the crafts of kitchen magic and earth magic from the old days and brings them into a modern setting. It's not white magic vs. black magic, but green magic, more along the lines of wicca or what my grandfather would call, herb magic. I liked all of the information imparted by the author into each of these books. Katie is coming more into her own in the third book, Charms and Chocolate Chips, in that she is learning to use her magic more effectively. I think Cates' series is one of the more interesting of those out there right now with magical themes.
Cates does a great job of not only adding in those magical elements but making them a part of characters as well as her story. Katie is such a great character. When we first met her in Brownies and Broomsticks she had no idea that she had hedgewitch magic in her family or that she had the ability to work that kind of magic herself. She has grown a lot throughout the series and Cates continues to expand her knowledge and abilities. Katie is entertaining and relies on her aunt and uncle to help her with the Honeybee Bakery and her witchy abilities.
In Charms and Chocolate Chips Cates adds another very interesting element to the mix. Katie is volunteering with a conservation group called, Georgia Wild. I loved all of the information about the animals that Georgia Wild was trying to help and how land management is used to help conserve wild environments and habitats. I thought Cates did a wonderful job with this aspect of the story and it added a lot to the story, especially with the head of the group being the murder victim.
The mystery was definitely engaging and kept my interest. The beginning of the book however was bit slow. When you get on into it, it picks up and starts to come together, but the beginning was a little shaky and not as interesting as most of Cates' lead ins. But stick with it and you'll find it a very good read. There was lots of interesting information about magic and conservation. I loved the origami birds that the killer leaves and thought that was a great touch.
Katie's personal life also has some ups and downs in this book that will have readers sighing. Declan, Katie's sexy firefighter boyfriend is at the center of Katie's love life struggles in this book. Declan is a reoccurring character that fans of the series have grown to love, but he isn't the only person drawing some of Katie's attention and that adds a more personal aspect to the story.
Overall this a good book. It has a bit of a slow pace in the beginning, but redeems itself with a great ending, a wonderful Georgia setting. Enough information on magic and conservation to keep it interesting and some great suspects and motives. It's up to Katie and gang to figure it all out and it's up to readers to to try to figure out where Katie goes from here. The recipes in the back are scrumptious. I love chocolate chips in just about anything, don't you?
Charms and Chocolate Chips is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Bailey Cates believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. She studied philosophy, English and history and has held a variety of positions ranging from driver's license examiner to soap maker. She traveled the world as a localization program manager for Microsoft, but now sticks close to home where she writes two mystery series, tends to a dozen garden beds, bakes up a storm and plays the occasional round of golf.
Having apprenticed with a master herbalist for a year, she's prone to concocting teas and tinctures for family and friends from the stash of herbs stored in the corner cabinet in her office. She owns a working spinning wheel and is on a first name basis with several alpacas and two sheep with questionable dispositions.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Charms and Chocolate Chips by Bailey Cates.
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