Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Spell Booked

Spell Booked (Retired Witches - Book 1) by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 042526825X
ISBN-13: 978-0425268254

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Joyce and Jim Lavene on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, Spell Booked, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


The national bestselling authors of the Missing Pieces Mysteries summon up the first Retired Witches Mystery in a brand new supernatural series...

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…  
Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.
They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…


Joyce and Jim Lavene have given readers everything from a ghostly firefighter to a psychic mayor and now they are tackling a couple of retiring witches in their latest novel, Spell Booked, the first in a new series. With this unique premise readers are in for a real treat as Molly and Elsie try to find replacement witches, solve the murder of their friend and fellow witch, Olivia and find the missing spell book. There are plenty of clues and a rogue witch or two thrown in for kicks. A very good start to a new witchy series!

What I liked:

Sometimes I wonder how author's come up with their ideas for new books. And then I think about author's like the Lavene's who are always coming up new and different ideas. It's truly amazing to me, what can come from a very fertile imagination. The idea of witches being governed by their own Council. That retiring witches must train replacements and pass down their knowledge and spells. How witches with declining powers stand up against a more powerful witch. Who thinks like that? These two writers do and are we readers ever thankful enough!

I really enjoyed the idea and premise of this book and series. I love paranormal stories in general but if you package them along with a cozy mystery, that's all the better. Witches solving murders, now that's a novel idea. I found myself sympathizing with the main characters Molly, Elsie and Olivia. They are somewhat past their prime and their powers have become unpredictable. They are trying to keep their families in the dark, while trying to find replacements so they can retire. Not an easy task, if everything was going perfect, but then tragedy strikes and Olivia ends up dead. How do you cover up a witchy murder when your husband is the homicide detective? And the mystery was on...

The witch council and training replacements aside, this was a murder mystery. Did somebody kill Olivia because they were after the spell book or was it something a little less complicated like jealousy? Is there a rogue witch out there trying to steal the spells and power of the others or was this just a random killing? I loved how the authors kept the reader guessing as to the real motives throughout the book. If you are looking for unpredictability you'll definitely find it here.

Joyce and Jim Lavene know how to write compelling and interesting characters. Molly and Elsie were intriguing from the start, then you add in Dorothy and the rogue and things get even more complicated fast. Ferreting out who was behind it all, was only part of the puzzle. Becoming involved in the lives of these witches was just as exciting and thrilling as the rest of the book. I can't wait to see where the author's take us with this series, there is a whole lot of potential for a greatness. 

Bottom Line:

The Lavene's always show great originality in anything they write, but I thought this one was particularly well written. The premise was unique, the characters were easy to relate too and the reader could become completely immersed in the story. World building isn't often as important in cozy mysteries as in science fiction or paranormal writing, but in this one it was key to making this a good read. Definitely, a series to keep an eye on!

Spell Booked is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

National bestselling authors Joyce and Jim Lavene have written more than forty novels together, including the Missing Pieces Mysteries (A Finder's FeeA Spirited GiftA Touch of Gold) and the Renaissance Faire Mysteries (Treacherous ToysHarrowing HatsDeadly Daggers). They also write short stories, non-fiction articles and teach writing workshops.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, January 6th.

1. Please leave a comment. Joyce and Jim Lavene write several different cozy series' under several different names. What's your favorite or one you want to try?

2. Please fill out the FORM.


Lisa Brown said...

I would like to read the RENAISSANCE FAIRE mysteries

Candace knight said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds awesome. Maybe I will win it this time. Lol. Thank you.

Karen B said...

Old witches + AARP = must read! These witches are much younger than me and I think the series will be a hoot.

Angela - Bookaunt said...

I don't know that I have a favorite as I like them al

Unknown said...

The Renaissance Faire Mysteries sound like fun. I would love to try that series.

Carol M said...

I would like to start reading this series. I enjoy books about witches.

lag123 said...

I have not read any of their books. I would love to read this one.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

traveler said...

This would be my favorite as it is a new series. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

NoraA said...

I'm a huge fan of the J's and love their writing. I'd love to add a copy of this new book to my collection of their work.


bn100 said...

maybe try this one

Dotty Kelley said...

My favorite Lavene series is the Missing Pieces series, although I like them all.
dotkel50 at Comcast dot net

Theresa N. said...

I haven't read any of them, but this series sounds great.
Theresa N

Unknown said...

The Peggy Lee mysteries are my favorites so far but I really want to read Spell Booked. Joyce and Jim Lavene are always a treat.

Natasha said...

I haven't read any yet, but I would love to try this series.
Thanks for the chance to win!

Meg C. said...

I haven't read any of their series yet, though there are several that I want to try. The Renaissance Faire books, the Missing Pieces series, Peggy Lee, as well as both they write under the name J.J. Cook. But I wouldn't mind starting with this one. Lol. Thanks for the chance to win.


Anita Yancey said...

I haven't read any of their books yet, but I'd like to try the Missing Pieces Mysteries. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Unknown said...

The Retired Witch Series sounds like a winner! I have this on my TBR list.

cyn209 said...

so far, I've read the A Missing Pieces Mystery & LOVE IT!!!!