Here we are into the third entry into the Bewitching Mystery series. So what's Maggie into this time? The murder of an Amish ladies' man, one who's maHere we are into the third entry into the Bewitching Mystery series. So what's Maggie into this time? The murder of an Amish ladies' man, one who's married and has young kids, at that. She also has struggles with her love life and is overcoming her fear of the "unknown" and becoming more adept at using her gift.
May contain minor spoilers of previous books.
A few times throughout this short book (246 pages), I felt like throwing in the towel. After reading the first book, I really felt this was a series for me. One that I connected with and would be able to read book after book. Sadly it has not panned out this way. Mostly because of the main character, Maggie O'Neill, who I really liked in the first book. While there's nothing inherently wrong with her, I cannot relate to her and I don't like her too much either. She's rather a dull fish. Also, some of her thoughts feel forced, especially the "humorous" kind, which might be a big part of why I'm not liking her anymore. Well, whatever it is exactly, she's just not quite working for me. Though now that she's using her gift more, this may liven her up in the future, I don't know. The other thing is her presumptions, or rather the one presumption about the "relationship" between Marcus and Liss she's had since the first book. Where she ever got that idea in her head, I haven't a clue, but at least it was resolved by the end of this book. On the up side, she wasn't as dumb as in the previous book, A Charmed Death. All the other characters in the series I like and feel really add to the series, with maybe the exception of Tom, who is very closed-minded and basically just irritates me as a modern woman. I suppose a character who is that way is needed, and he is making some strides in opening his mind to new and frightening (to him) things, but I don't get Maggie's attraction to him; it just has not come across in the three books I've read. As for Maggie's other love interest, Marcus, while he's definitely way (way, way, way, way, way) more interesting than Tom, and I'm going to flip this, but I totally don't understand Marcus's interest in Maggie. I cannot think of anything that would intrigue him about her. I honestly can't, other than she's nice. A nice, boring, girl-next-door-type. Well, I guess that's something. So, the mystery.... Surprisingly, it seemed very minimal in this installment and the baddie very easy to figure out since there wasn't many, or any, other suspects. Still, it was tied up pretty neatly and made some sort of sense.
At the beginning of every book there is enough of a recap of characters and what's been going on so each book in the series can easily be read by itself, and not necessarily in order. While that is nice for a new reader or one who has gone a long time inbetween books, it makes for a repetitive nature if read too closely together, so I think it'll be a while before I pick up the next entry....more
This second installment of the Bewitching Mystery series focuses on the murder of a popular teenage girl who may have been hiding a seedy secret or twThis second installment of the Bewitching Mystery series focuses on the murder of a popular teenage girl who may have been hiding a seedy secret or two. Maggie delves into the case, while also developing her newfound powers and going on her first N.I.G.H.T.S. investigation.
After the slow-moving first seventy to eighty pages that was mostly background information on the town, the shop, characters and a recap of the last book, the story actually moved onto the main mystery in this book. I found the mystery very intriguing and well-done (I could easily envision it on TV, heck, I wouldn't be surprised if I had seen a similar story-line), and the author shed more light on Marcus, which was nice, but was also detrimental to other secondary characters, namely Felicity (a.k.a. Liss, which the first time Maggie mentioned that nickname I forgot for a minute who she was referring too. That probably should have been clarified more, I may have read the first book less than a month ago, but I can't remember everything and it's not like it's Melissa/Liss which I would have picked up on immediately. :P). So less Felicity, and also Steff and Tom, surprisingly enough. Any interaction Maggie had with Tom was strained, sometimes strange, and there was a bit at the end I didn't buy in regards to the two of them. Maggie herself was exactly the same as in the first book, except a bit dumber but I'll come to that a moment, so that disappointed me. It's not as if I expect her to grow every book, but a little development here and there or something new we didn't know about her wouldn't hurt. Although her development of her 'powers' has been nicely and realistically done, and the only problem I had was a scene at the end that seemed more magic than magick. Now we come to Maggie doing a couple of stupid things I never thought she'd be dumb enough to do, one of which led to her 'showdown' with the murderer. In that instance, she really had no need to do what she did to get him/her arrested or for any reason. It just seemed a contrivance to put her in the murderer's path. Overall, after the first fourth or so of the book, it was a decent yet flawed read, and I am going to pick up the next in the series with the hope that any minor problems I had will have been just a fluke....more
A well-written, engaging mystery with a protagonist, Maggie O'Neill, I (mostly) connected with and a plot nicely developed. The author did a good jobA well-written, engaging mystery with a protagonist, Maggie O'Neill, I (mostly) connected with and a plot nicely developed. The author did a good job setting up the series while maintaining the mystery within and developing Maggie and her quirks. Easy to read and smartly paced, with an engaging writing style, I'll definitely be picking up the next book in the series, if not all of them....more
I'm not going to write an in-depth review, but here are the book highlights for me:
Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick - Except for the basic concept, thiI'm not going to write an in-depth review, but here are the book highlights for me:
Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick - Except for the basic concept, this is unrelated to her Esther Diamond series. Very creative and clever, my third favorite of the book.
A Death in the Working by Debra Doyle - About one-third to half the story is footnotes. Intriguing world and premise but I would recommend either reading the story first, then the footnotes or the other way around. Otherwise the footnotes interfere with the flow of the story.
Overrush by Laura Anne Gilman - I haven't read her Retrievers series, this story features the same cast, so I'll definitely try it out after reading this.
Au Purr by Esther Friesner - In my top two favorites of the book. Very well-done and interesting. Wish it was a series but from what research I did, it isn't.
Getting the Chair by Keith R.A. DeCandido - A bit nonsensical and silly, but that's why I liked it. A fun read even if some sentences were confusing due to their structure.
Grey Eminence by Mercedes Lackey - No murder, not really a mystery, so it doesn't fit into this anthology as well as the others but I don't care. They saved the best, and longest, story for last. Captivating and wonderful, I loved every bit of it and want more. :)
The Afterword - Yes, that's right, the afterword was good too.
There were a few other stories I liked (The Case of the Headless Corpse, Cold Case, Murder Entailed, Dropping Hints), but the rest were either just okay or I didn't like them at all. 3.5 stars
Here we are in the third entry into the Esther Diamond series. UNSYMPATHETIC MAGIC doesn't feature the zany characters that the previous two books hadHere we are in the third entry into the Esther Diamond series. UNSYMPATHETIC MAGIC doesn't feature the zany characters that the previous two books had, which is a nice shift, and the focus on Esther and Max that was lost in Doppelgangster is back. The plot about Vodou*, zombies, and bokors is okay, but gets a little too predictable for my liking. Luckily, the author writes well enough to lift it up a level and ends up entertaining, and at times interesting.
Now for the bad news: the humor isn't as fresh or funny and I can't remember once laughing aloud during the book. Some of the scenes felt too forced to be funny, and one scene in particular had me cringing because of a character that got hurt. Maybe that scene wasn't supposed to be funny, but it seemed as if that was it's purpose before the injury happened. Basically all the humor in the book is a comedy of errors, and that's fine, as long as it's humorous and not as repetitive as it's been in these three books. Next, the length of the story needs a drastic paring down. While the book moves at a fairly brisk pace, I can't help but feel that another go or two with an editor was needed and the plot should have been tightened so it's more cohesive. I think it'd be a much better book with at least fifty pages less and I wouldn't get as tired of the plot or characters by then. There's a reason for the phrase "too much of a good thing" and both DOPPELGANGSTER and UNSYMPATHETIC MAGIC fit the bill. Still, I didn't hate the book and thought it was a small step up from the last, so I'll give the next book a shot because I enjoy the characters a lot (sorry for the unintentional bad rhyme). Even if the series hasn't hit the mark for me since the first, I have hope yet. Besides, how can I pass up a book called VAMPARAZZI? 3.5 stars
*Apparently Vodou is not pronounced like 'voodoo', it's either vo(like in toe)-dow(cow) or vo-doo, but I'm not sure which is right, from what I've figured out online. The book has a glossary, which is rather unnecessary since everything is explained in text, but not a pronunciation guide....more
Wow, this was a real disappointment. The title was great, and I'll probably never use the term doppelganger ever again, but the story didn't live up tWow, this was a real disappointment. The title was great, and I'll probably never use the term doppelganger ever again, but the story didn't live up to it. As opposed to the first book, Disappearing Nightly, the humor was nearly nonexistent, the energy and zip lost, the new characters didn't add much and weren't very interesting - heck, even Esther and Max were boring, and the plot just wasn't that good. A hundred pages could have easily been shaved off and they wouldn't have been missed, especially with the mostly boring, redundant blathering that went on between the three main characters (Esther, Max and Lucky). So there were a few good points, mainly Lucky and Nelli, but overall the book meandered too much and took its sweet time getting anywhere; by the two-thirds mark I just wanted it to be over already. Everything was explained over and over again with each new suspect, I felt like it was being spelled out in excruciatingly slow details, in case the reader was too much of an idiot to figure anything out for themself. I hope, hope, hope that this is just a sophomore slump and the next book will be better. Also, keeping Lopez out of the magic loop will get old fast, so hopefully the author introduces it to him by the fourth entry....more
First off, while this could technically be called an urban fantasy, it doesn't really have the atmosphere of one and I'd be more likely to call it a mFirst off, while this could technically be called an urban fantasy, it doesn't really have the atmosphere of one and I'd be more likely to call it a magical mystery. Disappearing Nightly is a charming, wonderfully intriguing tale featuring the logical off-Broadway actress Esther Diamond, who through no fault of her own stumbles into the world of magic, and the path of Dr. Maximillian Zadok.
The author crafted a well-done, swiftly plotted yarn that left me pleased as punch. The characters went beyond caricatures, which could have so easily happened with the amount of personalities featured, and each of their respective professions, in the more colorful world of NYC. Through a comedy of errors, rapid fire dialogue, which the author has a gift for, and hilarious interactions, this motley crew of an investigative team gets to the bottom of the mysterious disappearances that are happening in the community. I had no trouble visualizing events as they unfolded, with amusing results, and could easily see this as a television series. The romance was nicely weaved into the story without becoming overpowering, and surprise of all surprises, there was no bed-hopping! What a nice change of pace. Altogether, this was fine little read that I flew right through and am glad I have the sequel handy! So far, this just may be my favorite read of the year....more