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Wicked Witches of the Midwest #2

Every Witch Way But Wicked

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Where there’s a witch, there’s a way! Where there’s a whole family of them, there’s trouble. Bay Winchester, editor of Hemlock Cove’s small weekly newspaper, thinks her small hamlet’s upcoming murder mystery weekend is going to be all about fun, food and frolicking. Instead, when another dead body is discovered in Hemlock Cove, things turn into murder, mayhem and migraines (the latter is mostly thanks to her family, of course).

The body belongs to the town drunk – and no one can figure out who would want to kill him, or why. Bay’s investigation is stymied by her new boss, Brian Kelly, and her old flirtation, FBI agent Landon Michaels, both of whom seem to have more than interviews on their mind.

When you couple that with her cousin Thistle’s obsession with making their Great-Aunt Tillie pay for the curse she recently put on them (you don’t want to know) and her cousin Clove’s conviction that she is not – no matter what the rest of the family says – a blabbermouth, Bay has her hands full.
When the murder investigation takes a turn, though, a long-held Hemlock Cove secret is bound to be exposed. If it is, Bay may find herself in trouble – again – and this is the kind of trouble that she may not be able to find a way out of – even with Aunt Tillie’s help.

286 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 26, 2013

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About the author

Amanda M. Lee

215 books2,349 followers
When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn't up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer -- although I had no idea the effort that would entail.
Not only am I a writer now, but I'm a writer in several different mediums. I'm a longtime newspaper reporter, an avid reader and a voracious science fiction fanatic.

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5 stars
3,109 (46%)
4 stars
2,365 (35%)
3 stars
980 (14%)
2 stars
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1 star
33 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 435 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon Mariampillai.
1,988 reviews86 followers
May 4, 2019
Actual Rating: 4.15

This was an enjoyable read. I thought Book 2 was way better than Book 1. The characters were still enjoyable and funny. Also, I was happy to see more magic and mystery in this book. I thought the story was well-written, and I was really enjoying myself. Also, I have to say that I love Aunt Tillie. She may be old, but damn can she make me laugh. She is sassy, funny, and snarky as hell. I love how she makes the cousins fear for her. Also, she seems to be the most caring woman in the series as she always tries to protect her family. I also think Bay is an interesting character because of her ability to talk to ghosts. I find that really intriguing and I think it makes the story more unique. I cannot wait to read book 3. I hope the series continues to get better. Overall, a great read.
Profile Image for Leslie.
44 reviews
May 31, 2015
This is a fun series. The banter between the cousins, aunts and great Aunt Tillie is so entertaining. This is the second book in the series and another murder has happened in the town of Hemlock Cove. So far the books in this series could be considered stand alones, although there is the unfinished business between Bay and Landon. The murders are solved in each book, though, and the author does a fantastic job at giving us details and back story from book 1 in book 2. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
October 6, 2017
I’d really love to be a witch(Some days I spend all day practicing)....

These Winchester witches are so much fun! This is the second book in the series and it was even better than the first, but not quite as good as the third (I’ve already read that)....There was definitely more of a mystery in this book, however I did find it a little disconcerting that the town still had their murder mystery weekend after an actual murder took place(But who am I to judge?).... there was also a little more magic and a little more romance, but I have to say hands-down my favorite part of this series is these fabulous witches, I truly enjoy spending time with them....

***Narration: the narrator does a very good job with this series, definitely a good choice!
Profile Image for Alice Liu.
Author 3 books18 followers
December 5, 2014
I am officially addicted to this series. Every Witch Way But Wicked continues with the open, defensive game playing (i.e. you don't have to outrun a bear, you just have to throw your cousin in front of it) among the Winchester clan. However, this time the men in Bay's life get a good taste of crazy Aunt Tillie. Their abject terror is hilarious, and had me looking forward to the Winchester family dinners. But beyond their reaction to the all out "crazy," it was interesting to see how they ultimately responded to Bay as they saw and understood more about her witchy ways. Overall a great mystery full of fun and deadly action.
Author 3 books8 followers
October 6, 2017
Well, "wicked" is not the word I would use to describe the witches in this series. This is the second in the series, and as I have read the first two back to back, I can honestly say the second is an improvement over the first. The bickering between the family members is down, and the writing is smoother. There are still problems with the editing though--tense changes with verbs, sometimes some confusing sentence and paragraph structure, but those are fewer than in the first book.

Again, the author captures the small town feel pretty well which I think is a good thing. Those people from small towns will appreciate that. The pop culture references which vexed me so have been cut down dramatically from the first book, and are used in more appropriate places, so no problems there. Overall, it's a smoother read, which shows the author gaining experience, yay for experience!

The characters though... I just really... really... hate the main characters. The women still all sound the same to me; individual character voices are impossible to pick out. They are also still very argumentative, although that has been lessened from the first book. (Or perhaps I'm used to it now?) There was also more magic this time around, though still pretty... in the background. Just the characters. It's hard to read a series where you don't like the main characters, and they are downright mean to each other. Maybe because it's in text and not in a visual medium where you can pick up body language clues, but all of the barbs for each other seem meant, not kidding around, but honest-to-gosh meant in a malicious way. I'm sure that's not the intent, but that's how I'm reading it--again, text is not a visual medium, so some clues one would pick up on are just not there. Of the characters, Edith, the ghost, I think is my favorite.

Overall, it's a light read, and maybe (as the author puts in disclaimers) the style of the writing is not for me. It's not bad, but not terrible either.
Profile Image for Theresa .
1,331 reviews74 followers
November 17, 2017
There is something quite endearing about these books...the characters are funny with their snarky humor towards one another and their outlandish behavior; attempting to tolerate one another while maintaining a strong familial bond...At the same time there is a level of intensity that appears in the story found in both the murder mystery aspect as well as the chemistry between Bay and Landon... It is a nice mix of traits that culminate into a humorous yet sensual journey...4 Stars:)
Profile Image for Scot.
956 reviews29 followers
April 7, 2016
A disappointing book in that the premise had potential -- an all female family of witches with generational differences running an inn and boutique witchy shops in a little town with a tourist focus of marketing kitschy spooky bed n breakfast getaways to those who travel to experience such things. The characters were all incredibly whiney -- all of them -- and thought they were being clever with snarky comebacks -- with an erring ability to always sound lame. This drove every interaction and conversation. Very irritating and actually sad. I had to force myself to keep reading. Good ideas for setting and character disparities, inferior execution.
Profile Image for Terri.
194 reviews4 followers
August 7, 2015

I really enjoy this series. The characters are hysterical and I actually laugh out loud. If you have a sister or siblings or even cousins you are close with, then you can definitely relate to this family. Throw in a healthy dose of witchcraft and it is a great recipe for a fun read!
Profile Image for Payal.
929 reviews
November 23, 2017
The poor little town has more murders than events, seems like. Bay was fun as usual and the grammar issues were decreasing (or I just glossed over them). It was not quite as funny as the first book in the series but was entertaining enough to get me to finish it in a day!
Profile Image for Janet.
812 reviews14 followers
February 22, 2019
3.5 stars

Since this is book 2 in this series, we didn't have to go through the whole "let's meet the characters" thing and we jumped right into the story. While there is a lot of "action" in this one, most of the details don't get revealed until closer to the end and I didn't guess who the killer was until we were almost on top of them being revealed anyway.

Everyone in the Winchester family is just as snarky (and slightly vindictive) as in the first book but for some reason they rubbed me the wrong way this time. I kinda wanted to step in and just say "STOP"! Clove is really not the brightest bulb on the tree and is slow on the uptake at times and I just want to smack her. Thistle seems to be holding grudges more and Bay ran into a streak of idiocy in this one. The guys that are around them are sweet but a little dumb (Marcus), very suspicious of them (Landon) and egotistical (Brian) and I have no idea how any of this will work out.

There are a lot of books in this series (and my library doesn't have any of them), so it may be a while before I get around to reading the next one.
Profile Image for books are love.
3,131 reviews24 followers
July 12, 2020
more 3.5
I liked this book better than the first book. Why? Aunt Tillie and Landon.

Aunt Tillie for me is the bomb. She is so feisty and just cracks me up. From her curses to her devotion to her family and how she protects secrets that aren’t hers to tell that woman is a firecracker and a hoot.

Landon because he is just great. He is taken by Bay and he is quite understanding about her cousins and family. He loves Aunt Tillie as well. Finds her entertaining so there is that that endears me to him.

In this one we have a murder mystery weekend coming up for her town only the town drunk ends up dead for real. Bay is dealing with a new boss, a murder, two men flirting with her (I root for Landon), cousins driving her up a wall, Aunt Tillie not telling her all she knows and cursing them and town secrets about to be exposed.

I love the Aunt tillie and Landon aspect. I love how this family sticks together no matter what. Still don’t think all the bickering is needed but it is at times entertaining. Seeing how Landon is driven batty by Bay and yet he stills finds her to be endearing is great.

The story is fun and entertaining. The romance blends into the plot and the plot is more fleshed out in this one over the first book. We also see more magic applied and less talk about the family being witches. Overall a quick read that you just sit back and enjoy.
Profile Image for Cait S.
902 reviews72 followers
October 14, 2017
The first of this series was an easy five star for me. This one fell a little short. In the first book, the banter between the family was hilarious, well-written, and really what sold me on the series. In this one...it felt mean. It wasn't really funny until a few lines at the very end. Up to that point, it just seemed like everyone was taking unnecessary shots at each other all the time and being really petty assholes.

I did like this murder mystery better than the first so that kept me going. But I was pretty disappointed that it wasn't an instant love like I was expecting.
Profile Image for Mhairi.
147 reviews3 followers
December 9, 2017
Absolutely love this series. It's a snarky fun ride with a family that bickers like theirs no tomorrow but at the end of the day, that's what they are a tight-knit loving family. The mystery has enough twists that you question if you are or not a few times.
493 reviews
July 30, 2019
Definitely a cozy, but definitely fun. Recommended for anyone liking a little paranormal mixed in with a cozy.
Profile Image for Khanh.
187 reviews1 follower
October 11, 2022
Hee hee hee. I'm starting to really like and be invested in these characters. Love fluff reads like these now and then. Definitely going to continue with the series.
Profile Image for JadeShea.
3,156 reviews62 followers
November 19, 2018
Bay is looking forward to the murder mystery weekend, but when a real dead body shows up things get a little crazy. And when Landon comes back after not keeping in touch with Bay she isn't sure what to think. However, they have bigger concerns like figuring out who the killer is, and what his really going on. And when it may seem like Landon is going to figure things out about Bay she isn't sure what to do.

This book was really interesting, and I liked it, but I didn't think it was great. I was a little annoyed with the things that happened with Landon. I feel like some of the relationship is just being skipped, and not exactly in a good way.

Other than that it was a pretty interesting mystery, and I was totally upset with how it ended. I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book now.
Profile Image for Dharia Scarab.
3,182 reviews9 followers
August 13, 2016

Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books...

1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future.

2 stars... This book was not very good, and I won't be reading any more from the author.

3 stars... This book was ok, but I won't go out of my way to read more, But if I find another book by the author for under a dollar I'd pick it up.

4 stars... I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be on the look out to pick up more from the series/author.

5 stars... I loved this book! It has earned a permanent home in my collection and I'll be picking up the rest of the series and other books from the author ASAP.
Profile Image for Mystereity Reviews.
778 reviews45 followers
July 31, 2015
The 2nd in the Wicked Witches of the Midwest series, this book finds Bay and her family embroiled in stolen gold, a dead man, a skeleton in a cave and Aunt Tillie's antics.  I'm really enjoying this series, it's lighthearted, fun, with great plots that always keep me guessing. 
29 reviews
August 16, 2015
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and looked forward to book two. It was a big disappointment. The storyline was fractured and the first half was pretty much devoted to their love lives or lack of. When it came to solving the murders it just suddenly went into overdrive and was over. I will not be reading any additional books in this series.
Profile Image for Gill Chivas.
186 reviews1 follower
April 28, 2016
2nd book in the series and I'm getting a bit more used to the slightly annoying writing style. Good enough story but a bit of a slog to get into! I was about 3/4 way through before I decided it was ok and worth finishing! Characters progressing slowly and quite similar to 1st book. I might return to this series if I can get the next books free or cheap enough
27 reviews4 followers
September 10, 2015
Keeps you guessing till the end

This author will keep you guessing till the end , whodunit! She is always keeping the characters rolling along and busy. While this book amuses me, I wouldn't recommend it for my 12-year-old granddaughter. It is a bit graphic.
355 reviews2 followers
October 23, 2017
Wildly Funny!

Amanda Lee pens a captivating, charming, snarky and wonderfully weird yarn sure to grab the reader with both hands and holds them captivated through the very end! A must read!
Profile Image for Lenora.
79 reviews14 followers
June 20, 2013
I found this story amusing. I grew up in rural Michigan and can relate to the characters and setting. The way the characters interact is hilarious. It was a fun read.
Profile Image for Debbie.
368 reviews8 followers
October 18, 2014
Some very, VERY funny LOL moments in this one!
I kind of love Aunt Tillie.
Profile Image for D Call.
664 reviews24 followers
January 24, 2021
Great second mystery in this cozy series

My Rating System
5 stars--WOW
4 stars--would read again
3 stars--was good, won't read again
2 stars--read it, but didn't enjoy it
1 star--didn't finish, it was so awful

Do I need to read books before this one: no
Cliffhanger: not with the mystery

Bay has a new ghost in the office; the newspaper's owner, William, died a few weeks ago. Brian, William's grandson, has inherited the paper, so he moves to Hemlock Cove. The town has planned a murder mystery for next weekend (Aunt Tillie and the moms are on the committee), and tourists are everywhere. The festivities start Sunday with a bonfire. Bay, Clove, and Thistle go. Landon shows up. They have a private discussion about his ghosting her for 3-4 weeks, and then the banker stumbles to them, saying he found a body. The town drunk has been knifed. Since the murder mystery doesn't start until Friday, they've got a real murder mystery to solve.

The town smells like cider! What a great setting detail! This story is full of little details, like Thistle's hair color, that don't add anything to the plot and make all the difference in the story. Like good cozy mysteries, this one starts with life as normal, murder, more and more information that Bay (our point of view character) learns, and eventually it becomes clear whodunit and why. Thankfully Aunt Tillie has tricks that help get Bay, Thistle, and Clove out of predicaments (as well as put them into predicaments). I was disappointed with the proofreading, and submitted most of what I found; please don't let that deter you from reading this great story. Huzzah for the author, boo for the proofreader. The ending left me reaching for the third book; while the mystery is solved, Landon's and Bay's relationship is up in the air.

I recommend this to all who like cozy mysteries with a touch of magic and a smattering of romance.

There are no words to describe Aunt Tillie–even though ‘evil’ and ‘batcrap crazy’ spring to mind on occasion.

We were a pretty impressive force–especially when we all had PMS.

“I don’t want you stepping on the evidence.” “You and Landon are stepping on the evidence.” “We’re trained to step on the evidence.”

“Don’t you want to make sure Mom didn’t burn the pies?” “I don’t burn pies,” my mom looked horrified. I glared at her openly. “I don’t care how dirty you look at me, you know I don’t burn pies,” my mom sniffed. “Pick a different lie.” My whole family should be locked up.

Sex: we know sex occurs between characters, but absolutely no details; report of extramarital affair
Language: 0 F words, 3 Lord's name in vain, 8 S words
Violence: kidnappings, murder by knife, attempted murder

CRITIQUE (spoilers)
In book 1, we learn Thursdays are heavy work days for Bay because the paper comes out Friday. So she leaves dinner early Wednesday to get good sleep. In this book, Wednesday she gets drunk with a sleepover, and Thursday she talks to Chief Terry, protects Thistle, then spends the afternoon writing stories. It's inconsistent.

Edith and William are watching a soap opera on Saturday.

How is Ken running out of time?
Profile Image for Bam Jam.
33 reviews4 followers
August 29, 2016
"Most of the town knew there was something off about the Winchester women--and many had guessed that were actually witches. Guessing and proving, though, were two entirely different things." - Bay Winchester; Every Witch Way But Wicked, A. M. Lee

I started reading this book before I realized it was the second in a series, but honestly you don't need to read the first book to read this one and, I suspect, any subsequent book in this series. The cover above is the cover that I saw attached to this edition of the book and I have to say, I like it a whole lot better than what I suspect is the original cover. I'd also like to give a shout-out to the author for the fun and silly "witch" titles she's gone with for her books: Any Witch Way You Can, Witching You Were Here, Witching on a Star, etc.


The plot is as simple as most other crime novel: a murder has occurred in the touristic town of Hemlock Cove and our characters try to figure out why the person was murdered and by whom, with the small added twist that the main characters are classic, curses-and-spells-and-potions-and-dancing-naked-under-a-full-moon witches. I would actually argue that the summary on Goodreads is a bit exaggerated. The mystery portion of the story doesn't get too crazy, though you genuinely don't know who the murderer is until closer to the end, which I feel is more due to the fact that the author just didn't write the mystery part of the story well.

Which leads me to my most important note to this story: if you're looking for a true-blue crime/detective novel with suspense at every corner as the characters uncover clue after clue, you should move right along. I'd be hard-pressed to even throw this book under 'cozy mysteries' as even 'cozy mysteries' have more semblance to it's parent genre.

However, does that mean that I didn't like this book? Absolutely not. In fact, after I got over any expectation that the mystery would be interesting, I found that I enjoyed the book so much that I purposely stopped myself from sitting down and reading it all at once so I could stretch the time it would take for me to reach the end. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny, the Winchester ladies are charming and quirky, and the town, as well as the townsfolk, are ridiculously entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy and by the end, during the climax, I realized that the author purposefully constructed the novel so you can't really take it seriously 'cause you're really not supposed to. Which you'd think was odd since an actual murder took place, but you almost forget that that had happened. The book doesn't try to be more than what it is.


Some of the funniest group of people! Bay Winchester is our protagonist, a witch who can see ghosts and a hard-working journalist weighed down by a new bushy-tailed boss who has come from the city after inheriting the local newspaper. The story is told in first-person from her POV and while my feelings towards first-person range from neutral to annoyance, Bay was a hilarious voice and I really loved listening to her inner-most feelings, from her exasperation but tenderness towards her family to her determination to solve the murder mystery. I also adored how little patience she had with her boss's romantic hints towards her and how little she really thought about her own romantic interests towards Landon; a character after my own heart. Thistle Winchester is Bay's cousin, a sharp-tongue and quick-witted witch who likes to irk her mother and runs a shop with Clove Winchester, her's and Bay's good-natured and gossipy cousin. Then there are Marnie, Twila and Winnie, sisters who partake in the dancing-under-the-full-moon part of witch-hood and the mothers of Clove, Thistle and Bay, respectively. We don't really see a distinction between their personalities, but we know they're never far from each other, that they dearly love their daughters even when they frustrate each other, and that they are competing for the affections of the town sheriff. Finally among the Winchester ladies is Aunt Tillie, a powerful witch who is really Bay, Thistle and Clove's great-aunt but everyone call her Aunt Tillie. She pretty much what you'd expect from old-fashioned witches: crabby, sarcastic, easily offended (and not above replying with curses) and deeply feared by everyone, even though who don't know that she is a witch. She's continuously referred to in negative terms, and certainly she can be rather immature in her responses, but when the chips are down, she can be incredibly protective of her nieces and grand-nieces.

And that was part of the beauty of the book, and a major part of why I liked it so much: this strong connection between the Winchester women, this mutual respect and love and loyalty and closeness toppled with the irritation and sarcasm and antagonistic behavior that comes along with being a family who have lived under the same roof for years, all of which was surprisingly refreshing. I could honestly read about these ladies forever and I'd never tire! They're just that fun!

The side-characters weren't too memorable in comparison but weren't awful either. Chief Terry is the police chief of Hemlock Cove, who is pretty lax with the information that he gives to Bay about the murder, though it could be due to the fact that her mother, and her mother's sisters, vie for his attention with pastries and other treats. Marcus, Thistle's love interest, was a sweet boy and a pretty calm person to reel in Thistle's more whirlwind personality. Brian Smith, Bay's new boss, seemed more like an overly-excited puppy who doesn't know how to interact with other people and puts his foot in his mouth a lot, despite being called egotistical. Bay can't seem to trust him and he doesn't really do anything to provoke this mistrust throughout the novel, but maybe this is foreshadowing for later? Landon Michaels is Bay's love interest and a charming but stubborn FBI agent who comes back into town just before the murder occurs. As an outsider, it was rather funny to see him utterly confused over why everyone in town seems to brush of the bizarre things that happen, why Terry answers any of Bay's questions, and why everyone seems to be afraid of Aunt Tillie (oh, you sweet summer child). The ghosts Bay interacts with were humorous but I wish we'd gotten to see them more.


Lee's exceptionally talented for how she adds so much comedy to so few pages or shorter scenes! I'm glad I found such a fun book! I'm especially glad there are plenty more in the series for me to read!

You can find my review for this book, and others, on my blog: Sweaters and Raindrops
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