Twenty-something Kailyn Wilde has learned to embrace her unpredictable life as a descendant of small-town New Camel’s most magickal family. She just didn’t expect to inherit her mother and grandmother’s centuries-old shop, Abracadabra, so suddenly. The surprises keep coming when Kailyn goes to finalize the estate at the local attorney’s office—and stumbles over the body of her best friend Elise’s husband . . .
As a brash detective casts the blame on Elise, Kailyn summons her deepest powers to find answers and start an investigation of her own. What with running a business, perfecting ancient spells, and keeping up with an uninvited guest of fabled origins, Kailyn has her hands full. But with the help of her uncanny black cat Sashkatu and her muumuu-clad Aunt Tilly, she’s closing in on a killer—who will do anything to make sure she never tests her supernatural skills again!
“Pape has a sure‑handed balance of humor and action.” —Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author
I started writing stories as soon as I learned how to put letters together to form words. From that day forward, writing has been a part of my life whether it was my first attempt at a novel in seventh grade or the little plays I wrote for my friends to perform for neighbors and family. After college, when I was busy teaching French and Spanish to high school students, I was also writing poetry -- often in French.
After several years, I left teaching to be a full time mom, and when my two children started school, I went back to writing. To my delight I found that the muse was still there, still waiting patiently for me to come around. My first novel, Ghostfire, was published at that time. It went on to be condensed in Redbook magazine (the first paperback original the magazine had ever condensed.) Then came The God Children and The Portal. Redbook also published my first short story, which was subsequently sold to several foreign magazines. With two great kids, a golden retriever and a loving, supportive husband (whom I'd met at the beach when I was fourteen -- but that's a story for another day), I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be in my life. But fate had another plan for me, and it went by the name of "breast cancer."
Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was that the cancer was discovered at such an early stage, but at the time it was all very overwhelming. Once I was back on my feet, I wanted to help other women who were newly diagnosed, worried and afraid. I became a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and went on to run the program for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. A number of years later, with the help of my surgical oncologist and two other volunteers, I started Lean On Me, a nonprofit organization that provides peer support and information to breast cancer patients. When Lean On Me celebrated its tenth anniversary it no longer required as much of my time, and I once again found myself free to pursue my first love -- writing.
"In this family, we are not in the business of subverting hopes or beliefs. We practice white magick, or no magick at all."
Kailyn Wilde, last in the line of a family of powerful sorcerers and owner of Abracadabra, a Magick Shop in her tiny home town, finds herself in a bit of a pickle when she discovers the body of her best friend's husband in his office. With Elise and herself on the police's list of main suspects, she makes it her mission to uncover the identity of the real killer. Teaming up with a charismatic investigative reporter, a crotchety British wizard from another century, her eccentric aunt Tilly and a grumpy kitty cat, it's only a matter of time until Kailyn becomes a target herself.
This was so much fun. I'm usually wary of cozy mysteries as more often than not, the main character turns out to be a TSTL dumbass. Excuse my French. Not Kailyn. She was smart, witty and resourceful, and I loved her dry sense of humor. The addition of a bunch of crazy sidekicks, a side of romance and some paranormal elements made it even more enjoyable, and despite a slow start and the fact that even later on it didn't pick up much pace, I was thoroughly entertained throughout. This story is clearly more driven by its characters than by its mystery, but I'm not complaining.
Sharon Pape has an undeniable sense for details and atmosphere, and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel.
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kailyn Wilde inherited her mother and grandmother’s centuries old shop, Abracadabra, when they were unfortunately involved in an accident. Coming from a long line of those with magical abilities in the small town of New Camel Kailyn does her best to keep the magic flowing in the shop while keeping the witchcraft under wraps.
When Kailyn and her aunt head to the attorney's office to finalize the estate they end up finding of their lawyer who happens to be the husband of a good friend of Kailyn. The police are called to the scene and being the first there Kailyn and her aunt become suspects so Kailyn decides to take it upon herself to begin investigating the crime not only to clear her own name but to bring closure to her friend.
Magick and Mayhem is the first book in a new cozy mystery series by Sharon Pope. I am such a sucker for a fun cozy mystery where the character doesn't act like they are the police but gets involved with their own questioning and looking into the case. But this one especially caught my attention involving unique characters with a magic shop being involved so I had a feeling I would love it and am certainly glad I wasn't wrong.
The only thing really I would say with this one would be that there were some things left untouched that I hope the author revisits later in the series which brought my rating to 4.5 stars. Otherwise I enjoyed all the characters, even the critters with their own personalities that are mentioned, and the twists and turns looking for the killer. A fun cozy with the magical twist that I'd recommend to those that enjoy something a little out of the ordinary.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Loved it right away! A real magical shop plus a murder mystery is a hit with the first book in the series. All the characters are awesome, even the dead ones. Kailyn and her Aunt Tilly seem to be up for plenty of mischief, but when Merlin enters the scene, look out! I'm so delighted to have had the chance to read this. Can't wait to see what happens next with this trio.
This May you will have to put Sharon Pape's Magick & Mayhem on your to be read list! I loved this Paranormal cozy mystery so much that I can tell you it is in my top 5 paranormal cozy series to watch for this 2017 season! There is so much to love in this story. A befuddled wizard, struggling psychic, and a witch with store to run. When main character Kaylin and her aunt stubble upon the body of her best friends husband she quickly learns she will need more then magic to find the real killer. Nothing is quite as it seems in this mystery and I loved it. I will anxiously be awaiting more in this series and know that paranormal cozy mystery lovers like myself are going to be so enchanted with this story! I also love this cover don't you?
A magical mystery delight that will have you under its spell.
When I started reading cozy mysteries I had no desire to read any with a paranormal aspect to them. However, with authors like Sharon Pape, and a handful of others conjuring up stories like this, even cozy reader purists will surely find themselves with shelves full of “para-cozies”.
MAGICK & MAYHEM, the first installment in the Abracadabra Mysteries was a wonderful escape from everyday life. Ms. Pape made the pages of this book come alive. From chapter one on, I let the magic carry me away to a group of wonderful characters, and a first rate mystery that held me spellbound until the very last page.
If you’re looking for a great new cozy mystery, MAGICK & MAYHEM is the enchanting book for you!
Kailyn has inherited her mother and grandmother’s old shop, Abracadabra. As she is taking that in she finds Elise’s husband dead. Elise happens to be her best friend. With Elise being accused of the murder she has to summon all the power she has to find out what really happened.
Kailyn gets visits from her dead grandmother. Her friend Tilly helps her. The story is full of fun, mystery, twists that make the reader turn the pages to see what happened.
I love the story and will be reading more by the author. She knows how to write to tell a story that you feel you are right along with them in the pages.
This book was somewhat entertaining but it was also pretty silly. The magic is too easy and there seem to be a lot of things that were mentioned and left hanging. There's an unexplained problem with the magic failing that presumably will be solved in a later book (or why bring it up..) but other than that, it's all hocus pocus, think about what you want. That doesn't work for me, in a novel, because there needs to be balance. The only balance appears to be that the magic is useless. You have three witches in a face-off with one character with a gun and the cat tries harder to disarm the bad guy than they do because none of their magic works, takes too long or they just don't know what to do. What? Why? Then there's this relationship with the plastic journalist. They had one awkward coffee date and the next time he's mentioned, they are randomly teaming up to solve a murder and then the next time, he is her boyfriend. And I guess Merlin was brought in for future books as well because he was completely irrelevant to this one. So..yeah.
Things in Kailyn Wilde's life seem to be going awry lately. When you own a centuries-old magick shop, daily life isn't quite normal anyway....but Kailyn senses that there is something more to her current problems than meets the eye. Any magick around her is going wrong. She tries to summon a familiar and ends up calling forth a famous wizard from antiquity. Potions and spells from her shop start having unexpected results, and even her Aunt Tilly's Magick seems to be fizzling lately. Then Kailyn discovers her attorney dead in his office. Things are going from bad to worse! Who killed Jim? What is behind the curse causing her magick to fizzle? And what is she going to do about Merlin?
I can sum up this story in one word: FUN!! I enjoyed the characters, the quirky story and the mystery! Sharon Pape interjects a lot of personality, humor and sass into her characters. Aunt Tilly was perfect as the slightly ditzy older aunt. And Kailyn is independent and strong, but a bit stressed by the pressures of being responsible for the magick shop handed down in her family for generations. Both Tilly and Kailyn are extremely vexed and confused when their magick powers start going a bit off. Merlin joins in the mix and even his powers start to get a bit crazy. The scenes where the ladies are trying to introduce Merlin to modern society were cute and fun to read. I can't imagine trying to explain cars, space travel, television and the internet to a person from Arthurian days! :) Add visits from deceased relatives into the mix and it makes for a fun, quirky paranormal mystery!
I also love the cover art for this book! It's perfect!
Magick & Mayhem is the first book in the new Abracadabra Mystery series. A second book, That Olde White Magick, will be coming out in November 2017. I am definitely going to read more of this series! Any reader who enjoys paranormal cozy mysteries, or those with humor and wit interjected throughout will love this book!
Sharon Pape is also the author of the Portrait of Crime and Crystal Shop mystery series. For more info on the author and her books, check out her website at http://www.sharonpape.com/
**I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.**
MAGICK & MAYHEM is a nice little cozy mystery with a sight supernatural twist. This was a fairly quick read with a pretty basic murder mystery and while I enjoyed reading it, there were a few smallish issues I had. The magic aspect didn't seem to connect to the mystery. Magic wasn't needed to do the investigation really; the victim wasn't killed by magic, and the killer wasn't magical in any way.
On the character front, Kailyn is a witch who owns a magic shop and has two ghost relatives (mom and aunt) who hand around with a living witch aunt who works next door. I liked Kailyn's aunt Tilly who is quirky and fun. Her cat Sashkatu is pretty cool too and has a neat personality. Kailyn's ghost mom and aunt bickered a bit to much for my liking.
We see some small spells and potions created for customers but magic is really not necessary to the plot. What we do get is a random appearance by Merlin (yes that one) who hangs around acting like a clueless old guy who can't seem to follow simple directions. He sticks around and gets up to some amusing hi jinks throughout the book. There are some story threads that don't really reach a satisfying conclusion like Kailyn's spell to get a familiar. I'm assuming it's Merlin since he popped up right after she does the spell but it's not made clear and the search for a familiar is dropped.
Ignoring the issues on the magic front the murder mystery was interesting enough for me to stick with to the end. You get your typical quirky small town cast of characters and a decent plot twist of who the murderer is at the end of the story. I'd like to get some more fleshing out of the characters and some more possibly magic-based mysteries in the rest of the series.
I mean, I think this was fine? I have vague memories of what happened.
Unfortunately, although I mostly enjoyed this at the time, my strongest memory of this is that decided to randomly have Merlin time-travel to the present, and he's seriously annoying. And not gone by the next book. So.
Abracadabra is a magick shop in New Carmel. The store has been owned by a family of powerful sorcerers for many generations. The owner currently is Kailyn Wilde. The magick shop has a wide selection of balms, topical relief creams, lotions plus magic spells that are available to those that believe in the power of magick. Kailyn's eccentric Aunt Tilly has an adjoining shop where she does fortune telling, sells and serves teas plus always has bake goods available for her customers. Kailyn has a house full of cats. The oldest is a black cat named Sashkatu who goes to work most days in addition to living with Kailyn and the other cats. He is a very a well defined, very temperamental cat with a bold, stubborn personality. He plays an important role in the story. Kailyn and Aunt Tilly have an appointment with their lawyer regarding the wills of Kailyn's recently deceased mother and grandmother. Arriving at their lawyer's, they discover him dead in his office. Oh my....he was the husband of Kailyn's best friend, Elise. To help clear Elise's name, Kailyn starts her own investigation. To complicate matters, a wizard suddenly appears in the magick shop storeroom. A lot of products are destroyed when he knocks over several shelving unit. Kailyn has her hands full with Aunt Tilly antics, the lost wizard, a murder to solve, a grumpy police detective, a handsome investigative newscasting reporter and occasional visits from the spirit world of her deceased mother and grandmother. Interesting, vivid and colorful characters involved in a plot with plenty of twists and turns. The story has suspense, mystery and intrigue mixed along with humor, paranormal and a hint of romance. I volunteered to read this eBook. Thanks to Lyrical Underground via Net Gallery for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
There are some moderately charming elements here, reminiscent of Practical Magic (for the small town feel) or Dealing with Dragons (for the spells that go awry). The characters are reasonably well-drawn and memorable, and the cadence of their daily lives has a sweetness to it. This is where Pape excels.
That's unfortunately the extent of the positive with this book. The plot is mediocre (I literally can't quite remember who the murderer was, or the motive -- which tells you that the reveal was boring), the love interest is completely random, and, worst of all, the magic has no rhyme or reason. The best fantasy has some sort of order, structure, or purpose to the magic. Aside from giving the protagonist something to fret over and a job to pay her bills, the magic in this story just serves no purpose whatsoever.
There were a lot of fun B plots that I expected to be further fleshed out -- the mom & the grandma's situation, how to keep the shop afloat, figuring out how to get Merlin home, Tilly & Merlin developing their relationship -- honestly, even the cats seemed to have moderately interesting lives that could have been explored further! The whole novel has a lot of charming setups that just didn't go anywhere, leaving an overall head-scratching feeling at the end.
Interesting idea with a decent, easy to read writing style. I liked the nature of the small town murder needing to be investigated and how tied up everyone is in each other's lives. I even liked how the main character just happened to have magic, that wasn't essential to the stories progress. It just was.
However, really struggled with motivation. Why does Kailyn think she's the one that can solve the case? It's not magic related. The detective isn't shown to be incompetent and when his authenticity and ability to do the job is called into question, it was half way through the book and Kailyn had already been investigating herself for half of it. I just really didn't understand why she felt like she was the only one who could solve the case with her only experience being crime shows and Nancy Drew novels.
3.5/5 stars. An enjoyable read with an interesting premise, but character motivations didn't line up for me which made it quite difficult to get through and believe.
This book didn't really grab me. So this review won't be fantastic.
I was disappointed that the main character didn't use her powers to help with the investigation in any significant way. The only time she used it was to go invisible to sneak into an area but she screwed if up and got caught, it wasn't even funny to read. I just felt that was a waste and the Magic angle was gimmicky.
The killer was an idiot and revealed them self even though Kailyn had NO IDEA who the killer was. She may have been investigating but she had no viable suspect and the killer would have gotten away with it if they had stopped threatening her and didn't reveal who it was.
If you take the cozy detective side of it out of the book then it was cute. I enjoyed Kailyns aunt and Marlin who were fun and provided most of the comedy in the book. They are probably the only reason I enjoyed the book at all.
I don't think I will read any more of this series. This just wasn't for me.
I have read a few cozy mysteries and enjoyed them but this one was bland. I had the hardest time staying interested in the story despite the fact that I had been excited about the magical aspect of it. Unlike some other cozy mystery protagonist who blunder into murder investigations for no reason, Kailyn at least admits she’s curious and has always loved Nancy Drew. The police don’t involve her either, which always annoys me when it happens — why on earth would the police involve a completely unqualified civilian in a murder investigation?? (Here’s looking at you Aurora Teagarden!) Beyond that though Kailyn’s inner monologue was trite and had a LOT of comments about other women’s weight, shape, or eating habits. The author does a pretty good job setting the stage, especially with her descriptions of the smell of baked goods, but it wasn’t enough to make me love the book.
Kailyn Wilde inherited her family's centuries-old magick shop, Abracadabra after the untimely death of her mother and grandmother (though being on the other side doesn't prevent them from popping in occasionally, to offer advice and mild bickering). The shop isn't doing too well: business isn't what it used to be, and the balms and lotions – and Kailyn's magick – aren't working reliably anymore.
Kailyn and her aunt Tilly (a talented psychic) are visiting her attorney to finalize her family's estate when they literally stumble over his corpse. Someone's shot him, and in a town as small as New Camel, the rumours about who could have committed the crime start flying thick and fast. Top of the suspect list is Elise: the victim's wife and Kailyn's best friend. Since Kailyn's always wanted to be a sleuth, she decides that the best way to prove her friend's innocence is to solve the mystery herself.
Of course, the path of amateur detectives never did run smooth. Kailyn tries to strengthen her magick by summoning a familiar, yet somehow summons the great sorcerer Merlin instead, and she has to spend far too much time dealing with the fallout from his magickal misbehaviour. Somehow Kailyn has to run her shop, feed her 6 cats (led by the indomitable Sashkatu), solve the murder, keep Merlin from exposing the existence of magick to everyone, and find time to date that cute reporter.
Populated by a likeable, determined heroine, and an adorable cast of supporting characters, Magick & Mayhem is a solid start to what promises to be an entertaining series. The writing shows a light, deft touch, and even after I'd finished the last page I kept flashing back to New Camel, and the new friends I'd made: it's the kind of book you can devour in an afternoon but will stay with you much longer. Unquestionably, this is mood-enhancing reading of the best sort.
Provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
MAGICK AND MAYHEM by Sharon Pape The First Abracadabra Mystery
Life had always been a bit different for Kailyn Wilde. The family's magickal store, Abracadabra, sees loyal customers travel for miles to purchase health and beauty products with a magickal touch. Lately, however, the magick has been acting up and not always working right. Kailyn's mother and grandmother, recently deceased, but certainly not gone, pop in to offer advice between bickering between themselves, but have no answers. Kailyn and Aunt Tilly get an even bigger surprise when they find their family lawyer dead in his office! Who could have killed Jim Harkens?
MAGICK AND MAYHEM is a story about family, friends, and dealing with the unexpected. When Kailyn attempts to get her own familiar she instead summons Merlin. Yes, THAT Merlin. The first Abracadabra Mystery is filled with great characters, including Merlin, the silly Aunt Tilly and quarrelsome matriarchal ghosts. My favorite character is Sashkatu, the elderly black cat who looks at the world with disdain. Kailyn Wilde is a likeable protagonist struggling to keep her world as normal as a magickal life can be, especially when murder enters the picture.
Sharon Pape provides an entertaining mystery with plenty of fun. MAGICK AND MAYHEM is a solid start to a new mystery series.
FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
2.5 rounded up. The magic was far more interesting than the mystery, but there really seemed to be no reason to include both in this book since her magic played almost no role in solving the mystery. A lot of the side characters--i.e. Merlin and the cat--seemed to have no real purpose. I won't be reading the rest of the series.
Started a little slowly, but as the story went along it definitely picked up. Lots of room for the characters to continue and I am interested to see where the story line goes. Certainly will read book two.
Magic, Merlin and lots of humour and mayhem, that's the first thing that came to mind when I started reading Sharon Pape's Magic & Mayhem.
A paranormal, fast-paced, hilarious cozy mystery, Magic & Mayhem opens with Kailyn Wilde adjusting to the passing of her mother and grandmother, both witches, and to becoming the only person in charge of their magick shop "Abracadabra".
Narrated from Kailyn's first person perspective, the novel is full of humourous comments, descriptions and events. Set in the small town of New Camel, the mystery is revealed from the beginning when Kailyn and her aunt Tilly go to see their lawyer and find him dead.
"In this town, heavy traffic was five cars lined up at a red light."
Magic & Mayhem has an assortment of wonderful – and less friendly – characters, but all of whom have a role to play. There is Kailyn, whose magic, along with that of her family, has suffered a bug of late, as well as her aunt Tilly, who reads palms – although the accuracy of her readings can be questionable.
Kailyn follows her mother's advice and attempts to summon a familiar, a kind of animal guide believed to help witches with their magic. Instead, she discovers an old man in her basement who goes by the name of Merlin. To her and Tilly's surprise – and to the reader's – the great wizard himself was somehow thrust forward in time from the Middle Ages to Kailyn's storeroom.
"Did this man really expect me to believe he was the legendary wizard? He looked more like a Don Quixote wannabe."
One of the funniest and most entertaining aspects about Magic & Mayhem is Merlin's adjustment to and discovery of the gadgets of the modern world, from the toilet to the iPod to pizza.
I loved the references to books and movies, as well as all the magic and witch-related terminology which gave Magic & Mayhem a truly magical feel. It made me feel I was part of the story. The overall word choice of the novel was perfect and the narration was highly enjoyable. The imagery was interesting and impeccable throughout. I have never seen so many perfectly-worded similes in one place.
"The kettle had gone from whistling to screeching like a banshee, by the time I plucked it off the stove. Merlin stood in the middle of the kitchen, rotating like a clumsy ballerina."
After the discovery of the dead body, Kailyn begins her own investigation and several townspeople attempt to help her in any way they can, whether through throwing gossip her way or through actual help. Kailyn's curiosity is commendable, especially after she begins receiving death threats, and with the fact that the best suspect for the murder is her best friend Elise.
"There was no telling what would happen to history if Merlin died in the twenty-first century. It was bad enough that he would return to his time babbling about computers, aircraft, and men on the moon."
As a cozy mystery, Magic & Mayhem fits all the characteristics, having a fair share of quirky characters, cats and a well-penned mystery. I liked how romance did not play a major – or even minor – role in the novel.
Characterisation and setting were among the aspects that drew me in to the novel as well. Each character was well defined and the setting was realistic. Coupled with the fast pace of the novel, I couldn't put the book down.
Almost before I was half way through the novel did I expect to give it a five-star rating. Having finished, I'd definitely give it 10 stars and can't wait to get my hands on the second instalment in the Abracadabra Mystery Series by Sharon Pape. A must-read at all costs.
"If we ever figured out how to send him home, it might to be with a pizza oven."
Note: I received a free copy of Magick & Mayhem by Sharon Pape in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour with Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.
Magick And Mayhem is the first book in the An Abracadabra Mystery series.
Kailyn Wilde has recently taken over the family business of magical products, lotions, spells, etc., with the sudden death of her mother and grandmother. The shop is connected to her Aunt Tilly’s shop, Tea and Empathy.
They have an appointment with their lawyer to sign the papers turning Abracadabra over Kailyn. Instead, they body of the lawyer, Jim Hastings, dead from a gunshot wound. When Detective Max Duggan to investigate murder are put off by his abrasiveness. As the police begin to investigate, Hastings’ wife, Elise, becomes a person of interest as they had been having marital problems. Kailyn and Elise are close friends as Kailyn had babysat for Elise when her boys were young.
With the help of a news reporter, sets off on her own investigation, as she soon learns that Duggan might have has reason to kill Hastings. But there are quite a few suspects that Kailyn has to sort through before she can name the killer.
This book has a good mix mystery solving and humorous characters. Early in the book Kailyn tries a spell to get her own familiar. There are enough cats around so she tries to conjure up, maybe, a dog. What she ends up with is Merlin the Sorcerer. The interactions of Merlin and Aunt Tilly were particularly funny and of course, Merlin having to deal with all the new technology that exists.
I will be watching for the next book in this very entertaining new series.