Showing posts with label Madelyn Alt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Madelyn Alt. Show all posts

Friday, September 23, 2022

Abandoning Bewitching Mystery Series by Madyln Alt

I'm officially calling it. After attempting to read the second-to-the-final book in Madelyn Alt's bewitching cozy mystery series, I've decided I can not take on the penultimate entry nor the final book. It's sad because I really enjoyed this series after reading the first book in 2008. It was around the time when urban fantasy was still in my reading "system". Though categorically Madelyn Alt's series isn't urban fantasy, it still maintains a witch-of-sorts as the main protagonist as a small-town woman named Maggie O'Neill. Regardless, I distinctly remember loving the first two books, taking years off, revisiting the series, and loving the third book most of all. Then the fourth book made for a decent read a few years ago. Then I revisited the series again back in 2020 with the fifth book. This is when I realized I’d just about changed as a reader, and that the series just wasn’t interesting anymore.

Still, I had two books left to go. And I decided maybe now was the time to clear the series off my lifelong reading TBR. 

Well, A With in Time made for a 60-page BORE. The deal is that our resident witch, Maggie, is supposed to overhear a conversation involving a teenager who was found dead of an apparent drug. Concerns about a possible perpetrator of this action are swirling about the local school and community. Nevertheless, somewhere in all this Maggie is supposed to overhear a conversation on the subject and subsequently get the mystery started. However, instead, for 60 pages we've got nothing but Maggie all nervous about her "hot date" (I freakin’ HATE this term) with the handsome Marcus character. She finally got to his house and a red flag threw me when he pulled her onto his lap. You know, grown women sitting on men's laps just do something to me.

Anyway, Maggie gets a call about her sister, who is at the hospital preparing to have twins. For whatever reason, this call was urgent. Anyway (again), we get to see Maggie’s mother act a fool. Her grandfather in a wheelchair acts like a fool (another pet peeve of mine is the grandmother/father character who is desperately drawn as amusing with his or her obnoxious antics). Maggie’s father is blah. Meanwhile, Marcus is circulating around her family as their new favorite bit of interest.

So what’s happened with the allegedly murdered teen within these 60 pages? Not a damned thing of interest. It was just… BORING! The sad part is that I actually like Maggie’s voice. But, man is she underused as a character stuck in a hospital waiting on her sister to give birth or some mess. Give me the darn mysteryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Anyway, I’m abandoning the series. I won’t get rid of the books. But they are certainly being pushed to the back of the shelf to make room for more books. Which was my intention upon finishing the series anyway.

I just wanted to see if I could actually complete the last two books. Unfortunately, it's a NO. And I'm cool with that. I have to keep it moving. Plus, I'm really enjoying the book I'm reading in its place.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

No Rest for the Alt

Okay.  So let’s get a little into Madelyn Alt’s No Rest for the Wiccan, book #4 in her A Bewitching Mystery series.  For starters, it took me reading the third book two years ago to finally say, “Hey, I’m interested in this.”  But to be clear, I picked the series up in the fall of 2008.  So I’m a hot mess when it comes to consistency.  But, dammit, for whatever reason I want to read this cozy mystery series.
But enough of that.
No Rest for the Wiccan has the series witchy sleuth, Maggie O’Neill stuck in many situations.  Outside of her back-and-forth love triangle drama, it appears her older sister, Mel, and nieces have found themselves tormented by a ghost inhabiting their home.  And with Mel, the beautiful and overly-spoiled sister, attempts to employee her peculiar sister (who happens to work in a magic shop) to exorcise said ghost.  A reluctant Maggie more or less entertains her “amazing” sister.  It isn’t until an accident crushes the family does Maggie step in with the help of the N.I.G.H.T.S. ghost-hunting team she belongs to.
Now if that wasn’t enough, Maggie also finds herself unraveling a local murder.  During another rubber-necking session with her cop boyfriend, Tom, an interruption call comes in on his raid.  Considering he’s on call, Tom takes the message.  It appears a body is hanging from one of the conveyor systems inside of a local grainier.  Disobedient of Tom’s orders, Maggie takes it upon herself to ask the wrong questions at the wrong time.  Leading her into the throats of marriage, insurance, family, and murder.  Oh, and fire!
But you know what?  FORGET THE MYSTERY AND LET'S JUST GET INTO THE REAL ISSUE!  (Probably best for those who've read the series.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#MarchMysteryMadness: The Preparation Book Haul

I’ve been a Barnes and Noble member for years and recently found the benefit of using the member card online.  FREE SHIPPING!  Where have I been?  (Oh, I’ve been on Amazon where they upped their free shipping price margin.)  Nonetheless, with #MarchMysteryMadness coming up, I needed to stock books to fulfill the upcoming mystery reading challenges.  So those, and some books I've collected from a couple of used bookstores, are featured in this haul post.  Many are from familiar series I plan on tackling #MarchMysteryMadness with–furthering my excitement for the challenges next month.

1.       Finally got a copy of Burn Marks.  It's book six in Sara Paresky’s V. I. Warshawski private-eye, hard-boiled series.  Now I’ve passed this particular 3rd edition hardback many times at the used bookstore.  Until now.  It’s right where I’m at with the series, so I went ahead and grabbed it.  The book is in great condition.  For a 1990’s release, the pages are super clean and crisp.  All that aside, this one has got to be a winning chapter in the Warshawski series.  You see, another one of Warshawski’s distant relatives is coming back in the picture.  And she's all set to hire her niece to solve a murder.  (For more on my Sara Paretsky reviews, see the LABELS at the bottom of the post.)
The other three books will feature on my #MarchMysteryMadness TBR video...
4.      Blanche Among the Talented Tenth by Barbara Neely.  Blanche is back!  I've had the third book since forever, but since I have to read a series in order, it has sat on my shelf awaiting book two.  Until now!  A black, domestic housekeeper solving murders makes a boy's dreams come true! (Visit Barbara Neely LABEL below for my thoughts on the first book in the series.)
5.       I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, book four in Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series.  YAY! It's finally in my hands!  Bookstore after bookstore I’ve searched, after reading The Red Herring Without Mustard [book three].  Actually, I would have to drive over the mountain to another Barnes & Noble in the valley to get a copy of this book.  Though I couldn’t see myself attempting so with a recently replaced crankshaft, and a cracked axle boot.  I feared my car wouldn’t pull the hill.  So I’ve ordered the book instead and can’t wait to continue with Flavia and her murder-solving mischief.  (For those unsure of what I’m even talking about, click the Alan Bradley LABEL below for all things de Luce.)

6.      The Goldfinch by Donna Tart.  Always, always wanted to give this book a go.  With all the acclaim and praise, it slammed onto my reading radar.  I was curious, and finally found this crisp copy for $4 at my public library’s bookstore.  With it in hand, I drew the attention of a staff member who stopped to gloat her love/hate relationship with the book.  This, naturally, fueled my excitement.
7.      No Rest for the Wiccan.  Another “I been to bookstore after bookstore” book.  Book four in Madelyn Alt’s Bewitching Mystery series required an online order as well.  I have a soft spot for this cozy mystery series about a witch solving local murders.  But I’ll digress for now.  (Click the Madelyn Alt LABEL for my thoughts on the previous book.)
8.      Two copies of Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles cozies.  That’s entry two [Witches’ Bane] and three [Hangman’s Root].  I’ve craved these hard-to-finds after discovering the first book while browsing the used bookstore.  And loved it.  (For my thoughts on the first book, click the Susan Wittig Albert LABEL below.)
Well, that’s it guys.  I’ve been hauling the hell out of books so far this year–and can’t wait to get into them all.  I have a copy of Buffy Season 10: Old Demons on the way also.  And in an attempt to use my Kindle more, I ordered/downloaded Marcia Muller’s Ask the Cards a Question.  It's book two in Muller’s Sharon McCone series.
So basically I’m back in my reading playground.  Cozies.  Female sleuths.  And murders.  With a splash of literature on the side.  Anyway, happy reading and all that jazz!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hex On The A Story

It’s been a couple of years since I picked up the second book in Madelyn Alt‘s “A Bewitching Mystery“ cozy series, A Charmed Death; and even longer since I was introduced to Alt's protagonist Maggie O’Neill in the first book, The Trouble With Magic. I… moderately… enjoyed each book; not quite won over, but not quite unfulfilled.  Nevertheless, I found myself interested not only in the cozy mystery sub-genre the series is written for, but also by the premise of a young witch (though I find that debatable) as the main protagonist doing the sleuthing. While that is nothing new, it was a first for me. (At least outside of Diana Teagarden.) So I enjoyed the first two books just fine, certain that I would proceed forward and stick with the series. 

Unfortunately, it’s been a hot minute since I've picked up book three. Having bought Hex Marks the Spot last June, I've just now decided to give it a go. Why not? It’s been hanging around long enough. And thankfully, I actually enjoyed myself pushing and swallowing down the sweetness of its borderline chick-lit flavor.

Hex Marks the Spot was fun! I even laughed a little.  There were moment of suspenseful reading, and sometimes I found myself touched by the romance elements.  (I have to stress touched and not body slammed by it.)  However… a couple of things did bother me. One was the entanglement of Alt’s A Story, B Story and C Story. The other was a lot more technical, as it relates to the construction of her mystery.

But first, what is Hex Marks the Spot about?  Small town pseudo-witch and magic shop employee, Maggie O’Neill, arranges to tag alongside her boss and local witch, Felicity “Liss” Dow, on a trip to a crafts bazaar. Here they meet residents of the nearby Amish community–one being their close friend and fellow paranormal investigator, Eli Yoder. Bent over a sawhorse in an open horse barn, Eli greets his friends as he goes about crafting bookshelves and end tables for bazaar shoppers. Liss, of course, buys a couple for her shop before spotting an armoire ablaze with a Celtic hex symbol. Interested, Eli has to pass on Liss’s offer as the armoire is wheeled aside to take part in an auction.

Disappointed and unable to pull her eyes away from the hex symbol, both Liss and Maggie curiously wonder when did Eli gather the talent to do such a detailed carving–particularly that of a hex. Apparently, while Eli did his job to build the actual armoire, the hex feature was constructed by another Amish carpenter named Luc Metzger. Besides his talents, Luc Metzger is somewhat of a heartthrob in the Amish community; and my how this nettles Luc's wife. Nonetheless, making a long story short, he’s found dead on the roadside with a busted head and an interesting hex symbol hanging near his body.

Was Luc’s murder religiously motivated? Or maybe Luc’s murder was a result of a fatal attraction? Or, learning that he had a history of romantic side affairs, perhaps his wife finally took him out?
Whatever the answer, his murder pops up on Maggie’s witch radar.

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