Monday, September 26, 2022

Bound, Book 1 in The Doyle Witch Mystery Series by Kirsten Weiss – Book Review


Bound by Kirsten Weiss book review

Bound by Kirsten Weiss is the first book in the Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery Series.

I’d been postponing reading this book for a while because I wanted to pick it up when I was free so I could get immersed in it. Then… I picked it up on a whim and couldn’t put it down!

I was literally skipping on sleep because I was enjoying Bound.

Bound has all the elements of an amazing book: Magic, mystery, action, adventure, humor and a great story!

“Why are well still single?”

“Because [Jayce wants] to date everyone, Lenore wants to date no one, and the man I want to date doesn’t exist.”

Bound is narrated in the first-person perspective of Karin, the middle sister of “triplets, three Scorpios born exactly three minutes apart.”

“Jayce, the oldest and the wild child, had never been able to resist a good sin. Lenore, the youngest, was a bookish introvert. I was the middle child, a worrier by age five who imagined disaster whenever Jayce played in the forest alone, who spent sleepless nights in feat of losing my aunt as we’d lost our parents.”

Each of the three sisters has a talent. And though Karin is the middle sister, she doesn’t seem to be the strongest.

I wanted to know more about each sister’s ability. Though Karin, as the narrator, explains what each of them can do, we don’t see those abilities in action much.  

book quote from Bound, a paranormal cozy mystery by Kirsten Weiss

One of things I liked about Bound is the presence of two mysteries. Come to think of it – several mysteries. Jayce is accused of murder and at the same time, a curse seems to plague the sisters and their bloodline. There are also the mysteries of the disappearing hikers and the women appearing out of nowhere.

How many of these mysteries might be connected?

“The sense of wrongness intensified. There was magic here, a magic I’d never felt in these woods before.”

A large part of Bound focuses on their aunt Ellen, who is dying from cancer. This pained me personally because someone really close to me was recently diagnosed.

Before Ellen passes, she tells the three sisters about the family curse and how she’d been trying to break it.

Another thing I liked about Bound was the references to other books, movies, and series. When Ellen talks to Karin about her “knot magic,” it reminded me of Diana Bishop in A Discovery of Witches. I watched the series but it was quite similar.

In one of the scenes, we see Lenore reading “a novel about a paranormal museum” to Ellen. It references Weiss’ Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series, of which I’d read two books.

I was surprised to find Jayce, the “wild child,” who is accused of murder to be passive about the accusation, letting the police take care of it when it was clear they weren’t looking for other suspects.

While reading Bound, I came across a reference to ‘the rose rabbit.’ Though Bound ends with no explanation of what the rose rabbit is, I remembered reading a poetry collection by Kirsten Weiss titled Tales of the Rose Rabbit. At the time, I hadn’t read any books in this series.

I think it’s time to revisit that poetry collection.

I was surprised to learn that the second book Ground is narrated from Jayce’s perspective. Honestly, I didn’t like her. But I hope to see a better side to her in Ground.

Overall, I fell in love with Bound and can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series, which I recently discovered has transformed from a trilogy to a 9-book series! That’s excluding supplements and in-between books and crossover books!

Overall rating for Bound by Kirsten Weiss: 5 stars!

Warning: If you start, you won’t leave the book until it’s finished!

Want to explore more paranormal cozy mysteries?

Here are a few recommendations: 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Big Shot by Kirsten Weiss – Book Review

New – though slightly belated – book review for one of my favorite authors! It’s Kirsten Weiss with a new mystery series. Now, I can proudly say, I’ve read books from 3 of her many cozy mystery series!


“Can you think of anyone who wanted to kill Donald?”

“Aside from the entire town?”


Big Shot by Kirsten Weiss is the first book in the Big Murder Mystery Series.

The book opens with Alice, a woman body guard, who wakes up half-way through a job, only to discover that her client had drugged her and stolen her car. She jumps into an Uber and – in her pjs – pursues the rogue client, who gets themselves killed by running into a truck.

Now Alice is wanted for the murder of her client – a mob boss.

To get away from the media frenzy, Alice goes back to her hometown of Nowhere. But the town she left behind seems to be a lot different from the one she comes back to.

Add in that as soon as she arrives, she stumbles on a dead body!

“Unbelievable. You bug out of Nowhere, and when you finally decide to come back, you dig up a body?”

Big Shot is narrated in Alice’s first-person perspective. She’s sarcastic, funny, and super resourceful. She’s also in a line of work that rarely features women – being a body guard.

But Alice isn’t perfect. And I loved that about her. Throughout the novel, she’s hopeful that her ex-husband, Buck, who owns the surveillance company will clear her name. But as a reader I could clearly see he wasn’t doing anything and the situation keeps getting worse for Alice. I like that she's honest, fairly realistic, and practical.

“You deal with many murders as a body guard?”

“No. We try to keep our clients from getting dead.” 

Other characters include Alice’s brother, Charlie, his friends – lots of friends, and an old mobster who seems hell bent on killing Alice in the funniest and craziest of ways!

Though Big Shot opens with Alice’s predicament, she’s quickly thrown into a bigger problem: Her brother being a suspect in a murder in her hometown of Nowhere (where she was hoping to hide from the public eye).

book quote from Big Shot, a cozy mystery by Kirsten Weiss

My biggest problem with Big Shot was the long chapters. But otherwise, I enjoyed the book.

Overall, I found Big Shot to be an intriguing cozy mystery with memorable characters, and lots of sarcasm. I look forward to reading more books in the Big Murder Mystery Series. 

Overall rating for Big Shot by Kirsten Weiss: 4 stars.


Note: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of Big Shot from its author Kirsten Weiss in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way impact my review or rating.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Vampires and Villains by Elizabeth Pantley – Book Review & Author Interview

Today, I’m excited to be featuring an author whose blurbs have captivated me for some time. Meet author Elizabeth Pantley.

This post features a blurb for Pantley’s newest paranormal cozy mystery Vampires and Villains, an author interview and a book review. It's part of a blog tour via Lori's Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.


Book Blurb for Vampires and Villains

Paige and her joyful Aunt Glo have learned that the home they inherited comes with a magical library. They put together a book club group of loveable kooks to explore the magic.

They’ve recovered from their first book journey, and they all agree on their next book which takes place on a cruise ship bound for Hawaii. Problem is, they were so excited about the cruising idea that they didn’t read the entire blurb on the back of the book. (“It was entirely too long,” explains Zell.) Once on the ship, they meet a charming and likable man who blends seamlessly into their motley group. Too bad they don’t know why he’s so scarce during the day but shows up to join them every evening for dinner, drinks, and a show.

When a dead body shows up on board, their new friend is labeled a suspect. Can they help him out by finding the real murderer? Or is he the real murderer? The book club will need to solve the case to get off the ship, out of the book, and back to their home.


Interview with author Elizabeth Pantley

Nadaness In Motion: Can you tell us about your writing process?

Elizabeth Pantley: When a new book idea forms, I build a rough outline. I like to know the main facts: Who did it? Why? Who’s the victim? Where’d it happen? How did it occur? Then I like to outline the last chapter, so I know where the story is going. Once I start writing the characters take over the story and I need to follow their lead.


Nadaness In Motion: We all wish we could dive into a book and meet the characters. Are any of the books from the Magical Mystery Book Club series inspired by real books?

Elizabeth Pantley:  Not yet! But it would be cool to allow the Club to go into a real book and become part of the story.


Nadaness In Motion: When you’re not writing your books, what genres and authors do you like to read?

Elizabeth Pantley: My favorite genre is paranormal cozies – big surprise since that’s what I write! I have so many favorites I’d have to write a book!


Nadaness In Motion: In Vampires and Villains, the characters are on a cruise ship headed to Hawaii. Do you write about places you’ve been to? Do you travel for research? Or do you just research the whole thing?

Elizabeth Pantley: I like to write about things and places I’ve experienced to make the story more vibrant and realistic. I love to cruise! I haven’t been out on a ship in the past three years, of course, so I decided to take a trip vicariously through my characters. It was a blast being back on a cruise ship!


blog banner for Vampires and Villains by Elizabeth Pantley

Nadaness In Motion: One of the book writing tips I often read is to make sure your characters, especially your main character, aren’t perfect. They have to have negative traits. Can you tell us what are some of the main character’s negative traits?

Elizabeth Pantley: I agree that nobody wants to read about a perfect person. It’s just not realistic, and sometimes annoying! This book features the eight members of a book club. They are a sometimes goofy, often disorganized, occasionally confused bunch. It’s fun to watch them piece together and solve a mystery.


Nadaness In Motion: Are you planning to do any crossovers between your paranormal cozy mystery books?

Elizabeth Pantley: I’ve sure thought about it! It would be a blast to have the book club visit Hayden, Latifa and the gang in Destiny Falls!


Nadaness In Motion: If someone were to go through your browser’s recent searches, what are they likely to find? (People always say not to ask a mystery author this question, that’s why I’m asking it :D)

Elizabeth Pantley: My son and I were just laughing about this! My searches leave a hysterical trail. ‘What does a human body look like after 3 days in the water?” – “What poison kills quickly and silently?” – “Can you kill someone by stabbing them with a knitting needle?” – “


Nadaness In Motion: What advice would you give to someone writing their first cozy – or paranormal cozy – mystery?

Elizabeth Pantley:
Everyone is different, of course. But if you’ve never written a book before, I suggest that you start by reading. Pick two or three of your favorite books and read them again. But his time, read to learn.

Pay attention to more than just the story and take lots of notes. How does the author keep your attention from page to page? How does each chapter end, and each new one begin? What sentences grab you, make you laugh, or cause you to gasp? How does the dialog flow when characters are speaking versus the narration portions of the story? How does the author describe each new character – it’s more than listing height and eye color! How does the author describe the settings? What ways make it interesting to learn about a new character or place?

Once you’ve analyzed your favorite books – just start writing! Don’t expect perfection in your first attempt. Just let your creative self loose and see what happens!

Book Review of Vampires and Villains 

How often have you dreamed of becoming part of a book and mingling with the characters?

If you’re a bookworm like me, your answer is probably “too many times to count!”

Vampires and Villains is my first read for Elizabeth Pantley and it’s unlikely to be my last. The book comes with a strong premise. A book club group not only reads a cozy mystery, they’re teleported into one, become characters, and have to solve the mystery!

The book opens with the book club group – 7 members who are awaiting the 8th! We get a brief intro for the characters before they head to a magical library to decide which book they’ll dive into.

“The two-story library was filled to the brim with books. A brass spiral staircase joined the levels. A massive stone fireplace centered the room, and the carved wood mantle was graced with a statue of a woman holding a mystery book. A beautiful antique globe sat in the prominence on a carved wood table, and an ancient Underwood typewriter was displayed in a glass case.”

Though it’s my read, Vampires and Villains is the second book in The Magical Mystery Book Club Series.

The main character, Paige, and her aunt Glo, inherited the magical library from their great-grandmother, who, it turns out, has been having tons of adventures.

In this book, their 8th member is 82-year-old tiny but super grumpy Maximilian, who goes by ‘Million.’

“Million. As in Maximilian. Not Millions.”

There are lots – and I mean LOTS – of characters in Vampires and Villains! And I must say I got confused several times as to who’s who. Also, the characters move – most of the time – in a group of 8, which I felt was too suspicious and unrealistic.

That said, there were several memorable characters like Million, Zell, and Frank. I also liked Forrest, the only teen in the group.

By the way, Frank is their talking cat, who also graces the beautiful Vampires and Villains cover.

Though Million and Zell are both in their eighties, they’re entirely different characters. Frank and Million are the most sarcastic characters in the book. And I absolutely loved them!

“You don’t just read these. You are actually…transported into the story.”

“As in… The Chronicles of Narnia? Or more like Jumanji?”

“I hope not like Jumanji!” I gasped. “I don’t think my heard could take it. No, no. More like…um…”

“Becoming a character in a Hallmark mystery channel movie!”

Narrated from the first-person perspective of Paige, Vampires and Villains takes the characters to a cruise ship in Hawaii. There’s lots of humor in the book. But there were also many redundancies that could have made it more exciting.

And because Zell doesn’t read the entire blurb, because it was “too long” the characters discover they’re in a paranormal cozy mystery! They find themselves aboard a cruise ship with several vampires!

One of the things I liked about Vampires and Villains are the comments the characters make when they try to remind themselves that they’re in a book or are dealing with other characters. Like this one:

“Has this scene been written by one of those authors with a love of adjectives?’

Overall, I think Vampires and Villains is a fun and quick read. I loved the premise and I’m definitely interested in seeing where the characters go in the coming books.

Overall rating for Vampires and Villains by Elizabeth Pantley: 4 stars


Elizabeth Pantley author image
About the Author

Elizabeth Pantley says that writing the Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic Book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of the series say her joy is evident through the stories she tells. 

Elizabeth is also the internationally bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the beautiful inspiration for the enchanted Destiny Falls world.

Connect with author Elizabeth Pantley via Goodreads, her website and her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

Monday, September 12, 2022

Potions, Poisons, and Perils by Shea MacLeod – Book Review

Today, I’m sharing a book review for another paranormal cozy mystery I read this year. I’m on a roll with paranormal cozies it seems but they can be lots of fun!

image showing a book cover with the book title Potions, Poisons, and Peril by Shea MacLeod


Welcome to Deepwood, Oregon, a cozy town of witches, magic, and now, murder...Emory Chastain loves her herbs and spices. So much so that when she's not baking self-confidence into chocolate chip cookies, she's in her shop selling everything from love potions to herbal tea blends. She's also one of the most powerful witches of the modern era.

When a strange madness afflicts seemingly unrelated people in her funky little town, turning ordinary citizens into raving beasts, Emory and her friends are convinced there's more to the mystery than a simple virus. Turns out they're right. Somebody is using a magic spell to poison people, and if they don't stop the killer, there will be more death in the town of Deepwood.

Book details:

Book title: Potions, Poisons, and Peril

(Book 1 in the Deepwood Witches Mysteries)

Author: Shea McLeod

Genre: Paranormal cozy mystery

Number of pages: 212 pages

Publication date: 10 August 2019

Publisher: Independently Published 

Potions, Poisons, and Perils by Shea MacLeod is the first book in the Deepwood Witches Mystery series. However, my first read for MacLeod was book 5 in this series called Alchemy, Arsenic, and Alibis.

Potions, Poisons, and Peril by Shea MacLeod
The book opens with Emory Chastain readying her tea shop for the day. Emory is a witch. And I liked the way she calms herself with her teas and herbal concoctions. It’s something I do personally sometimes. (Though I avoid chamomile unless I’m going to bed!)

“That was the thing Deepwood. It wasn’t just a quaint, charming town. It was a town of witches. Mostly.”

There are several points of view in the book, though all are in the third person.

Bit by bit, we meet the characters, learn about their magic – or rather different types of magic – and it works. We also learn that Edwina – from book 5 – came to her magic ‘later in life,’ as opposed to Emory and the others who are “natural-born” witches.

Though I found the different types of magic and how each one works interesting, it was also quite confusing. For example, Emory is both a portal witch and a spellwalker, while her friend Lene is a deathwalker.

“Lene wasn’t just any witch. She was a deathwalker, a type of witch near as rare as a spellwalker. She sensed when death was near, which meant she could find bodies people didn’t want found.”

In Alchemy, Arsenic, and Alibis, the main view point was Edwina’s, another Deepwood witch. But book 1, surprisingly, opens with Emory Chastain and her point of view, which isn’t as enjoyable as Edwina’s (sorry, Shea!)

Since starting Potions, Poisons, and Perils, I was on the lookout for any references to Edwina Gale from book 5. Naturally, I loved the way she is introduced and how Emory sees her:

“Edwina Gale was an Amazon of a woman, at least six feet tall with the shoulders of a linebacker and build of solid muscle. Her hair, once a rich dark brown, was now streaked with iron gray and tied back in a think braid. Her gray eyes were bright and intelligent. At sixty-something, she had more strength and energy than Emory had at thirty.”

Having started with book 5, I felt that the book was clearer and more fun. When I started – and finished – Potions, Poisons, and Perils, I felt that Emory wasn’t a smart or witty character like Edwina. I instantly – and involuntarily – compared the two different characters. And you can tell I like one more than the other.

book quote from paranormal cozy mystery Potions, Poisons, and Perils by Shea MacLeod

I know that Shea MacLeod has launched a new spin-off series starring Edwina Gale. And I’m looking forward to getting my hand on the first book Day of the Were-Jackal.

Unlike Alchemy, Arsenic, and Alibis, Potions, Poisons, and Perils has several memorable lines, conversations, and quotes. However, the book is longer and much slower.

“Do you believe in…Do you believe in visions?...I’ve been having them lately. All the time.”

“What do you see?”

She glanced around. “This shop.” She eyed Emory. “You.”

“And a dead body?”


In terms of characters and development, Emory maneuvers the whole mystery thing very slowly. She even calls in Edwina for help. Edwina, on the other hand, is a fully-developed character – I think. In this book, she’s a secondary character.

The book offers a touch of romance but there’s more focus on the magic, which is something I like when I read paranormal cozy mysteries.


Overall rating for Potions, Poisons, and Perils by Shea MacLeod: 3.5 stars.


Note: I got a free copy of Potions, Poisons, and Perils for being part of author Shea MacLeod's newsletter. This didn't affect my review in any way. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Dewey Decimated by Allison Brooke - Book Review & Blog Tour


Today I’m re-featuring author Allison Brook. You may have met Brook from book review of Buried in the Stacks in 2019. This post features her newest book in The Haunted Library Mystery Series. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! (Ends 15 September)


Here’s a bit about the book

Book title: Dewey Decimated

Series: Book 6 in The Haunted Library Mystery Series

Genre: Paranormal cozy mystery

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publishing date: 6 September 2022

ISBN-10: 1639100903
Digital ASIN:


Librarian Carrie Singleton is back on the case, alongside library ghost Evelyn, in the sixth installment of Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s Haunted Library mysteries.

Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut. She could really use a break—but no such luck, as she; Smoky Joe, the resident cat; and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, are drawn into another tantalizing whodunit.

First, a dead body is found in the basement of the building attached to the library, and it turns out to be Carrie’s fiancé’s Uncle Alec, who Dylan hasn’t seen in years. But Alec has no intention of truly checking out, and his ghost makes itself at home in the library, greatly upsetting the patrons. 

Carrie and Evelyn work hard to keep Alec out of sight, but what was he doing in Clover Ridge to begin with? And why was he killed? 

Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. Turn it into an upscale park? Sell it to a condo developer? Or keep it as protected land?

As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list?

Book Review of Dewey Decimated


‘Trish came bursting through the door, her face alive with excitement. “Guess what? They found a body in the old building next door.”’

Dewey Decimated by Allison Brook is the 6th book in The Haunted Library Mystery Series. It’s my second read for both Brook and the series. My first read in this series was book 2, Buried in the Stacks.

When Carrie Singleton, head of programs at the Clover Ridge Library, learns of a dead body in the building the library recently acquired for expansion, she says she won’t be looking into it.

Carrie has racked a reputation for solving crimes in her local community. And everyone expects her to take part in this investigation.

“Why all the questions? Are you planning to look into the case?”

“Just natural curiosity. I want no part in this investigation.”

“Music to my ears.”

It is not clear why but Carrie can see ghosts. Including Evelyn whom she met in the library when she first joined a year earlier. Together, Carrie and Evelyn solve murders one book after the other. 😊

Despite her supposed-disinterest in the murder, Carrie is slowly dragged into it. The victim turns out to be her fiancé’s distant uncle.

But that’s not the only problem. Soon it’s not just Evelyn that Carrie can see but there’s a second ghost with no recollection of who he is or how he died.

Bit by bit, Carrie is dragged into solving the murder. Add in a nosy reporter who is dying to break a story and feature Carrie in it.

“Why aren’t you afraid of me?”

I laughed. “Because Evelyn’s a ghost, and she’s a good friend of mine.”

Dewey Decimated welcomes a few familiar faces and names and adds more people to The Haunted Library Mystery Series cast.

In addition to the murder mystery, Carrie is now part of her town’s council. And though they are just 5 people, there’s much debate over a major project in the town. Carrie soon discovers that there are politics and money at play in the council.

And as soon as she solves one mystery, a new one emerges with the death of a council member.

Dewey Decimated is a fun and calming read from Allison Brook. One of my problems with Buried in the Stacks was the amount of repetition Carrie had to do to tell the different people what has happened. While this remains a part of Dewey Decimated, it’s much less than Buried in the Stacks.

“The last thing I needed was a ghost having a meltdown in my office.”

The only thing I didn’t get about the book was the title ‘Dewey Decimated.’ But that could just be me.

In terms of imagery, there wasn’t a lot of it but that didn’t bother me. I also love the book covers in this series.

Overall rating for Dewey Decimated by Allison Brook: 4 stars


About Allison Brook:

A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook, she writes the Haunted Library series. Death Overdue, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.

Her juvenile novel, Rufus and Magic Run Amok, was an International Reading Association-Children's Book Council Children's Choice. And Don't Bring Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards.

Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.

Connect with Allison via her website, Facebook page, Twitter, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

Buy Dewey Decimated via Amazon  Penguin Random House    B&N    Kobo    Google Play 

Keep up with the rest of the blog tour featuring spotlights, book reviews, author interviews, and character interviews.

6 September: Spotlights via Ruff Drafts, Brooke Blogs, and The Book Diva's Reads

7 September: Spotlights via Celticlady's Reviews and Maureen's Musings and a book review via Baroness Book Trove

8 September: Spotlights via Angel's Guilty Pleasures and The Mystery Section and a book review and author interview via I Read What You Write

9 September: Book reviews via View from the Birdhouse and Cozy Up With Kathy and a character interview via Read Your Writes Book Reviews

10 September: Spotlights via I'm All About Books and #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog, along with a book review via eBook Addicts

11 September: Book review via Nadaness In Motion and spotlight via FUONLYKNEW

12 September: Book reviews via Christy's Cozy Corners and Books a Plenty Book Reviews

13 September: Spotlights via Sapphyria's Book Reviews and Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers and a character interview via Ascroft, eh?

14 September: Book review via Reading Is My SuperPower and spotlight via Literary Gold

15 September: Book review via MJB Reviewers, spotlight via Socrates Book Reviews, and an author interview via Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book