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review 2018-06-13 02:41
A Witch's Path box set Books 1-3 by N. E. Conneely
A Witch's Path Box Set Books 1-3 - N. E. Conneely

Book 1 Witch for Hire

 

It was very easy for me to get into this book. It’s a pretty standard urban fantasy detective mystery story. Set in Georgia, Michelle is a clanless witch, which means she has to make a go of it on her own, working a job, paying bills, etc. She lives in a bed and breakfast run by a brownie, works as a consultant with the local police departments, and has girls’s night over pizza once a week with her best buds.

The best part of the world building were the various magical beings and creatures. Humans aren’t the only sentient beings and trolls are real, real enough to remove your head and slurp your innards out like a squeezed juice box. Elves, mermaids, dragons, griffons, unicorns, shifters, vampires, and more make up the cast of characters.

There’s a little dark humor mixed in with the clue hunting and action scenes. I especially liked the remarks about well-meaning but naive people trying to live side by side with the trolls. There was also that crazy, fast growing plant in Michelle’s bathroom. The various enchanted items that Michelle has to help un-spell were interesting too. Imagine having something useful spelled to keep people in their dinner seats until excused from the table yet then that item ends up in a yard sale. Some unsuspecting soul buys it and before you know it, they’re calling you from their dinner nook seat where they’ve been stuck for hours. Yep, makes me think twice about yard sales.

I don’t really know why the 1500 year old elf Elron is in this story. He doesn’t really fit into the scene and he doesn’t have anything to do with the plot. However, it does seem that his head has been turned by Michelle and she’s both interested in and annoyed by him. Sigh… can we please break the mold of 1000+ year old magical male being falls for young lady? Michelle is 25 in this story, but I still felt like rolling my eyes every time the two made eyes at each other.

The story ends on a total cliff hanger. Luckily the next book is available so you don’t have to wait for the rest of the tale. Over all, the book was a fun, easy urban fantasy. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Jeff Hays was absolutely excellent in this story. I have enjoyed his narrations before but this is the first time I have heard him narrate a female-lead full-length novel. His female voices are great and all his character voices are distinct. I love how he goes the extra mile with making people sound like they are on the phone or through a radio. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jeff Hays. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Book 2 A Witch's Path
 

Note: A Witch’s Path is Book 2 in the series and it is also the title for the box set of the first 3 books in the series. It should be read in order and doesn’t work well as a stand alone.

Book 1 left us hanging off a cliff by our finger tips so it was great that Book 2 was immediately available. Book 2 picks up right where Book 1 left off. The mess with the death threats deepens. In fact, Michelle screams and falls down a few times over these threats but I find it hard to fault her. After all, if a really big spider spelled out a death threat on my ceiling I would have some immediate gut reactions too.

Meanwhile, Elron is still in the story. I didn’t really care for him in Book 1 but I am finally starting to warm up to him. I don’t think he and Michelle are really a good romantic match but I do think they can be friends. Elron wavers back and forth on being romantically inclined towards Michelle and still mourning his long dead wife. He seems too stiff and proper for the modern times and yet that is part of his charm.

I totally fell in love with Michelle’s new pet, Ty the T-rex. It was a crazy, dangerous event that led to her adopting Ty but I’m sure glad she did. Michelle needs all the help she can get. Then there’s the whole mysterious crap with her parents and their clans. Michelle is an adult standing on her own for some years now but her parents still feel the need to shield her from her family history. I was on Michelle’s side with this, totally frustrated with her parents. I think they are doing more harm than good by keeping secrets from her.

The whole werewolf fiasco was a lot of fun. Michelle’s good friend Amber is kidnapped by this local clan leader. Amber is also a shifter but not a powerful one and Michelle has good reason to be very worried for her friend. I did feel that Michelle was a bit slow to put her powers and abilities into hunting for Amber but she was dealing with a lot of other stuff too. Michelle’s eventual efforts earn her some new, much needed allies.

Gargoyles! Who doesn’t love gargoyles? I can see these characters adding to the series immensely and I look forward to seeing what the author does with them. Then there’s the teen suicides that Michelle’s mom asks her to look into. The pace is fast all the way through this tale except for the tiny little bits where Elron is contemplating his life and missing his dead wife Sylvia.

Once we reach the end, there’s tons of stuff not wrapped up. Now it’s not the big cliff hanger we had from Book 1 but it still leaves a lot to be tied up in the next book. A mysterious book with dreams comes into play and throws Elron into a downward spiral. The Big Baddie is still at large. Then there’s trouble on the horizon with Michelle’s parents’s clans. So, once again, I’m glad the next book is immediately available. 4/5 stars

The Narration: Jeff Hays continues to do this series justice. He has the perfect voice for Michelle and he sounds so animated throughout the entire story. He makes a great angry werewolf and a serious gargoyle. I also like his somewhat formal voice for Elron.  5/5 stars.

Book 3 A Witch's Trial
 

Note: A Witch’s Trial is the 3rd book in the series and it really does need the previous books to make sense.

I’m really glad to say that this book wraps up the big cliff hangers from the previous two books. Michelle certainly has her hands full! She now knows for sure that there is a demon, Gremory, walking the Earth and it wants her suffering and dead. Also, the witch clans have finally taken notice of her and they all want her to join their clan. Some are far ruder about it than others. Also, things with her possible boyfriend Elron have tanked. The wife he thought long dead is still alive and he’s grieving anew.

Ty the Trex is still one of my favorite characters. He’s both a protector and pet of Michelle’s. He’s pretty formidable because, hey, he’s a Trex. I did find it odd that Michelle insists on keeping him secret. First, she took him down in a previous book when he was rampaging around taking out gas stations and such on news cameras. Second, Michelle and Ty live at a Bed & Breakfast. I think most people know there’s a Trex on the property.

Elron is still a problem for me. I started to warm up to him in the previous book but I didn’t find him a good match for Michelle. Now in this book, he is weepy almost all of the time. On one hand, I can appreciate having a lead male character be in touch with his feelings. On the other hand, Elron was a very boring, dull, exhausting character.

Landa the Brownie who owns and runs the B&B is a great bit of comfort to both Elron and Michelle. While Michelle has a mother, it’s nice to see Landa step in here and there and provide a bit of motherly comfort. And the gargoyles! Yay! Horst who we met last book, has asked Julius, another but more powerful gargoyle, to come hang out and help protect the area. These gargoyles have secrets and I hope we see them again later in the series.

The rest of the book was fun. I like that Michelle is having to juggle so much at once and she’s not sure she’s capable of taking on some of these challenges. I loved how she repeatedly blew off the clans, including her own grandmother’s. These clans had no use for her or her mother before they learned how powerful she was. Also, no clan has offered to accept both her and her mother.

The demon Gremory is a whole different flavor of trouble. Michelle faces a serious foe in Gremory and he has many weapons, one of them being the body of Sylvia, Elron’s wife. He brings minions to the final battle, which was OK. I did find it a bit anticlimatic as I really wanted a good, major rumble with Gremory. Then there’s the wrap up, which could have been shorter for me.

I know this is a quibble but I’m going to say it anyway. Michelle says, ‘thank you’ so many times in this book. It started to grate on my nerves. I wanted the author to use a thesaurus to mix it up a bit with ‘thanks’ or ‘much appreciated’ or such. In some conversations she says, ‘thank you’ 3 or 4 times. It was repetitive. All told, a fun urban fantasy with a Trex. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Jeff Hays continues to do a great job as the voice of Michelle. He really does sound like a 20-something woman. He also has a great voice for Elron the Sad. I absolutely loved his voices for the gargoyles, making me think of sandpaper on stone. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jeff Hays. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-06-13 01:28
The Prophet and the Witch by James W. George
The Prophet and the Witch - James W. George

Note: This is Book 2 and it can be read on its own if you check out the author’s notes about Book 1 but it works best if you have read Book 1.

There is quite a bit going on in this book. I finished it and I felt heavy with my new understanding of this little slice of time in colonial America. This is a serious subject and horrible things happen during King Phillip’s War. I really appreciate that the author didn’t shy away from showing that, and showing that all sides committed war atrocities.

Linto and Wawaseca are spiritual leaders of their people and Linto is a special character. He’s knowledgeable about both the colonial English ways and their various flavors of Christianity but is also Native American. Throughout the entire book, he could be the one to bring everyone together. On the English side, there’s Brewster. He’s a bridge between the Puritans and the Quakers because he’s left one in disgrace and grudgingly embraces the other through marriage. He’s also a treasured friend of Linto’s.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were the times that Linto and his fellow Wampanoags interpret various Bible stories. I wasn’t raised with the Bible and I could really relate to some of the questions they ask and their take on the meanings of these stories. These scenes also provide a bit of levity in a pretty serious novel.

My one criticism about this tale is that the ladies are mostly sidelined. Wawaseca is a leader of her community but we rarely see that. We’re told it over and over again but we only see her providing marital comfort to her husband or playing with kids. Late in the story, her character does get a little bit of growth. However, she then becomes a character to pity, not follow. One of the other tribes also has a female leader but she’s described as uppity and rude. Her role is very small. All other ladies are there for comfort. One English lass is described as having a mind to rival any mind in the colony but we only have one brief scene where she cites some Bible trivia. The rest of the time, she’s being a wifely comfort. The ladies could have contributed much more and I was disappointed with their minimal showing.

The tale does have a lot of Bible references but I never felt that the story was preaching at me. For the people in 1670s American colonies, their religion was a major part of their lives so I felt that was reflected well in the story. I also like that there are several views and some people do their best to live up to their chosen spiritual book while others abuse their spiritual authority.

I was very glad to see that the author provides some historical notes at the end about the indulgences he took in creating this tale. The story shows the author’s great care in researching the time and location. This is both enlightening and entertaining. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Angus Freathy was a joy to listen to for this narration. He had the perfect voice for Brewster and also for Linto, the two main characters. I loved all his regional accents for the various characters. There’s also some national accents as Scotsmen and Frenchmen join the cast of characters. My one quibble is that his female character voices weren’t always feminine. All his character voices were distinct. And there’s a bit of singing! Freathy did his singing well and then a short Psalm is sung by a woman (and done well too). The recording quality is excellent. 4.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by James W. George. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-06-13 00:08
A Witch's Concern by N. E. Conneely
A Witch's Concern - N. E. Conneely

Note: This is Book 4 in the series and really works best if read as part of the series.

It was nice revisiting Michelle’s witchy detective world again. I was glad to see that Ty (her magical T-rex), her guardian lion statues, and the protective plants were all still part of the story, if only minorly. Elron, Michelle’s elvish boyfriend, is still in the picture. I was glad that he had a backseat for most of the story as I find his character rather boring in this series.

The main plot centers around Michelle’s lack of clan loyalty. For a while now, since she had to go public with her powers in strength, several clans have wanted her to join. Michelle wants to stay free as she has been all her life and she’s built her detective and consulting business on her own. A clan probably wouldn’t allow her to keep doing her business. But now the clans are getting aggressive and Michelle has to fight back.

As a side thing, Michelle’s parents have decided to finally tie the knot. Michelle’s mom has officially joined her dad’s clan and now they are free to marry. And this leads to one of the weak points of the story. I kept expecting Michelle’s dad’s clan to step in and protect him, his wife, and perhaps Michelle since this other clan is breaking some serious rules and actually harming people. But that never happened and I felt that needed to be addressed somehow.

So over all, the story was fun and kept me engaged throughout the tale. There’s a good balance between action and character development. Well, except for Elron. He’s still a wet blanket. He’s got this selfish sad streak where he feels responsible for everything that goes wrong in the life of whatever woman he’s with. I was glad that he had less page time in this tale. All together, 4/5 stars.

The Narration: For the first 3 books, we had a single narrator (Jeff Hays). Now we’ve added Laurie Catherine Winkel. Both did fine but because I was used to hearing Michelle performed by Hays (excellent performance by the way), it took some time to get used to her voice coming from Winkel. There were no technical issues with the recording. 4.75/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jeff Hays. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-05-22 22:24
White Witch (Texas Devlins #0.5) by Lyn Horner
White Witch (Texas Devlins) - Lyn Horner

A historical romance with a paranormal twist. The world building uses the backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire. The characters are Irish-Americans. I really liked this back story to the series. The fire scenes were really well written and I liked the future MCs. I want to read more from this series.

 

However, let us take a moment to take in THAT COVER. The cover for my NOOK version is not nearly as majestic in the WTF status as this one shown here. The GCF is really seen through Jessie's POV; Jessie has premonitions and visions of the future, so seeing her vision come to terrifying life is really made extra after seeing this cover. I am using this book and cover for the PS prompt "book with an ugly cover".

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review 2018-05-21 01:19
WOULD-BE WITCH by KIMBERLY FROST
Would-Be Witch - Kimberly Frost

Wow, I just did not enjoy this book at all. The main character is just walked all over by seemingly everyone and just takes it. When she finds out who did her wrong or confronts people who are overly mean, she does pretty much nothing except mumble under her breath. Now, if it were me, there would be a HUGE amount of swearing, some cake throwing or whatever is handy, maybe hair pulling and scratching faces of a certain someone in this book - but definitely the first two. I didn't care for anybody in this book.

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