This is the debut novel in a new series. It is a lighthearted magical cozy. Come along and see if it's for you.
Copyright: Feb 2016 (NAL) 336 pgs
Series: 1st in A Witch's Cat Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy
Main Character: Annabelle (Annie) Amelia Blessingsound Britton
Setting: Modern day, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
Annabelle breaks up with her boyfriend and decides to visit visit her best friend - Chef Martine, who is opening a restaurant in the seaside town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. When she stumbles upon a smoky gray cat named Alastair (nicknamed the ghost cat), and follows him into a charming cottage of his former owner (Dorothy) who recently died. She gains access, seemingly from Alistair the cat's magic touch, into a locked attic room with a witch's altar complete with her photo in the center. Before she knows it, she encounters an intruder and pockets the wand from the altar. Her hidden talent - a "vibe" she gets - tells her that Dorothy was pushed rather than accidentally fell down the basement stairs. She is soon surrounded by Dorothy's coven, surviving nephew, and Alistair, all wanting to find out the truth yet trying to protect her at the same time.
Annie, she is a fun character that is easy to care about. Her interactions with Alistair are priceless. She has a self-deprecating sense of humor that keeps the narrative light. Martine is a busy Chef, but makes time for Annie when she is needed. Frank, the head of the local paper and only surviving relation to Dorothy may be interested in Annie. I look forward to seeing how his character develops. The coven is comprised of Julia, Valerie, Kenisha, Didi, Shannon, and Trisha are a friendly group of women who use their spells, charms, and potions to keep the people of Portsmouth safe. Sean, the charismatic bartender at Martine's restaurant, is another potential romantic interest. At least, he is interested. Alistair the cat is not surprising, the breakout star. Enigmatic, he is a cat of mystery who disappears into thin air and appears just as suddenly.
The plot arrears simple on first blush, but there is enough going on that motive or the killer aren't clear. Particularly motive. The pages kept turning as I followed Annie, so the pacing maintained a steady rhythm. The killer reveal was plenty tense which made me happy. The wrap up leaves the reader wanting to know what is in store for Annie now.
I liked this light and engaging mystery with warm and fun characters. The only draw back were quite a few typos.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.
Cherry Cheesecake Cookies
These festive cookies offer bright red saucy cherries atop a stage of sweet cheesecake dusted in graham cracker crumbs. The best part is, they're a cinch to make!
While the original recipe calls for the use of cherries on top, feel free to adapt it by using a tablespoon of blueberry pie filling, strawberry pie filling, strawberry-rhubarb pie filling, even lemon pie filling, etc. The possibilities are endless and these delicious cookies will be the hit of any party. In case you're wondering, this recipe can easily be doubled as well.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (place in a small shallow dish)
1 cans (20-ounce) cherry pie filling (or blueberry or strawberry, etc if desired)
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, mixing well, then set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, butter and sugar and beat them together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating until incorporated and smooth.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, do not over beat the dough.
Refrigerate dough until firm, about 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
Scoop the dough out and shape into 1 1/2-inch balls, then roll the balls in graham cracker crumbs. Place balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, then, using the back of a spoon press gently to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
Place 3 cherries in each cookie dimple.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool for five minutes on the sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prep Time: 45 min (including refrigeration time)
Cook Time: 14 min Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Recipe from Budget101.com