Once Upon a Witch by Valia Lind

Once Upon a Witch by Valia Lind

Publisher: Skazka Press

Publication date: February 5, 2021

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Publisher's description:

One magical mishap and her world goes up in flames.

Cassandra Duke had her whole life figured out. She was going to stay away from magic, become a successful interior designer in a big city, and maybe finally learn how to waltz. But then, her magic acts up—without her permission—leaving her without a job and a plan.

Coming home was never in the stars. But when her aunt calls, Cassie packs up her stuff and heads to Crooked Windows Inn. Maybe with a little peace and quiet, and a remodeling gig, she can get her magic (and life) back under control.

But the universe is clearly out to get her!

Not only has she picked up an annoying cat sidekick, but then her childhood nemesis comes back into her life in the form of the (hot) new handyman, and things just can’t get any worse.

That is, until one of the inn’s guests turns up dead and Cassie’s aunt is the prime suspect.

Now Cassie has no choice but to take matters into her own magical hands.

Can she solve the case before her aunt is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit?

If you love a little magic and wit with your murder, you’ll love this brand new paranormal witch cozy mysteries series from USA Today bestselling author, Valia Lind!

My review:

I received a free copy of the ebook from BookSirens in exchange for my review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Cassie finds herself returning home amid a ruined career when her magic goes haywire. Her Aunt Grace is acting awfully suspicious and now the ghost of a murdered woman expects Cassie to solve the crime. Just to make matters worse, her adolescent tormenter, Mean Dean, is working for her aunt renovating the Crooked Windows Inn and Cassie is going to be working alongside him. At least her long-time friends Penny and Finn have her back... but are they keeping a secret too?

There’s a cat and magic… so, yeah. Two things I love. It is otherwise a pretty formulaic cozy mystery. Not that there is anything wrong with that! I often want my reading to be a predictable escape from an unpredictable real world. This introduction to the Crooked Windows Inn world is pretty short - 114 pages - so there wasn’t a lot of room to really world build yet. As is my usual practice, I will read book two as well. I’ve found you really can’t judge a series based on the first book.

A couple of things I didn’t like. In the first of the book, the dialogue - both internal and external - contained a lot of bad grammar. It was difficult to believe that a big city interior designer and the owner of a well-established and popular bed and breakfast would speak with such bad grammar. It felt like an attempt to make them sound of a certain dialect, maybe Southern, though I don’t recall there being a mention of what part of the country Monroe Cove was located. The weird affected dialogue smoothed out toward the end and Cassie and her aunt sounded like normal people. Another odd thing that bothered me is that Cassie is supposed to be 24 but her aunt is 63. That’s an awfully big age gap for her mother’s sister. The aunt was also portrayed as almost elderly. The 60s are considered middle-aged now.

There was a hint of a love triangle but, thankfully, that didn’t go anywhere. I do not like love triangles! All in all, I like the characters and I look forward to reading the next in the series. I’m rooting for Mean Dean! I hope more is done with the cat in future installments. I was SHOCKED when the protagonist claimed she didn’t like cats, or pets in general even, but it looks like our feline friend is growing on this witch.

Read my review for Book Two: Two Can Witch the Game here.

Author’s site: https://valialind.com/