by Kathleen Costa
This week we have a review of Witch and Treat: A Collection of Paranormal Cozy Shorts, with stories written by Nikki Haverstock, Danielle Garrett, ReGina Welling, Erin Lynn, Sonia Parin, Joynell Schultz, Ani Gonzalez, Cate Lawley, Ruby Blaylock, Amanda A. Allen, D.S. Butler, Ava Mallory, Pearl Goodfellow, Karny McFlynn, Tegan Maher, and April Aasheim. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either a print or ebook copy of Witch or Treat, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
No matter what they call it: Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain; no matter who they are: witches, ghosts, druids, talented or amateur, good or evil. These short stories are exciting and great entertainment. Like most short stories, these are little adventure snippets with your favorite characters from your favorite authors, and some totally new. Although background and character connections are not revisited like in full-length books, it’s not required for the fan’s and newbie’s enjoyment because a summary is provided to set up enough details to get you off to a good start.
Each story is engaging offering clever mysteries from kidnapping to missing pumpkins to magic gone haywire to murder, of course, endearing and quirky characters including a few furry familiars, and more than a few audible gasps and giggles. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your preferences, a couple of stories end posing questions like a cliffhanger or a segue into another book. It sparked my interest to explore other works from the author, but I’d preferred more of an answer than finding another book. But, don’t misunderstand this small criticism, I really did enjoy this collection of paranormal shorts. Most end with a satisfying conclusion and are an excellent way to ‘whet your appetite’ to explore the author’s complete series.
I was thrilled with the stories from new-to-me authors like Danielle Garrett, Joynell Schultz, Karney McFlynn, and Tegan Maher, and favorite “old-to-me” authors like Amanda A. Allen, Pearl Goodfellow, Nikki Haverstock, Sonia Parin, April Aasheim, D.S. Butler, ReGina Welling/Erin Lynn, and Ava Mallory along with those authors in-between new and old, Ruby Blaylock, Ani Gonzalez, and Cate Lawley, whose rave reviews for other works had me interested but yet to join in…I have had great fun exploring all of their social media and other available works, becoming a new ‘follower,’ signing up for email alerts, and picking up a several book ones or more in my search.
You can be fans like me by checking out the links below to the authors’ Facebook pages. You will be thrilled with this holiday-themed and magical read; it’s just what you want for Halloween in between the trips to greet the trick or treaters! But leave the lights on…really!
“The Case of the Exploding Luck Pumpkin” by Nikki Haverstock
Vanessa is taking some time off from her magical studies to enjoy the most important holiday of the year…Halloween! But the festivities are put on hold when the Luck Pumpkin (a clever tradition kindred to New Year’s Eve) goes missing, Vanessa ‘bets’ she can solve the mystery first.
And the wager? That midnight kiss, not from family as usual, but from a handsome man, ensuring luck for the upcoming year is up for grabs. This was a fun short with an end that made me giggle out loud. I just might start the ‘midnight kiss’ tradition on Halloween! Check out Nikki Haverstock’s new Casino Witch Mystery series with the recent August release of Of Murder and Mages.
“Cats, Bats, and Talking Hats” by Danielle Garrett
Holly Boldt, expelled from her home Seattle Haven, has little interest in celebrating All Hallow’s Eve sans family and friends. But, staying home with her vampire roommate and her snobby friends could be problematic, even murderous, when two wayward humans show up! Want more? Yes, Holly’s adventures can be followed in the five books penned by Danielle Garrett in her Beechwood Harbor Magic mysteries starting with Murder’s a Witch.
“One Spell of a Night” by ReGina Welling and Erin Lynn
Halloween is a favorite time of the year for Lexi Balfire, and she hopes to enjoy it, but that becomes problematic when ghostly Tansy Blankenship, who had suffered a terrible death, shows up. At Tansy’s death her soul was ripped in pieces and stored in Lexi’s shop. Now they must finish Tansy’s unfinished business to restore her soul and allow her to pass on and join her love. This short is delightful fun with an endearing conclusion. Lexi Balefire, Matchmaker Witch’s adventures can all be found in ReGina’s and Erin’s Fate Weaver five-book series starting with A Match Made in Spell and including the upcoming October release of Spell Hath No Fury.
“‘Tis the Season to be Creepy” by Sonia Parin
What a delightful dilemma! Lexie had been put on notice by the Halloween Neighborhood Committee to step up her level of Halloween display, so this year she plans to “WOW” the committee with a hand-carved limited edition work of art by acclaimed pumpkin carver Starr Black. Just the type of decor the incoming “High Chair” would need to improve her standing with the community. However, when Black is found dead, all need to help solve the murder or Lexie could find herself in trouble…again. Excellent short and the dynamic between Lexie and Luna her cat provides delightful bantor. Sonia Parin’s Mackenzie Coven series follows more of Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Mackenzie’s troubles and triumphs with a six-book series starting with Witch Inheritance to September’s release of Witch Namaste.
“The Supernatural Life of a Superhero Wife” by Joynell Schultz
Soulmates? I found mine, but in Naima’s magical world finding your soulmate is as simple as casting a binding spell. However, the search could send her anywhere in the universe. Swoosh! Bang! Fire! Naima was extremely surprised to find herself in a world of superheroes and supervillains, and with her soulmate staring her in the face threatening to take her off to prison, this has awkward written all over it! Absolutely delightful fun! Joynell Schultz offers more twists on the superhero spouse in her The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives and The Stellar Life of a Superhero Wife.
“The Mystery of the Halloween Mask” by Ani Gonzalez
It’s Halloween in the Banshee Creek, dubbed the Most Haunted Town in the USA. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Dora Pendragon, owner of Magical Mystery Shoppe, is an immortal witch whose dimension-hopping shop has landed her in Banshee Creek. She is assigned to guard, not sell, or return to the rightful owners dangerous and mysterious relics and homeless treasures. But things heat up when a stranger pops in and a cursed mask goes missing, and if it isn’t found, all could be lost. Ani Gonzalez gives us four more delightful tales from Banshee Creek starting with Must Love Ghosts.
“How to Date a Witch” by Cate Lawley
A Halloween party, a hot ‘second’ date, and a dead body in the bathroom drowned by a bit of dark magic! Star, using her own magical talents, and her human friend, Ben, work together to figure out what happened, and maybe steal a kiss in the process. It is a delightful story with hauntings and cleansings, a hard-to-get-rid-of ghost, several suspects, even some Witch 101 lessons, and a great revelation! Although Star and Ben can be found in Cate Lawley’s four book Vegan Vamp series beginning with book two, The Client’s Conundrum, I am excited to announce they have their own story as a prequel series in the new Vegan Vamp World Mysteries with the summer release of Night Shift Witch. But don’t forget Cate’s other entertaining series of four books in her Goode Witch Matchmaker series starting with Timely Love.
“Hexing the Ex” by Ruby Blaylock
Ree Hedgewood finds her ex is a real pain, but when he winds up dead hours after she berated him in public and his ghost is bound to her forever unless she solves the crime and sets him free…life will be difficult! With only a week to solve, this mystery is put at the top of her ‘to-do’ list! Truly enjoyable dynamic as Ree tries to help her ‘ghost ex.’ The Hedgewood Sisters have their own series starting with “That Witch Doesn’t Kill You” and a recent September release of Any Witch Way But Dead.
“Costumes and Cauldrons” by Amanda A. Allen
Harper Oaken, half-druid/half-warlock, is eagerly dressing up her shop in all things Halloween, her favorite time of the year, but her mood is tempered by a “niggling feeling” that something isn’t right. A handsome stranger with a skeleton key opens the door to the store next door, and that leads to demands and a gun in her back? Cool! Now it’s getting good…the mystery was engaging and the family dynamic in which Harper lives is one I’d like to explore more. Amanda A. Allen has penned a delightfully fun Mystic Cove Mystery series of three books and another short story following the Oaken family starting with the entertaining “Bedtimes and Broomsticks.”
“Harper Grant and the Poisoned Pumpkin Pie” by D.S. Butler
Pumpkin pie competition and murder? Grandma Grant is set on winning this year’s contest, but granddaughters Harper and Jess are worried she might be tempted to use a little magic to ensure a blue ribbon. Citizens are unaware they are witches, and it just got harder to hide their talents when someone dies from tasting one of the entries, and the prime suspect might turn out to be Grandma. Wow, what fun! The short ended well, and D.S. Butler has penned four full length adventures for Harper Grant starting with A Witchy Business to keep me further entertained!
“Witches & Stitches” by Ava Mallory
This was fun…ok, Alaina Rae has been learning a few spells, but it seems that things just aren’t going in her favor: Halloween prank goes wrong, the crotchety old man is still crotchety, the Sheriff accidentally disappears…twice, and she’s in a jail cell. Then it all gets worse when her grandmother shows up to help and an important spell book is no where to be found… The comedy of errors wound up with a nice ending, but a cliffhanger was left for readers: A family heirloom? Her grandmother’s mortal enemy? Ava Mallory has penned a delightful book in her Missy Rae Mystery, Misbehaving, and a ‘ghost’ told me we might be able to join Alaina Rae on some magical adventures soon.
“GoB (Game of Bones)” by Pearl Goodfellow
I know there are plenty of successful heroes and sidekicks, but a witch and eight cats? Yeah, I loved it! Hattie Jenkins, the witch, and ‘The Infiniti,’ eight delightfully different immortal feline familiars, partner with BFF/Chief Para Inspector David Trew. A threat had been received that something explosive may occur at the annual Mabon Fair. That’s right…a secret ritual, a boat appears with mysterious bones, and the Witch Fearwyn is seen flying in the night sky. What Hattie and the cats discover is a clever mystery to match the murder! Great conclusion, and Pearl Goodfellow has given us more with seven books in the Hattie Jenkins and the Infiniti Chronicles starting with Filthy Witch & Dead Famous and a recent September release of The Warlock Weapon.
“Howling Ian” by Karny McFlynn
Some think Friday the thirteenth carries a little bit of luck, but put it in October and make it a 21st birthday and that can only spell disaster! This delightful story puts Forney Tremont in a precarious situation with another lost job, odd feelings of deja-vu, a dragon necklace, and an envelope…all this makes Forney suspect something terribly wrong is happening. This story was engaging fun, but it is definitely a cliffhanger mentioning that it leads to another story titled “Bite Mark.” It will be coming soon, yeah! To keep me occupied until then, Karny McFlynn has penned three books in an exciting paranormal series called The Thyme Witch mysteries starting with About Thyme and the recent June release of Finding Thyme.
“Bubble, Bubble, Here Comes Trouble” by Tegan Maher
Since Aunt Adelaide passed, Noelle had been put in charge of the Flynn family hosting of Keyhole Lake’s annual Halloween party, but she is having several issues that could derail her success: candy hasn’t been picked up, decorations aren’t quite finished, and then there’s the “bossing around” by…yes, Aunt Adelaide! She apparently had the option to refuse to cross over along
with a few other ghostly residents. And when Noelle finds a turquoise pendant, that just adds more trouble to the festivities: a restless spirit and cryptic messages. Entertaining all the way through! I am excited that Tegan Maher is giving us more with her new Witches of Keyhole Lake series. Book one, Sweet Murder, is set to be released in October, and Murder to the Max is coming soon.
“A Dark Root Samhain” by April Aasheim
Having lived in Dark Root all her life where everyday is Halloween, Maggie Maddock isn’t all that excited about the upcoming Samhain celebrations, and if she sees another pumpkin, she just might go crazy. But this year is turning out to be different. Her sister Merry is seriously considering moving away, so Maggie decides to revive the Haunted Dark Root Festival to coerce her to stay. But, a family heirloom goes missing, and she has until the setting of the sun to retrieve it or life as she knows it may end. April Aasheim has penned five books and two other shorts in the Dark Root saga starting with The Witches of Dark Root and the recent August release of The Shadows of Dark Root.
Don’t miss out on this great collection of paranormal short stories!
Witch and Treat earns 5/5 Witchy Pumpkins and Halloween Fun!
To enter to win either a print or ebook copy of Witch and Treat, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “treat,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 21, 2017. U.S. residents only for the print copy. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. PLEASE STATE IN ENTRY WHETHER YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK.
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