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Meows, Magic & Murder (Lake Forest Witches) (Volume 1) Paperback – January 24, 2015
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I never warmed to the main character. She is so totally clueless. She turns her boyfriend into a cat and doesn't realize she is a witch? I mean, really. Her salve has an elderly woman who was arthritic moving as well as a girl in her teens and Petunia (yes, that's the heroine's name) doesn't get that she is a witch? I could maybe overlook this, but she is so insensitive that she doesn't realize that her actions will be hurtful to the victims' families. She thinks she can show up at a function in the small town and not be recognized. She's rude, callous, insensitive, and shouts too frequently for me to ever like her.
On top of that, the book urgently needs an editor. The words are all spelled correctly but one of my pet peeves shows up over and over: the use of "you" instead of "your." You is not a possessive. And when the author used "empathically" instead of "emphatically" as part of a description (not dialogue where I could pass it off as a character's ignorance), it made me reread the sentence until the light went on as to what was meant.
I'm not sure who would like this book, although obviously some people must have done for there to be more entries in the series. Maybe if you like cozy paranormal mysteries and can overlook the editing issues, then you could give it a whirl. For me, there are more books out there in the world to be read than to even try the second book in the series.
The POSITIVES - Madison Johns has a good sense of humor and writes her older characters well. She has good pacing and keeps the story moving along. No lulls and dulls here, so it is a quick read. She does throw enough red herrings at you to keep things meshed up pretty good, so unless you just plain ol' "guess" who did it, the final reveal isn't obvious. That's really about it for the positives (at least for me).
The NEGATIVES - The writing style and characters are a bit juvenile. There is a lot of repetition. The reader is constantly reminded of how she doesn't want anyone in town to think she is an actual witch, also of the fact that she turned a man she dated into a cat by mistake (you are reminded of this plot point every single chapter...ugh). The killer is known as the "Knitting Needle Killer", therefore, the sheriff is looking for a person who knits. But why? Just because knitting needles were used as the weapon doesn't necessarily follow that the killer is an obvious knitter...lol. In fact, that would be too obvious. That's like saying that since a killer uses a butcher knife in his killings, he MUST be a butcher. I felt that line of reasoning was absurd. The main character, Petunia, thinks, acts, and speaks like someone 30 years her senior. I felt like I was following the exploits of a 60-something person rather than the younger woman she is painted to be. Petunia never really solves the mystery. She just kind of blunders into a bad situation at the end, and I felt the murderer was much too forthcoming with their guilt. "Yes, it was me." - "Oh, so you DID murder them!" LOL - not convincing. And, of course, the murderer just happens to be standing within striking distance of Petunia when she makes her move. The entire climactic ending deflated fast. Unbelievable, even though, yes...this is fiction.
There ... I managed to state my opinion without giving away the killer. However, I was very disappointed in this book. I will be unlikely to read another one from Madison Johns.
Even though it's not Shakespeare, the story does have some charm. I feel the writer is an older person.
Petunia is the main character. She is pleasant and her cat Pansy is interesting, though the name annoyed me every time cause I expected the animal to be female with such a name when it was not the case - it was a guy who had accidentally been turned into the cat.
The murder mystery had Petunia wandering around town having information fall into her lap most conveniently.
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