Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Review of Moonshine, Magic, and Murder (Manitoba Tea and Tarot Mysteries #3) by January Bain


Welcome to the blurb blitz tour for Moonshine, Magic, and Murder by January Bain! I have an excerpt from this witchy cozy mystery for you to enjoy, plus I'm sharing my thoughts on this third installment of the series. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour and leave your comments and questions for the author along the way. Remember to enter the giveaway!

Charm McCall has a proven track record for solving small-town mysteries, but can she figure out how to deal with a life event that threatens to harm the McCall clan…

Charm McCall is once more on the hunt to figure out why her cat has been seeing a ghost, why she’s been shown a treasure map by, gulp, a dead guy and why her Auntie T.J. has suddenly disappeared, bagpipes and all. That would be more than enough, but with the upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance and its accompanying promise bags to create and spell, to help her fellow Goddesses get their dearest wishes fulfilled, she’s about run off her feet. Not to mention that now it’s legal to sell marijuana in Canada, orders for pot brownies are spilling in and threatening to crash her online store.

Charm discovers she needs all the help she can get to deal with the arrival of her mother and the beyond painful host of problems that creates for her family, find her Auntie T.J. to save her hiney and discover who the real murderer is. That is, if she wants her romance with Snowy Lake’s sexy Mountie, Ace Collins, to have any hope of deepening…

Read an excerpt:
The blast of the police sirens firing off must have been droned out by the moaning of the pipes, because suddenly there was Constable Ace Collins standing at my side. We’d even missed the flashing lights atop the Royal Canadian Mounted Police SUV.

But my oh my, he was looking handsome this morning, all six-foot-plus, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, Stetson-wearing Mountie that he was. He touched his large fingers to his fine hat and nodded at me before turning a steely-eyed glance at Sergei McCausland. Even the bagpipes had silenced with his arrival. Auntie T.J. stood quiet with her fingers poised over the chanter holes in case she needed to punctuate her point yet again. I shook my head at her in an exaggerated motion, a finger to my lips.

“Are you threatening Miss McCall?” he asked. He must have picked up on the recipe-stealing man’s last comment. The Bowl-a-ram-a wasn’t the sure-fire business plan that Sergei had dreamed of, I suspected, which was probably why he’d gone into manufacturing moonshine. That tempered my thoughts. Business was hard won in a small town, and it was good that he offered people entertainment during the endless months of a typical long and freezing Canadian winter. But still, using my auntie’s recipe sucked. She’d spent years fine-tuning it to what she thought her hero from the TV show Justified’s Mags Bennett moonshine tasted like, and she was rightly proud of it. I’d enjoyed it on a few occasions myself…when I didn’t have to work the following morning.

“No, of course not. I was just wanting a bit of peace, for heaven’s sake. That woman’s been doing this for three days running. She’s trying to ruin my business. You have to do something, Constable, or so help me I will go over your head and speak to Winn Duffy. I know you’re too fond of the McCall family by half.”

Oooh. That last comment was uncalled for. Ace Collins was a man of complete integrity. A straight shooter. A man of conviction. I backed up a couple of steps in the dead silence while the two men glared at each other, then I backed up a bit farther.

A surge of anger forced its way through me. Who did this guy think he was? Casting aspersions on Ace and my family like that? A streetlamp popped nearby, blowing up and showering sparks in the nearby vicinity, which included the three of us. We all ran for cover, well, except for the Mountie, who gave me a look, shaking his head with a steely look on his handsome mug. He flicked a smoldering spark from his sleeve and strolled over to join me standing on the sidewalk in front of the café. Auntie T.J. and Sergei had vanished like vampires at sunrise.

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**My thoughts**
This is the third book in the Manitoba Tea and Tarot paranormal cozy mystery series. I've read all of them, so I have a firm grasp of all of the characters and storyline. But I do think you are okay reading this one as a standalone. The main focus is on this particular murder, and Charm gives you enough background info when needed.

I like Charm. She's one of three triplets, but is her own entity. She's the oldest of the three and looks nothing like the other two, who are identical twins. She tends to be the most responsible, doing most of the work in the family bakery. She's also the one who seems to have the most powers of the three. She has a hottie boyfriend, who also happens to be a Mountie who moved to town some months before. And she has an annoying habit of pretty much doing whatever she wants, no matter how many rules are being broken. I can always feel Ace's frustration with that pouring off the pages and feel it myself! I may or may not have occasionally yelled out loud, telling her to stop it.

She does have a tendency to do well as an amateur investigator, aided very well by her powers, which just continue to grow. I think she has come a long way since the first book. This time around, she definitely kind of forgets everyone else around her as she focuses on the case and clearing her aunt. She tunneled so far into it, that I felt like we never saw anyone else other than Ace. I really missed her sisters, Star and Tulip, and especially Granny Toogood. (Maybe they'd have a spinoff story at some point?)

We got a lot of Ivana, who amuses me. (I always picture the Russian character in the Austin Powers movies.) I have a feeling something big is coming with her in later installments.

There's one particular part of the story that I felt was glossed over too much, and that was the appearance of the triplets' mother. She had basically abandoned them when they were 8 years old, leaving them to the care of Granny Toogood. Now she is back in town, and Charm is all freaked out about it. And yet, in spite of a couple of big issues, she wasn't in the book too much. I wanted that to develop more. And I felt like the ending was more abrupt than I was expecting, even though I think this book is longer than the first two.

This really is a delightful paranormal cozy mystery series that I've been enjoying. And while this installment wasn't necessarily my favorite of the three, I am still looking forward to seeing what's going to happen for the McCall sisters in the future. There are a lot of hints and indications of some big things to come, and a lot of potential for all kinds of stories in this small town. And there are a couple of big events in this that you won't want to miss.

Thank you to the author and Goddess Fish for providing me with a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full-blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create books that features strong women who live life to the fullest, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope her stories will capture your imagination.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with her furry baby, Ling Ling. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.

If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

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January Bain will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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  1. The cover is such a lot of fun.

  2. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing my book! You obviously love reading cozy mysteries and it shows in your understanding of my beloved Snowy Lake characters! Yeah, Charm has a way of dominating the investigation, though I think she made some progress with Ace in their investigating together. If only it hadn't been family, she might have been even better about it. Ivana is one of my favorite characters, she's a funny person who doesn't really know she's funny. Thanks again! Wishing you and yours a great day! Hugs, January

  3. Thank you for sharing your review. I figured this was a fun series. I have the first book, but haven't read it yet.

  4. Sounds like a very good book.


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