I’ve been asked by A Novel Take to host part of the blog tour for the release of A Hive of Secrets and Spells, the second book in Ellen Jane’s Cupcakes and Sorcery cozy witch mystery series, which will be released on October 25th. I though I’d start with my review, so here it is. There’s also a giveaway, so read till the end!
A Hive of Secrets and Spells is very different from the other crime books I’ve been reading lately, and it’s nice to change from time to time. There’s nothing creepy about it but it still takes the reader on unexpected paths and I thought the plot was quite well written. It’s exactly as a cozy mystery should be, with an atmosphere reminiscent of Murder, She Wrote or, more recently, My Life Is Murder (yeah, I had to mention Lucy Lawless at some point) but with magic and lesbians.
Heather has a lot on her mind. In a perfect case of no good deed going unpunished (as a poster in my grandparents’ room used to claim), she’s in trouble for having solved a murder without a license just before Christmas (in Magic, Murder & Mistletoe); her girlfriend Sinéad wants her to move in with her but she doesn’t want to leave Old Wetchhaven; and on top of that their phones are acting strange, resulting in her losing the last ever voicemail her parents have left her. She also feels her magic isn’t strong or useful enough. In a word, she feels like a failure. Then Sinéad gets a letter from someone claiming to be her long-lost brother announcing the parents she’s never known have been kidnapped.
Magic, Murder & Mistletoe was a nice introduction to Heather and Sinéad and the world they live in. It had a cute YA/NA feel that remains in this sequel, but this story is more complex and delves deeper. It’s a story of personal growth, mostly Heather’s, who learns to believe in herself and to succeed by herself while still being part of a team. Speaking of team, I really like Cian, the brother, and hope we’ll get to see more of him in future instalments.
“Look who’s come crawling back,” Cian said with a grin, holding out two steaming ceramic mugs of coffee to Heather and Sinéad.
He picked the third mug up from the brick fence he leaned on and stood to join them. They were meeting a couple of blocks down from the Dunnes’ house so as not to raise suspicion.
“Do I look like I’m crawling?” Sinéad asked with narrowed eyes, accepting the cup and taking an appreciative sip.
“Physically? No. But emotionally?” Cian gave a contented sigh and rested his hand over his heart. “Contrition is a beautiful thing.”
“Your ego is a beautiful thing. Does it take performance requests?”
Heather laughed at the disgruntled expression on Cian’s face. Sinéad hid her smile behind her coffee mug, her eyes crinkling with laughter. She wore a new necklace today, its small tile pendant an abstract swirling design she must have painted herself because when Heather looked at it, she felt revitalised, almost peppy. Sinéad’s magic was particularly strong when it came to mood spells, something only sorcerers could do.
Win one of 2 packages with e-copies of Magic, Murder & Mistletoe, A Hive of Secrets and Spells & A Match Made at Christmas by Ellen Jane.
Ellen Jane Phillips is an Australian indie author of wlw romance. She loves writing about LGBTQ women who experience complex lives, emotions, needs, and desires. Her books are written for people who crave love stories where friendship is just as important as romance, and who want to experience cosy warmth with a hint of mystery, magic, and emotion.
You can find her writing under two pen names: Ellen Jane, and E.J. Phillips. If you like light, cosy wlw romance suffused with magic and mystery, Ellen Jane is the pen name for you. If you prefer something a little heavier, and you like your wlw romance tinged with magic and tender angst, E.J. Phillips is the one you want. When she isn’t writing, you can find her walking the dogs, playing D&D, or bemoaning the number of days since she last ate nachos.