Sunflowers were trendy when I was in high school and I liked to fancy myself a free thinker at that time, but maybe a little because we weren’t as likely to get the trendy stuff, being 45 minutes from a mall with no internet to speak of. So I wasn’t into them then. To cool for me.
But I’ve recently fallen in love with them in their own right, their vivid beauty signaling that summer is moving on. They are a crossover between summer and fall, can be seasonal for both of those times. I am begrudgingly accepting the cooler days and the sooner nights, the fall flavors starting to pop up everywhere. Not ready for a pumpkin coffee myself but I don’t begrudge those who are. I used to love fall. Now I desperately cling to any last vestiges of summer. I feel traitorous to myself that I tried Bath and Body Works new Sweater Weather scent and I LOVE it and I am wearing it in August. Not. Sweater. Weather.
In keeping with that, I am starting my fall reads with books that can be Halloweeny but can be good for any time. The classic Witch cozy mystery, of course.
Miss Spelled, Morgana Best
Amelia has a bad week. She loses her boyfriend, her job, and is evicted all in the same week. She’s saved by a letter telling her she has inherited her grandmother’s business, which she finds out when she arrives at her new home that it’s a bakery, and she’s hopeless in the kitchen. Not only is it a bakery, but she finds out she has magical powers, AND someone is murdered in her new bakery. So she has to make heads and tails of all that!
My energy levels have been inconsistent, to say the least, since the coronavirus hit us in full force, and I read this one way before witchy read time to let my brain experience the guilty pleasure of a witch cozy. And this very much is a guilty pleasure for house chores. I think I mopped the floor and did some gardening while I listened. It may have been a little predictable, but that has its place. Some of the witch books I’m reading are grave and scary, but sometimes, it’s nice just to have some magic and be a young woman just trying to find her way. I would absolutely check into another Morgana Best witch cozy. Which is good, because combing the goodreads site it looks like there are a ton of them in the Kitchen Witch series alone. The next one, Dizzy Spells, looks higher rated AND she has Halloween cozies in the series. She has other series too.
Southern Magic, Amy Boyles
This one follows the same formula as Miss Spelled: Pepper loses everything in a day only to find out she inherited a magical business from a magical grandmother she never knew, only to find out she is magical as well, complete with an unknown ability to talk to animals. It’s a business pairing familiars to owners, and she doesn’t like animals. She decides to sell the business in this magical Magnolia Cove but becomes a prime suspect in a murder, so is forced to stay while she solves the mystery so she can bust out of town. It doesn’t help that the prime witness is a cat who is reluctant to speak with her about what she saw. And of course there is a hunky police office who sounds like he might be harboring a dark secret of his own.
This one is more creative and I felt a little more fleshed out than Miss Spelled. It follows the same formula, and that’s what mysteries do, but the business was creative with the pairing of familiars. And I love the American South as a setting, even though I’d never be able to fit in there myself. I’m not sure I understand the appeal, but there’s definitely a draw there. This one is part of a developed series as well and it looks like there are at least werewolves mixed in for more paranormal fun.
I am not ready to call this my Halloween Reads or do my usual opening to survey what’s lined up. I have definitely started the list as I do in August, but I’m not ready to make it official.
Also I had a request for a full manuscript for the first time ever!!! I sent it with joy and some crossed fingers.
Halloween Reads will start in earnest with the next post. Labor Day is the last hurrah of the summer so I can kind of swing it?