Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Seashells, Spells, and Caramels - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Author

Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.

When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.

Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom's big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.

It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.
With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it- because it just might.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy/Paranormal

Why I Picked This Book:
  This was sold to me as The Great British Bake Off with magic, witches, and murder so how could I resist it?

My Impression:
  I'm been in a bit of a grumpy mood when it comes to my reading lately.  Nothing has been bad but very few things have really wowed me or made me happy.  I wouldn't necessarily say this wowed me but it did make me happy and was a delight to read.  It was short and fun with lots of tasty baked good mentions, a little world building, and even a touch of romance.

Imogen is in a bad spot when the book starts.  She's scrimped and saved and sacrificed her personal life in order to save enough to open a bakery and she's never quite fit in anywhere.  Just when her bakery dream is in reach everything goes up in smoke - quite literally.  She doesn't believe in magic and she has no knowledge of any world other than the regular human world.  Just as she's reeling from a terrible accident she finds herself reeling from a whole host of new information including mermaids, multiple kingdoms, and the truth about herself.

Imogen is a fun character and a fairly believable one.  She cries a lot in the beginning which was pretty understandable as she's so clearly out of her element.  I enjoyed her friendship with Maple and the other contestants and the fact that she really just tried to focus on the baking competition and didn't spend to much time worrying about the magic of it all even though she was obviously confused and overwhelmed.  I kind of figured out the who of the mystery ahead of time but there were plenty of surprises left to discover.  By the end I was satisfied with the few plot points that were wrapped up but definitely want to spend more time in Imogen's new world.

What kept me from being wowed was that while I liked the characters I didn't feel a serious connection to them and certain aspects felt a little rushed.  Part of this is because this is a fairly short book where a number of things will be more explored as the series goes along.  However, I did really enjoy it and it was a fun read during a blah reading time.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I already downloaded the 2nd book and am looking forward to learning more about Imogen and the Water Kingdom.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would if you enjoy paranormal cozies.  This was a lot of fun!


  1. I don't know if I've ever actually read an out-and-out paranormal cozy, but it sounds fun! Plus a village off the coast of France- yes please. :)

  2. It’s been *years* since I’ve read a cozy mystery and I’ve never read a cozy paranormal. One with magic and witches sounds like so much fun! I’m so glad this was an overall win for you, even if there wasn’t a strong connection with the characters.
    Tanya @

  3. This does sound fun - a little baking, a little Hogwarts...will keep it in mind for those times when I need something a little different. :-)

  4. This sounds really fun and I love the cover! Too bad it wasn't fleshed out a little more. I might give it a try anyway, especially when I'm in the mood for some fluff.

  5. This sounds darling—magically fluffy, just what I'm in the mood for sometimes!

  6. I really like the sound of this one and the mix of paranormal and cozy. And the fact that you liked it during a blah reading time.

  7. Bake Off with witches sounds fun!

  8. this does look very cozy and fun, not sure about the ton of crying at the beginning, but understandable

  9. Replies
    1. Oh Kim I hope you like it as much as I do, it's such a unique read!! I am now on Book 2!

  10. I love this series!! I am currently reading Book 2, Black Arts,Tarts and Gypsy Carts. And I like Imogen and I love meeting new characters as the series goes on, I am a huge fan and actually a big fan of Erin Johnson now, I enjoy the touches of Harry Potter also!!

  11. I want to read this one. It looks so good.

  12. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing my book! :) I'm so happy you enjoyed it, and it made you happy! Thanks for continuing with the series- I think you'll find a lot more character development as the books continue :)

  13. I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds like a ton of fun. Definitely worth a try!