Holiday Pocus by Lilura Sloane
Magic and mystery are only part of the charm in Misty Glade..
Willow Carson doesn’t expect going home will be easy—especially after she leaves her fiancé at the altar, she just needs a place to escape to, she plans to lay low and sip some chamomile tea in her favourite place—the library while the town gossips come out to play.
Unfortunately, on her first night back, Willow discovers the body of her crazy great-uncle in the library. (Her domain.) She suddenly finds herself at the center of a mystery that threatens the very foundations of Misty Glade and the safety of the paranormal residents.
With the clock ticking, will Willow be able to solve the mystery surrounding her crazy uncles death before tragedy hits the small magical town, everyone is on edge: the only question on their lips is…
Who is next?!
What was it all about
Holiday Pocus by Lilura Sloane was a book I picked up after seeing the author’s humorous Instagram posts. She called a spade a spade, and I liked the forthrightness she showed in her words on social media.
I went completely blind into this book without reading any of the reviews of her older works. Amazon displayed thirty-three of her books on the author page. To say the least, the book cover and the blurb attracted me, and I had a feeling that I would be in for a rocky ride.
It did check my boxes, but the rocky ride was for a reason given way below.
Willow left her groom at the altar – yes, you are right – right at the altar with no explanation after calling Betty. Initially, I kept rereading lines wondering who the heck Betty was. Came to know much later it was her car. Ah, that made more sense since I too name my car.
She asked Betty to take her to Misty Glade, the only place she felt at home. And off she went expecting tea and biscuits, but all she got was a rat’s tail and her own spit. Hush, do not frown. This was a book full of spells and magic. So the concoction did get transformed into the most delish tea.
Alas, she had barely time to get acquainted with her uncle when she was spirited right into the scene of a murder. Of the librarian in her own library. The horrors. But worry not, Willow was not the first to discover the dead body. Whew.
Now all she had to do was find the murderer and bring the past glory to her name. Simple, eh? No. Not so much. There were suspects and love interests. Enemies and friends. A wolf and necromancer. A godmother and the secrecy of Willow’s past.
Trigger Warnings: nothing. It was a cutesy, cozy read. Maybe you wouldn’t like the tea transformed from the rat’s tail and spit. That might trigger you…to never have tea. Right?
Heigh-ho! Let’s go. This was basically a murder mystery so I liked how the author kept the pace swift and the killer under wraps. Both were difficult tasks in a book under 180 pages but were aptly done.
Having not read a cozy, paranormal in like forever, I wouldn’t know what to compare this book to and tell you how it fared. But I could just say here that there were some good and bad parts. Just like the tea spell. But going the opposite way.
The main character’s past was kept nicely hidden, though I never really thought about it, until she did. I thought she had plopped down from the skies without parents and grandparents. When Willow brought up this matter, only then I realized that she ought to have a family and I ought to know about them. And since I didn’t, that was equivalent to the past being a mystery. Awk! Silly me.
I would say the book had some mysteries moving at an extremely fast pace. A compelling hook to read it in one sitting. The 170+ pages too helped.
Gear up! For what, you ask? My detailed, in-depth analysis. Let’s talk about Willow. Rather, I talk and you read. I liked her instincts and her emotions when she showed them. I loved the confusion swirling in her when she finds love, not one but two of them. You go, girl. It is Valentine’s Day. You deserve it. Enjoy the day and night with them.
I wished the author had described her well so that I could visualize each moment of hers. She was kind of a blob since I just had the cover to know what she looked like. The scenes didn’t have much detailing to give the place a feel that I know it.
Yes. Yes. I am aware this was a book from the author’s imagination, not a real place. But think about it, if the author had spent some lines on a detailed description of some of the important scenes, I would have dived deeper into the book.
Now, don’t you dare tip your eyebrow. Though you are right, I would have totally bumped the heroine and placed myself right in the middle of the chaos with spells and 2 hunks who want to love me.
The other supportive characters were added to my suspect list, though not many descriptive words to help me keep track of them in my mind. Ah well, they had their professions and quirks and enmity toward Willow.
Down the book, I ended up caring for Willow, especially when the shocks about her past knocked her over with a feather. I empathized with her. But she had guts galore to get to the killer and unmask all the secrets enveloping Misty Glade. A good ‘un, I would say.
See the weird accent I seem to be developing. I too could have been spelled by that rat’s tail tea. Eeeuuu. Yuck!!
Haven’t I given away the plot line yet? A murder mystery, guys. That was the should have this book. So any actions that led to the killer resonated with my thriller-y heart. I liked the twists and the shocking reveals. Whoa. Why didn’t I guess it already?
The author completely hoodwinked me. I couldn’t guess the killer at all. Completely red-faced, fire-engine red to say, it didn’t even strike me to put them on the suspect list. Sheesh and I called myself a good detective. Ahem…ahem…getting back to the analysis, I found the main plot arc gripping with the atmosphere of the mystery kept well.
This was a cute read, where barring a few things, I would be hankering for the second book already. I liked that this book brought me out of the slump of a kind and helped me branch out to the paranormal.
There was a mystery in the air surrounding Misty Glade. Spells were embedded into the prose, other than the making of a weird-ass tea. No. No. No ass put in the tea. It was just a saying. Note to myself – don’t use ass in a family blog.
I would have liked the author to sit down in every chapter and add a few words of minute details to anchor the characters, rather than rushing to the next chapter. Yes. Often the main character was seen running too.
Super-fast. Not a moment to think. The story was on-point and kept to its plot line. I liked its momentum kept mine going, I could finish the book in less than 1.5 hours. Go me. In books like these, I feel I am back to where I was pre-pandemic, where my reading speed was absolutely focused.
Maybe I should read some intelligent cozy, paranormal mystery with an intelligent heroine. If you know a few, write me your recs as comments.
The style of writing - The Prose
There was a haunting quality to the story. I couldn’t stop reading it; the prose evoked my curiosity. The need to know the identity of the murderer increased with each page.
But therein lay the fallacy of the book. The author was in such a hurry to get the book published, so it seemed, that there was absolutely no proofreading done. I generally never commented on typos in my reviews. But come on.
YOUR and YOU’RE were never correct. NONE HAD CAME. WHICH I’VE CAME. FLOORBOARDS CREEP AS WE WALK. SHY SHOULD I LEAVE? AS YOU CALL I DOESN’T LOSE.
With so many like these on every page, yes, you heard it right, on every page, it felt like I was reading a raw draft. But no, this was a fully published novel on Amazon. I didn’t mind an occasional typo or even frequent typos; my brain autocorrected them. But in this, my brain gave up and asked me to decipher each word or skip and go to the next line. My brain went on strike.
You can’t expect me to give 4 stars when the book had so many typos, would you?
I have been kind enough to read the book from first to end, including the author’s forewords. You can’t get more dedication than that from me, can you?
How it made me feel - The Good
I wouldn’t lie. I liked the skeleton of the story. It had a cozy feel to it. And, oh yes. I had the same thought in my mind as you. Why were there no skeletons in the book? Or ghosts? I kept expecting to find one popping up. That would have just been the cherry on the cake. Yet, none did.
I liked the many beings incorporated into the story: werewolves, witches, vampires, the works. In many different places, the author managed to surprise/shock me with the twists.
But every page had so many typos that it deterred me from completely enjoying this book. It was sad that the author did not read through her own work. I was sure she would have caught many of them without a proofreader. But a round or two of proofreading would surely make this story shine. It was sad the author felt she had to publish a raw, not well-edited book.
Do I recommend this book?
Hmm. No. In all honesty, I couldn’t ask you to pick up this book and read the typos. There were just too many of them. At one point, they drove me mad. Felt like taking my red pen and keep highlighting them. You wouldn’t need this aggravation, would you?
That brought me to the end of this review. Quite a big review for a book of 170 pages. Go figure that one out.
I got the paperback version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
If you’ve found yourself chuckling or smirking or outright rolling on the ground with laughter, why don’t you buy me a cuppa and join me when the next review pops up?
Special request – do not put rat tail or spit or any of the weird ingredients to make the coffee. Just pure shot of caffeine with a dash of milk would suffice to keep me awake for the next book.
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Funny what drove you mad were the typos–did so years ago for me as well and my repost of the post yesterday. How did it get to publication that way? ARGH!