Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti by Bailey Cates

Magical Bakery Series, #2

Source: Purchased rating

As a new witch—not to mention owner of Savannah’s most enchanting bakery—Katie Lightfoot is still getting used to casting spells, brewing potions, and mastering her magical powers. But that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to enjoy a picnic with firefighter Declan McCarthy…until she stumbles upon a corpse.

The dead man’s tattoo reveals he was a member of a secret society—and it turns out he's missing an object that was very important to the group. When Katie learns the killer was after more than the man's life, she and her Aunt Lucy leave the baked goods on the rack to cool and set off in hot pursuit of a killer.

I'm happy to have found a paranormal, witch-themed mystery that isn't too hokey. The humor here works without being too puritan. It almost makes fun of itself with how bad luck and irony work. Katie may be slightly uptight and lead two different men on a little, but she's still an enjoyable cozy heroine as she dives into baking, magic learning, and diving into oddball situations. The coven/bookclub is fantastic since they all have their different powers, outlooks, and don't full get along with each other. When they clash with the elitist, close-knit Shamans, it brings a deeper level to the series that I hope to see more of.

On the downside, the love triangle is even more annoying than it was in the first book because now I'm actually feeling bad for both of the guy characters. I'm not seeing it resolved yet either - bummer.

I liked the twist of the new detective and the possibilities this may raise. Katie was a little stubborn getting involved in the first place, but the mystery was a decent one. Not sure about the ending either and the new revelation about Katie - I do hope this doesn't push her into goody-goody territory and make the series lose it's unique finish to bring on a plastic and false feel.