Magic and Macaroons by Bailey Cates

Magical Bakery Mystery, #5
COZY MYSTERY
rating

From the New York Times bestselling author of Some Enchanted Éclair comes a tale of delicious desserts and supernatural sleuthing…
                                                    
For magical baker Katie Lightfoot, the only way to beat the Savannah summer heat is to whip up some cool treats for the Honeybee Bakery’s patrons. But when a meeting of the spellbook club is interrupted by a stranger collapsing on the floor of her shop, mumbling something about a voodoo talisman, Katie drops everything to begin investigating.

Her search for answers quickly leads her into a dangerous blend of Savannah’s infamous voodoo queens, a powerful missing charm—and a deadly witch who seems to be targeting the city’s magical community. And with the case getting hotter by the second, Katie will have to work fast to track down the talisman and the killer before the timer runs out…

RECIPES INCLUDED


The best one of the group, by far. Although still a bit weighed down by cozy cliches in dialogue (such a profanity euphemisms that come across a bit silly at times), the story is juicy since it ties into voodoo, curses, hidden voodoo queens of the city, a certain detectives secretive past, and Katie finding out more about her personal power.

All regular characters have returned with enough page time to make me happy - we get Steve again (still have a hang-up for him even though Declan is sweet) - and he has a twisted side-story of his own involved. Declan fans will be happy to get bonding moments and a new revelation about him, and really Steve's love triangle possibility isn't strong since it seems more of a wrap-up against them to me.

We get plenty of time with the spellclub as well, even a new budding member, and a few more details for the backstory of Cookie's family. Quinn gets in on some of the secrets, and even the other familiars get page time. This one won with its cast of characters compared to the first four books, which made the book much more enjoyable.

I think the mystery part of this worked better than previously because it took some daring exploration into darker elements of magic and didn't keep everything so pure. Running into a powerful voodoo queen and having to flee her helped too, because frankly Katie sometimes has come across too purely powerful from the onset especially considering she is newer to her craft. It's good to have strong opponents for a change and not have the main character seem so highly above others in her league.

Despite the mystery being interesting, I wasn't surprised at the ending villain (there weren't that many people in the pot of suspects to pick from after all), but I didn't know the villain would be double and connected with someone who did kind of surprise me.

Throwing in some angst and trouble in Cookie's relationship added a more realistic dimension. It can get boring if the other club members have perfect lives with too easy to resolve issues. Throwing in a kink in the plans and struggle in a relationship makes more sense than everything being a bed of roses for them all the time.

It was hard to put down and ended with a nice bang. Will definitely be seeking out the sixth book soon.