What’s a kitchen witch to do when her almost-fiancé leaves her suddenly single and unemployed? For Mia Malone, the answer’s simple: move to her grandmother’s quirky Idaho hometown, where magic is an open secret and witches and warlocks are (mostly) welcome. With a new gourmet dinner delivery business—and a touch of magic in her recipes—Mia’s hopes are high. Even when her ex’s little sister, Christina, arrives looking for a place to stay, Mia takes it in stride.
But her first catering job takes a distasteful turn when her client’s body is found, stabbed and stuffed under the head table. Mia’s shocked to learn that she’s a suspect—and even more so when she realizes she’s next on a killer’s list. With Christina, along with Mia’s meddling grandma, in the mix, she’ll have to find out which of the town’s eccentric residents has an appetite for murder…before this fresh start comes to a sticky end. . . .
Source: NetGalley and Kensington Rating: 4/5 stars
Mia Malone truly doesn’t go looking for trouble. In fact, Mia looks for everything but trouble, and she’s currently looking for a bit of good luck with the launching of her new business just around the corner. With the help of her grandmother, Mia has a huge event to cater and if it goes well, her reputation will be solidified.
And then the guest of honor/client ends of dead . . . . with Mia’s knife in her back.
Before her business can even officially open, Mia is struggling and trying to figure out who is looking to frame her for the murder of Magic Springs crankiest resident. Sure, no one really had any great affection for the old bird, but no one deserves to die at their own party. Furthermore, Mia doesn’t appreciate one of her best knives being used to kill the old bat and making her the primary suspect in the case. The way Mia sees it, she can sit back and be railroaded, or she can dig in and figure out who did the deed.
Adding to Mia’s murder suspect stress is the presence of her ex-boyfriend’s little sister. While Mia wants to believe the girl is true blue and simply looking for a new start to her young life, she can’t shake the feeling that the girl has an ulterior motive. As if confirming her suspicions, Mia’s ex shows up on her doorstep claiming he only wants to see his little sister. As if Mia doesn’t have enough to worry about, now she’s got a rat bastard to deal with too.
While it would be easy for Mia to feel completely alone and isolated in her current situation, she isn’t alone and, in fact, she has quite a crew backing her. Her grandmother is always willing to weave a little magic and mayhem to help Mia, her ex’s sister appears to be on Mia’s side and willing to help, and, inexplicably, the local hardware store owner is suddenly a helpful Harry. With so much on her mind, Mia doesn’t necessarily have time to sort out the motives of every person she encounters and given her present circumstances, she’s willing to extend a little grace in order to receive the help she desperately needs.
The Bottom Line: There’s a novella introduction to this series that I found somewhat lacking, but not so much that I wasn’t willing to stick around for the first full-length book. I’m glad I stuck to my guns because this book delivered on the promise of the novella. Mia and her grandmother are crazy interesting characters, each holding secrets that will eventually be revealed (I hope). Mia’s new business brings with it the promise of greater involvement with the community as a whole, and the hardware guy brings his own set of promises. If anyone is asking, I would suggest skipping the novella and moving straight to this book as it is a much better representation of the author’s abilities and what I think this series is going to be in the future.