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Moonshine & Magic

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Moonshine & Magic by Bella Falls will enrapture you in the charming magic of Honeysuckle Hollow and lovable hero witch Charli Goodwin.

Bella Falls created characters and a town that are so easy to fall in love with. Charlotte “Charli” Goodwin, a witch, returns to Honeysuckle Hollow, a secret town hidden from the mundane outside world. She was away for about a year to do some soul searching. Her return isn’t welcome by all.

What makes Honeysuckle Hollow special is that it was founded by three powerful witches to be a safe haven for every kind of magical being: gnomes, fairies, vampires, shapeshifters, and even sasquatches. The town is like any other small town where politics cleave loyalty lines through families. A fair share of the population goes unrepresented by the governing council comprised of only three witches from the founding families. There’s classism and racism in the way non- witches are treated.

Author Bella Falls fills the Southern town’s population with grand old families, elitists, those who feel entitled, debutantes, and opportunists; as well as a robust working class and an alcoholic eccentric everyone knows but most avoid.

Charli was adopted into the Goodwin family when she was a baby. She has her own unique witch ability: being able to find anything missing which is a rare power among witches. The author created a reasonable set of rules for the magical universe. Not all spells need to be spoken, but if they are, they must rhyme. Fairies are protective choosing to whom they loan their skills. Using one’s powers depletes some personal energy (much like working out in real life or casting spells in a video game).

Magic also has other consequences and that’s what builds into the hero’s biggest challenge in her mission to find out who really murdered her great-uncle Tipper. Because Charli used her locating magic to find Tipper’s possibly poisoned flask, she was accidentally transferred part of the death curse Tipper put on the flask. The curse was supposed to only affect the murderer.

Now there’s an established race against the clock as Charli, her warden brother Matt, and her friends try to solve the murder before the curse kills Charli. Among those friends are two new fellas in Charli’s life. She meets the new detective warden Mason and a wolf shapeshifter (don’t call them werewolves!) named Dash. Her ex-fiance lingering around doesn’t help matters either. Charli thoroughly enjoys the love triangle with no guilt at all. She savors flirting with Dash and Mason while not taking any further romantic action with either. This was refreshing. Charli is given the chance to work on healing herself of the curse, investigating the crime, and continue her unfinished inner journey to discover who she is in this world.

Since Matt and Charli’s parents died, their Nana keeps them in close orbit. Nana is built like a wonderful granny character who is kind to everyone, but she’s also politically powerful. She holds the Goodwin seat on the council. Nana is another character that readers will appreciate for her unconditional love and constant nurturing.

The role of family and adoption are handled with care. There’s mention of a foster system and another character’s adoption plays a key role. It shows how genuinely unsure someone could be who is adopted but longs for a loving biological family; while the central theme for Charli is that she is a Goodwin, Matt and Nana are her family, and her deceased parents who raised her are absolutely her parents. She doesn’t even come to question biological parentage until the end of Moonshine & Magic which sets up a possible future story arc.

After reading Moonshine & Magic, no doubt fans of charming witches will want to fly immediately into the next book Fried Chicken & Fangs or perhaps backtrack to the prequel Chess Pie & Choices.

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Elizabeth Amber Love is the author of The Farrah Wethers Mysteries. Her latest work is the horror/slasher novella, Misty Murder. She hosts the Vodka O’Clock podcast and occasionally writes comics. She lives in New Jersey with an exceptionally spoiled cat named Detective Inspector Burton Guster Nabu.

Chapter 1

About the author

Bella Falls grew up on the magic of sweet tea, barbecue, and hot Southern days. She met her husband over an argument of how to pronounce the word pecan (for the record, it should be pea-cawn). She’s taken her love of the South and woven it into a world where magic and mystery aren’t the only Charms. view profile

Published on January 30, 2018

Published by Evermore Press

30000 words

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Reviewed by