Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell

I very seldom review eBooks. I consider myself a librarian first and a blogger/reviewer second, which means I want everyone to have access to the books I review. Once in a while, though, when something that I want to read is only available as an eBook, I'll make an exception. Juliet Blackwell's A Haunting is Brewing was worth that exception. Blackwell's novella brings together the amateur sleuths from both of her series, the Witchcraft mysteries, and the Haunted Home Renovation series. I didn't want to miss the first meeting of Lily Ivory and Mel Turner.

Mel's the general manager for her family business, Turner Construction. She has a hard time saying no when a project involves an historic house and at-risk youth. She's regretting that as she hurries to complete the work on the Spooner House, a run-down Victorian mansion. But, it needs to be up to code in time for the Halloween ball to raise money to continue to maintain the house.

There's one major problem with the Spooner House, though. Mel, who can sense the presence of ghosts, and talk with them, finds the Spooner dolls extremely creepy. Thaddeus Spooner inherited a fortune, and went on to become a famous doll maker. But, he created a life size family of dolls in the likeness of his own family before everyone but his son died. Did they die of the flu or did the son murder them? If one of the student volunteers hadn't been found dead in the house, Mel might not have worried about it. But, now he's one more ghost she can talk to, and she isn't convinced he committed suicide.

When Maya, one of the volunteers, recognizes Mel's frustration that she can't help the deceased man, Maya introduces Mel to her boss at Aunt Cora's Closet. Lily Ivory not only owns the vintage clothing store, she's a witch. She's convinced that she and Mel can restore peace to the house, and, hopefully, find a killer. The skeptical Mel, who only learned recently that she can talk to ghosts, now has to accept the idea of witches, voodoo, and poppets, puppets with a spirit in them.

Juliet Blackwell has always made the paranormal seem acceptable and understandable in both of her series. With two characters with similar interests in the supernatural working in the same neighborhood in San Francisco, it seems logical that Blackwell would take the next step and introduce Lily and Mel. And, it works beautifully. Readers who like either series will welcome the budding friendship between the two characters.

I'm sure the world of historic house renovation and vintage clothing will not collide often. And, the Witchcraft series is often darker than the Haunted Home Renovation one, as Lily struggles with past history, hers and the history of witches. But, every now and then, it would be a treat to see Mel, Lily, and Oscar together. Lily's historical knowledge and Mel's ability to communicate with ghosts makes these stories even more interesting. And, how can anyone resist Oscar's charm?

And, maybe it's appropriate that a friendship between a witch and "an up-and-coming ghost hunter" should begin in the ether. It's just too bad that only eBook readers can appreciate Blackwell's enjoyable story, A Haunting is Brewing.

Juliet Blackwell's website is

A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell. InterMix Books (Penguin Group), 2014. ISBN 9780698181922 (eBook).

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought a copy.

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