Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Review & Guest Post

04 Dec


FTC Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It is my pleasure to welcome Joyce and Jim to the blog today. I really enjoy their books.  They have a little something for everyone and this new series is no exception.

sb_final.inddSpell Booked
(Retired Witches Mysteries)

New Cozy Series
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 2, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425268254


Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…  

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…


It is my pleasure to welcome Joyce and Jim to the blog today. I really enjoy their books.  They have a little something for everyone and this new series is no exception.





“Can you see her? There’s no use in having spelled binoculars if you can’t see anything.”

~ Spell Booked


The Librarian, the Witch, and the Spell Book

By Joyce and Jim Lavene

Plain, tall, and a little naive, Dorothy Lane is a young librarian at the downtown branch of the New Hanover County Library in Wilmington, North Carolina. She doesn’t know that three older witches are watching her as she walks to and from the library each day. If she did, she might be a little concerned.

Dorothy is a witch too—she just doesn’t know it yet. The witches watching her know she’s a powerful earth witch. Olivia, Molly, and Elsie are looking for three witches to take their places so they can retire to Boca. They must also hand off their spell book to those witches so their coven can continue.

Their plans are thwarted, however, when Olivia is killed and their spell book is stolen.

The premise of this story hit us one afternoon when we were visiting the old port city of Wilmington. We were at the edge of the Cape Fear River where pirates like Blackbeard came to port in relative safety for a few pints of ale at the local tavern. The river has a long and sometimes dangerous past.

It seemed possible to us that magic might still be rampant here.

Witches lived here two hundred years ago. They plied their trade by selling talismans and love potions to sailors who arrived daily. If they were found out it could be a death sentence. They were very careful with their ceremonies and traditions.

There were stories about witches who took babies and changed men into toads when the moon was full. All of them were fanciful and mostly used to scare anyone who might want to harbor a witch.

But like their European counterparts, North American witches were never the evil creatures they were portrayed. They were healers, followers of the old religion that had been around for a thousand years before Christianity. They gathered to celebrate the phases of the moon and helped farmers plant at the best times. Their magic was that of the earth, air, water, and fire. They delivered babies and comforted those who were bereaved. Their magic was ritual, understanding the cycles of nature—not sacrificial.

Our new series, The Retired Witches Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, follows three witches of the old religion as they try to make sense of their lives. They are aging as gracefully as they can as their world changes around them. They are part Golden Girls and part Bewitched. Their magic extends to some amazing things but it’s all in balance with nature. No twitching noses here, just some basic spell work and good intentions.

Our witches operate out of their curio shop, Smuggler’s Arcane, where all manner of magic is to be found in books and in bottles. They have a secret cave once used for smuggling where they work on their magic.

Dorothy Lane, librarian, thinks her life is as normal as pumpkin pie with no surprises coming to her as she shelves books in the children’s section where she prefers to work. Finding out that she’s a witch is a big surprise, and not always a pleasant one. There are good witches, like anyone else, and there are murderous witches. The problem is telling which one is which with limited new magic and a healthy fear of anything she doesn’t understand.

But what Dorothy finds is a family and a sense of belonging she has never known. She’ll help track down Olivia’s killer and search for the missing spell book, but secretly she hopes her new mentors will stay in Wilmington with her for many years to come.

Spell Booked

Book 1 in the Retired Witches Mysteries

By Joyce and Jim Lavene

from Berkley Prime Crime


Thanks Joyce and Jim. It’s always nice to hear what inspired a good story. I’m really looking forward to learning more about Dorothy. After all she’s a librarian and there is certainly something magical about librarians.  They introduce us to magic every day and they don’t even need a Sacred Spell.

My thoughts on the books:

I loved this book. The story has a great pace and the characters are people I wouldn’t mind having for friends. I like magical stories almost as much as I like mysteries. This has both. AND it has a librarian.  Seriously, this is a great read that paints a different side to the magical world. Instead of being all glamorous and unbelievable or creepily wickedly scary, Molly, Elsie, Olivia and Dorothy are just ordinary people with a touch of magic and who just happen to get into a few hair raising scrapes. It is a quick read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I was going to pass along my copy of the book to a friend who I know will enjoy it, but I liked it so much, I’m keeping my copy and buying another copy for my friend.

Check out the other stops on the tour and visit the tour page for information on how to win a great prize. You can find all that information over at Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Make sure that you make a stop on all the tour sites as the authors have a very special giveaway. They are giving away a handwritten grimoire of spells, a print copy of Spell Booked, a willow wand, and a velvet bag to carry it in. Every stop will have some clue words in each post that can be put together they make a Witch’s Spell. To enter the giveaway readers will have to collect all the words and put them all together on the giveaway entry form after the last stop. Good Luck everyone!!



Posted by on December 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


4 responses to “Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Review & Guest Post

  1. Laura

    December 4, 2014 at 7:09 am

    wonderful authors, super nice people, and a great new series!

  2. Joyce Lavene

    December 4, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for hosting us here today!

  3. kentuckygal50

    December 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    It’s great to see books featuring retirement-age main characters. :O)

  4. Marty the Manx

    December 13, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the great review! It really piqued my interest!


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