I finished this book in January, but I wanted to follow through with my goal of writing reviews for all the books I read this year, so here I am! I’ve never written a book review before, but I’m going to try my best! Today, I am reviewing the first installment in a new cozy mystery series by Angela M. Sanders called Bait and Witch.
I actually came across this book on the Kindle store back in October of last year. I was looking for a fun read with witchy vibes for Halloween, and I fell in love with the cover. Books, magic, and a playful cat companion? Sign me up!
Around that time, however, is when I first learned I was pregnant, so I became really distracted by everything related to pregnancy and stopped reading for a couple months. Once January rolled around and I had renewed my reading goals for 2022, I decided to carry on with this book and I finally finished it on January 20th.
At the time of reading, this book was free to download as part of the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. I really enjoy having Kindle Unlimited because while they do sometimes offer popular mainstream titles, they also have lots of great smaller authors and self-published works. Browsing through Kindle Unlimited is how I discovered the cozy mystery genre in the first place!
“Josie Way loved working among the Library of Congress’s leather-scented stacks—until she uncovered corruption and made herself a target. As Wilfred, Oregon’s new librarian, Josie can stay undercover until the case goes to court. But life in this little town isn’t as subdued as she expected. The library, housed in a a Victorian mansion, is slated to be bulldozed. Still digesting the news that her safe haven is about to become scrap lumber, Josie discovers a body in the woods . . .
Almost as shocking, Josie learns that she’s descended from a long line of witches—and her powers have suddenly sprung to life. With help from a spoiled alley cat who just may be her familiar, Josie’s thumbing through a catalog of suspects, hoping she can conjure a way to save her library—and her life. . . “
Quoted from Goodreads
As you can tell from this synopsis, there is a LOT going on in this story! Political scandal and intrigue, Josie’s new job as a librarian, getting to know the quirky locals in a small Oregon town, the drama surrounding the library, Josie’s magical powers, and of course a murder!
What I Liked
I really loved that the story took place in Oregon! I lived in Oregon for three years for university, so the state and the natural beauty of the landscape there have a special place in my heart. I also liked that our main backdrop was a cozy library in an old Victorian house. I had no problem imagining the old furnishings, Victorian architecture, and shelves full of books.
I also liked the premise – of Josie ending up in a small town because she was on the run and in hiding. Usually in cozy mysteries, the protagonist moves to a small town for a change of pace or to start fresh after a bad breakup, etc. So I thought it was a unique choice to have her arrive in Wilfred for an entirely different reason.
Overall, I liked Angela M. Sanders’ style of writing and it made for an easy and enjoyable read.
What I Didn’t
I actually felt like there was a little bit too much going on. Josie is dealing with the scandal in DC while trying to solve a murder, save the library and her job, hide her identity, help the local citizens with various individual problems, and also figure out her new magic powers. I would have preferred if she only was dealing with one or two of these dilemmas instead of all of them at once because it was a lot to juggle. Her magic especially didn’t seem to get the attention in the story that it needed and I wanted to know more about it since finding out you have powers is kind of a big deal!
Similarly, I felt like there were too many characters introduced in this first installment. I would have preferred to meet a few key players in the town and save some of the other quirkier townspeople for future installments.
My Star Rating
For me, giving a book three stars is not a bad thing. It just means a book was perfectly adequate and probably enjoyable to read, but it maybe didn’t leave a lasting impression or suit my personal taste. And that basically sums up how I feel about Bait and Witch. It was fine and easy/enjoyable to read, but some of it wasn’t to my personal taste, nor was it very emotionally impactful for me. And that’s okay!
You can check out Bait and Witch (Witch Way Librarian Mysteries #1) on Amazon. And let me know in the comments – do you like to read cozy mysteries?
Thanks for reading!