I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wisteria Witches by Angela Pepper
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Cozy, Mystery
Published by Amazon Digital on February 2, 2017
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Death of a Dapper Snowman (Stormy Day Mystery #1)
First in the Wisteria Witches cozy urban fantasy mystery series and revolving around Zara and Zoey Riddle.
Wisteria Witches is a story of a realistic and very quirky mother-daughter team that will have you rolling in the aisle even as you appreciate the interactions of a mom raising a teenage daughter.
“…I’m the proud owner of the only sixteen-year-old who actually wants to go to school.”
Seriously, this is very funny. Its primary problem, however, is that same “funny” that has such an unevenness to it. The humor flowed well for a while until it suddenly pulled me up short, causing me to re-read sections, as if someone else had put pen to paper then it suddenly went back to the easy flow… And it was like the tide, back and forth, back and forth.
I do love Zara for her sense of humor and desire to put fun in every day. Now if only she didn’t jump to conclusions so quickly, especially that one about her being the “person with the most motivation to kill Winona…” She was so fixated on that!
The story leaves a lot of questions unanswered, including how so many people seem to know who and what Zara is; the identity of the mysterious benefactor; why no one seems to know how old Winona is, but Zoey does; why Chet leaps back and forth between hot and cold, on-again, off-again without any clue as to why; the past life experiences; the monster that keeps almost surfacing and the bird UFO that must be part of the series arc; and, more.
“No, I’d stick to my usual strategy for dealing with nonsense. Hitting right back with even more nonsense of my own.”
I wanna be possessed…if only so I can learn how to do stuff!
“‘I tried to be normal once,’ I said. ‘Worst four minutes of my life.'”
One of the pluses to all Pepper’s leaping about is that she didn’t have to actually connect everything.
I did like the tip about the frozen red juice in the latex glove.
There’s a bit of channeling going on: Zara channeling Winona (who had quite a bit to say that left a few questions); Grampa Don and his pronouncements that have me wondering who’s the agent; Chet’s cryptic avoidances; and, Zinnia’s statements.
It’s first person protagonist point-of-view from Zara’s perspective, which is only fair, since Zara is the one with so many life-changing moments. Then there were those cliffhangers at the end…including the pronouncement of Zara having five days to live. One cliffhanger is wondering…if…maybe…Pepper will develop more of the core characters and put a plot together…
I never did understand how Zara figured out who the culprit was.
Have some toast…
It was time for a change, only Zara Riddle decided that change needed to be across country where she and her daughter fall in with witches, shapeshifters, librarians, and murderous beasties, as they unpack their belongings in a Victorian Gothic house…haunted by a ghost.
Zara Riddle is a librarian with an unusual perspective — and a quirkier dress sense — who had no idea she was a Spirit Charmed witch. She was once known as Zara the Camgirl. Her sixteen-year-old daughter, Zolanda Daizy Cassaundra Riddle, a.k.a., Zoey, almost sounds the more mature of the two…until you “hear” Zara’s thoughts behind her commentary, *grin* There are also her references to the murderous “Talkie Toaster“.
Zirconia Cristata Riddle was Zara’s mundane mother, and Zinnia Riddle is her younger, estranged witch of a sister.
…the quaint town to which the Riddles move. Chet Moore, an “engineer” a.k.a., Chet Twenty-one, lives next door with his ten-year-old weird son, Corvin, and his dad, Grampa Don.
The crafty, hooting Kathy Carmichael is the head librarian and Zara’s boss (all Kathy’s sons play professional sports, and her husband manages them all). The pink-haired Frank Wonder is the children’s librarian with a dramatic flair for dressing. The library has a Grumpy Corner in the staff lounge for those bad moments.
Dorothy Tibbits dresses like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and is the Realtor who sold Zara the Red Witch House, which had been owned by Winona Vander Zalm, a wacky diva socialite who was also a healer. I got the impression that Dorothy has her own Toto. Griebel Gorman does a lot of repair work in Wisteria. Arden is another neighbor who has a Labradoodle named Doodles. Rob and Knox work in town. The mayor is the coroner and the morning radio DJ. Detective Bentley works the murder case. Jordan and the pregnant Chloe Taub run the Gingerbread House of Baking
Dr Bob– is Corvin’s therapist. Viv (or Finn or Winnie) is a friend of Zinnia’s. Charl– is one of Chet’s coworkers. Jorg Ebola. Spooky Gatherings for Ghouls Cookbook was written by Zinnia and Winona.
Mrs Hutchins was Zara and Zoey’s prayerful neighbor back home. Nash had been like a big brother to Zara when they were growing up.
The Cover and Title
The cover is very similar to the story, as it jumps all over but does stay centered on Zara who is standing in an old storage room and wearing a bright purple, plunging-vee mini-halter dress into which she is well buckled, her long, wavy, red hair floating in the breeze of her power under her WIDE-brimmed witch’s hat. Blue lights are swirling around her gauntleted forearms and hands while Zinnia’s ancient book of magic floats before her. The author’s name is in a pale, pale blue at the top while the title is in a glowing pale lilac at the bottom with the series information in a pale blue below that.
The title is a simple comment on the Wisteria Witches who live in the town.