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.Magical Mayhem by Lucía Ashta
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Private Investigator
Published by Amazon Digital on June 30, 2021
Source: my own shelves
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Also by this author: Perfect Pending
Second in the Witches of Gales Haven paranormal fantasy for women series and revolving around Marla and the downhome yet powerful Gawama family. The focus is on Marla Gawama, a returned runaway who has been back for one week.
It’s loyalty and the trust the townspeople have in their council. It’s Marla as well, lol, she’s certainly making a name for herself among the townspeople.
That Marla has a lot of stiffnecked reactions to get rid of! At least compared to, ahem, everyone else in Gales Haven.
We got more back history on Quade and Marla’s past together through first person protagonist point-of-view from Marla’s perspective. That’s also why we’re stuck with listening to Marla moan and whine about herself again.
I do love this town. Sure, it’s annoying that everyone is interested in everyone else’s business, but they’re also there when you’re in trouble. Even better is how out there they are. They embrace life!
“If you wait to be happy till you think you’re perfect, you’ll never be happy.”
Humphrey notes how useful Luanne’s romance novels are for providing him with exercise and good tips on sex that his girlfriend is enjoying. Hmmm, that might be why Luanne and Shawna are way over-sexed.
“Once you don’t care what anyone thinks of you, you’re free as a bird.”
Oh, it’s Macy’s and Cody’s first day at school, and that school seems to be a pip. Yep, Nan does not abide bullying. We need her in all our schools.
Tessa has been out searching America for allies, and she’s learned quite a bit. Not all of it good.
Adding in those magical creatures is a mixed blessing. They do have some human traits — the skunks like to smoke Happy Times, the Gales Haven equivalent of pot. It’s that Mindy that has me so indecisive. She’s so snarky and rude.
Gales Haven has an interesting economy, and it’s magic that makes this system work. A much better type of socialism where everyone is required to contribute to the capacity of their skills. It also depends on how trustworthy a person is, as Maguire finds out. I’ll have to read Charmed Caper to discover what happens next! Yep, I also want to know more about Quade’s reaction to his mother’s actions. Poor guy.
That leprechaun may be slippery and tricksy, but he does have his ego. And it seems that his people have the same issues with people’s imaginations as the characters in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Laurell K. Hamilton’s A Terrible Fall of Angels. It’s tricksy too to verbalize a wish, and I’m impressed by the one put together by Bab, Mindy, and Marla.
For someone who’s so anxious to jump into bed with Quade, Marla sure does keep putting him off. Hmm, I wonder if it’s typical behavior for her, as Marla keeps putting off seeing Mo Ellen, in spite of all the eating she’s doing of Jowelle’s cooking.
The action is low-key with some very colorful characters. It also has an uneven pace, IMO, as the story flips back and forth between the fun and Marla’s whining.
Yay! It’s true! The Gawama Mama House cleans itself! And Mindy gets her dearest wish!
The barrier that protects Gales Haven is fixed. Sort of. They still need to pull out that hooked-in spell of Delise’s!
Meanwhile Delise and Maguire are in Irma’s custody. Somewhere.
It’s a prediction and a theft that finds Marla installed as the town detective, and it’s a great opportunity for us to meet more of the townspeople.
Marla Gawama is a witch who doubts herself and has only returned to Gales Haven because of her children: seventeen-year-old Macy whose magic disrupts and the fifteen-year-old Cody whose magic links other magic users. Marla’s magic has evolved from sensing the emotional state of animals to hearing animals speak and absorbing some of the magic of others.
The Gawama Mama House is . . .
. . . home base for the most powerful family of magic users who are led by Nan, Bessie Gawama, Marla’s grandmother. Bessie’s husband, Grandpa Oscar, is dead. Nan has/had four daughters: the grim Jowelle who is an amazing cook and can sense a person’s mental body; Shawna‘s magic lets her connect to a person’s spiritual body; the free-spirited Luanne senses a person’s emotional body; and, Neorah‘s, Marla’s mom who ran away, power related to the physical body. Together, the four sisters could heal most everything. Great-great-granny Jemima gave the Gawamas their last name to celebrate their new home, and she helped found and protect the town.
Quade Contonn is Marla’s first love. Harlow is his daughter. I think there’s a mutual attraction between her and Cody. Delise is his horrible mother, who has been forcing her husband, Maguire, for years.
Gales Haven is . . .
. . . a town composed entirely of magic users and founded in 1803 by five families: the Gawamas, the Lamonts, the Smates, the Adamses, and the Egertons. A member of each family composes the town council: Bessie Gawama, Tessa Smates, Darnell Adams (he can project his voice anywhere), Stella Egerton, and Irma Lamont (she can teleport). Noreen Bradley is the council stenographer as well as the accountant. Sylvia Smate and Thomas Smate are some of Tessa’s relatives.
Everleigh and Kama are powerful spell weavers who’ve been working nonstop on that unexpected spell in the barrier. The joyful Wanda Mathers/Woodles?? had been Marla’s best friend and is the owner of the Cock, Coffee, and Cocoa Café where she keeps some, um, exotic toys in the back room. The pig-tailed Leonie (she studies people’s magic) works for Wanda. The Gales Haven News is the local newspaper. Mabel of Mabel’s Medicinal and Restorative Herbs for Healing and Relaxation carries Happy Times. She’s also developed some less intoxicating concoctions. Other shops include Hair for Hotties and Hatties; Three Hundred Sixty-Nine Fabulous Feisty Flavors; Troy owns Toys, Trinkets, and Tinies; Bailey’s New and Rare Books is a handy shop; and, Bab runs the Bopping Boopy Bakery and has a rivalry going with Jowelle.
Scotty‘s magic allows him to see spells. Jelly Frumpers can predict the future. Mo Ellen can tailor a spell for the individual, including one to prevent one from gaining weight! Jadine Lolly is missing some essential unmentionables. She’s also husband-hunting. The Complete Registry of the Magical Powers and Abilities of the Residents of the Great Town of Gales Haven tracks the magical abilities of every resident. Dixie‘s magic is locating things. Danny is the town handyman who gets a lot of action. Gus is suited to driving the bus. Suzy is a gossipy citizen. Dottie Hames is always losing her pretty knife that’s spelled to help her find what she’s looking for. Beebee brews some potent drinks. Willow‘s magic can clean up anything.
The queen of the magical creatures is Mindy who is married? mated? to George, both hedgehogs with some cute kids. Seems a leprechaun head-butted George and that’s why he’s not mentally all there. Penny is the porcupine. Humphrey, er, I mean Hugh, is a cheeky little mouse. Petunia is his second cousin. His cousin, Basil, is stupid.
Outside of Gales Haven
Tessa has discovered that there are other magical havens, including several academies: the Magical Creatures Academy (Sir Lancelot is a pygmy owl who is its headmaster), the Magical Arts Academy, the Magical Dragons Academy, and the Magical Objects Academy. Mindy is quite thrilled to hear about how many magical creatures occupy positions of respect and power! Professors Egan (a pegataur) and Burl (a gnome) reveal some scary action going on, including the Sorcerers for Magical Supremacy and the Voice. Mordecai and Albacus, brothers and sorcerers, as well as Clara, a powerful intuitive witch, and her husband, Marcelo, a sorcerer, are willing to help.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a frame of purple tinting a background of Wanda’s shop and creating an oval pink center for the pink tea being poured from the white teapot into a white teacup with sparkling white “smoke” in the lower middle. At the top is a script font in white for the series info. Below this and still above the pink is the title in a deep sky blue. Below the teacup is the author’s name in white.
The title is accurate, for there’s Magical Mayhem everywhere in Gales Haven.