I wrote it in my last post: I love being able to remember everything that I read! This is particularly fun when I don’t have any new book reviews to write, but a whole lot of books that I read prior to this blog’s birth. In this instance, it gives me the opportunity to recommend even more books, and of various genres. Of course, a lot of them will involve romance, since it is a genre I am particularly partial about. However, like in this series’ case, it is not the main genre of the books.
Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence occur off stage, the detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. Cozies thus stand in contrast to hardboiled fiction, which features violence and sexuality more explicitly and centrally to the plot. The term “cozy” was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
In other words, it is a “clean” novel, without sex or violence. Which does not mean “boring”!!! All the contrary! It only means that the action lies elsewhere, as does the romance. But action there is, and romance there is. It only means that they take the backseat, whereas the investigation takes the forefront.
There ends the genre crash course.
Is that valley unlucky?
Which brings me to Michelle M. Pillow’s series. For now, this series contains only two books: Better Haunts And Garden Gnomes and Any Witch Way But Goode. Two books that I have read with great gusto, containing magic, witches, shifters, ghosts, gnomes, Herman the lobster… and Aunt Polly.
When I talk about Michelle’s Warlocks MacGregor (see my post here, and by the by, the first book, Love Potions, is still free if you want to read something totally hilarious and a wonderful love story, and the books 2 and 3 are still discounted), I always come back to Uncle Raibeart (I’m still waiting for his proposal, for the record). When I talk about her Happily Everlasting books (she is one of several authors of this particular series of cozies, and about (Un)Lucky Valley, the comic relief part is assumed by Aunt Polly, whom I had discovered when I read Curses And Cupcakes and met again with great pleasure in this series.
Who is Aunt Polly? She’s an eccentric witch. And that is an understatement! Not averse to wearing a hazmat suit, keeping weird things in the trunk of her car, owner of an extraordinary bicycle, turning a man’s hair rainbow, nothing stops her. And she is, really, very hilarious. Her spells are legendary. And there is Herman the lobster, of course. He is her familiar.
However important her part is in all three books I’ve read in which she is featured, Aunt Polly is a secondary character. The (Un)Lucky Valley series is, first and foremost, the story of Lily Goode, who moves with her brother to Lucky Valley, Colorado, where she has inherited a house… and learns that she is a witch.
There is a problem: the town hates her family and has for a long time. Can she make things right? Because on top of it, there is a bunch of garden gnomes that may or may not be evil (or maybe just naughty?), and a series of mysterious accidents, on top of the handsome Nolan Dawson, the home inspector who may or may not be at the root of the domestic issues that Lily has to fix.
The second story revolves around the opening of Lily’s bed and breakfast, when a guest is found dead during the opening. With the help of Aunt Polly, but also of Nolan (whom she may or may not regret having asked to move in with her), Lily must find who the killer is before this murder ends her B&B’s venture before it even started.
Both books are absolute fun and great reads, and only make me hope for new adventures in this magical, maybe or not cursed, little town. The fun part? If you want to discover Lily, Aunt Polly & Co., the series is currently available on Kindle Unlimited.