Bells, Spells, And Murders By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Bells, Spells, and Murders by Carol J. Perry | ARC | Reading | Paranormal Mystery | Cozy Mystery | Book Blogger | Blogging | Creative Writing | Witch City Series |

I received a paperback ARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Someone’s spreading deadly holiday cheer through Salem, Mass . . . 

Lee Barrett has landed her dream job at Salem’s WICH-TV. As the new field reporter, she’ll be covering events live as they’re unfolding. Next on her holiday checklist is an interview with the beloved chairman of a popular walking tour through Salem’s historic districts. But it may be his ghost walking this snowy Noel season after Lee finds him murdered in his stately offices, bloody Santa hat askew.

With her police detective boyfriend working the case and a witch’s brew of suspects–including some bell-ringing Santas–Lee chases down leads aided and abetted by her wise cat O’Ryan and some unsettling psychic visions of her own. When a revealing clue leads to another dead body, not even a monster blizzard can stop Lee from inching closer to the truth . . . and a scoop that could spell her own demise this killer Christmas.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs always, the book cover is always spot on with this series. The covers are eye-catching and it really showcases some events of what happens in the novel.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comThis is book number seven in the Witch City series. I spent my summer reading this series starting with the first book leading up to this latest release. I was looking forward to it.

Plot | RachelPoli.comLee starts her new dream job as a field reporter for WICH-TV when she finds the man she’s supposed to interview dead in his office. Between staying up with the case for her job, Pete, her detective boyfriend, and her natural Nancy Drew skills, Lee has a lot on her plate.

This was executed well even if the process is similar in a way to the other books. The author knows how to make it all unique from the other books. I will admit, I missed Lee investigating purely because she’s curious, wants to help, and has connections with her boyfriend. The TV reporter was certainly a nice touch but it was a definitely different. This isn’t a bad thing though. In fact, it was cool her job seemed to come full circle.

Characters | RachelPoli.comThe characters are well established at this point – Lee, Aunt Ibby, Pete, O’Ryan, and River North. They’re a great cast and Lee especially is a fun character lead.

Writing Style |

I love the way Perry writes. She’s spot-on with the cozy mystery aspect and the paranormal side is an awesome touch. The book is easy to read and follow along with, it’s fun, and there’s no scratching your head or hardcore confusion as you try to figure things out alongside the characters. Everything makes sense.

The book is a decent length but it’s a quick read and hard to put down.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis is another great installment to the Witch City series. I’d certainly recommend it.

Bells, Spells, and Murders by Carol J. Perry gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Mr. Doan characterized the man as ‘dumb as a brick but with great pipes.'” -Carol J. Perry, Bells, Spells, and Murders

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

It Takes A Coven (Witch City Mystery 6) By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: It Takes A Coven (Mystery City Mystery 6) by Carol J. Perry | Reading | Cozy Mystery | Paranormal | Books | Book Blogging |

I received a free paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.


There’s a new witch-hunt in Salem, Massachusetts . . .

When Lee Barrett joins a former student’s bridal party as maid of honor, she expects cake tastings and dress fittings. But wedding planning becomes more peculiar than Lee’s scrying talents could ever predict. There’s a magical baker, a best man with a checkered past, and a talking crow named Poe as the ring bearer. There’s also a kindly old man dead under his apple tree—one of a series of unexplained deaths hanging over the Wiccan community . . .

With witches dropping dead before they even come out of the proverbial broom closet, Lee’s best friend, River, fears she might have somehow unleashed a terrible curse on the city. Now, aided by Poe and her clairvoyant cat, Lee sets out to investigate. Are lives being claimed by vengeful supernatural forces—or by something more shocking? She soon discovers, casting light on the wicked truth can be one killer commitment . . .

My Review:

Book Cover |

I think this cover is my favorite of the series so far. As usual, a lot of key elements from the plot are on the cover and the purple colors really make it stand out.

First Thoughts |

I’ve read the first five books, enjoyed them all, and now have moved onto the sixth.

Plot |

Some of the witches in town have been dying all within in a short time span between one another. Lee doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence and River is worried she may have had something to do with it unintentionally. As always, Lee gets on the case with the help of Pete, her detective boyfriend, and her Aunt Ibby.

I really enjoyed how this particular plot put a spin on the witches in town. Yes, it’s a paranormal mystery set in Salem, Massachusetts where witches are everywhere, but I thought it was cool that the witches were dying – though not in the sense you would think from your history textbooks.

Characters |

As always, it was great to revisit Lee, Pete, Aunt Ibby, and River. River especially since she seemed to have a little bit of a bigger part in this one. Each character is well rounded and they all fit perfectly together within the setting and plot.

Writing Style |

The author has a great writing style where the words are easy to read, the mystery is easy to follow, and you easily get attached to the characters. It’s a fairly chunky book but it’s one you can’t put down.

Overall |

While this can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend reading the series in order to get a good sense of the characters. However, if you’re looking to get your feet wet with the series and happen to come across this one, just get it and give it a go.

It Takes a Cover (Witch City Mystery 6) by Carol J. Perry gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Actually they met in a graveyard, but that’s another story.” -Carol J. Perry, It Takes A Coven

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Check out my book reviews for book one and book two of this series.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

Dream, Recurring by Mark Canniff

Dream, Recurring by Mark Canniff | Book Review

Title: Dream, Recurring
Author: Mark Canniff
August 2016, Mark Canniff
Genre: Paranormal mystery
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from a publicist in exchange for an honest review.


Can there be a mystery that goes back over a hundred years, that only the dead can reveal?

Lucy has been having a recurring dream. Night after night she finds herself driving on a winding road with her best friend Sam. She feels lost as this path seems to lead to nowhere. That is until she discovers a house. Curious, she goes up to investigate, discovering that the place is empty.
The mystery of the dream deepens when she realizes that she’s being haunted by an entity. Why is it attached to her?
Both Sam and her uncover a piece of history that only those that have passed on have kept secret. Why is it so important and does it have anything to do with the dark being?
It suddenly becomes a race against time as they grasp that their very lives might be at stake.

Can they uncover what is really going on in time, before it’s too late?

Is there a connection between the house, the uncovered past and the evil entity?

My Review:


At first, I wasn’t sure about this novel. I’ve never really read paranormal mysteries before. However, despite my being a coward, I am fascinated with the paranormal and I do love mysteries dearly. So, I decided to give this one a shot.


We follow Lucy, a photographer, and her friend Sam, a medium, as they rid spirits for their clients. It’s not until a ghost murders a newly wed groom at the church that Lucy and Sam realize something bad is going on.

Together, they try to figure out the cause of the spirit, why he’s there, and why he’s so angry. Both Lucy and Sam begin to have dreams. The spirits are trying to communicate with them, trying to help Lucy and Sam.

Overall, this is a good plot. I’ve seen many books where the dead communicate with the living to have them help find their killer or something along those lines. This added a slightly new twist where the ghosts were working with the dead to stop a raging spirit rather than trying to avenge themselves.

Needless to say, I liked the plot. It was intriguing and the paranormal activity was pretty creepy at times.


While I do like Lucy and Sam, I found it hard to relate to them. Both were protagonists, but it seemed as Lucy was more important than Sam. Lucy had more focus, even though we still barely know anything about her.

We didn’t learn anything about Sam’s past, but when Sam set Lucy up on a blind up, we learned that Lucy’s parents died prematurely. That’s all we know about her. I didn’t feel anything for Lucy when she revealed that either because I still don’t know Lucy at all.

There was character development towards the end, but we didn’t see any of it. One minute Lucy was dating Dan, but when something huge happened, she was suddenly in love with him. Nothing hinted at her falling in love with him even though we were in her head throughout the majority of the book.



What really knocked down my rating for this book was all the errors. There were spelling and grammatical errors throughout the entire book. Some words weren’t used properly. For example, instead of “sympathetic manner” it was written as, “sympathetic manor.” At first, I thought it was a typo, but it happened four times and that wasn’t the only word that was mistaken. The tense wasn’t consistent, either. Sometimes it jumped from past to present in the middle of a sentence. It made it really hard to read the story and jarred me out of the actual story telling because I had to reread sentences and paragraphs in an attempt to make any sense of them.

There was a lot of telling and not enough showing, either. When Sam had clients to do a medium reading for them, the narrator explained her clients’ story. Then when Sam was trying to communicate with the dead, she gave clues as to what was going on, but I already knew what was going on. It took the mystery away.

Finally, this may be a personal preference, but the book was written in the third person omniscient. We were in every single character’s head, including the really minor characters. I personally prefer the third person limited and, for a mystery, I didn’t think third person omniscient was the right choice. It took away a lot of the mystery and made the book predictable because the narration told me what was going on all the time.


Overall, the plot was interesting. It was unique and I enjoyed being spooked by the spirits. However, I wish I got to know Lucy and Sam better and I wish I was able to investigate the case alongside them instead of just reading about how they did it. Since it read like an unedited first draft, I had a hard time getting through it.

That why the book gets three stars from. There were too many mistakes and that’s why it was just an okay read for me.

Dream, Recurring by Mark Canniff gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Be mindful that you are seeking truth and not revenge.” –Mark Canniff, Dream, Recurring

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump


*This post contains affiliate links.