A Spell of Murder (Witch Cats of Cambridge #1)
“It’s Harriet’s fault. It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it.” So begins A Spell of Murder: A Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, the first in a new cozy series that mixes feline fiction with a touch of the paranormal, and a little romance as well.Becca, newly single and newly unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time – and a desire for empowerment – she’s studying to become a witch. What she doesn’t know is that her three cats – Harriet, Laurel, and Clara – are the ones with the real power. And when Harriet – “a cream-colored longhair with more fur than commonsense” – conjures a pillow for her own comfort, Becca believes her spells are finally working. Could that be why Trent, the coven’s devilishly handsome leader, has been showing her special attention? Or why Suzanne, a longtime coven member, draws her aside to share a secret – a confidence that may lead to murder?

A Spell of Murder (Witch Cats of Cambridge #1) Details

TitleA Spell of Murder (Witch Cats of Cambridge #1)
Author
ReleaseDec 11th, 2018
PublisherPolis Books
ISBN-139781947993327
Rating
GenreMystery, Cozy Mystery, Animals, Cats, Fantasy, Paranormal

A Spell of Murder (Witch Cats of Cambridge #1) Review

  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    In the first book of the Witches Cats of Cambridge, there are three siblings cats that have the power to various things. Harriet, the oldest can grabs objects from the ether, Laura is able to put thoughts in a person mind and Clara is able to walk through doors, walls and make herself invisible. Most of the story is narrated from Clara's perspective. I was very disappointed in the story as I found it very confusing and I was not able to connect with any of the characters. I could not separate th In the first book of the Witches Cats of Cambridge, there are three siblings cats that have the power to various things. Harriet, the oldest can grabs objects from the ether, Laura is able to put thoughts in a person mind and Clara is able to walk through doors, walls and make herself invisible. Most of the story is narrated from Clara's perspective. I was very disappointed in the story as I found it very confusing and I was not able to connect with any of the characters. I could not separate the cats from members of the coven at the beginning of the book. As I read deeper into the book I found myself enjoying it.Harriet wanting comfort and didn't want to move brings a pillow out of the air. The cat's human, Becca felt she was responsible. The Coven is excited. Becca finds a body that has been murder and becomes involved with the case. Clara accompanied Becca when she left the apartment. Will Becca find the answer before she ends of dead? I plan on reading the next book.
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  • Lisa Morin
    January 1, 1970
    The cover and description had me hoping this would be an interesting story. It's told through the perspective of cats, and while cute, it was a bit much.I'm not sure if I would read another in the series, I had hoped it would get more interesting as I read on, but I was really not impressed.I volunteered to read and review an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
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  • The Cozy Review
    January 1, 1970
    Becca, newly single and unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time and a desire for empowerment, she's studying to become a witch. What she doesn't know is that her three cats, Harriet, Laurel, and Clara are the ones with the real power. When Harriet, a cream-colored long hair with more fur than common sense conjures a pillow for her comfort, Becca believes her spells are working. Could that be why Trent, the coven's devilishly handsome leader, has been showing he Becca, newly single and unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time and a desire for empowerment, she's studying to become a witch. What she doesn't know is that her three cats, Harriet, Laurel, and Clara are the ones with the real power. When Harriet, a cream-colored long hair with more fur than common sense conjures a pillow for her comfort, Becca believes her spells are working. Could that be why Trent, the coven's devilishly handsome leader, has been showing her special attention? Or why Suzanne, a longtime coven member, draws her aside to share a secret, a confidence that may lead to murder?--Series: Witch Cats of Cambridge - Book 1Author: Clea Simon Genre: Cozy/Witch MysteryPublisher: Polis Books Clea Simon can write a good story, her books are normally interesting and well put together. Unfortunately, A Spell of Murder from Polis Books http://www.polisbooks.com/ isn’t a winner. Although a unique idea, the book is told mainly from the perspective of three magical cats, it simply doesn’t give the reader enough insight into the m human character, Becca’s life and who she is. The story is a bit confusing, the action is practically non-existent, and Becca is far too meek to be a good lead or a likable one. There are times throughout the story when the reader has the urge to grab Becca and shake some sense into her.The cats have distinct characteristics, but only the youngest, Clara is truly stimulating. The other two cats are self-centered and downright “bitchy.” They don’t care about their human and care even less about their younger sibling who appears to be the only one of the three that worries about their owner and what will happen to the three of them if she is sent away. If they were human, they would be the mean girls from high school. This might be a good combination for the story in the long run but can make it difficult for the reader to enjoy their antics and get past this first story. The actual murder is interesting but was also predictable. It was clear almost from the beginning who the killer would turn out to be. However, the motive is a bit underwhelming. It is hoped that the first book in a new series would be stronger and more memorable. Many readers may well toss this book never to pick it up again. Regrettably, I cannot recommend A Spell of Murder. Perhaps the series if it continues will evolve and grow and become more exciting and more worthy of its author.
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  • Kirsti
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!Oh. :( It kind of sucks when you read a favorite author and don't like their book (even more so when you're approved for it on Netgalley!) I mean, I will forever love you Clea, but this one wasn't for me. I'll try to explain why.This is about three cats, and it's a cozy mystery so I SHOULD love it. Instead, two out of three of the cats were completely unlikable and unneeded to the story. Clara was the main focus; but here Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!Oh. :( It kind of sucks when you read a favorite author and don't like their book (even more so when you're approved for it on Netgalley!) I mean, I will forever love you Clea, but this one wasn't for me. I'll try to explain why.This is about three cats, and it's a cozy mystery so I SHOULD love it. Instead, two out of three of the cats were completely unlikable and unneeded to the story. Clara was the main focus; but here sisters Laurel and Harriet just loaf around and rarely contribute anything. There are SO many pointless scenes that go nowhere, so many pointless characters with little or nothing to do with the story flitting about. The cats having human names made them utterly forgettable; I often confused them with members of the coven. I didn't even know the name of the murderer because I was lost in the muddle that was this book!Ultimately I'm just sad for this one, because I think with some tweaks (less cats talking about food, more clarification) this could have been really good. I still don't know what I just read. Yes, three stars is a low rating for me btw. :/
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  • Tari
    January 1, 1970
    The idea of the book was really awesome, cats who really were magical and talked to each other while their human thought she was a witch because of something one of the cats conjured up. I honestly felt confused the whole time I was reading, since a lot of the human dialogue consisted of who was dating which person. The back-and-forth dialogue between the cats, then the humans speaking had me needing to reread parts just to figure out what was going on at that moment. To me, it seemed like the m The idea of the book was really awesome, cats who really were magical and talked to each other while their human thought she was a witch because of something one of the cats conjured up. I honestly felt confused the whole time I was reading, since a lot of the human dialogue consisted of who was dating which person. The back-and-forth dialogue between the cats, then the humans speaking had me needing to reread parts just to figure out what was going on at that moment. To me, it seemed like the murder was taking a back seat. I seriously wanted to like this book a lot more because cats are cool, and magical cats are just plain awesome. But in all honesty, it simply didn't deliver--but I did like the cats at least. I was mildly curious about who the killer was, so I did my best and kept on reading. I'm not really interested in continuing the series. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 StarsI really wanted to like this book, but it had a few too many flaws for me.At the beginning of the story, you are introduced to not only our main character Becca but her three cats and all the other members of the coven of witches. It's very confusing as to who is who. Also, the story is told from the perspective of the cats, which I thought was a lot of fun in theory but just didn't work for me. Also, there is a scene in where Becca discovers the murder victim and one of the cat's state 2.5 StarsI really wanted to like this book, but it had a few too many flaws for me.At the beginning of the story, you are introduced to not only our main character Becca but her three cats and all the other members of the coven of witches. It's very confusing as to who is who. Also, the story is told from the perspective of the cats, which I thought was a lot of fun in theory but just didn't work for me. Also, there is a scene in where Becca discovers the murder victim and one of the cat's states how exciting that is because of its 'fresh meat'. I love cats (I am a card-carrying member of the Crazy Cat Lady Club), and I know they are animals but I found that to be very grizzly and a line that was not needed.The murder and mystery almost felt like a secondary story and not fully developed. I'm sorry to say I just didn't love this one.
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  • Caroline Leavitt
    January 1, 1970
    The prodigiously talented Simon has done it again, with a wonderful book featuring three of my fave things--cats, Cambridge and murder. A totally wonderful, wonderful read.
  • Doreen
    January 1, 1970
    12/2/18 Cute and v in-genre. Full review tk.12/21/18 https://www.criminalelement.com/book-...
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Clea Simon’s cozies have a bit of extra edge and sparkle to them, and have ranged from a pet psychic to a rescue cat narrator in a long career spanning several series. In this latest outing, the cats are again front and center, and this time they are witch cats. They’ve confused their owner, Becca, who is a fledgling member of a coven – one of them made a pillow appear out of thin air and Becca thinks she’s done it herself, as does the rest of her coven.The cats are a little disgusted by this bu Clea Simon’s cozies have a bit of extra edge and sparkle to them, and have ranged from a pet psychic to a rescue cat narrator in a long career spanning several series. In this latest outing, the cats are again front and center, and this time they are witch cats. They’ve confused their owner, Becca, who is a fledgling member of a coven – one of them made a pillow appear out of thin air and Becca thinks she’s done it herself, as does the rest of her coven.The cats are a little disgusted by this but the three of them – adopted by Becca – have a mission to protect and care for her and their powers are many and varied. They range from the very real cat talent of comforting their owners to the talents of making things appear, controlling thoughts, and walking through walls, the better to track Becca undetected.Becca is troubled – she’s lost her job, she struggling to “re-create” her supposed spell, and she’s oh so unlucky in love. She has an ex, a warlock in her coven who’s putting the moves on her, and a nice housepainter she meets when one of the members of her coven is discovered (by her) with a knife in her throat.Simon’s witty way of sketching in characters and tight way with a plot serve her well, as she dishes up a charming story that’s never too scary but does have some actual menace to it. The members of the coven are especially delicious, and while they could have been written as total satire, it’s obvious Simon is actually fond of all of her characters to some degree and the affection she feels for them – and for the cats – shines through on every page of this delightful book.In general I object to a story where the animals are the narrators and yet I’m a huge fan of Spencer Quinn’s dog, and the same applies here – Beca’s cats seem to think like actual cats might. As cats are some of the more mysterious animals to share space with us humans, anything that shines a light on their behavior is more than welcome. Thanks, Ms. Simon!
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  • Snow Mille
    January 1, 1970
    As the blurb describes, Becca is a young woman going through some rough times - she lost her job around the same time her boyfriend broke up with her - but she has one huge benefit that she doesn’t realize: she owns three magical cats. And these aren’t just your average magical cats (for all cats have some magic), but witch cats. When Harriet, a lazy creamcicle cat concerned more about treats and dinner than anything else, conjures up a pillow, Becca thinks she’s done it. Which leads to all sort As the blurb describes, Becca is a young woman going through some rough times - she lost her job around the same time her boyfriend broke up with her - but she has one huge benefit that she doesn’t realize: she owns three magical cats. And these aren’t just your average magical cats (for all cats have some magic), but witch cats. When Harriet, a lazy creamcicle cat concerned more about treats and dinner than anything else, conjures up a pillow, Becca thinks she’s done it. Which leads to all sorts of problems, including murder. Clara,the youngest (by a few minutes) of the three cats and the closest to Becca, feels obligated to protect Becca and help her solve the case.What I really loved about this book is that it’s told from Clara’s point of view. She’s able to follow Becca, so we get to see the action, so to speak, but we don’t get insight to all of Becca’s thoughts. Becca is a researcher, so she’s always googling stuff; Clara watches her, but can’t read, so we only get to see the pictures, for example, of the web search Becca does of her great grandmother (who incidentally had Clara’s foremother as a pet); we get to see there’s a connection, but don’t get the full details right away. I’m hoping it’ll be revealed over the series. I also love how Clara’s journey seems to be echoing Becca’s. Both start off seeming very young, but start to grow into their powers, so to speak. Becca gains some strength and independence, for example, when she finally walks away from her ex-boyfriend, while Clara starts to suspect she has other strengths, like being able to suggest things to people as well has her sister Laurel can.The mystery itself was a little on the light side I felt; the motive just seemed thin. Yes, there were some clues pointing to it, but it seemed a little unbelievable to me. Maybe I need to re-read the book to find what I missed? And I felt like a few of the main characters were flat; I never felt like I got to know Becca's best friend Maddy, for example. However, given how much I liked Clara, her sisters, and Becca, I’m looking forward to future books.I received an ARC of this book which I voluntarily chose to review.
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  • Mollie Hunt
    January 1, 1970
    Clea Simon’s new cozy paranormal mystery, A Spell of Murder, is as captivating as a puzzle ball, a satisfying cat mystery in the truest sense.I’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing Clea Simon’s newest book, A Spell of Murder: a Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery. A Spell of Murder is the first of the new series which I foresee to be purringly successful. Clea is a cat writer, and what I love about all her cat-themed stories, is the overwhelming presence of the cats. They come alive on the page Clea Simon’s new cozy paranormal mystery, A Spell of Murder, is as captivating as a puzzle ball, a satisfying cat mystery in the truest sense.I’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing Clea Simon’s newest book, A Spell of Murder: a Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery. A Spell of Murder is the first of the new series which I foresee to be purringly successful. Clea is a cat writer, and what I love about all her cat-themed stories, is the overwhelming presence of the cats. They come alive on the page, as strong as any of her human characters. All too often, a so-called cat mystery will have only a passing cat, a hint of cat, or possibly only a cat picturesquely placed on the cover. But grandma’s kitty appearing briefly in the third chapter, then vanishing into thin air for the remainder of the book, does not a cat book make. With Clea’s work, there is no such fear. Her cats are front and center, believable and catlike, even though they may have special magical powers. “Magic is for felines,” says Clara as she tries to dissuade Becca from becoming embroiled in things beyond her ken, but the young woman doesn’t understand. Alas, Becca is only human, where Clara is a cat!Clara is one of three feline sisters, descended from the witch cat of Salem, but Becca doesn’t know that. She’d only yielded to a whim when adopting the trio— little did she suspect that the cats had chosen her, taking on her welfare as their covert duty. Clara, especially, will go to any lengths to keep Becca safe, but when the young woman begins to investigate the murder of a coven member, things get complicated. Can the little calico save her person without giving their secret away? Murder, magic, and romance abound, but the cats are the stars of this story. Clea has woven a rich tapestry of real and imagined qualities for her feline heroines that cat people will find authentic and humorously familiar.
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  • Lesa
    January 1, 1970
    Clea Simon launches a new cozy series that will appeal to cat lovers with A Spell of Murder. It's the first Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery.Becca's cats mean well, but when Harriet, the oldest of three cats with magical powers, conjures a pillow, Becca now believes she's a witch who can cast spells. Clara, the youngest cat, is right to fear that that pillow will create problems. Becca wants to believe she has magical powers, and that's what she tells her coven.Becca was laid off from her job as Clea Simon launches a new cozy series that will appeal to cat lovers with A Spell of Murder. It's the first Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery.Becca's cats mean well, but when Harriet, the oldest of three cats with magical powers, conjures a pillow, Becca now believes she's a witch who can cast spells. Clara, the youngest cat, is right to fear that that pillow will create problems. Becca wants to believe she has magical powers, and that's what she tells her coven.Becca was laid off from her job as a researcher. She lacks self-esteem, and needs money. Now that it appears she can cast spells, Trent, the coven's only male, shows interest in Becca. And, some of the women in the group now want to confide in the young woman. Suzanne has a secret she wants to share. When Becca's the one who finds Suzanne's body, that draws the attention of the police. It's only after Suzanne's murder that Becca discovers her ex-boyfriend was seeing Suzanne. One more reason to suspect Becca.Becca knows she's a suspect, and she sets out to clear her name, questioning people. Clara and her sisters use their powers to follow and protect their human.While Becca is a weak character, easily influenced, the anthropomorphized cats are amusing. They argue, cast spells, and behave as if they truly were sisters. Simon specializes in mysteries that combine cats and the paranormal. Fans of Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy books or Sofie Kelly's Magical Cats mysteries might enjoy the talking, spell-casting cats in A Spell of Murder.
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  • Jay Strafford
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone who loves cats knows that they have special powers. They can vanish instantly and reappear just as quickly. They have an unerring instinct to ferret out the one person in a room who dislikes them and then kiss up to that person.But sisters Harriet, Laurel and Clara have real magical powers in the opening installment of Clea Simon’s Witch Cats of Cambridge series.Their person, Becca Colvin – recently laid off from her job and dumped by her boyfriend – is in training to be a witch. As she’s Anyone who loves cats knows that they have special powers. They can vanish instantly and reappear just as quickly. They have an unerring instinct to ferret out the one person in a room who dislikes them and then kiss up to that person.But sisters Harriet, Laurel and Clara have real magical powers in the opening installment of Clea Simon’s Witch Cats of Cambridge series.Their person, Becca Colvin – recently laid off from her job and dumped by her boyfriend – is in training to be a witch. As she’s working on a spell while her coven watches, Harriet conjures up a pillow, and Becca and her friends think she, Becca, did it.But if nothing says lovin’ like something from the coven, murder is an exception. And when Suzanne, a fellow coven member, tells Becca she needs to talk to her, Becca treks to Suzanne’s apartment, where she finds her dead with a cake knife in her throat. And it’s not long before the Cambridge cops consider her a person of interest.Simon – the author of four other series and one stand-alone – uses her feline fancy to good effect. The cats, who quarrel with each other as sisters do, are appealing. Becca, a natural get-along-and-go-along type, shows increasing levels of strength and savviness as the story progresses. And the combination of felines and felonies pays off, as always. A fine start to what could be a wickedly entertaining series.I’ve reviewed almost all of Simon’s fiction and read this one in galley form.
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  • Susan Johnston
    January 1, 1970
    Princess Fuzzypants here: A good mystery has lots of moving parts. I like when the clues are there but with a sleight of paw, the reader gets fooled. There is a risk of having too much going on at time so that it all gets a bit jumbled. Unfortunately, there were times in this book, I found myself having to go back and reread because things were too confused. Which is a shame.I liked the premise. Three kitty sisters live with a human who has delusions of being a witch. She belongs to a coven and Princess Fuzzypants here: A good mystery has lots of moving parts. I like when the clues are there but with a sleight of paw, the reader gets fooled. There is a risk of having too much going on at time so that it all gets a bit jumbled. Unfortunately, there were times in this book, I found myself having to go back and reread because things were too confused. Which is a shame.I liked the premise. Three kitty sisters live with a human who has delusions of being a witch. She belongs to a coven and tries all sorts of spells and incantations but the only magic being produced comes not from the humans but the kitties. It turns out that Clara and her sisters are descendants of a witch cat who protected one of Becca’s predecessors. A lot of this is revealed in the closing chapters of the book, meaning there will be more revelations in future stories.Clara, the youngest and smallest cat, has her paws full trying to help her human solve the murder of another member of the coven. Let me tell you, the romantic shenanigans going on in this coven are far more convoluted than a hairball. Clara must help Becca without revealing the secret of their feline powers. Her sisters are not in the slightest helpful. In fact, both of them conjure things that only makes matters worse. Initially it seems they revel in causing mayhem but the three finally work together at the end in the common goal of protecting their human.I cannot say that I was bowled over by the book but there was enough to it that I will await the next instalment to see what direction it takes. It will be the kitties who will bring me back. Four purrs and two paws up.
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  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    I love Clea Simon's books and I love the way she writes her cat characters.The cat were the main characters in this book and they all were likeable and realistic, my favourite one is Clare.This a books were the cats are the main characters and things that happen are seen through their eyes.Their human, Becca, her dysfunctional wiccan coven and the other characters are interesting, Becca is also very quite and likeable, but they pale and if you can like them but you end up loving the three cats.T I love Clea Simon's books and I love the way she writes her cat characters.The cat were the main characters in this book and they all were likeable and realistic, my favourite one is Clare.This a books were the cats are the main characters and things that happen are seen through their eyes.Their human, Becca, her dysfunctional wiccan coven and the other characters are interesting, Becca is also very quite and likeable, but they pale and if you can like them but you end up loving the three cats.The mystery was interesting and kept me guessing till the end. I read this book as fast as I could because I wanted to know what was next.It's also one of those book that makes you feel sad when they ends.I look forward to reading the next instalment.Highly recommended!Many thanks to Polis Books and Netgalley for this ARC
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  • Andria Potter
    January 1, 1970
    This is a cozy mystery book that’s seemingly told from the cats point of view. Need I say more? Well, apparently I must for this to be a full length review that’s more than a hundred words, so here goes.I loved the cats. I loved how accurate they were described in their behavior, I loved the humor and feel-goodness of it all. It was a perfect read, and I hope to be able to continue the series soon. I really liked the whole mystery set up too, and I can honestly say that there are very few books This is a cozy mystery book that’s seemingly told from the cats point of view. Need I say more? Well, apparently I must for this to be a full length review that’s more than a hundred words, so here goes.I loved the cats. I loved how accurate they were described in their behavior, I loved the humor and feel-goodness of it all. It was a perfect read, and I hope to be able to continue the series soon. I really liked the whole mystery set up too, and I can honestly say that there are very few books that I’ve read where the cats are the ones to go on the case to solve a mystery. I think this will be one of my favorites. Especially with the magical elements, the witches, and the dark atmosphere throughout the book itself.If you like cozy mysteries featuring cats, then this book will definitely be to your liking. It’s fun, it’s clever, and it’s thoroughly magical. 5/5 stars for a an excellent first read from a new author, and I definitely look forward to getting to the rest of the series!
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    I always enjoy a good cozy mystery featuring pets, so Becca and her three cat sisters were exactly the type of story I like. The story moves along at a good pace and there are plenty of suspects to keep you guessing until the end. Becca is an unemployed researcher, who is also is part of a coven. Her cats, Clara, Laurel and Harriet, are magic practitioners. We are introduced to the group via a gathering at Becca's. Later we get to meet Maddy, Becca's best friend, Jeff, her ex-boyfriend and Natha I always enjoy a good cozy mystery featuring pets, so Becca and her three cat sisters were exactly the type of story I like. The story moves along at a good pace and there are plenty of suspects to keep you guessing until the end. Becca is an unemployed researcher, who is also is part of a coven. Her cats, Clara, Laurel and Harriet, are magic practitioners. We are introduced to the group via a gathering at Becca's. Later we get to meet Maddy, Becca's best friend, Jeff, her ex-boyfriend and Nathan. Before long Becca is being questioned about the body she discovered in her coven member's apartment. As the police question her, she fears she is the prime suspect. As information unfolds, you learn that Becca has been kept in the dark by people she trusted. At times she seems vulnerable and easily manipulated by those around her. Once Becca starts digging into things, she uncovers secrets that put her in danger. Its her perseverance to find the killer and right the wrong that keeps you reading. She also reaches decisions about her life and the people in them. Clara protects and tries to help her human along the way. But I found Laurel and Harriet to be self-centered. Harriet's obsession with food was a bit much. While the two older cats did help Becca, it was out of self-preservation. The coven itself was made up of self-absorbed people. It was easy to see why every one of them had a motive to commit murder and were under suspicion. Marcia seemed to care for and treat Becca as a friend.. Ande has the potential to be a great friend.Nathan had a secret, which I am glad he explained to Becca. But I am not sure that their relationship will go any where. He was a borderline stalker. At times it was creepy.. I agree with Maddy that Becca should keep looking and proceed with caution. She genuinely cares for friend and wants only the best for Becca.Overall a good read. I hope the next book continues with Becca finding her own "powers" as she and her cats solve another mystery..
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  • Catriona
    January 1, 1970
    Clara the Cat May Be Small, But She's a Lion at HeartThis book is a charming cozy mystery with three cats and a lovely young woman at the center. It's an easy read and could be read by teens and young adults. It's well-written, and I didn't guess who the murderer was ahead of time. I particularly enjoyed how author has turned the usual formula for witchy cozies around and given it an original twist. The cats’ roles in the plot and relationships with each other will delight feline fans.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Becca lives with her three cats (Clara, Harriet and Laurel). Becca is unemployed and recently broke up with her boyfriend. Becca also recently joined a coven.The three cats each have distinctive personalities and it was fun getting to know them while their human, Becca, worked through the mystery and other problems she faces in the book. Also, Becca and the cats have an interesting backstory/genealogy, which I am looking forward to hearing more about in future instalments. The coven members were Becca lives with her three cats (Clara, Harriet and Laurel). Becca is unemployed and recently broke up with her boyfriend. Becca also recently joined a coven.The three cats each have distinctive personalities and it was fun getting to know them while their human, Becca, worked through the mystery and other problems she faces in the book. Also, Becca and the cats have an interesting backstory/genealogy, which I am looking forward to hearing more about in future instalments. The coven members were interesting, but I was left with a few questions and did not feel like I really got to know most of them very well. I knew prior to reading the book that there would be magic and cats in this delightful cozy, but I didn't note the part about the cats being magical. Nor did I realize it would be written from the cats' point of view. I was very pleasantly surprised, especially with the latter. I would recommend this cozy to lovers of cats. Especially people, like me, who regularly make up what my cats might be thinking/saying for their own entertainment. I received an advanced digital copy of A Spell of Murder by Clea Simon from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rima Aiello
    January 1, 1970
    A charming first in what hopes to be an enchanting new series. I always love a book that gives the perspective from an animals point of view as well as humans, it just adds that bit of character to the story. We are given a good first glance at the main characters in this series, and i cannot wait to learn more. The story had somewhat of a slow start, but when you stick with it, you will not be disappointed.
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  • Jessica Smith
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Polis books via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This one was hard, I'm giving it an actual rating of 2.5 - 3 stars. This book is definitely different. It follows Becca, an unemployed 'witch', as her everyday life is thrown into turmoil when she finds a member of her coven murdered. What makes this book different, is that it's not narrated by Becca, the obvious choice in a story like this, it is in fact, narrated by one of her three cats, Clara. Cl I received a copy of this book from Polis books via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This one was hard, I'm giving it an actual rating of 2.5 - 3 stars. This book is definitely different. It follows Becca, an unemployed 'witch', as her everyday life is thrown into turmoil when she finds a member of her coven murdered. What makes this book different, is that it's not narrated by Becca, the obvious choice in a story like this, it is in fact, narrated by one of her three cats, Clara. Clara, Laurel and Harriett are Becca's three cats, unlike their human counterpart, they are witches. When Harriett summons a cushion for her own comfort, Becca thinks that she can actually wield powers and becomes somewhat of a "star" in her own coven, being the only person to successfully summon anything (or so she thinks). Clara often follows her 'person' when she leaves the apartment giving an unbroken narrative of Becca's actions and activities outside of home, the other two cats are written as being not as caring as Clara, so are not as involved. I really loved the premise of this story. I mean come on, a book where it's narrated by cats!!! How exciting! Unfortunately, I found that that wasn't the case, I felt like I was floundering around in a pool of story while trying to clutch at bits and pieces, fumbling to make a connection to ANYTHING, while trying not to drown in the slow pacing. I felt connected to the narrator, which is great, but the problem was, the story was being told from another's view, which I think felt a bit disjointed for me. Harriett and Laurel were incredibly unlikable which made me sad, and Becca was fairly flat for me. Most of the other characters didn't have much depth to them, and there wasn't really anything outstanding about them that I found. I think that the idea the author had was fantastic, but I also feel that something was lost in translation so to speak. I feel like Simon's could have done SO much more with her idea than what she did. I want to know more about the cat sisters, about their powers, their lineage. Maybe if they had have been the focal point of the story with bits about their 'person' thrown in just to illustrate the fact that they were housecats as well as all powerful witches, it would have resonated better with me. I'm not sure if the author is planning on making this a series or not, if she does I will still read the next one in the hope that there's something happening, yet I also fail to see how this could be made into a series. I imagine that Becca would have to eventually find out about her cats and their powers, however forbidden it is for the cats to reveal this, but I fail to see how the story could be expanded upon. The mystery aspect was fairly meh for me, as I said earlier, I felt like the clues and leads were very 'grasping at straws', so to speak. It felt a little bit clumsily done and executed. I had no idea who the culprit was, which I normally enjoy, but by the time it was revealed, I didn't really care anymore. The pacing kinda killed it a little bit for me. All that said, I still implore people to give this a go, you never know, you might thoroughly enjoy it! I'd put it down as a cozy mystery myself. I'm so sad, I really wanted to love this.
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  • Shawna Borman
    January 1, 1970
    Howdy, howdy! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or whatever it is you happen to celebrate)! It’s the last Wednesday of the month (and year), so it’s time for another book review. I looked for something festive, but ended up going with another cozy mystery. For December, I got a hold of an ARC (advanced reader copy) of A Spell of Murder by Clea Simon, which was released earlier this month. As usual, I must thank NetGalley and the publisher, Polis Books, for granting me access to this boo Howdy, howdy! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or whatever it is you happen to celebrate)! It’s the last Wednesday of the month (and year), so it’s time for another book review. I looked for something festive, but ended up going with another cozy mystery. For December, I got a hold of an ARC (advanced reader copy) of A Spell of Murder by Clea Simon, which was released earlier this month. As usual, I must thank NetGalley and the publisher, Polis Books, for granting me access to this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Now, let’s get to it!A Spell of Murder is the first in the new Witch Cats of Cambridge series. It follows Clara, a calico cat, and her two sisters, Harriet and Laurel, all of whom happen to be witch cats (yes, they are cats who can do magic). They do their best to keep their “owner,” Becca, out of trouble as she embarks on a new adventure in her life. Recently single and newly unemployed, Becca is on a mission to find herself. She researches her family history and even joins a local coven. But when a covenmate is murdered, Becca is pulled down the rabbit hole of wanting to find out what happened. Her cats must help keep her out of trouble. Whether out of love or the desire for more food and treats depends on which cat you ask.You might be wondering why I said it follows Clara instead of Becca. That’s because the book is (mostly) told from Clara’s POV. It’s part of the reason I wanted to check this book out. A murder story from a cat’s POV? Sounds neat. And it was. But it slips out of Clara’s POV at random moments, which is jarring and occasionally really confusing. For the most part, Clara finds ways to be in each scene, but a couple of times the POV just flat out changes to Becca because Clara isn’t around. If this was a braided narrative set up so we expected the POV shifts, that would be fine. But it’s not, so the shifts feel lazy. An easy out when putting a cat in the scene is too difficult.Other than that, the story is solid, if somewhat predictable. I guessed at the murderer as soon as they showed up, but I also have a strong dislike of that type of person, so maybe it was just wishful thinking. Correct wishful thinking, but still. There’s a douchenozzle of a love interest, an actual love interest, an overzealous bestie, and a plethora of other characters you would expect in a story like this. The most interesting characters are the cats. Clara is all about loving and protecting Becca. Harriet basically just wants food and treats and all the comforts she can get. And Laurel simply likes drama, especially when it involves a man. The humans are just kind of there.The writing style is easy going and carries the reader along for the most part. It tries to get you to follow it to awkward conclusions, instead of going with your gut. That’s what cozy mysteries do. The descriptions of the people in the book are pretty vague, which makes it a little difficult to separate them, but that’s how the cats see people. It was interesting to see the world as a cat. And it makes for a light, quick read.Ultimately, it was an okay read. I probably won’t go looking for future books in the series, but if I randomly run across them, I’ll flip through and see if anything has improved.Overall, I gave A Spell of Murder three stars. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. If you like magical cats and Hallmark channel murder mysteries, you might like it. If not, you’re not missing much.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    When I was this mystery listed, I knew I had to request it. Clea Simon writes cats very well. Plus, this is a new series and I'm always willing to try a debut mystery. A Spell of Murder didn't disappoint me. These three sister cats are wonderful creations. They are magical in more ways than one and Harriet is the one who causes big trouble when she is too lazy to move to an existing pillow and simply conjures up a new one. The timing couldn't have been worse because their human, Becca has been p When I was this mystery listed, I knew I had to request it. Clea Simon writes cats very well. Plus, this is a new series and I'm always willing to try a debut mystery. A Spell of Murder didn't disappoint me. These three sister cats are wonderful creations. They are magical in more ways than one and Harriet is the one who causes big trouble when she is too lazy to move to an existing pillow and simply conjures up a new one. The timing couldn't have been worse because their human, Becca has been practicing spells to conjure a pillow.and now thinks she has true magical powers. When the coven she has recently joined meets at her apartment, she's on the spot to do it again. Later one of the members, Suzanne, is murdered, discovered by Becca. The police look at her as a suspect when Becca's ex-boyfriend turns out to have been dating Suzanne. To clear her name, Becca starts to investigate. Clara and her sister cats have their paws full trying to keep her safe.Becca is a believable character, full of self doubt when she finds herself laid off and searching for direction. She falls under the spell of the handsome Trent, the leader and only man in the coven. While I liked the humans, the cats were the draw for me. The mystery was enjoyable but the cats were center stage, just the way they should be. This series is now on my want to read list.My thanks to the publisher, Polis and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Allyson Abu-hajar
    January 1, 1970
    The story centers around three cats and their owner. The cats, who all have female human names, Clara, Laurel and Harriet have powers. Becca, the owner, belongs to a coven and practices a summoning spell. While Becca is summoning, Harriet makes a pillow appear for her own selfish reasons. Becca, now believes that she has summoned a pillow from the ether. Becca hosts a coven meeting at her home, where one of the members wishes to speak with her. The following day, Becca goes to see Suzanne and fi The story centers around three cats and their owner. The cats, who all have female human names, Clara, Laurel and Harriet have powers. Becca, the owner, belongs to a coven and practices a summoning spell. While Becca is summoning, Harriet makes a pillow appear for her own selfish reasons. Becca, now believes that she has summoned a pillow from the ether. Becca hosts a coven meeting at her home, where one of the members wishes to speak with her. The following day, Becca goes to see Suzanne and finds her dead. Becca learns that Suzanne was seeing her ex, and Trent, a coven member. When the police bring up the fact about Becca's ex and that Suzanne was being stalked, Becca fears that she is their suspect.I really wanted to like this story, but I had a difficult time in the beginning with the cat's names. I would have to stop and remind myself that Clara, Laurel or Harriet are the cats. Also, what I felt took away from the story, was the dialog of the cats. There was a lot of dialog between the cats and most of it went nowhere. Clara, the youngest of the three cats, was able to make herself invisible to follow her owner, aside of that there was very little magic involved. This story wasn't quite what I expected.I received an ARC from NetGalley via Polis Books in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Book
    January 1, 1970
    The blurb appealed. Cats as primary characters, not to mention witches enchanted. A coven of human witches led by a warlock intrigued.Harriet, Laurel and Clara are the three witch cats adopted by Becca, a self-described witch after responding to a flyer for “Witches: New & In Training”. Three months in the coven, Becca thinks she summoned a pillow while casting a spell. Only the cats know it was Harriet who broke all the rules by conjuring up the pillow in front of a human. Before the coven The blurb appealed. Cats as primary characters, not to mention witches enchanted. A coven of human witches led by a warlock intrigued.Harriet, Laurel and Clara are the three witch cats adopted by Becca, a self-described witch after responding to a flyer for “Witches: New & In Training”. Three months in the coven, Becca thinks she summoned a pillow while casting a spell. Only the cats know it was Harriet who broke all the rules by conjuring up the pillow in front of a human. Before the coven can get into how Becca ‘summoned’ the pillow with a spell, one of the members is murdered.Unfortunately, the characters, feline or human, seem rather shallow and hard to like. The relationships are somewhat confusing among the human characters and just irritating among the felines. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, time a blurb generates excitement over a new book that does not quite live up to its hype.
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  • Cindi
    January 1, 1970
    I had high hopes for this book based on the description. Hey, I love a good Cozy. I love cats, I love a witchy theme for a cozy. Those are the things that drove me to this book after reading the description. Unfortunately the first book into this new series was just did not deliver anything that makes me want to pick up the next one. Becca, a laid off library researcher with three cats, is a fledging witch. With three cats that actually do have magical abilities, the story is told from a cross b I had high hopes for this book based on the description. Hey, I love a good Cozy. I love cats, I love a witchy theme for a cozy. Those are the things that drove me to this book after reading the description. Unfortunately the first book into this new series was just did not deliver anything that makes me want to pick up the next one. Becca, a laid off library researcher with three cats, is a fledging witch. With three cats that actually do have magical abilities, the story is told from a cross between the cats and the human views. Between the constant switching and the fact that this just didn’t resonate for me, I’m sadly having to give it one of the lower ratings I’ve ever given a cozy. Getting through this book, because I kept hoping it would eventually click, was a struggle. I will be passing on future entries to this series.
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  • Alice Liu
    January 1, 1970
    I had such hopes for this book but ultimately was let down. The main character driving the story is a cat through whose eyes we see most of the story. Beyond that, she doesn't do much and her feline siblings are so unlikeable that it became annoyingly predictable. There is no real build up in suspense, just repetitive plotting and such a thin motivation for the killer that the ending that could have used any of the characters.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    First in a new series by one of my favorite authors. This one was just OK. The cast of characters was a little confusing, and I never really got a clear sense of some of the coven members. Becca seemed weak and often clueless. As for the cats, I liked Clara, but her sisters were really unlikable. I might read the next in the series to give it another chance, though.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I really struggled to get through this book. I only kept reading to find out the killer, and was rather disappointed. It was difficult to keep all the characters -cats and humans- straight. This was especially challenging when there was dialogue. I also found the characters to be bland and the plot was slow and boring. I doubt I will read any future books in this series.
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  • Bookgyrl
    January 1, 1970
    I love cats and I sometimes pick up 'first in a series' books to check out new authors to me. Hoping for a little gem. Alas, this was not my cup of tea. The story is told from the POV of the cats and not funny or interesting enough to keep your attention. *** I requested an ARC via Netgalley. All opinions are my own. ***
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