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September 22, 2022

Don't Judge a Book by Its Hover by Amy McNulty ~ an Audiobook Review

by Donna Huber

Nimue's grandmother announces her retirement just days before a big book expo. That's not a problem since the convention center is in Cauldron Cove and run by witches. They can have the expo set up with a mere swish of their wands. No, the problem is that her grandmother has appointed Nimue and her nemesis co-managers. How will they ever work together? When a famous author winds up dead they'll have no choice but to set aside their difference if they want to save the convention center.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free audiobook was provided for an honest review.

book cover of paranormal cozy mystery Don't Judge a Book by Its Hover by Amy McNulty
September 2022; Crimson Fox Publishing
audio (9h 20m), ebook, print; paranormal cozy mystery

Don't Judge a Book by Its Hover
 is the first book in Amy McNulty's Witchy Expo Services Mysteries. It shows a lot of promise. Unfortunately, I found this first book to be a bit uneven.

Some things were well done. 

The world-building was great. It seems like people know witches exist - humans attend the witchy expo center and know that magic is used. The center is in its own witchy town though some witches/warlocks live in human towns as well. The perma-charm crystals are a unique addition to the paranormal genre (I don't read a lot of paranormal novels so it might only be unique to me) as is the magic cauldron that is the source of magical energy.

I found the mystery to be interesting. It wasn't easily solved. Yet when the murderer was revealed it wasn't totally out of left field either - the clues we had made sense. 

Some things were a bit bumpy for me.

A bunch of characters were introduced right up front at a staff meeting. It's like when you go to a party and you are introduced to 6 or 7 people as soon as you walk in the door. I don't know about you but I find it difficult to remember names so by the time I'm introduced to the last person I can't remember the first person's name. I felt that way with the characters. It didn't help that they had less typical names. Plus there are their familiars so an extra group to remember. We were often reminded of the characters and familiars throughout the novel and by the end, I felt like I reasonably knew who was who.

There is a character with two personalities but I didn't fully understand this character. I wondered if it was some kind of multiple personalities or dissociative personality disorder. There was a comment that made it seem like one personality was more in control and didn't let the other personality come out very often. But the appearance also changes immediately when the personalities change so then I wondered if it was like the Narks in K.B. Hoyle's Gateway Chronicles. Only with them, they are two distinct creatures inhabiting the same body and the time of day controls which personality is dominant.  Hopefully in future novels in this series will reveal more about the nature of this character.

The pacing of the story felt a little off to me. It might just be because it is book 1 and there's a need to establish the characters and the parameters of this world.

I listened to the audiobook and I found the narrator's voice a little irritating. It was a little too sing-songy for me. It made it difficult to listen to the book for very long and until I got engaged in the story, I struggled to want to go back to the audiobook.  By the end, I either grew accustomed to her voice or I was just more engaged in the story and could overlook it better.

Like I said, it shows promise and I would listen to/read another book in this series. Nimue is a very likable character and I'm interested in seeing what McNulty does with the world she's created. If you are looking for a fun paranormal story for your October Halloween reading, consider putting this book on your list.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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