Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Book & Audio Review: Betwixt by Darynda Jones


Darynda Jones
Narrator: Traci Odom
Series: Betwixt & Between (Book 1)
Publication: Feather & Leaf, LLC (February 16, 2020); Tantor Audio (March 2, 2021)
Length: 256 p.; 6 hours and 45 minutes

Description: Divorced, desperate, and destitute, former restaurateur Defiance Dayne finds out she has been bequeathed a house by a complete stranger. She is surprised, to say the least, and her curiosity gets the better of her. She leaves her beloved Phoenix and heads to one of the most infamous towns in America: Salem, Massachusetts.

She's only there to find out why a woman she's never met would leave her a house, a veritable castle that has seen better days. The lawyer assigned to the case practically begs her to take it off her hands, mostly because she's scared of it. The inanimate structure that, as far as Dephne can tell, has never hurt a fly.

Though it does come with some baggage. A pesky neighbor who wants her gone. A scruffy cat who's a bit of a jerk. And a handyman bathed in ink who could moonlight as a supermodel for GQ.

She decides to give it three days, and not because of the model. She feels at home in Salem. Safe. But even that comes to a screeching halt when people begin knocking on her door day and night, begging for her help to locate their lost objects.

Come to find out, they think she's a witch. And after a few mysterious mishaps, Dephne is beginning to wonder if they're right.

My Thoughts: This is a great start to an urban fantasy series packed with humor and quirky characters.

Defiance Dayne is forty-four, divorced, destitute and cheated out of all her finances by her ex-mother-in-law. When she learns that she has inherited a house in Salem, Massachusetts, she leaves Phoenix to see who gave her a house. 

She arrives in Salem to find a real estate agent eager for Defiance to sign the papers so that she can get away from the very spooky house. On the other hand, Defiance falls in love with every quirky inch. But she is surprised and distressed to find that the house was left to her by her grandmother, a grandmother this adopted child never knew about. She also finds out that her grandmother was a witch who had talked up Defiance's witchy abilities.

Defiance doesn't believe that she has witchy abilities but strange things keep happening. First of all, her grandmother has done a spell that lets her speak to Defiance through Defiance's laptop. Second, people keep knocking on her door asking her to find missing people and things. 

Defiance's best friend Annette arrives to keep her company and is also intrigued by the house - which is haunted by Defiance's grandfather. Annette is sure that she has psychic powers but Defiance is skeptical. 

Then there is the hot guy who always shows up to fix things in the old house. Roane Wilde is a man of great mystery and great hotness. But Defiance doesn't have time to ferret out his secrets since she needs to relearn her magical powers because she is in great danger from other witches and warlocks. And the clock is ticking on finding the missing people.

I love the cast of characters in this story. They are all quirky and entertaining. The chapter headings are great fun too! The worldbuilding was excellent and Defiance's skepticism added a realistic note to all the explanations her grandmother tried to give her. I really like Defiance's snark and humor. 

The cliffhanger ending has me eager to read the second book in this series. 

Favorite Quote:
Abandoned and vulnerable. No words in the English language made me more uncomfortable. 

Three days.

Well, maybe syphilis.

I had three days to decide.

And moist.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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