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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Amy McNulty's Don't Judge a Book by Its Hover -- Case 1: Bookshop Con (Witchy Expo Services Mysteries) is a cozy murder mystery novel. The town of Cauldron Cove is home to witches and warlocks. A magic cauldron beneath the town is vital to the magic of the witches and warlocks, and to the town's wellbeing. Cauldron Cove's Witchy Expo Services holds conventions, expos, and tradeshows. Humans attend in large numbers, attracted by the unique magic of the Witch conventions. Their enthusiasm and happiness feed positive energy into the Cauldron. Nimue Toothaker becomes the co-Head Witch General Manager of Witchy Expo Services when her grandmother Bernadette Toothaker retires. Nimue's co-Manager, Ren/Soren Southern, is a warlock with two minds and personalities. Nimue and Ren/Soren open their first joint convention, the Bookshop Con, for booksellers, authors, and readers. When an acclaimed author is found murdered in the convention center, the convention is in grave danger of being shut down. The tension mounts as Nimue pursues every lead to find the murderer before negative energy brings the Cauldron's magic to a dead stop!
I greatly enjoyed reading Amy McNulty's Don't Judge a Book by Its Hover. I thought the storyline was intriguing, and I loved the wonder of magic present in the worldbuilding of Cauldron Cove and its characters. I particularly liked the determined and courageous character of the witch Nimue Toothaker; how her talents and abilities reveal themselves as she faces a terrifying challenge to keep the positive energy of the convention flowing into the Cauldron's magic. I loved the drama of Nimue's interpersonal relationships with the warlock's two personalities, Ren and Soren. I think the book convention was used very effectively to show how Ren tends to be focused, detail-oriented, and demanding. Soren is more creative and open to new ideas in the use of magic. I loved the way the suspense builds, the story keeps twisting and turning, as Nimue investigates the murder, and at the same time keeps the convention going. A well-crafted murder mystery, and a fantastic cast of characters of witches, warlocks, and their familiars!