Review: Betwixt by Darynda Jones

Posted April 4, 2021 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 10 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Betwixt by Darynda Jones
Betwixt
Narrated by Traci Odom

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two-flames


Series: Betwixt and Between #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on March 2, 2021
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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The Delight:

Shrouded in mystery, layered with humor, and a hard on her luck heroine with a wry sense of humor and a secret magical heritage- along with a corky side-kick, a sexy kilt-wearing handyman, a pizza-loving people-hating feline, a witch app, and quirky house named Percival- this first of a new urban fantasy series that lays the ground for a spectacular, magical series.  Another boisterous, entertaining most magical of Urban Fantasies.

 

Review:
Defiance Dayne traveled across country in her old VW hoping the cryptic message from the lawyer about an out-of-the-blue inheritance is real.  She can use some good luck after her husband divorced her and through her naivete and trust managed to inherit her prosperous restaurant and everything else.  The only thing keeping her in sandwiches is her small Etsy business.  The monstrosity that suits the Salem, Mass neighborhood it sits upon is most definitely hers and has a name, Percival.

Percival is a little shabby, but comes with a sweltering hot kilted handyman named Roan and his precocious cat Ink.  Defiance falls in love with Percy and falls in lust with Roan right away and knows deep down that she can’t afford the upkeep and taxes on a house, but then she’s distracted by people coming to her with desperate requests to help her find stuff and people while other visitors welcome her like they know her.  Her best friend arrives much to her relief, but Annette can only shrug her shoulders and keep her spirits up with their shared sense of humor.  Even the police chief has heard of her.  Small town quirks, she tells herself right up until she learns of a computer video file from the grandmother she never knew because her adoption and life across country with her dads in Arizona.

The message from her grandmother changes everything.  A hidden family secret comes out- her- and she has a magical heritage that makes her something special.  And, if she wants to survive long, now that her grans protection spell is gone with her death, then she needs to master her spellwork and cast her own protection spell.  That is if she can keep her mind in the game what with all sorts of distractions from a kilted mystery man who makes her knees go weak, people needing help, an infernal ex, and worry about her non-existent bank account.

Betwixt was fun and funny, it sets up a new magical witch world, but at the same time it followed a tried and true formula much like the Charley Davison series.  As I loved that series and miss it terribly, I was tickled pink to get all the commonalities.

The way the book unveiled the new world with Defiance getting most of the low down from her dead grandmother on the computer and occasional hints from Roan and the police chief, it felt like her whole life had been a mystery that she has to get to know.  She goes from being beaten down, penniless, newly divorced middle-aged and average to a witch with powers that are unique and dangerous because she is a rare kind of witch.

Much of the first half of the book was introductory in a comedic way though all the interruptions just as she was finally learning what was going on stretched my patience, but the second half got into the action as Defiance stepped up and got busy with her spellwork and used it to work out some mysteries.  The second half brought some staggering reveals and one just as the book ended so I was left gaping and glad the second book is already released.

Traci Odom is not a new to me narrator.  I’ve enjoyed her work before.  I liked the way she played up to the humor and the style of the writing.  She has an understated way until the emotions really roil over and then she takes it up a notch or two so that the listener is captivated.  I’ll enjoy anticipating her further work on the series.

All in all, I am enchanted by the start of this new series and can’t wait to see what comes next for Defiance and her quirky gang of characters.  I’m calling this Urban Fantasy, but it also felt a little like a paranormal cozy mystery, too, so I’ll recommend it to those who like either or both.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for providing a copy of the book to listen to in exchange for an honest review.

 

Challenges Met:

COYER Seasons #25

COYER Community #28 Stay in Your Lane RAT

Audio #29

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anne - Books of My Heart

Robin is reviewing these two and has the second one tomorrow. She has had a few similar issues I think. Wonderful review!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

I have the next one and look forward to seeing what comes next. Yeah, it was funny that the book kept getting distracted from it’s own plot lines so I wanted to shriek. 🙂

I’ll look forward to her reviews.

Jen
Jen
1 month ago

I had similar thoughts on this one. The mythology is interesting, but the book was slow. I just finished the second one and it was FABULOUS! I’m so glad I stuck with it. Like you, I call this “cozy urban fantasy” and not the dreaded “women’s fiction.” I know it’s all marketing, but come on! lol. Lovely review, thanks!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

I’ve got the second one queued up so I’m glad to know you loved it a lot better. 🙂 LOL, yeah, I didn’t think of this as WF either though I’ve read that is what it’s supposed to be.

Nadene
1 month ago

I a right there with you about the interruptions slowing up the story. Aside from that it was a good read. I am looking forward to the next book too.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Nadene

Ha! It was driving me nuts to keep having to wait for the grandmother’s information to her so I could know what was going on. Yes, I’ve got the next book so I’m excited to see what comes next.

Carole Rae
1 month ago

Quirky side characters are always the best!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

She writes them so well, Carole. 🙂

Iza
Iza
25 days ago

I read the first Charley Davidson and never went further, I wonder why because I loved it, it was so much fun ! I’m adding this one to my TBR (even if I wonder what parents would name their daughter Defiance !) Great review Sophia 🙂

Sophia Rose
24 days ago
Reply to  Iza

That series will be fun when you pick it up again. LOL, yes, naming a child that would be asking for trouble. 🙂