Snuffed Out by Valona Jones

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Snuffed Out by Valona Jones. Many thanks to Lori from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the invite.

Title: Snuffed Out (Magic Candle Shop #1)

Author: Valona Jones

Published on: 10 January 2023

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Buy on Amazon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Snuffed Out is the first book in Valona Jones’ Magic Candle Shop Mystery series.

Tabby and Sage Winslow are fraternal twins. They inherited the Book and Candle Shop in Savannah after their mother’s death. Their mother’s sister, Auntie Oralee, moved to Florida after handing over the shop keys to the twins.

A rich local named Blithe McAdam accuses the store owners of making false claims about the products sold there. As per Blithe, the calming scented candle did not work and she still has a splitting headache. Tabby was managing the store counter while Blithe walked in accusing the twins. Sage comes in, tells Blithe calmly that she would reimburse as well as let Blithe pick a freebie. Blithe picks her expensive lotion and refund money but she’s still rude to the twins. The shop help Gerard wishes her ill and calls her a witch.

The next day, the twins learn Blithe was found dead in her house… murdered, rather. Since Gerard’s “witch talk” was caught on camera, the local detectives believe he’s guilty of committing the crime. But Tabby knows Gerard is innocent. Sage and Gerard have a history and Sage does not like him. But when her twin wants to investigate and prove Gerard’s innocence, she agrees to help.

First things first, this didn’t feel like a series debut – it felt like the latest installment of a series I have been following for a long time. A perfect mix of character introduction, series-plot setting, scene setting, and a murder mystery to keep one guessing till the end. The best part about this story (and series) is the twins’ magical gifts. Both thrive on energies and can use them as per their wish – to protect themselves, to cast a spell, and things like that. The candles that they make in their store have magical healing properties too – when done correctly, with a calm and happy mindset. (The first batch of calming candles didn’t work as Tabby was not in a happy mood when she sat down to make them.)

Secondly, the murder mystery. Gosh! I lost count of the number of times Gerard is accused and arrested. Lol! Poor chap had a tough time going in and out of jail. The twins are suspects too. They had nothing to do with the murder but the victim’s estranged step-brother thinks otherwise. So he makes sure the whole world knows of their ‘scam.’ Thanks to internet, a video (fake or otherwise) can go viral in matter of minutes.

The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. We have a shocking development in the second half of the book – almost at the end. This certainly put the murder mystery in a whole new light – and thinking of it as I write this review, I suppose it did make a lot of sense as to why the twins kept getting themselves into trouble.

Speaking of trouble, Sage and Tabby are not identical and their difference doesn’t end there. Sage is brash and impatient while Tabby is mellow and calm. Though Sage protects Tabby (which has something to do with a life threatening event that Tabby faced years ago), sometimes Sage does get under Tabby’s skin. She’s like an annoying sister who’s nothing but a pain in the bum. (Well, I don’t have any siblings but if I did, I hope they wouldn’t be like Sage. 😉 )

Snuffed Out by Valona Jones is an entertaining magical cozy mystery. I loved the characters and the setting. I was hooked on to the story and couldn’t put it down until the end. We also have a dash of romance to seal the deal. Sadly, the two men that twins date are not twins. How fun would it be if the twins dated a set of twins. 😀

There’s a giveaway for this tour. Details are here.

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