Title: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Spells
Author: Rose Pressey
Format: Kindle Book
Genre: Perky Paranormal

I’m going to start making up random genres, because some books just don’t fit into the ones already established. I know there’s a whole genre called “cozy” mysteries, and perhaps one called “cozy paranormal mysteries,” but No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells really doesn’t fit the whole cozy theme, because cozy makes me think of quaint, and quaint makes me think of New Englanders wearing sweater vests while sipping tea by a lighthouse. Rose Pressey’s first book in the Mystic Cafe series is more perky than cozy. So there you go, it’s a perky paranormal light romance. That’s my random genre of the week.

In No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells, Elly Blair is thrown into the role of magical cafe keeper after her grandmother decides to retire. This would all be fine and dandy if Elly had any inkling that she could do magic, but that knowledge is thrust upon her at the same time as her new role of chef/owner/manager of Mystic Cafe. Still, she’s nothing if not adaptable, and so she tries to figure out all the magic stuff and make her grandmother proud. Of course, within the first few hours of her new career, things start to go terribly wrong.  A magical meal makes it to the wrong customer, and despite an embarrassing attempt on Elly’s part to prevent him from eating it, Rory Covington still manages to get just one bite in, which is all it takes. Suddenly, all the women in town are swooning over him, his ex-girlfriend is stalking him, and even Elly finds herself having feelings for him. Unfortunately, she can’t be sure those feelings aren’t the result of the spell.Meanwhile, Elly’s magical blunder alerts the magical authorities, who swoop in and make her life slightly miserable. Elly has to fix the damage as soon as possible or risk having the cafe shut down forever.

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The overall plot was, as I said, pretty perky and cheery, even though things go terribly wrong for Elly several times. It’s a fun read with some light romance, and it did a good job of holding my attention. That said, I did have some issues with the character development. First, there were many times when I actually wanted Elly to suffer some consequences because she just doesn’t listen. She’s told to stop using magic, but goes right ahead and does more anyway. She frets about disappointing her grandmother, but then turns around and does more things that jeopardize everything the famous Imelda worked for. She’s also entirely too understanding. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m sorry, if what happened to her at the end happened to me, you can bet I would have reacted much differently. I also felt like other characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, especially Elly’s best friend.

The story has good bones though, and Pressey has an easy-going, fun writing style.  I think if the subsequent books carry character development a little further, it will be an entertaining series.

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