Just Read It: Putting on the Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene

It is crazy how much the world has changed from when I was young. It is crazy how much the world has changed since the internet was young. It is smaller, more accessible, Right?

About a decade ago I got involved in a parenting site. I made friends with a core group of women, all over the country, actually the world, with kids and grand kids in an age group spanning about 5 or so years. We shared photos and talked daily about our kids, jobs and lives. An older lady acquaintance in my real life once made the observation that they couldn’t be real friends. Real friends are people you talk to on the phone and go out to lunch with. My online friends were probably just a bunch of perverted old men using kid’s pictures to keep me gullible, was her opinion. Well, I first thought “Who needs a phone when our conversations can go on all day long fitted into our busy lives as we have time? No need for voice mail or phone tag, cool!”. Then I thought, “If a bunch of dirty old liars were sitting anonymously behind a keyboard, managing to show their alleged off spring growing up in my news feed over the years, just to keep me hanging on, then more power to them and their creativity!” I will keep my amazing online friends.

I didn’t realize how really different the world had become until one of my ‘online’ friends died suddenly. Just a post to all her friends asking for advice about how she was feeling and she was gone before anyone could respond. My world shattered that day. No, I had never talked to her on the phone, though we did have elaborate lunch plans. I had never physically met her and yet a hole had appeared in my life. Her family has left up her facebook page and were you to stop there now, even all these years later, how much she is missed by the hundreds of lives she touched, lives she never talked to on the phone or met for lunch, is evident in the posts left there daily. I am not the only one with a hole in my life.

When I started my blog the world got even more compact. Now I was interacting with authors, publishers, reviewers and promoters from all over the globe in real time and in their own time zones. It is still startling to me that late night where I am is tomorrow afternoon in India and supper time in Australia, tomorrow evening. This interactive globalization really hit home for me when I realized that an author whose books I have giddily reviewed, was caught up in a part of the world in political upheaval. Distressed by the late night news reports, I thought nothing of dashing off an email to her and it was with great relief when her reply assured me that she and her family were safe. Her first hand account of what the news was reporting awed me in a way the news report couldn’t. The situation was real and real people were being affected. Not anonymous random people out there somewhere in the world, but people I had a connection with. Even such a tenuous connection really does change everything.

In a similar way I was touched when I received an email that the author of today’s book had passed. I had never met him, spoke to him on the phone or even exchanged email, yet he had had an effect on my life in a simple way through my twelve year old son. Jim Lavene took the time to answer Lian’s interview questions and then to our amazement, the interview went viral. Well, viral for our little blog anyway. It remains the most viewed post to this day. My son is always thrilled when authors acknowledge him and I can’t even begin to put into words how it makes me feel to see him so happy that so many people got to see it. Maybe Mr. Lavene didn’t think twice about another small interview in the process of promoting his latest book, but his touching of a young life was profound. In any case, it is true that both he and his wife, who had passed not long before him, will both missed greatly in our small corner world and not just for their literary talents.

I have included the interview, sadly the only one we were able to do with the Lavenes, below.

book info

Title/Author: Putting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mysteries) / Joyce and Jim Lavene
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkely
Date of publish: October 2017
Pages: 304

Buy Links: amazon2    bn  ibkobo
Book Sites:   goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47RiffleSM-7061e0215c597a0310e508104c71f967



putting-on-the-witchWith their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.
The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks…




Epic. One word to describe this book.
From the first book in this series I was spell bound.
~Karen’s Reviews

What a great read by a couple that is dearly missed. Like all their other books this will keep you guessing and wishing there were more books to read.
~Sleuth Cafe

Contained between the covers of this book is an epic, magical adventure that carried me away in a mystical cloud of reading. I marvel that the written word could transport me in such a way.
~Lisa K’s Book Reviews



My Review

Leo Review sm

Typically I haven’t read the first installments of this series (something I intend to fix ASAP), so I was a bit adrift in the opening chapter. That didn’t keep me from being sucked in to the story immediately. The story centers around Molly, Elsie and Olivia, three witches who were hoping to retire and pass on their coven and spell book to a new generation of witches. Of course things don’t always work out as planned. Having made their lives in the non magic community through marriage, the witches had lost their edge on magic. Along the way to this book, they had had also had their spell book stolen and Olivia had been killed, leaving her a ghostly apparition, that is just as frowned upon in the witch community as is non magic users knowing about real magic. The books picks up with Dorothy, Olivia’s daughter, meeting her powerful witch father for the first time. He seems intent only on knowing the daughter her mother had never told him about, however we soon find out that having magical powers doesn’t make it any easier to know when things aren’t always what they seem and this very powerful, renegade witch could be at the heart of all that is wrong. This story takes the reader on a journey exploring the darkest parts of witch history where we see that powerful magic is not immune to fluctuating alliances, political infighting and maneuvering for more power and anyone can get caught in webs of deceit.

The strength of this book as with all the books by these authors, lies in the depth of each character. There are no small parts from the lowliest of servants to the most rich and powerful. The main characters, those of the Wilmington Coven, are delightful. The three retired witches squabble like they must have been doing since they were teens. Each is a strong ego with a colorful story. Olivia’s ghostly handicap doesn’t stop her from getting her own way, to her own detriment at times, death hasn’t mellowed her at all. Molly finds herself the focal point of a murder investigation that could have a profound impact on the magic community and Elsie is realizing that she can finally have all that she wants, even if it isn’t exactly what she thought that would be. Even without reading the previous books, it obvious that each of the women has gone on her own journey and have grown as women and witches. Younger witches Dorothy and Brian seem a bit minor at first, but both manage to make their mark on the story and leave the reader with hope for their future. The true color is reserved for Brian’s rich powerful family and the witch council they serve. The Ewings and The Carringtons got nothing on this back biting conniving group.

This is not typical paranormal or cozy and definitely not typical paranormal cozy. I found it to be loads of fun with plenty of suspense, hilarious humor, and clever plot twists. You won’t know until the last page where all the details settle, but you will be sorry to not be spending more time with these witches when you get there.


5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.



jim-joyceJoyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They had written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. Joyce passed away October 20, 2015 and Jim passed on May 5, 2016. They are missed by family, friends and their many fans.


 In His Own Words:


lian asks.jpg

Today I am sharing Jim Lavene’s answers to 5 Questions. Mr. Lavene is part of a writing team, with his wife Joyce, that has written numerous mystery series over the past decade and a half. Today he is  at I read What You Write to talk about their book “Those Who Walk In Darkness“. You can click on the link to read our 5 Star Review.

About The Authors:

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

A  Few of Their Works:

Christmas Tree Valley Mysteries
Pumpkin Patch Mysteries
Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries
Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mysteries
Pie in the Sky Mysteries

Author Links: Website / Facebook / Amazon / Twitter

5 Questions:

To start with can you tell us a little about yourself and the project we are seeing today?

I’m Jim Lavene and I write cozy mysteries and urban fantasy. I have written more than 80 novels in romance, mystery, and urban fantasy genres.

Those Who Walk In Darkness:
Three years ago in 1867, Julia Jackson was a well to do young woman from Boston whose fiancé, Jonathon, was killed right before her eyes. Obsessed with finding the killer, a man whose face she saw only in a flash as he walked up and shot Jonathon, she leaves her family and her life behind. She starts a new life as ‘Jacks’ Jackson—a cigar smoking, dead eye, female Pinkerton agent…pretending to be a man.

Lian- Welcome to our blog.


What does it mean to you to be called an author?

The only distinction it really gives me is that I’m a published writer.

That is an interesting take on it.


What advice do you have for new authors, like me?

Know what you want to write and pursue it with everything you have. If you want to be successful, don’t give up, just try to be the best writer you can be.

That is great advice.


If you could be friends with a character in one of your stories who would it be and what kinds of things would you do together?

I’d love to be friends with Stella, the fire chief in Sweet Pepper Tennessee. She has a friend that’s a ghost and it would be neat to talk with Eric the ghost.

It could be loads of fun to have a ghost for a friend



Who do your stories appeal to?

I like to think they appeal to people who want to see the bad guys come to justice and enjoy new places and visit with old friends.

All the reasons people read mysteries in the first place!


Many Thanks to Jim Lavene for his answers. You can see their books at Amazon




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Tour Participants

October 3 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

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Joining us with Reviews/Spotlights

Nicole G.

Linda L.

Kendrea P.

Robin C.

Daniele K.

Lisa C.

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Karen K.

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