In the Wick of Time (Magic Candle Shop: Book 2) by Valona Jones

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Date of Publication: October 17th, 2023

Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Cozy Mystery

Series: Magic Candle Shop Mystery

Snuffed Out—Book 1

In the Wick of Time—Book 2

Purchase Links: Kindle | B&N |Kobo | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Tabby Winslow will help her twin sister Sage with anything and everything—and that includes putting out the flames of suspicion when Sage’s boss is found murdered in this magical mystery, perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Sofie Kelly.

December in Savannah, Georgia, is a sight to behold. With all the festivities—including the traditional riverfront luminary display during the boat parade—twin sisters Tabby and Sage Winslow are busier than ever setting up for the big celebration. But that isn’t the only thing on the sisters’ minds. Both Sage and her fellow employee Mary Nicole are vying for the sought-after assistant manager job at the plant nursery. But when Loren Lee, their boss, is found dead, and Sage becomes the police’s favorite suspect, both Winslow girls know that they’ll need more than a flicker of magic and their sisterhood to solve the murder and clear Sage’s name.

Soon, Tabby realizes that this is just one of the many problems they have. If being a suspect for murder wasn’t enough, there are more magical problems that they have to fix: Sage’s boyfriend is having a paranormal experience of his own he can’t control, there’s an energy vampire searching for his supposedly lost cousin, and oh—every time Tabby hiccups, she turns completely invisible. The suspect list grows with each day and it seems everyone has a reason or a connection to Loren Lee. 

Tabby and Sage are burning the candle at both ends—but will it be enough to keep their friends safe and find this killer? Or will they be burned by their efforts?

First Line:

Sage dumped a full measuring cup of sand into the small paper bag, and I added a votive candle.

In the Wick of Time by Valona Jones

Christmas time in Savannah, Georgia, is a magical time. But for Sage and Tabby Winslow, this Christmas is becoming a nightmare. Sage is accused of murdering her boss. Her boyfriend is caught with another woman and then suffers a breakdown which causes him to be committed. Meanwhile, Tabby and Sage’s aunt’s companion’s past has finally caught up to him. That leads their aunt and her companion to leave without telling them where they are going. It also leads an energy vampire into their midst, and someone puts a spell on Tabby that causes her to go invisible whenever she hiccups. But, never the less, Tabby and Sage are determined to find out who killed Sage’s boss and why. Will they find out who the killer is? Will they find out who is targeting their family and friends?

When I saw this book’s cover, I decided to read it. I love books with cats on the cover. Throw in a holiday theme (this book is Christmas), and I was sold. But I was slightly disappointed by this book.

In the Wick of Time is the second book in the Magic Candle Shop Mystery. It will help if you read the first book to understand what is happening in this one. I didn’t, and I needed clarification about Tabby and Sage’s relationships (friendships and otherwise). There was almost no mention of what happened in book one besides a brief description of why the police were so focused on Sage.

In the Wick of Time is a medium-paced book. The author could have amped up the pace of this book. I attribute a little lag in the middle of the book to the speed.

The main storyline of In the Wick of Time is centered on Sage, Tabby, and the murder of Loren Lee. While this storyline was straightforward, it was in the middle of a chaotic book. The author had numerous secondary storylines that overshadowed the main one. I couldn’t keep them straight and was glad the author started merging them with the main storyline.

The storyline with Sage, Tabby, Loren Lee’s murder, and their investigation was interesting. It was a twisty storyline that did surprise me several times. Sage didn’t endear herself to me with this storyline. She came across as a brat. Sage wasn’t as well-liked as Tabby. Tabby did 90% of the investigating while Sage did whatever she did.

The storyline with Sage, Brindle, and the magical issues was interesting. At first, I was with Sage about Brindle. He cheated, and good riddance!! But, I started to doubt what Sage saw when Brindle tried suicide and ended up in the hospital. That was cemented by him telling Tabby that he thought it was Sage. I liked how the author resolved this storyline, and I still felt terrible for Brindle. He deserves better than a brat like Sage.

The storyline with Tabby, the energy vampire, her aunt, Frank, and Frank’s past was fascinating. This storyline interested me more than the main one. I liked how the energy vampire and Frank were connected, and it made sense with Frank having the powers that he did. Frank’s backstory was interesting. The author kept it vague enough that I couldn’t figure out precisely what Frank did. I wish that he and Tabby’s aunt hadn’t jetted, though. Frank seemed like a character, and I would have loved to see more of him. As for the energy vampire, he was a sleaze, and he wanted Tabby and Sage. I liked that Tabby was more powerful than him, and how she made him go away did make me laugh. This storyline was left open, and I hope it is continued in the following books.

The mystery angle of In the Wick of Time was well written. I was shocked at who the killer was and what the motive was. I didn’t see it coming, and that scene in the alley took me by surprise. Of course, how will the police handle everything?

The end of In the Wick of Time was good. The author wrapped up the main storyline and most of the secondary ones but left a couple open. That left enough for me to question if there will be a third book.

I would recommend In the Wick of Time to anyone over 21. There is language, mild violence, and some mild sexual situations.

Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, NetGalley, and Valona Jones for allowing me to read and review In the Wick of Time. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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