Amanda Cadabra and the Cellar of Secrets (Amanda Cadabra Mysteries #2) by Holly Bell
Read: 2nd – 5th December 2018
Publication Date: 16th December 2018
Quote from Amanda Cadabra and the Cellar of Secrets
“It is all the same energy. Like electricity. You can use it constructively or destructively. What counts is the intent.’ (talking about using magic)
Plot: 5/5 – Flow: 5/5 – Character Development: 5/5 – World Building: 5/5
So what’s this book about?
Amanda Cadabra and Cellar of Secrets is a cozy mystery novel (approximately 312 pages) within the paranormal genre. It is the second book written by début author, Holly Bell, in her new Amanda Cadabra Mystery series and is set in the fictional English village of Sunken Madley.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I don’t post spoilers of any kind or reveal any plot twists in my book reviews, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
Amanda Cadabra, covert witch with irascible feline familiar, always said that was no place for a research centre. The lost village in Madley Wood, where the leaves don’t grow, and the birds don’t sing.
An old secret. A new build. A body. Only one witness. Only one person who can see that witness: Amanda Cadabra.
Only one place that can tell the story: the Cellar of Secrets, in 1940. And only one person who can go there: Amanda Cadabra. With, of course, only one grumpy cat.
Only one person who might help: the personal but intractable Inspector Trelawney. But this is a peaceful English village … who would do anything as criminal as murder? Will she find them before they find her?
So, what did I like about it?
I really like Holly Bell’s writing style; it’s easy to read with engaging plot-lines, intelligent prose that is sprinkled with gentle humour about a village she’s created that is full of captivating characters that I also found completely believable.
I fell in love with our main characters when reading the previous book – Amanda Cadabra and the Hidey-Hole Truth (see my review here) and loved watching them grow throughout this tale too; our resilient heroine Amanda Cadabra has got all the qualities that I look for in a female lead (she’s definitely got gumption) and Detective Thomas Trelawney is intelligent and a worthy hero. Oh, and I can’t talk about our main characters without mentioning my favourite feline, Amanda’s familiar, Tempest or as one of the characters refers to him Don Tempestioni . Lol! He is an amazing character and I love all the scenes that he dains to appear in.
I enjoyed getting to know more about the fictional village of Sunken Madley; its history during World War Two and the neighbouring villages. Cellar of Secrets features characters from the first book as well as new villagers and visitors alike. Ms Bell writes her characters with many of the foibles that I see in my family, friends and the people around me, this make her characters more believable for me and they begin to feel very real which means that it’s much easier to get caught up in the tale.
This story kept me guessing; there are a few mysteries for our heroine, Amanda, to solve within these pages, but fear not dear reader, no frustrating cliffhangers here (Woohoo!) and there are enough twists and turns during this tale to satisfy my Miss Marple side.
I loved the fact that Amanda Cadabra and the Cellar of Secrets had me on the edge of my seat holding my breath, taking a moment to revel in wonder, reaching for the tissues to dry my tears as well as smiling and chuckling out loud.
So, ummm, was there anything I disliked about it?
There wasn’t anything about this story that niggled or didn’t work for me, hence the 5 star rating.
I would just like to take this opportunity to say that much of the world building relating to the amazing history and somewhat mystical properties of Sunken Madley, including Amanda’s standing in the village, how and why the locals have a special place in their hearts for “Our Amanda” was beautifully platformed throughout the first book. Jumping straight in with Cellar of Secrets may mean that new readers could feel a bit perturbed about this aspect of life in the small village for Amanda.
Also, as this is only the second book in a new series there are still questions left to answer about Amanda’s family, her relationship with Detective Trelawney and what their future may hold. In my opinion, this is a good thing as it leaves enough background story arcs to continue into the next book and beyond.
So, basically what I’m saying is…
I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It’s got everything that I look for in a 5 star read; great scenes that get the adrenaline pumping, an intelligent mystery or two to get the little grey cells whirling, nail biting tension and well written humour (there’s even a sprinkling of romance for our heroine).
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ‘cozy mysteries’ within the paranormal genre and I don’t think there is any content within these pages that could offend anyone. I’m looking forward to finding out what adventures Amanda gets caught up in next.
So, has my review of AMANDA CADABRA AND THE CELLAR OF SECRETS (AMANDA CADABRA MYSTERIES #2) encouraged you to find out more? I hope so. If I have, just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author.
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See AMANDA CADABRA AND THE CELLAR OF SECRETS on Goodreads.com