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Review: Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley (Amanda Cadabra #4) by Holly Bell

book cover for Amanda Cadabra book 4 - Rise of Sunken Madley by Holly Bell

Flora Reviews… Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley by Holly Bell. Book 4 in her Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries series.

Quote from Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley

Well … what I [Amanda] need is a reason to visit Irma Uberhausfest. And soon.”

Fortunately, thanks to stilettos, a spanner and a piano, one was in the making.

Read: 6th – 10th October 2019

Publication Date: 29th September 2019

My Ratings

Overall: 5/5

Plot: 5/5 – Flow: 5/5 – Character Development: 5/5 – World Building: 5/5

Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley is a cozy mystery novel (approximately 335 pages) within the paranormal genre. It is the fourth book written by Holly Bell, in her Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries series and is set in the fictional English village of Sunken Madley.

I write about how the story was told in my reviews rather than the plot itself. Consequently they don’t contain spoilers or reveal plot twists. Here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story.

Amanda finds a body at The Grange. Accident or murder? It matters; she has no alibi.

But a far more serious problem is afoot. Amanda has cast one spell too many against a human. Now there is no stopping the attack of the Flamgoynes on Sunken Madley. When they will strike, who will come to her aid, how she will defend the village, she knows not. The key to her promised Home Guard is the mysterious Viola, whose identity is a secret.

They are coming. Can she buy the intrepid Inspector Trelawney the hour he needs to complete his own dangerous mission? Was it the Flamgoyes who sent her unpleasant family over the Cornish cliff all of those years ago? Can Amanda find Viola in time? In the moment of truth, will she stand alone as her recurring dream shows her? Or will she see The Rise of Sunken Madley?

Action, adventure, humour, spies, ghosts, murder and revelations abound in this climactic tale.

ARC Disclosure

I was given a digital version (ARC) for free from the author (Holly Bell) in exchange for an honest review.

The official publication date was 29th September 2019.

Thanks for the advance copy.

Featured Image of ARC review for Amanda Cadabra 4 - The Rise of Sunken Madley by Holly Bell
Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley by Holly Bell

I really love Holly Bell’s writing style; it’s easy to read with intelligent prose and engaging plot-lines that are sprinkled with gentle humour. Her series is based around the purely fictional English village of Sunken Madley – which Ms Bell has populated with a host of captivating characters that you’d see in any village across the country. The writing style, setting and characters all feel quintessentially English.

I’ve been in love with our main protagonists, Amanda and Thomas, since book 1 – The Hidey-Hole Truth – and have enjoyed watching their characters grow and develop. Our resilient heroine Amanda Cadabra has got all the qualities that I look for in a female lead and Detective Thomas Trelawney is intelligent, resourceful and a worthy hero. The challenges that Amanda and Thomas faced in this book were climactic and I enjoyed watching how they tacked each problem – they’ve both got gumption. I can’t talk about our main characters without mentioning my favourite feline, Tempest. He’s Amanda’s familiar and I love how he steals the limelight in every scene he’s in with a very dry wit.

In fact, I like that Ms Bell has obviously taken such care over writing all of the villagers that inhabit Sunken Madley; I love the attention to detail. I see so many of the personalities and foibles on the page that I see in the people around me; it makes her characters more believable for me, they feel real; it’s easy to get caught up in the adventure.

I love how, with each book to date, we have learned more about Sunken Madley and the main villagers who live there and although there is still more to learn, The Rise of Sunken Madley does answer many of our questions.

I loved that the tension in this quintessentially English cozy paranormal mystery franchise stepped up a notch with this book and that the 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 any Miss Marple wannabe. 😉

I loved the fact that Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley had me holding my breath on the edge of my seat, feeling all warm and mushy, wracking my brain trying to work out the puzzles, reaching for the tissues to dry my tears as well as smiling and chuckling out loud. In short, it had me gripped and I couldn’t stop reading.

There wasn’t anything about this story that niggled or didn’t work for me, hence my top marks.

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I don’t think that this book can be read as a standalone novel. Our emotional connection to the main characters and the supporting cast has been built and grown over the previous books. Much of the character development and world building relating to those inhabitants deemed Village, Sunken Madley itself – including the its amazing history and somewhat mystical properties – and Amanda’s standing in the village community has already been covered during the previous adventures too.

Also, this is the fourth book in a series and although many questions and the imminent threats have been dealt with within these pages, there are still questions left unanswered and a potential threat from the Flamgoyne family. In my opinion, this is a good thing as it leaves enough of a hook – without the need for any nasty life-or-death cliffhangers – to make you keen to stay with the series and pester Ms Bell about when book five will be available. 😉

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It’s got everything that I look for in a great story; some intelligent mysteries to get the little grey cells whirling, various scenes that get the adrenaline pumping, and enough tension to make you hold your breath plus some well written humour (there’s even a sprinkling of a budding romance between our two protagonists).

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ‘cozy mysteries’ within the paranormal genre; I don’t think there’s 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 RISE OF SUNKEN MADLEY (AMANDA CADABRA COZY PARANORMAL MYSTERIES #4) encouraged you to find out more? I really hope so. Click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself. Keep reading to find out more about the author.

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Buy AMANDA CADABRA AND THE RISE OF SUNKEN MADLEY (or other books in this series) in print and ebook formats through Amazon:

Amazon UK ¦ Amazon US

buy your own copy

Or read for free using your Kindle Unlimited subscription!

Affiliate Disclosure:

I’m part of Amazon , The Book Depository, Foyles Book Shop , Audible and Waterstones affiliate programmes. Consequently, when you use my links to buy a book, I’ll get a (very) small % from the sale.

Title Header - About The Author
Author image for Holly Bell

Cat adorer and chocolate lover, Holly Bell is a photographer and video maker when not writing. Holly lives in the UK and is a mixture of English, Scottish, Cornish and Welsh, among other ingredients.

Her favourite animal is called Bobby. He is a black cat. Purely coincidental. Of course.

Holly devoured all of the Agatha Christie books long before she knew that Miss Marple was the godmother of the Cosy Mystery. Her devotion to JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings meant that her first literary creation in this area would have to be a cosy paranormal.

Having derived immense delight from the adventure of writing her first book in the Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries in 2018. Holly admits that there’s no turning back. Further books are in the pipeline.

social media links graphic

Holly loves to hear from readers and she always responds in person.

Connect with Holly

Website ~ Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest

Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read my review of Amanda Cadabra and The Rise of Sunken Madley. I hope that I’ve persuaded you to add this fabulous book to your ever growing TBR piles. 😉

signature graphic. Happy reading from flora image sitting on books


About Author

I'm in my late forties, my interests are varied but since menopause hit a few years ago, I find myself becoming a "grumpy old woman" all too frequently - where has my infinite patience gone!?! Lol!
I bought a Kindle in the summer of 2013 and haven't stopped reading since. If you want to know more about me, check out my blog -

(2) Comments

  1. Oh cool!! I will have to start watching! 🙂

  2. I really need to get this series, I think I would love it! Great review. 🙂

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