Book Review: Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts by Erin Johnson

Another great cozy mystery from Erin Johnson with the second book, Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts, in the Spells & Caramels series. After I read the first book last year, I downloaded the second and third to read in between other ARCs and thrillers I had set for January and February. I need to balance the light and heavy, or I get bored/frustrated with too much of the same thing. It seems this series continues to deliver on quality, imagination and humor. I recommend it for anyone interested in cozy mysteries, witches and cooking.


Imogen is new to the magic world, trying to learn how to cast spells and stay away from the prince in her new mystery land. He’s engaged, she’s nervous and there seems to be murders happening all the time a war goes on with the Badlands Army. In this edition, a carnival is in town, but when a seer is murdered, a rival is arrested for the crime. Imogen’s certain her friend Rhonda wasn’t the culprit — and fights to prove it, all the while meeting different carnival folk and learning how to practice magic. In the end, she unearths the true killer when she makes a connection with the dead during an annual creepy ritual.

My favorite part of this series is the imagination behind all the characters, setting and actions. It’s clear the author has built an entire world before writing the books, as it takes depth and design to architect this layer of intricacy in a story. Information about Imogen’s background is kept minimal, as I’m sure that will be a focus of a future book, but when you learn things, you learn them quickly! Between vampires, shifters, and swallows, there’s an entire structure to the world of witches and wizards. Add in Imogen’s role as an assistant to the royal baker in the palace, she’s constantly in the middle of situations where she is always out of her element. It’s a great break from contemporary fiction, full of quirky but lovable characters, that leaves you wanting more. I enjoy the series and will definitely keep reading it in 2018. Charming. Vivid. Comforting.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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  1. I often steer clear of the ones with witches, but this sounds fun. I agree with you about breaking things up. I think that is the biggest reason I read so many different genres, of course that just makes my TBR that much higher.

    Liked by 1 person

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