Book Review: Wicked Weaves by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Posted on Updated on

Wicked Weaves (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #1)Wicked Weaves by Joyce Lavene

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s the 1st week of our November 2018 Cozy Mystery Readathon featuring the ‘Renaissance Faire Mysteries’ by Joyce and Jim Lavene. Followers on my blog picked this series as our group buddy read, and we settled on the first 4 books in the series. First up is Wicked Weaves… let’s get into the review:

Prior to someone suggesting this series, I knew very little if anything about it. I liked the concept and thought it might present a good backdrop for a mystery series, but I worried it could get overdone with too many books in the series. I was intrigued that it was written by a writing duo, a husband and wife. I was also surprised to see it took place in South Carolina as I’d like to spend more time there, too.

I love Medieval Times / Middle Ages and the growth that occurred after they came to an end. The Renaissance was a time of great art, beauty, learning, and creativity. With a year-round fair and village, there are so many opportunities to learn ranging from basket-weaving, the focus of this book, to glass-blowing, which I believe is the focus for the next book. Not only did I learn some techniques and botany, I felt immersed in a cool culture with lots of fun settings, scenes, and ideas.

The caper is relatively simple with a minimal amount of possible suspects. While there are a few of the employees at the Renaissance Faire who might have had a connection to the deceased, there is also the wife, the brother, the brother-in-law, and the nephew / adopted son. With so much focus on the setting, I felt the characters weren’t described as well. I couldn’t connect with anyone including the main character herself (although I did like her side story romance). The amateur sleuth is a smart ~30ish woman who teaches at a college during the year and works summers at the fair. She’s a little vanilla for me, but there were some scenes that showed more potential, like anything having to do with her brother (mischievous one) or the bailiff (resident hottie). Given there are tons of books, I’m sure these aspects will grow better in the next one.

This book highlights why the cozy mystery world has a vast range of options. There are ones where the mystery is important, but there are also several where it’s all about the setting. This was about the setting, and I’m okay with that. We had little knowledge of the victim, and the revelation that he was the husband of the suspected killer was just very quiet and ordinary. It was the cliffhanger ending for a chapter, but honestly, I didn’t understand it. Had the next chapter not clearly said they were married, I wouldn’t have gotten the connection. This happened a few times in the book… where what I felt should’ve been a pop moment was more like background noise. If the setting and culture in the book were bland, too, I probably would give up on the series.

That said, it’s the actual Renaissance Faire components kept me interested and intrigued. I could ignore the redundancies, confusion, and lack of vibrant characters purely because I wanted to understand how this world operated. I look forward to the next book but really hope the mystery and the characters grow stronger. It was an okay to good read for me — nothing that stood out as something I’d recommend quite yet. Let’s move on to book two now… who’s ready for some Ghastly Glass?

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


17 thoughts on “Book Review: Wicked Weaves by Joyce and Jim Lavene

    Martie said:
    November 9, 2018 at 6:58 AM

    Excellent review. I enjoyed how you put your own thoughts into the review. I’m trying to do this with my reviews. Thanks teach.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 9, 2018 at 7:11 AM

      Me? I’m just thinking out loud. Not very organized lately. I always enjoy your reviews. If only I had more time!!

      Liked by 1 person

    Jaymi at OrangeCountyReaders said:
    November 9, 2018 at 9:16 AM

    I felt the same way about Book 1! Here’s my review:

    Liked by 1 person

    bettylouise31 said:
    November 9, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    Joyce and Jim Lavene were very popular before their deaths. I have read most of their series. This one I have read only a few as I li!e others better. One written under the named of J. C. COOK is one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 9, 2018 at 12:29 PM

      I would want to try a different series. I don’t dislike this one, as there are many fun parts; however, it’s not grabbing my focus like I’d hoped. I’ll try the other you recommended. Thank you.


        bettylouise31 said:
        November 9, 2018 at 1:36 PM

        She has garden series which I really enjoyed. I will looks for its name and let you know. Their are reviews on all I read.

        Liked by 1 person

        bettylouise31 said:
        November 9, 2018 at 1:42 PM

        Pretty poison, Missing Persons and Wicked Witches series

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        November 9, 2018 at 2:18 PM

        Thank you!


    scr4pl80 said:
    November 9, 2018 at 11:32 AM

    I haven’t finished but I am having a little trouble with this one as well. Some of the things Jessie says and does with Chase seem childish and unnecessary. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Agatha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 9, 2018 at 12:29 PM

      I agree with you. It’s the weirdness in their relationship, the random things that happen with the other characters, and the repetition. I could ignore 1 of the 3, but all of them together make me rush/skim or put it down and read something else in between. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    November 10, 2018 at 5:57 PM

    I read this one for a group read a couple of years ago and perhaps that is why I did not read the others. I am getting ready to start the second one and will post my review for this one tomorrow. Very good review with a lot of explanation about this opening to the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    luvtoread said:
    November 11, 2018 at 9:18 PM

    Good review! I read this book years ago and didn’t really care for it so never continued on with the series. I’ll be interested to read if you end up liking book two more! It’s a series I wish I liked as I really enjoyed the premise, but like you mentioned the characters and mystery just didn’t connect with me.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 11, 2018 at 9:44 PM

      I know! I had the same concern with the 2nd in the series. It was a little better, but I’m not a big fan so far. 😦 Trying tho!

      Liked by 1 person

    The Cozy Pages said:
    November 12, 2018 at 11:15 AM

    I hope the next one redeems this one for you!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s