Audiobook review: Barbecue & Brooms
Author: Bella Falls
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Audio Speed: 1.25x
Series: Southern Charms Cozy Mystery #4
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Source: Tantor Audio
Barbecue & Brooms returns listeners to the quaint Southern town of Honeysuckle Hollow, where all types of paranormals live side-by-side with the witches. The fourth book picks up after the somewhat shocking outcomes of the third book, with once-disgraced Tucker, attempting to make amends for his betrayals and trying to help prevent the Charleston council from taking over Honeysuckle. He’s organized a barbecue contest and amateur broom races. However, when things start going wrong and she loses her magic, Charli works with her friends to set things back to normal before it’s too late.
I am not a fan of love triangles, and the Southern Charms Cozy Mystery series has one. In the previous book, it looked like Charli was going to end up with werewolf Dash; however, he picked up and left town, remaining out-of-touch with Charli. So, in steps magical warden Mason, who always looked like a second place love interest for Charli until Barbecue & Brooms. The pair are pretty cozy, sharing magic and getting all the feels, until Dash returns. For fans of love triangles, this one’s a doozy – always back and forth and unsure who to cheer for. Unfortunately, this plot line takes up a lot of space in the story, which brings the grade down for me.
While the mystery is a bit convoluted, it is exciting and filled with interesting twists and details. We learn more about some of the more prominent residents of Honeysuckle Hollow. I enjoyed watching Charli put together the clues, however at times I felt she making smart decisions.
Narration: Having listened to all of the previous books in this series, I have come to associate Ms. Parker’s voice with heroine Charli. Her easy-going southern drawl brings Charli, and all of her idiosyncrasies, to life. Additionally, she is able to add just enough emotion into Charli to help identify when she’s frustrated, joyful, sad, etc. Ms. Parker’s narrative style sets the tempo and mood, keeping the cozy mystery light and entertaining. Additionally, she successfully creates a number of unique voices for each of the supporting paranormal creatures.
Overall, there are things I really enjoy about Barbecue & Brooms and the Southern Charms Cozy Mystery series – I like the residents and the mixed community and all of the crazy situations it brings. But there are things I don’t like, particularly the love triangle and accompanying drama, along with the over-the-top plot points.
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio.
About the Book:
Magic and mystery are only part of the Southern Charms of Honeysuckle Hollow….
With Charleston’s council poised to take over Honeysuckle Hollow, the town and all of its people must band together to prove they don’t need to be absorbed into the big city magical district. What better way to show off the small supernatural Southern town than to host a barbecue contest and some classic broom racing?
To keep their town safe, it’s imperative that nothing go wrong. But when one of Honeysuckle’s most important residents is attacked, leaving him on the brink of death, it’s up to Charli Goodwin to convince the two men pursuing her to work together to catch the culprit and save a life.
Who’s fanning the flames and turning up the heat? Will the love triangle prove too hot and spicy or will Charli, Mason, and Dash be able to put aside personal feelings to capture the villain before the town and its people get charred?