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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Broomsticks & Boardgames by Amy McNulty is the first book in the wickedly delightful Spooky Games Club Mystery series. Dahlia Poplar is a witch with a problem. She's been cursed by a wicked witch who was also responsible for the death of her mother. To keep the curse at bay, she must perform a good deed every day or her fate will be to become stone. Dahlia keeps busy by going around helping her neighbors in the friendly town of Luna Lane. It's during one of these tasks (changing a light bulb in the attic of her neighbor Milton whose mind hasn't been the same of late) that leads her to meet his handsome nephew Cable Woodward who has come to live with him. She is literally swept off her feet (she falls off a stool into his arms) and uncovers Milton's collection of board games which reignites the Games Club he and his late wife once belonged to. This discovery leads her straight into the middle of gruesome deaths, and as she dives into the investigation she uncovers secrets that lead right to her ex-boyfriend.
This is the ideal opening to set up the world of this quirky mystery and the chemistry between Dahlia and Cable. The setting is unique with fresh takes on classic supernatural beings with a vast range of witches, vampires, spider women, and werewolves. The town is quirky and lively. A nice touch of drama is woven in when Dahlia discovers the Games Club and the deaths connected to it, which has her digging deeper into those around her. A killer is in their small community, among those she considers her neighbors, and the further she digs into the deaths and the mysterious club, the more secrets she uncovers about those around her. At the center of Dahlia's story is the curse, which sets up an interesting dynamic for her to be constantly on her best behavior. The curse is an ominous presence throughout that haunts her, forcing her to be constantly aware of everything she does on a daily basis. Broomsticks and Boardgames is a charming cozy mystery that hits all the right notes in this genre by adding a supernatural flair to create something delightful you can sink your teeth into.