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text 2018-01-17 17:12
Love is magic!
The Rules of Magic: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

I could not wait to get my hands on this book. Therefore, I was super excited to see it was a selection at Book of the Month. I loved Practical Magic and just knew that The Rules of Magic would be the same. I was right!

 

The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Practical Magic and in it we meet Jet and Franny, when they are young, along with their brother Vincent. The story starts in New York when the three siblings are still children living under what they consider harsh parental rules. They can’t wear black, red shoes, or have any books on magic, among other things. They know they are different but their parents refuse to discuss their heritage with them. Then one day an invite from their Aunt Isabelle arrives and the trio sets off to Massachusetts on their summer break for a visit.

 

While with their Aunt the three discover who they our and their heritage. They learn about a family curse dating back to the early 17th century that was invoked when a family member fell in love with the wrong person. Because of the curse, when any member of the Owens family falls in love they threaten the very life of the person they love. Of course, life never works the way we have planned and bad things happen to good people. The siblings experience love, heartbreak and tragedy as they grow up and grow older and must learn to accept who and what they are.

 

The story is not about magic in the sense of witch craft, though there is some of that, it is really about the magic of love. Love as in love for your family, love for your partner, and love for humankind. It is so well written and the prose is outstanding, which made for a quick read. Ms. Hoffman did an excellent job making characters that everyone could empathize with. You will be drawn into the story from the very beginning.

 

I thought it was especially nice that both books are stand alones so you can read in any order. I can see people who are fans of Nora Roberts or Nicholas Sparks loving this book; as well as, fans of fantasy and general fiction. All in all, it is just an excellent story.

 

For more of my reviews see my blog at www.thespineview.com.

 

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review 2018-01-14 20:05
Good idea of a hero but not the luckiest implementation
Knocked Up By The Billionaire - Alice Moore

A romance story that wanted to be one with an edge but to me it failed in that regard. To me it was simply a light hearted romance story that had no real conflict and since the beginning you knew that characters will end up together without any real issues standing in their way.

 

I got this book for free on Instafreebie and this was my first time reading this author so I will give her a benefit of a doubt and not lower my rating to 2 which if I go by all the factors included would be a more realistic rating.

 

 

Summary:

 

Natalie worked very hard to open her bakery and now she is working just as hard to keep it open and profitable. Since she doesn't have a lot of time for dating she decides to experiment with her darker side and go to a master/slave aka bdsm seminar. There she is insantly taken by Nash and they start a relationship. Little later she finds out that she is pregnant and moves in with him and they live happily ever after.

 

Now my issues with this book:

 

1. If you go the BDSM route (and please do) then really go that route, not do it half heartedly. And by that I mean how Nash keeps saying he is her Master and kinky but doesn't really act the part. He is loving, caring, sweet talking, wants kids and a wife and white fence and all that. Just like any other man in romance novels. If you can't do BDSM then please don't. Because we who love it and practice it do not appreciate being said how licking semen off the floor is disgusting or choking is not natural etc. It is insulting so please stop. Either do it right or don't do it, write what you are actually comfortable with.

 

2. Characters have absolutely no obstacles to not be together. They are both single, attractive, young, interested in each other and they both want a family. The only thing that was tried to be pushed as an obstacle is that Natalie's bakery would have to be now put on hold, which makes no sense because Nash can buy her half of the freaking city if he wanted to so there are absolutely no obstacles to overcome.

 

3. If you try to portray the hero as a billionaire womanising bad boy then don't just say that in one sentence and then for the rest of the book show him in a completely different light. And by that I mean that he is actually a loving sweetheart who really wants to settle down. I don't see the point.

 

4. Adding a sub-plot which leads nowhere to add more pages. More accurately adding a remodeling of the building where bakery is located in and making a big deal and fuss about it when later on it is not even mentioned. It was set up to seem like later that will turn on Natalie and Nash will have to step in to save her but nope, nothing, that whole beginning of the book was entirely pointless.

 

 

There are, of course, positives to this book as well which I thoroughly enjoyed. Such as some of the ideas and thoughts the main hero displayed here and there. If he would have been a character like that to his core and from the beginning to the end of the book I would have loved it.

 

 

"I wanted a slave; I wanted someone that lived and breathed for me, not for herself.

.

.

.

I was born in the wrong damn century."

 

 

"I like slaves. I like to take women like you that have the weight of their world on them and break them down to the core. Women that aren’t used to being ordered around but want it. Women that would never be caught dead in public being told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. I want you to learn to trust that I would never make you do something that goes against who you believe is yourself. And then, I want you to submit to me knowing that no one will ever be able to shake that belief."

 

 

"I want a woman that lives for me. A woman that can make it look like she's her own person, but in reality belongs to me, blood and soul. I want a woman that obeys me but still makes her own choices - makes her opinion known."

 

 

Now that's a perfect man in my humble opinion. Truly a missed opportunity in this book. I would have loved actually seeing that character presented here and not an everyday sweetheart who falls head over heels in love with this woman first time he sees her.

 

I hoped for something different, something new but I was left slightly disappointed.

 

If nothing else, this book was worth reading if for nothing else then for this sentence that made me laugh and with which I wholeheartedly agree:

 

 

"I was born in the wrong damn century."

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review 2018-01-03 05:09
Alice in Zombieland
Alice in Zombieland - Gena Showalter

Let me start out by saying that this is not the most well-written to exist out there. I'm pretty sure this came out during that period where the Twilight craze was still a thing and everyone was all on board for characterizing their male leads like Edward Cullen for some odd reason instead of maybe taking more inspiration from J. K. Rowling rather than Stephanie Meyer.

But damn it I enjoyed this.

To start off, while Cole had the personality traits of literally every alpha male lead to ever exist in romance, I really didn't mind him. Don't get me wrong, the dude was demanding and commanding as fuck, he was ridiculously territorial and jealous (which I guess is seen as a desirable trait judging by the kinds of memes I've been seeing), and unnecessarily aggressive. But you know what I appreciate, the fact that he understands that no means no, that you don't take advantage of someone while they're drunk because it's, ya know, rape. I appreciate the fact that in every makeout scene that took place, he checked with Alice to make sure that she was okay with what was happening, he checked during their makeout to make sure she was still gung-ho about what they were doing. I loved that he encouraged her to stick by her principle's and belief's and to not let anyone change them.

Because you honestly don't get to see that a lot of times in YA novels and it's just nice to see consent being emphasized.

Cole was also incredibly kind and caring, and I guess he kind of earned the right to be that controlling (at least in the appropriate situation) because of his experience.

I appreciated that Alice stood up to him and Kenzie and told them that they couldn't boss her around ... even though she ended up doing whatever Cole wanted anyways. Don't get me wrong, she did stand up to him in lots of situations and refused to give in to whatever Cole wanted.

But this girl was also so hormonal that it actually didn't happen all that often. In the situations involving zombies I guess it made sense that she gave in to whatever Cole said because, as I mentioned, he is the experienced one here. But other times I was kind of like girl, come on. We're all hormonal here but don't let your ovaries do the talking sis.

Still, I appreciate that she was at least noisy and upfront about all of the negative mentioned traits above.

And I liked how loyal she was to Kat and stood by her even when the rest of Kat's friends basically abandoned her because of Frosty, even though she was kind of terrible at actually being there for Kat. Don't get me wrong, Alice's intentions with Kat were always wholesome and she really did love Kat, but more often than not she was all bark and no bite. I hope that she becomes a better friend to Kat in the rest of the books.

Lastly, I loved that this girl was so kickass, yeah she was kind of a pushover when it came to Cole because girlie wanted to bang, but when it came time for business, she could kick some serious ass.

And to move on, I loved Kat, I loved her confidence, I loved that she stood by her decisions and that she made sure everyone knew she was confident and that they couldn't put her down. I loved that she knew that she had good qualities about her and that she was worthy of love and capable of making good decisions. I just really loved her confidence, you don't always get to see that kind of confidence in characters. And you know what, it wasn't irritating, it didn't come off as cocky and annoying, you could just tell that Kat felt good about herself, and I don't know how, but it made me happy and made me feel good about myself.

Oh, and in case you didn't get it from just about every other review, but this definitely not an Alice in Wonderland retelling despite what all the signs may be pointing towards.

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review 2017-12-30 18:21
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories - Alice Munro

The title story in this volume is fantastic. The slow unfolding and peeling back the layers of the story, the host of well-realized and believable characters bumping up against one another, the historical Canadian setting, and the surprise ending: I loved it all, and am not at all surprised that a movie was based on this 50-page story. It’s better than many a novel.

And there are a couple other stories here that I liked. “Comfort” is about the death of a husband, a severe biology teacher who fought the incursion of religion into the curriculum. I enjoyed this mostly for the husband’s story, and was less interested in the wife’s grieving and found the end to peter out. The last story, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” follows a philandering but loving husband whose wife develops dementia and embarks on a nursing home romance. This one is poignant and its situations interesting, though I didn’t ever feel I knew enough about the wife and their relationship to completely engage.

The remaining six stories seemed to me to be variations on a theme, and it’s a theme Munro fully developed in The Beggar Maid, which I previously read and enjoyed. The protagonist is a woman who is searching for herself, who has an unsatisfying marriage; some of the stories focus more on the marriage, others on her life before or after. Sometimes she leaves, although this was an uncommon choice at the time these stories are set, while other times she contents herself with a fling. Her family background includes a dead mother and remarried father, living in some small town she has left behind. Her story involves learning about herself or about life and how to live in it.

These aren’t bad stories, but they didn’t particularly speak to me. In some cases I felt like perhaps I was a generation too young to appreciate the societal influences on these women and how those influences shaped them. The way the women fail to assert themselves in their relationships and make their needs known, the way their marriages often seemed to be strange and independent creatures rather than partnerships negotiated by the people involved, even in a world not too far removed from the modern one, left something of a blank for me. And because these are quiet, character-driven tales, it’s hard to appreciate them if they don’t speak to you.

All that said, of course these are very well-written stories, as one would expect from a Nobel Prize winner. I didn’t enjoy them all as much as I’d hoped; I wish Munro had included more along the lines of the first story. But it’s good literature, and I’m happy to have read it.

--

A question for those who have read more Munro than I: is this collection specifically thematically focused, perhaps to fit its title, or does all her work focus on these same preoccupations? What Munro collection should I read next if my goal is finding one that doesn’t feel repetitive after The Beggar Maid and this book?

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review 2017-12-14 19:03
Love is magic
The Rules of Magic - Alice Hoffman

I could not wait to get my hands on this book. Therefore, I was super excited to see it was a selection at Book of the Month. I loved Practical Magic and just knew that The Rules of Magic would be the same. I was right!

The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Practical Magic and in it we meet Jet and Franny, when they are young, along with their brother Vincent. The story starts in New York when the three siblings are still children living under what they consider harsh parental rules. They can’t wear black, red shoes, or have any books on magic, among other things. They know they are different but their parents refuse to discuss their heritage with them. Then one day an invite from their Aunt Isabelle arrives and the trio sets off to Massachusetts on their summer break for a visit.

While with their Aunt the three discover who they our and their heritage. They learn about a family curse dating back to the early 17th century that was invoked when a family member fell in love with the wrong person. Because of the curse, when any member of the Owens family falls in love they threaten the very life of the person they love. Of course, life never works the way we have planned and bad things happen to good people. The siblings experience love, heartbreak and tragedy as they grow up and grow older and must learn to accept who and what they are.

The story is not about magic in the sense of witch craft, though there is some of that, it is really about the magic of love. Love as in love for your family, love for your partner, and love for humankind. It is so well written and the prose is outstanding, which made for a quick read. Ms. Hoffman did an excellent job making characters that everyone could empathize with. You will be drawn into the story from the very beginning.

I thought it was especially nice that both books are stand alones so you can read in any order. I can see people who are fans of Nora Roberts or Nicholas Sparks loving this book; as well as, fans of fantasy and general fiction. All in all, it is just an excellent story.

For more of my reviews, and author interviews, see my blog at www.thespineview.com.

Source: www.thespineview.com/genre/fiction/the-rules-of-magic-by-alice-hoffman
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