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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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review 2017-12-14 18:16
Review: "Undertow" (Whyborne & Griffin, #8.5) by Jordan L. Hawk
Undertow: A Whyborne & Griffin Universe Story - Jordan L. Hawk

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2017-12-14 04:23
Summerwode (The Wode #4)
Summerwode (The Wode) - J. Tullos Hennig

Gah! Cliffhanger! NOOOOOOO! And I have no idea how long I'll have to wait for the next one. Going by the time between previous installments, two years maybe? :( Unless she pulls a George R.R. Martin or Diana Gabaldon, then maybe ten years? :P Thankfully, I don't see her doing that.

 

 

This picks up a few months after the end of Winterwode. Gamelyn is still entrenched in the Templars, having to suppress himself again and letting alter-id Guy de Gisbourne take over the reins for him, with all the complications that comes with. Robyn's once again has no idea what's up with Gamelyn because Guy's not a man to share his plans, and Marion's just trying to hold her little family together. Of course, forces are in movement that are determined to see Robyn's little band of merry men ended one way or another, and whether foe or potential friend and ally, playing the game could end their way of life for good or ill.

 

There are things here that would normally drive me crazy, except that it's so perfectly in character that there really is no other way it could've gone down. There's no manipulation of characters of OOC moments to force plot points, like other authors would depend on. We've come to know these characters over three previous books, and while my hand itched to smack Gamelyn upside the head several times - and Will and occasionally Robyn - it was clear and understandable why everyone behaved the way they did.

 

This was as strongly written as ever, and it's also well edited despite this being DSP. My one complaint is that it felt a tad overlong. In particular, that whole cliffhanger ending, while certainly compelling, felt like it was resetting the board too much. There was already a threat there hanging in the shadows to give an ominous ending to the book while the characters still got to enjoy life for a little bit, so the last few chapters really could've been held off to kick off the next book with a bang, at least in my opinion. 

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review 2017-12-14 00:06
Spirit Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic #3) by Helen Harper
Spirit Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide To M... Spirit Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide To Magic Book 3) - Helen Harper

After her brush with Necromancy in Scotland Ivy has been suffering some side effects - she’s not sure of the full implications, but it seems she can see ghosts

 

Ghosts are noisy and annoying and don’t respect a woman’s wish to bond with her duvet on her sofa all day

 

Some of these ghosts are not exactly thrilled to have the less-than-motivated Ivy as the one woman who can see them, but you work with what you can since she may be the key to freeing them from their purgatory - and with a serial killer on the loose targetting witches, their ghostly insight can certainly help the Order investigation.

 

This book ended and apparently this amazing series is a trilogy which means thi is the last book. No-one consulted me on this. I did not agree to this. I do not approve. This is my disapproving face.

 

But as it has ended, one thing I really liked is that Ivy is still very recognisable as the character who started this series. She’s still the Slouch Witch. She’s still lazy. She still avoids effort.

 

I’m not saying I’m against character growth or that Ivy hasn’t grown or changed. She has changed and she has grown, she has got involved. She will whine but she will get out there and help when she has to. She would just rather not do it first thing in the morning. Her talent and skill are clear as well as well as her moral compass and even willingness to sacrifice. But so many books would have taken Ivy, had her had a revelation, maybe a training montage and then have her spending late nights reading books or getting up at dawn to go to the gym. Her heroics haven’t turned her into a new person. Even her new powers haven’t driven her to embrace her new purpose in life. She’s still Ivy, laziest witch and I like that because everything that made her so unique is still there and it wasn’t treated as something to remove from the character. Again, I’m not against that kind of character growth, but I like that we kept the very essence of what makes Ivy Ivy

 

And I do love Ivy. I love that Ivy is such a perfect, ordinary person even if she does have extraordinary powers. Yes she’s fighting evil, yes she’s involved in a dangerous investigation but that core of such normality, that foundation of duvet loving, laziness makes her so relatable and real. And I just love how her talking cat fits into that - I can’t even begin to spoil it even if it isn’t especially plot relevant, it’s just too awesome.

 



 

I also like how Raphael has grown over the series - I think he still needs a little more than being the hyper-competent guy who loves Ivy. but in some ways him being this picture-perfect awesome guy he emphasises Ivy’s realness - while not overshadowing her because she can go toe-to-toe with her. I think it’s even intentional because a number of the more side characters have elements which I appreciate: from the simple dedication of the Ipissimus to even designated-rival-bad-guy actually being useful and helpful even while Ivy seethes over it. I like that, I like that even the caricature of awful is still not all bad - and that Ivy isn’t the bigger person to let this go

 

I’m also loving a depiction of ghosts as annoying pushing nuisances - as well as the whole extremely original concept of how ghosts are created.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/12/spirit-witch-lazy-girls-guide-to-magic.html
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review 2017-12-13 17:34
Review: "Fallow" (Whyborne & Griffin, #8) by Jordan L. Hawk
Fallow - Jordan L. Hawk

 

~ 4.5 stars ~

 

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