Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Have you ever seen the movie Practical Magic with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock? An amazing and fun portrayal of standing by your loved ones in good times and bad, all tied together around a magical and cursed family. What you may not know is that this movie is based on a book by Alice Hoffman also titled Practical Magic. As is the case for many books turned into movies, many things were changed to make it a movie worth watching since books can go into a lot more detail and don’t need to keep up the pace that movies do to keep audience attention. But the Owens family of heredity witches, that have been cursed in love by a spurned ancestor are all still the same. Two little girl by the name of Sally and Gillian who go to live with their elderly aunts after their parents are killed is also the same.

While this novel, and movie, have been around for a long time Alice Hoffman has recently written a new novel about this family that tells the story of those two elderly aunts and how they came to be. “Rules of Magic” begins in New York City in the sixties with three siblings whose mother has spent most of their lives trying to explain away their uniqueness’s and hid their Owens heritage from them. But the weird rules she sets for them: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic and never, ever fall in love, are so strange that they in and of themselves are a mystery worth solving.

When they are invited to visit their unknown Aunt Isabelle in a small town in Massachusetts where the Owens family is blamed for everything, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth behind their family. The sisters will learn about curses and lost love while their brother, Vincent, will marvel at an unexpected fate leaving a legacy that comes full circle to the Owens house. It was a wonderful surprise to discover that this story came full circle to a book and movie that readers might be familiar with. Since the original novel by Alice Hoffman was published in 1995 and the movie came out in 1999, readers who pick up this novel are unlikely to connect the two until the very end when you find out what actually happened to bring Sally and Gillian into the aunts lives.

A thoroughly enjoyable novel from start to finish. Experience life in New York City and Paris throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies. Mayhem, magic and prejudices make for an entertaining read that lands in a surprising connection to a past favorite!

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Review: Shadow Keeper by Christine Feehan

Shadow Keeper Shadow Keeper by Christine Feehan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of most of Christine Feehan's novel, but this newer series of hers is a really great one! Shadow Riders or those who can use the shadows to move about, is a really interesting concept. And in the Ferraro family, life as a shadow rider can be REALLY interesting. Either tasked with performing justice on whomever has been deemed necessary or providing an alibi for those meting out justice, there's not much flexibility. Giovanni Ferraro has been sidelined into being the perpetual alibi after being severely injured [in the previous novel]. Constantly playing the billionaire playboy is getting old, but since it's necessary he finds other ways to pass the time and break the monotony. He never expects to randomly run into his perfect match waitressing in his own club, especially when she overhears the extremely offensive game he's just proposed to his family.

Sasha Provis grew up on a Montana ranch and never expected to live anywhere else. But when circumstances resulted in the loss of most of her family and specialized medical requirements for the rest, selling everything and moving closer to those needs is the only way to survive. Working multiple jobs, including as a server in the Ferraro nightclub is the only thing that's paying bills. But when she becomes the target of predators after her first encounter with the Ferraro family it soon becomes unclear whether she's in danger because of the Ferraro's or because whether she's pissed someone off herself without knowing it. Either way, she's now being stalked by a predator that's willing to endanger lives and kill to make their point.

This was an amazing read that gives more insight into the Ferraro family and the world of Shadow Riders that we're being introduced to. A series that continues to suck you in with each and every new addition to the series!

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review: The Trespasser by Tana French

The Trespasser The Trespasser by Tana French
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed about joining the murder squad, but years later it isn’t what she thought it would be. Vicious pranks and harassment around every corner, from everyone except her partner, Stephen Moran. When another by-the-numbers lover’s quarrel gone bad is handed to them and their commander assigns them a babysitter ‘seasoned’ detective, Conway is seriously considering handing in her notice.

Conway and Moran work hard to piece together what should be an easy enough heat of the moment crime to solve. But none of the pieces surrounding the life and murder of Aislinn Murray are fitting together the way they should be. Plus, Conway knows that she’s encountered the murder victim somewhere before. With their ‘babysitter’ detective pressuring them to arrest Aislinn’s new boyfriend, a busy-body reporter making them look bad, Aislinn’s friend hinting that she knew Aislinn might have been in danger, and a shadowy figure watching Antoinette’s home from up the hilly road things are beginning to point towards a conspiracy. The only question now is this conspiracy in their heads? In Aislinn’s life? Or in their department?

Being someone that enjoys a good mystery, author Tana French is a welcome addition to a ‘must read’ list. Antoinette was a really great character to follow, she is just enough of a strong willed female that you rally behind her, but also belligerent and stubborn enough to find irritating at times too. With her mixed heritage and almost abrasive attitude, readers can’t tell if perceived prejudices are because of her personality or actual discriminatory prejudices. We do know that it is because of her abrasive personality that tension rises between co-workers, forcing Conway and Moran to find creative ways to investigate their case.

Enjoyable all around read that is a great introduction to this author. I wasn't aware that it was part of a series when I picked it up but will definitely go back and read some of the other novels now!

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

New Series: Archans Of Ailaut

I recently found a new series, although there's only two books out yet in this series, it was really great.  A partnership between authors Emma Alisyn and S. A. Ravel of which, S.A. Ravel is a completely new author to me.  Warrior Awakening is book 1 and introduces the world of Ailaut.  A planet in which the predominant species are winged being, that humans akin to Angels of Earth.  Although they do not have anything to do with the religious symbol and actually strongly dislike being referred to as an angel.

36198407Ailaut has a unique society in which the most powerful of the angel-like species are called Archans and have the unparalleled life-span and strength to 'power' their own towers and lands and they welcome others Ailaut-ians and humans to live and work in their provinces.  It's a little confusing to explain but makes sense when you read about it.  Anyways, the Archan Ishaiq is awakening from a long sleep due to being tasked finding a mate by a governing body on the planet.

Abella is a human that has arrived on Ailaut to live and work in the Archan's household.  When Ishaiq awakens a link is formed between them, something so strong and disconcerting that Abella tries to run from it.  Only to have her past and Ishaiq both chase after her.

Warrior Enflamed (Archans of Ailaut, #2)Book two is Warrior Enflamed and it is very different from the first book.  Davingelo is the only Archan that has not claimed a territory and created a tower for himself.  Instead he is an artist whose passion is funding an art institute which houses and school talented orphans.  After spending the past few years blocked artistically, running into Perrine is a shock. 

Perrine is the owner for Club Parodie, who is struggling to find a way to pay off a debt from a mob loan she took to start her club.  An unexpected encounter one night on the grounds of the art institute, forges a connection between them that triggers Davingelo's artistic talent and results in a partnership that will provide Perrine with enough to pay off her debt.  Things go off the rails when the mob boss changes his terms and Perrine must decide whether to save her club or have a future with Davingelo.

This is a very fun, light read with winged beings, power and fated mates.  They don't take long to read but make for a nice afternoon enjoying the weather.  Find yourself a hammock and enjoy!