Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #2)

Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

Review:

This is the first Alice Hoffman book that I’ve read, and knowing that it involved magic and witches, and had themes of being true to your whole self — well, I was anxious to read it. That and the cover really is beautiful.

However, I did not bond with this book. I liked the characters well enough and there was some magic, but something was missing for me. Aunt Isabelle was by far my favourite character. I loved her eccentricities and the idea that people approached her porch at night to receive her spells and remedies and would pay anything for them but would snub her on the street.

Hoffman has clearly done her research and filled out her novel with information of the area, the history of witches and the social situation of the day.

My favourite parts of the book have to do with the themes of accepting all parts of yourself, as illustrated by this quote from the novel:

“This is what happens when you repudiate who you are. Once you do that, life works against you, and your fate is no longer your own.”

I did find myself wanting to finish the book to find out what happened, but also found that most of the novel, especially as it went on, was describing situations and what went on. As a reader, I didn’t feel like a part of the action. It got to feeling like reading a history book.

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Hell School: Fresh Meat Tour

Today I am happy to participate in a blog tour for the new young adult novel Hell School: Fresh Meat by Heidi Angell.

hell schoolAbout Hell School:

High school is hard, especially when you’re a freshman in a new town, surrounded by people you don’t understand and who don’t understand you.  Sam was overwhelmed just trying to fit in. Then she is singled out with the first letter.

While some girls envy the “romantics” of this unknown admirer, Sam can tell something isn’t right.  Sam wanted to just blend in, but someone’s eye is fixated on her.  As the letters and bad poetry continue, so does the nagging in Sam’s stomach telling her this is not normal.

When things escalate from strange to creepy, Sam’s world becomes a nightmare.  Twisted admiration is stalking her around every corner in the high school from hell….

Hell School: Fresh Meat is available for preorder on Amazon and Smashwords. Read more

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Learning to Market Books

In my quest to learn more about marketing my self published book, and to do so in a way that is not spammy or icky, I signed up for Nick Stephenson’s free video training for self publishing called Your First 10,000 Readers (you can find the link here).

For free training, I found this a good start. Stephenson offers three free videos, and I have to say that I enjoyed the first two the most.

The first video goes over all the major self publishing ebook platforms: Kindle, Kobo, iTunes, and Nook. I liked how Stephenson explains how readers find books on them. One of the most interesting things he points out is that Amazon is actually the second largest search engine on the internet. That sure changes the way that I think about how I list my book. Read more

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Author Interview: Mercedes Fox

Today I am excited to have Mercedes Fox, author the Vengence of the Werewolf series, on my blog.

What inspires you to write? I’ve always liked to make up stories or day dream. When the first Kindle’s came out and a friend introduced me to it I convinced myself I needed one. Then I discovered indie authors and self publishing. I scrolled through all the different books written by people just like me. My pushed away dream came back to the surface. If all those peeps can write their books and self publish, I sure as hell could too. In a nutshell, indie authors inspired me to move forward.

Author Photo NEW copyWhat book are you promoting right now? I only have 3 published so I’m promoting all of them. But my newest release Poaching the Immortal is getting the most attention.

What’s the best part of being a writer? Working from home and getting to make stories. Author’s are supposed to be off in never never land.

Tell us about your main character? What makes her/him so special? Ted is the main character in Poaching the Immortal. He’s a single man, deputy sheriff for the town of Wolfcreek. He lives with his twin sister, Crystal. They had a bit of a rough life growing up with some foster homes. Their bond is very tight. In book 1 Vengeance of the Werewolf Ted was attacked in a failed attempt to catch a werewolf. The attack didn’t kill him, obliviously, but changed him forever. He’s afflicted now. Even though he learns to control the wolf inside, he will let the wolf out if needed. In Poaching the wolf is what keeps him alive. He’s a good guy, but flawed; he’ll enjoy killing.

What would you like readers to take away from your book? A good time. I write for fun. I write what I like to read. My work is there to entertain you, take you away from real life for a while. Author’s provide cheap vacations. Read more

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