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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Book Review: The Voodoo Killings

The Voodoo Killings (Kincaid Strange #1)

voodo killingsFor the first time since we launched Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Random House Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish’s The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner…

For starters, she’s only 27. Then there’s the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she’s broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker–who happens to be Kincaid’s on-again, off-again roommate.

Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he’s tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle’s infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City’s oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She’s broke, but she’s not stupid.

And then she becomes the target…As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

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Author Interview: Heather Heffner

Today I am fortunate to have author Heather Heffner on my blog.

Year of the Wolf E-Book Cover576X768 (2015_12_12 05_30_40 UTC)Tell us about your books. Is there one in particular you are promoting right now? What is it about?

I am the author of two fantasy series: the Changeling Sisters and the Afterlife Chronicles. The Changeling Sisters is an urban fantasy series about two shapeshifting sisters who fight evil in Seoul, South Korea and begins with Book #1: Year of the Wolf. The Afterlife Chronicles is a dark fantasy series about a boy who accidentally stumbles aboard a train bound to Hell and begins with Book #1: The Tribe of Ishmael.

My most recent release is Year of the Dragon (Changeling Sisters #3), in which sisters Citlalli and Raina Alvarez discover a nefarious vampyre plot to seize control of Jeju Island. Fiery Citlalli must unite her fractured werewolf pack to investigate. Meanwhile, shy Raina meets her father’s family, the powerful shapeshifting Yong dragons. She finds herself thrust into the Trials of Wisdom in a desperate attempt to find the Celestial Dragon who can lead the good spirits against the Vampyre Court in time.

How do you come up with the ideas for your writing?

Travel and daydreaming! The Changeling Sisters was inspired by living and working abroad in South Korea. The Korean folklore and historical sites intrigued me to research and imagine how a spirit world would affect a modern day flourishing metropolis like Seoul. Read more

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Author Interview: R.D. Vallier

Today I am happy to introduce author R. D. Vallier to my blog.

rdTell us about your books. Is there one in particular you are promoting right now? What is it about?

I mostly write urban fantasy and fantasy. Usually my stories have a sense of discovery about them, both of the self and of the world my main character is in. I tend to throw general roles out the window and create my own. Right now I am promoting my urban fantasy, Darkshine. Unlike a lot of fae reads, however, the changeling in the story, Miriam, is not a child or a teenager; I wanted to know what would happen if a changeling was forced to live among humans into adulthood, got married, started an adult life. The faeries in the story are not your typical elemental beings, either, and the concept of light and dark magic is completely turned on its head.

In the first book, two of the fae are promising Miriam the truth to her existence, but only one is correct and the other will destroy her. She escapes her husband’s abuse to seek out her true and magical birthright, but she carries secrets that can destroy his political campaign and he won’t let her escape him so easily.
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