The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

34037113The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Published October 10, 2017

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: 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:   I was a little unsure about reading this one because I wasn’t a huge fan of Practical Magic (the book… I happen to love the movie adaptation however). But I actually found myself fully engrossed in this book and read it in less than 2 days. I loved seeing Franny, Jet, and Vincent grow up and how each of them treated the magic that was within them. My heart broke for each one of them at one point or another during the book. Franny was rather uptight, but you could still catch glimmers of the vulnerability she felt, knowing that she could never fully be with her love because of the Owens curse. And Jet, such a sweet girl who loses her way and eventually finds her way back. Vincent at first seemed just like a spoiled rotten youngest child, but deep down he had the same struggles as his sisters.  There were a few parts that I felt moved rather slowly and probably could have been left out but overall I was very pleased with this book and see myself reading it again someday in the future.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!

 I was so happy to see Franny and Haylin get to share the rest of his life together.  She really blossomed when he was there with the Owens sisters in the old house. I think one of my favorite things was watching Jet and the Reverence overcome their differences to mourn Levi together.  Seeing Vincent finally come into his true self when he met William was delightful. I was so worried that would have had a sad ending, but Vincent got his happy ending. 

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 Stars

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Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

32452160Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Published July 25th 2017 by Orbit

320 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family’s specialty for generations.

Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

Review: If you’re looking for a quick supernatural read, I suggest checking out this book. What initially drew me to this book was the cover.  It looks awesome and then after reading the synopsis, I knew it would be something up my alley.  I really enjoyed the author’s take on certain creatures, especially vampires and vampyres, which are actually different from one another in this book. I loved the concept of a human doctor, a Helsing no less, that specifically treats supernatural creatures including vampires, ghouls, and the like. Normally when I think of the name Helsing, I think more of vampire slayers rather than healers. I liked the main characters of the book and the story was definitely interesting, however as I was reading, I felt more as if I was just observing the scenes rather than engrossed in them. I didn’t feel very connected to the characters so while I know that there were scary parts that should have made me really nervous like I normally do but they just didn’t seem to phase me. Overall, I did enjoy reading this book and I will be looking forward to reading the sequel.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Book Boyfriends

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?).


Jamie Fraser (Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon)10964

The Darkling (Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo)10194157

Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)1885

Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas) 16096824

Akiva (Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor)8490112

Lazlo Strange (Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor) 29748925

Jon Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin)
11264999

Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery)814060

Perrin Aybara (The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan)893760

Rowan Whitethorn (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas)23847976


Who are some of your fictional character crushes?

Top Ten Older Favorites

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. I decided to go with my Top Ten Older Favorites.

In no particular order, these are some of my older favorites, not including the classics. I’ve read each of these books at least twice.  And totally coincidentally, 7 out of the 10 have movie or TV adaptations.

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  • Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy – This book is centered around a group of friends in Ireland as they grow up.  I’ve loved this book for so long and it was adapted pretty well into a movie featuring Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell.
  • Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris – The first book of the Sookie Stackhouse series that I fell in love with shortly before the TV adaptation, True Blood, aired on HBO.  I binge read as many books of the series that were published at the time.
  • The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver – The first time I read this book, I was with my family at a cabin in northern MN. Let’s just say that it thoroughly creeped me out in the best way possible.  The movie adaptation with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie was pretty good, but of course the book was much better.
  • Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley – This is a pretty unpopular opinion for fans of Gone With the Wind, but I really loved this sequel. Probably because I love Scarlett and Rhett so much that I couldn’t take them ending the way they did in GWTW. I needed more and that’s what Scarlett gave me.  The TV miniseries adaptation was awful though. Ugh. Timothy Dalton as Rhett….. NO.
  • One by One by Gilbert Morris – This is one my mom and I had checked out from the library a few times because we both enjoyed it so much. The book is out of print but I recently was able to track down a copy on Thrift Books and gave it to my mom for Christmas last year.  Really creepy mystery about people being kidnapped and held hostage in the bottom of a grain silo, as the kidnapper begins to kill them, one by one.

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  • The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans – I first read this during my horse obsession phase in early high school. I just really loved everything about this story but especially Pilgrim and Grace’s second chance. I also love the movie adaptation with Robert Redford, Kristen Scott Thomas, Sam O’Neill, and Scarlet Johansson.
  • The Princess by Lori Wick – This book is definitely a fairy tale type story about an average citizen being chosen to become the next princess because the widowed prince needed to re-marry by a certain age according to the law of this fictional country.  It is technically Christian lit but I ignore the religious aspects of it when I read it for the most part.
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo – I read this book in a college English class called Stories of Place and ended up falling in love with it.  The book centers around the life of Miles Roby who lives in a small blue collar town in Maine but dreams of so much more.  The adaptation featuring Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, and Robin Wright was pretty good but I definitely prefer the book.
  • Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon – I picked this up on a whim while staying at my grandma’s house one summer a long time ago. I read a lot of Mary Higgins Clark books back then and this seemed to be along a similar vein. Ended up being so much better. The main character turns out to have multiple personality disorder and finds herself on trial for doing something one of her alters did.
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier – This is one of those books that makes me feel instantly cozy which might sound weird considering the subject matter. This story is about a wounded Civil War soldier on his long walk home to his sweetheart back home.  You may have seen the adaptation with Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Donald Sutherland.

What are some of your older favorites?

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

34733250Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Expected publication: September 12th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

256 Pages

Goodreads Summary: In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Review: Earlier this year, Strange the Dreamer was my first experience with Laini Taylor’s words.  I instantly fell in love with her writing.  So I was really eager to get into her previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  When I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I really loved Zuzana’s character.   She was so spunky and had a great sense of humor.  Her friendship with Karou reminded me a lot of my own friendship with one of my best friends.  When I heard about Night of Cake and Puppets I was so excited to be able to read about how Zuzana and Mik come together because, let’s face it, they’re absolutely adorable.  I’m a big sucker for romance and big romantic gestures so this seemed like it was going to be a really great read. Plus there is just something special about having Laini and her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, teaming up to take this book to the next level.  I read this ARC in a few hours because I could not put it down!  The first section is from Zuzana’s POV and it totally took me back to those times when I had a huge thing for a guy and wasn’t sure how to approach that.  I also really loved the little flashback stories of when Zuzana and Karou first became friends. One of the things I really love about Laini Taylor’s writing is that it is so visually descriptive without overdoing it so it is really easy to visualize the scenes in your head.  I’ve dreamed of going to Prague for years and with her help, I feel almost as if I have been there.  When it got to the section from Mik’s POV, I couldn’t help but swoon.  This story was everything I hoped it would be and more.  The illustrations that were included in the ARC were absolutely incredible so I can’t wait to see how they look in the final copies!

5 Stars

I received a copy of this from The Novl in exchange for an honest review.