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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review and Tour: Laced With Magic by Barbara Bretton (Excerpt Included)

Laced with Magic by Barbara Bretton
Berkley Trade (August 4, 2009) ~ 352 pages
Fiction / Contemporary Romance / Paranormal Romance

Edition Reviewed / Special Thanks: Paperback ~ Many thanks to the author, publisher, and Dorothy of Pump Up Your Book Promotions for sending me a review copy.

Perfect for : Personal reading, Book club read, Take it on a vacation, Read it during a commute

In a nutshell: Laced with Magic is a fun and entertaining story of half-human, half-sorceress Chloe Hobbs, as told from three viewpoints: Chloe, Luke (her boyfriend) and Karen (Luke's ex-wife). Set in the picturesque town of Sugar Maple, Vermont. The town is full of witches, werewolves, shapeshifters and faeries, among other non-human beings. Thanks to a protection spell cast by one of Chloe's ancestors, the townsfolks differences have been overlooked by the outside world.

Chloe is in love with Luke, the town's sherrif, and the only full human to live in Sugar Maple. Things seem to be going well. . . until Luke's ex-wife shows up in town looking for some help. She is being called on the phone by their daughter. . . who is dead. . . and who's spirit is being held hostage by Isadora, the Fae leader who has been banished (in book one of the series Casting Spells). While still learning about her magic, Chloe must make a risky decision - to help Luke and Karen's daughter by bringing Isadora back, or leaving their daughter's spirit in the hands of the cruel Isadora.

I really enjoyed the gentle romance, humor, and challenges faced by the characters in this story. It was also an interesting twist to read the story from the three different perspectives, each adding bits and pieces to the story overall. One thing to note: this is the second book in the series, and Barbara Bretton has done a wonderful job of filling readers in on what has happened so far, but there is at least one more book following this one. This one has a great ending, but certainly leads up to the next book!

About the Book: (From Pump Up Your Book Promotions)

Knit shop owner and sorcerer’s daughter Chloe Hobbs felt the Fates finally got it right when she met Luke MacKenzie. And no one could have convinced her otherwise—including the trolls, selkies, or spirits who also call Sugar Maple, Vermont, home. But then out of nowhere Luke’s ex-wife suddenly shows up, claiming to see the spirit of their daughter, Steffie—a daughter Chloe knows nothing about.

Steffie’s spirit is being held hostage by a certain Fae leader. And if Chloe weaves a spell to free her spirit, her nemesis will also be free—free to destroy her yarn shop and all of Sugar Maple. But if she doesn’t, Steffie won’t be the only one spending eternity in hell. Chloe’ll be joining her, cursed with a broken heart.

Excerpt: (From Pump Up Your Book Promotions)

Did you ever have the feeling that you were exactly where you were meant to be, that the Fates had finally got it right and the rest of your life was going to be clear sailing? That was how I felt the first time Luke MacKenzie and I kissed: like I was seeing the world through new eyes.

The first time our hands touched over a basket of alpaca roving, sparks flew. Bright silver-white sparks that shot from our fingertips and lit up the night. It was every love story I had ever read, every romantic movie I had ever wept over, all of my hopes and dreams wrapped up into one tall, dark, and handsome package. It didn’t even matter that he was one hundred percent human and I was the daughter of a sorceress. I believed that now that I had finally found love, the rest would fall into place like magick.

Crazy? I wouldn’t bet against it. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, I still believed I was on my way to the storybook happy ending none of the women in my family had ever managed to achieve.

I mean, I even made a sweater for him and every knitter on the planet knows you never knit a sweater for the one you love until you had the ring on your finger.

What was I thinking?

I guess the truth is I wasn’t thinking at all. All those romantic movies and novels I had devoured over the years hadn’t prepared me for the real thing. Luke and I had gone from zero to sixty in a nanosecond, from strangers to lovers to living together in less time than it took most people to shake hands.

But then this wasn’t the real world. It just looked like it.

By the way, I’m Chloe Hobbs, knit shop owner and de facto mayor of Sugar Maple, a tiny little town tucked between two mountains in the northwest corner of Vermont. We’re a classic New England hamlet, famous for scenic views and great shopping but, trust me, there’s more going on in Sugar Maple than meets the eye.

Up until Luke, a former police detective from Boston, showed up in early December to investigate the drowning death of his friend Suzanne Marsden, I had been the only resident human. Well, half human to be precise but without magick the sorceress side of my lineage hardly mattered.

Remember the old TV show The Munsters? Marilyn was the all-American blonde who stuck out like a sore thumb in her family of irregulars. I guess you could say that was the part I played here in Sugar Maple. When the real world came calling, I was the one who answered.

And even I had to admit I was the logical choice.

A tenth generation witch owns the Cut & Curl across the street from my knit shop. The hardware store is run by the sweetest family of werewolves you’ll ever meet. The Sugar Maple Arts Playhouse is under the direction of shape shifters who serve as their own repertory company. Faeries keep the Inn’s restaurant fully booked and I guess it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that the town funeral parlor belongs to a happily married couple who happen to be vampire.

And that doesn’t count the trolls, selkies, goblins, sprites, spirits, and mountain giants who call our town home.

The unexpected success of my yarn shop had brought even more attention to Sugar Maple than our white picket fences and picturesque village green. My shop had been rated New England’s number one knitting destination two years running and if the blogosphere had anything to do with it, we were about to make it three for three. A protective spell cast over our town by one of my ancestors made it possible for us to hide in plain sight but when that spell started wearing down last year—well, that was when the troubles really started.

My ancestor Aerynn had fled Salem during the infamous witch hunts and found sanctuary here with other outcasts in search of a home. Aerynn was a sorceress, and she expressed her gratitude by casting a protective charm over Sugar Maple designed to keep the village safe from the sharp eyes of the real world as long as one of her female descendants walked the earth.

I was the last descendant of Aerynn and, in the eyes of almost everyone in town, pretty much of a loser. Oh, they loved me but I don’t think even my closest friends believed I would ever come through for Sugar Maple. I mean, I was almost thirty years old with no husband, no kid, and no magic. Even worse, I had no prospects of any kind. The only thing I had going for me was the ability to knit and spin like my foremothers, but even I didn’t think I could stockinette my way out of the mess the town was in.

And then Luke showed up and everything changed.

Who would have guessed that love would trigger my inner sorceress and awaken powers I didn’t know existed. Suddenly I had everything I had ever dreamed about: magick and love and enough yarn to last ten lifetimes.

And who would have guessed it wouldn’t be close to enough to save us.

About the Author: (From Pump Up Your Book Promotions)

Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. Her most recent title, Laced With Magic, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world and have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries.

Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others.

Her awards include both Reviewer’s Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors.

Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books.

You can visit Barbara’s website at www.barbarabretton.com, her blog at http://bmafb.blogspot.com or connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barbarbretton.com.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!


DCMetroreader said...

For some reason this reminds me a little of The Witches of Eastwick. Looks like fun & I haven't read a series in a long time.

thewriterslife said...

Thank you so much, Wendi, and you take care of yourself!

Anonymous said...

Love your page layout Wendi, and congratulations on the book!

bermudaonion said...

I think this book sounds like a lot of fun, but I would want to read the first book in the series before I read this one.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

This series is on my TBR list. Nice review!

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