Publisher: Love Spell

Guest Review: A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison

Posted May 7, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Taste of Magic by Tracy MadisonReviewer: Tracy
A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison
Publisher: Love Spell
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
Format: Print ARC

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
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three-half-stars

 

Elizabeth Stevens is one bite away from happiness.

Today is Elizabeth Stevens’s birthday, and not only is it the one-year anniversary of her husband leaving her, it’s also the day her bakery is required to make a cake—for her ex’s next wedding. If there’s a bitter taste in her mouth, no one can blame her.

But today, Liz is about to receive a gift. Her Grandma Verda isn’t just wacky; she’s a little witchy. An ancient gypsy magic has been passed through her family bloodline for generations, and it’s Liz’s turn to be empowered. Henceforth, everything she bakes will have a dash of delight and a pinch of wishes-can-come-true. From her hunky policeman neighbor, to her gorgeous personal trainer, to her bum of an ex-husband, everyone Liz knows is going to taste her power. Revenge is sweet…and it’s only the first dish to be served.

Liz and one of her best friends, Jon, own a bakery together. A Taste of Magic is the name of the bakery and as the blurb said not only is it her birthday but she has to make a cake for her ex-husband’s wedding. He left her a year ago after having an affair leaving Liz devastated.

Unbeknownst to Liz her grandmother had just left her with a special gift. The gift of magic. Apparently this magic had been passed on from generation to generation and it was now Liz’s turn. It also manifests itself in different ways so when Liz was baking the cake for her ex she was wishing desperately that he couldn’t get it up for the wedding night and his entire honeymoon. A buzz goes through her body and light flashes into the bowl. Liz thinks the mixer’s gone wonky but when she later hears that her ex was indeed unable to perform she had to stop and think about what exactly happened.

Since Liz is a baker by trade that’s how her magic manifests itself. While she’s baking, and if she truly wishes for something, and asks for it in “the right way”, the magic goes into the baked good. The problem is, Liz starts attempting to “fix” everyone’s problems and that’s where the chaos begins. Liz soon discovers that she can’t fix everyone’s issues with life or their relationships – or their relationships with her.

When I was asked to review this book I really did have my doubts about whether I would like it or not. Not that the book didn’t sound cute, but lately I’ve not been attracted to witches or witch magic. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I think the fact that the magic was coming through in Liz’s baked goods really was an inventive twist. I thought the story had a cute little relationship inside for Liz but it really was a story about Liz coming to terms with her life, her failed marriage, her family and her friends and though doing that was not easy, it was done well. The fact that all of that could be accomplished with humor was an extra bonus, in my opinion.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Shomi Spotlight – Review: Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi

Posted August 14, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Shomi Spotlight – Review: Razor Girl by Marianne MancusiReviewer: Holly
Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi
Series: Apocalypse Later
Publisher: Love Spell
Publication Date: 2008

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Time Travel
Pages: 308
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

THE WORLD HAS ENDED, MOLLY.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

Molly Anderson is not your average twenty-one-year-old. It’s been six years since she and her family escaped into a bunker, led by her conspiracy theorist father and his foreknowledge of a plot to bring about the apocalypse. But her father’s precautions didn’t stop there. Molly is now built to survive.

Yes, Ian Anderson’s favorite book gave him ideas on how to “improve” his daughter. Molly is faster, stronger, and her ocular implants and razor-tipped nails set her apart. Apart, when–venturing alone out of the bunker and into a plague ravaged, monster-ridden wilderness–what Molly needs most is togetherness.

Chase Griffin, a friend from her past, is her best bet. But while he and others have miraculously survived, the kind boy has become a tormented man. Together, these remnants of humanity must struggle toward trusting each other and journey to the one place Molly’s father believed all civilization would be reborn: The Magic Kingdom, where everyone knows it’s a small world after all.

It was with some trepidation that I started this novel. As I mentioned before, it’s hard for me to break out of my comfort zone and try new things. Beyond that even, I was somewhat nervous about this particular book because Molly Anderson is based on the character Molly Millions, most notably from Johnny Mnemonic and Neuromancer (Side Note: I always want to type Necromancer in stead of Neuromancer – no idea why this is: End Side Note), and those are some pretty large shoes to fill.

Six years after a Super Flu wipes out most of humanity, Molly Anderson emerges from a bomb shelter where she and her mother have been holed up. Her father, genius mad scientist Ian Anderson, has turned Molly into a Razor Girl. She has ocular implants over her eyes and 4 inch retractable razors under her fingernails. These are necessary because of “The Others”, victims of the flu who died..and then came back. The living dead. Flesh eating zombies.

Just after leaving the shelter, she runs into Chase Griffin, her high school boyfriend and the one she betrayed the night she was locked into the bunker with her mother. He and his older brother Tank – along with a couple other adults – have been living in the local Wal-Mart with about a dozen children. He invites Molly to join them, but she has to travel to Disney World to meet her father. He told her before sealing her inside the bomb shelter that he and his coleagues were going to reestablish society there. Molly had to move fast, because the nanos her father had implanted in her to make her stronger and faster are going to start breaking down, making her tired and ill.

Shortly after Molly arrives Tank and all the other adults are killed, leaving Chase and Molly in charge of all the children. They decide it would be better for them to travel together to Disney World in hopes of finding a new society. But Molly and Chase are also battling personal demons – and an attraction to each other.

Non-stop action packed. That pretty much describes this novel to a T. I was drawn in from the beginning. Though the tone of the novel is somewhat dark in post apocalyptic America, there is humor interlaced throughout. I literally laughed out loud several times. The world building was fantastic. I was totally drawn in by it.

It flips between past and present from one chapter to the next. At first I thought this wouldn’t work, but it does – surprisingly well, actually. The backstory of when the flu first struck is told throughout the present, which kept me interested. The chapters are also short, which I think helped.

While I enjoyed Molly and Chase as separate characters, I’m still on the fence about them together and how they reacted to each other. There were several misunderstandings, and more than once one or the other decided to make the “ultimate sacrifice” for the other. While I was able to forgive all in the end, it did mar my enjoyment somewhat.

Overall, this was a fast paced action-adventure with a fun twist on an old story. There were a few flaws, but I enjoyed it. I’d say my first foray into the Shomi world was a huge success, and I can’t wait to pick up the next novel.

4.0 out of 5

This book is available from Dorchester August 26, 2008. You can pre-order it here.

four-stars


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Review: News Blues by Marianne Mancusi

Posted February 23, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: News Blues by Marianne MancusiReviewer: Holly
News Blues by Marianne Mancusi
Publisher: Love Spell
Publication Date: 2008

Genres: Fiction
Pages: 309
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four-stars

When she is finally promoted to investigative producer and partnered with the station's sexy new photographer, former moviemaker Jamie Hayes, Maddy Madison finds her good fortune marred by Jamie's impending marriage (not to her) and annoying narcisstic anchor Terrance Toller. Original.

I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Marianne Mancusi and now I know why. News Blues was a wonderful, light, extremely humorous book. I was drawn in from page one.

Maddie is a hilarious character with a dry sense of humor that comes across the pages perfectly. Whether she’s obsessing over finding the perfect Kate Spade knock-off, her animalistic attraction to her sexy new photographer, Jamie, her parents deciding to separate after too many years together to count, or her baby sister who seems to be dealing with the divorce in a not so healthy way, her inner thoughts are hilarious.

When she’s in Tijuana trying to buy a fake Kate Spade (unfortunately not one with a sewn on label) she gets a tip about a big drug trafficking ring that’s going on. Since her new position as “investigative producer” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (her first big story is “Cosmetics that Kill!” only..they don’t really kill), she decides to investigate this new tip on the sly, with the help of her hottie photographer Jamie.

But investigating a drug cartel isn’t as easy as she thinks. And neither is hanging out with her sexy photographer and keeping her hands off him (he is engaged after all). Stolen motorcycles, getting stranded out in the middle of the desert, accidentally taking Ecstasy, letting her younger sister move in with her, only to realize she’s a big party girl…well, all these things add up to a hilarious tale.

There was some depth to it as well. Jamie’s struggle to do the right thing (by staying true to his fiance and not falling for Maddie), Maddie’s struggle to deal with her parents separation (and the fact that her father has knocked up a girl her own age) and her younger sister’s struggle with drugs.

I liked Maddie’s character, but feel she was a bit on the shallow side. Not enough to turn me off, but enough to make me scratch my head over it. And though I should have been bothered by Jamie being engaged to another woman while falling in love with Maddie, I wasn’t. I think the author did a fantastic job of showing us his inner struggle – especially since this was written in the first person and we never saw things from his POV.

I did struggle a bit towards the end, however. There’s a major conflict that arises between Jamie and Maddie that sends her running..and I just didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who want to find out for yourselves, so highlight the text below if you’re interested:

Jamie breaks things off with his fiance and he and Maddie are all set to live HEA together. But then the fiance turns up pregnant and Maddie flips out and breaks up with him. The thing is, he got the fiance pregnant before he and Maddie hooked up, so I don’t see why it was such a big deal. Maddie feels betrayed, and wonders if Jamie will end up leaving her to be with his ex – you know, the whole “We need to be a family thing”. But instead of her fears seeming real, I just felt she was acting childish and shallow. So what if he was having a baby with someone else? It’s not like they were going to get back together. Just didn’t work for me.

Despite the couple issues I had, however, I’d highly recommend this book. Those of you who enjoy Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series will love this book.

4.0 out of 5

This book is available from Dorchester on February 27th (I believe). You can pre-order it here and here.

four-stars


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