Tag: Barbara Bretton

Guest Review: Spun by Sorcery by Barbara Bretton

Posted November 17, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Mary‘s review of Spun by Sorcery (Sugar Maple Series, Book 3) by Barbara Bretton.

Chloe is always losing things-but an entire town? Just when she was about to settle down in Sugar Maple with her soul-mate Luke MacKenzie, her Fae enemy Isadora strikes, and her new hometown is gone. Even the Book of Spells, her lifeline to magick, can’t help her now. Just in the nick of time, her friend Janice roars up in Chloe’s ancient Buick with Penny the cat and her yarn stash in tow. If she is going to save her home she has to go back to Salem, where family secrets and centuries- old feuds pull her into the fight of her life.

I’ve found a new series! Love it when that happens. The third in Barbara Bretton’s Sugar Maple series, SPUN BY SORCERY is a magical trip to Salem and back as half-sorceress Chloe Hobbs tries to figure out what happened to her beloved town of Sugar Maple, which seems to have disappeared right off the map. Accompanied by love-of-her-life Luke, friend Janice, and thousand-year-old cat Penny, Chloe reluctantly travels to Salem in an effort to find what magic sent her town away and what magic can bring it back.

Along the way, she finds out that her honey, Luke, hasn’t spoken to his rather large family in several years, ever since the death of his wife and daughter. She didn’t even seem to realize he had such a big family or show any desire to meet them, which made me think she was a bit self-centered. However, I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt because I haven’t read the other books in this series (though I plan to!) and because they were in the middle of a crisis when they passed near Luke’s hometown. Speaking of family, she learns more about her witch-y side of the family, which helps her find the key to saving Sugar Maple and bringing it back into this world.

I enjoyed the word-play of the characters. Chloe and Luke had great chemistry and truly seemed to love each other, as evidenced by both their actions and their words. There wasn’t a whole lot in the way of romance, just a quick, very tame love scene, but that didn’t diminish their connection. Janice and Penny were great additions to the story, helping add to the tension and mystery. I liked the concept of Penny as a familiar who’s been with the family since the beginning.

When I first picked up this book, I had to laugh—I’ve been thinking about trying my hand at knitting and here was a book where the main character not only owned a knitting shop, she was completely obsessed with it (to the point where she was highly distressed by the fact that, not only had her town gone poof, her fiber and yarn “stash” had disappeared, too. Actually, she seemed more upset by that than anything. I thought it was funny but a knitter would probably get a huge kick out of it.). I’m taking it as a sign—guess I’m going to have to pick up some knitting needles and some yarn and see if I catch the knitting bug!

The only thing I didn’t like were the shifting first person perspectives, where both Chloe and Luke took turns telling their side of the story. I’m not a big fan of this type of point of view for the mere fact that I’m easily confused. Luckily, the author did label each chapter/section, which made it a little easier but, to me, if you’re going to tell a story from multiple perspectives, I really prefer you do it using third person omniscient. But, again, that’s just my preference.

Spinning in a great sense of humor and strong pinch of mystery, Barbara Bretton knits together a magical story about the power of connections, family and love. (How’s that for overuse of knitting references?) Oh, and for all you knitters out there, at the end of the book, the author includes several patterns for you to experiment with.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

The series:

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Review: Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

Posted November 6, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

USA Today bestselling author Barbara Bretton has always enchanted readers. But this time, she really casts a spell in a new series of magic and murder weaving its way into the lives of New England’s most unusual town–and most unique knitting store . . .

Sugar Maple looks like any bucolic Vermont town, but when the tourists go home it’s a different story—inhabited as it is with warlocks, sprites, vampires, witches, and an ancient secret. And I know all about secrets. I’m Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks & String, a popular knit shop where your yarn never tangles, you always get gauge . . . and the knitter sitting next to you comes out only after dark.

I’m also the sorcerer’s daughter–a single sorcerer’s daughter with Sugar Maple’s future in her hands which means the whole town is casting spells meant to help me find Mr. Right. Who’d have guessed I’d find him in Luke MacKenzie, a cop investigating Sugar Maple’s very first murder? Bad news is he’s 100% human which could spell disaster for a normal future with a paranormal woman like me–in love, in danger, and in way over my head.

Casting Spells is the first book in a new series by Barbara Bretton centered on a small New England town called Sugar Maple. Recently I’ve been looking for paranormal romances that don’t have anything to do with shape-shifters or vampires, but some kind of magical element. This really fit the bill.

Chloe Hobbs is the only nonmagick human living in a town full of magical creatures. She’s the daughter of a powerful sorceress and a human man who holds the fate of the entire town in her hands. Her line is the one who holds Book of Spells and maintains the protective spells that surrounds the town and keeps it’s secrets safe. But the spell is only good as long as there is a woman from her line alive. Since Chloe is the last of her line, single, and 30, the spell is beginning to weaken.

When a young woman is accidentally killed, a detective from Boston is sent to investigate. But Luke MacKenzie isn’t what Chloe expected. He’s gorgeous, intelligent and sparks fly (literally) when they touch each other. But having a human cop in a town filled with secrets is a recipe for disaster. When a power Fae decides she wants the Book of Spells so she can gain control of the fate of the town, things start spiraling out of control.

I think the main reason this book worked for me, and one of the things I was looking for in a paranormal (besides no vamps or shifters), is how light of a read it was. Although there were definitely a lot of different paranormal elements, the book didn’t take itself too seriously. I really enjoyed that.

The town was interesting and I really enjoyed the basic premise of the story. Each secondary character offered flavor and enhanced the story, but didn’t overwhelm it. I liked both Chloe and Luke. They had serious chemistry. Unfortunately, it seems that was all they had. I don’t understand how it was they came to be in love with each other in a matter of days. Especially since all they did when they were together was bicker or kiss. I definitely think they were attracted to each other, but I really don’t believe they were in love.

While I certainly enjoyed the story, I had a lot of issues with it. There seemed to be a lot of loose ends left open, ones that I think were pivotal to the story. For example, it’s mentioned several times that Luke is looking to escape from Boston and disappear into some small town. Only we’re never told why he wants to disappear. There were several other things left open, too.

The other problem I had was the knitting-speak. I’m not a knitter, and therefore none of the verbiage meant a thing to me. I don’t know what purl, drop, gauge, or any of those other terms meant, so I was somewhat lost at times.

I know it sounds like I didn’t like this novel, but I did. It was a light story that flowed well. The characters and central plot were interesting and the writing flowed very well. I just wish things had been tightened up a bit more.

I would definitely recommend this if you’re in the mood for a well written, quick, light, but somewhat flawed read.

3.25 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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