February 24, 2012

Review: Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

Title: Casting Spells
Author: Barbara Bretton 
Pages: 299
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Sugar Maple looks like any Vermont town, but it’s inhabited with warlocks, sprites, vampires, witches—and an ancient secret. And Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks & Strings, a popular knitting shop, has a big secret too. She’s a sorcerer’s daughter in search of Mr. Right—and she’s found 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 her.

My Review: When I visited our town library a few days ago seeking books from my Witchy reading list, I nearly didn't take the librarian's advice when she recommended this book. First, it was labeled as a "Romance" (insert finger into throat at the mere thought of mushy romance novels); second, it was dubbed as "fantasy" in the librarian's description (with, you know, Vampires, Selkies, Fae Folk, Trolls - I kept thinking "Um, Miss, I'm not 12 anymore - can't you see the gray hair?"); and third, the main character owned and operated a popular knitting shop (needle crafts are cool but I can't do them and this was really sounding B-O-R-I-N-G).

In the first couple chapters or so, I nearly gave up on the book - thinking it just wasn't for my taste, but I'm SO glad I kept reading!

Barbara Bretton's writing is brilliant! She weaves an intriguing mix of fantasy, reality, passion, mortality and magic - drawing you into the scenes and into the emotions of the characters. She seemed to easily slip into her well-defined characters - transitioning from male to female (and back again) without a hitch. I found myself trying to piece together more than one mystery, trying to guess the outcome (I was WAY off - unusual for me - so this was a pleasant surprise), rooting for the characters and wanting to be there to help them with their challenges.

I'm not experienced at writing reviews, but I do think - after reading hundreds of novels over the years - that I'm a fairly tough critic. It's very hard to hit five stars with me. Long before the end of the story I was turning pages like crazy - yet not wanting the story to end. By the time I'd finished, I had gained new (positive) perspectives into my long-held negative views of "romances", "fantasies"...and even knitting! I'm anxious to read the next in this series. I believe the librarian said that there are three books in this particular group from Bretton.

Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA.  She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.


Melissa said...

I read this book...last year I think it was...and I really enjoyed it as well... No huge suspenseful moments but just a great smooth fun read that keeps you turning pages.  Plus the setting and characters..love it:)


PS I'm playing comment catch up today! lol

Polly said...

Hi Melissa! Yes, you're right it is a smooth read minus huge suspenseful moments, yet very much worth it I think. :) Have you read the next two in this series?

Tresa said...

I too truly enjoyed this book... it was on Melissa's list of witch books to read for the challenge. I too was weary about the knitting, but as you agree it was a really good book. 

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