20 October 2009

Laced With Magic Book Review

Authoress: Barbara Bretton
Pages: 329 (Softcover)
Genres: Adult | Paranormal Romance

My preface: I had not visited Sugar Maple (the magical Norman Rockwell town in the Vermont mountains that is home to a whole slew of vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, trolls, selkies, and fairies) since reading Casting Spells a little over a month ago. But with Halloween just around the corner I figured what better time to revisit the picturesque bewitching town.

Plus I had to see how things are going for Chloe (part human/part sorceress) and her new beau (the very human) Luke.

My summary: Chloe and Luke where just getting the hang on love when out of nowhere Luke's ex-wife shows up in town proclaiming she has seen and heard from their dead daughter (Steffie), she needs help, and she is not taking no for an answer.

New love, old love, loss, and peril all collide in this one. Sparks are going to fly (literally).

Off the cover: "Chloe, who's still getting a handle on her powers, is about to discover that love may not conqueror all, but a nasty Fae certainly can..."

"Now it seems Steffie's spirit is being held hostage by a certain Fae leader. And if I weave a spell to free her spirit, my nemesis will also be free - free to destroy my yarn shop, all of Sugar Maple, and everyone in it."

My say: Laced with Magic pleasantly surprised me by exceeding it's predecessor (Casting Spells) and my expectations.

I was expecting a light revisit to Sugar Maple. What I was not expecting is a story that is witty, enchanting, exciting, and at times totally heart wrenching.

The story is told in first person but deliciously trades perspectives between the main gal (Chloe), her boyfriend (Luke), and his ex-wife (Karen).

The result? Contemporary romantic brilliance.

The reader gets to see what it is like for:
1. The ex-wife who still believes she knows what her ex-husband is all about
2. The girlfriend who is afraid she doesn't know her boyfriend enough
3. The newly in love / ex-husband who is still mourning the loss of his daughter

The character's voices are genuine and at times laugh out loud funny.

The emotions and pains are so true you just know they are brimming forth from the cranium of a well seasoned veteran of life, love, and loss.

Themes includes but are not limited to finding your place in love, facing your past, letting go of your past, the loss of a child (and how men and women handle that differently), and the loss of a parent.

My rating: 5 stars; I borrowed this one from the library and love it so much I need to purchase a copy for my own library.

The Meter Readings:
Adventure-o-meter: Medium-high; When it is not high on the emotion it is high on the action.
Kiddie-o-meter: This one is written for grown girls so there is sexiness, hot lovin', a little foul language, and a young girl being held hostage.
Adult-o-meter: Grab this one girls. It is humorous, emotional, and non stop fun.

Love the love?: Yes. Chloe and Luke downright sizzle and pop.

Cover love?: Is it not just lovely? The cover makes me want to run my hands through baskets of roving and peek inside the magical cash register.

Crushin'?: Yes but yet again it is on a secondary character. My crush is on Chloe's best friend Gunnar. He is amazingly handsome, kind, and selfless. I can only pray there is more Gunnar to come.

Worth-a-read?: Yes. Definitely. Also please note: even though it helps to read Casting Spells first, it is not necessary. This one stands well enough on it's own.

Knitting terms from and for non knitters:
(In the story Chloe owns a knitting shop. Therefore, this series contains various references to knitting. To assist I made a little list of some of the terminology I encountered.)
Aran sweater: A type of sweater that takes it's name from a type of knitting that originated in the Aran island off the coast of Ireland.
Cobblestone: A type of knit sweater.
Mohair: A silk-like fabric made from the hair of Angora goats
Roving: A long and narrow bundle of fiber
Stockinette: A type of stitch that has a tendency to curl at the edges

Quoteables: "Remember the old TV show The Munsters? Marilyn 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 world came calling, I was the one who answered."

"Now all I had to do for the next eight hours was make sure the cutlery didn't stage a performance of "Be My Guest".

"I used to have fantasies that I was Sandy in Grease, and one day my own personal Danny Zuko would find me and we'd fly up up and away from Rydell High in a vintage Ford convertible. Let's just say the fantasy was a whole lot better than the fact. For one thing, Danny Zuko's ex didn't pass out cold in the backseat the second we went airborne."

1. There will be a total of four books in the Sugar Maple series. Barbara announced it on her blog August 17th.
2. Barbara has sneak peaks of the first two chapters on her blog. Click here to read chapter 1 of Laced With Magic or chapter 2 of Laced with Magic.

Mini-Contest: The first two commentators to tell me the name of their favorite fictional witch will receive a free magnet, bookmark, and book plate compliments of Barbara Bretton. Please do not forget to include your email address.

My final say: Part three can not come fast enough.


  1. My current favorite fictional witch is Tamsin from Once a Witch. She thinks she's normal, but when things pan out for her, she turns out to be one of the most interesting (powerful) witches of them all.

    Great review by the way, I loved this book!

  2. I forgot my email address, lmao..even after you said not to forget it!


  3. My favorite witches are Mary Poppins and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I like nice witches.

    E-mail mary.e.campbell(at)comcast(dot)net

  4. Excellent ladies! I'll be contacting you for your physical addresses.

  5. Great review, Juju. How very unusual to have the whole knitting thing going on. I like the sound of this.

  6. Great review! In answer to the question, the most recent read for me with a witch character (and my favorite at this time) would be Tamsin from Once a Witch. (I see she is a favorite here as well!) Although not generally a reader of the true "romance" books, it sounds like the story in this one takes center stage...and that cover? Gotta love the cover...

  7. I'll be looking for this at my library :) Great review!

  8. Great review, Juju!
    I need to pick up this series, it sounds terrific.

  9. Wonderful review. Impressive that you would buy it. I'll have to check out this series!

  10. I like the quotes you included in your review. I'll be adding the first book in this series to my wishlist. :)

  11. How long do you have to wait for part 3? Hopefully not too long.

  12. Damn! I came too last *shakes fists in aggravation* But at least I got to read an awesome review ;)

    I've always thought knitting was cool. Have you ever heard of the Chicks with Sticks series? It's very cute (and centers around knitting of course!) The cat on the cover makes me think of Salem from Sabrina the teenage witch.. xD

  13. Beach: No word yet on a release date for part 3. The ending is quite the cliff hanger so I can't wait.

    Pirate: Chicks with Sticks? No I've never heard of it. Sounds cool. I need to check it out. Thanks for the tip. You are SO right about the cat. He or she does look like Salem.

  14. I wanted to read this series, but just hadn't gotten around to it. I will now though! Thanks for the review.

  15. I need to read this series! It sounds like the type of book I need right now. Great review!

  16. Oh, this really does sound good! I'm glad you enjoyed it and now I must add it to my list :)

  17. I have two awards for you here:



  18. Oh, great review! I read the first one a while ago and really enjoyed it (which reminds me I still have to write the review), and reading your review makes me want to go out and buy the second book now! Which I will probably do this week or the next. And I am so happy to know there will be a total of 4 books!

  19. I love reading your reviews!
    They are done with such brilliance and wit,
    I hope someone pays you well enough for your talents.

  20. Ahhhh thank you Merisi :)
    I think the very same thing of you every time I visit your gorgeous photo blog.

    Kay: You know. Come to think of it. I think I heard of the series on your blog. Thank you Kay!

    Andrea: Thanks sweetie. I'm off to check it out.