Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2018
Title: Casting Spells
Series: The Sugar Maple Chronicles
Author: Barbara Bretton
Designation: Book One of Series, Full-Length, Can Be Read As Standalone, No Cliffhanger, Happy For Now Ending #paranormal #supernatural #fantasy #romance #magick #fae #shapeshifters #vampires #sorcerers #trolls #selkies
My Rating: Three Entertaining Stars***
Growing up, I was fascinated by my mother's ability to sew, knit and crochet. I even watched my grandmother and great grandmother use spinning wheels to spin wool into yarn. And yes, I'm that old! Through my eyes as a child, it seemed magical watching them create their colorful masterpieces. I remember asking my mom if it was magic and she would always reply: 'In a way, I guess it is magic, but it's the kind that can be done by anyone who's willing to make the effort and put their heart into it.' Unfortunately, I didn't inherit her talent, but I admire anyone possessing the ability and patience to make such beautiful creations. And believe me, I discovered quickly that knitting is a craft requiring years of hard work, skill, and countless hours of practice. Barbara Bretton is a new-to-me author, so I had no idea what to expect, but the knitting aspect of this story immediately snagged my interest. I did my due diligence by reading the blurb and several of the reviews, then made my purchase and dove in. And color me very pleasantly surprised. I found myself instantly drawn into the story and the town of Sugar Maple, Vermont. Casting Spells is a delightful cross between a sweet, clean paranormal romance, a delightful comedic whodunit, and an edge of your seat cozy mystery infused with a large cast of fascinating characters, an intriguing premise, an engaging storyline, a generous splash of suspense, a sprinkle of humor, and lots and lots of magic. The narrative was written in the first person with clearly defined his and her perspectives. The dialogue was smart, snappy, and flowed effortlessly. I was immediately smitten with the two protagonists, shop owner and Sugar Maple honorary mayor Chloe Hobbs and Boston police detective Luke McKenzie. I was spellbound by the interaction and chemistry between Chloe and Luke. When these two meet, attraction ignites, sparks fly, and passion explodes! And I do mean literally! I love stories in which the hearts of the hero and heroine know instantly what it wants, even if it does take their brain a while to catch up. Seeing them struggle to recognize their feelings is always the best part of the story, although I will admit, I did have my doubts about the outcome of the future for Chloe and Luke. When that happens, you know the writer has done their job exceptionally well, and Bretton certainly did because by the end, I was sniffling, snuffling, and angrily wiping tears, truly believing there could be no happy ending for our unlikely lovers. But thankfully, fate refuses to be denied and love always wins, at least that's what my heart chooses to believe. So, did I like this book! Yes, I did, very much! So why only three stars? I'm not trying to be a negative nelly but there were quite a few typos and several inconsistencies, one of which completely disrupted the flow of the story. The most noticeable was an important part of a scene missing in my book that should have occurred in Chapter 10 during Luke and Chloe's first dinner date/official business meeting to discuss the case. There were continued references throughout the story about Luke meeting Gunnar at the restaurant and a glass of wine which mysteriously(magically) flew across the table and ended up in Luke's lap - but it never happened, at least not in my copy. Gunnar nor the glass of wine were ever in the scene. And I searched-several times. It kinda broke my heart because I really liked this book. I was very disappointed. This story could have been so much better with a professional proofread and a little more attention to detail from the author. Would I recommend it? Yes, and I am for anyone age 14 and above. It's clean, sweet, and there is romance but no explicit sex. It does contain mild violence, but it's not gory or graphic, however the story is based on a murder mystery. Will I read this author again? Absolutely! This may have been my first time reading the work of Barbara Bretton, but it certainly won't be my last! And finally, was I entertained? Completely! If you enjoy paranormal cozy mysteries generously seasoned with romance, I'd give this book a whirl, especially if you enjoy a little humor and a lot of knitting!
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