5 Romance Novels To Read If You Like Practical Magic (the movie)

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Sally and Gilly Owens live on a small island with their two aunts. On the surface, they seem normal. Gilly is a wild party girl who wants to travel and fall in love while Sally wants to put down roots, raise her children, and manage a local skin and hair care shop. But the two women actually come from a long line of witches and live under a family curse that says any man who falls in love with an Owens woman will die an untimely death.

When Sally helps Gilly escape an abusive lover, Jimmy and ends up killing him in the process, Sally and Gilly try to cover it up. But when state investigator Gary Hallet comes by to investigate Jimmy’s disappearance, Sally and Gilly’s cover-up comes back to haunt them in more ways than one. Keeping quiet becomes increasingly difficult as strange things keep happening at the Owens residence, including roses growing overnight, Jimmy’s favorite tequila being left on the front porch, and a strange man is seen by roses that grew overnight. Sally also must fight the strange connection and attraction she feels to Gary, especially as he gets further to the truth.

Practical Magic is a fantastic movie based on a book by Alice Hoffman. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are great as sisters and Aidan Quinn makes for a sexy Gary Hallet. It’s a great movie to watch, especially around Halloween. If you like Practical Magic then you will love these five romance novels.

1) Eternity by Maggie Shayne

2940046326536_p0_v2_s192x300Genre: Fantasy

Word Count: 114,060

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.98 out of 5 stars

Read my review of Eternity.

300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.

Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.

300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.

This book is perfect for Practical Magic fans. Not only are there good witches and plenty of magic, but it also takes place in a small town with a lot of the same small town gossip that affects Gilly and Sally. Raven and her sister also have the same strong bond Gilly and Sally have. While the Dark Witch isn’t Raven’s ex-lover, he is a person from her past who threatens her life like how Jimmy threatens Gilly.

Get Eternity for free on Smashwords.

2) Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts

22522045Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 400

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Read my review of Dance Upon the Air.

When Nell Channing arrives on charming Three Sisters Island, she believes that she’s finally found refuge from her abusive husband—and from the terrifying life she fled so desperately eight months ago…

But even in this quiet, peaceful place, Nell never feels entirely at ease. Careful to conceal her true identity, she takes a job as a cook at the local bookstore café—and begins to explore her feelings for the island sheriff, Zack Todd. But there is a part of herself she can never reveal to him—for she must continue to guard her secrets if she wants to keep the past at bay. One careless word, one misplaced confidence, and the new life she’s created so carefully could shatter completely.

Just as Nell starts to wonder if she’ll ever be able to break free of her fear, she realizes that the island suffers under a terrible curse—one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled the island back in 1692. And now, with the help of two other strong, gifted women—and with the nightmares of the past haunting her every step—she must find the power to save her home, her love…and herself…

Witches, islands, curses, and an abusive lover. This book is practically made for people who like Practical Magic. While the bond between the women isn’t that strong in this book– they’ve only just met, after all– they do have a strong and complex friendship. Zach Todd is also perfect for Nell after her controlling husband and they have a great love story.

Buy Dance Upon the Air at your local independent bookstore and save struggling forests by supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

3) The Boundless Deep by Kate Brallier

9780765319722Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 432

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.86 out of 5 stars

Grad student Liza has long been plagued by vivid dreams of whaling. Offered the chance to trade her land-locked existence for a summer on Nantucket, the well-preserved heart of New England’s whaling trade, Liza jumps at the chance, eager to see how well her dreams mesh with historical reality.

The answer is: all too well. Liza’s dreams become highly sexual; her visions of ship’s captain Obadiah Young grow increasingly intense. At times the past and present mix before her eyes, with automobiles replaced by horse-drawn carriages.

Though skeptical of Liza’s claims of a past life, whaling museum curator Adam is drawn to Liza’s intense desire to know the truth—about herself, and about Obadiah, accused of murdering his beautiful, young wife. But Adam isn’t the only man with an interest in Liza—handsome Lucian, whose home Liza is sharing for the season, has designs on her as well.

In a single summer, Liza must answer the riddle of her dreams, reunite lovers separated by death, solve a hundred-year-old murder . . . and figure out her heart’s desire.

While there are no witches here, the setting of Nantucket reminds me a lot of the island in Pracical Magic and there is a similar atmosphere. This book is great for people who like the strong family legacy aspect in Practical Magic. Instead of a curse that needs to be broken, there is a mystery and to be solved and nightmares to be banished.

Buy The Boundless Deep at your local bookstore and save struggling forests by supporting the Arbor Day Foundation. 

4) My Romance Curse by Wren Tirrell

Beautiful woman on the beach.Genre: Contemporary, Comedy

Page Count: 214

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Amy has a small flaw in her love life – her boyfriends die on her. Two, so far. With her fear of dead boyfriends, her live ones don’t last long before she dumps them.

Until the day her beloved bicycle, Marge, takes a dive into the sea at Nelly Bay. Can Lukas, her bicycle rescuer, Viking geek scientist, and man with the gymnastic finger-porn expertise be different and survive the curse?

Smitten by Amy, he sure wants to be.

Curses don’t exist. So when bad things happen, things that *might* be impossible, Lukas sees cracks opening in his rule-driven world.

With Wally the border collie by their side, key roles in a movie called Night of the Living Teddy Bears and Zombies, and a whole lot of friends with good, bad, and dirty suggestions, they’re planning to foil this curse.

Just like in Practical Magic, the curse of the dying lovers needs to be broken and there’s a man willing to try so he can be with the woman he loves. Or at least lusts over.

Buy My Romantic Curse at your local bookstore and save struggling forests by supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

5) Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost

would-bewitchmmcoverThe family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets are a few untimely visits from long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost Edie. But when her locket-an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.

After a few experiences with her dysfunctional magic, Tammy turns to the only person in small-town Duval, Texas, who can help: the very rich and highly magical Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers-and a 007 savoir-faire to boot-but the locket isn’t the only heirloom passed down in Tammy’s family. She also inherited a warning: stay away from Lyons.

A family of witches is right up the ally of any fan of Practical Magic. Even though this isn’t a story of a witch denying her powers (like Sally did) and it’s a story of a witch being denied her powers by the universe, the family of witches and the small town setting is perfect for fans of the 1998 classic movie.

Buy Would-Be Witch from your local bookstore and save struggling forests by supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

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Book Review: Jewels of Truth: The Journey of the Soul Continues by Ivan A. Pozo-Illas A.K.A Atrayo

jewels_of_truth_the_journey_of_the_soul_continues-pozo-illas_a_k_a_atrayo_ivan_a-32850670-556066055-frntlGenre: Non-fiction, Spiritual, Non-romance

Page Count: 258 pages

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Your spiritual journey of self-improvement continues in volume three of the Jewels of Truth series by Ivan A. Pozo-Illas, a.k.a. Atrayo. In this new compendium of 365 statements of spiritual wisdom, Atrayo shares daily inspirational tools to explore all of the must-haves in your life, including love, faith, forgiveness, and certainly, God(dess).

From these poignant and concise statements, rather than lengthy diatribes, you can easily and quickly find the essential kernel of truth to help you on your journey today.

No matter your religious or spiritual traditions or background, this volume is written from an all-inclusive perspective. Jewels of Truth: The Journey of the Soul Continues is the sacred and uplifting result of clairvoyant automatic writing as the genesis motivation to reach the masses. The channeled spirit teachers are all angelic in divine nature. They are nameless as a united continuum of the Holy Spirit.

Spirituality has a core need in our lives. No matter where you are on your journey, these messages of hope are shared in love.

Let me start off by saying that I am really not qualified to be reviewing this book. Ivan A. Pozo-Illas was generous enough to donate to the Borgen Project in exchange for an honest review. While I am happy to do it, I am probably not doing this book justice.

As someone with absolutely no background in philosophy or religion, this was a difficult book to get through and review.

I do know that despite the author’s claims of it being all-inclusive for all religious backgrounds, the book was more tilted to the Christian faith, with most of the proverbs talking about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. There were plenty of mentions of God(dess) as well, which was the basically only indication these statements of wisdom were not strictly for Christian. While Mohammed, Buddha, and Krishna are mentioned maybe four times, and always in a list of other important religious figures from different religions (never for their specific teachings), Jesus is mentioned 22 times, usually in passages like this:

It has been written in the Biblical New Testament that “Jesus the Christ” once stated that to enter the “Kingdom of God” one must be as innocent as a child in spirit.

On top of that, these statements of wisdom, to me at least, were pretty long and wordy. It was difficult to get through. A lot of the time I did not understand what was being said, but that could just be chalked up to my own ignorance on the subject.

This is probably more useful to people more educated about spirituality than me, but it is definitely not for the everyday person, at least not most of it. There were some things that were interesting, like this quote celebrating diversity in religions.

No one religion can have a monopoly on God and/or on his favoritism. To say so is a lie and a sin to the diversity within Creation itself.

For the people more educated about spirituality, this could be a useful book. For beginners like me, not as much. You can get Jewels of Truth at your local bookstore. By buying it through this link, you will also be supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

Husband and Wife Write Letters to the Bitter End

Book Review: To the One I Love by Dawn Gena

to_the_one_i_love_cover_for_kindle00001Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 3,880

Average Smashwords Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Through letters, Jonathan and Emily profess their love for each other. You can see snapshots of their lives as they meet and marry, and part ways. Time is fluid in this, with only the Chinese zodiac signs to give you an idea about how much time has passed.

This story was way too short and everything happened way too fast. It was like watching a television show for the first time and skipping entire seasons between episodes.

For instance, the mothers of the two main characters got into a fist fight at the engagement party and at least one of them was arrested for it. Why did the fight start? Do the mothers have a history of being violent? Maybe they have bad history.

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The ending was abrupt. It implied a violent ending that had no foreshadowing in the previous letters.  The story is a series of romantic snapshots into these people’s’ lives, but I would have preferred a little more reality with some context to what was happening.

The writing drove me crazy at times, too. Mostly it was witty, passionate and made me smile.

What other lovers? Whoever came before you fell out of existence at your first caress. You are my only…for now through eternity.

But sometimes it was pretentious and absurdly wordy.

“Fleeting and cold is my opinion of email, text and phone calls. I make no apologies for my old fashioned views on modern technology. It may not be instant, and might take a bit more effort (of which you are more than worthy!), but I prefer to sit and put pen to paper.”

It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great, either. Bascomville and Grind are both better literary romances.

You can find it for free on Smashwords.

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Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne

6baad4c8166fb3b89d4ff0a592bfab85300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.

Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.

300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.

Continue reading “Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne”

Book Review: Bascomville by Mark A. Calde

Genre: Contemporary, Teen

Page Count: 284

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the life of Max Bascom, whose home is Bascomville. Bascomville has its own special kind of normal, where fathers can get job leads from their sons and Christmas dinners can end up to be Chinese take out. Max does his best to navigate Bascomville and to keep it running as smoothly as possible through good times and tragedy. And he also forms a special bond with the girl next door, Janice, who understands Bascomville despite coming from a world much different. 

This book is so fabulously written. I usually don’t take review requests, but I’m glad I did for this book. It’s part romance, part literary masterpiece, and it captures “growing up” so well. I wish I had this book when I was in middle school or high school because I can relate to making your own kind of normal.

“Us? Normal?”

“How do you know we aren’t? How do we know everybody doesn’t make their own?”

She considered this for a moment then dismissed it. “If everybody made their own then nothing would be normal. Nothing could ever be normal.”

“Exactly.”

That’s my kind of definition of normal. And I think everyone needs to remember that normalcy doesn’t really exist a little bit more.

I didn’t see the plot twists coming ahead of time and I never got bored. On top of that, this book is incredibly quotable. There’s some good life advice in here, like when Max helped Janice cover up vandalism on her house:

And I knew then that ultimately we can save neither ourselves nor our loved ones from life. We can only live it.

Max is a complex character that I like and dislike. He is, ultimately, human, not a hero. He tends to overreact sometimes when Janice is involved, but for the most part he’s likeable. He’s loyal to his family, loves his little sister, and wishes for a world with a level playing field.

My favorite character is his little sister Lily, though. She actually has it worse than Max. She lives at home with her parents after Max goes to college and has to deal with her mother pretending she doesn’t exist and her father pretending to be her best friend to make up for it. Her home life is lousy at best and she practically raises herself for her last years of high school. But she’s strong enough to not break under pressure and she’s not one for self-pity.

“Fair is for dorks. I don’t need fair to make things work.”– Lily Bascom

So why only a 4.5 instead of a 5?

It’s because of the long descriptions, like this one that characterizes Mr. Birnbaum, Janice’s father, through his workshop.

I stepped inside and caught my breath. It was, to me, a foreign wonderland, this workshop. I am not a particularly handy person, and the panorama of neatly arranged rows of tools hanging on pegboards, the fittings categorized in plastic bins, the copper piping slung above the rafters, the worktables and vises and clamps and braided electrical cords all echoed the prowess of this man. I felt humbled, and strangely calm. I still wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing but I was no longer nervous about it. I could leave disappointed, even chastised, and be all right with it. Such was the power of Sheldon Birnbaum and this place.

While these descriptions certainly add character and depth to the story, they can sometimes be a little excessive and make my attention lag. This book is certainly not a fluff book and isn’t meant to be one, but the long descriptions make it slightly more harder to get through than it has to be.

This is a good book for anyone to read and I can’t recommend it enough, especially to teens. It helps us remember that we all need to make our own normal.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to get my list of high quality free romance novels when it’s finished, as well as updates about my blog and exclusive content. I’m in the final stages of editing and hope to be done soon. Have a good day!

5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017

171241-smart-bitches-who-love-trashy-books

Smart Bitches Trashy Books

These guys are the ultimate romance novel bloggers. With snarky reviews, cover snark, shopping lists, giveaways and Help a Bitch Out (for when you can’t remember the name of that book you love) there’s plenty here for everyone. SBTB is great for when you want to find new romance recommendations, or just need some laughs. One of my favorites is reading the Cover Snark, because it’s hilarious. Here’s an excerpt from one of their most recent Cover Snark, this one for the cover of the box set Dirty Desires. 

Continue reading “5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017”

Book Review: DreamZ by A. R. Von

25421901-_uy472_ss472_Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Word Count: 12,470

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.54/5 stars

My rating: 3/5 stars

To be honest, I automatically started to dislike this book because “Dreams” is spelled with a Z. And while it was okay, it was not as good as it could have been.

Wunder has been dreaming about a man for as long as she can remember, always the same man. The dreams leave her aroused to no end at night. Unfortunately, this man doesn’t exist in her life, at least not yet. But her love life is nonexistent and thanks to her being half zombie, that’s not going to change any time soon.

Continue reading “Book Review: DreamZ by A. R. Von”