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Casting Spells Paperback – November 4, 2008

64 customer reviews

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Casting Spells + Laced with Magic + Spun By Sorcery (Sugar Maple Chronicles, Book 3)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tongue-in-cheek humor lifts this weird but fun hybrid, part knitting cozy, part paranormal romance, from romance veteran Bretton (Just Desserts). After a classy female tourist drowns mysteriously in an icy lake in remote Sugar Maple, Vt., the Montpelier authorities ask Boston homicide cop Luke MacKenzie to investigate. As Sugar Maple's temporary police chief, Luke soon notices the village's odd ambience. Originally a haven for witches who fled the Salem witchcraft trials three centuries earlier, Sugar Maple is now home to witches, vampires, fairies and trolls. Luke is also attracted to Chloe Hobbs, the half-human owner of the knitting shop Sticks & Strings, who must find Mr. Right if she's to preserve the spell that sustains the town's unusual residents. As sparks literally fly between the two, Chloe's "magickal" side stirs into life. Bretton charmingly depicts how love empowers Chloe and awakens Luke to some major surprises. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Although Chloe Hobbs’ Sticks and Strings has been named New England’s number-one knit shop two years in a row, the other residents of the quintessential small town of Sugar Maple, Vermont, don’t want to draw attention to themselves. Shape-shifters, vampires, sprites, and other supernatural beings, they live under a protective spell spun by Chloe’s ancestors. Since Chloe is only half magik, with a human father and a sorceress mother, the spell is growing weaker. So the townspeople are busily setting her up with otherworldly males, ranging from trolls to selkies, in hopes that with a paranormal partner, Chloe will find her inner enchantress, and Sugar Maple will once again be safe. Unfortunately, their matchmaking efforts fail, and a woman is murdered, the first homicide since the spell was cast. Luke MacKenzie, the human detective investigating the homicide, is instantly attracted to Chloe. Much to the dismay of the town, the feeling is mutual, and the fate of Sugar Maple hangs in the balance. Bretton (Someone like You, 2005; Just like Heaven, 2007; Just Desserts, 2008) spins an imaginative and charming tale. --Shelley Mosley

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425223647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425223642
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In the month of February 1982 I wrote and sold my first novel. And no, I wouldn't believe it either if it hadn't happened to me. I sent in my manuscript on Thursday February 21, 1982 and four days later the telephone rang and I heard the amazing words, "We want to buy your book." How I wish you could have seen me. I was standing by the kitchen door of our North Babylon house, the picture of cool sophistication, as I listened to Vivian Stephens explain the terms of the deal to me. You would have thought I'd sold a first book every single day of my life. Yes, I said. Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for calling. I look forward to our association. That cool sophistication hung on until I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, then promptly threw up on my shoes.

I was thirty-one years old, unagented, unschooled, unfamiliar with anything to do with the business of publishing. To put it mildly, I was in shock. My husband was working in Manhattan at the time (and finishing up his degree at night) so it would be hours until I could break the news to him. This was too exciting to waste on a phone call. I wanted to see his face when I told him that my dream had finally come true -- and came with a $6000 advance!

He pulled into the driveway at midnight. I was waiting in the doorway, holding a bottle of champagne and two glasses. I didn't have to say a word. He knew right away and the look of joy and pride in his eyes warms me now, years later, long after the advance faded into memory.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Wendy D. Johnson on November 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Up-front disclaimer: I know the author of "Casting Spells," but no one asked me to write this review. I can tell you honestly that I would never recommend a book I did not enjoy.

This is a delightful book about a small town that has a magical secret. At the center of the story is our heroine, Chloe, who runs a wildly successful yarn shop.

(The previous reviewer has created a nice little plot synopsis so I won't repeat it here.)

This book was such an enjoyable read! I am a knitter and loved all the knitting and yarn content throughout the story, but you absolutely don't need to be a knitter to enjoy this book. I read quickly and eagerly, and then was sorry when I got to the end, as I am with all good stories.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on November 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Chloe Hobbs, resident of Sugar Maple, Vermont, is the only one who cannot see the magic of the town. Chloe has yet to fall in love and come into her own powers as sorcerer and protector of the town. Chloe is the offspring of generations of sorcerers and each only come into their own powers through the gift of love. Chloe's mother found her love in the form of a human.

When Chloe was six years old her parents died in a car accident and left Chloe with resident Sorcha. As Chloe gets older the spell her mother cast on the town gets weaker and weaker. Chloe is now 30 years old and the town has had two incidents of human contact they would rather forget. Only this recent accident has brought police officer Luke Mackenzie into their midst. The town hasn't had a human resident in years nor wishes to do so.

Luke Mackenzie comes to Sugar Maple to investigate the accidental death of his friend Suzanne Marseden. Her body was discovered frozen to death in Snow Lake-and it looks like she had fallen through the ice while ice skating. Under normal circumstances Suzanne would have known how to test the frozen quality of a lake, yet under the influence of alcohol, she skated on it against better judgment.

Luke sets up his police station right next door to Chloe Hobb's Sticks and Strings knitting shop. As the two come in contact with each other, magic starts to happen and they fall in love. Great for Chloe, for she becomes into her powers-and not so great for Chloe, for nothing can last with a human. As Chloe deals with all the ins and outs of magic and trying to find her mother's Book of Spells, Luke deals with greater things like understanding why there are sparks every time he touches Chloe and the suspicion that something is trying to do him great harm.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Nix on February 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sugar Maple, Vermont is the picture perfect town. It has no crime, no police force, and no human residents. Well, almost none. Chloe Hobbs, owner of the popular knitting shop, Sticks & Strings, is the only human living in Sugar Maple. She's also the daughter of a sorceress and holds the town's very future in her hands. When the spell protecting the town from harm begins to weaken, the town residents are out in full matchmaking force for Chloe. Then Sugar Maple experiences its first murder when a tourist, Suzanne Marsden is found dead. And that's only the beginning of the trouble.

Luke MacKenzie has been sent to Sugar Maple to investigate the death of his childhood friend, Suzanne. What he finds is a town that is much more than it seems, a town filled with secrets an outsider like him isn't supposed to uncover. Luke also finds himself deeply drawn to the beautiful owner of Sticks & Strings. But love between Chloe and a man who's fully human is the last thing the residents of Sugar Maple want to occur.

Casting Spells is an enchantingly written yarn that captured my interest from the very first page and didn't let go. It's a fresh, fun, captivating read that still puts a smile on my face when I think of it.

I'll be honest; I generally do not like romances written in the first person, as I don't feel as connected to the protagonist who isn't narrating. Yet Barbara Bretton deftly works around this by writing the book from both Chloe and Luke's points of view (with clearly labeled viewpoint changes, which I appreciate). I loved being inside both their heads, getting to connect fully with both hero and heroine. Both Chloe and Luke are immensely likeable, and by writing the story in the first person, Ms.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on January 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
The quaint, picture perfect town of Sugar Maple in rural Vermont is far from ordinary, though you wouldn't guess by looking at it. You see, it's populated entirely by otherwordly beings - faeries, trolls, and the like. And the magical town has been protected from harm for hundreds of years by a special spell, and not a single crime has ever occurred. Now the spell is losing its strength, and the fate of Sugar Maple is in the hands of single, mostly human, yarn shop owner Chloe. In Sticks and Strings, "yarn never tangles" and "you always get gauge." But the natives are getting restless, and they want Chloe to produce an heir to the spell. When an outsider drowns one night in the icy skating pond, and the state sends in a detective to get to the bottom of it.

This is a fluffy, whimsical plot that demands total suspension of any sense of reality. Recommended for those who enjoy light romance novels with a hefty dose of faery dust.
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