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Winter Kissed Fantasies: Back in a Spell and Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries

4 Jan

Back in a Spell
by Lana Harper

Newly published Back in a Spell, is the third in Lana Harper’s Witches of Thistle Grove series; although it refers back to events and characters from the previous books, it is still possible to enjoy this charming novel on its own. Nineva Blackmoore isn’t just a lawyer whose powerful family owns a medieval theme park and other local businesses, she is also secretly a witch. A year after her fiancé, Sydney, dumps her, her best friend encourages her to go on a date with a nonbinary hottie picked from a dating app. Morty Gutierrez is quirky, laid back, and spontaneous nothing like the usually tightly controlled Nineva, but she thinks that might just be what she needs to get over her ex and bring some excitement into her life. Unfortunately although there is an attraction, their first date doesn’t go as well as planned. But if they aren’t meant to be together than why is Morty suddenly gaining powers, something that typically only happens when a witch is a committed relationship? Then Nineva’s magic begins to surge, which her power hungry mother and grandmother think they can use to gain control. I enjoyed that the story is not simply about Nineva’s unfolding relationship with Morty, but also her struggle to decide whether she will chose the selfish path her family has laid out for her or if she can find the strength to break away. Set during the snowy winter, this would be a great book to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate. Fantasy and romance fans will both be spellbound. You can enjoy another blog post for fans of witchy romances here.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries
by Heather Fawcett

Out next week is another read perfect for capturing winter’s chill, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries is about Emily Wilde who is a professor of Dryadology and has gone to a remote Scandinavian island to study “the hidden ones” one of the most elusive groups of fairies for her encyclopedia. Her studies feel midway between a sociologist and a zoologist with the faeries being depicted as mimicking humans in some ways, but in others feeling completely alien in nature with their behaviors and emotions. Emily is one of those academics who feels more comfortable studying in remote locations with her canine companion, Shadow, than trying to awkwardly interact with other humans. When her only friend, Wendell Bambleby, a fellow researcher and academic rival shows up on the island, she is both annoyed and slightly relieved. As Emily’s suspicions about Wendell grow, she also finds herself falling for the insufferable enigmatic charmer. I enjoyed how the study of fairies is depicted in such a serious and thoughtful way as if it were indeed a real area of scholarship. The island is also captured in such detail, you’ll be wanting to up your thermostat as Emily explores its frozen woods. This novel should appeal to fans of Discovery of Witches and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Fawcett is able to build a sense of peril for the main characters, while still having moments of humor. Highly recommended to both Fantasy, Romance, and General Fiction Fans. For those who can’t wait for the next in this, her first adult series, Fawcett has several charming YA and Middle Grade novels to chose from including The School Between Winter and Fairyland.

I received copies of the books for review in advance from NetGalley and the publishers.

Written by:
Aimee Harris

Recipes for Romance: A Dash of Salt & Pepper by Kosoko Jackson and Sugar & Salt by Susan Wiggs

14 Dec

A Dash of Salt and Pepper
by Kosoko Jackson

A Dash of Salt and Pepper was such a fun romance! The book is told in first person from Xavier’s perspective; he is an African American business grad who takes a job working as a prep chef in a seafood restaurant in his hometown after being dumped. Xavier is clever, funny and manages to be both arrogant, insecure and likeable at the same time. At one point the Gilmore Girls is referenced and the clever, fast pace witty dialogue and the charming small town New England vibe are something this book like that series does extremely well. Xavier’s boss at the restaurant, Logan, is a slightly older Caucasian divorced dad who is considered one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but after an awkward first meeting he and Xavier seem an unlikely match despite their feelings of attraction. Can they both let down their defenses to find love or will Xavier leave his small town behind again, this time for good? Definitely an author I plan to read more from in the future. I received an advance copy of the book for review from Netgalley.

Sugar and Salt
by Susan Wiggs

Another romance featuring interracial couples, Sugar and Salt had a bit more salt in the lives of the characters then I was expecting going into the novel.  The book may feature a sugary confection on the cover, but there is a lot of depth to what is covered.  Margot formerly Margie has gone through rough times including growing up in poverty and being the victim of an assault that has left her hesitant in romantic relationships.  The book spent more time in flashbacks to the difficult periods in her life than I would have preferred, however, it added to the sense of the happiness in her life having been earned including her success at her Barbeque Restaurant, Salt.  Her love interest Jerome Sugar is nursing a broken heart from a divorce.  The complexity of their interracial relationship is acknowledged, but also does not overshadow the sweet depiction of the romance that blossoms.  Beside Margot and Jerome, the book also explores the relationship between Jerome’s mother and her first love.  This is a book that will appeal to those looking for stories of second chances and a romance novel not afraid to examine the darker parts of life and history in the US.

Both books are available in print from BCCLS Libraries or as ebooks from elibraryNJ and eBCCLS. You can read about more foodie romances here.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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