Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Magic of CRYSTAL COVE

I'm so excited about this book that I haven't even finished reading it before starting to recommend it to you. However, from a glimpse of the reviews on Amazon, I see this might be one of those divisive books. Lisa Kleypas is no stranger to writing those. After all, it is legend on this ship, I still haven't gotten over the fact she switched heroes for a certain Wallflower book and I refused to finish reading that particular series. (Other people *loved* that book though.) Yes, Lisa is a fearless barnstormer where writing boundary-pushing books are concerned.

CRYSTAL COVE is another in the Friday Harbor series, and it features Justine Hoffman and Jason Black. (Incidentally I didn't realize the hero and heroine both had names that start with the same letter until 2/3 through the book. What a no-no! I'm so glad I didn't get those two mixed up during any of the scenes I was reading with them. *snerk*)

In the Friday Harbor series, the common thread that weaves within all the stories is magic. In Rainshadow Road, the heroine was magic with glass--she'd touch glass and magical things would happen; in Dream Lake, the heroine is magical with food; and in this book, the heroine is just simply magical, as in a Practical Magic sort of way. (Don't think I didn't notice Justine's last name is Hoffman, and it was Alice Hoffman who wrote Pratical Magic.Okay, that might be a reach--but I don't think so!) In fact, if you watched Practical Magic, you'll remember the heroine of that story cast a spell so she'd never fall in love. In CRYSTAL COVE, there is a spell on the heroine so she'll never fall in love--but it wasn't cast by her. There are also these two older women--much like the aunts in Practical Magic--and there is that touchy curse where any man who falls in love with a witch will die young--and break the heart of the witch who loved him. (Please be assured Lisa Kleypas has her own twists and turns and different plot choices in this story--I only reference Practical Magic to say, "If you enjoyed the movie and could handle the 'darker magic' of that story, this one would be up your alley as well.")

As with all of Lisa's book, she introduces me to some art technique or lore or culture (or all the above) that I didn't know about but suddenly feel very informed about and want to investigate more after I close the book because Lisa has shared it in such an enchanting way. In this one, she introduces some Japanese culture, because the hero happens to be 1/4 Japanese. And I think Lisa also wanted to take 50 Shades of Grey and say, "Ha, you think that's sexy? Watch this" and showed us what sexy was. Holy Cow. She always pushes the boundaries of sexy scenes, but she always adds a little something more. I know that raspberry scene is still being talked about. Yeah. I think the red rope scene is the new raspberry scene for a new generation of Kleypas readers.

As for me, I'm loving this book and can't wait to recommend it, but I can see the jury is divided.

How about you? Have you had a chance to read CRYSTAL COVE? Love it or not-love it? Do you like discussion of witchcraft in romances--or does it give you the heebie-jeebies? What are you reading this week?

24 comments:

Maureen said...

I so adored Practical Magic, book and movie. I'm not sure I want to read someone who uses to much from it. Not that I haven't been guilty of that... We'll see!

I've got edits to finish, a final proof to okay and RWA paperwork to get done. Sigh. I don't know when I'll be reading again.

Janga said...

I'm a huge Kleypas fan, but I am less than enthusiastic about Crystal Cove. I loved the magical realism in Rainshadow Road, and I liked the ghost in Dream Lake. But I did not care for the witchcraft, the theft, or the Southern stereotypes in CC. I'll still be eagerly awaiting the next Kleypas book however.

Marnee Bailey said...

I didn't get through Rainshadow Road. I started and then didn't like how she was setting up the sister and family dynamic and stopped. I should keep going and see if I can power through. I know Kleypas rarely disappoints.

I haven't read Dream Lake, but that sounds good too. Huh. I think I need to get back to this series.

Will do, Cap'n!

MsHellion said...

Mo, I didn't read the book--I'm talking about the similarities that I saw via the movie. But I know this is one of my biggest quirks, where I'm reading something and I'm trying to connect it to another story or movie, what is this like? Others might not see the Practical Magic similarity.

Good luck getting your edits, proof, and paperwork done!! :)

MsHellion said...

Janga, I had pang at the scene in Arkansas; I was torn because on one hand, I was like, "Dude, I'm kinda offended because I'm rather Southern; I bet if they're actually from Arkansas, they REALLY don't care for it." But at the same time, all the characters were likable, warm, kind--it's just the stereotyping that went with the setting, you know? And I've seen the trailers where they're sitting on top, sunbathing, so it's not like it doesn't happen. *LOL* It's colorful, but borderline offensive because it's "mocking" the things you can't mock unless you're one of them. Jeff Foxworthy can make commentary on it; but a city person possibly from the North? Nooooo.

Yeah, LK pushed about every boundary she could in this one. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Marn, frequently I start books that are hyped about and they just don't work for me then, but later, the writing just works for me. *shrugs* Maybe you'll have that luck this time. I think this is a very interesting series she's doing, because it's almost like she's reinvented herself, you know? These books (to me) are so different from her historicals and her other contemporaries, yet you can still feel her voice when you read. I just think it's very interesting.

Marnee Bailey said...

Huh. I think I'll give them a shot again. Like I said, I didn't like the sister in the story. So, I need to see if I can power through that. :)

Terri Osburn said...

I skipped the first book in this series but loved Rainshadow Road. Haven't gotten to Dream Lake or this one, but they're on the list. I loved the movie Practical Magic so I'm fine with the darker stuff.

Witchcraft is one of the few paranormal tropes I don't mind. Kiddo and I went to see Beautiful Creatures and I really liked it. Could see that I'd probably like the author's voice. Have you tried those books, Hellie?

Though I heard the movie changed the ending and pissed off some readers. So it goes when books get turned into films.

MsHellion said...

*LOL* Marn, clearly I don't have issues with bitchy dysfunctional family members.

MsHellion said...

Terri, I still want to see that movie. I read about 2/3 of the first book. The voice was good and interesting to get into--but I think around the 2/3 mark I got irked that this was going to take an infinity of books to carry through. *LOL* So maybe the premise or conflict wasn't enough for me.

Witchcraft is actually one of the paranormal things I avoid, most of the time. It does usually make me uncomfortable, much like being in the same room as a ouija board makes me uncomfortable. Vampires, shapeshifters, et al, those are fun to read because "they don't exist"--but magic and witches do exist and should be handled carefully. Especially if you're doing it the ritual ways we're familiar with in witchcraft. (Harry Potter doesn't bother me because they're not making salt circles, et al. It's just different; they make it almost mundane.)

irisheyes said...

I actually had CRYSTAL COVE from the library and didn't get around to reading it before I had to give it back! I was stuck on another book, RL got in the way and I figured I'd just renew when the time came. Pressed the renew button and was told "this item unable to renew"! I guess Lisa's kind of popular around here. I'm going to try to check it out again.

Magic doesn't really bother me in books. I've read several of Nora Roberts "magic" books and enjoyed them. I'm more concerned with everyone's opinion that the hero in this book is a jerk. I know LK excels at creating the alpha male, but a few have said this one is too much, especially for a contemporary. What's your opinion, Hellie?

I just finished Ruthie Knox's ALONG CAME TROUBLE and enjoyed it. I just downloaded THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen onto my NOOK from the libary. Has anyone read that one?

MsHellion said...

He's alpha, definitely. I've read jerkier heroes. *LOL* (That infamous Fool's Gold book comes to mind.) Janga said the "theft" bothered her, but it was stated all along that he was going to do it and you know why and you can understand why. I think to me, it was the only option, especially since humans are much more likely to pursue their goals in the manner he did than by rationally sitting down and saying, "By the way, I really really want something that's personal to me and I'm sure you can understand why, but I need you to go against everything you've been told or believe to accomplish this. Will you help?" Big fat no. If the story had happened like that, it would have been a completely different bit of women's fiction probably without the HEA.

My friend is reading the Peach Keeper for her book club...and it sounds interesting. I'll have to check into it!

P. Kirby said...

This one keeps popping up from time to time as a deal -- $2.99, I think.

And I can't quite make myself click "buy." Maybe it's the mixed reviews, although that doesn't necessarily put me off because I'm not a typical romance reader. The magic doesn't bother me since I read fantasy, and have no problem with any kind of voodoo hoodoo. Something about the premise, or maybe the hero. If he's an unfunny, alpha, I won't like him.

I kind of think the frequency with which the book is discounted, rare for a Kleypas, is suspect.

Terri Osburn said...

The kindle version of this is $9.99 today, and that's ON SALE. Yeah, no. I'll wait. But I did read the first couple pages and want to read the rest. If I hate the hero, then I'll give up and move to something else.

MsHellion said...

Pat, the mixed reviews seem a bit odd for a Kleypas for me and perhaps that's making the discount happen, but it might not either. (Julie Anne Long frequently has some discounted books .99--and they're all really awesome-awesome...so not sure.)

He's not really a funny alpha. I found stuff to laugh at him about, but he's not very wise-cracking, his staff is intimidated by him, when he goes places people realize he's a billionaire and trip over themselves to give him the best of everything (which the heroine found annoying), and he drinks nasty green sludge in the morning.

He's more the serious, intense type. I didn't find him unlikable, but this wasn't one of those books that made me laugh...except for the part with the Southerners, and even while I was laughing, I was thinking, "She is in SO much trouble for having this scene. *LOL*" Basically I felt bad for laughing.

P. Kirby said...

"He's more the serious, intense type."

Meh. Think I'll pass, then. I've got a backlog on the Kindle - because I'm having trouble passing up a cheap book. This one has been seriously discounted a couple of times; found the deals over at Dear Author. Much, much lower than $9.99, which is my idea of ridiculously expensive for an ebook.

irisheyes said...

I'm having the same problem, Pat! All these books that are .99 seem to be calling to me, but really anything under $3 is a deal to me. LOL I've found a couple of awesome authors, but a few duds too. I'll have to say, though, getting a DNF book for .99 hurts a lot less than picking it up at the store for $7.99 (which I rarely did anyway).

I was thinking about what you said last week, Ter, about anything with the words "sizzling, hot or sexy" I stay away from. Isn't that funny?! I'm sure publishers are thinking that that's what everyone is looking for, but if that's splashed across the cover or anywhere in the blurb I pass. I've come to associate those words with tons of sex scenes and no storyline.

Terri Osburn said...

I'm sure those books are still selling, Irish. The 50 Shades stuff is still going strong, after all. I'm just not interested in them. Good to know it's not just me.

This is not to imply there is no sex in my books. Just to be clear. :)

quantum said...

I'm definitely going to try this series.
As a fan of Mary Jo Putney's 'Guardians', I like a little magic.

If Kleypas brings her stunning romance writing skills to bear on the paranormal then I for one can't resist .... when I finish my current Mary Balogh season that is.

Another great review Hellie .... though I fancy you should really finish the book before writing the review! LOL

MsHellion said...

I'm with the crew with the "sizzling" or "sexy" descriptors...I used to read Harlequin Blazes quite a bit, but I got tired of them the older I got. So much of the story is about The Pretty and ends up being about the pretty stupid.

If you have to advertise you're sexy, you're probably not.

MsHellion said...

Q, no worries, I finished the book in my bath last night. A lovely ending, no worries. And the bath was really lovely too...I had some stress-tension relief salts in there and a new razor. All was wonderful in the Hellion House.

JulieJustJulie said...

"If you have to advertise you're sexy, you're probably not."
OMG, I choked on my coffee ... To Funny and too True.
I'm a big fan of Lisa K's historical voice. Was pretty impressed with her ability to switch gears to a contemporary writer. So I'm rather curious about this latest series. I JustFinallyAboutTime ( honestly WTH? My DH has had two , which I bought for him, but Still! )
got a tablet for downloading ebooks. Non proprietary, excellent screen, fonts galore!
where was I? Oh yes, now that I'm set up for ebooking I'll probable give this series a test drive.

JulieJustJulie said...

"Do you like discussion of witchcraft in romances--or does it give you the heebie-Jeebees ?"
Witchcraft , magic... They are like dogs and cats. IE these are all things that have been a part of human history. You might not like dogs ... You might not like magic ... But from a natural history pov it's not unnatural to have these things as part of a storyline. Just my opinion.
All I ask is that the writer be respectful, since to some folks what we see as something heebeejeebeeish they see as religion.
For the record I'm a Christian.


"What are you reading this week?"
Ivanhoe and a Georgette Heyer ... Nothing like reading some OldShcool on a new school gizmo.

JulieJustJulie said...

And think about it, what is magic?
I'm running four different gizmos right now at this moment . On four different operating systems ... XP, Windows 7, Android, and iOS6 ... Interacting and interfacing. Tell me that That doesn't sound like Magic?!
Honestly just the fact that I'm Not losing my mind with all this OS idiosyncrasies is Magic!