Sunday, 31 July 2011

Opal Fire



I hope all of my fellow Canadians have enjoyed their Victoria Day long weekend so far! Here in Ontario (at least where I am) we had spectacular weather! To add to this glorious weekend filled with cottage life I also got to see the last Harry Potter movie, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2". It's something that my boys and I have wanted to see together for soooo long. I know the movie has been out since July 15th but I knew I'd wait to see it. I'm not normally the kind of person who has to see a movie on opening night. I don't love crowds of people and, if I'm honest, I wanted to hold off enjoying the final movie for a bit. Put off the inevitable farewell, I guess you'd say.

I've got to admit that I was more than a little sad to see the series end. While munching on some pub grub after the movie I got all nostalgic with my sons about the series (who, after reading all 7 books and seeing all the movies are almost as HP literate as I!). Add to the fact that we saw the movie today, on Harry Potter's birthday, and you can be fairly certain that I'm flying my Harry Potter freak flag high and proud today!!! If you haven't read my Ode to Harry Potter you can find it here.

Now back to the book at hand!! To go along with all things magical I thought I'd write up the review for a book I read last week. It was a book that I came across via Frugal Ereader site that sounded right up my alley. Quirky characters, mystery with a hint of romance and a supernatural element. Count me in!! Here's my thoughts on this ebook that I bought for my kindle.

Title: Opal Fire
Author: Barbra Annino
Genre: Supernatural/Mystery
Type: ebook (kindle)
Series: 1st book in the Stacy Justice mystery series
First Published: March 2011
First Line: "You might say everything was fine until the fire."

Synopsis: Stacy Justice has had her fair share of trouble in her life. Her father's death, her mother unexpectedly leaving and Stacy's grandmother and great aunts trying to get Stacy to embrace her witchcraft - something that Stacy hasn't used since she was a young teenager.

Stacey not only comes from a family of quirky witches but also has a very colourful Italian side of the family to deal with too. Years before Stacy moved away from the small town she grew up in and has only recently moved back. Unfortunately her troubles seem to greet her when she moves back to town to become a reporter for the local paper.

One evening Stacy's cousin Cinnamon's bar, the Black Opal, catches on fire. Stacy, her Great Dane, Thor and Cinnamon barely make it out alive. When Cinnamon is blamed for the arson and a sinister old secret is revealed Stacy knows she has to do whatever it takes to save her cousin - which may even include tapping into her long ignored supernatural arsenal. Even with the discouragement of her boyfriend (who is the local police chief) Stacy digs deeper and deeper into the mysterious fire. The closer Stacy gets to revealing the true culprit, the more her life is threatened.

My Thoughts: This book touched on many of the things that make a book enjoyable for me. Quirky yet believable characters, humour, mystery and a titch of supernatural.

Annino has created a believable small town setting filled with likeable and engaging characters. Stacy definitely has a 'Stephanie Plum-esque' feel to her with her knack of getting into trouble, having two men vying for her affections and a strong personality. She is also backed up by a strong group of secondary characters each of whom help propel the story along or add a well-timed comedic element.

I really enjoyed the humourous side of this book - specifically Stacy's very peculiar great aunts and her colourful Italian side of the family. Stacy, as well as Cinnamon, have their own fair share of humourous lines including one that had me chuckling to myself {"His voice was chipper. Cinnamon hated chipper. She wrapped Chipper up in duct tape, pounded nails into it and used it to beat the crap out of Perky." Haven't we all had days like that?!?}

One of the things that surprised me about this book was the type of magic used and how much magic was incorporated into the story. For the type of magic I was expecting more along the lines of spells and wand wielding (a la Harry Potter) but this was more of a subdued, natural, Wiccan-style magic. But that assumption was totally on me. My brain has been somewhat pickled in all things Potter for the past 10 years but I'm open to learning about other forms of magic and liked seeing how Wiccan magic was used instead.

There also wasn't as much magic as I was expecting but since Stacy hasn't truly embraced her magical side I can see why it wasn't a major factor in this book. I look forward to seeing how the supernatural element is used in future books

One of my favourite parts of the book was definitely the ending! Oh my! I didn't see it coming and actually said, out loud, 'Oh, c'mon!!' because now I have to wait to see where the author takes the story! You gotta love an author who leaves you wanting more!

If I was pressed to say a few negatives regarding this book I'd have say that I found there were quite a lot of characters introduced which, at times, made it hard for me to keep track of who was who.

I also found Stacy's carte blanche access to typically off-limits law enforcement areas a little unbelievable. For example, getting a detailed report from the coroner regarding a body that was unearthed. Stacy is only a reporter and not associated (only romantically, anyway) with law enforcement.

Overall, a very good start to a new series. I hope the humour and quirkiness of the characters continues and I can't wait to see where the surprise ending takes Stacy in the next book!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is off topic but how did you add the Goodreads widget to your page?I have tried everything and nothing works.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

From what I remember I clicked on the widget link (on the left-side of the main page of GoodReads) and then just cut and pasted the HTML code and added it into an HTML element from the Edit Layout screen. There are a couple of options for widgets too. Hope this helps! :)

Barefeet In The Kitchen said...

I am loving your site! Books and food are two of my favorite things. I am happily following you now.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Mary@Barefeet in the Kitchen -- Thanks so much for your comment! When I first started up my blog I was worried that books and recipes didn't 'go' but I've had a lot of positive feedback. I guess there are a lot of us who love to cook and read. ;)

Barbra Annino said...

I wanted to drop by and say that I appreciate the thoughtful review. Stacy's next adventure is well underway and I can promise you more humour, more magic, and more surprises!

And for folks who may like the feel of print- a paperback version is available that includes a cast of characters list and a lemon poppy seed cake recipe.

Cheers,
Barbra Annino

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