Thursday 6 March 2014

Bespelled by Dani Kristoff - Book Review

From the Blurb:

This isn't your mum's Bewitched...

Elena Denholm is a mild-mannered half witch. As a favour to her cousin, she agrees to meet with top Sydney lawyer, Jake Royston, to negotiate a property deal. Sparks fly immediately, but before they can even take a sip of wine, let alone explore where the sizzle might go, Jake is hit by a love spell and is helpless against his feelings for Elena.

Jake may be at her mercy, but Elena is keeping her hands off — exploiting humans is a no-no. But Jake’s good looks and powers of persuasion are breaking down her resolve, and Elena knows she must do something fast.

Desperate to set things right before her resolve crumbles, Elena begins a frantic search to find the witch or warlock who hexed Jake and return him to his right mind, even if it means breaking her own heart...

The Review:

Elena is a witch, if only a half witch, so she's less powerful than her cousin and others, and unsure how to proceed when she and top notch lawyer, Jake, are hit with a love spell. She's never met Jake before and now he's all over her, and Elena finds she can't keep her hands off him either. Can she work out who hit them with the love spell before it turns dangerous, or before she falls in love?

This is a very fun, fast moving paranormal romance. Like the blurb says, it's certainly not your mom's Bewitched. While Endora might have been amused by Elena and Jake's problems, I'm fairly certain that Samantha and Darren would have been scandalized by the steaminess of their romance.

I really like Elena. She is no simpering heroine. She's proactive and determined to take control of the situation, though as someone who makes charms for a living, she's very different from down to Earth Jake. Jake refuses to even believe they are victims of a spell, or that magic is even possible, something that makes no sense to his analytical mind. He is also a little bossy, but in a way that is endearing as well as sexy.

Although they are very different, both are cynical about love, but are soon to discover that their old views on the topic no longer apply. Spell or no spell, Elena and Jake are falling for each other hard and I fell right with them.

As a paranormal romance, there is a lot of detailed and exciting world building in Bespelled, impressive for a stand alone romance. The only downside is that there is occasionally too much going on and I did feel as though it could have been expanded. While the detail is to be praised, it also means that the rest of the story has to move more quickly, and while the fast pace mostly means this was a really addictive read, it occasionally feels like the secondary story lines and emotions develop without enough buildup (for example when Elena meets her father). Luckily this doesn't  effect the romance storyline itself, which was convincingly sexy.

One of the nice bonuses of this novel is the setting. I don't usually notice settings in romance novels much (the erotic novella Driftwood Deeds being one notable exception) but one of the things that really appealed to me about Bespelled was the clear Australian setting, which adds a nice touch. Often in paranormal fiction, the story can feel far from reality, but the clear setting of Elena and Jake's story brings the magic of this tale into reader reality. I really enjoyed it.

I recommend Bespelled to anyone looking for a sexy/sweet romance with a side of magic that feels oddly at home in the middle of Sydney.

Bespelled by Dani Kristoff was published by Escape Publishing on February 1, 2014 and is available from Amazon.

This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.