More Than Magic by Donna June Cooper – 4 Stars

More than magic

Click on cover to visit book’s Goodread page.

Book one in the Books of the Kindling series.

I received this title from the author for an honest review

Book synopsis and cover art from Goodreads:

“A malignant secret could turn her mountain sanctuary into their tomb.”

DEA agent Nick McKenzie is sure magic exists – a dangerous drug called Smoky Mountain Magic that’s wreaking havoc on the streets of Atlanta. He’s also sure that locating and eliminating the source could mean his death.

When he arrives undercover on Woodruff Mountain, the beautiful owner’s anxious attempts to scare him off tell him something’s afoot, and it s not her secret patch of a rare, ancient species of ginseng.

As her dream of seeking medicinal plants in the Amazon fades into the distance, Grace Woodruff struggles to come to terms with an inherited magical gift she didn’t want, and searches desperately for the meaning behind her late grandfather’s final, cryptic message.

The last thing she needs underfoot is a handsome, enigmatic writer recovering from a recent illness. Until an accidental touch unleashes a stunning mystical force and Grace senses the wrath of a malicious blight at the heart of the mountain. Now she must choose between her need to hide her gift from the world and her desire to save Nick s life.

Warning: This book contains a fiery redhead whose magic cannot be contained and a handsome DEA agent whose final case might give him a second chance at life.

The author contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this and her next book, Mostly Magic, that comes out on June 3, 2014.  I checked into it and decided to give it a go.  The book was billed to me as a paranormal, but I would rather call it a contemporary romance instead.  Sure there were some paranormal or supernatural elements to it, but there were very light compared to most of the books I read.  Those who read a lot of paranormal books might find this one a little tame.  Not saying it was bad,  I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but thought I would put that out there for those of you used to say Laura Wright who writes a very different type of paranormal book.

I thought this was a very nice story actually.  The writing was well done, very descriptive and it was easy to picture this beautiful setting which really was like another character in the story.   It took me a bit to get into, not the book’s fault  started it the same time my cat got sick so I was a little preoccupied and worried about that.  Like most new series and new to me authors it took some time to get the rhythm of the story and to bond with the characters.  The prologue does a great job of grabbing you with an interesting little story about the lead character Grace and how she awakens to her magical potential.  You are soon ripped away from that and introduced the the male lead Nick.  The story jumps back and forth between the heads of both characters until the love interests meet up themselves.  We are still in both their heads, but much of the back ground characters drop away and we focus on these two.  There is a little girl, Jamie, who plays an important part in the story along with a canine companion, Pooka.  I liked how the author limited much of the story to these four,  it was much easier to follow and get invested in the people most of the action centered around.

Like I mentioned this book felt more like a contemporary romance to me.  The first half of the book centers around the building up of chemistry between Grace and Nick.  It was what I like to call a slow burn,  the characters actually got to know each other and in return we got a chance to know them too.  They did not jump into the sack in the first 50 or even 100 pages the relationship progressed at a more natural realistic pace.  Okay sure they fall in love faster than people might in real life, but the world of a book this was a much more subdued pace compared to much of what is out there in the romance world.  Personally I thought it was a nice change of pace, and has the potential to appeal to a broader audience.  Not everybody is comfortable with a book that moves at the pace of the 50 Shades of Grey. This is a great romance for those readers who might want a more realistic relationship in their books and not have to advert their eyes every couple of chapters as the characters roll in the hay again.

Like I said the first half seemed to focus on the budding romance and the second half of the book we come to the action.  We are introduced to the bad guys and the very real danger they pose for Grace, Nick and the mountain.  The story changed a bit and either my cat was starting to feel better or I got more invested in the story at this point.  My reading pace picked up and I finished the second half much quicker than the first.  The author showed us that she could captivate us with more than just an awesome setting and  a sweet romance, she could get us on the edge of our seats as well.   I would say most of the action involving the mystery around the drug and why Nick came to the mountain plays out in this half of the book.  This is also where more of the paranormal elements come into play for the story.  Still on the light side, but they do add a nice element.  I would say this is a great book for readers who perhaps want to dip their toes in to the paranormal genre, but are not necessary ready for something that is way out there.

Some of the other aspects of the book I enjoyed are how the author weaves the mountain, herb and our environment into the story.  I also thought the message she was giving us about how not only are some drugs a danger and destroy people but they poison our planet as well.  I enjoyed her take on natural healing with herbs,  I know this an aspect of the story my husband would have enjoyed.  The author also did an excellent job with her characters,  they were believable, likable and well formed, even the background characters had depth to them.   I was also intrigued by the character Daniel,  Grace’s brother, whose story is up next in Mostly Magic.

This was a different type of book for me.  I’m glad I read it and am looking forward to the next one which I hope to get to next week.  This book was well written and I think could have broad appeal to lovers of contemporary, paranormal and supernatural romance.  There is plenty of action as well and even a little mystery in these pages.  I hope you check it out.


2 thoughts on “More Than Magic by Donna June Cooper – 4 Stars

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