Review// The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman


Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #1
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Book Length:  369 pages 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy

My Review:

The Rules of Magic: do as you will, but harm no one; what you give will be returned to you threefold; and fall in love whenever you can.

I was hooked on the idea of this story the second I found out it was about witches; I could really use some more books about witches in my life. I think one of the best parts about this was the characters. Franny, Jet, and Vincent all had very different and distinct personalities but they worked so well as a team. Although they had their disagreements, as all siblings do, they always watched out for one another and had the others’ best interests at heart. Something I adored was getting to watch them grow old as the story progressed; usually a story will only show you a snapshot in time of characters’ lives, but this took you through practically their whole lifespans. This was made even better by real historic events being woven through the story as the decades went on to make it very believable.

Yes, one of the major themes in this book is love, but more than that, it is about family, growing up, loss, and choosing courage over caution to face it all. Most of the time, you don’t get to choose the cards you are dealt in life, but none of the siblings ever let the looming curse stop them from choosing courage to make it through, even though caution was always more convenient.

This was such a great book and one I would recommend to anybody looking for a feel-good, magical story.

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Books on a Budget: The Best Ways to Read for Cheap (& Free!)

No matter if you own shelves and shelves of books with a swinging ladder (if you do, I’m jealous!) or if you don’t own a single book, bookworms all have one thing in common: we love to save money. Here are some simple ways you can access books for cheap, and even sometimes free and still get your literary fix!

The Library

One of the most obvious ways to save money is by going to your local library. Not only can you access free physical books, but you may also be able to access audio and e-books through something like the Overdrive service that allows you to borrow digital content. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a public library. Thankfully, there are tons of other ways to access books for cheap if the library isn’t convenient for you.

Little Free Library

Have any of you ever seen those photos on the internet of cute little birdhouse-looking structures with books inside it? Well, that is actually the Little Free Library which is aimed at sharing all your favourite books with your neighbors. How it works is people put up these waterproof boxes in their front yard, fill it with all the books they’ve already read and want to share with others, and anyone is free to come up, take a book, and leave one of their own! After a while the books will start to change and before long, you will have a little library in your neighborhood. You can also put a notebook inside so people can write their thoughts about the books they’ve left.

Image result for free little library

If you want to see if you have a Little Free Library close to you, you can check here. I ended up having one 10 minutes away from me and I didn’t even know it!

Open Library

If you want to read free e-books, Open Library is your place. It is part of the Internet Archive, so it has thousands of them; people can even submit their own. You can get free access to titles like Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; some of the books you can also read in other languages. If they do not have a title you are looking for, they do provide a link to where you can purchase it for cheap!

Interested in checking it out? You can do so here.

Thrift Stores / Bargain Bookshops

These are a great way to get books for cheap. I have seen brand new hardcover books in thrift and bargain bookshops for under $10. This one takes a bit more digging and is often hit or miss, but if you are lucky, the reward can be huge. Places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Value Village are good places to start thrifting for books.  If you are in Toronto Canada, BMV Bookstore is a good bargain bookshop to look into. If these don’t exist in your area, a quick Google search should be able to pinpoint more local places.

Do you have any other ways you read books for cheap? I would love to get some more tips!


Top 5 Favourite Quotes | Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Recently, I finished reading Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix for the first time. I rated it 4/5—it was really good! Admittedly, I went into it a little skeptical just because I didn’t think I would find the politics surrounding the Order interesting, but it did capture my attention, as only a Harry Potter book can. Instead of doing my traditional review, I have chosen to talk about my five favourite quotes from the novel. There may be a few spoilers ahead, so beware if you don’t want to see them:

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” – Sirius Black

Image result for harry and sirius

I loved how Sirius was like a father-figure to Harry; it was beautiful to witness their relationship grow. I think what Sirius meant by this was that everyone has within them the power to be whoever they want to be; the side of us we choose to showcase to the world determines how we are perceived by it. Choosing to act on your ‘dark’ side sometimes because of the bad things that have happened to you doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it means you are human. I’m going to miss these heart to heart talks between them in the next two books!

Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.” – Hermione Granger

Image result for hermione talking to ron and harryYes, Hermione! In this scene, she was talking to Ron and Harry about how Cho might have been feeling after the failure that was Cho’s and Harry’s date in Hogsmeade on Valentine’s Day. Cho is extremely emotional; I don’t think there has been one scene where she hasn’t cried over something! Perhaps Harry is too young to understand the emotions of a female yet and how he should be a bit more sensitive to her feelings. Something tells me that he will come to his senses very soon though!

The mind is not a book to be opened at will and examined at leisure.” – Severus Snape

Related imageFinally, Snape said something that I can agree with! The mind is so complex, and unless you’ve lived as another, you will never fully understand the experiences which have shaped their life and mind. For instance, when Harry saw into the Pensieve at Snape’s past with Harry’s father, he stared to question his father’s character. Was he really as great as he thought he was? I actually felt so bad for Snape while reading about it because I hate seeing people get bullied. I hope that was only the beginning and we get to see more into his past with James Potter.

The fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength” – Dumbledore

Image result for dumbledore order of the phoenixDumbledore always has the wisest things to say to Harry. Harry has dealt with so much loss—first his parents, and now Sirius—and I can’t even imagine going through all of that. Dealing with pain is difficult, but it is how we face pain and fear through our toughest times that we can emerge stronger than ever. If things were always perfect and good, you wouldn’t even be able to realize it because it would be all you ever knew. Although pain absolutely sucks, it is a necessary ingredient in living.

“’Give her hell from us, Peeves.’ – Fred Weasley

And Peeves, who Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.”

Related imageOK, the first line by Fred Weasley is really the only quote, but I felt the accompanying text was necessary. I love Fred and George, they are so funny and I just thought this was a hilarious way to end a chapter. The ‘her’ Fred is referring to is Dolores Umbridge. I hated her SO much! I would actually feel my body getting tense when her scenes would come up. I knew she couldn’t last though, what with the usual pattern of what happened to the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers. When the centaurs took her away, I was ecstatic.

I’m so happy I started this series and I can’t wait for Harry Potter &the Half Blood Prince!

Thank you for reading. If you have any favourite quotes from any of the books, let me know!

Catherine 🙂