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Alysha Gale belongs to a specially "charm"-full family. The men grow horns, and obey females until they "choose". She inherits her gran’s Calgary junk shop with fey mailboxes and the Monkey's Paw. Leprechaun Joe can help sell yoyos. Tabloid reporter Graham bats very blue eyes and beds her. But when dragons fly overhead can even the Aunties save the day?


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Alysha Gale belongs to a specially "charm"-full family. The men grow horns, and obey females until they "choose". She inherits her gran’s Calgary junk shop with fey mailboxes and the Monkey's Paw. Leprechaun Joe can help sell yoyos. Tabloid reporter Graham bats very blue eyes and beds her. But when dragons fly overhead can even the Aunties save the day?

30 review for The Enchantment Emporium

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I'm sorry if you like this book...and I'm tired. It seems more and more that when I pick up a book looking for an Urban Fantasy I get paranormal romance. I suppose that I set the bar lower than some for deciding what is PNR. And at the risk of being stoned I find more often than not if it's a female author it's going to lean that way (not always I know. I kind of like Rob Thurman's Leandros series). The idea behind this book sounded good and caught my interest. I went out and bought it based on r I'm sorry if you like this book...and I'm tired. It seems more and more that when I pick up a book looking for an Urban Fantasy I get paranormal romance. I suppose that I set the bar lower than some for deciding what is PNR. And at the risk of being stoned I find more often than not if it's a female author it's going to lean that way (not always I know. I kind of like Rob Thurman's Leandros series). The idea behind this book sounded good and caught my interest. I went out and bought it based on recommendations here. It opened up alright. The set up telling us about the Gale women (and Gale men and Gale boys and so on). Our young heroine seems to inherit a "junk shop" (read magical junk shop)...seems to inherit because the aunties don't believe grandma (from whom the shop is inherited) is dead. The family is interesting, the connection to the fey is interesting, the shop is interesting the book was promising...except for (again) it's preoccupation with what I suppose we can call, "affairs of the heart". The aunties want Alysha (our heroine) to get over the cousin she was thought to be planning to marry (Gale girls apparently always...or almost always marry Gale boys) loving someone else (a young man whom at the opening of the book he lives with). There is the discussion of which girl another highly prized Gale "stud" may choose...and on and on and on. At one point Alysha meets a "reporter" and wonders during the conversation if "his hair would feel as silky as it looks if she brushed it back". She's distracted by his hands, his eyes, and the distractions of what's, "under his clothes". Think about a book where a male writer goes on and on about being distracted by what's "under the clothes" of the women he meets...the "hero" wanting to "brush back their hair to see if it's a silky as it looks". The male would be a stalker... Anyway...burned out, sick of the (forgive me) estrogen and I'm laying it aside. I read about a quarter of the book...I don't want to put any more time into it. If it's for you enjoy...it's not for me, I'm apparently NOT the target audience.

  2. 5 out of 5

    oliviasbooks

    "For pity's sake boy," Auntie Jane snorted as Dimitri shuffled carefully into the kitchen, there's salve for that . Use it before these trousers rub you raw. Downstairs bathroom. And you lot," she snapped at the girls who gathered round the table as he left the room, "stop giggling. He didn't get in that condition all on his lonesome." Allie pulled a platter of pancakes out of the oven were they'd been keeping warm. "He needs to learn to pace himself." Please correct me. But what I've learned from "For pity's sake boy," Auntie Jane snorted as Dimitri shuffled carefully into the kitchen, there's salve for that . Use it before these trousers rub you raw. Downstairs bathroom. And you lot," she snapped at the girls who gathered round the table as he left the room, "stop giggling. He didn't get in that condition all on his lonesome." Allie pulled a platter of pancakes out of the oven were they'd been keeping warm. "He needs to learn to pace himself." Please correct me. But what I've learned from the first 30 pages is the following: - The Gale family is a family of powerful witches whose main concern is to preserve their magic talents. - All family members have grey eyes that change with age. - Each couple produces at least four or five daughters and a son. Some daughters are the offspring of two mothers and a father? - The men have a tendency to switch over to the dark side - All women cook and bake like crazy. - The men choose their mate among their numerous cousins around the age of 20. The only rule is that the age difference has to be less than seven years. The boys find their permanent mate of choice by sleeping around with all matching cousins as much as possible. This results to group sex and "unpaced" sex frenzies on family holidays. And to mild jealousy among the girls who won't accept it if an almost too old female cousin is on a male Gale's "list" of options. NOT MY CUP OF TEA. I do not mind cousins marrying each other (I have several matched cousins among my aquaintances) or falling in love, but this breeding-program-thing and the sex-as-the-one-and-only-way-to-find-the-best-match-method give me the slimy shivers. The one remaining star is given for the beautiful cover. ;o)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lightreads

    Yeah, stoned on painkillers is totally the best way to review this one. If you tilt your head to the right, this is a cozily hijinxical* Canadian urban fantasy with a magical junk shop and a leprechaun and a snuggly extended family who express their feelings by baking a lot, also dragons. But if you tilt your head to the left, it’s seriously fucked up slice-of-life about a family of creepy mind-controlling witches who have a consent-optional incestuous breeding program RUN AWAY RUN AWAY. So I most Yeah, stoned on painkillers is totally the best way to review this one. If you tilt your head to the right, this is a cozily hijinxical* Canadian urban fantasy with a magical junk shop and a leprechaun and a snuggly extended family who express their feelings by baking a lot, also dragons. But if you tilt your head to the left, it’s seriously fucked up slice-of-life about a family of creepy mind-controlling witches who have a consent-optional incestuous breeding program RUN AWAY RUN AWAY. So I mostly kept my head tilted to the right. Advise doing the same. *Vicodin. shuddup.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    This is one of the best urban fantasy books I've read in a while. With a slightly stronger ending this would have been a five-star book for me; it really hit my sweet spot. It's funny and light-hearted but not shallow at all. The magic system felt fresh and different, and it's not hard to enjoy this idea of women becoming more powerful as they age. I hope this is the beginning of a new series. There's a big, loving, powerful, nosy, overprotective and very appealing family. There's a lot of amusin This is one of the best urban fantasy books I've read in a while. With a slightly stronger ending this would have been a five-star book for me; it really hit my sweet spot. It's funny and light-hearted but not shallow at all. The magic system felt fresh and different, and it's not hard to enjoy this idea of women becoming more powerful as they age. I hope this is the beginning of a new series. There's a big, loving, powerful, nosy, overprotective and very appealing family. There's a lot of amusing magic. There are dragons, a sorcerer and a leprechaun. Like in most of Huff's books, there is a lot of cheerful, non-explicit sex and innuendo between people of all orientations. Huff is a very good writer, and manages to absorb you into this world with very little exposition.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caressa

    *sigh* I picked this novel off the New Fiction shelf of the library, after not reading a word for two whole weeks. Crazy, I know. The librarians were getting ready to send a relief party out after me. Anyhoo. I've learned to be VERY wary of female-penned "urban fantasies," as they tend to be heavier on the romantical pining and orgies than the urban or fantasy. But EE piqued my interest for several reasons: 1) Witches with nary a vamp or were to be seen, 2) Said witches don't have frizzy red cur *sigh* I picked this novel off the New Fiction shelf of the library, after not reading a word for two whole weeks. Crazy, I know. The librarians were getting ready to send a relief party out after me. Anyhoo. I've learned to be VERY wary of female-penned "urban fantasies," as they tend to be heavier on the romantical pining and orgies than the urban or fantasy. But EE piqued my interest for several reasons: 1) Witches with nary a vamp or were to be seen, 2) Said witches don't have frizzy red curls, 3) Urban Fantasy in Canada? Sweet Eh! 4) Leprechauns, yeah baby! The Gale family is a less creepy family than Anne Rice's Mayfairs, but they love themselves some pie and lots of wanton sex (Holy Incest Batman!). Luckily for me, very little of the sex plays out as more than hints and innuendos. It's obvious that Tanya Huff sees this story play in living color, but my biggest gripe is that she seems to have significant trouble in getting it from her imagination to paper with the same clarity. Many passages are beautifully descriptive, but often the dialog feels clunky and forced. More than a few times I had to reread sections because pieces of action were missing. For example, Allie is lying in bed plucking at her quilt, with one of many "aunties" hollering up the stairs at her. Then she's suddenly stepping out of the shower while the family dog drinks from the toilet. Wait what? When did she get out of bed & into the shower? And Allie seems to be constantly waking up with people in her bed without explanation. Are they having a slumber party? Romping around incestuously? After a hundred pages or so I fell into the rhythm of Huff's writing and was able to make it work for me without massive confusion. However, two thirds in I had to set the book down for a couple days, and found that I couldn't immerse myself back in. There also seemed to be a bit of a pacing issue, where there was a lot of exposition dumping. Perhaps Huff could have saved some for the second novel? I really wanted to fall in love with this book, as it looks to be the beginning of a series. With a number of novels under her belt, I don't think Huff will change her writing style to please little ol' me. I do like that the witchcraft she portrays runs wild and dark; it's more pagan mythology/traditions and less Willow Rosenberg or The Craft. There's something about ancient witchcraft that I find fascinating (along with leprechauns, the post-apocalypse, Iceland, India, and the Deep South). Even though it's against my better judgment, I have a feeling I'll try to wade through the next in the series because, come on, it's got leprechauns!

  6. 4 out of 5

    carol.

    Enjoyed it, enough to add to my collection. Nice balance of plot and character development. On first read, the first chapter was slightly disjointed and challenging to follow, but sticking with it paid off big dividends. It's true, like other reviewers, I found the sex more distracting but it does play a role in the story in terms of relationships and emotional connections.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    I enjoyed this book despite all the efforts of the author to make me hate it. And I’ll admit up front that I’m not a huge Tanya Huff fan, but mainly because she takes her anti-hetero-normative politics so very seriously. So I was surprised that I found this book as engaging as I did. The Gale family setup was bizarre and I’d hate to be caught in it (on the male or female side), but that didn’t lessen my fascination for the dynamic they find themselves in. If you buy the premise, the adaptations a I enjoyed this book despite all the efforts of the author to make me hate it. And I’ll admit up front that I’m not a huge Tanya Huff fan, but mainly because she takes her anti-hetero-normative politics so very seriously. So I was surprised that I found this book as engaging as I did. The Gale family setup was bizarre and I’d hate to be caught in it (on the male or female side), but that didn’t lessen my fascination for the dynamic they find themselves in. If you buy the premise, the adaptations and rules the family follows in the book fall more or less into place. Yeah there are some odd customs and the sexual mores could put you off even if you buy the premise, but I didn’t find it hard to roll with. Huff takes some pains to keep things from being sexually explicit on-stage (though there is some frank talk and non-sexual episodes that may put off the truly squeamish), so I was more than happy to roll with her exploration of the family’s… adaptations. I also liked Alysha’s character arc through the story. It was fun to accompany her in pursuit of her rebel grandma and figuring out what the situation is like in Calgary. I like the mythology that unfolds and the characters we meet along the way. The emporium itself was fascinating, as well, even if it did feel a little too deus ex merchandise sometimes (yes, Melissa, I did recycle my cleverness). Alysha turns out to be the key to my enjoyment of the story. She has a great emotional journey and her maturation as she comes to terms with her power and all those aunties was excellent. Other supporting characters were fun, too. Michael was interesting as Alysha’s long-term unrequited crush and I even liked Charlie though I still maintain she’s way too perfect to be all that is claimed of her. Graham was oddly un-compelling in his role as love interest, but I liked him well enough as the henchman turned to the cause of the good guys. So what did I hate? And no, hate isn’t too strong a word. First off, it should have started with Alysha’s arrival in Calgary. The whole beginning was just confusing and unnecessary. Reams of names are thrown out and no explanation or identifying handle given to know who was meant. That leaves the reader disconnected to the main character and that’s unfortunate. Huff is also uncommonly coy about explaining key details about her characters. We hear of Alysha waking with cold spots where Charlie and Dmitri used to be the night before, for example, but it’s pages before we learn who either of these names refer to. If deliberate, that’s too cute to tolerate and if not deliberate it needs to be straightened out. Related to this is the broader tendency of Huff to deliver an emotional payload before the readers have the information to understand its significance. We learn, for example, that Alysha is entering “the second circle” and have no idea what that means or why she would be so concerned and astonished. In one scene, Charlie returns to the group lightly singed before they’d really realized she’d gone missing. At that point, we’re treated to a really awkwardly constructed flashback. This kind of thing happens over and over again and it gets pretty tiresome after a while. It’s like Huff is balking at telling a straightforward story or that she doesn’t trust that her story is good enough without tricks and gimmicks to punch up the impact. Indeed, I think these stylistic flourishes end up detracting from the impact of many of the key revelations that would have been so much stronger had the readers known enough to appreciate them at the time they’re actually revealed. After all that, I’m surprised that I ended up enjoying it so much in the end. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book, though I hope the aggravations are less pronounced. If Huff had stuck with a straight storytelling approach this likely would have been a five-star review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Punk

    Canadian Urban Fantasy. Magic runs in the Gale family, so when Allie's grandmother sends her a letter saying she's dead, no one really believes it. Still, the letter says that Allie's responsible for her gran's business, which is supposedly vital to the community, and having recently been fired, it's not like she has anything better to do. Allie packs up and heads for Calgary to take over her grandmother's...junk shop. Reasons why this book made me D-face: 1) Unexplained magic system. 2) Unexplai Canadian Urban Fantasy. Magic runs in the Gale family, so when Allie's grandmother sends her a letter saying she's dead, no one really believes it. Still, the letter says that Allie's responsible for her gran's business, which is supposedly vital to the community, and having recently been fired, it's not like she has anything better to do. Allie packs up and heads for Calgary to take over her grandmother's...junk shop. Reasons why this book made me D-face: 1) Unexplained magic system. 2) Unexplained "We Must Have Sex To 'Complete the Ritual'" magic system. Unexplained and unsexy. I would have accepted explanations or sexiness. Didn't get either. 3) The Gale aunties, the oldest and most powerful women in the family, practice eugenics. Uh huh. They're selectively breeding the younger family members to emphasize certain traits. The aunties also have veto power if someone wants to marry outside the family. Which leads us to: 4) Vaguely incestuous -- sometimes more than vaguely! -- and, again, never in a sexy way. 5) Gender essentialism. Way too many sentences that insist that "Gale girls" are like this, or "Gale boys" are like that. No one really overturned that system. 6) The romance didn't interest me at all, which I eventually realized was because the male love interest had no discernible personality. Reasons why I kept reading: 1) The magic is mostly low key, like pies with compulsions baked into them, or a charm traced on someone's hand. I liked how simple and understated it was. All I wanted was the magic equation to be balanced; part of using magic is knowing what happens if you use too much. 2) Queerness. Of all sorts. Including non-monogamous and group relationships, and because this is Tanya Huff, it's all handled with respect. 3) Family, and chosen family. 4) It's funny, and I liked the pop culture references. 5) Ally was pretty awesome and so was Charlie. 6) I loved Joe the leprechaun and his yo-yos. Three stars. Annoyed and entertained me in equal amounts. I'll read the sequel. eBook: Not good. Lots of words with hyphens still in them, many words that no longer had their hyphens but didn't get put back together correctly, at least one missing word and one missing full stop, and something screwy was going on with the spacing if there was a period followed by a capital Y. Didn't have a cover. Did have a cute yo-yo graphic to separate sections.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ambyr

    I feel like finishing this book should leave me with more to say than "meh." Let's see. The plot was fast-paced enough to keep me reading, but not enough to get me past the weird gender relations, undeveloped magic system (I like the ritual set-up, but with no sense of what magic normally can or can't do, the ending lacked tension--I assumed they'd win, since so far magic had never failed them), and really, really sloppy editing. And then, as other reviews note, there's the incest. It doesn't bo I feel like finishing this book should leave me with more to say than "meh." Let's see. The plot was fast-paced enough to keep me reading, but not enough to get me past the weird gender relations, undeveloped magic system (I like the ritual set-up, but with no sense of what magic normally can or can't do, the ending lacked tension--I assumed they'd win, since so far magic had never failed them), and really, really sloppy editing. And then, as other reviews note, there's the incest. It doesn't bother me to read about, but it does raise my eyebrows that it doesn't bother any of the characters, particularly those not raised to it. I also have to say, I see very little moral difference between the Gale women and the male sorcerers. Ally makes vague references to having versus holding power, but for me the line is more whether or not power is used for personal gain--and boy do the Gales ever use power for personal gain. Again, that doesn't bother me--I like shades of grey--but the narrative treats the Gales as a moral center, and that made for awkward reading. It's slightly problematized at the very end, but too little, too late for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cait

    ...Well, that was far more quasi-incestuous sex magic than I expected to meet this side of fanfiction. I really liked this book. I'd hit a bad run and started to forget that the urban fantasy equivalent of the B movie can actually be good, but this is definitely a good book. It's cheerful and sexual and funny and well-built, and it definitely improved my week.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I hate that these books keep disappointing me. I felt like this book was one big inside joke. First of all, the horn manifestations and copious references to sex=magic powers goes back to the pagan beliefs about the Green Man and May Day celebration and whatnot. However, if I wasn't a big brainiac and knew about that stuff already, I'd be super confused. So, perhaps I just don't have enough trivial knowledge, but so much of this book acknowledges these Gales and it really just doesn't make sense I hate that these books keep disappointing me. I felt like this book was one big inside joke. First of all, the horn manifestations and copious references to sex=magic powers goes back to the pagan beliefs about the Green Man and May Day celebration and whatnot. However, if I wasn't a big brainiac and knew about that stuff already, I'd be super confused. So, perhaps I just don't have enough trivial knowledge, but so much of this book acknowledges these Gales and it really just doesn't make sense. Everything is attributed to the "Gale girl way" or whatever and nothing is explained. Even some of the dialogue has this mystery about it which would make sense in real life, but in a book, the lack of backstory really cripples it. Teh author assumes the reader has a varied knowledge of magic and doesn't explain too much about anything. Like the monkey's paw. If one had not read the short story in high school, one wouldn't know that a monkey's paw grants you three wishes, but the wishes all end in horror and regret. Also, some of these references are clearly incestuous and while that was good enough for King Arthur, I was slightly squeamish. Some parts were just so awkward. I don't know. But I really hate that these books are not good. Why can't anybody write good fantasy anymore?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    This book has been on my to-read list for four years, and I’m glad I finally got to it. Tanya Huff delivers strong urban fantasy set in a Canadian city. She sets up an interesting family of magic users, where the women and the men participate in complicated rituals that allow them to work charms. Alongside, she sends us a light mixture of supernatural creatures to pad out the character sheet—a leprechaun, some dragons and Dragon Lords, but nothing too unusual or overwhelming. That’s what I appre This book has been on my to-read list for four years, and I’m glad I finally got to it. Tanya Huff delivers strong urban fantasy set in a Canadian city. She sets up an interesting family of magic users, where the women and the men participate in complicated rituals that allow them to work charms. Alongside, she sends us a light mixture of supernatural creatures to pad out the character sheet—a leprechaun, some dragons and Dragon Lords, but nothing too unusual or overwhelming. That’s what I appreciate about The Enchantment Emporium: there isn’t too much going on here. Huff keeps the plot focussed, the threads all weaving back in upon each other, which kept me interested and entertained. Allie leaves the rest of the Gale family to go out west and take over her grandmother’s shop. Her aunties, the Gale women who are the oldest and thus have the most power, are dubious as to her grandmother’s demise. Allie isn’t ready to be tied down with family obligations, though, so she goes. She ends up discovering that her grandmother’s role in the fragile Fey community in Calgary was even weirder; she was far more than a purveyor of antiques. Oh, and there is a sorcerer in Calgary. Hiding out from Dragon Lords. Allie should just call in the aunties to help her dispatch the sorcerer (Gales don’t like sorcerers, apparently), but there is one tiny problem. The sorcerer’s hired gun is hot, and he and Allie have a fling. A thing. You know. With these ingredients, Huff creates a perfect storm of divided loyalties, crises of confidence, and gradual acceptance of one’s powers. As Allie gets to know Graham and tries to persuade him to leave the sorcerer’s employ, she begins to feel herself changing, as she moves from “third circle” to “second circle” (which is apparently how the Gales rank power). She is still healing from her first break-up with a childhood friend who discovered he was gay. This alone might be enough to make someone feel uncertain about herself; Allie’s life is further complicated by having to wade through the various milestones and rituals that accompany being a Gale woman (not to mention all the various attendant family members who want to “help”). It’s great to read about a heroine who is as self-possessed and confident as Allie is who isn’t also a) the Chosen One and b) some kind of kickass streetfighter. Don’t get me wrong; I loves me the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But Allie is a research assistant in anthropology, not a fighter, and the way she interacts with the “heavies” of the supernatural world—the Dragon Lords, the sorcerer—reflect this. She is protective of her friends and allies and confident when she stands up to her potential enemies, but it’s a calmer confidence. (In a way, it’s a little bit naive, because Allie is banking a lot on the reputation of the Gales and her ability to call her aunties in for help.) Nevertheless, even though she never starts and rarely engages in direct confrontation, Allie gets a lot done. For example, it is easy to miss it if you are focusing only on the main plot, but Allie has clearly decided to stay in Calgary by about the middle of the book. She has some of her friends working on the apartment above the store pretty much continuously throughout the book, and every so often Huff will remark upon how much is getting done. Not only is Allie investigating the machinations of an amoral sorcerer; she is making the apartment and store her own. (The moment she consciously realizes this, and accepts it symbolically by disposing of the monkey’s paw, is awesome.) There’s also a lot to be said for the development of the supporting characters, like Joe. He starts as a surly, suspicious leprechaun who can’t wait to get out of there. As Allie shows him more trust and respect, he returns in kind. I would have liked to see Joe figure in the plot a little more—if not as a participant, then as a source of information—but I enjoyed seeing him used as a signpost for Allie’s effect on the people around her. Allie herself grows up a lot. Until now, she hasn’t really confronted her own ambivalent feelings about the way the older Gale women manipulate and control the younger ones. Much of her time in Calgary involves recognizing this problem and trying to figure out how to deal with it—as it becomes apparent, Allie still relies on her aunties for help dealing with the situation, but she starts to realize she can still be calling the shots. There’s no question in my mind that the book would have ended a lot differently if Allie had simply sat back and let the aunties take charge. Speaking of ambivalence, I’m not sure how I feel, on balance, about the romance between Allie and Graham. I like Graham well enough, and I recognize that Huff was trying to create some confusion, with him torn between his compelled loyalty to the sorcerer and his attraction to Allie, not to mention all the baggage that Allie brings with her in the form of ritual. Perhaps this was my problem—Huff never quite explains the rituals as explicitly as I would like, so it all still seems kind of uncertain for me. This issue resurfaces throughout the book. I’m quite intrigued by the Gale family, but I wish Huff had been less cryptic in her revelation of how their abilities work. Similarly, I wish there had been more complex interrogations of the gender dynamics at work, both within and without the Gale family. Allie couldn’t bring Michael into the fold because, being gay, he understandably didn’t want to marry her and father some babies. It seems like the Gale gender roles are pretty prescribed, though—women make pie, men do what the women say and have lots of sex. What happens if a member of the Gale family is gay? (Mind you, there seems to be some implication that everyone in the family is just pansexual, so there’s that.) Huff has no problems portraying Allie with the realistic, healthy sex drive for someone her age, but she comes up short when it comes to fully illuminating the connections between attraction, sex, and power that seem to be present within the Gale family. Power is a major motif in this book. The Gales have it; the sorcerer has it; the Dragon Lord has it. It’s all about who has the power. And, according to the aunties, power corrupts and can’t be trusted in the hands of one person—that’s why they always dispatch sorcerers. However, Huff remains unclear just what the Gales are doing with all this power, other than baking pie. Why have this power if they don’t use it? Is there something more sinister going on here? I’m disappointed this isn’t directly addressed, and I find it problematic considering the role that power plays throughout the rest of the book. On the plus side, I liked how The Enchantment Emporium is very comfortable with its contemporary setting. It’s easy to stick an “urban fantasy” label on a book, but in my experience, a lot of contemporary urban fantasy takes on distinct tones from other genres that might be anachronistic to its setting. (For example, The Dresden Files, my gold standard for urban fantasy, often takes on elements of the noir, and Butcher intentionally limits the amount of technology his characters can use.) Huff is able to create a strong impression that this could all happen now, in everyday Calgary, right under people’s noses. Oh. And did I mention there is pie? All kinds: apple, key lime, rhubarb … sorry, but I really love pie. And the magical, ever-filling pie fridge in Allie’s apartment made me very jealous and very hungry. I enjoyed The Enchantment Emporium a ridiculous amount, especially considering all the flaws I’ve found in it. (Sometimes I think that’s one of the best measures of a book’s quality—how much you enjoyed it despite recognizing its shortcomings.) I will read the sequel, which looks like it’s about Allie’s cousin Charlie, and I look forward to another interesting tale. My reviews of the Gale Women books: The Wild Ways →

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gerd

    I really like Tanya’s work, she’s one of the few authors that got me to read actual Fantasy, I do enjoy her Valor series a lot, but my true love always was with her Vicky Nelson novels and so it was with great anticipation that I awaited her return to Urban Fantasy. Ah, but what a disappointment this book is. After a hundred+ pages I’m still not sure what the main protagonist is supposed to be. Other than some variety of magic user that is. All that Tanya cares to tell us about her is that she come I really like Tanya’s work, she’s one of the few authors that got me to read actual Fantasy, I do enjoy her Valor series a lot, but my true love always was with her Vicky Nelson novels and so it was with great anticipation that I awaited her return to Urban Fantasy. Ah, but what a disappointment this book is. After a hundred+ pages I’m still not sure what the main protagonist is supposed to be. Other than some variety of magic user that is. All that Tanya cares to tell us about her is that she comes from a family that is very free about using incest as a means to keep “the power” within the family and doesn’t mind sexual encounters between siblings. This and that they feel strongly drawn to power. Other than that she’s strangely vague about what the Gale’s are. The fact that male Gale’s grow horns probably means some sort of fairy folk. And while their enormous, barely controllable sex-drive explains why for example main protagonist Alysha’s closest friend and lover Charlie is bound to evaluate each and everything by his or her worth as potential sex partner, and to hump them at the drop of a hat, it leaves us guessing, when the author tells us that Charlie’s hair is blue if she means dyed blue or by nature… and that's just the minor unexplained stuff ging on. A very personal thing I minded was the use of text messaging in the book without any translation. Given, we do come upon a passage written in French, only shortly after, but that’s something I’ve come to expect from Canadian authors, same as American ones are liable to drop some Spanish phrases and past century ones to use Latin phrases without translation. The difference here is that French is a language, which I’m willing to look up if need be, while text messaging is only a abbreviation system without agreed rules. But as I say that’s a personal thing. Btw. I still don’t know what- "Spnt nght cxng A Ruby off H2O twr." -is supposed to mean, but water seems to have something to do with it. I’m not saying by that, that this is a entirely bad novel, but it’s certainly not a good book to start a series on. It’s written for people that either read a lot more straight fantasy novels than I do, and by that are better at reading the hidden clues, or that just don’t mind a game of guess the character race and are willing to take random magical occurrences at face value. However, I’m just not ready yet again to trust a novel against better judgment to perhaps make some more sense down the road. As it stands I have to say, sorry, but this one goes to the did not finish staple.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Bought this book on a recommendation from a friend. Now I have to go find the friend a really nice Christmas present. Although I found the beginning to be fairly rocky (I kept having to check and make sure I wasn't coming in halfway thru the series. Characters kept popping in with little in the way of narrative introduction. it was very odd), the rest of the story was very good. I couldn't put it down. I haven't done any housework in a week. Honestly, how can you not love a character who (when th Bought this book on a recommendation from a friend. Now I have to go find the friend a really nice Christmas present. Although I found the beginning to be fairly rocky (I kept having to check and make sure I wasn't coming in halfway thru the series. Characters kept popping in with little in the way of narrative introduction. it was very odd), the rest of the story was very good. I couldn't put it down. I haven't done any housework in a week. Honestly, how can you not love a character who (when thinking of great Jacks in history) lists both Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Jack Harkness? And who has an auntie that's been mad ever since SciFi cancelled the Dresden Files? Hope this is the first in a series. I REALLY hope this is the first book in a series. I can't imagine just walking away and leaving all these people. I have to know what happens next! Edited to say: Just read it again because summer. Still love this series. I don't think three books are nearly enough.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn F.

    This book is a little sexually freaky (view spoiler)[first cousins on first cousin action with the aunties keeping track of who can get pregnant (hide spoiler)] which had me thinking of this as a milder version of To Sail Beyond the Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein which was chock full of incest. I kept trying to remove myself from the cringy feelings and just enjoy the book but I think (know) that colored my liking this book. Which leads me to the point where I would have given this book a 4 instea This book is a little sexually freaky (view spoiler)[first cousins on first cousin action with the aunties keeping track of who can get pregnant (hide spoiler)] which had me thinking of this as a milder version of To Sail Beyond the Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein which was chock full of incest. I kept trying to remove myself from the cringy feelings and just enjoy the book but I think (know) that colored my liking this book. Which leads me to the point where I would have given this book a 4 instead of a 3 star rating but I couldn't get beyond this as it was mentioned throughout the book. The story itself was good, the main romance was good, the writing was good - so it's just my moral sensibilities that have affected my review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    It was great! A slow and somewhat confusing start resolved itself into a protagonist I couldn't help but love and an amazing magical system. If the beginning needed a little work, the ending more than made up for it. I love Allie and her motley selection of friends and family as well as her actual Family. There wasn't a character that wasn't perfectly written. Definitely think everyone should read. Exactly what Urban Fantasy should be and there must be more! (Or I will cry.)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura (Kyahgirl)

    This was my first Tanya Huff book. It was 'pleasant' but not riveting. I liked the characters but got kind of tired of "the Gale girls" and all the mysterious magical stuff. It felt a bit disjointed. However, I liked the dragons and the magic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Estara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Maybe I should have given it five stars, because the one aspect I didn't like was planned by the author - I really despised the antagonist. I loved the idea (which the author has explicitly mentioned about this book in interviews) of a family where the women hold the power and the older the more power they get. The rituals and connections that govern the usage of the power (and I really shouldn't say they hold it - they use it when it's raised and otherwise let it go) and the interconnectedness o Maybe I should have given it five stars, because the one aspect I didn't like was planned by the author - I really despised the antagonist. I loved the idea (which the author has explicitly mentioned about this book in interviews) of a family where the women hold the power and the older the more power they get. The rituals and connections that govern the usage of the power (and I really shouldn't say they hold it - they use it when it's raised and otherwise let it go) and the interconnectedness of breeding for power usage (which they do) and not corrupting it is fascinating (view spoiler)[- oh, and policing after the occasional black sheep, which is what happens in this book (hide spoiler)] . Alysha, mostly called Allie - which will confuse me when I reread Katharine Eliska Kimbriel's alternate history fantasy series - has enjoyed her life inside the fold, but also never quite shaped up the way the aunties (who run the show) want. The boy everyone - she included - wanted for her mate may have been an outsider to the family (which is rare, as Gale women are attracted to power) but he was her best friend since she was very young. He also was gay. And Allie could have suggested very strongly that he shouldn't be and he should love her. Well, she didn't. She wanted to love him like he was, so she stayed by his side far longer than was wise and saw him fall in love with a guy and moving away (she has no compunction about manipulating the straying tendencies of that guy to make sure Michael gets the lover she thinks he deserves). He remains her best non-family friend. (view spoiler)[When her Granny Catherine suddenly leaves her the store she runs, away from the family, in Calgary, Allie gets worried because none of the family have a sense of what is up (which is rare) and on the other hand relieved to follow this up, because it gets her out of the increasing urgings to find someone for herself and the family AND having to listen to the aunties discuss the likelihood of her extremely gifted big brother David going over to the dark side (because huge power corrupts and the males seem to sometimes have problems with letting the power go when it's not needed). (hide spoiler)] Basically it's avoidance therapy that brings her to Calgary to take over Granny Catherine's store, and then Allie starts investigating Gran's disappearance and adopting all kinds of strays left by her and minding the shop which not only has an incredibly selection of yoyos to sell, but caters to the supernatural community as a sort of P.O. Box office. (view spoiler)[There's a full-blooded Fae Changeling, whose human equivalent recently died under the hill and who is NOT willing to go back to relations who stranded him in the human world as a baby, there's the coffee shop down the road where the barrista/owner knows exactly the kind of coffee you like; there's cousin Charlie who has been Allie's lover for years, but usually only shows up in between music gigs and roaming the wild wood ways - she's a Wild Gale with unpredictable power traits. There's Roland the lawyerly cousin, who did his bit of enriching the Gale line by having a daughter (whom he loves) with one of the lesbian Gale couples and who hasn't chosen a permanent partner yet. There's big brother David who has managed to survive the suspicions of his aunties but will jump to his sister's aid if he only gets a hint she has any troubles. There's a guy who has been raised by and manipulated by a sorcerer since he was 13 to be the perfect assassin of magical beings and tabloid reporter and eventually there's a half-Gale, half dragon lord prince, who gets adopted into her circle when he crosses over to our reality from the realm of the dragons. (hide spoiler)] Aside: Allie would be an incredible friend to have, but, by god, better never get on any of the bad sides of that family - because they have NO scruples in doing what they think is best (not even Allie). If you don't agree, you will usually get your mind adjusted for you. The fact that one of their major tenets is that holding onto power corrupts you is the only thing that seems to have kept the world from being run by Gale women.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    Hmm, weird book. Excellent setup with a magical emporium, a family that appears to have some interesting powers, and a problem shaping up. Easy, breezy writing and a plot that moves along well. Some characters that look interestingly diverse. Along comes Graham. First guy she sees is Mr. McDreamy, whose descriptions kept making me think of the guy on the cover of every Harlequin Romance ever printed. And the longer the book went on, the more squirmy details appeared. The Gales are not nice peop Hmm, weird book. Excellent setup with a magical emporium, a family that appears to have some interesting powers, and a problem shaping up. Easy, breezy writing and a plot that moves along well. Some characters that look interestingly diverse. Along comes Graham. First guy she sees is Mr. McDreamy, whose descriptions kept making me think of the guy on the cover of every Harlequin Romance ever printed. And the longer the book went on, the more squirmy details appeared. The Gales are not nice people, despite all the baking and knitting. They're screwing with people, they're screwing each other in every permutation possible. They're deeply into incestuous eugenics. I suspect that in a few more chapters I would have decided that they were not any better than the apparent Bad Guys. And, as things developed, we learn that this person JUST HAPPENS to be connected to this one a certain way, and to that one another way, and this OTHER person JUST HAPPENS to be .... you know what I mean. Near the end is a hint that some of this, perhaps a lot if it, is not entirely coincidental, but for me that doesn't justify it. The plot shouldn't hang on that. We're told over and over about the three circles of family magic, and the "crossing" process. But never any really useful detail, except that there's a lot of sex involved. We get that first-circle members are powerful. Near the end, we learn that the aunties (view spoiler)[can fly. Which was a bit of a waste because that turned out only to be included so that one of them could fall out of the air and sprain her ankle. Indeed, after all their travel and preparation, I didn't notice that they actually did anything much at the end. (hide spoiler)] In the end, the framework of the plot turned out to be the kind you just can't really explain. Well, there was this guy, a sorcerer, and he ... nah, it doesn't fly. The other framework, Allie's maturation, was OK. In the end, we don't find out what was the point of including Joe. Nor do we learn why the yoyos matter, if indeed they do. Several times, I had to go back because it felt as if I had just missed a few paragraphs. Some of these turned out to be an unannounced change in the point-of-view character; others were just failures of flow. Could have been a great book, but I gave it too many negatives for a rating higher than three. I leave it feeling disappointed, which doesn't happen often. I wanted it to be better!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kribu

    In all honesty, I seriously considered giving up on this book in the first chapter. Not only was the "let's throw the reader right into the middle of this weird family" thing incredibly confusing, the abundant references to everyone enjoying threesomes, moresomes, orgies and sex rituals in all possible permutations - and keeping it all in the family at that - really isn't my cup of tea. At all. At that point, I took a look at some reviews, which promised me that the plot would actually kick in w In all honesty, I seriously considered giving up on this book in the first chapter. Not only was the "let's throw the reader right into the middle of this weird family" thing incredibly confusing, the abundant references to everyone enjoying threesomes, moresomes, orgies and sex rituals in all possible permutations - and keeping it all in the family at that - really isn't my cup of tea. At all. At that point, I took a look at some reviews, which promised me that the plot would actually kick in with chapter two, so I bravely pressed onwards. And I'm really quite glad I did. The sex, abundant and keeping-it-all-in-the-family as it was, was also mercifully non-graphic, and once I was starting to more or less understand the family background, while the whole breeding plans and sex rituals still really aren't my cup of tea, it was also rather interesting and quite different from most urban fantasy I've read. (And, well, it might not be my cup of tea, but if there absolutely has to be a focus on sex and sex rituals and what not, it was rather refreshing for it to be quite happily different from the far more common kind of romantic entanglements in 99.999% of mainstream books.) Anyway. The plot. Dragons, sorcerers, witches, potential world-endings, trying to run a business, attempting to solve the mystery of a missing grandmother, lots of action - yes, I did enjoy it. And it was all very readable - not going to win any literary awards, probably, but the pace was good, the characters fairly solid, the prose fine (nothing that jumped out as either horribly purple or clunky, which always helps). It's not going to be one of my favourite books ever, but I'm definitely glad I read it, in spite of my early misgivings.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Okay, this was a weird one and I have to say something about it. The writing was fine, the characters were mostly charming and plucky and inoffensive. There was a lot of magic-enhanced, manipulative baking. The story was ... well, I'm not big on urban fantasy, but that didn't get under my skin so much as the generations old incestuous breeding plan overseen by the older women witches in the family ("Gale girls turn into Aunties") and the creeptastic gender politics in this book. Explaining that Okay, this was a weird one and I have to say something about it. The writing was fine, the characters were mostly charming and plucky and inoffensive. There was a lot of magic-enhanced, manipulative baking. The story was ... well, I'm not big on urban fantasy, but that didn't get under my skin so much as the generations old incestuous breeding plan overseen by the older women witches in the family ("Gale girls turn into Aunties") and the creeptastic gender politics in this book. Explaining that at length would take a brain that's more on the ball than mine is today, so you'll just have to read it and PM me with your WTF all-caps-incredulous reactions. But it was entertaining, hence the two stars. This book doesn't demand anything much of the reader and you can get through it in an afternoon, making it exactly what I needed this week while I wander around in a cough syrup daze waiting for my fever to break. It was the first Tanya Huff I'd read and despite the unsettling messages about gender and power in this one -- is that an urban fantasy trope? I'm not sure -- I would be willing to kill another afternoon reading one of her books.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mercurybard

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Most readers, I'm sure, will spend the first few chapters confused...until it finally clicks that you really ARE reading about polyamorous bisexual incestuous cousins. Now, set that aside, because this book is light and sweet and full of pop cultural reference ("Driver picks the music; shotgun shuts his cakehole") that made me grin like a loon. While there is sex, it isn't explicit, and the characters' attitude towards it is healthy. It is what it is. There's nothing of the dirtybadwrong that per Most readers, I'm sure, will spend the first few chapters confused...until it finally clicks that you really ARE reading about polyamorous bisexual incestuous cousins. Now, set that aside, because this book is light and sweet and full of pop cultural reference ("Driver picks the music; shotgun shuts his cakehole") that made me grin like a loon. While there is sex, it isn't explicit, and the characters' attitude towards it is healthy. It is what it is. There's nothing of the dirtybadwrong that permetes so many urban fantasy books (the Anita Blake series, for one). As for the fantasy aspects, it reminded me of Huff's Keeper series (which I adore) in its zaniness. From the yoyos to the deserts baked with...well, everything including love to the dragons.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I just love Tanya Huff's writing style. I love how she can do exposition without the story coming to a screeching halt, I love how her characters feel real as soon as you meet them and I love her kind of humor. So basically the writing style stops this from being a creepy mess. It still kinda is, but it's so very entertaining to read that you try to just not think about it and go with the flow. Aka someone throwing the idea out there that they could make a gay man fall in love with a woman to get I just love Tanya Huff's writing style. I love how she can do exposition without the story coming to a screeching halt, I love how her characters feel real as soon as you meet them and I love her kind of humor. So basically the writing style stops this from being a creepy mess. It still kinda is, but it's so very entertaining to read that you try to just not think about it and go with the flow. Aka someone throwing the idea out there that they could make a gay man fall in love with a woman to get someone to be part of the family? YIKES! Wait, is this book telling me that the aunties cackle several times a day? That's kinda funny. What that means is that you have to know if you can stomach reading about characters that have very scewed moral compasses AND have the power to change the world to their liking - some more than others. Luckily our main character is mostly okay in that regard (just one moment near the end, that was not a good look). So yeah, I liked this quite a bit, but with a big fat asterisk. I will however most likely never read the other two books in this series, cause the main character(s) change and I fear like the new one(s) are more pre-disposed to the YIKES moments than the main character in this one was and even Tanya Huff's beloved writing style won't be able to let me get through that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aoife

    Alysha Gale is from a very odd sort of family in which she has a lot of aunties, a lot of cousins (one of whom she's expected to marry) and they all possess magical powers. When Alysha gets a strange letter from her grandma, who appears to have wither died or mysteriously disappeared, she ends up being put in charge of a junk shop with a few tricks up its sleeve, but also ends up embroiled with an evil sorcerer and his not-so-evil but very-handsome assassin, and some dragon lords intent on destr Alysha Gale is from a very odd sort of family in which she has a lot of aunties, a lot of cousins (one of whom she's expected to marry) and they all possess magical powers. When Alysha gets a strange letter from her grandma, who appears to have wither died or mysteriously disappeared, she ends up being put in charge of a junk shop with a few tricks up its sleeve, but also ends up embroiled with an evil sorcerer and his not-so-evil but very-handsome assassin, and some dragon lords intent on destroying the city. This book is hard to explain. It's urban fantasy with some fantastic female characters, and a family full of feisty matriarchs, plus some sexy male love interests and a sorcerer and dragon lords thrown into the mix to spice thongs up. I feel like I shouldn't have liked this but I just became really invested in the Gale family, and I just had to keep reading to see how it all ended up. I really thought that the styructure of the Gale family was fascinating - the family had to have a male leader to anchor it to a place which made it seem like the male was head of the family but no way, the aunts are in charge and they're the ones that put everyone else in place. I loved that. I also loved how sex positive this book is (despite the fact it seems like all the cousins or 'cousins' are sleeping with one another, but you kind of get over that after a while), and it managed to do it without being too descriptive or raunchy which could put some readers off. I think I may just have to keep reading this series. One of the only negative points I would have to say is that for some reason it took me a while to read, I think the chapters just seemed a bit long at times, and I definitely should have finished this within two days rather than four given the actual length of it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susana

    Couldn't pass the first chapter. There's a confusion of names, and people thrown around like confetti, and just like confetti I had no idea _ neither will to find out _ who the hell they all were... besides cousins to everyone... who were sleeping around with each other. UGH. Enough said, and though it wasn't explicit, I really don't want to read about this type of nonsense. So... bye.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ReadForDessert

    *****Scorrere per la recensione in italiano****** This time Tanya Huff reinvents the classical witches imaginary with a special Huff's twist: forget magic spells and wand-waving, because magic permeates every aspect of the Gale family, it's an invisible force that they can manipulate to change the world around them according to their wishes. I have to admit that my first reaction to the Gale's "family relations" was very bewildered, but after it I consider the whole thing as what actually is: a f *****Scorrere per la recensione in italiano****** This time Tanya Huff reinvents the classical witches imaginary with a special Huff's twist: forget magic spells and wand-waving, because magic permeates every aspect of the Gale family, it's an invisible force that they can manipulate to change the world around them according to their wishes. I have to admit that my first reaction to the Gale's "family relations" was very bewildered, but after it I consider the whole thing as what actually is: a fantasy novel, where things that are generally unacceptable or impossible becomes possible, so I choose to keep on reading. I am particularly impressed by how the author always choose a different way to manage the Power for every supernatural character that she creates: Henry acts as a prince in his own kingdom and consider the humans inside his territory as his own subjects, the Heerkens werewolves has a neat hierarchy inside their pack but no power at all outside it, so they decided to live as far as possibile from the human society... the Gale are addicted by their own Power: for generations they have concentrated and controlled the Power in their family, and the more obvious way to concentrate something is to keep it together, so the author's choice makes sense for me. I like the fact that the Gales are never called witches, because they are something totally unique. I love the way they use magic an relates to other kinds of magic, the mighty both quirky aunts and especially the "magic baking": it was very funny to read about dangerous blueberry pies! ***🇮🇹*** Una nuova storia dalla Huff, ma senza vampiri: stavolta l'autrice si è concentrata sulle creature dell'immaginario irlandese, a mio parere con ottimi risultati. Tutto il libro è incentrato sulla famiglia Gale, un clan matriarcale di donne eccentriche dotate di poteri sovrannaturali all'interno del quale spicca Alysha, la nostra protagonista, che non sa bene cosa fare della sua vita e dei suoi poteri finchè la nonna recentemente scomparsa non le lascia in eredità un misterioso quanto stravagante emporio. Sarò sincera, all'inizio del libro ho avuto qualche difficoltà ad accettare l'idea un pò forte della Huff sulle dinamiche famigliari del clan Gale, però ho deciso di andare comunque avanti chiudendo un occhio, e alla fine la storia non mi è dispiaciuta affatto. Ho trovato molto interessante l'idea di magia utilizzata dalle Gale (le quali non vengono mai chiamate streghe anche se è evidente che la Huff avesse in mente quel genere di figura).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Viridian5

    Since I tend to enjoy Tanya Huff's work and read through them very quickly, I picked up The Enchantment Emporium as the first of my two newest library books to read, figuring that'd give me more time to work on the other one to be done before the due date. I was wrong and disappointed. When a letter from Alysha Gale's eccentric, missing, and possibly dead Gran arrives, Allie has to take over Gran's odds and ends store in Calgary to find out what happened. Trouble and a lot of magic ensue. This bo Since I tend to enjoy Tanya Huff's work and read through them very quickly, I picked up The Enchantment Emporium as the first of my two newest library books to read, figuring that'd give me more time to work on the other one to be done before the due date. I was wrong and disappointed. When a letter from Alysha Gale's eccentric, missing, and possibly dead Gran arrives, Allie has to take over Gran's odds and ends store in Calgary to find out what happened. Trouble and a lot of magic ensue. This book had two major problems for me. One is that I found the protagonist's family and to a lesser degree the protagonist distasteful. The Gale family is arrogant, privileged, and has few qualms about bending people and the world to their wants. Are you attracted to someone who doesn't want you? Put on a charm on him or her to make them want you. In fact, they're shocked when a Gale doesn't do something like that. The protective charms Allie puts on people she likes literally say "Mine." They have special cell phone service, life is always handing them special deals on various things, and money is rarely a problem. The Aunties are especially pushy about forcing people to do what they want. The family throws its power around casually and constantly. At one point Allie puts a charm on a security guard so he won't take out his bad mood on other people just because she made that judgment and she can do it, even though his only real crime is being a grouch. At least Allie, out of the whole family, is less likely to forcibly charm a person she wants as a lover. The book spends a lot of time stating "Gale girls/boys do X," with X generally being about them getting their way or being badass. Two is that sex is inextricably linked into some of the magic. Gales are irresistably drawn to have sex with people after certain workings. They'll do their cousins, a lot of times to keep power in the family but also because they sometimes can't help themselves. I know a lot of urban fantasy does the "inability to say no to sex because of magic" thing these days but I hate it. The casual and pervasive incest kind of annoyed me too. Tanya Huff has done urban fantasy before but much better than this. If a sequel comes out for The Enchantment Emporium I'm not going to pick it up.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    I was very confused on this book at first. Things seemed very random. When this happens I will give a book until page 50, if it is still like that give up. Luckily things started to make sense and I really liked the book in the end. But this does seem like one book where if you re-read it right again things will click faster. I really liked Allie and her crazy family. They seemed like a fun group to be around. There was so much going on within how the family works it was hard to grasp it. There w I was very confused on this book at first. Things seemed very random. When this happens I will give a book until page 50, if it is still like that give up. Luckily things started to make sense and I really liked the book in the end. But this does seem like one book where if you re-read it right again things will click faster. I really liked Allie and her crazy family. They seemed like a fun group to be around. There was so much going on within how the family works it was hard to grasp it. There wasn't one really big scene where it set up how things worked, but the info was given in small drips through out the book. For a first book in a series it is setting itself up well. We got to know the family, how it worked, and there was the big good versus evil plot. Along with a shift in how the family worked. The randomness of the shop was great. It was funny how things would work up, and then Joe would sell a yo-yo. What a great obscure thing!! I look forward to the next book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    First I must say that the family breeding program was pretty messed up. It was a keep in the family policy, and because there were so many girls then some got to breed outside the family. If the guy was accepted. But to be honest it never truly bothered me, Allie was not chosen by a cousin so I was a bit, ok, I can deal. Allie left her family to start over in Calgary and take over her gran's weird shop. And of course things goes wrong at once. She meets a Fae, she sees...things I shall not mentio First I must say that the family breeding program was pretty messed up. It was a keep in the family policy, and because there were so many girls then some got to breed outside the family. If the guy was accepted. But to be honest it never truly bothered me, Allie was not chosen by a cousin so I was a bit, ok, I can deal. Allie left her family to start over in Calgary and take over her gran's weird shop. And of course things goes wrong at once. She meets a Fae, she sees...things I shall not mention but oh my. She meets someone who interests her. And as things starts to go down hill more of the family shows up to help her or just hang out. Calgary is the place to be. The Gale family sure was an interesting bunch of people, I wonder how their powers came to be. Then I get to see that there is a lot of other beings out there too, and Under the Hill too. The book gets its conclusion here. The next book is about Allie's cousin. I did like that because I knew where I left Allie at least then. I do hope book 3 is about her brother though ;=)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carien

    I'm in two minds about this book. It is well written, has a really cool story, remarkable characters and over all it is a fun read. Add some really cool dragons in the mix and you should think this book is a hit. So why will this book not end up on my list of favourites? It has to do with the Gale family: On the one hand they're one crazy, interesting bunch, on the other hand.... They were too close in my opinion. And when I mean close, I mean close in an icky way. Their interactions gave me an un I'm in two minds about this book. It is well written, has a really cool story, remarkable characters and over all it is a fun read. Add some really cool dragons in the mix and you should think this book is a hit. So why will this book not end up on my list of favourites? It has to do with the Gale family: On the one hand they're one crazy, interesting bunch, on the other hand.... They were too close in my opinion. And when I mean close, I mean close in an icky way. Their interactions gave me an unpleasant feeling when reading about it. And if all the cousins interacting with each other wasn't enough, there's the double standards for bisexuals too. I must confess I like my pairings to be exclusive in any case, but it always irks me when a person can have both a male and female lover, but one of their lovers can't have an extra lover on the side. So all in all: I enjoyed the story, but did not enjoy the romantic entanglements in this book.

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