Friday, June 14, 2013

Family Magic by Patti Larsen

Title:  Family Magic
Author:  Patti Larsen
Series:  Hayle Coven #1
Published:  October 27th 2011 by CreateSpace
(first published October 17th 2011)
Page Count:  466
Genre:  Paranormal
Shelf: Review Copy
Rating:  ★★★★★

Book Blurb:

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being ordinary. That my mom baked cookies instead of brewing spells. That my dad lived with us, not on the demon plane. All I ever wanted was to be like everyone else.

I know what you're thinking. You'd die to live in my world. How cool would it be if magic was real and you could do anything?

You have no idea. Here I am in another new town, but it's the same old thing. Cheerleader bullies? How original. Friendless again? Who's surprised? I suck at fitting in. Especially when I'm in the middle of saving my family from total destruction.

My name is Sydlynn Hayle, and that's my life.

Trade you.


Witch after witch, male and female alike, professed their undying love and loyalty to our family, etcetera, and so on, ad nausem. It took forever. And to think we had to go through this twice a year. According to Mom, with the dying of the summer at Samhain and its rebirth at Beltane, the connection between our plane and Dad’s was closest. It made the bonding easier and more powerful.

Blah, blah, blah.

The only problem? It was the epitome of boring. Besides, I had homework to do. I could hardly explain to my science teacher I didn’t get my chemistry done because I was helping my coven renew its bond with my demon father. Who knew? Maybe Mr. Sinclair would give me a better mark if he thought I packed that kind of firepower.

Finally, and I do mean finally, the ceremony ended with the last of them stepping back from Haralthazar. He turned to my mother. The love in their eyes as they gazed at each other was, if I have to be totally honest, sickening and way over the top.

“My love.” He held her hands to his chest, the top of her head reaching his chin, the flawless, perfect lovers, channeling a bad romance novel.

Meira poked me. I knew I was making faces in disgust. It was just so embarrassing. Normal people didn’t do that kind of thing in public. Meira and I exchanged a knowing smirk and I pretended to gag.

“My life,” Mom said with bated breath.

Another grimace. Meira giggled.

“Our circle is whole. Our power is renewed, and our love.” Even Dad was in on the nonsense.

“Yours always, my love.” Mom stretched up on her tiptoes.

I quickly found something else to look at, horrified by the open attraction my parents had no problem sharing with the rest of us. Didn’t they get public displays of affection were the height of icky? I’m sure if it were me, I’d be grounded.

Meira sniggered and made a little kissing noise. I choked on a laugh and had to struggle not to cough.

Dad winked at us.


His amber eyes fixed on me unblinking in his cat way that made me squirm in discomfort.

“Your sister will never lead this family,” Sass told me, so matter-of-fact I was forced to listen. “If you choose to step aside, the coven will leave Hayle control forever.”

“As if. Sass, you are so paranoid.”

“I know them far better than you do,” he said with some bitterness. “Witches do not accept outsiders easily and resist any change to their natural order.”

“So? I don’t care, remember? I want out.”

“Then you are effectively handing over the strength of the most powerful coven in the West to whoever is deemed worthy at the time,” he said. “Do you understand what that means?”

“You’re obviously going to fill me in.”

“You’ll be cutting your mother’s throat,” he said. “And any other Hayle witch remaining alive.”

I made a face at him. “They would never hurt her. You’re so full of crap.”

I started to get up, but his paw hooked my sleeve and pulled me back down.

“Have you ever seen a witch stripped?” His face turned intense, even for a Persian, eyes glowing. “Cleaned out, reduced to nothing?”


“I have,” he said, “the last time the magic changed hands. To your family.”

I settled back on the bed, curious. “You were here with the Tremere’s?” Even I knew basic history. But, I always thought Sass was a Hayle addition.

He snorted. “You have no idea.” He pulled his paw back. “None. Of what they can do, what they are capable of. Of the interference a change in power can attract from the High Council. Of the disruption it can cause in our world and to the normals. It’s not a small thing, Syd. Not a trifle, not something to be tossed away simply because you don’t want it. There are far more serious repercussions in this than your parents have been willing to tell you.”


I walked into the kitchen to the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Allow me to explain. My mother, Miriam Hayle, powerful witch and coven leader, could not bake. In fact, as a rule and a whole, we tried to stop her at the first sign of blossoming domesticity. Her brief and often disastrous forays into all things homey were notorious for ending in tragedy, shed blood and a bucket of tears.

Not always hers.

So these perfect lumps of divine smelling sugary sweetness could not possibly have come from the hands of my mother.

I checked around for a telltale paper bag or plastic container explaining the appearance of fresh baked anything in my house. I stood over the cooling rack when Mom came in the kitchen and caught me drooling. She looked adorable in her clean, crisp black apron with ‘Witch in the Kitch’ written across it in florescent green.

We watched each other, silent, uncomfortable. It was pretty clear she was hiding something from me and didn’t know to share. Decision made, she smiled.

“Sydlynn, honey, I’m glad you’re home.” Mom took a step forward into the kitchen, still smiling.

I smiled tentatively back. Maybe this would be easier than I thought.

“Hi, Mom,” I said.

Mom glanced down at the tray of cooling cookies and laughed.

“Surprised?” She said.

I nodded.

She went to the cupboard and took out a plate. A spatula emerged from the drawer below it. She started serving cookies onto the waiting dish.

“I wasn’t sure at first,” she said, “but they seemed to turn out okay in the end.” She held up the plate to me, a hopeful, wistful expression on her face. “Cookie?”

That cookie could have tasted like crap and it wouldn’t have mattered. I loved my mother so much right then I would have eaten it wriggling or still on fire if I had to.

My Review:

This novel is captivating, enthralling, and fast-paced while still remaining a light and very enjoyable read. Larsen’s phenomenal descriptions paint a vivid world for you. They support the very well developed story that this amazing storyteller presents to us. I also enjoy how she meshes the world of witchcraft with the mundane world of mere mortals. This story is developed in such a manner that allows you to see the possibility of it happening right next door.

This novel takes the well-known to-be-a-witch story, and gives it to the audience backwards. Larsen writes a thrillingly captivating tale about accepting who you are. Throughout her very well thought out and solidly put together novel Larsen illustrates how, regardless of who you are or who you think you want to be, life is always best if you are above all, yourself.

Larsen puts together a very interesting cast of characters. There is a large variation in personalities, physical appearances, and walks in life, yet the characters mesh together into a cohesive unit that has at least one person that everyone can relate to. Larsen’s cast of characters is also very well developed. Each one is uniquely developed to fit their role in the story. I also appreciate the varied degree of development found throughout the cast. Larsen doesn’t over or under develop any of her characters. As a reader, you find out what is relevant to the character in question.

As a whole, this was a very captivating novel that I couldn’t put down. I was enthralled throughout and cannot wait to read more about these characters and to dive into further work by this very talented author.

Buy your copy online:

·         Amazon 
·         B & N  

About the Author:

Patti Larsen is an award-winning middle grade and young adult author with a passion for the paranormal. But that sounds so freaking formal, doesn't it? I'm a storyteller who hears teenager's voices so loud I have to write them down. I love sports even though they don't love me. I've dabbled in everything from improv theater to film making and writing TV shows, singing in an all girl band to running my own hair salon.

But always, always, writing books calls me home.

I've had my sights set on world literary domination for a while now. Which means getting my books out there, to you, my darling readers. It's the coolest thing ever, this job of mine, being able to tell stories I love, only to see them all shiny and happy in your hands... thank you for reading.

As for the rest of it, I'm short (permanent), slightly round (changeable) and blonde (for ever and ever). I love to talk one on one about the deepest topics and can't seem to stop seeing the big picture. I happily live on Prince Edward Island, Canada, home to Anne of Green Gables and the most beautiful red beaches in the world, with my very patient husband and four massive cats.

Connect with the author online:


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