Monday, February 4, 2013

Early Review of Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #3) by Lisa Kleypas

  • Title: Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor)
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance/Paranormal
  • Format: Paperback; 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (February 5, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1250011752
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250011756
  • Author's Website:

"Are emotions like that even possible?" she asked. "I mean, even though you and Alex are in love..."--she gestured with the book---" real life can't be like this, right?

Zoe's face turned pink as she replied. "Sometimes real life is even better, but in all the little things. The way he touches your face, or covers you with a blanket when you're taking a nap, or puts a Post-it note on the fridge to remind you about your dentist appointment. I think those things glue a relationship together even more than all the great sex."

Justine Hoffman spent her childhood traveling from one place to the next. Never staying in one place long enough to establish roots or solidify a friendship. She dreamed of the day when she'd find a place to put down roots, find love, and start a family. When the opportunity popped up to own a bed-and-breakfast in Friday Harbor she jumped at the chance. But as the years went by and her friends found love and married she decided something must be wrong with her. She never seemed to be able to fall in love or maintain a long term relationship. She had even attempted to cast a spell to find her soul mate, but fate seemed to have other plans. She started to believe love was an emotion she just wasn't capable of feeling. Perhaps it wasn't in her genetic make up. That is, until the day she found out someone had put a Geas on her, a curse so she'd never find love. To break a Geas would cost her. For magic always comes at a cost. The problem is you never know what that price will be until it was too late. Dare she risk it? 

Jason Black was a self made millionaire who made his money creating cutting edge video games. He's handsome, smart, driven, and determined. He came to Friday Harbor for a reason. He came with a purpose. He always did his homework. Always did his research. He was a man who always got what he wanted and what he wanted was a spell. A very specific spell. Jason was born without a soul. Unlike those with a soul once his number was up, there would be no afterlife. He'd be no more. He wanted a spell to change things, and Justine, a natural born witch hailing from a powerful line witches was very likely to have a spell tucked away in her grimoire to do just that. What he hadn't planned for, what he couldn't have predicted, was that he'd fall for her and fall hard. But would that change his plans?

And that begs the question, can someone truly be your soul mate if they haven't got a soul?


This is the third book in the Friday Harbor Trilogy. You can jump into this one without reading the previous books in the series, and you won't feel lost. This story is about Justine, Zoӫ's best friend in Dream Lake, and Jason Black, a new character we've never been introduced to. If you've read other series by Ms. Kleypas, this one is a little different. Ms. Kleypas has added a supernatural element to this series which has a fantastical edge to it. I've always said Lisa Kleypas' books have a magical component to them, and with this series, that is true both figuratively and literally. 

As could be predicted after the recent popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, we are starting to see the influence the book has had on main stream romances. In Crystal Cove, Ms. Kleypas brings Kinbaku, what is referred to in the book as  an artistic Japanese form of bondage, into her novel. I have to admit, I'm not a fan for or against the bondage trend and didn't read the Fifty Shades of Grey books, nor am I likely to, but if you wanted to get an idea of what all the hoopla is about with this trend, Lisa Kleypas is a good author to gently ease you into it. Personally, I can't imagine doing something like this with someone I'd known for only a short period of time. I'd have to be in a full blown committed relationship to even consider allowing someone to truss me up like a Christmas hen and even then probably not. I blame that on watching the movie Looking for Mr. Goodbar at an age that it permanently imprinted on me.

Another interesting aspect to the book is that Jason Black literally has no soul. A friend of mine has always had a problem with books where a person has no soul, but it's not a new concept. The term was first used in the 15th century, however, I don't think it was literally meant to refer to a person who didn't have a soul. Just a reference to someone who was cold, callous, and unfeeling. I must admit if I think about someone being soulless, it brings up all sorts of questions, some of which Ms. Kleypas addresses in her book.

Justine was a fun character who didn't deserve a lot of the things which befell her. After years of having anything but a normal life, she craves the mundane. She'd all but turned her back on her witchcraft. Being around Zoӫ and Alex makes her yearn for finding her happily ever after with someone of her own, but it just never seems to happen. When she finds out she's been cursed she can't fathom who would do such a thing or why. She's simply devastated and turns to two elderly witches who became like family to her when her mother turned her back on the daughter who abandoned the craft. She hopes they'll have some of the answers she seeks.

Jason and Justine's personalities are fairly opposite of one another. He's quite a domineering character who is used to getting his way. Justine kind of just goes with the flow, for the most part, but she doesn't let him get away with too much. When he starts ordering her around, she makes a point of calling him on it and that surprises him. Not many people question what he says. I was surprised, however, that she seemed to not mind his domination in the boudoir. I mean this was a total and utter surrender.

Overall, I gave this one a 4 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed the relationship with all its complications. I liked how the issues were wrapped up. I've always felt a master story teller can seemingly write themselves into a corner and with a stroke of their magical pen, not unlike a magical wand, write themselves right out again. I liked the way she did with this one. While I figured out what the cost would probably be, I didn't predict everything and was pleasantly surprised. The only thing I would have changed would have been the length of the book. I wish it had expanded to give us a better idea of how the events at the end affected Jason. I was more than a little curious. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scored a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. While not something I'd do, I love living vicariously through Ms. Kleypas' characters.

Order of the Series:

PS. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is the prequel to the trilogy.

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