Series: Windy City Magic #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 16th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: Blog Tour, NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.
Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?
The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.
I needed this book in my life right now. I was sort of feeling like I was in a reading slump, partially because I’ve just been busy and tired, and I really needed the sort of book that hooked me in and didn’t let go. This book kept me guessing about where exactly it was going and how things were going to work out, and that was perfect. I was wrapped up in Amber’s life and I loved every minute of it!
What Fed My Addiction:
- Expectations. Amber feels like a disappointment to her mom and the rest of the magical community because she’s just a matchmaker—she feels like she constantly has to compensate for her lack of “real” magic and she struggles to prove herself to the magical community. Her mom holds coven meetings at their family magic shop, and while everyone is welcoming to her, she’s not allowed in on any sort of magical business. She’s always left on the sidelines. But the nice thing about this book is that Amber doesn’t wallow in self-pity. Sure, she sometimes wishes she had magic or that she wasn’t seen as a second-class magical citizen, but for the most part, she’s made the best of her lot in life and she’s happy with it. Amber’s real because she isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but she’s not a whiner or a quitter either. I really loved that about her.
- Family relationships. I adored the relationship between Amber and her mom. They certainly aren’t perfect, but they have an obvious love for each other and it was nice to see a YA mom who’s involved and caring—and also a little flawed. It felt like real parenting to me. (And as the mom of a teenager, I can say it’s not always easy!)
- BFFs. The friendship between Amber and Amani is also a bright spot in the book. These best friends know each other incredibly well and they’re always there for each other, no matter what. It was nice to see a friendship that never wavered, even when they disagreed on something.
- Hooked on the romance. From the start, we know that Charlie and Amber are not meant to be—she’s seen his true love and it isn’t her. Amber has a hard time doing anything more than the most casual of dating because every time she looks into the boy’s eyes, she sees scenes of his soulmate flashing before her. You have to admit, that would be hard to get past. Still, as the book went on, I found myself wishing that maybe Amber could be wrong. And throughout the book, the idea is thrown out there—what if Amber’s magic isn’t as reliable as she always imagined? She feels torn over that idea because that would mean that she’s possibly been leading people astray. But it also might mean that she has a chance for happiness even without seeing herself as someone’s match. I spent the entire book wondering how it would all play out. Would Amber and Charlie get a happily ever after? Some elements of the romance played out in ways that I was expecting, but there were a few surprises as well …
- The Chicago setting. As a Chicago native (well, I’m from the suburbs), I loved the setting, especially since Amber’s shop is on Navy Pier!
- FOOD! Amber is a baker and she makes the most scrumpdillyicious sounding desserts! I want them all!!!
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Not much. The very beginning of the book was a bit of a slower read for me, but as I mentioned, I’ve been exhausted lately and I think that affected my reading. Other than that, the only reason this book doesn’t get a full 5 stars is because it just isn’t any sort of life-changing book that’s going to make you see life differently. It was sweet and perfect and gave me the feels, though!
This is the type of book that makes you fall in love with love and just makes you plain happy. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book! This one earns 4.5/5 stars from me.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via The Fantastic Flying Book Club and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Take a look at Cestari’s Top Ten Addictions!
Crystal Cestari’s Top Ten Addictions
- Bulldogs – Every time I see a bulldog I completely fall apart. Their short, rumpled bodies and squishy, jowly faces just kill me. I am a sucker for anything that has a bulldog on it: socks, salt and pepper shakers, jewelry. I had a bulldog for several years, and she was the silliest, most stinky companion ever.
- Ice cream – I love all desserts, but ice cream tops the list. Even in the dead of winter, I still suffer from ice cream cravings. I consider it my personal mission to try every new Ben and Jerry’s flavor. (my current favorite: Boom Chocolatta)
- Disneyland – Growing up in southern California, Disneyland was a fantasy brought to life. My mom, sister, and I were diehards, getting there as soon as the park opened and staying until close. The map of the park is practically tattooed in my brain. As I got older, I loved learning about the history of the park and Walt Disney’s journey to build his dream; I now have a Disney nerd room filled with collectables and memorabilia of past visits.
- Coffee – An obsession that doubles as a necessity.
- Paper and Pens – I write all my first drafts longhand, so I always make sure to have a notebook and pen with me. I have pens scattered all over my life (my favorites are Uni-ball); I recently found one in my pillowcase. I can’t seem to stop buying cute notebooks, and I’m also crazy about fine art paper. I have sheets of it waiting for future craft or decorating projects, and no matter how many designs I have, there’s always room for one more.
- Theatre – I was a big theatre kid growing up, and while I don’t perform anymore, I still love going to see shows as much as possible. I am ten times more likely to put on a musical soundtrack than any other type of music. I recently saw Hamilton in Chicago and now I’m constantly blurting out lyrics to friends and family without warning or context (I’m sure they love it!).
- Jewelry – I am always on the hunt for a new piece of jewelry to add to my collection. I like finding unique pieces, especially at craft fairs or on Etsy. Sparkly, bright, funky, chunky: I like it all. If I’m not wearing a necklace or earrings, I just don’t feel right!
- HGTV – I could probably watch all day. I don’t know what it is about renovating and decorating homes, but I can’t get enough. The big reveals at the end are always so exciting! A whole new room—yes! I’m sure if I dug deep I could pull out some symbolism about fresh starts or something, but no, I just like the pretty homes. I subscribe to the magazine too, and I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit making Pinterest boards for homes I don’t even own.
- Fandoms – I have many fandoms swirling in my fangirl heart, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer is probably the biggest. That show has been a huge influence on me, and I encourage/force anyone in my life who hasn’t seen it to binge watch immediately. Since it was just the 20th anniversary of the premiere, I recently started my own rewatch, and oh, my heart. I love it so much!
- Books – Duh. Books are everything. The greatest gift of all is my daughter has recently become an avid reader as well, and now we can spend time snuggling and reading together. It’s amazing and the best.
Anyone who’s a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is awesome, in my book. Oh, and I was a theatre major in college, so I just know we’d be fast friends! 🙂
About the Author
With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.
My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.
So excited to see you loved this. I think the premise and blurb sound awesome. I need this one!! Great review!
I loved it even more than I expected to!
aha don’t laugh at me Nicole but… even though I haven’t finish my current WIP I started a new one and it has some wiccan elements! So I’m SO in the mood for it! I do love magic in the real world and this is a 4.5 review!!! and THAT COVER! omg I’m so reading it!
No laughing here. I wrote over 50,000 words of one book and then totally dumped it and wrote another, so I certainly can’t judge!
Ice cream is one of my addictions, too! I love it and could eat it constantly, especially if there’s chocolate in it.
Who doesn’t love ice cream? Crazy people, that’s who.
Excellent review! I love family stories and if this book leaves me feeling happy too, I will need it after I read The summer that Melted Everything.
I will say that the book leaves us hanging as far as a HEA is concerned (one reason why I NEED the next book), but it definitely supplied lots of fun and adorable moments along the way!
“Scrumpdillyicious sounding desserts” do sound great! Thank you for the info!
SO many delicious-sounding descriptions!
OOh nice! Been hearing about this one but was somehow under the impression it ran towards more contemporary but she’s a witch?! This is sooo my kind of read! LOL! Great review!
Yes, it’s definitely paranormal. She technically isn’t considered a witch because she has no magical powers (except for her matchmaking ability, which gets no respect in the magical community), but her mom is a witch and the book also includes a siren, a vampire, some goblins, someone who can see the future and more!
I am so happy I came across this review, otherwise this book would have completely bypassed my radar. The concept of this book sounds really interesting, especially in relation to how her abilities affect Amber’s own happiness. I’ll have to keep my eye out for this book.
I’m glad I could introduce you to it!
The best kind of magic sounds great! I love baked goods, looking forward to reading this book. Thank you
The descriptions of the baked goods were SO tempting—I wished I could dive into the book and taste!
That’s a unique ability to read about! And I LOVE that cover. Dating would certainly be a problem with that ability, that’s for sure, but I like the idea that maybe her ability isn’t foolproof, and the questions that raises. Nice that the parenting felt real, too.
This sounds like a really interesting read.
It would be awful to be able to see everyone else’s soulmates, but never see your own!
I love the sound of the relationship between the character and her mom. There sure is a shortage of that nowadays.
Yes, so often YA parents are completely missing.
Okay, you’ve really made me want to bump this up my list!! I now need to know if Amber could be wrong!!!
Also– I love that Crystal has a Disney room!! That’s too cute. And WOAH she writes all her first drafts on PAPER!! That’s so retro!!
I loved this guest post idea!! Thanks for being on the tour!
It’s hard to believe that you can write a whole book on paper!
[…] Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Guest Post […]
This sounds exactly like what I need right now. Something lighthearted and sweet!
Hope you enjoy it!
LOVE paranormal books, and especially when they focus on family relationships and interesting ships!! I totally agree with you that this books hits some great elements that hook readers on a book, especially the relationships.
Lovely review! 🙂
I have a Canadian address but I’m doing a semester abroad so my IP address might not show up as Canadian
Thanks for letting me know about the address thing. That might have thrown me off.
I loved your review! Good parenting, heck even having alive mothers, seems rare in YA books these days. It sounds fantastic to have a more realistic representation of parenting!
Yes, for a while there it looked like parents were extinct in YA.
I admit quite a few of your top ten’s are on my list also. Great review; need more like this with the leaning towards having the mom alive ~ a point my kids not in a lot of movies and books. It hits more to home with them seen as I am a single mother with three kids.
Her relationship with her mom was definitely a high point of the book for me!