I liked this book very much. Although it was a little slow in the beginning, I kept at it and I'm glad I did. It was very entertaining. It's a fast read once I got into it, and the characters are very likeable. I'm interested to see where the series leads and will definitely read the next book due out in October 2007.
It was a pleasant read, but I did find myself putting it down and doing other things before coming back to it later, so it had a sort of sedate pace. I enjoyed it, and I liked Jane so I'll probably read the next book soon. The strength in the writing is really the relationships Jane has with her friends and family, with a couple of magical hijinks Jane gets herself into, her man trouble, and the return of her estranged mother to add interest.
Jane really does seem to have a "good girl" personality - she loves her work at the library and tries to help it with it's financial problems, she has a good relationship with her grandmother who raised her, and she has routine girl's night with her long-time best friend Melissa. She's a typical single woman juggling work and family while also looking for someone to share her life with. The only problem is that Jane isn't always as aware as she thinks she is, especially about relationships with men. Her taste isn't great and I felt that she was rather blind sometimes.
One of the things I loved about Harlequins Red Dress Ink line was the diversity. Within the chick-lit genre, Red Dress Ink offered a nice variety in the Red Dress offerings. Some of them are straight chick-lit, some are suspense or mystery, and some, such as Girls Guide to Witchcraft, has a paranormal twist. Combining two of my favorite genres, chick-lit and paranormal romance is brilliant. Its such a shame that there are no longer any new Red Dress Ink releases. Girls Guide to Witchcraft is the first book in the Jane Madison trilogy about a librarian who learns she is also a witch.
Jane Madison is a reference librarian at a small library in Washington, D.C. After her boss informs her that the library is cutting her salary by 25%, Jane is offered free room and board in the cottage behind the library. Jane accepts (what choice does she have?) and moves into the cottage. After several hours of intensive scrubbing and scouring, Jane begins to feel the charm of the cottage. Jane inadvertently finds a key that opens the door to the basement and she discovers a collection of antique books. Jane is thrilled and when she reads from one of the books, a statue of a cat turns into a man named Neko, who informs Jane she is a witch and he is her familiar.
From there I was hooked. I had to know what would happen. Mixed into the yoga sessions with her best friend, Melissa, which Jane hates, the mojito therapy sessions with Melissa and Neko that I would personally love to participate in and the gorgeous warder, David, who is assigned to give Jane witchcraft lessons are several side stories. Jane is infatuated with a college professor who spends a lot of time in the library. Jane learns that the mother she thought was dead is actually alive and abandoned Jane as a baby and now wants to come back into her life. Jane is dedicated to her job and works hard trying to obtain funding for the library. There is really so much going on that one book just cant cover it all.
I really liked the characters. Jane is self-conscious and comes across as a little scatterbrained and awkward, which I felt only added to her charm. Melissa is the best friend we would all love to have. She accepts Jane for who she is, cheers her on when things are going well and is ready to pick her up with mojito therapy when things are not. I loved Neko. As Janes familiar, he is there to assist her with all things witchy but I loved that he has such a vibrant personality on his own. He also retains his feline tendencies, which causes Jane to fear for the safety of her pet fish. As her warder, David is more than just Janes witchcraft mentor and teacher. Theres an attraction between Jane and David that I hope will be explored in more detail in the remaining books.
Overall, a good start to a trilogy. I look forward to reconnecting with Jane and her friends in the next book, Sorcery and the Single Girl.
Jane Madison has always thought of herself as "plain Jane," and let's face it, her life does leave something to be desired. A low-paid, overworked librarian of an obscure resource library in Washington DC, Jane fills her days mooning after her "imaginary boyfriend" Jason Templeton, a professor at one of the local universities who does his independent research in her section of the library every week.
One day however, her boss calls her into her office to give her some bad news: the library's funding is so bad that she is going to have to cut Jane's pay...by 25%. But there's an upside! They library has agreed to let her live in the guesthouse behind the main building rent-free, utilities included.
Though it might be dull work at times, Jane couldn't imagine leaving her beloved library (or Jason for that matter) and quickly agrees to the deal. After moving into the cottage out back though, Jane can't shake the creepy feeling she keeps getting. After finding they key to the locked basement in an obscure and mysterious place, she decides to check it out...
Soon after innocently opening a book and reading a passage out loud, statues are coming alive, there are strange men in her kitchen drinking her tea and pounding down her front door trying to explain to a bemused Jane that she is in fact, a witch...
First off, props to Mindy Klasky! I emailed her on Kat's recommendation and she immediately sent me free copies of not only "Girls' Guide to Witchcraft," but the sequel "Sorcery and the Single Girl." Thanks so much Ms. Klasky!
On the downside...Klasky has gotten me hooked on Jane Madison! I want more! I want more of the quirky gal who reads from spell books, hangs out with an insanely funny gay familiar who can't quite shake off his cat-like qualities, randomly has her handsome warder David show up on her doorstep, indulges in "mojito therapy" with her best friend who owns a bakery, and allows men who wronged her to run around naked in the woods of Connecticut!
I was worried when I first started "Girl's Guide to Witchcraft." Klasky's writing style is almost more of a diary style; in the idea that she sort of writes the way we would talk to ourselves inside our heads. It's hard to describe, but if you pick up the book you'll know what I'm getting at. I thought it would be annoying at first, but the more I got to know Jane, the less it bothered me, and after awhile, became endearing. The style allowed me to connect emotionally with Jane. Feel her excitement, heartache, remorse, guilt, anger, pain, etc. It's been a long time since I've been that emotionally attached to a character.
Jane and her friends came alive for me. Klasky didn't focus her story on the magic or the witchcraft, she focused it on her characters something I feel a lot of authors forget to do these days. A book is only as good as its main characters, and "Girl's Guide to Witchcraft" delivers!
Klasky has penned a gem (or crystal in witchcraft terms)! Perfect for the chicklit lovers out there, with just a little magic thrown in for seasoning. Jane Madison ain't no Samantha or I Dream of Jeanie, she's a real girl with real problems...who just happens to have magic powers...that she doesn't know how to work...
Eh. That's about all this book had. Just. Eh. Boring, predictable, lame. Neko is the only character who actually brought substance to this book. I enjoyed the grandmother, but Jane annoyed me. I have the rest of the series and I am hoping they get better....
And where the heck is the magic? I was expecting a lot more mystical properties in this book, but I would guess maybe 5 pages were magic related at all.
Light, quick, fun. That's how I would describe this witchy read by Ms. Klasky. Jane Madison is a librarian by trade and a woman who has horrible luck with men. Jane is 'relocated' due to work and stumbles across a treasure trove of old magic books. And who knew it, but Jane has powers too! With the help of Neko, her familiar, her best friend, women in her family and her new warder Jane becomes something more than a stuffy librarian. If you need a quick break, give this series a try!