Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas

Goodreads Summary:Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny.
What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow.
And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.

Hey, everyone. Sorry I haven’t written a review in awhile. My reading’s been a bit slow lately, due to my mildly unhealthy obsession with Charmed. I’m working on balancing my Charmed and reading obsessions equally, so hopefully I’ll do better in the future.
Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite romance authors and I’ve always enjoyed her books, both contemporary and regency era. Crystal Cove is no different. It has a lot of humor, romance, and wicked hot sex scenes. I was so happy when I found out Kleypas was going to write Justine’s book. This is the final book in the Friday Harbor Series. The first three center around three brothers and the women they fall in love with. During those books, you meet the women’s friend Justine. I’d always liked her. She’s outgoing and funny and extremely unlucky in love. She’s also a hereditary witch.
Well, it turns out that a geas (a curse), has been cast on her that prevents her from ever loving anyone. Angry, she dispels the geas, not realizing the consequences. Hereditary witches have long ago been cursed to lose the men they love to early deaths. Trying to protect Justine from being hurt, her mother, Marigold, and her coven, had placed the geas on her when she was a baby. Now she’s met Jason and, with the geas lifted, she’s falling fast.
Unfortunately, Jason has secrets of his own. He doesn’t have a soul. This doesn’t make him evil or incapable of human emotion. It only means he won’t go anywhere when he dies. He won’t go to heaven or hell, or be reborn. He simply ceases to exist. Because of this, people without souls tend to live very short lives, like they’re unconsciously trying to compensate for that missing part. Jason once met a witch who promised to help him try to change his fate and they made a plan to steal Justine’s grimoire (book of spells). The Triodecad is very old and very powerful, having been passed down through Justine’s family and can’t be separated from the witch who owns it. So Jason planned to gain Justine’s trust and steal the book once he was close enough to her. What he didn’t count on was falling in love.
What I didn’t like about this book was the timeline. It goes so fast that Justine and Jason fall in love in only a few days. I understand it’s supposed to be love at first sight, and I would’ve been fine with that, but after she finds out he stole the grimoire it only takes her a few days to get over it. They still went through all the usual emotions; falling in love, betrayal, remorse, acceptance, forgiveness, etc. but it seemed like they were rushing through them, and I would have preferred if it’d been drawn out a little bit longer to make it more realistic.
Jason irritated me a little bit as a male lead. He’s controlling in an obsessive-compulsive kind of way. You understand why he’s like that but it bothers me when that behavior transfers into his relationship with Justine. She’s pretty good at putting him in his place and making him see that he can’t treat her like that, but it’s a trait I find really annoying in a man and, personally, there were a few times where it was hard for me to get past that and just enjoy their relationship.
Overall, I quite liked this book. I liked the magical concepts Kleypas used to make the plot exciting and the way she had them overcome their problems in the end really surprised me. Usually with romance novels, where the plot tends to be very straightforward, I can guess how the characters will fix everything at the end, and with this one I really couldn’t figure out how they would manage it until it was actually happening.
This is definitely what I would call a (slightly) trashy romance novel. It’s not just sex and there is a plot, but it’s more of an unsurprising quick-read with a happy ending. If you tend to like stories with complicated characters and plotlines that leave you falling off a cliff, then this probably isn’t your kind of book. But if you’re a hopeless romantic like I am, then I’d suggest you give this book (or one of Kleypas’ other novels) a try.
-Antonia

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