Size Doesn’t Matter (166): The Best Kind of Magic; The Love Interest

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (166): The Best Kind of Magic; The Love InterestThe Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari
Series: Windy City Magic #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 16, 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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.

The Best Kind of Magic was a complete impulse pick up at ALA MW. I’m a sucker for anything with magic in the title really. Admittedly, my expectations were pretty low because for some reason I thought it was a middle grade and I’d heard absolutely nothing about it (which, given Cover Snark, I’ve generally at least heard of most everything). The Best Kind of Magic turned out to be a surprise, under the radar gem of cuteness and fluff, which was just what I needed in a reading doldrums.

The voice is utterly charming, though on the more youthful side of YA; sometimes that bothers me, but I thought it worked in Amber’s case. Amber’s the daughter of a powerful witch, and she’s really disappointed that she didn’t inherit her family’s impressive magical gift. She’s merely a matchmaker; when she makes eye contact with someone, she can see their true love. Amber doesn’t mope, though: she makes the best of her power and tries to get others to take her seriously. It’s a really admirable attitude, and it made me root for her.

When the mayor comes to her mom for help, Amber tries to get the deets, but her mom won’t spill. Fortunately (or not?), the mayor’s aloof son Charlie, who goes to her school, approaches for help about the same situation. Where Charlie’s dad wants to find his AWOL fiancee, Charlie wants Amber to prove that the fiancee is not the right person for the mayor.

The magical world and powers are unique, and I really loved the setting too. It’s not super serious business, but it’s a clever take on paranormal norms. The matchmaking power could have been the absolute worst, but Cestari’s throwing in complications for poor Amber, and I’m eager to see how the situation develops in book two. Also, Charlie and Amber are totes adorbs. I ship ship ship it (and, no, she’s not the one she sees in his eyes).

I haven’t had a lot of fluffy, shippy reads this season, so The Best Kind of Magic completely hit the spot. If you’ve been missing those reads too, pick this one up. It may just be a perfect match.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (166): The Best Kind of Magic; The Love InterestThe Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 16, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be—whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

The theme of today’s mini reviews is clearly books I underestimated. I was curious enough about The Love Interest to request it, but I also feared that I might regret that decision. The plot sounded…rather silly with the “Nices” and the “Bads.” But I’ll basically read anything for an LGBT romance. The Love Interest is rather silly but in the good way where it’s embracing it and satirizing.

Dietrich does a fantastic send up of love triangle tropes. In The Love Interest, there’s a secret organization that sends out two love interests to people of importance: one nice guy and one bad boy. This method encourages the hero or heroine to think that there’s something epic to the love story and encourages them to become more emotionally invested in someone they might not otherwise have been quite so tied to. It’s quite funny and insightful. That’s by far the strength of The Love Interest.

Caden is a Nice, but he doesn’t think he’s truly that nice. His love rival, Dylan, may be a Bad, but he’s not that bad. Or is he? The two become tentative friends, and Caden struggles with his strong attraction to Dylan. Though assigned to a girl, he’s realizing that he’s gay (and probably should have put in for a transfer to that department). The plot attempts to be twisty turny, but the silliness made me not care too much about that tbh. It was a page turner though. I binged right through, despite my questionable level of emotional investment.

The character development is so-so, and the romance was the weakest element of the book for me. Dylan and Caden should definitely make out, and they certainly have more chemistry than either of them does with the girl (who I also like), but there’s nothing special there. Plus, they’re both acting and completely without trust the entire time, which is not a good foundation for a relationship. It’s one of those cases where at the end, when they admit real feelings, I was like “suuuuuure.” Generally, too, I felt like everyone forgave everyone else way too easily, which further weakened the character development. This is a story that works really well as a concept, but the concept itself is tricky to pull off without sacrificing character.

A surprisingly enjoyable read, I had a lot of fun with The Love Interest. I think it pulls off the concept well, but the m/m romance is a bit disappointing, as is the character development.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Save

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (166): The Best Kind of Magic; The Love Interest”

  1. Deyse says:

    I heard the same things about the love interest I really wish It had a fluffy m/m romance and good character development

  2. Amber Sand seems to me to be very interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge