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The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0.2)
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Previous BRs - Authors; E - H > Hoffman, Alice, The Rules of Magic, Informal Buddy Read, Starts 5 November 2017; revisit May 15-July 31 2018

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Nov 04, 2017 09:26PM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30934 comments Mod
Buddy read of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman





Synopsis:
For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.


About the author





Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

She has published over thirty novels, including two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Along with many accolades, her novel, Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.

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To enter the giveaway, please fill in the google form here.

This giveaway is open from October 8-18 .
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

There is a Q&A with the author in this discussion thread where we will collate and provide questions to Alice to answer.


message 2: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30934 comments Mod
reserved


message 3: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30934 comments Mod
WINNERS ANNOUNCED!!


HARDCOVER WINNERS - Please send us your US postal address so we can provide this to the publisher to send your book!
Autumn
Catalina
Elaina
Ezinwanyi
Jenn
Jenna
Jenny
Mary
Naina
Shelby

EBOOK WINNERS - Watch your email inbox for a unique code to claim your ebook!
Abir
Aida
Chelsea
Claire
Cwilly
Deanna
Ellen
Heather
Heli
Jenna
Jennifer
Kara
Lauren
Mackey
Mint Tea
Ora
Rachel
Sally
Shannon
Sophie


Jammin Jenny (jamminjenny) | 4082 comments Thanks for hosting this giveaway. I got my copy today!


Ezinwanyi Chinyere I got my copy today and I am really excited.
thank you so much


Ezinwanyi Chinyere BTW, where are the questions and how will we proceed?


Kristie | 3234 comments I finished today! I really enjoyed this one. I'm looking forward to the discussion and the Q&A with Alice Hoffman.

When should we post questions for the author?


message 8: by Autumn (new) - added it

Autumn (autumnmemory80) Thank you so much for the chance to get this book! I was so excited when I got that email I was selected! I just got my copy and will start today! I have to take a road trip, so I cannot wait to begin. Cannot wait to read and have discussion!


message 9: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30934 comments Mod
Hi all - We will start the buddy read on Nov 5 and it is unstructured, so as you are reading feel free to post here with your thoughts.
Just let us know where in the book you are up to and use spoiler tags if required!!

After a week (so on around the 11th) we will ask you to post any questions you'd like us to send to the Publisher to pass on to Alice. :)


message 10: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
Part 1: Intuition

I started early as I had some unexpected reading time.

Initial thoughts:
I'm really enjoying it and quite interested by the whole Owens family. In particular, why has their mother hidden so much from them but then sends all of them off for the summer knowing what they will find? That felt a bit clunky and so I hope we get more information on her motivation (even if it is a requirement to send the eldest, why send all three?)
The bit with Vincent and their neighbour was also a little confronting due to his age. It certainly does show a side to him that he has trouble caring about others and they have trouble not obsessing over him.
I haven't read Practical Magic although I have a vague memory of the movie, I really have no knowledge/expectations coming in.


Kristie | 3234 comments Karen, I had the same thoughts on the mom allowing all three to go. It seemed that she kept them sheltered from it to protect them and didn't really want to oldest to go, so why let the younger ones go?

The age thing with Vincent and the neighbor bothered me. It certainly showed the effect he has and the influence he has over people. He certainly doesn't seem to be able to manage that well or at least in a caring way for others. He seems very self-centered.

I have not read Practical Magic yet either and also only have a vague recollection of the movie.


Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments I'm about 25% through now.

As for the mother sending all three instead of just Franny, I'm guessing it's because they tend to do things together and don't wish to be separated. From what I remember of the movie and from what we've seen here, the siblings in each generation have very strong bonds and they don't like to live apart. So perhaps their mother just accepted it as normal for them to all travel together.

Vincent's actions are mildly shocking, but there are certainly plenty of other boys his age doing the same thing, even if it's not something widely acknowledged or accepted in our society.

In general, I'm really enjoying the book. I like the writing style and hearing about all the interesting things they can do. I love magical realism, so this just falls a bit more onto the magical side than you ordinarily see, but it's still believable.


message 13: by Deanna (new)

Deanna | 2737 comments I finished part one this morning.

I agree with the other posts that it seemed strange for the mom to send the children after spending so much time avoiding anything normal. I found Vincent to be self-centered and to willing to use his magic for his own gain. The cousin, Alice, was not much better; and I found the fact that they bespelled Franny was appalling.

I am puzzled by the fact that although the rule of doing no harm has been stated a few times it has never been explained to the children. If it is so important, surely a few cautionary tales of what has happened when the rule was broken would have been wise.


Elaina (bookiish) | 1 comments Just finished part one myself... I had a lot of the same thoughts that have been expressed so far. The first bit seemed a little contrived to me. Mama Owens kept them sheltered for so long with so many (unheeded) rules and yet the minute Franny gets an invite from her aunt... off they go. As I read further it did become clearer that perhaps their mother didn’t fight because she knew it was something that would happen no matter what her thoughts, feelings, or rules were.

Vincent is incredibly narcissistic, along with Alice, and I am interested in how his character will develop later on. His actions lead me to believe he’s going to face some really dire situations, as I’m sure they all will.

My heart breaks for Franny and Jet as they make their pact and even more so for Jet due to her being secretive about what’s going on.

The foreshadowing so far is wonderful. I’ve got a vague idea of what I think is going to happen and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds from here.


message 15: by Naina (last edited Nov 10, 2017 06:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Naina (naynay55) | 2 comments Thank you so much for the giveaway!! I started reading on Wednesday, and then last night, I stayed up and finished the book! I really enjoyed it -- laughed in places, cried in places.

I'll wait to post some more detailed questions and thoughts so that I don't spoil anything for anyone.

But to respond some of your thoughts and questions, I think the mother let all three children go to Aunt Isabelle's because she knew they all wanted to be together and I think the kids kind of were a package deal. I think she probably also feared that if Franny went and she forbid Jet and Vincent from going, they'd sneak away anyways. I also think that she had the same sense of "sight" as her kids do, and she knew that she had to send all three. But, I agree, this was never truly explained properly and it'd be interesting to get Hoffman's reasoning for doing so.


Kristie | 3234 comments Narrow wrote: "I am puzzled by the fact that although the rule of doing no harm has been stated a few times it has never been explained to the children. If it is so important, surely a few cautionary tales of what has happened when the rule was broken would have been wise."

This is interesting. I wonder about the doing no harm aspect. Vincent had that book of dark magic which he was using. I feel like his use of that book and his use of other people would have been doing harm. I guess it means significant harm and not just a broken heart or something. I wonder where that line is drawn?


Kristie | 3234 comments Question for Alice Hoffman: This was the first book I read by Alice Hoffman. (Yes, I have apparently been living under a rock!) If you could have people read just one of your books and be known by only that one book, which would it be? Why?


message 18: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
Just catching up on everyone's comments. Yes, you are probably right that her mother knew it was inevitable and so let all three go.

I am into Part 4 at the moment and the whole thing (view spoiler)

I'm really enjoying the relationship that Vincent found. Is it possible that the curse doesn't apply to him (view spoiler)

Really enjoying this so far and looking forward to where it is all headed. Will have to read Practical Magic next!


Naina (naynay55) | 2 comments Karen ⊰✿ wrote: "Just catching up on everyone's comments. Yes, you are probably right that her mother knew it was inevitable and so let all three go.

I am into Part 4 at the moment and the whole thing [spoilers re..."


Karen -- With respect to Vincent's relationship, (view spoiler)


Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments I'm a bit behind since I've had so much going on lately, but I just finished part 2. I'm really hoping it picks up because these kids have it so hard right now! I'm still finding Vincent's behavior pretty shocking for a 15 year-old- what kind of bar willingly serves a minor hard alcohol? But I suppose if he looks older and he can find a ratty bar in huge NYC that doesn't care, it's not totally improbable.


message 21: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
Naina wrote: "Karen ⊰✿ wrote: "Just catching up on everyone's comments. Yes, you are probably right that her mother knew it was inevitable and so let all three go.

I am into Part 4 at the moment and the whole t..."


Great, thanks Naina!


message 22: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
Chelsea wrote: "I'm a bit behind since I've had so much going on lately, but I just finished part 2. I'm really hoping it picks up because these kids have it so hard right now! I'm still finding Vincent's behavior..."

I think it is also the time period. Getting into the 70s where rules were optional ;)


Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments Karen ⊰✿ wrote: "I think it is also the time period. Getting into the 70s where rules were optional ;) "

I feel like my parents would disagree with that since they grew up in conservative families in the South, so I wonder if it's more about the location. NYC in the 70s was surely a lot rougher/open-minded than the South at the same time.


message 24: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
Yes absolutely NYC in the 70s would have been very different. :)

But I also know as a kid of the 70s myself there were a lot less rules (or my memory tells me that!)


Caly ☯ Crazy Book Lady | 516 comments I grew up just outside NYC in the 70s and my Mom let me go into the city by myself when I was over 14. Also the legal drinking age was 18 back then so you did not need to look that much older and faking an ID was easy as they were nowhere near as sophisticated.
8-)


Ezinwanyi Chinyere I am starting this book. I also lived in Boston and NYC. I remember families in Boston that traced lineage back to original immigrants from England


Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments Caly ☯ wrote: "Also the legal drinking age was 18 back then so you did not need to look that much older and faking an ID was easy as they were nowhere near as sophisticated. "

Ah, good to know! That makes it easier to believe that a tall and muscular 14/15 year-old could pass for 18.


message 28: by Autumn (new) - added it

Autumn (autumnmemory80) I am sorry I have just now posted. I have been able to finally get started due to being out of town for family matters. I am so glad for the opportunity to read this book, and thank everyone. I am really enjoying this read, but I feel strange saying that. I agree it is difficult to read at times, and that makes it a read that I am engaged with, but feel torn over.


message 29: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
I finished and I really enjoyed it. I think the characters were well written and the magic was enough to be interesting but not totally swallow the story.
(view spoiler)

Now I will be really interested in reading Practical Magic and how the story continues.

Does anyone have questions for the author (other than Kristie's above --great question btw--) please post here or message the mod account as I'll send the questions to the publisher on Monday


message 30: by Chelsea (last edited Nov 20, 2017 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments I still haven't had the time to finish it, but I'll post several questions.

How did you come up with all the ingredients the Owens women use in various spells, or simply on their own, like carrying lavender in their pockets? Is everything from research or did you invent some of it yourself?

How did it feel to have Practical Magic be made into a movie? Were you pleased with how it turned out?

What made you decide to write this prequel so many years after Practical Magic?

Thank you for answering our questions, Ms. Hoffman!


message 31: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
I have sent questions to the publisher today and will post here when responded to by Alice Hoffman :)


message 32: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Dec 03, 2017 04:19PM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30934 comments Mod
Questions to Author with responses

1. This was the first book I read by Alice Hoffman. (Yes, I have apparently been living under a rock!) If you could have people read just one of your books and be known by only that one book, which would it be? Why?
The one I would chose is my most recent book, The Rules of Magic. I’m still in love with the characters- Franny, Jet and Vincent- and with the time period, the 60s. It’s a book about the dangers and joys of love, and the importance of family.

2. How did you come up with all the ingredients the Owens women use in various spells, or simply on their own, like carrying lavender in their pockets? Is everything from research or did you invent some of it yourself?
All of the herbal spells are “real”, that is to say researched rather than invented. I have a large magic library, which is very helpful.

3. How did it feel to have Practical Magic be made into a movie? Were you pleased with how it turned out?
I love the movie! It’s different than the book, but both are about sisterhood, love, and magic. And the actresses, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Diane Weist and Stockard Channing are amazing.

4. What made you decide to write this prequel so many years after Practical Magic?
Many readers wrote to ask for another book about the Owens family and over the years I realized I missed the family too. The time just seemed right and one day the characters walked through the door.

5. Do you have a favorite book that you have read this year?
I have many, but if I had to choose one it would be The Bright Hour, by Nina Riggs, a beautiful, uplifting memoir written while she was losing her fight with cancer.

6. Do you think you will enter the Practical Magic book again with a third book? 😉
I would love to write a third book! As always I’d like to go back in time. Many of my readers want to know Maria Owens story, and I’d also like to know how all of this magic first began.



message 33: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (countessmom) | 4087 comments This is very cool!


Kristie | 3234 comments Thank you to Alice Hoffman for answering our questions! That was so awesome! :)


message 35: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficionado (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 14340 comments Mod
Now I want to ask her about her magic library! How can you write a sentence like that and leave us hanging? LOL

And I love the idea of going back to Maria Owen's story and how their magic began :D


Kristie | 3234 comments Karen ⊰✿ wrote: "Now I want to ask her about her magic library! How can you write a sentence like that and leave us hanging? LOL

And I love the idea of going back to Maria Owen's story and how their magic began :D"


I agree! I have more questions now. lol


Ezinwanyi Chinyere I have questions and I will write them down tomorrow


Chelsea (chelseafairless) | 174 comments I didn't realize the answers had been posted! Thanks for your work, Karen, and I agree with you about the magic library and the Maria Owens story!


message 39: by Autumn (new) - added it

Autumn (autumnmemory80) I have questions as well! I am so sorry I did not get to post sooner, I have had issues with internet, computer, etc., you name it. I apologize greatly.


Laura | 9707 comments I finally have a copy, can't wait to get to this!


message 41: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (countessmom) | 4087 comments I won one of the ebooks, but I’ve never been able to download it onto my kindle :( I’ve tried like 10 times.


Laura | 9707 comments Shannon wrote: "I won one of the ebooks, but I’ve never been able to download it onto my kindle :( I’ve tried like 10 times."

Very cool that you won a copy but not that you can't download it.


Laura | 9707 comments Brooke, I'm at a swim meet. Sorry I'll be starting tomorrow. I don't expect to get home until late tonight.


Brooke | 1199 comments Laura wrote: "Brooke, I'm at a swim meet. Sorry I'll be starting tomorrow. I don't expect to get home until late tonight."

No worries, Laura! I am not starting until tonight as well. I ended up in Austin over the weekend visiting my man instead of him coming to my house, so I didn't get any reading done yesterday.


Laura | 9707 comments Yeah! I'm happy to hear you are still going strong.


Laura | 9707 comments page 3- end of part 1
(view spoiler)


Brooke | 1199 comments Laura wrote: "Yeah! I'm happy to hear you are still going strong."

We are. He is pretty fantastic. :-)

You are already ahead of me. I'm got about halfway through part 1 last night before crashing. I don't have plans this evening so hopefully I'll make some progress.


Laura | 9707 comments I'll wait for you to catch up! I also have The Great Alone. I picked it up last night. Are you joining Geri and I for that one? I'm not quite ready to read it yet.


Brooke | 1199 comments I have a copy of it and can start it anytime after March 1. I’m really looking forward to that one.


Laura | 9707 comments Brooke wrote: "I have a copy of it and can start it anytime after March 1. I’m really looking forward to that one."

Me too! Can't wait. So many books not enough time!!


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