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Smoke on the Water (Sisters of the Craft) by…
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Smoke on the Water (Sisters of the Craft)

by Lori Handeland

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Abandoned under a bridge in a park as a baby, the heroine spent her childhood goes from foster home to foster home, always being rejected from her new family because of her strange fits when she's in the presence of water. In fact, the heroine has always had a strange complex relationship with water. On one hand, it calls to her, mesmerizes her-urging her to look into what it has to show her. But on the other hand she's always feared the visions she receives so she avoids bodies of water as much as she can. She knows she's not crazy. When she's charged with murder after killing a guy whom she saw in a vision planned to cut and burn her, she's admitted into a mental health facility for the criminal insane. There, she's content enough to spend her days away from the general public. Until the man of her visions finally comes to her. She's seen the hero many times in the past, kissed him, been intimate with him and even fell in love with him all the while never having truly met the man. Now, he's her doctor. And though she knows he's her soul mate, that he feels just as connected to her, it's forbidden for him to even consider entering into a relationship with one of his patients. The hero is new to the psychologist career and his position as head of the facility but he knows enough that he feels towards the beautiful inmate isn't right, it isn't professional. So he tries to distance himself from her as much as he can. But something always drags him back. When the heroine befriends another patient, the heroines magic starts to truly solidify and she ends up teleporting the woman of the hospital. Slowly, the heroine begins to remember things about her past and about the men who hunt her kind and have arisen and are the hunt for her. One night the heroine ends up transporting herself and the hero into the company of her long lost sisters. Though the hero is reluctant to believe all this talk of witchcraft and time travel and ghosts and mother wolfs, soon he can't deny what type of world he's stumbled into. And though he has no horse in the race against the enemy, there's no possible way he's going to let the heroine out of his sight. I liked this book, but not nearly as much as I liked the first 2 in the series. The beginning of this book was awesome. I loved the forbidden doctor patient sexual tension. I loved the hero, so big and strong yet so vulnerable with trying to find his place in the scheme of things while dealing with his powerful obsession with the girl who thinks she has visions. I began to lose interest after she's reunited with her sisters because it became a bit rushed. It was the final part of the trilogy so everything needed to be wrapped up and it became less and less about the hero and heroine's romance and more about the big final battle with the witch hunters. Because of that, I felt it was a bit of a let down considering how much I adored the first two books. Still I found this to be a great series with nice characters and deep and long lasting emotion connections between each sister and her man. ( )
  Eden00 | May 14, 2016 |
*Received this book for the purpose of an honest review. Review as NOT influenced by this fact.*

*Review will be cross-posted to MyBookAddictionandmore.com.*

Fans of Lori Handeland already know that any book she writes will leave you eager for more. Smoke on the water is no different. The characters are wonderfully written and very engaging. The storyline is fast-paced, fun, at times a bit emotional or touching, and overall a fascinating read. While this is part of a trilogy to some extent you can read it as a stand alone. I must say I don't recommend it, only because the emotions will be much stronger if you read the first two stories, In the Air Tonight and Heat of the Moment. There are also some visits from characters we love from previous stories, but don't worry you won't be lost. Lori Handeland does a wonderful job of making sure new readers are able to keep up and eager to find out more about characters. SMOKE ON THE WATER is Willow Black and Sebastian Crane's story. I have to say I was eager to find out how the trilogy would end and where Willow has been all the years she was gone, SMOKE IN THE WATER answered all the questions I had, while still leaving an opening to more stories. Willow and Sebastian have a hard road to love and happiness but you know they have to get there. I loved how Ms. Handeland portrayed those who we don't understand may not be "crazy" but may have other things going on. I loved the whole premise behind this series, 3 sisters who were sent forward in time to a place where witches aren't hunted, yet evil follows them. We watch as Willow struggles to find who she truly is and what that means for her future. We watch as Sebastian has to learn to accept things he can't explain and find his way to his own future. Most importantly we watch as 3 sisters find their way to each other and a way to battle for their lives and future. I am eager to see more from all the characters found in this new series and hope that Ms. Handeland will continue to let us be a part of their lives. SMOKE IN THE WATER will pull you into a new and engaging world that you'll hate to leave. I highly recommend this book to all fans of Lori Handeland, paranormal romances, great characters, and fascinating storylines. You'll be glad you read this one!
( )
  WendyK | Jan 23, 2016 |
*Received this book for the purpose of an honest review. Review as NOT influenced by this fact.*

*Review will be cross-posted to MyBookAddictionandmore.com.*

Fans of Lori Handeland already know that any book she writes will leave you eager for more. Smoke on the water is no different. The characters are wonderfully written and very engaging. The storyline is fast-paced, fun, at times a bit emotional or touching, and overall a fascinating read. While this is part of a trilogy to some extent you can read it as a stand alone. I must say I don't recommend it, only because the emotions will be much stronger if you read the first two stories, In the Air Tonight and Heat of the Moment. There are also some visits from characters we love from previous stories, but don't worry you won't be lost. Lori Handeland does a wonderful job of making sure new readers are able to keep up and eager to find out more about characters. SMOKE ON THE WATER is Willow Black and Sebastian Crane's story. I have to say I was eager to find out how the trilogy would end and where Willow has been all the years she was gone, SMOKE IN THE WATER answered all the questions I had, while still leaving an opening to more stories. Willow and Sebastian have a hard road to love and happiness but you know they have to get there. I loved how Ms. Handeland portrayed those who we don't understand may not be "crazy" but may have other things going on. I loved the whole premise behind this series, 3 sisters who were sent forward in time to a place where witches aren't hunted, yet evil follows them. We watch as Willow struggles to find who she truly is and what that means for her future. We watch as Sebastian has to learn to accept things he can't explain and find his way to his own future. Most importantly we watch as 3 sisters find their way to each other and a way to battle for their lives and future. I am eager to see more from all the characters found in this new series and hope that Ms. Handeland will continue to let us be a part of their lives. SMOKE IN THE WATER will pull you into a new and engaging world that you'll hate to leave. I highly recommend this book to all fans of Lori Handeland, paranormal romances, great characters, and fascinating storylines. You'll be glad you read this one!
( )
  WendyK | Jan 23, 2016 |
Received via NetGalley from Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.

Also posted on Silk & Serif

Smoke on the Water is the second installment of the Sisters of the Craft series.

After many months of build up around the Taggart sisters and the Venatores Mali we finally got to see how the entire story ends. I am actually sad to see this series end. The lack of witchery the Sisters of the Craft series centered around was a breath of fresh air.

“I feel as if I know you,” he said. “Better than I can know you. Like I’ve always known you. Like we were … destined.” “We were.” He shook his head, and my chest began to ache. He was going to deny this, deny us, and then what would I do? “This is…” His lips tightened. “I want to say insane, but it’s … not. What would be insane would be to continue to refute everything I’ve seen, all that we’ve done. All that I feel.” “I’ve been waiting for you,” I said. “I didn’t know it, but I was waiting for you too.”

As with the first novel, the second was centered around Becca who is a normal girl, in a normal town. It appears Handeland turns away from this formula with Smoke in the Water.

Willow is an orphan found beneath a Black Willow tree. She never stays long in any foster home, is branded as insane and ends up in a mental hospital. It is here she meets Mary, a woman who hears voices of a man named Roland who caused her to attempt to kill her son Owen. She also meets the man she has been seeing in her visions since a young age: the man with whom she is meant to fall in love and who will save them all. Her story leads her to meet her sisters Raye and Becca and together they must defeat Roland before he exacts his revenge on the Taggart family.

I enjoyed Owen much more in book three because he seemed much less the soldier from Afghanistan and more the protective fiance of Raye. I felt like as a character Owen was more likeable and had under gone some major character development behind the scenes. Becca is learning how her powers work and struggling to control her newest abilities (spoiler, so I won't discuss this here). I didn't feel like Becca made any major developments beyond "forgiving" her parents for saving her from a life in the system as Willow experienced.

While all the characters were more enjoyable in book three, I hated Sebastian. He was a terrible shrink and a terrible person. One of the first things he does as a Director is look at employee files and mentally start tearing down those who work for his institution. He judged his employees on their files and not on work performance which is a grave error for any new Director. The fact that he behaves inappropriately with a patient is even more disturbing. Finally, he's superficial:

"Zoe looked up from her computer, her eyes appearing goggly through thick lenses. He wondered if she’d talked to anyone about Lasik. He didn’t imagine it was easy to get dates with glasses like that. Being short and pudgy probably didn’t help either."

Seriously? Such a professional. I get the novels are trying to touch on three very different women with very distinct love interests and I think that's great. I just didn't enjoy Sebastian which is personal preference. I like nice people.

Personally, I feel like the Sisters of the Craft could have been stretched into a four book series. The moment Willow and Sebastian get together the whole plot speeds along to the conclusion. I felt like the bonding between the sisters needed more time to develop and Willow's almost pathetic need to be part of a family really clashed with her "tough" persona. I would have liked a more realistic time period for the relationships between sisters to grow as Heat of the Moment gave us. The sisters don't even meet Willow until just before they meet up with Roland! I assume this not the author's fault and only so much could be included in the novel without it being too long.

I definitely expected more Jager-Suchers action. I haven't read Handeland's other work, but I'm hoping the Jager-Suchers are a huge part of it so I can get to know the characters affiliated with that group.

.This series will appeal to those who enjoy novels involving witchcraft, magic, family discovery, romance and the paranormal. If you're looking for an easy read that pulls you in and keeps you there until the end, then The Sisters of the Craft series is for you. ( )
  trigstarom | Sep 19, 2015 |
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

I have to give Lori Handeland credit for pulling off a difficult series with three distinct stories that overlapped to some degree. The final book, though, had significant ties to the second and yet managed to present the events through a new perspective so despite knowing what was happening, I got to see it fresh.

Like the first book, I didn’t feel the suspense as much, but the romantic conflict was strong from the start.

Consider first the leading couple being a psychiatrist and his patient with all the conflicts of interest and legalities involved. It made Sebastian’s refusal to even consider what his heart knew from the moment he met Willow make sense. Now complicate with a twist in that Willow has been experiencing their relationship through her visions forever only now to find he’s both real and out of her reach.

When the story begins, even Willow doesn’t know for sure she’s sane. She’s got good reason to see the visions as real because they always come true, but she knows all too well that such things don’t exist. It takes another patient, Owen’s mother Mary, to open her eyes through trying to help Mary control her dangerous psychosis.

Except is even Mary insane? How much of what she says is nothing but the truth as she mixes up with witches and Roland himself? I loved this glimpse into Mary’s mind when Owen’s impression was less than flattering…for good reason.

This is a story of good people trying to do the right thing while being faced with everything they’ve been told all their lives is only fantasy. The contradictions between social reality and what he sees with his own eyes is especially strong for Sebastian. It leaves him questioning every diagnosis he’s made and pondering deep issues of responsibility for those under Roland’s influence.

That’s not to say there aren’t real villains, though. Not only is Roland about, but some of his minions follow of their own free will rather than his mental intrusions.

I enjoyed Willow’s discovery not just of her own sanity, but of her powers and the bond with her sisters she’s been denied. The manifestation of her powers is also wonderful, allowing for tense moments and some cute twists as well.

There’s a lot going on here, and I’ve only lightly brushed on it to avoid spoilers, but it’s a solid people novel. And yes, there are some sexy moments that are both inappropriate and yet perfectly timed. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it.

I enjoyed the whole series and hope this isn’t the end of the witch triplets and the FBI werewolf hunters either. Though Roland’s centuries-old hatred will be hard to top, surely there are other magical villains waiting to be uncovered.

P.S. I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review. ( )
  MarFisk | Aug 12, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 125002014X, Mass Market Paperback)

Reunited after four hundred years, three sisters join together to vanquish the power that tore them apart...and embrace the sorcery that is their birthright.

Abandoned as an infant, Willow Black spent her childhood in foster care, the object of whispers and pity...and rumors about being certifiably crazy. Telling your young friends that you can foresee the future-and summon the rain-is a surefire way to end up in the psychiatric ward. But when Dr. Sebastian Frasier arrives at the facility, Willow's whole life takes a turn. Sebastian is the handsomest man she's ever actually laid eyes on-even though he has been in Willow's visions for years. But not even she could have predicted the storm of passion that engulfs them both. With Sebastian by her side, Willow is emboldened to embrace her history, and the sisters she never knew. Soon, the true power in her blood awakes-and the battle she was born to fight begins. While the temp est rages, Willow must depend on the friends and family she's found-and the man she has loved forever...

In the final book of this enchanting new trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Lori Handeland sweeps readers into a bewitching tale of secrets, sisterhood, and the stunning magic of love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:22:54 -0400)

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