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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Loved it!

    Secrets of the Chocolate House: Found Things Book 2 by Paula Brackston is a delightful mix of Historical, Romance, Time Travel and Fantasy Fiction. This newest book is the second in this series and includes chocolate, antiques, special objects, a mysterious book, and remarkable time travel. Brackston‘s words as with all her books flow through your mind like listening to beautiful music. Her characters, scene settings and details are written in a way that makes the reader feel a part of the story. I almost feel as if I am traveling with Xanthe on her journeys through time. Don’t miss any of Paula Brackston‘s books but this series is my personal favorite. I hope that this series will continue with new journeys and adventures for Xanthe. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.

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  • Enjoyed it more than the first in the series

    Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Paula Brackston for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review of Secrets of the Chocolate House. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy. Secrets of the Chocolate House is the second in the Found Things series. The first book, The Little Shop of Found Things, introduces us to the main character, Xanthe, who has a mysterious ability. Inanimate objects, usually old and unique things, will “sing” to her. It’s like the object wants to tell her its history. Now Xanthe comes upon these objects frequently because she and her mother own an antique shop. Xanthe soon discovered that with the object she is able to travel into the past to right some wrong. In the past, she meets Samuel, who she falls in love with. She had to leave him in the past, because of her responsibilities in the future but continues to love him. In this book, Xanthe misses Samuel but knows she has to be in the present to help her ailing mother. Soon, a mysterious copper pot speaks to her. She is afraid to connect with it unless the pot hurls her into the past because she can’t control her abilities. She is afraid of getting stuck in the past. But the pot continues to talk to her and she learns that Simon is in prison. Without her help, he will die. She must return to the past and hope that she will be able to return to her mother. This time she prepares herself carefully. How will Simon feel when he sees her? She didn’t realize how nervous she would be. Xanthe travels back to a chocolate house where the pot once belonged. There she finds an ally in Mistress Flyte, who not only helps Xanthe but warns her that the man who has imprisoned Samuel is a very dangerous man. He wants something from Xanthe and he is willing to do anything to obtain it. He wants to learn how to time travel. Samuel will die if Xanthe doesn’t share her power. But can she do it? Should she do it? This didn’t bother me as much as the first book. I think because I knew the characters, the storyline and the style of writing, I knew what to expect in this book. The story moved a lot quicker in this one than the first one, which I appreciated. Brackston has opened up the story to allow for more books, I’m guessing, but it made more of a mystery of the time travel aspect. Xanthe doesn’t just have a mysterious power, but now knows there are others that have it, it can be controlled, she could potentially move forward or backward in time and that makes it more interesting. There was the familiarity of the characters, the love story, but more world-building this time around. Less time in the present also helped. I didn’t understand why Marcus, her ex who was the reason she went to jail, comes back into the story. It didn’t develop into anything and I wasn’t sure why this storyline was created. She connects with Harley, my favorite bartender, which I enjoyed. There was endless chatter about how bad she feels for lying to her mother, on and on and on. I don’t enjoy this aspect of Xanthe’s character. We get it, you are a good person who has to tell white lies so you can time travel. Get over yourself. The book works as a standalone, so not to worry if you haven’t read the first book. There is enough review that you can catch up on the details of the story. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it because it was a better book or if I knew what to expect so I didn’t judge it as harshly. But I did enjoy it more than the first and would like to see where this series develops. Now that the time travel ability has been expanded it could make for really interesting sequels.

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  • Wow! I could not put this one down!

    Xanthe is a Spinner who travels back in time as items “Call to her” to set right some wrong in the past. When a chocolate pot calls her back to her beloved Samuel in the 1600s, she finds herself crossing paths with the evil Benedict Fairfax, who will determine the fate of Samuel and his family. In order to save Samuel and his family, Xanthe must make a deal with Lord Fairfax. Even harder than making a deal with the devil is having to say goodbye to Samuel once and for all and allowing both of them to move on with their lives, though Xanthe hopes she will be able to strike a deal that will allow Samuel to live a long and happy life. I have read The Witch’s Daughter by Paul Brackston and it was good, but this book? WOW! It has been awhile since I have read a book that COMPLETELY has me under it’s spell, and that is exactly what the author has done with this book. I could not put it down and was sad to have it end. Cannot wait for the next book in the series and am going to be reading the first book, The Little Shop of Found Things, this weekend!

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  • Great book

    Love Paula's story line in this book - had a hard time putting it down. Lots of surprises and twists. Can wait to see if there will be a #3 in the series.

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  • Wonderful tale of time travel!

    I had a great time with this book! After enjoying the first book in this series, The Little Shop of Found Things, I was really excited to see what would happen next in Xanthe's life. I went into the book hoping that I would like it as much as I did the first book and I did. This was a story that was able to grab me from the very beginning and was enjoyable until the end. I am so glad that I made the choice to give this series a try. Xanthe is able to move through time. She runs an antique shop with her mother in the present time and when she finds certain items, they call to her. Sometimes these items are connected with an event and Xanthe has the ability to go to that time to make things right. When she finds a chocolate pot, she has a vision of Samuel and he is in trouble. She goes back to Samuel's time, the 17th century, to try to help him and find things have become very complicated. I loved the fact that in this book we learn more about the act of time traveling, or spinning. I have a feeling that we are only at the beginning of learning all about what Xanthe can really do. There were some great characters introduced in this installment and I enjoyed seeing Xanthe interact with the mistress of the chocolate house. I also really liked the fact that Xanthe bounces around in time a bit during the story so we get a pretty clear picture of what is going on in both time periods. She has quite a few challenges to overcome in both time periods. I thought that Marisa Calin did a fabulous job with the narration. I loved how consistent the voices that she uses have been throughout the series. Each character has a very distinct sound and I thought that she added a lot of life to the characters. The way she reads the story adds a lot of emotion and excitement to it. I think that I might have enjoyed this book just a bit more because of her narration. I would recommend this book to others. I do recommend reading this series in order if at all possible since the relationships between the characters do change over time. I had a great time journey through time with Xanthe and look forward to her future adventures. I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive.

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