Genre: Witches

Early Review | The Ex Hex (Ex Hex #1) by Erin Sterling

Posted September 2, 2021 by Bonnie in 2021, Book Reviews, Early Review / 2 Comments

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

Early Review | The Ex Hex (Ex Hex #1) by Erin SterlingThe Ex Hex by Erin Sterling, Rachel Hawkins
Series: Ex Hex #1
Published by Avon on September 28, 2021
Pages: 320
Genres: Fantasy, Witches
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Hex Hall, Demonglass, Spell Bound

four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

“Never mix vodka and witchcraft.”

Valuable advice, but advice that Vivi fails to heed. Nine years ago, after falling hard for Rhys Penhallow only to find out too late of his betrothal, Vivi shouts frivolous curses into the night not realizing there was actual magic behind them. When Rhys returns to town for the first time since that fateful night his luck is exceptionally bad and he has no idea why until he finds out the truth behind his misfortune. Vivi, feeling most apologetic for her role in this debacle, decides to set aside past grievances to find out how to reverse the curse especially when they discover the curse is going to destroy the very town itself. It doesn’t help matters when she realizes Rhys Penhallow is just as distracting as he was when she fell in love with him nine years ago.

The Hex Hall series and the spin-off novel School Spirits are some of my favorite YA books so discovering that Erin Sterling (a.k.a. Rachel Hawkins) was writing a witchy adult novel had me thrilledI found this story to be extremely delightful overall (and well worth the read) but there were some aspects that I wish had been better. There’s plastic skulls that come to life, a talking cat that won’t stop asking for treats, and even a ghost that haunts a library. The magical bits were absolutely, well, magical, but considering this has been pitched as “Hocus Pocus but they fuck” (hahaha…) I wanted, and rather anticipated, this book to be straight imbued with magic. The romance was far from lacking in chemistry but I expected more tension between the two since Vivi had been pining over Rhys for the entire nine years but they acted almost as if their issues never happened.

I adored the family aspects of this though (it felt very much like Practical Magic) and the light humor was on point. Apparently this is the first in an anticipated series and I am here for it. Bottom Line: this was an incredibly cute, delightfully whimsical, and overall perfect read for the Halloween season (or when you need a little magic with your romance.)

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Book Review | Betwixt (Betwixt & Between #1) by Darynda Jones

Posted February 28, 2020 by Bonnie in 2020, Adult, Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Book Review | Betwixt (Betwixt & Between #1) by Darynda JonesBetwixt by Darynda Jones
Series: Betwixt & Between #1
Published by Feather & Leaf LLC on February 18, 2020
Pages: 233
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Paranormal, Witches
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: First Grave on the Right, For I Have Sinned, Second Grave on the Left

three-stars

A Paranormal Women's Fiction with a bit of class, and a lot of sass, for anyone who feels like age is just a number

Divorced, desperate, and destitute, former restaurateur Defiance Dayne finds out she has been bequeathed a house by a complete stranger. She is surprised, to say the least, and her curiosity gets the better of her. She leaves her beloved Phoenix and heads to one of the most infamous towns in America: Salem, Massachusetts.

She’s only there to find out why a woman she’s never met would leave her a house. A veritable castle that has seen better days. She couldn’t possibly accept it, but the lawyer assigned to the case practically begs her to take it off her hands, mostly because she’s scared of it. The house. The inanimate structure that, as far as Dephne can tell, has never hurt a fly.

Though it does come with some baggage. A pesky neighbor who wants her gone. A scruffy cat who’s a bit of a jerk. And a handyman bathed in ink who could moonlight as a supermodel for GQ.

She decides to give it three days, and not because of the model. She feels at home in Salem. Safe. But even that comes to a screeching halt when people begin knocking on her door day and night, begging for her help to locate their lost objects.

Come to find out, they think she’s a witch. And after a few mysterious mishaps, Dephne is beginning to wonder if they’re right.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of A Bad Day for Sunshine (Darynda’s upcoming release following the end of her Charley Davidson series) so color me surprised when Amazon informs me that Darynda has another new book and it’s available now. And even though I make it a hobby to sign up for Kindle Unlimited and then promptly never use it, I downloaded Betwixt and started it. Same day.

Betwixt introduces us to forty-four-year-old Defiance Dayne who is still reeling from the recent brutal divorce that left her destitute. Drowning in uncertainty about her bleak future, she’s shocked to discover she’s been bestowed an old house in Salem, Massachusetts from an elderly lady she never met named Ruthie Goode. Deciding to take a chance and see this house for herself, she hops in her vintage mint green Volkswagen Beetle and leaves Arizona behind. She arrives to find not only has she been left a house that is named Percival but that the town seems to know more about Defiance than even she does, including the fact that she might just be magical.

You ever finish a story with a smile on your face, thinking about how great it was, how fun it was, when suddenly the critiques start invading your mind and you start realizing all the things that just didn’t work? I’ve often wondered if becoming a book reviewer lessens your enjoyment of a novel because of your natural inclination to analyze the details, sometimes overly so. But I feel that while overanalyzing can uncover the bad it can also help to highlight the good and this book did have both in almost equal measure.

What this book got right… It’s a charming and whimsical type of paranormal mystery with just a hint of a potentially steamy romance. Darynda’s writing style retains its standard ease making this entertaining story one you’ll fly through. It also happens to be overflowing with snark.

“This house is gorgeous, Nette. It’s ancient and dank and dusty, yet it has so much potential?”
“Like your vagina?”
“What’s strange is that, even though Mrs. Goode only passed away three days ago, it’s like no one has entered it in years.”
“Oh, then it’s exactly like your vagina.”

What this book didn’t get right… While I love her Charley Davidson series, the overabundance of parallels between that series and Betwixt cannot be ignored. The snarky meme type chapter headers could be dismissed as a style choice by the author but the characters are literally carbon copies of one another. There’s the super special snowflake lead character, her equally funny side-kick best friend, and the overly protective alpha male love interest who she has a connection to from when they were younger and she saved him as a child. There’s also the fact that the forty-four-year-old sounds nothing like any forty-four-year-old I know, but maybe I’m not hanging with the right crowd. Would these critiques have been such an issue if I hadn’t read Charley Davidson? Maybe not. But if I had read Betwixt first and then picked up her Charley Davidson series then I still would’ve been disappointed by the similarities. While those similarities were quite distracting at times, the witchy plot was enough to retain my interest and I’m still intrigued by the possibilities for where the story could go, I just wish I could view Defiance Dayne as her own character rather than Charley 2.0.

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Audiobook Review – The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness

Posted September 25, 2015 by Bonnie in Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 / 4 Comments

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

Audiobook Review – The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah HarknessThe Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: All Souls Trilogy #3
Published by Viking Adult on July 15, 2014
Length: 23 hours and 52 minutes
Genres: Demons, Fantasy, Vampires, Witches
Format: Audiobook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shadow of Night

three-stars

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

All Souls Trilogy

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) [Purchase]
Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)  [Purchase|Review]

Spoilers from the first two installments!

Since the beginning, we’ve followed in the steps of Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont as they seek out a lost manuscript called Ashmole 782, otherwise known as The Book of Life. In A Discovery of Witches, we watch the duo fall in love and setting aside Matthew’s exceedingly over-protectiveness we’re introduced to a most interesting world where vampires, witches, and daemons manage to exist in our modern world. In Shadow of Nightwe’re taken back through time to 1590 Elizabethan London to continue the search for Ashmole 782 and for an individual to help Diana control the plethora of power she now possesses. And with this installment, the All Souls Trilogy finally comes to a close. Diana and Matthew are back in the present day, continuing the seemingly endless search for the book that has become key to unlocking the mystery of the supernatural races and also ensuring the futures of Diana and Matthews unborn children.

While the plot was far easier to follow than Shadow of Nightwhere there were so many characters (and many historically accurate figures) that it required a glossary for them alone, The Book of Life was still convoluted and overly verbose. We have the continued search for Ashmole 782, much scientific research occurs in hopes of finding a cure for Matthew’s blood rage which he hopes was not passed down to the twins, an incredible amount of supernatural politics headed by the group known as the Congregation, and to make it even more labyrinthine we have a rogue vampire on the lose who is raping witches in the hopes of impregnating them. Oh, he’s also Matthew’s son. I honestly felt as if that whole “bad seed” storyline could have been dropped completely. I didn’t feel the addition of some supremely evil character had to be included to up the ante; it would have been just fine without.

What I did enjoy though is that this isn’t your typical fantasy taking place on some made up world. This is right here on Earth and the way in which it’s written makes the possibility of magic and supernatural beings all the more plausible, mlike how Harry Potter made me want to believe in magic. I’ve always appreciated how Harkness was able to incorporate so many supernatural creatures without it sliding into cheesy territory; the historically accurate detailing always made these stories feel of the highest quality. Watching Diana grow into her magic was wonderfully done as well and I loved the detail given to her spellcasting. While I felt the Life was unreasonably elaborate and the ending left little in the way of surprises, it was still satisfying to see Diana and Matthews story come to an end.

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