Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 7-11-17
Adult - Historical Fantasy

The Witches of New York- Ami McKay: New York in 1880 is a time of invention, creation, and suspicion. The people regularly spend their time engaging in scientific lectures or attending seances, anything that promises to uncover the hidden truths of the world. Many enterprising young women make their trade by pretending to be spiritualists or mediums, but Eleanor St. Clair and Adelaide Thoms are the real deal. The pair own a tea shop specializing in everything from secret cures to fortunes told. Seeking a shop-girl to help around the store, Eleanor and Adelaide hire seventeen-year-old Beatrice, who has just left her small-town village in hopes of seeking adventure in the big city. Beatrice soon discovers she has a talent for communing with the dead, and under Eleanor and Adelaide, begins to hone her ability and harness the power brimming within her. But unbeknownst to the trio, evil is lurking in the shadows, and it won't stop until every witch in New York is wiped out.

First off, doesn't this cover scream autumn vibes? It was a cover buy for me, so I didn't know too much about the premise before going into it, but I ended up enjoying it. The characters were fantastic, and I loved watching the relationship between Eleanor, Adelaide, and Beatrice come about. They each grew and learned from the other which I liked, and it was satisfying watching Beatrice learn about her powers and use them to help others. McKay's writing was lush and atmospheric. It felt like she transported you to the grimy NYC streets, and you were walking along, watching everything unfold. That said, I did find it heavy at times. Not so much in the subject matter, more so just densely packed with information. There was so much detail and things going on that I had a hard time fully grasping the story, but then I started listening to the audiobook while physically reading, and it helped me digest the story better. I almost wish this wasn't a standalone since there are a few questions I'd like answered and some bits I'd want to be expanded, but overall, I liked this a lot.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 10-5-21
Adult - Contemporary

Payback's a Witch- Lana Harper: Emmy Harlow may be a witch, but her powers have dwindled to almost nothing after moving away from her small hometown of Thistle Grove. It's not that she doesn't love where she comes from, but after having her heartbroken by the heir to the most powerful family in town, coupled with her complicated history with her own family, it was time for Emmy to strike out on her own. But Emmy soon finds herself being called back to participate in a traditional spellcasting tournament which determines the fate of all the magical families in town. Emmy was hoping to do her duty and get back to her normal life, but then she crosses paths with Talia Avramov. Emmy has always admired Talia for her badass abilities, so she finds herself agreeing to help Talia and their other friend enact revenge on the same guy who broke all their hearts. The longer Emmy stays in Thistle Grove, the more her magic starts to stir, and her feelings for Talia grow deeper. Can Emmy leave all this behind again, or will she finally embrace her magical life?

I've heard a lot of talk about this book lately, so I was very intrigued, but it just didn't work for me. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters, I wasn't invested in the plot, and I was just bored. I did think Harper had a charming and fun writing style, and I liked the atmosphere she created with these families coming together to build this small-town, but I think the pacing really threw everything off. There were moments where everything felt like it was happening at once, and then others where it dragged. Then there was the magical tournament aspect which sounded like it was going to be so epic but instead was lackluster. It felt predictable and wasn't as entertaining as I was hoping. Also, the relationship between Emmy and Talia was fine, but could've benefitted from having dual POVs. I think this had a lot of potential to be great, but unfortunately, it missed the mark for me.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 9-28-21
Adult - Contemporary

The Ex Hex- Erin Sterling: Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones had her heart shattered, so she did what any heartbroken/drunken witch would do and cursed her ex. Vivi has always been told not to mix vodka with witchcraft, but with only a Bath & Body Works candle on hand, it's not like the hex will go through, right? That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town's founder and breaker of hearts, comes back to Graves Glen to recharge the ley lines that support the town's magic. What should've been a quick trip soon turns disastrous when Rhys's magic starts to go haywire, and Vivi realizes her little hex wasn't so harmless after all. With old feelings bubbling back to the surface, the pair will need to work together to save the town and find a way to break the hex before it's too late.

If you're looking for a charming witchy story for the spooky season, look no further! It has everything one could want in an October read: curses gone awry, an angry poltergeist, and a treat-obsessed talking cat. I loved the little small-town setting of Graves Glen and thought it brought such a coziness to the story. It almost gave me Bewitched vibes, and I was here for it. Vivi and Rhys were so fun to follow, and I enjoyed watching them work their way through all the shenanigans brought forth by the curse. The chemistry between them was good, I would've liked to have seen a little more, but I ultimately enjoyed how their story played out. It's quite a fast read, so the pacing felt like it escalated pretty quickly, and there were moments I wish would've been fleshed out more, but overall, I thought Sterling crafted a witty, fun tale and I couldn't get enough of it.

Rating: 4/5


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