I kicked off January and my 2022 reading with The Ex Hex, by Erin Sterlin. An adult, romance book with witches, a cosy small time and comedy bursting from the pages.
Erin Sterling is a pen name of Rachel Hawkins, who has written the Royals series and The Wife Upstairs, to name a few.
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. 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.
My Thoughts on The Ex Hex
As always, I’m going to keep this review spoiler-free. Because, I truly think if you’re after a fun, easy romance book with magic, then The Ex Hex is perfect. It’s a light-hearted read with a strong plot, welcoming and warm characters and a location you want to fall into.
I initially began reading this as a palette cleanser after a difficult read. Choosing this because I had a strong feeling I would have such a fun time with this. And I did. But then, you know I love romance books anyway. However, I will say this one delivered more than I thought it would.
Initially, the book opens nine years ago with Vivienne having just been dumped by Rhys. She’s emotional, devastated and angry all at once as she soaks in the bath. With a crap candle, a bottle of Vodka, her cousin offers to cheer her up, saying they should curse him. and knowing it’s unlikely to work, the two women do so, unknowingly inflicting a curse on Rhys which bites him on the arse when he returns almost a decade later.
“Never mix vodka and witchcraft.”The Ex hex by erin sterling
Realising what she’s done, and that Rhy’s has unknowingly flooded the lines with the curse, Vivienne and Rhys must work together to undo the curse and save Graves Glen from odd magical outbursts.
The humour in this book had me in stitches. I also want to shine a light on the cat. Because it constantly crying out for “Treats” had me snorting continuously.
As much as I hated Rhys in the first chapter, he’s actually a really fun male love interest. He definitely knows how to please a woman (thank you Erin for those scenes) but he’s also funny, able to give as good as he takes. The chemistry between him and Vivienne is palpable, believable and bounces from the pages from the moment they re-meet years later.
“I grew up in an actual haunted house, and this is worse,” Rhys said.The Ex hex by erin sterling
“Way worse. I mean, I haven’t seen your house, but I believe it.”
Likes and Dislikes
The characters are awesome. They’re funny, likeable and they all bounce off one another in a believable way. No one annoyed me, not even Rhys Dad. This book also has its location as a character, in my opinion. Set in a small town, you immediately feel like you’re there as the book begins. You can see all of the places, the location descriptions are strong enough for you to walk alongside the characters as things happen. It breathes as the characters do, and stands out as one of my favourite witch-book-locations I’ve read recently.
Admittedly, it’s cheesy. At several points it reaches new heights of cheese, but do I care? No. Not really, but if cheese is off-putting for you, then this book may not be for you. For me, I welcomed it. I am here for cheese, romance and heart eyes until my last breath, and this book delivered.
I should also mention this book has a lot of F-bombs, which if you’ve listened to my podcast, you know I love. But, for those who don’t, you may want to avoid it. For me, they weren’t excessive or used in any way other than for well-timed comedy purchases.
But it wasn’t any of those things which made it lose a star in my eyes. As spicy and funny as the book is, it loses its rhythm at parts. It’s forgivable in the grand scheme of things. And rectifies itself at the end, but not enough for me to confidently give it five stars.
I also didn’t love how the ending came to be. The plot, yes, but the pacing felt a touch rushed and I think it could have benefited from another chapter (or two) to ease it out. Especially with so much packed in at the end. While it did irk me a touch, it didn’t take too much away from my overall enjoyment.
The Ex Hex Wrap-Up
This book is Practical Magic meets 90s Sabrina with a rom-com vibe. It’s cute, and fun, at the heart of it, are a great, solid family and a love you cannot deny. Because of this, I couldn’t put it down. It’s flawed, but I quickly forgave it all for the warmth it filled me with and the stupid grin I was wearing.
It promises to deliver romance, and it does, everything else is a bonus.
The Ex Hex gets Four stars out of Five from me, and I’m happily adding to my romance bookshelf.
Have you read or planning on reading this book?
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