Title: Mind Over Magic (A Witch in Wolf Wood Book One)

Publisher/Author: Lindsay Buroker

Pages: 247pp

Price: 0.99 cents

Morgen Keller — recently divorced, recently fired — has inherited her grandmother’s house and land outside of Bellrock, Washington. While Morgen has fond memories of the place from her childhood, she hasn’t spoken to her grandmother in years. And now she can’t, at all. Which is a problem — because practical, logical, skeptical Morgen has just discovered a grouchy werewolf living in the barn. And her late grandmother’s extensive collection of grimoires and preserved specimens in the basement. Oh, and apparently magic is real, the werewolves and witches in town are virtually at war, and everyone wants her grandmother’s land. And they’re most definitely willing to kill for it ….

I’ve been a fan of Buroker’s science fiction and steampunk novels for quite some time, so I was intrigued when I heard about Mind Over Magic, her first foray into what has come to be known as Paranormal Women’s Fiction (the protagonists are all at least forty years of age, and are often divorced, widowed, or otherwise on their own and starting over). The premise sounded like fun, and just different enough from the usual paranormal romance to pique my interest.

Happily, Mind Over Magic is a quick, fun, fantastical romp. Morgen is a great character: she is shy and doesn’t particularly enjoy interacting with strangers, but she is confident in her own abilities and intelligence. She loves animals, and often gets along with them better than she does people — which makes interacting with werewolves, and one in particular, quite … interesting.

I also really like the fact that Morgen is normal. Yes, she apparently is a witch, and descended from a long line thereof. But she is not some uber-powerful Chosen One who manifests amazing and heretofore unseen magical abilities at the most opportune moment, delivering near-divine justice upon the villains. No. She spends most of the book organizing her grandmother’s grimoire collection and memorizing a few basic spells for self-defense (and getting slugs out of the garden). The one time she takes a magical artifact with her (a staff with antler horns) it pokes holes in her car upholstery. She’s a complete newbie, and she knows it.

I also adore the phone conversations she has with her sister Sian and her cousin Zoe. Teasing, but affectionate. I hope that we see both women in future volumes.

There is also the matter of Amar, the aforementioned grumpy werewolf. First, no magic clothing; when he shifts, he’s buck naked and utterly unashamed of that fact. A lone wolf who refuses to explain why he’s alone, he’s also a talented woodworker and carpenter. And he’s Hispanic, well aware of how unwelcome he is in many communities, as both a wolf and a human being.

And finally, can I just say how much I appreciate that the focus here is on Morgen, and her figuring out her new place in life? There are hints of romance to come in future volumes, but that is so not the focus of Mind Over Magic. Romance-o-phobes need not run away, but there’s just enough will-they-won’t-they to keep romance-o-philes happy.

Recommended to fans of Buroker’s other series, as well as fans of Paranormal Women’s Fiction, Annette Marie’s Guild Codex series, Kim McDougall’s Valkyrie Bestiary series, Between the Worlds by Morgan Daimler, and Succulents and Spells by Andi C. Buchanan.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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