Title: Hexing the Ex: House of Magic Book One

Publisher: Crimson House Books

Author: Susanna Shore

Pages: 224pp

Price: $7.99 / $3.99

Suddenly homeless after her flatmate nearly destroys their apartment, Phoebe Thorpe lucks into a new place to live: a room over a magic shop in London. At first, her landladies and fellow renters just seem like a quirky, if friendly, group. But then things get … weird. A statue sent to her auction house turns out to be cursed, and the curse latches onto Phoebe. It turns out that, not only is magic real, but so are werewolves, vampires, mages … and hellhounds. As the effects of the curse worsen, Phoebe and her new friends team up to find the mage who originally cast it. Along the way, they uncover a conspiracy that could throw the mundane and magical worlds into chaos ….

I was in the mood for a cozy, comfortable paranormal adventure, so when Hexing the Ex popped up on netgalley, I took a chance and downloaded it. Over all, it met my expectations.

Phoebe is an appealing protagonist: a lover of antiquities and history, she also possesses a healthy skepticism and a strong sense of self; it takes a lot to convince her that the paranormal world is real, but once the evidence is presented, she accepts it; and when she discovers that her long-time boyfriend has been cheating on her, she breaks up with him immediately.

The supporting cast is fun, as well: her boss, Archibald Kane, has a strong sense of ethics when it comes to the use of magic. Her landladies, Amber and Giselle, are protective, motherly kitchen witches. Her roommates, Ashley and Luca, are (no surprise) a werewolf and a vampire, and they get along tolerably well with one another; Ashley works as a firefighter, where her werewolf strength and olfactory senses are very useful; Luca spends his days sleeping and his nights regaling Phoebe with humorous tales of life a century earlier.

Although Hexing the Ex is billed as a mystery, there really isn’t much of an investigation. They figure out who sent the cursed statue fairly quickly, though the why takes a bit longer. And, even though the curse was dangerous, I never really worried for the fate of Phoebe or the other characters. There was no sense of impending doom. I knew that everything would work out in the end.

Hexing the Ex is a quick and breezy, easy read with appealing characters, a fun little mystery, and the promise of more to come. Perfect for relaxing after a stressful day at work, or between running frantic errands.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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