Title: Payback’s a Witch
Author: Lana Harper
Series: The Witches of Thistle Grove #1
Genre: Romance / Paranormal
Length: 336 pages
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Recommended for fans of: lgbtq+ witchy romances
Content Warnings: sexual harrassment
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling rom-com by Lana Harper.
Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.
But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.
On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?
But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?
This is a cute lgbtq+ witchy romance about the power of friendship, family, and going home, set in an idyllic magical town. The beginning of the story reminded me of John Tucker Must Die, with three witches uniting to publicly humiliate the man who wronged them all in Thistle Grove’s upcoming magical Gauntlet that will determine the town’s new leader.
However, this book couldn’t decide if it wanted to be more of a romance or a fantasy adventure, and as a result both aspects fell a bit flat. Emmy and Talia had amazing instant chemistry, but their relationship had an unnecessarily slow build as it kept getting pushed to the side for Gauntlet research. The Gauntlet contests themselves were a bit underwhelming.
I wasn’t a fan of Emmy’s internal conflict throughout the book, and the ending was definitely cliche, but this was a fun spooky book with sweet friendships and spicy romance, and it definitely put me in the mood for fall.