Book Review: The Ex Hex (The Ex Hex #1) by Erin Sterling

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 28th, 2021
Length: 7 hrs 23mins
Source: Library

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. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, 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.

Sir Percival the cat was the best part of this, especially when he called Gwyn “mama”. Otherwise I rolled my eyes at a lot of this, especially the heavy focus on sex when frankly there were much more important things going on. Mayhaps I am simply a Clueless Ace, but do allosexual adults really spend this much time thinking/talking/joking about sex and getting turned on at the drop of a hat? Sounds exhausting. Couldn’t be me.

This book shares two problems I had with another witchy romance book, Payback’s a Witch. Both of them feature settings consisting of a town in America that was founded a few hundred years previously by an ancestor of one of the main characters. Just like in the aforementioned book, nothing is said about what happened to the Native Americans who owned the land before it was colonized. Really gotta wonder about that! Also, this book takes place in Georgia. So, uh… did any of the ancestors, you know, enslave Black people? It’s stated that the town was founded at least 300 years ago, so.

Maybe I’m ruining the witchy rom-com vibe the book was going for by trying to pry deeper into the worldbuilding and wanting answers to these serious questions, but if you introduce this kind of world, a bitch is gonna wonder about a few things.

There’s also a couple of snide remarks about how “fake” witchcraft has become very popular (“Everyone’s a witch these days.”) and this was a thing in Payback’s a Witch as well. Kind of tired of it, to be honest. Just because a lot of people are experimenting with witchcraft doesn’t make them fakers or posers. It’s just a sense of condescension that rubs me the wrong way.

Otherwise, I wasn’t moved much by the main couple. Like I said, the main focus on sex dampened by ability to really get into them or root for them as a couple. I also just found Vivienne annoying as hell. This comes down to a personality issue for me; I don’t see why characters, especially female ones, have to still be torn up and hurt by a dude even nine years after he did something to them, or be frankly huge bitches when the dudes show back up. I try to cut some slack since I know this is me being judgmental, and I guess it’s fine if it still hurts a bit, but come on. You’re twenty-eight. Let’s act like the adult we are instead of the 19-year-old who got her heart broken.

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