The Ex Hex Cover
Title: The Ex Hex
Author: Heat: Re
Genre(s): Romance Contemporary Paranormal
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers Second Chance Small Town
Tags: f-m straight white witches Welsh class differences second-chance
Where to Buy or Read:

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Synopsis from the Creator:

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.

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.

Review: The Ex Hex, by Erin Sterling

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 11, 2021 10:11:57 AM / by Suzanne

The Ex Hex is the book I needed during the Spooky Season. I read a couple horror novels and considering the amount of horror in the real world, I was struggling to pick up just about anything. The Ex Hex to the rescue! This book has some flaws, but I ended up liking it quite a bit and look forward to more from Erin Sterling/Rachel Hawkins.

What I liked:

  • Vivienne has a supportive friend group and their dialogue was fun.
  • Sterling leans into the tropey fun with scenes including the classic "hiding in a closet, oh no we're pressed against each other."
  • Halloween-y fun - the town is obsessed with Halloween and it feels really spoopy overall. Not scary, which was what I needed.

What I didn't like:

  • The breakup and Vivienne's hostility felt contrived. She broke things off without letting Rhys explain why he was betrothed and hadn't told her and years later she's still not willing to talk to him about it. I know she was hurt, but the betrothal from childhood was Welsh Witch Politics and he went home to immediately dissolve the agreement. Couldn't they have fixed all this with a single phone call?
  • Rhys is kind of an entitled prat. This is the point, but I wanted to like him more than I did. I had to pretend several aspects of this "Welsh dudes owning a whole southern town since way back" didn't exist because... gross. Sterling is from the south and she tried to acknowledge this a few times but I'm not sure it was successful. (Then again, white people owning towns anywhere in the US is a whole thing and why is this particular one sticking in my craw?)
  • Multiple Harry Potter references. Vivienne didn't grow up in the magical community, so she wasn't aware of things like the aforementioned political betrothal and there's an entire page where she's talking about when she learned about her magic and met other witches. Rhys says she went "the full Potter" and there are other references later to plot, characters, merch. Could have been very easily removed, it didn't add anything to the book.

All in all, The Ex Hex was a fun spoopy read and the people I handed it to at my library agreed. If you want light witchy vibes and somewhat sparse world-building, go for it!


Audio Notes: I wish I'd read this book with my eyes instead of with my ears. Caitlin Davies' narration simply doesn't work for me. I was carried forward by the plot, but I would have enjoyed it much more with a different narrator. Her pacing was strange, her nasal voice and the way she hits some words... not for me. Unfortunately, I've since put off reading a couple of other books because she narrates them. (Sorry, Vespertine.)


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Topics: review