The Ex Hex (The Ex Hex #1)

Source: Purchased in 2021 from Gulf of Maine Books
Pub. Date: September 28, 2021
Synopsis: Goodreads

Why did I choose to read this book?

  1. I bought it so I had to read it sometime.
  2. Magic + Romance = extremely my jam
  3. I got approved for an advanced digital copy of the next book in the series (The Kiss Curse) so I wanted to make sure I read this one before the next one was released.

What is this book about?

In the small town of Graves, Glen, Georgia, which was founded by a prominent magical family (Penhallow), a set of ley lines that provide magic to the region and keep its use running smoothly need to be recharged. The Penhallow patriarch Simon sends his most irresponsible son Rhys to charge them. What neither of them know is that nine years ago a witch named Vivienne accidentally cursed Rhys after they spent a steamy, romantic summer together, and then he just left, breaking her heart in the process. His arrival to charge the ley lines is met with a series of unfortunate events that Vivi, her cousin, and her aunt have to work together to solve. The curse that Vivi cast years ago has bigger consequences than she could have even imagined.

What is notable about the story?

I love a clearly defined magic system that leaves out the rhyming/typical Wiccan cadences (e.g. so mote it be). In Sterling’s story, being a witch is just like breathing. So the idea that Vivi could accidentally curse Rhys over a Yankee Candle while she was crying in a bubble bath makes this magic system so much more accessible.

I also appreciated the discussion and criticism of legacy. The Penhallow name is on everything in Graves Glen, including the university where Vivienne works. But as the women (and Ryhs) try to lift the curse, they discover some unsavory information about the town’s true history. When a family gets as powerful as the Penhallows, Sterling shows us that we should be asking who they stepped on or used to get where they are.

The sexy scenes are very well written. They are hot enough that it’ll get your pulse moving, but not so hot that you’ll feel embarrassed to read them in public. Very good balance, and it’s a difficult one to find, so bravo to Sterling!

Was anything not so great?

The only negative thing about this story is that its entire premise is shaky as all get out. Apparently Rhys is betrothed to another powerful witch, but falls in love with Vivi during that fateful summer and tries to explain to her that he has to return home to Wales to break off the betrothal, but she acts like he’s married and gets all mad with him without listening or asking any questions. He leaves, she meets up with her cousin to cry and amateur curse, and the rest is history.

But then he comes back and they basically fall back into the same relationship as they had before the entire incident nine years ago. They don’t even really talk about it. Usually the romance formula involves each party being a little bit in the wrong, and they both have to eat crow before they come back together for the happily ever after. But Vivienne is 100% in the wrong here. She failed to listen to him nine years ago, she cursed him, and then she has the gall to hold a grudge about it nine years later as an almost 30-year-old woman. Messy bitch. And all that extra drama makes the story a bit shaky, because reasonable people wouldn’t have acted this way. If a hot guy I loved explained he was caught up in archaic betrothal traditions that he had to go break off because he loved me, I’d be like THAT’S SO ROMANTIC come back soon!

What’s the verdict?

Good news! This is the PERFECT beach read. I read it all in one day, and despite the criticism I found the story fast, sexy, and fun. Available in paperback so it’s also less expensive to get your hands on it and you don’t have to worry about sand getting in between the pages. 🙂

5 stars on Goodreads and you should grab a copy, sit in the sun, and let Erin Sterling take you on a witchy journey. You won’t be disappointed.


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