Back in a Spell | Book 3 of The Witches of Thistle Grove | ARC Review

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.

Book: Back in a Spell (Witches of Thistle Grove 3) by Lana Harper
Release Date: January 3rd 2023
Tags: Adult Fantasy | Paranormal Romance | Witch Families | Witches | LGBTQ+ | Nonbinary Character
Trigger/Content Warnings: Questionable Nonbinary Rep | Hinted Abuse
Other books in this series I reviewed

Paybacks a Witch | From Bad to Cursed

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Even though she won’t deny her love for pretty (and pricey) things, Nineve Blackmoore is almost painfully down-to-earth and sensible by Blackmoore standards. But after a year of nursing a broken heart inflicted by the fiancée who all but ditched her at the altar, the powerful witch is sick of feeling low and is ready to try something drastically different: a dating app.

At her best friend’s urging, Nina goes on a date with Morty Gutierrez, the nonbinary, offbeat soul of spontaneity and co-owner of the Shamrock Cauldron. Their date goes about as well as can be expected of most online dates—awkward and terrible. To make matters worse, once Morty discovers Nina’s last name, he’s far from a fan; it turns out that the Blackmoores have been bullishly trying to buy the Shamrock out from under Morty and his family.

But when Morty begins developing magical powers—something that usually only happens to committed romantic partners once they officially join a founding family—at the same time that Nina’s own magic surges beyond her control, Nina must manage Morty’s rude awakening to the hidden magical world, uncover its cause, and face the intensity of their own burgeoning connection. But what happens when that connection is tied to Nina’s power surge, a power she’s finding nearly as addictive as Morty’s presence in her life? 

I read this book in December and initially I liked it (though not as much as the first ones). But I could not quite manage to write a review for it and started noticing I do have some troubles with this one.

This book focuses on one of the Blackmoore kids, Nine. From the other books we did not get very positive feels for the Blackmoore family and this book does not do much to change that. Nine and her brother (yeah that douchebag from book 1) get their redeeming moments. While the way I describe this might not sound positive I thought that was probably the best bit of the book. A bit of a deepening on the Blackmoore family and seeing him grow up a little. I actually hope to see him again. What was not that great is how easily the hinted at abuse was glossed over.

Following Nine wasn’t quite so interesting. The things she did were partially because of her family’s influence but a lot of that was also to do with her own wrong choices. And I feel like she got off way too easy for them here, because she has to be seen as the ‘heroine’, the redeemed Blackmoore.

Then there was the romance with Morty. There was lust there for sure but I’m not quite so sure about the rest. Morty despises her family and the changeover with them was too quick, too unrealistic.

And lets not forget that Morty is nonbinary. Now they still uses he/him pronounces as well as they/them. But the rep beyond that wasn’t there. It was like it was forgotton that they were nonbinary. They were referred to as guy etc without ever being mentioned if that was okay for them and gets misgendered at points.

So I feel conflicted. I did enjoy being back in this world, the magic and seeing the characters from previous books mentioned and interacted with. But there are some clear problems in this book.

I welcome your thoughts and opinions!

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