Book Reviews

Review: The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

This fun, frothy contemporary fantasy romcom is perfect if you’re looking for a lighthearted, cozy autumn read!

Book: The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

Publication date: 28th September 2021

Ownership: E-ARC provided free of charge via NetGalley. All opinions my own.

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.

This book is pure fun from start to finish. It’s Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls, set in a small town that’s obsessed with Halloween but unaware of the witches and magic that really exist there. Vivi is one of those witches, and she’s kept her magic more or less low key most of her life, but she’s drawn into deep magic when she has to fix the titular hex she accidentally cast – but although there’s plenty of magical peril, mostly this is a light-hearted romcom about Vivi and Rhys having to navigate their awkward attraction nine years after a spectacular break up. There’s flirtatious banter a-plenty, and lots of very cute moments, plus the narration is full of snark that had me giggling out loud as I was reading.

The point of view flips back and forth between Vivi and Rhys, though the narration always stays third person, and this really helps the story fly along at real speed. They both have really fun personalities, and the sparks fly between them whenever they share a scene, leading to really wonderful dialogue. They’re obviously meant for each other, and luckily for me very little of the drama revolves around emotional misunderstandings or denying they have feelings for each other – there’s still awkwardness, but mostly they’re tackling outside obstacles like ghosts and wayward magic rather than getting all angsty. This is pure fluff (okay, it does get quite raunchy in places so it’s not all fluff, but it’s very fluffy in its plot). There’s also a great supporting cast of characters, including Vivi’s wonderful family and a fabulously annoying talking cat, Sir Purrcival!

I really don’t want to say too much about this one, because it’s only short and the joy of a book like this is being taken along for the ride. Suffice to say this is hugely good fun, and absolutely perfect for an autumn evening read. I didn’t know I needed this genre til I read it, and now I want all the cute Halloween romance, please and thank you! Five out of five talking cats.

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