Cover Image: Payback's a Witch

Payback's a Witch

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Member Reviews

A cute sapphic paranormal romance. 
If I had to describe this I’d say it’s Sabrina the teenage witch meets John Tucker Must Die. I definitely got hallmark channel movie vibes from the story. I’m not even sure why honestly. 

This is one of many books I wanted to read last fall but didn’t. 

The descriptions of the town gave me Forks/Halloween town vibes. I loved how the author made me want to be there. 

While I did love the revenge plot and most of the characters, something was missing for me. I found myself bored a couple of times, maybe it was too long. 
I also wish there was more romance, I loved the MCs but I don’t think we got enough of them. 

Also while I did enjoy the revenge plot, I couldn’t believe our MC was holding on to something from that long ago still. And abandoned her family because of it! 
Seemed a little extreme to me.

I still plan on reading the rest of the series when it comes out.
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A cute and quirky paranormal romance, perfect for the fall season. I enjoyed this, but as an avid romance reader, I wish the romance was centered in the story a bit more. What we did see of Emmy and Talia was enchanting, but the witchy stuff was definitely the focus of the story. The magic competition was engaging, but I found the ending a trifle rushed, particularly in regards to the romance, as we didn't get a lot of time to see the characters unfurl outside of the competition. I enjoyed this enough that I'll definitely be picking up the sequel, however.
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Fun magic-filled part romance, part kind of growing up. I really enjoyed this and look forward to the next book in the series.
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I absolutely loved the concept of this book for so many reasons. We all love a good magical competition, plus adding a "John Tucker Must Die" vibes, and I'm all in. 

It was such a joy to read. The characters, the world building, a complex magical system...I definitely recommend for anyone who wants to get lost in this.
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3.5-3.75 stars.

This was a super quick read that was a mix of YA romance and YA fantasy in the most perfect way.

I would say the comps are Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire meets Twiglight (the town was giving me Forks vibes) meets Halloweentown. The atmosphere painted made me want to visit Thistle Grove immediately and possibly never leave! 

Aside from the main 2 characters I felt like it lacked a little bit in character development but that often is par for the course in YA reads with a larger cast of characters. 

I loved the concept of a magical competition and wish more time was spent on the actual competition itself with more in-depth challenges that lasted longer. Maybe that's just the competition junkie in me (I'd die for a History of the Hunger Games book solely so I could pore over ever detail of the games). I didn't love Emmy as a main character but LOVED Talia and thought she was the most complex character by far.

Overall would definitely recommend for YA lovers, especially around Halloween time.
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This is definitely a low stress easy read,  but unfortunately it just fell a little flat for me. For a book that was based in magic, it wasn’t a huge part of the story. The plot was incredibly interesting, it just didn’t catch my attention.

Thank you to Net Galley for the e-arc in exchange for the honest review!
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DNF. I started this in late October and was actively reading it in November. I would occasionally pick it up as I was in between books and read a chapter or two. But honestly there is not much drawing me to keep reading this book. I wanted to be more into it - more into the magic, more into the characters, more into the romance - but it all fell flat for me.

I might try to pick this one up again next fall and give it another chance! Thank you @netgalley and @berkley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Woof. What a whirlwind of a story. This romance is unique in that the world is actually very well built. There were dimensional side characters and real history in this town that it’s easy to root for.
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This book!!! Too much fun. I legitimately have not read a fantasy book I enjoyed this much in many, many years. It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting – it was better.

After years away, Emmy Harlow returns to her hometown of Thistle Grove in anticipation of a house competition for the town’s founding family witches – over which she is to preside. But there’s good reason for her being gone so long: one of the other witches, Gareth Blackmoore, left her ten years before and made her feel inconsequential – as the Harlows are considered to be the weaker witches, and do not participate in the tournament that brings strength and prosperity to its crowned family. Emmy left magic behind in exchange for leaving behind a family legacy that followed her around like a storm cloud.

Back in Thistle Grove, Emmy and the other houses – Avramov and Thorn – are teaming up. Having been similarly scorned, her best friend Linden and the mysterious Talia Avermov are working together to put the Blackmoores, and Gareth especially, back in their place. But all that time together seems to be creating some sparks between Emmy and Talia…

There’s a lot going on this book so it is a bit hard to describe for you – but I think part of the action and imagination is what makes it so good. As I said, this is one of the first fantasy books I’ve read in a long, long time – I expected magical realism, but it’s pretty far into a fantasy realm. And I actually loved it! Payback’s a Witch was easily accessible and yet tons of fun. The whimsy and magic of it all was a great ride.

The romance was also adorable! That’s what I actually was reading it for – I honestly didn’t realize it was such an in-depth fantasy, though I live for witches and witchy vibes. And even jumping into a romance, I didn’t know this was queer romance, lol. Somehow I missed that – I don’t tend to read descriptions as much anymore, so I just jumped right into the book. After a few minutes, I actually laughed out loud at my own confusion…”That’s odd, I feel like they’re implying that Talia is the love interest? That’s an odd way to describe her if she isn’t.” Silly me! Really not sure how I missed that but oh my lord, are they cute!

I also loved Emmy and Linden’s friendship. It was sweet and genuine, and riddled with shared history that you could feel through the story. Sometimes I read a romance, and I honestly like the best friends more than I like the couple. Sometimes romance stories can feel disingenuine, but a writer can almost always capture best friends. But Linden and Emmy really compliment the romance and highlight the levels of intimacy differences between Talia and Emmy. Linden and Emmy’s sweet moments of friendship build even better expectations of connection between Talia and Emmy.

The storyline, and the ending, absolutely killed it. I can’t even express to you how much this reignited the vibes I gathered from my middle school, fantasy-reading days (but like, obviously…this one is not meant for middle schoolers!). I also want to note that I listened to this as an audiobook, and the performance and reader was very good. I love, love, loved it!

There’s a sequel coming! I’m told there’s another Witches of Thistle Grove book on the horizon…and I literally cannot wait. This book was just tons of fun. That’s the best way to describe it. Please check it out!!
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This is the kind of book that you just sort of ache to step inside. It's a wonderful fall read. I'm feeling a little conflicted about this book though. To start, I thought the premise and setting of this story was incredible. It was giving me all of the spooky, witchy, fall vibes that I crave all year long. The descriptions of Thistle Grove were enchanting and really made me feel like I was in a Salem-esque magical town. I was so excited for the magical tournament and thought the trials were creative and interesting.  Unfortunately, this book just felt so slow to me. At about the halfway mark I wasn't really excited to pick it up anymore. Luckily it picked back up again towards the end, but the focus on small details outside of the competition left me feeling uninterested in the story and the characters' relationships. I wish the romance aspect was a little stronger so that I at least felt invested in Emmy and Talia, but even their romance fell a little flat. I still feel like others might enjoy this one, but unfortunately it wasn't really for me. I did appreciate the spookiness of it overall and think that future books in this series could have potential with the strong setting of Thistle Grove. 3.75 stars rounded up.
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A sapphic Sabrina? Love it! This was such a refreshing story that has so much of what I love about the genre. I cannot wait to see what Harper does for the next book.
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The town of Thistle Grove in Payback's a Witch is truly original and rich in detail. I loved all the sparkling touches about the different kinds of magic, animated gardens full of dancing flowers, and the history of each founding family. It did take me a while to get into the story; the plot felt a bit slow moving in the beginning, but it really took off when Emmy starts discovering more about the Harlow magic and the spellcasting tournament gets underway.  Payback is a fun read with a gentle, warm magic that fans of small town romance will enjoy.
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This book felt pretentious and was off putting to me. I didn't feel invested in any of the characters. DNF
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I enjoyed this book as just a fun read. Talia was hot, but I was a little annoyed by the main character. I don't know if I believed or supported her motivations for leaving the town. I am always for a team up to take down a terrible person though. The writing was a little stilted and some of the vocabulary would take me out of the story. It read a little like the author used a thesauraus a lot just to change out a word for kicks, like saying "vertiginously" to describe going up a staricase. However, I did still enjoy it. It's a good basic, fluffy read and gay witches are always fun.
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a delightfully queer, witchy story. i read this around Halloween and really enjoyed the premise, as well as the characters, though i do think they could've done with a bit more development.
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This is the perfect read for fall. It gives off major Halloweentown vibes, and the characters are funny and well-written.
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This book deserves all the hype & more. There was a lot of talk this year around another witchy book, but it was not nearly as good as Payback's a Witch. I loved pretty much everything about this book: the characters were believable, I could perfectly visualize the setting as if it were in a movie, the pacing was consistent and lined up with the main plot while still allowing the romance to blossom. I've recommended this to a bunch of people already, and I'll keep doing so! I can't wait for the next novel set in this world!
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This adult version of H.P. and the Goblet of Fire is funny, sexy, and totally relevant! With more diverse characters, more adult themes, and wittier dialog you won't even miss that other wizard's storybook. Seriously, clear your calendar because you won't want to put this down. 

Can't wait for the next one!
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This was another witchy sapphic book that fell a little short for me! 

Overall, the book was fine and had moments that were sweet but not enough to rank higher with my rating. I wish there was more magic in the book, it really felt like it took a backseat to the other action going on. 

I liked the John Tucker Must Die trope, but perhaps it could be updated to fit the more adult characters? 

If you are looking for a cute witchy sapphic rom-com, you will want to check this one out. I just wasn't for me!
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Thank you Netgalley for an arc. Here is my honest review. 

I really wanted to love this book, but sadly I was disappointed. Paybacks a witch was just a boring book. The characters felt very one dimensional; there was nothing complex about them. The pacing felt slow as well and I just struggled to finish this book.
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