Cover Image: Payback's a Witch

Payback's a Witch

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Member Reviews

I'm thoroughly enjoying the current trend for "witchy" romance, and Payback's a Witch was a thoroughly enjoyable ride. The chemistry between Emmy and Talia was hot and it was a treat watching the trio (Emmy, Talia, and Linden, with the help of her brother) attempt to take down a common enemy. But I think my favorite part was watching Emmy rediscover her love for Thistle Grove and its traditions and her family's magic. The writing was beautiful and filled with lush descriptions of the town and the spells. I felt like I was right there with them. Looking forward to the next book in this series.
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Get out your grimoires and grab your familiars because Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper is ready to bespell you with sapphic witchy romance. Emmy Harlow left Thistle Grove and her magic behind nine years ago after a difficult breakup with a bit of a magical jock, Gareth Blackmoore, and the crushing realization that she wanted a bigger life. One she couldn't have if she stayed in town and kept her magic. But with a spellcasting tournament on the horizon, she is back in town for one month to be the arbiter of the whole show per Harlow family tradition. It was supposed to be an easy break from her real-life in Chicago before Talia Avramov walked into a bar Emmy's first night back. Turns out Gareth has broken one too many witches' hearts while Emmy has been away, and now the lot of them will conspire so the Blackthorns will finally lose the tournament. They will have to bend the rules if they want to take down the most powerful family in town, but hell hath no fury like a witch scorned. 

Listen, this is an all-around good time. You have a big city girl coming back to a small town, a magic tournament, a group of women teaming up against an ex, a sapphic love story, a made up history book with witty historians and so much more. 

The characters are to die for with a good combination of family traits influencing magic abilities and baseline personality types alongside individual characteristics. Linden and Rowen are amazing twins, whose sibling dynamic immediately fell into place. As an aside, I was a big fan of the range of the natural magic they used from healing to plants to aquatic life. I would also love to spend a day in the Avramov household that sounds equal parts chaotic, spooky, and fun. It is a haunted house but it has character and I hear they throw good parties. 

The Blackmoore's are appropriately gaudy and annoying, making for a wonderful family of antagonists. If you are anything like me, you will want him to lose spectacularly. When you have an appropriate foe, winning feels so much sweeter. 

On the whole, the book also delivers a few narrative beats about learning the difference between carving your own path versus running away. Sure, there is magic and romance involved, but at the end of the day, her relationship with her best friend and parents also factor into her reevaluation of her flight from town. As she begins to understand the effects of her choices on the people she left behind she begins to grow and heal. It is really quite touching.

Then, you add a fun witchy romance to the mix and you have yourself a winner. Talia is a chaotic neutral witch whose traditionally Russian family leans into the spookier side of the grimoire. Think seances, communing with the dead, curses, etc. Emmy had a crush on her in high school but now they are both old enough to pursue something that may last. While the romance doesn't dive too deeply into the ramifications of a longer courtship, watching the two initially dates speaks to a successful future. 

If you are in the mood for a bit of ceremony, competition, and revenge in your witchy reading materials Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper is for you. It also helps that the cover is absolutely enchanting. For a few years now witchy books have been placed on the backburner. Books like Don't Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross, Help Wanted by J. Emery, and A Potion to Die For by Heather Blake come to mind. Either there have been titles independently released or they have gotten smaller runs. With the sheer number of witch romance novels about to hit the shelves, I do imagine we have another wave on our hands. 

Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper is set to release on October 5th, 2021. Thank you, Berkley via NetGalley for providing the eARC of Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper in exchange for my honest review.
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I am very much on the fence about this book. On the one hand, it was a delightfully fun read with a super sexy wlw romance, and given how few and far between those are, I don't want to dismiss it so easily. However, this book was so obviously written by a millennial writer that at times it was extremely irritating to read, and on more than one occasion I considered abandoning it altogether. On the whole, the good does outweigh the bed, but I can't say this is one of my favorites.
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This book was delightful! It was a very fun and enjoyable read, I would be very excited to read more from this author.
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*Actual rating is 3.5/4*

I am a sucker for all things spooky, witchy, Halloweeny and anything to do specifically with Salem, Massachusetts and this book certainly delivered on all of those things. 

Payback's a Witch was a fast-paced read, with a lot of funny moments! It also had an amazing queer romance. 

The storyline was a tad bit too predictable at times and I wish some of the relationships could have been flushed out more. 

Overall, this book is perfect for your next Fall read and delivers all the witchy/fall vibes your heart desires!
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This book is pure fun! A great way to spend a few hours on an autumn afternoon.  I enjoyed the romance tinged with revenge,  but sometimes character motivations were unclear or felt a bit thin.
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This was a fun, witchy rom-com and a perfect read now that we're almost in fall. I also love the cover! It's aesthetic is as fun as the book itself.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Calling Witchy people everywhere! This is a romcom made for us. It is a perfect Halloween read for anyone who wants some holiday themed wish fulfillment. After all, who hasn’t wanted to have a spooky romance with a hot witch? This book is if the other woman took place in holloween town and I’m living for the energy this provides. The vengeance, the romance, the absolute spite among these women is so honest we live for it. We love fucking over the patriarchy and dismantling traditionalism all in one novel.
The plot was easy to follow is not a little bit predictable, but with a romcom that’s exactly the kind of story you want. Queer people deserve simple romances too. Something you can turn your brain off to and just vibe. Emmy was an interesting character to follow and her love interest Talia is everything you want in a witchy girlfriend. I love being able to have a turn your brain off spooky romance book for sapphics everywhere. It is what we deserve.
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Witch Emmy Harlow has left her magical home of Thistle Grove behind and moved to Chicago.  She's mostly accepted the fact she will never call Thistle Grove home again until she's called back to serve as arbiter for the traditional spellcasting tournament.  On her first night back she runs into her ex, Gareth Blackmoore.  He's as awful as ever...and she finds out from her bff, Linden Thorn, and resident badass Talia Avramov that his two timing ways haven't ceased in her time away.  The two witches recruit Emmy to help them bring down Gareth once and for all.

There was a lot about this book that was enjoyable.  The author created a very detailed and vivid world in Thistle Grove.  The history and use of magic was very clear and easy to follow.  Sometimes fantasy books can get bogged down, but not this one.  Emmy was an interesting character.  I enjoyed watching her grow and come into herself and her magic.  Emmy and Talia were cute together and watching their relationship blossom was very sweet.  All of the tournament scenes were well written and exciting.  You really felt like you were caught up in the magic.  The only fault I can find is that of why Emmy left home in the first place.  As the book develops you come to understand it was more than just Gareth Blackmoore's rejection, BUT the fact that a high school heartbreak was such a large part of the reason she left seems silly.  It also seems silly that two women like Linden and Talia would fall/be so upset about Gareth as well.  But overall, this was a very fun read.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for this ARC.
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Paybacks a Witch review~
4/5 Rating
Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group!

I was looking for a cozy autumn read for my vacation to Salem, Massachusetts and this book set the mood perfectly!

 I am usually very hesitant when it comes to picking up contemporary romances but the instant I saw ‘Sapphic witches’ I ran to request this one on NetGalley. I had so much fun reading this book it was fast-paced, funny, and had a great queer romance. The witty dialogue was great and kept me entertained along with the well fleshed out characters.

The only reason I am not giving this one a five star review is because at times it was a little predictable and some things seemed a bit too convenient for my personal tastes. But as I said prior I am not an avid contemporary reader so I wouldn't let that stop you from picking up this book!

Overall this was a very enjoyable read and I can't wait for the next one!
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Another magical contest among powerful witch families who essentially run a town in the midwest.  There are four families, one of which is more powerful than the others and one of which is more like the weak link, serving as arbiters of the contest and keeping the magical history of the town.  Of course Emmy Harlow, the Arbiter-to-Be, is from the weakest family and left town after a horrible relationship with Gareth Blackmore, Contestant-to-Be from the strongest family.  Turns out that the other two contestants are also female, and also slighted by Gareth.  Given the title, nothing more needs to be said.  

eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.
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Witchy, fun, and full of perfect fall vibes. I liked the worldbuilding, the magic tournament, and all the characters, though I wish some relationships had been a bit more fleshed out.
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Thank you to berkley for an eARC of this in exchange for an honest review! 

Emmy Harlow left Thistle Grove years ago to live out her life after one of the town's most powerful witch's, Gareth Blackmore, breaks her heart. She's asked to return as Arbiter for this year's Gauntlet. Though she hasn't been in touch with her magic in years, she says yes. 

Only when she returns, she discovers Gareth broke her best friend, Lin's, heart and dark, sexy witch Talia. Together, they decide to get back at Gareth. 

I really loved this one! I loved the premise and the setting, and all those great witchy vibes. I really enjoyed the magic types, and how each of the founding families had different types of magic. I also loved the slow-burn, sexy romance between Emmy and Talia. The bi rep and the sapphic witchy feels were perfect heading into Fall! Cannot recommend this one enough!
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ARC received by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was nothing like I was expecting and I love it for that. There was magic, friendship, and a dash of romance to seal the deal. I really enjoyed the main two characters. I do wish we got to see more of the different people around the community. Especially, the best friend because we hear her story but don't really get to know her that well. The magical competitions were great and made me feel nostalgia for some odd reason. Maybe because it reminded me a little of Wizards of Waverly Place which I did enjoy as a teen. My one problem with this book is it felt a little too tied together perfectly at the end. Everything fell in place for the main character so well that it feels odd to me that there are going to be more books after this one. She felt a little too overpowered at the end that I am kind of at a loss at what could happen next. Though, I do want to see what happens so I am excited to get a new take on this world here soon.
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An absolutely perfect romcom. I love anything that has to do with witches, and I was obsessed with the founding families and systems of magic in place. The characters were coming right off the page for me, interesting and dynamic and all around delightful to read. I gobbled it down in one sitting. Payback's a Witch is the witchy, sapphic, revenge romcom I've been dreaming of!
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Absolutely made for atmospheric fall reading, this witchy book is absorbing and entertaining. Who would have thought a hotbed of magic exists in a tiny Illinois town? It's got some humor, some romance, and feels very millennial fall witch. I was so excited to discover that this is the first in a series as Thistle Grove is a town I'll want to return to.
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What a great read as we head into the autumn season. This easy romance gives serious Halloween vibes from the get go, The promise of living up to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was slightly misplaced, but there is a definite air of Halloween at Thistle Grove. Witch families, revenge plots, and a touch of "queer" energy make this a romance for all tastes and a great pick for an easy fall read.
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Payback’s a Witch is a perfect fall romance to curl up with your choice of warm beverage and enjoy the magic of Thistle Grove.
Emmy, her bff Linden, and Talia are out for revenge after being screwed over by the same man: Gareth Blackmoore. Blackmoore dumped Emmy in high school because she wasn’t enough as a Harlow, and more recently Linden and Talia found out he was seeing them - and hiding the fact he was dating both of them- at the same time. 
I love Harper’s gift of describing the world around Emmy. The crisp, smoky feeling of fall, the intensity of the magical tournament that Emmy is the arbiter for, the dusty, magical feeling of Emmy’s family’s bookshop. 
The pace balances Emmy’s adjustment to the town, her role as arbiter, the pact, and reconnecting with her family and friends that she left behind while developing her romance with Talia. Once again the gift of description comes into play with their attraction to each other, as they start flirting and go from there. Emmy is supposed to leave in a month’s time and go back to Chicago, but can things be different now? Honestly, leaving the big city to come home to small town romances usually don’t work for me. But this one did in a big way, as it looked at the roles we play based on past and present. I’m intrigued by the world that Harper has built here, and looking forward to more in this setting, to see what else is going on.
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This is the perfect fall read. I literally wish I could crawl into the pages of this book because it would be absolute perfection. I really liked this book for its characters, its charm, and ultimately, its simplicity. 

The characters in this story are really well written. I enjoy the aspect of the women teaming up against a womanizing warlock, and of course two of them will catch feelings for each other during the take down. I love it! This book also brings a fantasy world to life BUT puts that setting into essentially small town America (ish). I like that aspect of the story a lot because it doesn't take a lot of complication and confusing world building to set the stage. That's where the simplicity of this book comes into play. This is essentially a revenge trope romance, and the world is pretty easy to jump into. I love that about a fantasy book, and this one delivers!

I also really enjoyed the witch lore that was part of the story, and I felt like this gave the plot a realism that other fantasy type books sometimes lack. Overall, this is a perfect Halloween read to sip some apple cider with!
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Emmy comes from a witch town. She ran away because she felt that her last name put a label on her that she didn't want. After her father sends her a guilt-laden letter, she comes home to arbitrate a witch tournament that decides who gets to be the next mayor. Her plans to play it cool are thrown out the window when she finds out that her ex was having sex with both her best friend and crush at the same time. Combined with her ex's family being in power for too long and they decide to team up to take him down.

I love this world, but I didn't love the romance. I prefer cute times and then sexy times. This book does the reverse. This is a shame because the romance is the only part of the book I didn't like. I liked all of the characters. I wanted to visit the town. Every time Emmy would talk about her love interest, Talia, I kept getting Dresden File flashbacks. I wished that Emmy would tell me why she liked Talia besides that Talia is the hottest thing ever hotted.

To add to my disappointment, the two-chapter sneak peek for the next book reads that the sexy will start before the cute. So no second book for me.

Review based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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