Cover Image: Back in a Spell

Back in a Spell

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I am definitely becoming a Lana Harper fan. The writing was compelling and I felt like I couldn't wait to get back to reading whenever I sat it down.
Was this review helpful?
I was given access to an ARC of Back in a Spell by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Nina Blackmore -- a pansexual secret witch who belongs to an old and powerful witch family -- has recently been dumped by her fiancée. Her best friend Jessa decides that Nina needs to go on a date/hook up with a person who is totally opposite of what she normally seeks out in partners. That partner is normie, Morty Gutierrez -- the nonbindary co-owner of the local dive bar Nina's family has aggressively attempted to buy out. Witchy stuff happens, resulting in Morty and Nina being in a magical witch bond that gifts Morty magic powers. Romance and mystery-solving ensues!   

This was fun! I reads like YA in terms of ease of readability, worldbuilding, plot events, etc, but has steamy sex scenes. I think it would be a fun title for readers making the transition from young adult to adult romance. The sex is steamy, but emphasizes communication and enthusiastic consent and focuses on both partners experiencing pleasure in their encounters. 

I'd definitely check out more from Lana Harper!
Was this review helpful?
The latest in the "Witches of Thistle Grove" series follows Nineve Blackmore, the town's ice queen with a secret heart of gold. After wishing on the town's magical lake, she suddenly becomes the most powerful witch in town AND becomes magically connected to Morty, the non-magical gender-nonbinary manager of Thistle Grove's favourite dive bar. This volume offers the most compelling romantic pairing yet, although the pacing of the story is often weighed down by an overabundance of unnecessary pop culture references. Nevertheless, "Back in a Spell" just as fun and swoonworthy as the other books in the series.
Was this review helpful?
YES FOREVER! Back in a Spell allows us back in Thistle Grove (which is one of my favorite places to journey to) following Nina Blackmoore and her love interest Morty was so good. I enjoyed this one so much. It was a joy to read and I was sad to finish.
Was this review helpful?
I cannot get enough of Thistle Grove. In this third outing, Nina Blackmoore and a normie named Morty are drawn together by a powerful bond that should be reserved for only the most committed witch couples, and they have only just met. So, yes the romance is sweet and fun and very spicy, but the real reason to read this book is the deepening of the TG lore. The dynamics between the houses only grow more complicated and nuanced. I really love where this is going and can’t wait to read more. The two chapters of the next book included with the galley made me desperate for more about Delilah.
Was this review helpful?
Back in a spell follows Nina Blackmoore as she navigates her life as the dutiful daughter of the infamous Blackmoore family and who she really wants to be. It should come as no surprise here that I absolutely love this series and I can almost guarantee that it will always have a five star rating from me. This is the third book in the Witches of Thistle Grove series and I basically say the same thing every time. Thistle Grove feels like home. As a practicing witch, to read a series that takes place in a town full of witches, that follows the same witch/wiccan holidays that I myself celebrate every year...this series is like a gift to me. One that I constantly look forward to! Although this series is shelved in romance, there is always so much more to the story than a typical rom-com. Book one was a romance and it was a wonderful, fun, happy introduction to this world. Book two was a whodunit with a fun enemies to lovers trope thrown in, and it was a fantastic sequel that was the perfect blend of mystery and romance! Book three, it IS still a romance, but it is so much more than that. This book is a wonderful new ish adult coming of age. It's also about healing from trauma and taking back your own power. It honestly made me want to cry... I don't want to give too many details but essentially, the story is about Nina who has just gotten out of a very complicated relationship with her ex partner and she kind of feels like a shell of her old self. One who is so overwhelmed by her heartbreak that she has no idea how to move forward. So her best friend tries to convince her to try dating someone so unlike her, just to try to shake her out of her funk. Then Nina meets Morty, a fun side character from the previous two installments who is a non-binary (More on that later) bartender who loves to do aerial silk performances and try new things. Morty loves to be adventurous and take risks unlike Nina who much prefers to stick to her comfort zone. But after their first date turns out to be a disaster they think that's the end of that. Until Nina's magic starts going haywire, and Morty suddenly develops magic that he as a human shouldn't possess...then the two of them have to navigate their growing powers and their growing feelings for each other while simultaneously juggling their full time responsibilities. I loved their relationship together, it was so obvious and heartwarming to see how much they cared for each other. Again going back to representation. This book has both pan rep and non-binary rep. Morty does use he/they pronouns but I personally am very curious to know what the community overall thinks of the rep when they read the book. I very much enjoyed both Morty and Nina as characters and I now cannot wait for book four to come out to see the rest of the world expand!

**Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley publishing for this advanced readers copy, in exchange for an honest review.**
Was this review helpful?
I have enjoyed the Thistle Grove series so far, and don’t get me wrong, I did like this one. However, Nina was extremely hard for me to really root for through most of this story. Every time I started to, she’d just turn a bit insufferable. I did love the scenes with her and Morty. I honestly would have loved if the story was more from their perspective. Or even dual perspectives would have been awesome. The Blackmoore family has been set up as the elitist clan of witches, therefore, (even acknowledging the distant cold mother and grandmother elders who’s quest to reclaim power in the town) the story missed the mark a bit if it wanted the readers to warm to them by showing just marginal differences in Nina. I don’t know, I missed the town and the other families so much in this book. That became obvious as we got towards the end of the story and Nina FINALLY interacted with someone other than just her family. I was racing through to the end, which was a fitting end for the most part. Overall, I liked this story. I liked how it shows that abuse comes in many forms and can shape us in ways we can’t always imagine, but there is always room to hopefully overcome and change. I liked that who you fall in love with can be a complete surprise because true connections cannot be mapped out like a PowerPoint presentation. I love this town, and will definitely return as many times as this Author allows. I just wish Nina’s story hadn’t been, stifled? I think that’s what I felt for most of it. Held at arms length, even as we were seeing glimpses of her inner thoughts, it felt like just the surface, not deeper understanding. Just my opinion. 
**Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this early version of the story.**
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed this book as much as the first two - fun, quirky, steamy, exactly what I want a witchy romance to be.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Y'all, this book was an absolute joy to read! While the global stakes of the story weren't particularly high for the most part, the emotional stakes more than made up for that. I love to see cold and uptight characters like Nina unwind and find someone who can bring out the best in them. And it was exciting to get more than just a glimpse of the mysterious bartender Morty! And this book finally made me more interested in seeing what the Blackmoore family has to offer. I can't wait to see what the Witches of Thistle Grove have in store next!
Was this review helpful?
This series is always a super fun read and I really love the urban fantasy world building of Thistlegrove. 

However the non-binary representation in this book wasn’t great. We’ve known from previous books Morty is non-binary and learn that they put he/they pronouns in his dating profile but the characters only ever refer to Morty as he or him and never they. (See how I just used both they and he and how simple and easy it was?) He even gets described with the word man TWICE! being non-binary means existing outside of the gender binary. As a non-binary person myself this made me feel kind of icky and like there wasn’t a single non-binary person who saw this book before this point. 

Ultimately I did enjoy this novel just not as much as the first two, will definitely continue reading the series though!
Was this review helpful?
Full review posted to links after embargo date.

I love a trip to Thistle Grove, and this certainly hit the spot. But while other books have felt very world-buildy, this one is definitely more of a slice of life novel. It takes a bit for any big non-relationship plot pieces to happen, and the sense of urgency that the first two books have is just not present here. It’s a pretty internal book, and definitely more so for Nina than Morty (who does not get a POV, just as the love interests in other books in this series do not). I had a nice time seeing everyone, but at times I was sitting there asking myself what the point of this book was.

And too - I think if you have a non-binary love interest whose dating profile uses he/they pronouns, it would be nice for that character to use them throughout the book. Nina asks Morty what he prefers on their first date and he says he/him is fine, and he particularly feels a need to perform his assigned gender for his supportive but traditional mother. I get that! But it feels like empty representation. 

Anyways, I definitely enjoyed this book. Neither follow up has hit quite the same for me as Payback’s A Witch did, but I always have a good time. I’m looking forward to see who the love interest is for the character for whom we get a bonus chapter!
Was this review helpful?
Lana Harper's Thistle Grove continues to be a place where I would give almost anything to live. After a bad date of mutual dislike, Nina and Morty both go home to sulk it off.  They wake up the next morning and among other catastrophes, they discover that some magical force has bound them together in a way reserved for consenting partners in a marraige.  While the plot hints of enemies-to-lovers and arranged-marraige-to-lovers tropes, this twist on both tropes is novel and fun. The plot goes to places as yet unseen from Harper in terms of the choices the characters, Nina in particular, must make, and I enjoyed it immensedly. I have loved all of Harper's queer representation thus far, but the one critisism I have for this book is that it introduces Morty as using he/him and they/them pronouns and then proceeds to exlusively use he/him to refer to Morty for the entire book without exception.  It's glossed over and didn't detract from the story but it did annoy me a little bit. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am honestly devastated that it will be ages and ages before I can read the next one.

I received an eARC of this book but my opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?