Should She Stay or Should She Go?: The Baker’s Man and Payback’s a Witch

22 Feb

These two terrific paranormal romances both have a pinch of magic and also heroines who share a dilemma of whether they will build a life in their hometowns or whether they will forge a life further afield. No spoilers though on which path each witchy woman takes.

The Baker’s Man
by Jennifer Moorman

If you are a fan of magical realism with a hint of southern charm like Sarah Addison Allen’s writes, than you will delight in The Baker’s Man by Jennifer Moorman. This novel is being newly republished along with other’s in Moorman’s Mystic Water series. Although this is the first in the series and include some overlap in characters the author designed them to be read in any order. I was new to Moorman with this title, but look forward to checking out more of her work in the future. In Baker’s Man, Anna O’Brien inherits not only her grandmother’s bakery, but also some magical sugar that can be used to create anything. After her boyfriend breaks up with her, she and one of her best friends use it to bake the perfect man, not expecting it to work, but when Eli is there the next day, he is much more than she expected. I liked that the novel deals with Eli becoming his own person outside of Anna’s creation which adds more substance to their relationship and also gives a bit more depth to what is a fairly light hearted romance; the novel portrays how we idealize and manage our expectations of our loved ones. This also come in to play with Anna’s mother’s hopes that Anna will stay in town and run her grandmother’s bakery while Anna secretly dreams of opening a bakery near the beach. Will Anna choose to move into the beautiful old Victorian and continue the family’s business or will the siren song of the seashore win out? I also liked how the issue of friendships and the complexity of friends’ shared interests in potential romantic partners is handled. When tragedy happens, it brings Anna and her friends closer instead of tearing them apart. The next book in the series The Necessity of Lavender Tea (previously titled Little Blackbird) is set in the 1950’s and will be out next month. I received a complimentary early copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher; opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Payback’s a Witch
by Lana Harper

Payback’s a Witch is the first in Lana Harper’s The Witches of Thistle Grove Series. I had written previously about Back in a Spell, which was released this winter, which I enjoyed so much I couldn’t resist checking out more of the series. One of my favorite characters Marty from Back in a Spell appears briefly in this story as well. A new novel is due out at the end of August. This novel focuses on Emmy Harlow who left Thistle Grove for nine years, after graduating high school, when Gareth Blackmoore had broken her heart. Besides leaving Gareth, Emmy also had to leave her magic behind since Thistle Grove is a source of the founding family’s power. Talia Avramov and Emmy’s close friend Linden Thorne have also been wronged by Gareth and now they are out for revenge. But the more time Emmy spends with Talia the less she is focused on vengeance and the more she is drawn to a possible new romance with the dark spellcaster, a supposed descendent of the formidable Slavic witch of fairytales, Baba Yaga. Talia and Emmy’s romance is the central focus of the story, but themes of friendship, family, and finding ones inner power also form an intriguing mix and elevate the story from just another paranormal romance. Emmy must decide whether she wants to return to a big city life in Chicago working for a company which creates monthly bespoke “magic” themed gift boxes or embrace true magic back in her hometown.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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