Monday, December 23, 2013

Review & Giveaway: The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot to read and review. The blurb was really intriguing, so I was looking forward to this read, and I can't wait to tell you all about it! First, we'll get to know the author and her book before I give you my thoughts. Oh, and there's a giveaway too, with five $10 Amazon gift cards up for grabs! Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below. And don't forget to get your own copy at one of these sites:
Kindle US  Lachesis Publishing Inc   OmniLit

About the Author:  

Jessica Penot is a therapist who lives in Alabama with her 2 corgis, cat, sons, husband and other strange creatures. She is the author of Haunted North Alabama, Haunted Chattanooga, and Circe.

Follow Jessica's writerly exploits on her website, blog, and Facebook.  

The Accidental Witch
The Darkest Arts Series
Book 1
Jessica Penot

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Lachesis Publishing

Book Description:

Phaedra Michaels is a small town psychologist who is beginning to lose hope. Two of her patients at the local hospital in Dismal, Alabama have just killed themselves, she’s still reeling from her divorce and what turned out to be a disastrous marriage, and her father has died, leaving her without any notion of who her real mother is.  

Just as Phaedra decides to commit herself to a serious drinking problem and an eating disorder, or two, a mysterious spell book arrives in the mail. Feeling desperate, Phaedra uses it to cast spells to save her fading patients. Suddenly, good things start happening.  Phaedra’s patients begin to get better and she even starts dating the sexy doctor from the hospital.

Phaedra is so happy she doesn't notice the small things that start to go wrong in Dismal, or the dark creatures slithering out of the shadows near her house. When Phaedra finally realizes her spells have attracted every card-carrying demon from hell, she has no choice but to accept help from a slightly nerdy, 500 year-old warlock with a penchant for wearing super hero T-shirts and a knack for getting under Phaedra’s skin. Now, if only she could get the hang of this witch thing, she might be able to save her town.    

My Review:

The Accidental WitchThe Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love everything about this book. Phaedra is a really fun and awesome MC and narrator. Her voice makes everything better. She's clever, she's sarcastic, she's witty. There were so many laugh out loud moments for me reading this book, and mainly because of the little quips Phaedra would throw in when talking about something.

The magic of this book is also really well done, and really simple. Sometimes magic can get over complicated and bog down a story, but not this one. I also loved Phaedra's approach to it. It felt very natural. She gets a book, tries a spell, it works, and then tests it. Then she gets carried away. Very natural progression to me, and I love that her sage adviser doesn't come in until after the s*** hits the fan.

All of the characters were really fleshed out, and even the villain was a complicated entity rather than a one-dimensional evil. I liked the little surprises along the way, even the ones you can sort of guess like how she got the book. Those little surprises always turned into something so much bigger, and you can see how it all snowballs to the final showdown. Phaedra's choice in that last fight at her house had my heart racing.

The world Jessica Penot built feels so natural, too. As a southerner, I could definitely relate. But the magic felt right too. She didn't go into heavy detail about all the spells or chants, and Phaedra recognized how silly the rituals could sometimes feel. But the magic was just sort of there. It existed and it was possible, and it was something that might require a lot of work, but mainly the power within. I'm not sure why that called to me, but it did.

Phaedra is such an amazing character, and so beautifully flawed. From her body dysmorphia to her issues from her ex-husband to her need to save everyone she comes across. She's turned herself into this tragic hero with so little life of her own, and it is so thrilling to watch her reclaim it. To build herself up from the rubble that was her life even when things are at their worst. She doesn't whine when talking about the bad stuff that's happened. There's an edge of anger, but never self pity. You can tell that she's given up when the story begins. Watching her regain hope and strength and confidence in herself while kicking ass with magic? Awesome.

My only complaint? The chapters are too long and that made for me being on the treadmill a lot longer than I intended since I would read until a chapter's end. =)

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