Audiobook Review: The Ex Hex (#1)

Published September 28th 2021

Author: Erin Sterling

Narrator: Caitlin Davies

Audiobook Length: 7 hours 23 minutes

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

The Ex Hex is a fun and light-hearted novel with just the right amount of spooky to make it a perfect read for this time of year. The story begins with the initial break-up of the main characters, witch, Vivienne (Vivi) Jones and warlock, Rhys Penhallow. After three months together, they break up and Vivi “curses” Rhys to try to help her broken heart. After the break-up, Rhys moves from Graves Glen, a small Georgia town to Wales. The main story begins nine years later when Rhys, now 28, must return to Georgia to continue his family duty to recharge the ley lines. The curse Vivi thought was pretend turns out to be real. Now that Rhys is back, the two of them must find a way to work together to try to make things right.

The spooky mystery is complete with talking cats, mysterious haunting experiences, and a possible vengeful ghost. The basic elements of this story is similar to many other stories out there, but the combination of all the small pieces make this a unique tale and worth a read. I think the time of year that you read the story could affect your enjoyment, as it may not have the same feel if you read it earlier in the year. For me, I may have to try out this theory, but it is one that came to mind.  The novel follows the two characters trying to work together with the hurt that exists from their past break-up, they realize there is still a lingering connection there for a potential second-chance romance, and there is a spooky curse that needs to be solved.

While I love that this is a second chance romance where there two characters now have a chance to try a relationship again after years apart, it felt like something was missing from this part of the story. The two characters reminisce about their connection to each other, but I would have loved flashbacks, discussions, or something else to show how they initially connected. The attraction between the two is top notch and it is obvious to the reader that they care about each other, but the build up for a reader to care about the relationship, I think, needed a little bit more exploration. While I was expecting more from the writing for these characters as a couple, I absolutely loved the witty banter between them.

Overall, this a great quick read with a perfect cozy fall feel. The friendship between Vivi and her cousin, Gwyn, was humorous and I hope that Gwyn will be at the center of the sequel. The novel is a humorous take on a second-chance romance story set in a cursed location. There are some smaller storylines, such as family drama, that are explored, but the main focus is on Rhys and Vivi. While I may not keep this novel at the top of my re-read list, it was definitely well worth the initial read. Since this will the first novel in a series, I will absolutely check out the second novel!

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