Sunday, February 25, 2024

Hex and the City - Kate Johnson

I have a jumper I need to finish (I put it down for a minute and now it's days later and I'm going to Scotland in a couple of weeks where I'll want to wear it so I need to get a move on with that), books I need to read, and a neighbor who has set off the fire alarm at 10pm for the last 2 nights in a row, and if I find it which of the 4 flats is responsible there will be some extremely passive aggressive comments to be made. I don't know who's responsible because whoever they are is staying inside, presumably confident that it's only dinner burning and not the building. 

I also have a couple of books to catch up with here including Hex and the City which I read a while ago. There's not a lot to say about it other than that Kate Johnson is good at what she does - and a lot better than books in a similar vein that I've tried reading. Poppy is a witch with magical hair who seems to trail chaos in her wake, she accidentally sells stage magician Axl Storm a cursed necklace which leads to adventures, great sex, peril, and a happy ending. There's also friendship, found family, and guest appearances from a previous book (Hex Appeal). It's definitely at the cosier end of the current romantasy market and it's fun.

I don't know if it's because Kate Johnson is British and I just don't have the patience for the particularly American* take on this sub-genre of witchy girl messes up then saves the day, or if she's a considerably better writer than the other authors I've looked at (it's part of being a bookseller to pick up things that are popular and try and get a sense of what people are looking for - not always a fun part). I think she's a better writer. She gives her characters realistic insecurities, her heroes aren't as two-dimensional as a lot of them tend to be, and she writes with kindness and humour. 

We talk quite a bit at work about how difficult it can be to find romance writers who work for you - we're not all looking for the same things. I want a happy ending, characters I can believe in, and that are light on red flags, much more than I want smut. I don't want to be put through an emotional wringer, I'm not interested in brooding intensity, but if something makes me laugh (with, not at) I'll enjoy it. If that's your kind of romance too Kate Johnson is worth a look.

*Americans may not see the appeal of the British version either, some things just don't translate, and the US version of Halloween is one of those things for me. 

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