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Book Review: Back in a Spell by Lana Harper

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Back in a Spell is the third installment of A Witches of Thistle Grove series. It’s been a year since Nineve Blackmoore was dumped by her fiancée and she is now ready to get herself out of the dumps by trying something completely out of her comfort zone – a dating app. Nina is hesitant to commit to this online dating experience, but with a little help from her best friend Nina decides to give Morty Gutierrez, the non-binary, spunky co-owner of the Shamrock Cauldron a shot.

What was potentially just an awkward, terrible online date turns into something worse when Morty discovers what family Nina comes from (the same ones trying to take Morty’s business from his family). Nina and Morty thought they ended the night by parting ways forever, but, when Morty discovers that he has gained magical powers they are brought back together. 

Once reunited, Morty and Nina realize they have an intense, and unexplainable, attraction and connection to one another that is soon linked to a power surge in Nina. 

What I Loved

Harper has consistently created stories and characters that deal with complex issues all while delivering intricate fantasy and steamy romance. In this book, the protagonist, Nina, must face the fact that she must come to terms with knowing that she does not wish to be like her family or fill the mold they designed for her. Dealing with difficult family dynamics and embracing the person you are supposed to be can be scary. I appreciate how Harper was able to portray these dynamics while ensuring the characters stayed true to who they are and who they are supposed to be. 

I would describe the characters in this story as bold and colorful, and the emotions I felt while reading this book ranged from dejected to delighted and everything in between. I love the fact that when I pick up a Lana Harper book, I know I am going to be entertained from start to finish, have some sort of epiphany on life, and be able to enjoy a contemporary rom-com story.  

What I Would’ve Changed

While I appreciated the creativity of the spell that kept Nina and Morty connected, certain aspects of this premise made me think twice. I’m not so sure how comfortable I feel with the idea that two people were forced together by an unknown power that caused them to be attracted to one another, and because of this unknown force, they realized they loved each other. This set-up feels like two people are forced to be together without consenting to the relationship (because if a spell/hex/unknown power is causing you to do something, can you really say yes or no?). 

However *SLIGHT SPOILER* in the end Nina and Morty do decide to stay together without the help of their magical love connection. So, does this happily ever after (HEA) make the fact that they were together initially because of certain magical powers acceptable? I’m not sure, but maybe I’m being too much of a cynic about this point. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re searching for some powerful, steamy, and equal parts plot and character-driven witchy romances, go pick up this series!

A Witches of Thistle Grove series in order:

Payback’s a Witch – This made it into my top reads of 2022. Described by as “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word.” *Insert thirsty emoji here*

From Bad to Cursed – an opposites attract style rom-com!

Back in a Spell 

Florida born and raised. Jordy began her professional career as an officer in the Coast Guard but has recently transitioned into the civilian world. When she is not obsessing over her fur babies, you can find her at the beach reading or staying up late to embroider while watching the latest true crime docuseries.

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