paranormal-romances-2022

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Erin Sterling’s witchy new rom-com, The Kiss Curse, is the much anticipated sequel to last year’s equally charming The Ex Hex

When Vivi Jones broke the hex she put on her now-husband, Rhys Penhallow, she affected his family’s ancestral power—power that just happens to infuse her hometown of Graves Glen, Georgia. Ever since, things have been out of whack, and Vivi’s cousin, Gwyn, has noticed her own powers are waning. Rhys’ brother Wells has spent years diligently bearing the enormous responsibility of being part of their illustrious family. When he learns of the weakening magic in Graves Glen, he steps up to solve the problem.

As one of the top witches in town, Gwyn takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on. Wells and Gwyn are opposites in culture and personality—Wells puts duty above all else, whereas Gwyn thinks of rules as suggestions for other people—so when they share a surprising kiss early on in the novel, they insist it must have something to do with the town’s fluctuating magic. These witches should know better. 

The Kiss Curse is sexy and fun, fast paced and joyful. In Sterling’s supernatural realm, down-to-earth magic is as common as grand feats of wizardry. She peppers in smart, clever world building details, and every sentence is packed with substantive description and imagination. This kiss is definitely worth the curse, a sexy rom-com with just the right amount of sorcery.

Erin Sterling's much anticipated sequel to The Ex Hex is a sexy rom-com with just the right amount of sorcery.
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Readers who loved the spunky, charming witches of St. Claire, introduced in Ann Aguirre’s previous Fix-It Witches romances, Witch Please and Boss Witch, will be thrilled to have a chance to dive back into her madcap world of magic and romance with Extra Witchy

Having had two marriages end in divorce, Leanne Vanderpol may be twice burned, but she’s not remotely shy. When she meets Trevor Montgomery, she asks him if he’s interested in being her third husband. It’s a teasing pickup line at first, but it soon becomes a serious question—and a careful plan. After working in public relations for the slimy mayor, Leanne’s ready to emerge from behind the scenes and make a difference by running for city council. But she knows single women struggle to get elected, especially ones with divorces in their past. A sweet, charming, supportive husband could provide just the bump she needs to win over voters.

Trevor is certainly sweet and charming, but he’s also a little lost. He was popular in high school but never quite managed to find his footing afterward, and now he lives in his parents’ basement, working odd jobs and spending a lot of time getting high. A devastating breakup years earlier damaged his confidence, and his harshly critical family discourages him from seeking treatment for his depression. At first, he’s stunned that a beautiful, successful woman like Leanne would have any interest in him, but she’s equally surprised to find a kind man who has her back, supports her and values her for her mind as much as for her lovely face.

An accomplished woman and a more relaxed guy is always an appealing couple dynamic, and Extra Witchy is a perfect example of why. Trevor’s magnificently endearing without seeming unrealistic, and Leanne is a fantastic heroine: smart, strong, refreshingly frank and far more relatable than you’d expect, with carefully hidden vulnerabilities. They’re both immediately likable individuals who make a truly adorable couple. Fans of the series will be delighted to see more of the community set up in the previous books, from Leanne’s wonderful coven of witches to Trevor’s friends. The story does cover lots of ground, and as a result, some plot threads feel a bit rushed: The campaign starts the plot spinning, but then it’s over and done in what feels like just a flash. However, that’s just another sign of how engrossing Extra Witchy is. Even when I reached the end, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to these characters.

Ann Aguirre's latest paranormal romance is magnificently endearing, with two likable main characters who make a truly adorable couple.
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Think life is full of bureaucracy? Try death! According to Therese Beharrie’s A Ghost in Shining Armor, there’s a whole system at work once someone dies to help their soul move on to whatever comes next. For some, this means lingering as ghosts, visible only to rare humans like Gemma Daniels who help them resolve unfinished business. For others, death comes with an opportunity to take on an assignment . . . and maybe change their fate. This is what happens to Levi Walker: If he succeeds as a guardian angel, he”ll come back to life. And the person he’s been assigned to help just happens to be Gemma. 

Gemma’s not freaked out at being approached by a ghost, given all the spirits she’s helped since she saw her first ghost at age 18. But unfortunately, her and Levi’s first meeting goes a little off the rails. If Gemma doesn’t acknowledge ghosts, they stay insubstantial and invisible to everyone but her. But if she acknowledges the spirit—touches them, talks to them or points them out to someone else, they become corporeal and visible to everyone. And because she accidentally acknowledges Levi, not realizing he’s a ghost, he now appears alive, leading to great confusion from her friends and family about the new man in her life. That scrutiny is the last thing she wants as she grapples with new information about her past: She has a twin sister (the heroine of Beharrie’s previous romance, And They Lived Happily Ever After). Levi was sent to help Gemma process the discovery that her twin was left in foster care while Gemma was adopted. 

If this premise sounds a little zany, that’s because it is. There are plenty of hijinks, starting with Gemma and Levi’s impulsive meet cute kiss and continuing through fake dates, awkward cohabitation moments and all the banter and snark you’d expect from a rom-com. But Beharrie includes deeper character insights that balance the fluff. A Ghost in Shining Armor is as richly imagined as it is deeply moving, while being quite a lot of fun, as well. The tone can be a bit uneven in spots as Beharrie balances the humor and the pathos, but her characters are endearing enough to carry readers through.

A Ghost in Shining Armor is as richly imagined as it is deeply moving—and quite a lot of fun, as well.

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