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Payback's a Witch de Lana Harper
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Payback's a Witch (edició 2021)

de Lana Harper (Autor)

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3121270,257 (3.67)Cap
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling New York Times bestselling rom-com by Lana Harper. Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one--in part because she hasn't been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams. But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She's determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago. On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov--an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts--who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden--unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in? But most concerning of all: Why can't she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?… (més)
Membre:browsingcovers-SJ
Títol:Payback's a Witch
Autors:Lana Harper (Autor)
Informació:Berkley (2021), 352 pages
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Payback's a Witch de Lana Harper

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Payback's a Witch
(The Witches of Thistle Grove #1)
by Lana Harper
This book surprised me. It started so slow and more teenish than anything else that I almost gave up but then Bam!!, it kicked into gear and stayed the course the rest of the way.
It's about a witch that left a witch town because of a guy. A guy witch. She lost her magic while away from the town and that's why most witches never leave for long but she was gone 9 years. She came back as a duty for her father. There are four Witch founding fathers and each have a rep in a competition every decade. (?) Her family's duties are to to the arbiter in the competition. She gets her powers back as she stays too!
While she was gone, two of the other girls that are going to be in the competition have been dumped and humiliated by the same guy she had. The same guy the other two girls will be facing in the competition too! From there, things get crazy!
I picked up the audio version from chirp and the narration was good. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Jul 20, 2022 |
Three women take back their town, revenge on their shared ex is just a (really fun) bonus.

At first, it seems like Emmy Harlow fled her hometown of Thistle Grove and gave up magic for five years because of a bad breakup. While her first heartbreak didn’t help, that’s not really why she left. Her real reasons are far more understandable than running away from a bad breakup. Thistle Grove has got some serious problems.

This story is less about vengeance and more about the toxicity of unequal power dynamics and social elitism. How at first Emmy ran from the toxic dynamics of her hometown, until some friends convinced her to band together to fight to change things. To take some power back. Revenge on a shared a**hole ex is just icing on the cake. This is payback for more than just heartbreak. This is more than just revenge. It’s taking back their town. These witches will humiliate their ex and shift the balance of power away from his family, which has monopolized power in their town for far too many generations. They’ll prove that anyone can make something of themselves in this town. That anyone can make a difference. What began as a mission of spite became about making their town a place where anyone can flourish, feel important, and be respected.

Along the way, you get to meet two fantastic female bisexual characters: the main character, Emmy, and her love interest, Talia. You also get to see a great budding F/F romance between Emmy and Talia unfold. There's also great development and growth of friendships too!

THE PREMISE:

Emmy Harlow left her town not just because a horrible man named Gareth Blackmoore broke her heart, but because she feared that nobody, even someone as ambitious as herself, from the weakest magical bloodline in town could amount to anything there. She didn’t want to spend her life as just another magically-weak, overlooked, and disrespected Harlow, treated like she’s near the bottom of the social hierarchy. As a nobody. Nobody can stand up to the Blackmoores, the most powerful magical bloodline in town. Their magic is just too strong. And they exploit it. They’ve monopolized the town’s magic and tourism profits too long. They hold the mayorship and political power. They act accountable to no one but themselves because no one is more powerful.

She left because she became disenamored with a town run by greedy, arrogant, selfish a**holes that hog the bulk of the magical power, political power, and tourism business and treat everyone else as inferior. She didn’t want to live in a town under the thumb of the meanest and most powerful family in town. They act like they own everything and everyone in town. They’re so magically powerful that no one has a sporting chance at knocking them down a peg. At least, until three witches hatched their revenge-fueled plot.

The Thistle Grove magical community is essentially caste-based. There are four magical bloodlines, each with different specialties. Every 50 years, scions from each three of the bloodlines compete in a magical tournament. The winning family gets a magical power-boost and good fortune until the next tournament. Emmy’s bloodline is the weakest, so weak that they don’t even bother to compete, choosing instead to arbitrate the tournament. It’s tournament time and Emmy’s come back to town to arbitrate it. As the most powerful bloodline, the Blackmoores usually win the tournament. Each time they win, they get more powerful and harder to beat next time. At this point, the Blackmoores have been winning for generations and their victory is considered a foregone conclusion. Until now.

The Blackmoore scion, Gareth Blackmoore, just so happens to have made the mistake of dating and wronging Emmy, Lindon, and Talia (three witches from the other three magical bloodlines in town). Lindon, Talia, and Emmy hatch a plot to keep the Blackmoores from winning the tournament this year. They’re going to take back their town and humiliate their shared a**hole ex in the process. Bucking tradition, they forge an alliance between Lindon’s brother and Talia, Gareth’s two competitors in the tournament, to work together and ensure Gareth loses. Individually, neither could beat him. Together, they just might have a shot.

THE WRITING:

The plot is unpredictable. The strategies used in the magical competition are inventive, strategically brilliant, and entertaining. The writing is rich with vivid imagery, including often-neglected smell imagery. The magic system is much more complex, intricate, and sensical than it seems at first. (Not to mention cool).

The romance between Emmy and Talia is fantastic. It’s steamy and emotional. Emmy is attracted not just to Talia’s looks, but to her personality as well. Talia’s kind and a little bit ruthless. She’s diabolically intelligent and a little bit reckless. She’s outwardly confident, has a feral quality about her, and wears a raw, honest vulnerability. They don’t see each other as perfect, they see each other. I loved watching them get to know each other and helplessly fall for each other despite the palpable vulnerability of past heartbreak (on both their parts) and uncertainty about whether their separate lives are compatible long-term. The icing on the cake: THERE’S NO LOVE TRIANGLE. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed plenty of books with love triangles. But, sometimes it’s just refreshing to read a book that dives into a new romance and explores the evolving relationship dynamics and plotlines between a burgeoning romantic pair without the extra complications of a love triangle dominating the romance. Navigating a developing relationship, deciding what you want, and opening yourself up can be plenty difficult and rich with literary potential without the added tangle of a choice between two romantic interests.

The main characters discover long-kept secrets about their magical town that older generations have been keeping because of tradition. And they say, screw tradition, we’re not keeping things a secret for no good reason just cause some ancestor decided he knew best. We’re not keeping secrets that help perpetuate the caste-based social structure of their town. They won’t tell lies of omission that make some people feel less important as some sort of traditional test of character. Along with a number of twists, turns, and reveals that I never saw coming, this comes together to make a satisfying happy ending and (hopefully) the beginning of a better Thistle Grove.

This story is so much more meaningful and rich than the simple “getting back at your ex” story I expected. Although, it does have a healthy dose of revengeful fun. You’ve got women who build each other up, friends who know each other better than they know themselves, friends who call you on the lies you tell yourself, characters that learn to open up again after being hurt, and characters learning to communicate with each other better. The main character comes to terms with her mistakes and their consequences, comes to grips with her insecurities, and figures out what she really wants out of life. (Sometimes, knowing yourself isn’t easy.) The main characters work hard to make their town a better, more just, place.

Everything is tied up with a warm-and-fuzzy happy ending that makes for a nice dish of literary comfort food.

Warnings: minor cursing/profanity, sexual content (some, but not a ton) ( )
  Lunarsong | Jul 3, 2022 |
I fully destroyed this book. I could not put this down at all. I didn't expect to fully dive into this book like I did. I loved the story and the characters in this book. I would die for a chance to go to Thirstle Grove. I think her writing style is really good and I am truly excited to read more of hers. I want more of these characters so much, I want to know everything about these characters and I hope they get everything they deserve. ( )
  mythical_library | Jun 14, 2022 |
One Sentence Summary: After almost nine years away, Emmy is back in Thistle Grove to arbitrate a witchy tournament and gets roped into getting revenge on a man who broke her heart and two-timed two fellow friends and witches.

Overall
Payback’s a Witch is a witchy read, and perfect as a Halloween read. Set during October in a witchy Midwestern town, it focuses around three female witches who were all hurt by the same man, also a witch, and who now want to get their revenge by ensuring he doesn’t win the tournament that determines which family gets a magical boost. The revenge and the tournament were not as strong as I expected, but the romance was so good I could almost forgive it. This is such a fun, witchy read with great characters and a charming Halloween town. I loved the complexity of the characters and their different relationships with Thistle Grove. Even if the romance was formulaic, Emmy and Talia were such an incredible couple that it actually flowed really naturally. Overall, definitely a great October read!

Extended Thoughts
In Thistle Grove, Halloween is always in the air and magic is everywhere, though only the witches know it’s there. Every fifty years, the four founding families hold a tournament to declare a Victor whose family receives quite a magical boost.

Emmy, the descendant of one of the founders (the weakest one, actually), left Thistle Grove almost nine years before when Gareth, also a descendant of a founder, broke her heart. After her father guilted her into it, she now returns to take up the arbiter’s mantle, and a duty she never sees coming.

But it isn’t so simple. Talia and Linden, both daughters of the other two founding families, were two-timed by Gareth and they now want revenge and Emmy’s involvement, and Emmy can’t stop thinking about Talia. But, with Thistle Grove wrapping itself around her and her magic returning and her feelings for Talia growing, Emmy becomes more torn between staying and leaving after the tournament.

Payback’s a Witch is a delightfully witchy read perfect for the Halloween season, especially as it’s set throughout October and Halloween is thick in the air. It’s cute and fun with a healthy dash of magic, but I found it a little lacking on the revenge front, though the strong romance was almost magnetic to the point where I almost forgot about the revenge.

As a revenge story, Payback’s a Witch was surprisingly light on it despite the focus on it in the description. As a matter of fact, Gareth didn’t even seem like a major player, so the whole revenge plot just felt more like a device to get the love interests together. Unfortunately, the revenge was tied up with the tournament and the tournament itself was equally lackluster. The challenges weren’t quite as in-depth or elaborate as I expected it to be for such powerful families, but offered a nice background to the romance story. I expected a story about three witches out to destroy a man and there would be many hilarious hijinks along the way. Sadly, it felt less like revenge and more like getting two of the characters together.

But, oh my goodness, I really enjoyed the romance in this book. Normally, I’m not a big fan of it, but I really enjoyed the relationship that developed between Emmy and Talia. It was sweet, heartwarming, and beautiful. Talia, for being the daughter of a family of necromancers, is surprisingly complicated and so much more than she appears. I loved getting to know her throughout the story, and I think she’s my favorite character. I sometimes hated the way Emmy treated her, but it helped add some really great tension to their story. Their romance hit all the right notes for me, even if it was formulaic in the typical romance novel way, so the witchy aspects of the story helped me out a lot. I’ve been looking all year for my favorite sapphic romance, and I think I finally found it.

Emmy, though, kind of drove me batty. She kept flip flopping and, while it made sense, it also didn’t and kind of felt childish. I could understand the struggle she had of spending years crafting herself into what she wanted to be instead of being who she is and now being faced with unmasking herself, but I felt it dragged a little too long. She also felt a little too self-absorbed to me, spending more time rediscovering herself and Thistle Grove than actually helping Talia and Linden take their revenge, which contributed to the flimsiness of the revenge plot. Though I did love the way she was with her friends and how she worked hard to repair her relationships. So, while she did bother me, I enjoyed seeing her grow and watching her make all the right decisions.

I loved everything about Thistle Grove. Most of the witchy books I read take place on the East Coast, so I was very pleasantly surprised to learn this one is set in the Midwest. Other than frequent mentions of Chicago, it felt like any other little witchy town, but I really liked that it was firmly established as a Midwestern witchy town. Thistle Grove is so magical without being outwardly magical. As far as I could tell, only the descendants of the four founding families actually have magic, but I guess the magic permeates the air so it always feels like Halloween, making it into a huge tourist attraction. I loved that each family’s magic was different and that winning the tournament had an effect on its potency. Since Talia is Emmy’s love interest, the reader really gets to know Talia’s family’s powers, which are both fascinating and a little creepy, but so amazing. Linden’s family’s magic sounded so incredibly lovely and made my Earth-loving heart just burst.

Payback’s a Witch is a really fun witchy read. It’s strength is definitely the romance, which I really loved even though I usually hate romance in books. I wish there had been more of a revenge story and more to the tournament, but it was really nice to get to know the families and Thistle Grove, so I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. Overall, Payback’s a Witch was a lot of fun with characters that blended really well together and absolutely does not lack in Halloween spirit.

Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own. ( )
  The_Lily_Cafe | May 29, 2022 |
Thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and it's a perfect October read. Even though the MC's are 25-30 years old the contest makes this feel almost like a YA novel. Though another reason why I feel that way may be Emmy's clear indecisiveness toward the town, her family and friends. The more I think about Emmy the less I like her, in the end she only decides to stay, not for love or family but because she is literally given the entire town. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling New York Times bestselling rom-com by Lana Harper. Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one--in part because she hasn't been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams. But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She's determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago. On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov--an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts--who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden--unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in? But most concerning of all: Why can't she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?

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