Against the Witchy Tide (A Witch on the Rocks Cozy Mystery, #6)

By Lily Harper Hart

Rating: 3 stars

This sixth volume of the series kicks off with Hali and her boyfriend Gray in a consultation for Hali’s long-delayed surgery, something that should really have happened six books ago. All the usual ingredients are present: Gray is possessive, Hali is sassy, there’s something that’s nearly but not quite plot-shaped. At least this time, Hali’s friend Carrie gets a date with an actual woman and there’s some indication that the author understands that turning gay people straight isn’t a thing.

The most disappointing thing is that the epilogue from the previous book mostly gets undone here. There was the appearance of some intrigue between the wolf shifters and the long-term big bads, the merrow (who have really been damp squibs so far, six books in) but, unless there’s some deep 4D chess going on, that all comes out very quickly, with a whole lot of contrition.

It’s a popcorn book, and you can tear though it in a handful of hours. By this point, you know what you’re going to get. I’m happy to read these on Kindle Unlimited, but I don’t think I’m invested enough to continue reading once I cancel that.

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Witches of the Deep (Witch on the Rocks, #5)

By Lily Harper Hart

Rating: 4 stars

The fifth Hali Waverley book introduces us to Gray’s parents, who have been bubbling under for several volumes now. This one starts with a wave of skeletons invading the beach. Hali and her friends beat them back, but then a search begins for the supernatural creature who was able to summon them, and then her (sort of) in-laws show up. They start off as the sort of entitled rich boomers you want to shove off a cliff, but it seems that they really want reconciliation with their son (or, at least, his dad does). Seeing that relationship move from outright denial to tentative hope was lovely to watch.

The merrow are still around but still as a threat for the future, and, in fact, are slightly helpful here. Hali and Gray are engaging protagonists and they try very hard to be honest with themselves and each other. It’s nice to see as a pretty healthy example of a relationship, although I’m still not liking the way the author(?)/ characters(?) are angling to get Carrie and Rusty together.

This book moved at a fair pace and if the ending was a bit of a damp squib, it was deliberate (the characters even comment on it). I’m enjoying the series and if I still have Kindle Unlimited when the next one comes out, I’ll read it.

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Publisher: HarperHart

Eat, Drink & Be Witchy (Witch on the Rocks, #3)

By Lily Harper Hart

Rating: 2 stars

You know when you really want something to happen, and then it does, and it’s not great? Well that’s what it felt like when Hali and Gray finally got together in this book. It sort of feels like Gray has had a personality transplant, like the cringeworthy early scene when Hali is trying to tell him about a murder, and he just wants to find out about her breakfast. Urgh.

Apart from a prologue, the merrow don’t make an appearance in this book, but there’s plenty else going on, although the two protagonists are more interested in their new relationship (not that this stops them still constanstly sniping at each other) than the murder.

The world-building is frustratingly vague for me. Like Hali is a member of a coven, but it’s not clear what that entails. She never seems to attend meetings or anything, and the coven appear in the background of scenes without really doing very much. And Hali’s powers are very ill-defined. In the first book, they seemed to be about telepathy, but this time round she’s lobbing fireballs from her hands. And what really is the status of the paranormal world? Although everyone says that they need to keep it secret from the normals, it feels like everyone and their flamingo know about it. And speaking about flamingos, I was fully expecting Hali’s drunken familiar to turn out to be Chekov’s Flamingo, but three books in and he’s just a drunk. A bit pathetic, but it’s frustrating that neither he nor Hali seem to make any effort with the other.

There’s an interesting, and somewhat surprising, subplot regarding sex work, with younger members of Gray’s pack having to fend for themselves after an altercation with the pack, but this is never really unpacked, and both Gray and Hali have a depressingly negative view of sex work which I don’t really get.

I’ll still read the next book but this one feels like a dramatic fall in quality to me.

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Tall Tales & Witchy Fails (Witch on the Rocks, #1)

By Lily Harper Hart

Rating: 4 stars

A fairly lightweight, fluffy book about a witch who own a beach-side tiki bar (thanks to being run over in golf cart by the billionaire who owns the resort). There’s a missing girl, who multiplies into five missing girls, a hunky PI and fairly low stakes. It does take an unexpectedly dark turn towards the end as the two protagonists discuss torturing their suspect, and a few plot threads that don’t really go anywhere (like the mind block on the other brodude). The author is also way too fond of the word “drawled”, which got a bit annoying. Hopefully her editor will rap her knuckles to break that habit in future volumes.

I’d wondered if this is the kind of series where the couple get together by the end of the first book and have half a dozen kids by half way through the series. For the record (and apologies if it’s a spoiler for anyone), it’s not, and they’re still smouldering at each other by the end, and refusing to admit their mutual attraction (even though everyone around them can see it).

This is entirely the sort of series that Kindle Unlimted is designed for. I finished this one and had the second downloaded and started pretty much immediately.

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Publisher: HarperHart Publications

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