July 17, 2013

Loved It: A Witch's Handbook to Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper

Series: Half-Moon Hollow
Format: Mass Paperback
Release Date: May 28, 2013

Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 

Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it.

Complication One: Her grandfather was Mr. Wainwright and the artifacts are lost somewhere in what is now Jane Jameson's book shop.

Complication Two: her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, who keeps turning up half naked at the strangest times, a distraction Nola doesn't need. And teaming up with a real-life Adonis is as dangerous as it sounds, especially when he’s got the face of an angel and the abs of a washboard—can Nola complete her mission before falling completely under his spell?

A WITCH'S HANDBOOK TO KISSES AND CURSES (Whew! That's a mouthful) is my first ever Molly Harper book. Now even if I didn't get to read the first one, The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires, I didn't have a hard time getting acclimated to the story. I guess A WITCH'S HANDBOOK TO KISSES AND CURSES is one of those novels that can be read as stand-alone, the characters might come back as secondary characters but the storyline changes with every book. I'm guessing it's Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, and what happens in this rural town, that holds the series together

A WITCH'S HANDBOOK TO KISSES AND CURSES is a supernatural romantic comedy. MHarper's humor is a little snarky and the situations her characters find themselves in are hilarious there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. The small-town setting down to the world building is so charming it reminded me a lot of Bon Temps, Louisiana and the good 'ol days when Sookie Stackhouse's adventures was still fun to read. A WITCH'S HANDBOOK TO KISSES AND CURSES has your usual buffet of supernatural beings from vampires to werewolves and witches. It has the expected myth however it's the characters that brings that unique flavor to the story.

After Nola Leary's grandmother passed, she sent Nola on a mission to locate 4 magical artifacts that will help maintain the balance of power between four strong witch families. Unfortunately, the artifacts are in America and Nola has to relocate to Half-Moon, Kentucky, in the meantime to hunt the pieces down. Nola's misadventure in Half-Moon, Kentucky might be humorous on the surface but truly it was unsettling and a rude culture shock for our Irish visitor.  As soon as she got to her rental, her welcome party was led by a mother-joey opossum tandem, hissing from her cupboards. This was quickly followed by running naked in terror in the arms of her very hot and mysterious neighbor, Jed Trudeau in the middle of the night on her first day in a new country. Shortly after, Nola went to Mr. Wainwright's bookshop to retrieve said artifacts only to find out that it's either been gifted, lost or stolen.

Oh, and I have inconvenient feelings for a man who can transform himself into various sorts of wildlife. 

The paranormal element of A WITCH'S HANDBOOK TO KISSES AND CURSES is subtle in that Nola's powers are all about healing than serious spell casting and potion making. Her stand-out characteristic really is her sense of humor and how she handled those awkward situations with feigned nonchalance while deep-down she's equally fascinated and appalled. Jed Trudeau is a perfect consort for Nola, he's mysterious and sexy and at the same time, the man is a little weird, making Nola suspicious of him. See Jed is a shapeshifter and according to his family's legend, they were cursed to shift with the moon and by Nola locating the missing artifacts, Jed's hoping that she could help him lift the curse. These two are comical together, my favorite parts are the ones where Jed would uncontrollably shift in the middle of intimacy, at one point he even managed to turn himself into an Avatar (James Cameron).

All in all, A WITCH'S HANDBOOK TO KISSES AND CURSES is a witty and amusing novel to read. The secondary characters are colorful in their respective eccentricities I can easily see them having their own novel at some point. I had a hard time taking some things seriously because MHarper interjects funny lines to break the severity of some of the scenes. Even on the main conflict, the negotiations were flat-out ridiculous I feel bad for the villain. The lightweight mystery was cunning with a dash of drama to shake things a bit. I'm a little sad that this is the only time I get to read about Nola because I really loved her character but at the same time I'm comforted because with Molly Harper's humorous writing voice, I know that no matter who the lead characters are, I'm sure I'll be laughing like crazy with her stories.

Hubert's wife, Mindy, was a tiny powerhouse of a woman with a halo of wild blond hair and eye makeup so complex it took me a while to locate her pupils.


  1. I've heard a lot of good things about Molly Harper's books, but haven't read any yet. I love the witty titles, even though they are a bit long, and love a witty story that apparently comes with it. I'll keep this series in mind the next time I want a paranormal to read.

  2. Great review, I loveeeee MHarper's books but haven't read this series yet :D

  3. Andrea - you'll have a blast! She's real funny.

    Mel - thanks! I now have an appetite to read more of her books.

  4. Witty, amusing and colorful secondary characters all sound like they work together to make this a good read

  5. Awesome review, Braine! I'm always down for a "supernatural romantic comedy". Nola sounds like a funny gal! =D


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