Thursday, 23 June 2016

Witch's Cursed Cabin

Witch's Cursed Cabin

by Marsha A. Moore

4 out of 5

Eager to be on her own away from home, twenty-year-old Aggie Anders accepts a relative’s invitation to live in Coon Hollow Coven. Although she’s a witch from a different coven, what locals say about the Hollow confuses her. How can witchcraft there live and breathe through souls of the dead?

Aggie’s new residence in this strange southern Indiana world is a deserted homestead cabin. The property’s carriage house serves as the coven’s haunted Halloween fundraiser. It’s a great opportunity for her to make new friends, especially with the coven’s sexy new High Priest Logan.

But living in the homestead also brings Aggie enemies. Outsiders aren’t welcome. A cantankerous, old neighbor tries to frighten her off by warning her that the homestead is cursed. Local witches who practice black magic attempt to use their evil to drive Aggie away and rid their coven of her unusual powers as a sun witch.

Determined to stay and fit in, Aggie discovers not only that the cabin is cursed, but she alone is destined to break the curse before moonrise on Samhain. If she fails, neither the living nor the dead will be safe.

Aggie moves to Coon Hollow in a bid to find her independence and make her own way in life. She didn't know that being an outsider in a haunted house would evoke a curse and a vengeful banshee.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second in the Coon Hollow Coven series - the author notes in the synopsis that they can be read in any order, and I can confirm that Witch's Cursed Cabin does read as a stand-alone. There's a familiarity about Jancie and Rowe, and you can tell they've been centerstage in the first book; but otherwise everything revolves around Aggie and her discovery of the town and its peculiar habits.

The story is a pleasant read. It has a very natural approach to witchcraft; even though the Coon Hollow Coven keep themselves separate from non-magic folk, it isn't hidden or a secret. It makes up the fabric of their everyday lives - literally in some cases! They use magic at work and at home, it is woven into chores and used to entertain.
The magic itself isn't a snap of the fingers and miracle happening, it's more about channelling, preparation and learning spells to chant. It's the correct herbs, or objects that might seem run-of-the-mill, but are imbued with certain energies.

It was interesting to read about the world that Moore has created, and you got to experience quite a bit of it, as Aggie goes about establishing her life in her new home, and trying to uncover the secrets behind the curse. No one alive seems to know any facts, but luckily the dead hang around.

Aggie is a good central character. She's a witch, but absolutely normal, someone I could definitely be friends with. She's nice, reasonably positive, and has a quiet strength that stops all the dark things from scaring her away.
Fenton was definitely my favourite character, he's entertaining and says exactly what's on his mind.

The rest of the characters have a depth to them, one of the bonuses of a series, where the writer is so familiar with her cast, and stays true to all their quirks. There's a nice feel of family and community throughout the story.

The main problem I had was that this book felt veeery long. I think it's about 300 pages, but felt much longer. There's a lot of repetition, mainly over the fact that Aggie is the one that can break the curse and stop the banshee. Every little step she made, or thought process was accompanied with the fact that only Aggie can break the curse and stop the banshee. Did I say that already?
I felt that the book could have been condensed and the pace improved by removing some of these musings.

Speaking of which, as much as I liked Aggie, it did feel like she was having a lot of speshulness heaped upon her. She wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but since coming to Coon Hollow, all the guys (living and dead) are making eyes at her; which makes all the girls jealous.
Ghosts, house spirits, talking racoons and magic trees all take turns to bestow their own unique gift or blessing on Aggie, and it felt a little like overkill.

As I mentioned before, the book is very pleasant, and it was an enjoyable read, but there was nothing that hooked my attention, nothing that I wanted to stay up until midnight to found out about.
The mystery wasn't very mysterious. There were no surprises to be had in the plot, and as soon as the cast of characters came up, you knew the part they would play. Logan is the love interest. The biddies are awful. They bitchy girl is bitchy.
The excitement wasn't very exciting. There's no build of tension or drama, it just logically and gently steps along from scene to scene.
The romance wasn't very romantic - which is a positive if you're cold-hearted like me. Aggie and Logan are put together, because that's what is supposed to happen, but it doesn't swamp the story.
I think the issue I had was that there was a touch of everything, but not enough to be the real hook of the story.

This story was about 3.5 stars for me. Overall I enjoyed it, and would definitely be interested in reading the rest of the series.

Goodreads link

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