If you haven’t read anything by Ms. Liz Long, well then, you’re missing out. I read and reviewed her debut novel “Gifted: Donovan‘s Circus”, and can tell you, Liz is a future star. Her characters are colorful and diversified, her scenes vivid and realistic, and her writing is well-paced and bereft of the dreaded dead spots. Her latest offering, “Witch Hearts”, promises to live up to the same standards…why not go check it out?
How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?
Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.
If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.
Meet Ruby. Witch, good friend, and employee at Book Nook, she’s your typical working woman. That is, until her BFF Courtney is found with her heart missing. Worse, she’s not the first. Fearing for herself and the other local witches, Ruby and Courtney’s brother Cooper set out to find the killer before he strikes again. To do so requires uncovering Cooper’s better-left-forgotten past and facing Ruby’s cheating ex-boyfriend who seems to have her best interests at heart (though I personally hated him from the start).
Ruby is nothing if not a loyal friend and fighter. She teams up with Cooper to track down Courtney’s killer so her friend may rest in peace, even if it means putting herself in danger when the killer decides she’s to be his next victim. Her determination and wit made me love her as a protagonist. Instead of leaving town, Ruby stays and works as hard as she can to find this guy, even when her attempts fail and she’s forced to keep a low profile. She’s lovable, easy to relate to, exactly what this story needs–someone to face fear straight on and not back down. At her side is Cooper, Courtney’s smokin’ hot brother (I’m sure Ruby’s boss, Miranda, would agree with me on that) returned to the city. The chemistry between him and Ruby is immediately noticeable. As soon as he was introduced, I knew something was going to happen (or at least I hoped it would). He’s the perfect match for Ruby, being easy to get along, there to comfort her when she needs it, fiercely protective, and already clearly in love…. I loved their romance in this book because it seemed so natural. They acted like any human would in the situation, seeking comfort from sorrow and fear, but it wasn’t just a side deal out of convenience. There were feelings there that, while some (Ruby) may not have understood what all of it meant quite yet, it worked out so they could establish that deeper connection.
After finishing Witch Hearts in one sitting, I’m glad I didn’t stop. Anything less than finishing would have left me with a no-sleep night. Seriously, this book is dark and all around creepy. Granted, it’s not like that every page but the story gets to you, sneaking up slowly before tossing you around like a toy on the next page. Yet the thrill is exhilarating, like going to see a scary movie in the theaters. You know the bad guy is going to jump out any moment, but when that moment is, you don’t know. And the twist! Long completely flipped some of my theories on the killer’s identity (and you’ll just have to read it to see for yourself). I’m pretty sure I gasped out loud.
I can’t say much more as I don’t want to reveal anything else. Fans of suspense and thriller will love this paranormal mystery gone wild. I don’t recommend this book for the faint of heart, as it will send you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. This dark tale is not suitable for a younger audience as some of the scenes, while not overly graphic, may cause nightmares. For the rest of the reader community, I urge you to read Witch Hearts. Just don’t let the killer take your heart too.
Now, I will admit to being a little perturbed over some of Ruby’s love life choices. I really don’t understand why she’d be looking at another guy – especially one that had cheated on her in the past – when she had Cooper close at hand. But… I also *get* why she wasn’t quite as clear-eyed as she should have been. Emotional turmoil can cause people to make bad decisions and Ruby was pretty torn up about what was happening.
Cooper’s past made him intriguing. I liked the chemistry he and Ruby had together. I liked that he was willing to do what he had to do to keep her safe. I liked that Courtney popped up and was able to put her two cents in regarding the two of them even after she’d died. Ghostly shenanigans always give me a smile or two.
Overall, this was a fun, suspenseful read that kept the blood flowing and the body count high. ALL THINGS I LIKE!
Yeah, that’s right. I know the author.
(everything after this has been re-written at least a half dozen times as I tried to do this book justice without ticking off Wiccans.)
In all seriousness though, Liz had asked me to read the first chapter once a long, long time ago, and I was instantly hooked. Right from the get go this story has a dark and creepy feel, but without taking it too far so that wimps like me get wigged out.
And I get wigged out.
Seriously, it’s like I walked into a spider’s web.
Witch Hearts, however, was not flail inducing. It skated that fine line between not enough and “EW THAT’S SO GROSS I CAN NEVER SLEEP AGAIN” and does it all so well.
And in the middle of all this dark and creepy is the story of Ruby and Cooper. Two long time friends who’ve been struggling with a long time mutual attraction while grieving someone incredibly important to them. All while Cooper tries to overcome the demons from his past. And Ruby gets to deal with her total creep loser of an ex.
Ah, young love.
Oh, and she gets to deal with a meddlesome ghost.
I’d forgotten about the ghost.
Maybe I won’t be able to sleep at night again.
Normally I shy away from books involving Wiccans. (Hence my previous “ticking off Wiccans” comment) It’s not that I don’t like them, or respect them, it’s just I’m never sure if it’s politically correct to say things like “but these Wiccans can actually do things…”
So I won’t say that.
I won’t even think that.
Please don’t curse me…
What I will say is that Liz has an incredible voice, one that lends itself so well to supernatural mysteries. She proved it in Gifted, and again in Witch Hearts, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
*cough*Witch Hearts/Gifted cross-over please*cough*