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Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce

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Venice, California Home to the broken, the dispossessed, and other scary folk. In our prayers, we mispronounce the words of the paternoster; we curse the womb of the anomalous woman; we deny Christ and the Eucharist, and we praise Pilate’s decision every Friday. Instead of fasting during Lent, we offer our bodies and souls to our master, Satan. Nineteen-year-old Josie García Venice, California Home to the broken, the dispossessed, and other scary folk. In our prayers, we mispronounce the words of the paternoster; we curse the womb of the anomalous woman; we deny Christ and the Eucharist, and we praise Pilate’s decision every Friday. Instead of fasting during Lent, we offer our bodies and souls to our master, Satan. Nineteen-year-old Josie García is torn between true love with a down-and-out poet and the monetary stability that only a rich husband can provide. She owes rent—two months—and while her little landlady is docile enough to pretend that she has forgotten about the money, she’s also a self-taught witch, planning to chop Josie’s head off and use it as the main ingredient in a potion to recover her lost youth and become the beautiful woman she never was. Creepy, campy, and yet incredibly lyrical, Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle is a wildly imaginative tale that spans five decades, connecting the otherworldly occult to the out-of-this-world bohemia of fiftiies Venice Beach.


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Venice, California Home to the broken, the dispossessed, and other scary folk. In our prayers, we mispronounce the words of the paternoster; we curse the womb of the anomalous woman; we deny Christ and the Eucharist, and we praise Pilate’s decision every Friday. Instead of fasting during Lent, we offer our bodies and souls to our master, Satan. Nineteen-year-old Josie García Venice, California Home to the broken, the dispossessed, and other scary folk. In our prayers, we mispronounce the words of the paternoster; we curse the womb of the anomalous woman; we deny Christ and the Eucharist, and we praise Pilate’s decision every Friday. Instead of fasting during Lent, we offer our bodies and souls to our master, Satan. Nineteen-year-old Josie García is torn between true love with a down-and-out poet and the monetary stability that only a rich husband can provide. She owes rent—two months—and while her little landlady is docile enough to pretend that she has forgotten about the money, she’s also a self-taught witch, planning to chop Josie’s head off and use it as the main ingredient in a potion to recover her lost youth and become the beautiful woman she never was. Creepy, campy, and yet incredibly lyrical, Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle is a wildly imaginative tale that spans five decades, connecting the otherworldly occult to the out-of-this-world bohemia of fiftiies Venice Beach.

30 review for Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce

  1. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Every now and again, you chance upon a book which is so strange and so wonderful that you find yourself believing things that aren't supposed to be so (like there once being a family of witches who lived in LA). And if they're well written, you can't put them down. And I couldn't put this one down. (And since I read it on my kindle and I read my kindle books on cardio machines at the gym, I got a little extra exercise in.) Carlos Allende's Love, or the WItches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce i Every now and again, you chance upon a book which is so strange and so wonderful that you find yourself believing things that aren't supposed to be so (like there once being a family of witches who lived in LA). And if they're well written, you can't put them down. And I couldn't put this one down. (And since I read it on my kindle and I read my kindle books on cardio machines at the gym, I got a little extra exercise in.) Carlos Allende's Love, or the WItches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce is one such deliciously strange books. This is the story about a family of witches set in Los Angeles (well, mostly in the neighborhood of Venice), initially in the early part of the the last century, with the last two-thirds taking place mostly in 1959. And the witches--as well as the vampire, werewolf and fairy--aren't the only characters in the book. We also have Josie Garcia a beautiful young Latina and her circle of friends, many part of the beatnik culture as well as the City of Los Angeles (Venice in particular) playing their parts in the story. As the story of the witches--and laterJosie--unfolds, we also see a portrait of the city as it once was. An intriguing place to set a tale of witches, no? The story starts with the death-bed confession of Antonia Rivera, a witch asking a priest for atonement for her many sins, the many evil and sorcerous things she has done. She talks mostly about her three daughters, two of whom are particularly vile and one is so innocuous that it's almost as if she isn't there. Some people don't notice her. We don't even learn her name. In short, Allende starts with a familial situation similar to readers of folk (and fairy) tales, two (older, generally somewhat evil) sister and the youngest more innocent one. When we move to 1959, she, the youngest takes center stage, sharing it primarily with her tenant, the lovely, but confused Josie. In love with a beatnik poet, this young woman hangs out at local dive frequented by such artists. But, she is constantly wondering if maybe she should marry a rich man and hence find the financial stability she lacks. (She has fallen behind on her rent to her landladies.) Unbeknownst to her, her nondescript landlady (that "innocent" youngest sister), whom we know only as the Little Woman, now well into middle-age and seeking the love she never had, wishes to kill Josie and use part of her head in a potion which will make her young and alluring. Thus we have two women, of different backgrounds and experiences, both struggling to find love and connection, to feel, well, to feel more alive. And we see Josie very much as a young woman, not just of her time, but of any time. She longs for affections; she misreads situations. She makes mistakes. Josie is very well drawn. And we see the Little Woman also making mistakes, notably as she tries to off Josie, her fetching tenant. Her efforts remind us of Michael Palin's Ken in A Fish Called Wanda as he tries repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) to dispatch the little old lady with the dogs. There's even a chapter reminiscent of the whacky chase scenes in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and What's up Doc?. And in the background, we see the witches and creatures of folklore, with the more, well, normal people, oblivious to the sorcerous actions and malign intentions. They make this book a particularly fun read, with cleverly drawn situations and laugh-out-loud passages. And perhaps you could even call it a reflection on youth and beauty and our longing to connect. I should note that while I do love fantasy fiction, stories often featuring witches, werewolves, sorceresses and wizards, I tend to shy away from stories not set in the medieval world (or worlds similar to the Middle Ages of this world), but, although it was not set in Middle Earth (or Narnia) this one held my attention. I will miss not reading it tomorrow when I head back to the gym to do my cardio.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terry McFadden

    I really like that the author set his story against the back drop of Venice CA in the early 1900s—such a unique locale. The author populates his novel with a crazy cast of Venice Beach denizens, especially the beatniks from the 1950s; he mixes in elements of fairy tales and horror-fantasy with darkly comical touch. The unreliable narrator has a biting, arch playfulness. Without giving too much of the plot away, my favorite moments may be the dialogs between selfish wicked sisters. You'll find yo I really like that the author set his story against the back drop of Venice CA in the early 1900s—such a unique locale. The author populates his novel with a crazy cast of Venice Beach denizens, especially the beatniks from the 1950s; he mixes in elements of fairy tales and horror-fantasy with darkly comical touch. The unreliable narrator has a biting, arch playfulness. Without giving too much of the plot away, my favorite moments may be the dialogs between selfish wicked sisters. You'll find yourself rooting for their younger sister, our unlikely, misguided, indefatigable heroine. Reading it left me with mixed emotions. Some of the visuals such as the black sabbath, may be a bit too much for some readers. But the book is definitely worth reading!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Touchton

    Allende draws together a detailed history at Venice from 1900 to 1959 with a story that is the same time vast while being compact and intricate- it's a long, adventurous Journey with two major stops. The first stop is the death of an evil witch mother (disguised as a good Catholic woman), who loses her satanic courage and asks the priest to absolve her of all her sins- so they must be recounted sparing no detail. Allende delights in the bawdy and the wicked, he finds light laughter poking fun at Allende draws together a detailed history at Venice from 1900 to 1959 with a story that is the same time vast while being compact and intricate- it's a long, adventurous Journey with two major stops. The first stop is the death of an evil witch mother (disguised as a good Catholic woman), who loses her satanic courage and asks the priest to absolve her of all her sins- so they must be recounted sparing no detail. Allende delights in the bawdy and the wicked, he finds light laughter poking fun at the darkest sins of the soul and the flesh. Only the Marquis De Sade is more chocking. But unlike De Sade who wrote simply to provoke and titillate, Allende poses the delight that his characters take in Satanism as part of the construction of a story that has pathos and depth (although it is also a complete farce, but the co-existence of the two experiences is what keeps the reader drawn in). And the heroine of our story is not the dying witch, nor her two beautiful daughters but of her third, reviled, forgotten and unfortunate looking third child. This Heroine does not even have a name, for to her mother and sisters, squashing a cockroach under their lace-up boots is worth more trouble than thinking of one. This heroine quietly builds a meek life away from her evil older sisters, and your heart breaks for our nameless heroine. The end destination of our Journey finds our Heroine in the midst of 1950s Venice, where she ends up in the closest thing she has ever had to a friendship. This friendship is with a selfish young latina woman of considerable beauty (and not much else), whom she begins to covet. Sprinkled along this journey are werewolves, vampires and demons who then come together on the final leg of the journey forming a darkly melodic symphony of farce, horror and beatnik life. I suggest you buy your ticket for this journey.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Coplan

    Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce I can’t say that I am a fan of stories with witches, demons, and vampires, but Carlos Allende’s Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce, has managed to captivate me. There is a genuine glee in the story telling. The author weaves such rich detail into the despicable acts of his characters and the result is tantalizing journey through the tortured life of the unnamed heroine. After riding through the vitriol of hate, jealousy, Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce I can’t say that I am a fan of stories with witches, demons, and vampires, but Carlos Allende’s Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle: A Horror Farce, has managed to captivate me. There is a genuine glee in the story telling. The author weaves such rich detail into the despicable acts of his characters and the result is tantalizing journey through the tortured life of the unnamed heroine. After riding through the vitriol of hate, jealousy, and vanity practiced by her mother and sisters the story, which is rich with erotic energy, resolves in a note of such tender poignancy, that you heart might just break a little. Well done, one wild ride!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Partnow

    Dark humor and an iconoclastic spin on just about everything and everyone makes Love; or the Witches of Windward Circle a delightful read. It will have you howling like a werewolf (one of the characters, by the way, is one), plotting like the devil (another character), conniving to get what you want through any means--whether you're a witch or a gorgeous young babe (two more of an array of outlandish characters). Truly original, Love will make your head spin.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gulshan Ahuja

    At times morbid, other times sad and definitely all eccentric. The beginning was a little hard to read very dark. Then the characters come to life and if you know Venice it's like you are walking in the neighborhoods with them and some may even be there now. Who can tell ? I loved, loved, loved the ending. It makes you think about your life and ask yourself what's important !!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Salerno

    If you're at all confused by the phrase "darkly funny", just read this book. You'll get it. What a ride! Often absurd, and a little depressing, ultimately this book has more heart than you might give it credit for at first. It dares you to read just a little bit further...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy Walker

    One of the thing's I've found from being a writer, even a small time relative nobody like myself, is that every now and then someone approaches you to review their work or give your opinion on something they've produced. One of these such requests came to me from the author Carlos Allende. Carlos liked some of the articles I'd written, some of the opinions I had on certain subjects based on my viewpoint as a transgender woman, and asked if I would read his book and give my thoughts on it from th One of the thing's I've found from being a writer, even a small time relative nobody like myself, is that every now and then someone approaches you to review their work or give your opinion on something they've produced. One of these such requests came to me from the author Carlos Allende. Carlos liked some of the articles I'd written, some of the opinions I had on certain subjects based on my viewpoint as a transgender woman, and asked if I would read his book and give my thoughts on it from that perspective. Actually, the exact words Carlos used were 'don't be kind, please destroy it', well Carlos, here goes... 'Love, or The Witches of Winward Circle' is a hard book to accurately describe, and I immediately found that even the description on the back cover led me to expect certain things of the story whilst reading it. If you are able to bear with me for a moment I will try to explain what I mean. The back of the book reads as follows, 'Nineteen-year-old Josie Garcia is torn between true love with a down-and-out poet and the monetary stability that only a rich husband can provide. She owes rent - two months - and while her little landlady is docile enough to pretend that she has forgotten about the money, she's also a self-taught witch, planning to chop Josie's head off and use it as the main ingredient in a potion to recover her lost youth and become the beautiful woman she never was'. After reading the blurb I dove into the book, and for the next 100 pages got to know who I believed was Josie. The story begins with a dying old woman, a witch, who wishes to confess to her sins and absolve herself to god before she dies and gets dragged to hell. We get to know the woman and her three daughters, Victoria, Rosa, and a third daughter who is very badly mistreated and never once even named. Close to the first third of the book is spent getting to know this family, where we learn that witchcraft is very real, that demons and werewolves and vampires exist, along with some of the bizarre things the old witch did in service to the devil. As the old witch dies and we begin to follow her daughters I believed that the youngest daughter was going to be the Josie that was described on the back cover, after all I'm a hundred pages in and she appears to be the main character. In a curve ball of expectations though the author jumps the story forward by decades, jumping from the turn of the century to the 1950's. It's at this point here, eight chapters in, that we finally meet Josie, who is the lodger at the home of the witch's three daughters. This sudden shift in both the setting of the story, and the unusually late inclusion of one of the lead characters definitely put me on a back foot, I daresay a deliberate move from the author to surprise readers and show them that this is the kind of book that will go out of its way to supplant expectations. In a development that seems to go against everything we learnt out the younger sister, still never named but referred to as 'the little woman', as having showed no desire to be anything like her witch mother suddenly finds herself craving the youth and beauty of the young Josie, and begins to teach herself magic in order to regain her youth. What follows from here are two separate, yet interwoven stories, as the little woman tries desperately to find a way to bring her plans to fruition and Josie navigates her way through the complexities of her love life. Things unfold in bizarre and almost ridiculous fashion, where strange coincidences and ludicrous decisions makes the plot wist and turn and develop in ways that you at first wouldn't expect. Whilst some of themes events may feel a little too silly and unrealistic,the book makes clear from even the front cover that it considers itself to be a farce, and in that regard it definitely lives up to its claim. Whether it's accidentally murdering the wrong young woman, twice, or accidentally getting caught in the middle of a baby kidnapping and arrested, many of the situations in the book definitely meet the requirements of being exaggerated and over-the-top, though sometimes it does stretch this idea a little too far, and towards the end of the book the farcical nature was beginning to wear a little thin. Luckily, however, the author didn't feel the need to stretch his story out overly long, and the book reaches a conclusion long before these comedic elements begin to detract from the overall quality. The little woman is for me the most tragic character in the book, and one that I felt sorry for, despite her engaging in black magic, killing young women and even stealing a baby. We see how even from an early age she was mistreated by her family, with her mother and her sisters treating her more like an animal than a member of the family. We see how she works hard every day of her life to help people, and to make her horrid sisters comfortable but gets no thanks or kindness in return. Despite going out of her way to perform some down right evil deeds the little woman is the character I felt the most for during the course of the book. In contrast to this I found Josie to be a very shallow and at times nasty young woman. The very first time we meet her she's lamenting over what to do with her life, which of her many boyfriends she should commit to. What makes this scene feel quite horrible though is that when talking about her many suitors she appears to feel little to no emotion about any of them. All that she cares about most is which of them has the most money, who can provide her with the most comfortable life. Whilst Josie does end up sticking with the poor young artist Russell she is often complaining about his lack of money, the company he keeps and his inability to prove her with the lifestyle she wants. She does things for selfish reasons, she lies and steals and intentionally hurts people just to get what she wants. Despite everything she eventually goes through towards the end of the book, I never once feel sorry for her, or even really care about her. Perhaps this is intentional on the part of the author, perhaps Carlos wants to buck tradition and have the stereotypically evil old witch to be the character you care for, whilst the innocent teenage girl acts like the heartless monster. Other characters in the book can sometimes feel a little shallow and one dimensional, though there are a few exceptions, where I found myself genuinely wanting to know a little more about them. Eva was one of these characters, a young woman who was friends with Josie's boyfriend Russell. Throughout the book we get little pieces of her back story, and discover that Eva lived through the events of the holocaust, having been in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. We get teases of a character with a deep psychological scars, of someone trying to put their life back together after living through these very real horrors. Unfortunately all we experience of Eva is through Josie's eyes, so she's made out to be a nasty woman, only out for herself and trying to steal Russell away from Josie. Every time the two characters meet I end up wanting to see more of Eva, whilst also finding myself disliking Josie more and more. There's a lot in the book that I enjoyed, and a lot in the book that I didn't, though mainly because I disliked one of the leads, the things she said and did and the way she treated people. There's some surprisingly shocking language employed in the book too, and I'm not talking about swearing here. I'm hoping it's because of the time the book is set, but there is some use of racist and homophobic language throughout. I'm guessing it was some of these moments that made Carlos send me the book in the first place, that he wanted to know how a member of the LGBT+ community would take some of these offencive parts. I can only speak personally here, whilst hearing people in the book using racist and homophobic language certainly took me out of the book for a moment whenever I saw it, it's true to the time and the setting. I don't like that kind of language or sentiment, and whilst I believe that there is no place for it in today's society, it was something that was present during the 1950's. There are certain parts of history that you can't sugar coat, because people have done some horrible things, but I don't think it should be included just for the hell of things. In 'Love, or The Witches of Winward Circle' there are a lot of very open and free thinking characters, members of the laid back artistic community, and there are plenty of moments in the book that could include casual racism but don't, probably because a lot of these characters seem to be less bothered about certain topics such as race, gender and sexuality. When towards the end there's a sudden outburst of homophobia, and some very horrible terms, it feels kind of out of place in comparison to the rest of the book, where many similar moments were not included. I understand that this moment was an important one, that a certain character had to become angry enough to act in a certain way, but I'd like to think that there could have been another way to get to that point without having one of the 'heroes' of the story resort to calling someone a 'faggot'. All in all I enjoyed the book, despite it being something that I probably wouldn't have picked up myself. The story is different and interesting, and whilst some characters are very shallow and one dimensional, there are enough interesting characters to make up for that. A quirky and interesting read, that will leave you both satisfied and a little baffled too by the end. 'Love, or The Witches of Winward Circle' never seems to take itself on hundred percent seriously, and isn't afraid of going against the norm in order to tell it's story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mika

    This is the first book that I've come across in years that I just couldn't put down! I LOVE when I can come across a book that can pique my curiosity and hold my attention like this, but it is rare. For three days, I spent all of my free time and well into the night reading this. The book was well-written, clever, with many twists and turns in the plot that kept me on my toes. I also laughed out loud a couple of times. The characters aren't particularly like-able, but instead, they were both fas This is the first book that I've come across in years that I just couldn't put down! I LOVE when I can come across a book that can pique my curiosity and hold my attention like this, but it is rare. For three days, I spent all of my free time and well into the night reading this. The book was well-written, clever, with many twists and turns in the plot that kept me on my toes. I also laughed out loud a couple of times. The characters aren't particularly like-able, but instead, they were both fascinating and 'darkly funny', which I think was the point. Strangely, even with her evil deeds, I ended up rooting for the villain heroine. Just an absolutely amazing and witty book that I would highly recommend to other readers.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pantalea Mazzitello

    The confessions of a witch on her deathbed slowly trigger a whirlwind of events, whose acceleration will overwhelm the characters dwelling in the Windward Circle. The witch’s two eldest daughters are beautiful yet monstrous and will make the third youngest daughter’s life, the horrid but human protagonist of the novel, a true living hell. However, the protagonist has no name and no voice and not even Hell wants to host her before Satan. After being thrown out of Netherworld, the apprentice will The confessions of a witch on her deathbed slowly trigger a whirlwind of events, whose acceleration will overwhelm the characters dwelling in the Windward Circle. The witch’s two eldest daughters are beautiful yet monstrous and will make the third youngest daughter’s life, the horrid but human protagonist of the novel, a true living hell. However, the protagonist has no name and no voice and not even Hell wants to host her before Satan. After being thrown out of Netherworld, the apprentice will try to conquer youth and beauty while striving for redemption through spells, potions, demoniac familiars, kidnappings and brutal murders. Nobody is really what it seems and every character may conceal centennial vampires, penitent werewolves or disguised duck paws. The story abounds with precise details, which collect elements from the great history of witches’ persecutions, and sometimes plays itself the role of a handbook for wannabe witches. No detail is left out while describing the gathering ritual of witches, i.e. the Sabbath, including the Osculum infame, a symbol of homage and loyalty to the Lord of Darkness, and the revolution of the traditional Mass rites. The reader will unexpectedly brush up on the history of witchcraft and will discover its most characteristic features, obscene details and the foundations of apostasy. Allende’s work is both a novel and a theatre play: the characters seem to enter and exit the pages while performing the role they were given, against the background of a narration belonging to the twentieth century only for its setting, but which reveals itself as a representation of the most contemporary social facets, thus winking at today’s readers. It’s horror, it’s grotesque, it’s tragicomic: the early twentieth century in Venice, California, has never been so dark.

  11. 4 out of 5

    MO

    A highly entertaining read: witty, quixotic, full of clever twists and turns: I wouldn't have read this book had it not come highly recommended by a trusted friend, as I'm normally not a fan of the witchcraft meets fantasy meets horror genre. It took me a while to get into the story, but once in, I thoroughly enjoyed it -- with great laughs! The book is highly entertaining, deliciously witty and exceptionally well-written, in a lyrical and sometimes extravagant tone that perfectly suits the quixot A highly entertaining read: witty, quixotic, full of clever twists and turns: I wouldn't have read this book had it not come highly recommended by a trusted friend, as I'm normally not a fan of the witchcraft meets fantasy meets horror genre. It took me a while to get into the story, but once in, I thoroughly enjoyed it -- with great laughs! The book is highly entertaining, deliciously witty and exceptionally well-written, in a lyrical and sometimes extravagant tone that perfectly suits the quixotic story and its many twists and turns. One thing I enjoyed in particular is the author's in-depth knowledge of bygone Los Angeles, and the way he captured the bohemian zeitgeist of mid-century Venice. His numerous characters are superbly woven together, each written in its distinct voice and nailed right every time. If I had a criticism about this book, it would be that it can be quite long with unnecessary detail and side stories sometimes, and that it would benefit from tighter writing. I found myself wanting to sift quickly through pages a few times, but had to get back to careful reading not to miss the complex plot. This said, the book is a truly entertaining, often hilarious read, with a blend of magic and horror horror set against a colorful historic background.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rosa Ines

    I expected a light read, based on the back cover description. It wasn't. I'm not sure how to describe this book because it is just so different to anything I had read before. The first few chapters were a bit difficult to read, not because they weren't good, but because the descriptions were too vivid. It's not scary, but really creepy and painful. You feel so sorry for poor the little girl. The chapter where she meets her godfather is awful--meaning heartbreaking good. You're supposed to laugh, I expected a light read, based on the back cover description. It wasn't. I'm not sure how to describe this book because it is just so different to anything I had read before. The first few chapters were a bit difficult to read, not because they weren't good, but because the descriptions were too vivid. It's not scary, but really creepy and painful. You feel so sorry for poor the little girl. The chapter where she meets her godfather is awful--meaning heartbreaking good. You're supposed to laugh, and

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emmchapron

    I found this book by chance while travelling accross the USA last month. The cover page was so nice and looked so intriguing, with this little tiny witch looking at me. I wasn't desappointed : this novel made my trip absolutely unique. And I was quite bluffed to hear the dying witch talking like a fifteenth-century witch tortured by the Roman Inquisition, like in the Malleus Maleficarum (you know, that medieval treatise on witches) ! Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christina Huber

    Loved this book! It’s gleefully dark and occasionally gruesome and the characters are lovable in their madness. A fun read, highly recommend! Having lived in Venice for several years, I particularly enjoyed the historical references of the city I love.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A strange little tale about a family of witches. I found it entertraining and it held my attention but it was strange. Perhaps, however, that was the intention all along. I received this book as part of a good reads giveaway but the opinions expressed are solely my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this strange romping tale. Was it just a tale? Hard to know.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Myles Away

    I'm part of a Meetup group in Los Angeles that occasionally holds book club meetings, and we were contacted by the author, who offered our group several free copies in exchange for honest reviews of the book. Here is mine. Minor spoilers ahead. * * * * * * * * The book was based on a good premise - a young damsel torn between two loves, and a witch searching for her lost youth. But the premise was probably the only good thing I found in this book. The damsel is a selfish girl who only cares about herself I'm part of a Meetup group in Los Angeles that occasionally holds book club meetings, and we were contacted by the author, who offered our group several free copies in exchange for honest reviews of the book. Here is mine. Minor spoilers ahead. * * * * * * * * The book was based on a good premise - a young damsel torn between two loves, and a witch searching for her lost youth. But the premise was probably the only good thing I found in this book. The damsel is a selfish girl who only cares about herself, money, and doing as little work as possible. The witch is downtrodden and ridiculed by her own sisters, but after her childhood described at the start of the novel, she does almost nothing to become a sympathetic character. Not one prominent character in the book had redeemable qualities about them. The only likable character was the damsel's poet boyfriend, and we hardly saw him at all. He was nothing but a footnote to the damsel until he was practically begging her to come back to him. The witch shows no remorse at all for the various murders she commits, lamenting at the end only that she's lost her chance at regaining her youth and not caring about who she has harmed. This book also had a lot of potty humor, most at the beginning, which made it difficult to push through. I'm not a prude, and I enjoy a good dirty joke as much as the next guy, but this book was chock full of nasty bits which felt like they were there for the sake of showing you how low and vile the villains of this story were. The ideas about Good and Evil that are presented here felt like a child's view of Good and Evil. At the beginning, we're shown the witch's mother, who, on her deathbed, asks for a priest to absolve her. But her narrative doesn't feel genuine, let alone remorseful. In fact, she seems to almost be enjoying telling the priest about the nasty things she's done, as if she's wanted an audience for years. I think my biggest complaint was the was the author treated the reader. Several times throughout, he had brilliant insights and clever witticisms. But instead of letting the reader enjoy these, he spends a paragraph or two telling you why that insight was brilliant or how his retort was clever. Not only that, there were multiple points where a plot point becomes obvious, but he comes back to it as if the facts weren't obvious enough. The witch has a vampire godfather she hasn't seen in 50 years? Oh, and have you noticed how the damsel's rich boyfriend seems familiar to the witch, not to mention that he doesn't have a reflection? Let me give you some more clues while I continue to club this dead horse. I received my copy of the book in April, and it's taken me about 6 months to get through this book. I just couldn't keep reading for longer than a few pages at a time. It was incredibly difficult to get through, due in no small part to the needless potty humor, but mainly due to the irredeemable characters. The book had great promise, but it just kept missing the mark.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brad Farrar

    Great read - thank you!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scoutaccount

  21. 5 out of 5

    Teddy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Allende

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Teri

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vmaganti

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nelson Fetters

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

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