Book Reviews

Review: Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

I am ready for all these witchy romance books. And Payback’s a Witch has to be my favorite. It’s a queer romance that combines returning to your hometown with quests and magical competitions. What else would you want? Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?

But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Payback’s a Witch has just the right of internal introspection, magical action, and romance. It’s a story that feels well rounded as Emmy struggles to figure out who she wants to be. That we can get so caught up in running that we forget to wonder why. To confront whether we are running from a place or ourselves. At the same time, there’s a fabulous story line of questioning the way things have always been. Of wondering if there’s room for the status quo to be disrupted and how we can.

Plenty of magical competition and scenes will get your heart pumping. All while scenes of romance and crushes from school will leave you swooning. The premise of Payback’s a Witch was enough to hook me – exes all teaming up to get revenge? – and then combine it with a new romance. Don’t even get me started on how much I love the catching feels trope! Payback’s a Witch is, in some ways, a slow burn romance, but Harper balances their romance with Emmy’s journey of self.

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Payback’s a Witch ends up delivering magical quests, romance, and internal narration which has to be my favorite element. Are we complacenet by running away? Afraid to confront our fears and doubts. It’s not only about revenge, but about the good of the town. Overall, it’s a compelling and emotional romance book that combines witches and self-introspection. Find Payback’s a Witch on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite witchy romance (YA or adult!)

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