A sassy, albeit conventional, tale of a powerful witching family in the South. Mercy Taylor, a disgrace of Savannah’s preeminent witching family, was born without the gift of magic. Her twin has it all, the witchy powers she’s honing to become the next protector of The Line, the long blond hair, and the young man Mercy loves. At the novel’s onset, Mercy visits a Hoodoo root doctor for a love spell to make her love another man, a childhood best friend instead of her sister’s boyfriend. The Hoodoo witch promises blood, and the next morning, Mercy’s grandmother, the family matriarch, is found brutally murdered.

If you’ve read this genre before, you can probably guess the plot for Mercy. She’s different and sad because she’s not magical, but then she turns out to be super powerful in ways she never expected! The excessive plot twists, the love triangle between two indistinguishable men, the humid heat which causes beads of sweat to fall constantly under Mercy’s shirt, and the inordinate amount of time spent talking about parental history is overdone. Mercy is plucky and tells a lot of people to “shut up” when she’s upset, but she takes no real action to save herself. Instead, the universe takes care of that for her.

I enjoyed the family betrayal, but wish it would stay more in the present instead of requiring back story for every time someone’s mom sleeps around or grandmother feels her power threatened. Mother Jilo, the Hoodoo root doctor, is a real treat. Sure, she’s the typical untrustworthy shawl-wearer, who cackles with laughter. She also has real motives, and is just plain fun.

Recommended for readers who will read anything in the Southern Gothic urban fantasy genre. If you’re new to this guilty-pleasure genre, read Charlaine Harris first, or the original, Ann Rice.

“Liquid fire coursed through my veins. I slid my hand over the pendant and looked at myself in the mirror, amazed at the self-assured face that was reflected back at me. I felt like a fish that had been tossed into water for the first time after somehow managing to survive its entire life on dry land. I had been waiting for this feeling my entire life. For once, I felt like I could truly breathe.”