I’ll be generous with my rating, because this wasn’t a good fit for me, but it’ll be just the kind of soft, magical romance that some readers are looking for. This is the first adult romance by the author, and that could explain why it had such YA vibes. Yes, these are adult characters (31/36), and there is a tiny bit of steam, but it’s so soft, cozy, and found family-oriented that the vibe reads a lot younger. The little nuggets of romance were SO good – swoony, sweet, tender. I got bored by the extent of the witchy content (most of the book is focused on that), but kept getting drawn back in by the moments of romance. The cinnamon roll hero was adorable, and I probably would’ve enjoyed this a LOT more if we’d had more of that swoon and less overly descriptive passages and magic. But I can’t say that any of it was “bad;” there’s a whole lot of good going on here, and some readers are sure to love it.
The story follows Mika, a witch who has always had to hide her identity. She moves from place to place in order to protect her secret, and that’s made her feel isolated and alone. The one witchy thing she does is “play” a witch on social media, but no one was ever supposed to realize how close to the truth those posts were. That is, until Mika gets a mysterious invitation. There’s a place that houses young witches, and they’re desperately in need of a magical tutor. It doesn’t take long before Mika starts to feel at home among people who know her secret, and she soon finds herself fitting in. Sure, there is a grumpy librarian (Jamie) who doesn’t seem to like her, but he does seem to be hiding some softness underneath his bristly exterior. But Mika has never stayed in one place for long, and there are still some secrets that need to be revealed.
For me, personally, this was difficult to rate. I probably would’ve DNFed had I not been in just the right mood for this – but not because of the quality. I kept hearing great things about the soft, slow burn romance, and that part is a definite win (once it becomes more central to the story). I loved Jamie, and he was such a lovable grump who was clearly gone for his girl. Every time I thought about DNFing, he’d do something else that would pull me back in. Paranormal or younger readers are likely to enjoy this the most, as the witchy storyline is a major component. Readers who prefer third person POV will also find it easier to get drawn in. So I could easily identify the things that were holding me back from loving this, while also appreciating the quality of the plot. The found family aspect is great, and if you’re in the mood for a very slow-burning, soft paranormal romance, then it’s entirely possible that you’ll love this.
A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life.
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….
About the Author:
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids. Her work includes Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom, A Spark of White Fire, Color Outside the Lines, and more!
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