Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5)
Welcome, reader, to my first book review!
Let's start with a synopsis, shall we? The Kiss Curse (Erin Sterling, September 20 2022) is the follow-up to 2021's The Ex Hex. Its story centers two side-ish characters from The Ex Hex, Gwyn Jones and Wells Penhallow, in their "enemies to maybe not enemies to in LURVE" romance.
The Kiss Curse picks up a year after The Ex Hex ends (I guess eight months if we're counting The Ex Hex's "three months later" as the official stopping point). Vivi and Rhys leave Gwyn in Graves Glen for a honeymoon, and Wells arrives in Graves Glen shortly before said trip because he's looking for a change of pace. Chaos ensues! (There's more to it than that.)
My first review is a positive one! I loved it. I gave The Kiss Curse 5 stars on Goodreads, and a 4.25 on Storygraph. It is exactly what I wanted The Ex Hex to be, such a fun read for spooky season that kept my attention throughout.
My first impression of The Kiss Curse was "thank goddess there's a new narrator," as I a) exclusively read via audiobook, and b) absolutely abhorred the intonation choices of The Ex Hex's narrator. I totally adored the Welsh accents in The Kiss Curse, which were not present in The Ex Hex. So that was a positive change right off the bat!
The Kiss Curse did a way better job of showing the reader -- I really felt the attraction and chemistry, rather than just being told that they were attracted/had chemistry.
The ending was ever-so-slightly unsatisfying, but honestly I don't care. I enjoyed this ride!
A few things that weren't resolved to my satisfaction (spoilers ahoy):
Why didn't Wells attend Vivi and Rhys' wedding? I know this was to set the stage for the "enemies" part of their romance as it's why Gwyn hated Wells before meeting him aka it wasn't super in need of a resolution? But a fleeting convo about that would have been appreciated!
There was not a resolution to the dad's assholery, he didn't even get a firm talking to let alone anything more serious.
Gwyn never told Wells that she was the purple-haired witch he lusted after at university all those years ago. Honestly!
An aspect of the ending that I really did like: the lack of "three months later" as the final chapter. I don't necessarily feel that The Ex Hex's "three months later" cheapened the ending, but I didn't enjoy it.
All this is to say! The Kiss Curse was an enjoyable read, and was a way better reading experience for me than The Ex Hex. I highly recommend it for a low-stakes venture into spooky season! I will say that I think if a reader attempts to figure out the "twist" they probably can, so I would encourage anyone to read this if they want to have a good time but not if they're hoping to be stumped.
I purchased my audiobook via Libro.fm, where you can purchase audiobooks and support your favorite local bookstore at the same time! My referral code gets both you and me a free audiobook upon beginning a membership. (NO PRESSURE, and if you can find a better deal somewhere else you should absolutely do that!)
(Get it? 'Cause it's The Kiss Curse.)