by Liz Long
Published on April 11, 2013 by Createspace
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?
Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.
If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.
Ladies and gentlemen, Liz Long has done it again. Almost a year ago, I reviewed her novel, Gifted: A Donovan Circus Novel, which I absolutely loved. After receiving a request to review Witch Hearts, I couldn’t say no. Long delivered in a captivating and dark tale of magic and the consequences of wanting too much power. Witch Hearts is a story of death and fear, love and magic, and the spinning lives that combines them all. At times, my heart skipped a beat (or two) for fear of what the characters would find on the next page. Not only was my heart pounding for most of the novel, I simply couldn’t stop reading. It was like an addiction: you know it’s bad for you but you can’t stop. I couldn’t stop until I knew the characters were safe. Liz Long’s killer took my heart and held it to the very end. Suspenseful and thrilling, you won’t want to put Witch Hearts down.
Meet Ruby. Witch, good friend, and employee at Book Nook, she’s your typical working woman. That is, until her BFF Courtney is found with her heart missing. Worse, she’s not the first. Fearing for herself and the other local witches, Ruby and Courtney’s brother Cooper set out to find the killer before he strikes again. To do so requires uncovering Cooper’s better-left-forgotten past and facing Ruby’s cheating ex-boyfriend who seems to have her best interests at heart (though I personally hated him from the start).
Ruby is nothing if not a loyal friend and fighter. She teams up with Cooper to track down Courtney’s killer so her friend may rest in peace, even if it means putting herself in danger when the killer decides she’s to be his next victim. Her determination and wit made me love her as a protagonist. Instead of leaving town, Ruby stays and works as hard as she can to find this guy, even when her attempts fail and she’s forced to keep a low profile. She’s lovable, easy to relate to, exactly what this story needs–someone to face fear straight on and not back down. At her side is Cooper, Courtney’s smokin’ hot brother (I’m sure Ruby’s boss, Miranda, would agree with me on that) returned to the city. The chemistry between him and Ruby is immediately noticeable. As soon as he was introduced, I knew something was going to happen (or at least I hoped it would). He’s the perfect match for Ruby, being easy to get along, there to comfort her when she needs it, fiercely protective, and already clearly in love. I loved their romance in this book because it seemed so natural. They acted like any human would in the situation, seeking comfort from sorrow and fear, but it wasn’t just a side deal out of convenience. There were feelings there that, while some (Ruby) may not have understood what all of it meant quite yet, it worked out so they could establish that deeper connection.
After finishing Witch Hearts in one sitting, I’m glad I didn’t stop. Anything less than finishing would have left me with a no-sleep night. Seriously, this book is dark and all around creepy. Granted, it’s not like that every page but the story gets to you, sneaking up slowly before tossing you around like a toy on the next page. Yet the thrill is exhilarating, like going to see a scary movie in the theaters. You know the bad guy is going to jump out any moment, but when that moment is, you don’t know. And the twist! Long completely flipped some of my theories on the killer’s identity (and you’ll just have to read it to see for yourself). I’m pretty sure I gasped out loud.
I can’t say much more as I don’t want to reveal anything else. Fans of suspense and thriller will love this paranormal mystery gone wild. I don’t recommend this book for the faint of heart, as it will send you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. This dark tale is not suitable for a younger audience as some of the scenes, while not overly graphic, may cause nightmares. For the rest of the reader community, I urge you to read Witch Hearts. Just don’t let the killer take your heart too.