by April Asher, April Hunt
Series: Supernatural Singles #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
A fake relationship between a magic-less witch and a wolf shifter turns to more in the start of a bewitching new paranormal rom-com series.
Magic-less witch Violet Maxwell wants nothing to do with alpha wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne—the man who broke her fragile, teenage heart. But when the two of them are forced by arcane Supernatural Laws to find mates, Violet and Lincoln agree to fake-date their way to a fake-mating in order to conjure themselves some time.
The joke’s on them. When old feelings make a reappearance—along with Violet’s magic—they both realize there’s nothing fake about their feelings. But there are old secrets and looming threats that could snatch away their happily ever after, again. One thing’s for sure: magic doesn’t make dating and love any easier.
In Not the Witch You Wed, April Asher brings all the hilarity and sweet, sexy moments you love in a romantic-comedy—plus a fun dose of magic—to this spell-binding new series about being sexy, single, and supernatural in New York City.
Much like the cover suggests, this is a hilariously funny second-chance fake-dating paranormal rom-com. If that sounds like trope soup, well, it is, but it’s also extremely tasty.
“Congratulations, Wolfman. You’re officially fake-dating the Not-So-Magicless Maxwell.”
Violet and Lincoln grew up together. They’d been childhood enemies, then friends, then high school sweethearts… until the day they planned to escape his toxic dad, and Lincoln didn’t show. Fourteen years later, he’s now the Alpha of the North American Pack and she’s, well, still the Magicless Maxwell. As the eldest of a set of triplets, Violet should have amazing powers in preparation for assuming the role of Prima, the head witch, from her grandma. Except she’s a dud with absolutely no magic whatsoever. Her next youngest sister stepped up, instead becoming the heir apparent while Violet avoided as much hobnobbing as possible. But with her sister’s betrothal to a European alpha with political aspirations, Violet’s stuck mingling with the paranormal ruling class, including Lincoln. The attraction’s still there but the trust sure isn’t. When they both get ultimatums about their marital status, however, a fake relationship sounds the answer to both their problems. After all, they’re both over each other, right?
“We have this special thing between us, sweetheart. It’s called mutual agitation. If I wasn’t pissing you off, we wouldn’t be us.”
From his first scene, though, it’s clear that Lincoln’s never gotten over Violet. He knows he hurt her badly though for plot reasons he can’t explain what happened. In the intervening years, he’s dedicated himself to modernizing the shifter power structure. Lincoln inherited the position from his father, and unlike him, he’s working to dismantle the traditional power structure (council of Elders, alpha inheritance) into a, I kid you not, “shiftocracy,” which basically means that the packs will elect their own leaders. On the complete other end of the spectrum, Violet works as a bartender at a paranormal bar and also volunteers at an after-school program for kids. So, yes, both of them are just unrealistically good people, but whatever, it works. What also really works is their chemistry and their banter. Violet’s sarcastic and not afraid to tell Lincoln exactly what she thinks of him. Rather than turning him off, her honesty is downright refreshing, considering that most people don’t feel comfortable directly contradicting someone so powerful. He doesn’t see Violet as any less, however, magic or no, nor does he think that she needs him to fight her battles for her; he knows she’s perfectly capable of doing that on her own. But no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, Violet can’t bring herself to trust Lincoln and risk breaking her heart again.
“Then keep your spine straight, your chin high, and don’t let that mouth of yours run away.”
“It doesn’t run. Sometimes it . . . skips.”
Edie cocked a silver eyebrow.
“Saunters?” Vi corrected. “Okay. On occasion, it may speed-walk, but I can’t always control it. It has a mind of its own.”
Luckily that angst is leavened with plenty of humor. From the chapter titles to quirky things like Violet naming her newly awakened magic “Sparky,” there’s a lot of humorous touches throughout the book. The secondary characters are fun as well, including Violet’s sisters Rose and Olive, but especially Grandma Evie. It’s obvious from the first chapter or so what’s going to happen in the book, but watching Grandma Evie gently (or not so gently) nudge Violet along down that path, combined with humor, made the journey a lot of fun.
Some of the plot bits don’t work so well for me. I particularly didn’t like the curse that kept Lincoln from telling Vi why he didn’t show up (or the anticlimactic way that problem is solved). I also didn’t like that Violet didn’t stand up to her mother more. Her mom treats her as a disappointment and is frankly a terrible human being, as far as I can tell. I mean, she’s so awful that when Violet tells her she’s dating Lincoln, her mother chastises her for joking and trying to steal attention away from her soon-to-be-married sister. Sure, the rest of her family has her back, so I guess she needed some reason to doubt herself? Whatever the reason, I really didn’t like it.
Overall, though, this was a quick and light read, full of humor, chemistry, and tropes! Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a fun paranormal romcom.