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Book Review: Gypsy Magic, by H.P. Mallory & J.R. Rain

I picked up a freebie copy of H.P. Mallory and J.R. Rain‘s Gypsy Magic. It’s been sitting in my cloud for a while until I found time to dedicate to an audiobook. Luckily, I’ve started walking on the treadmill in the mornings, and I’m giving myself permission to listen to audiobooks as I walk. I started with this one.

@seesadieread They say #sittingisthenewsmoking and I #sitallday. So, I’ve committed to #walkingeveryday. This is #day2 ????. #im listening to #gypsymagic by #hpmallory. The title is giving me canniptions, the fact that it is a slur is even addressed in the book. So the author can’t claim ignorance ????. Anyhow, here hoping there is a day 3. #walking #lowimpactworkout #walkingisgoodforyou #fyp #walkingisgood ♬ i want it i got it – Official Sound Studio

The book:

Gypsy Magic cover

Welcome to Haven Hollow, a town of monsters…

After dating a string of losers and banishing a poltergeist, I packed up my Los Angeles life and my eleven-year-old son, and moved… to a town in Oregon with a population of 680. Well, 682 now.

Culture shock anyone? Ahem, never mind that… New starts can happen anywhere, right?

I hope so because I need to start the next chapter of my forty-three year life pronto. So, why Haven Hollow? For one reason—there aren’t any witches here. And a witch can make a gypsy’s life… complicated.

Oh, right, I’ve put the cart before the horse…

Hi, I’m Poppy Morton and I come from a long line of Scottish gypsies—gypsies who possess magic and make potions to treat any and all ailments. It’s been my dream to open my own potions store and I’m finally going to do it—in the picturesque and small town of Haven Hollow.

Once my son, Finn, and I get settled in our two-story ramshackle, decrepit and rickety farmhouse (that happens to be bordering a cemetery), the nightmares start. And they won’t stop. Almost every night, I find myself face to face with a shadow monster—and its victim. And I’m fairly sure it’s the victim sending me the night terrors, wanting me to figure out the mystery of who or what murdered him.

But, I’m not really sure I want to get involved. Between facing a huge remodel of the above mentioned “house,” getting my son situated in his new school, opening my potions store and dealing with one of the ghosts from my last house who somehow thumbed a ride to this one, I’ve got my hands full. Actually, more than full.

Good thing I’ve got a few handsome neighbors to call on—Marty Zach, a self-professed ghost exorcist who just happens to have the sexiest smile, and Roy Osbourne, a bear of a man who looks like he alone coined the word ‘lumberjack.’

While I’m taken by Marty’s charm and Roy’s really-really-really broad shoulders, I can’t help but feel like this whole town is hiding a secret… and that’s the mystery I mostly want to solve, ghost visions be damned.

my review

Overall, this was a cute read, though it felt like a prologue to the larger series. The meeting and making fast friends was a little unbelievable, and I had trouble accepting some of the basic premises of the plot, though. Poppy has strong magic and has apparently been educated in how to use it well enough to open a shop and make a living with it. But there are some HUGE gaps in her knowledge, most notably that other supernaturals exist. It made no sense that she could be ignorant of this fact, and she maintained this ignorance FAR longer than was believable throughout the book. Similarly, if a town has 680 people in it, I do not believe anyone who grew up there remained ignorant of the supernaturals in their small community. Unfortunately, considering the importance of these points to the plot, this compromised much of my enjoyment.

Pair that with the frankly, galling use of Gypsy in the title and throughout the book. The word is gypsy magic photoa slur. The authors know this. It is addressed in the book. So, I know that they know it. Given that it is still used liberally, I take it as a purposeful statement on their part, perhaps something along the lines of “We refuse to cave to the woke crowd” or some BS like that. The point is the pointed use and incorporation of a word known to be offensive to the people it describes is a choice with a message. Especially since Poppy herself is not a Traveler of any sort, she has no tie to the culture beyond inheriting magic from a Traveler ancestor.

The narrator, Kelley Huston, did a nice job. Her accent for Lorken wasn’t great. But everything else was well done.

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