Reviews: THIS MAY END BADLY & GO HEX YOURSELF
I hope everyone who was celebrating this weekend had a wonderful holiday weekend. Huge apologies from me for not blog hopping most of last week. I think busy season at work finally caught up to me and I pretty much crashed and burned every evening after I signed off from work and even though I planned to play catch up with blogging on Saturday, I ended up napping most of that day as well. Today is deadline day though so hopefully I’ll be back to my normal blogging habits this week. I will try my best to play catch up but may end up having to just start fresh this week since I’ve just missed so many posts. Anyway, I’m back today with a couple of reads I managed to fit in last week in spite of the crazy busy schedule. These were mostly read while sitting in the parking lot at my son’s soccer practices, lol.
This May End Badly Goodreads
Author: Samantha Markum
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
Publisher: Wednesday Books
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I love a good boarding school story so I couldn’t resist requesting Samantha Markum’s debut YA contemporary novel, This May End Badly, which is set at Weston, a prestigious all girls boarding school. I was especially intrigued by the premise that there is an equally prestigious all boys boarding school, Winfield Academy right across the street and that the two schools have a century-long rivalry that is ongoing. I was hooked on the story from the opening pages, which centers on epic beginning-of-the-school year pranks the students from each school play on each other.
As entertaining as I found the pranks, however, I will admit that I got off to a very rough start with the protagonist, Doe. She’s the prank mastermind at Weston and she is also obsessed with Three, a boy at Winfield that she considers to be her arch nemesis. Even though she’s a senior and should be applying to colleges and preparing for her future, she is completely obsessed with escalating the prank wars between the schools and even more obsessed with getting under Three’s skin in any way she can, especially once it’s announced that the two schools will be merging into one next year and Doe suspects that Three’s family had something to do with it. I could understand her frustration that Weston, which has been her safe haven since her parents divorced, would basically cease to exist after the merger, but in the early chapters of the book, she just came off as immature and obnoxious. I read a couple of reviews on Goodreads that advised being patient with Doe, that she would eventually grow and learn from her mistakes, and I was glad I stuck it out because there really is tremendous character growth with Doe.
Even though I struggled a bit with Doe in the beginning, the same cannot be said of her friend group. I adored these young women. They were so much fun when it came to helping Doe with the pranks, but it wasn’t all fun and games for them either. They truly cared about Doe and were not afraid to step in and give her tough love when she needed it, when it was clear she had lost her way and was crossing lines she shouldn’t be crossing. These girls are friendship goals!
I’m also a big fan of the fake dating trope so I was really into the plot line where Doe fake-dates Three’s cousin and fellow Winfield Academy student, Wells. I did think it was a bit odd that Doe chose to fake date Wells just to annoy Three, but the reason aside, Wells and Doe were so cute and sweet together. I loved their banter and loved it even more when their feelings for one another started to change so that it became more about them and less about annoying Three.
The ending of the novel is also fabulous, particularly in the way it brings those rival schools and their pranking super powers together for a very worthy cause. I found myself very proud of all of these kids by the time I finished reading. If you’re interested in reading a book about friendship, falling in love, and standing up for what you believe in, you should give This May End Badly a try. 3.5 STARS
Go Hex Yourself Goodreads
Author: Jessica Clare
Publication Date: April 19, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Books
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been enjoying all of the witchy rom-coms that have come out recently and Go Hex Yourself by Jessica Clare is the latest addition to this fun trend. It features two of my favorite romance tropes, enemies to lovers and grumpy/sunshine so I hoped it would be a perfect fit for me. I’m thrilled to report I was not disappointed!
The story follows Reggie Johnson, a young woman who answers a newspaper ad and thinks she’s going to be working as a design assistant for Spellcraft: The Magicking, her favorite card game. When she is led into a lab instead of an office and her new employer, an elderly woman named Dru, starts talking about casting spells and creating potions, Reggie begins to suspect that her new job might not be exactly what she thought it was. Reggie is skeptical that magic is real, that is until someone curses Dru with a sleeping spell. Reggie is forced to work with Dru’s nephew, Ben, a sexy but surly warlock who has been nothing but rude to her ever since she first arrived on the job.
I really adored Reggie right from the start. She’s very much an underdog character and those always have my heart. She’s in debt up to her ears, thanks to her awful parents, who do shady things like sign up for endless credit cards in Reggie’s name and then not paying the bills, ruining Reggie’s credit in the process. Reggie has a big heart and loves them anyway, but at the same time, is disheartened that they keep taking advantage of her. Overall, Reggie is a spunky and resilient character but I did like seeing this more vulnerable side of her when it came to her parents.
I also really enjoyed both Dru and Ben. Dru comes across as a bit silly and possibly senile when Reggie first meets her, but it soon becomes clear that she’s quite a character and that there’s way more than meets the eye when it comes to her. Every time Reggie and Dru interacted, I could practically picture Dru with a little twinkle of mischief in her eyes. She’s a pretty lovable character. Ben, while not quite as lovable early on in the book, grew on me quickly as we started to get more chapters from his perspective. It becomes clear that he is not nearly as surly and grumpy as he first seems and that he is mostly misunderstood. Like Reggie, he has also been shaped by heartbreaking experiences with his parents.
While I found the witchy aspect of the book entertaining and intriguing, especially the curses and the fact the witches in the book were inspired by Roman times, and then of course, the hilarious magical cast of secondary characters, what really kept me thoroughly invested in the story was watching Reggie and Ben finally start to bond and open up to one another while they’re working to uncurse Dru. What develops between them is special and it was just lovely to watch. Fans who like a bit of steam in their romance reads will also not be disappointed.
If you’re enjoying the witchy rom-com trend as much as I am, you’ll definitely want to check out Go Hex Yourself. 4 STARS.
They both sound like interesting reads! it’s good there was some improvement with the main character in the first book and you found it was worth sticking with it. It’s so hard to keep reading a book when you dislike such an important character I find!
Hope you had a nice weekend and a good Easter, and things calm down at work for you soon!
Mica – Away From The Blue recently posted…Floral Print Dresses and Chloe Paraty Bag For Kids Birthday Parties
Right? I usually give up on a book if I don’t like the main character and probably would have if I hadn’t read those other reviews.
Go Hex Yourself sounds brilliant, and you’re right, that witchy romances are just such a fun trend these days!
They are so much fun! I love the trend since it gives me fun options for spooky season since I’m such a chicken and don’t enjoy horror reads.
I would love to read Go Hex Yourself, plus that title cracks me up so much!
Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…GONE DARK by Amanda Panitch – Review
Right? That title had me clicking Request on Netgalley before I even read the synopsis, lol.
Wonderful reviews as always. I don’t know how you fit anything in last week. But I guess we all need to have a break, especially when at our busiest.
Anne – Books of My Heart recently posted… Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead
I agree and if these hadn’t been such quick and entertaining reads, I probably wouldn’t have fit them in. I know I DNF’ed a couple that were just putting me straight to sleep, lol.
This May End Badly sounds like a fun read. Doe would probably annoy me, too, so I’m glad she really grows during the course of the novel.
Yeah, I had moments where I really wanted to “mother hen” her and yell at her to stop pranking start working on her college apps. I was so relieved to see the growth.
Sounds like you definitely needed the weekend to recharge. Go Hex Yourself sounds like a fun one. I love a good grumpy/sunshine romance.
Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…The Sunday Post #285 | April 17, 2022
Yep, I really did. I’m feeling so much better this week.
I’m really looking forward to reading Go Hex Yourself. I love that combination of magic, humor and romance. 🙂
Lark recently posted…April’s Bookish Art…
It’s a fun one. Loved the whole cast of characters so much!
Hope you had a nice Easter! These look fun, especially End Badly. 🙂
Greg recently posted…Sunday Post #448
I did, thank you! Yep, these are fun, quick reads, definitely what I needed with last week’s crazy schedule.
Seriously, Wells owns my teenaged heart. Adored him! I also liked the magic system in Go Hex Yourself. I wish there would have been a focus on the romance sooner because I loved those two together. Still enjoyed it.
Sam@WLABB recently posted…Sundays with Sam – The Sunday Post
Yes, Wells was fabulous! I agree with you on Go Hex Yourself. I loved what we got but would never say no to even more romance between Ben and Reggie.
Great reviews! I’ve read a few other reviews that talked about how they didn’t start off on the right foot with Doe but that she does go through a lot of growth. I’m worried she’ll annoy me too much but I’m admittedly very curious about the book! I also just added Go Hex Yourself to my TBR yesterday after I read an excerpt and found myself itching to keep reading—it sounds so good and I’m so glad you enjoyed it 😃 Can’t wait to read it!
Dini @ dinipandareads recently posted…Blog Tour Review: Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley
I was glad I had seen the reviews telling me to give her a chance to grow; otherwise I probably would have DNFed the book. It’s a great journey for her though if you can get past the way she is early on in the book.
Both of these books sound so good! Though I’m a bit worried I’d also be annoyed at first with the character of Doe in This May End Badly, so I’m not sure about that one. But Go Hex Yourself is a definite addition to my TBR list 🙂
Hope this week will be a bit more relaxed for you now that deadline day is here/over!
Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads recently posted…Ten Must-Have Items For My Dream Reading Nook
I can definitely understand that considering how much she tried my patience early on, lol.
Adding Go Hex Yourself to my TBR Suzanne!
Sophie recently posted…Of course it’s an addiction but I don’t hurt anyone! My favorite book merchandise. Tope Ten Tuesday
I hope you enjoy it, Sophie!