Hex Life
Brand-new stories of witches and witchcraft written by popular female fantasy authors, including Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon writing in their own bestselling universes!These are tales of wickedness... stories of evil and cunning, written by today's women you should fear. Includes tales from Kelley Armstong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon, writing in their own bestselling universes.Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery will take the classic tropes of tales of witchcraft and infuse them with fresh, feminist perspective and present-day concerns--even if they're set in the past. These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman's gotta eat.Bring out your dread.From TI 9781789090345 HC.

Hex Life Details

TitleHex Life
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 1st, 2019
PublisherTitan Books
Rating
GenreFantasy, Short Stories, Horror, Paranormal, Witches, Anthologies

Hex Life Review

  • Sophie Elaina
    January 1, 1970
    Hex Life contains a mix of other worldly magical, eerie, darkly disturbing and beautifully written whimsical tales. The collection is dedicated to all things witchy, crosses several genres and each author takes there own unique angle. It was a interesting mix of fairytale like, and modernised tales, that come together to create quite the anthology. I was completely enamoured from the very first story. Some of my favourite stories include Widows’ Walk, The Night Nurse, Bless Your Heart, and This Hex Life contains a mix of other worldly magical, eerie, darkly disturbing and beautifully written whimsical tales. The collection is dedicated to all things witchy, crosses several genres and each author takes there own unique angle. It was a interesting mix of fairytale like, and modernised tales, that come together to create quite the anthology. I was completely enamoured from the very first story. Some of my favourite stories include Widows’ Walk, The Night Nurse, Bless Your Heart, and This Skin. - Widows’ Walk was eerie and heartbreakingly beautiful, The Night Nurse was highly disturbing and dark, Bless Your Heart was both twisted and hilarious, and This Skin was utterly horrifying. But I loved them all! I would highly recommend this book, it’s the perfect spooky read for the autumn season.🍂Ratings:An Invitation to a Burning - Kat Howard: ⭐️⭐️⭐️Widows’ Walk - Angela Slatter: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story - Kelly Armstrong: ⭐️⭐️The Night Nurse - Sarah Langan: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Memories of Trees - Mary SanGiovanni: ⭐️⭐️⭐️Home: A Morganville Vampires Story - Rachel Caine: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Deer Wife - Jennifer McMahon: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Dancer - Kristin Dearborn: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Bless Your Heart - Hillary Monahan: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Debt - Anita Ahlborn: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Toil and Trouble: A Dark-Hunter Hellchaser Story - Sherrilyn Kenyon & Madaug Kenyon: ⭐️⭐️⭐️Last Stop on Route Nine - Tananarive Due: ⭐️⭐️⭐️Where Relics Go to Dream and Die - Rachel Autumn Deering: ⭐️⭐️⭐️This Skin - Amber Benson: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Haint Me Too - Chesya Burke: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Nekrolog - Helen Marshall: ⭐️Gold Among The Black - Alma Katsu : ⭐️⭐️⭐️How To Become a Witch-Queen - Theodora Goss: ⭐️⭐️
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  • Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    With October come the witches, and I could not be happier.A gorgeously evocative anthology filled with women of all different kinds. The narrators of the stories are not always witches, but there's always a whisper of magic somewhere. A perfect anthology for the witching month. > An Invitation to a Burning - Kat Howard (4 stars)A really short short story. Perhaps the length means some things don’t make sense, but perhaps that’s the magic of the story.> Widows' Walk - Angela Slatter (4 stars)/>> With October come the witches, and I could not be happier.A gorgeously evocative anthology filled with women of all different kinds. The narrators of the stories are not always witches, but there's always a whisper of magic somewhere. A perfect anthology for the witching month. > An Invitation to a Burning - Kat Howard (4 stars)A really short short story. Perhaps the length means some things don’t make sense, but perhaps that’s the magic of the story.> Widows' Walk - Angela Slatter (4 stars)This one would work not just as a short story, but a novel too. But the short story format doesn't restrict it - I found the story and characters all very fleshed out, and I enjoyed it. Will be looking further into Slatter's works> Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story - Kelley Armstrong (N/A)I'm never sure about short stories in anthologies that rely on worldbuilding and characters established in a book series. For me, short story anthologies are ideally filled with stories that stand alone and don't feel like a prologue or spin off to another book. There have been exceptions, but generally I'm not fond of them and this one is no different. > The Night Nurse - Sara Langan (N/A)This one was just too long for my taste, and I wasn't entirely invested. The idea was interesting indeed and I did like the ending, though I also speed-read the entire thing.> The Memories of Trees - Mary SanGiovanni (3.5 stars)A dystopian short story set in our world's future. It got pretty strange at the end. Overall, I did like it.> Home: A Morganvilles Vampires Story - Rachel Caine (N/A)Oh, no. Again, I couldn't connect to this one/the content within it because I don't really have any prior knowledge of the series at all? I ended up skipping most of it.> The Deer Wife - Jennifer McMahon (4.5 stars)One of my faves in this collection, it's a spin on the 'witch in the woods' trope. I loved it, especially because of the dynamic between the heroine and the witch. I felt the setting worked well too.> The Dancer - Kristin Dearborn (4 stars)Lovely prose, unusual but good story. Vague, but in a good way? Also set in Vermont, and you can't get better than Vermont. > Bless Your Heart - Hillary Monahan (3.5 stars)A mother seeks revenge for her bullied son. I liked the interpretation of the 'witch' theme here.> The Debt - Ania Ahlborn (4 stars)A gorgeously written tale inspired by Hansel & Gretel (or so I think) intertwined with Polish forests. Will certainly be looking into Ahlborn’s other works!> Toil & Trouble: A Dark-Hunter Hellchaser Story - Sherrilyn Kenyon & Madaug Kenyon (N/A)I couldn’t connect with the writing style at all in this one in addition to feeling like I was missing context, so I skipped ahead. > Last Stop on Route Nine -Tananarive Due (4 stars)This gave me the proper spooks! On the way to a funeral, two kids somehow drive onto a road which doesn’t actually exist and is haunted by a witch. > Where Relics Go to Dream and Die - Rachel Autumn Deering (4 stars)Though this story is a little harder to wrap your head around, I really enjoyed the writing style!> This Skin - Amber Benson (4 stars)An interesting one, to be sure, with an open ending that leaves readers questioning. I really enjoy unreliable narrators. > Haint Me Too - Chesya Burke (3.5 stars)A house is haunted by a wronged woman, and a black family throws off the yoke that a wealthy white family has put on them.> The Nekrolog - Helen Marshall (4 stars)This one was really unique, influenced by the historical events of the Soviet testing of children for psychic abilities. > Gold Among the Black - Alma Katsu (4 stars)A light reworking of Beauty & the Beast, I would say, but it stands in its own right. > How to Become a Witch-Queen - Theodoroa Goss (4.5 stars)A beautifully written finale to the anthology, featuring a grown-up Snow White. I've always thought Goss a great writer of short stories, and this proves it. I loved the use of second person and the feminist themes of claiming independence and power.Thank you Titan Books for the review copy!
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  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    This is just... everything I need out of an anthology? Wow. So excited for this.
  • Sophie (Blame Chocolate) *on hiatus*
    January 1, 1970
    Read the full review and more at Blame Chocolate.🔮 A big thank you to Titan Books for the review copy. This has not influenced my opinion in any way. 🔮I absolutely loved Hex Life, despite the couple odd stories I didn’t particularly care for.It had amazing feminist energy, brilliantly fleshed-out characters, powerful endings, super original premises, and all of them managed to offer such unique takes on witchcraft.The authors were able to blend contemporary social themes with old school paranormal so brilliantly, I was in awe. There was Read the full review and more at Blame Chocolate.🔮 A big thank you to Titan Books for the review copy. This has not influenced my opinion in any way. 🔮I absolutely loved Hex Life, despite the couple odd stories I didn’t particularly care for.It had amazing feminist energy, brilliantly fleshed-out characters, powerful endings, super original premises, and all of them managed to offer such unique takes on witchcraft.The authors were able to blend contemporary social themes with old school paranormal so brilliantly, I was in awe. There was also significant LGBT and POC representation, which was a really pleasant surprise.If you love feminist witches, horror stories, and fairytale retellings, be sure to check this (massive) collection out – it’ll make all your Halloween dreams come true!Blog 🍫 Goodreads 🍫 Twitter 🍫 Instagram 🍫 Pinterest 🍫 Tumblr 🍫 Bloglovin'
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  • Michael Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    My review of HEX LIFE: WICKED NEW TALES OF WITCHERY can be found at High Fever Books.Some anthology editors out there don’t feel it’s their job to seek out, or perhaps don’t believe it’s important enough to find, diverse voices for their books, relying instead on a stable of old reliable white men whose names routinely appear on multiple tables of contents each year. And then there’s editors like Amber Fallon, whose all-women roster for Fright Into Flight came about in direct response to Stephen King My review of HEX LIFE: WICKED NEW TALES OF WITCHERY can be found at High Fever Books.Some anthology editors out there don’t feel it’s their job to seek out, or perhaps don’t believe it’s important enough to find, diverse voices for their books, relying instead on a stable of old reliable white men whose names routinely appear on multiple tables of contents each year. And then there’s editors like Amber Fallon, whose all-women roster for Fright Into Flight came about in direct response to Stephen King’s all-male anthology of largely (and widely) reprinted stories for Flight or Fright, and Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering who give us here eighteen brand new stories about witches and witchcraft in a women’s-only table of contents. Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery is a great collection, and the stories themselves are as diverse as the voices represented within. There’s a good amount of elasticity in the concept of witches and witchery and the authors here give us contemporary tales of urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic witch burnings, historical dramas, noir, slow burn horror, and revenge. Whatever your preferred mode of magic, odds are you’ll find something to satisfy. I was quite pleased at the organization of this book, too. No two consecutive stories are alike, and Golden and Deering assembled this antho in such a way that each successive narrative is different enough from the preceding effort that it really keeps things fresh and makes you wonder what’s up next. It’s a nicely unpredictable read.Kat Howard kicks off the anthology with a short story about Merrinvale, a town that needed witches, even if the locals don’t exactly want to admit it and take pains at eliminating these women. Kelley Armstrong delivers a really fun PI-styled story involving a recovered grimoire and a double-crossing client. Sarah Langan issues a slow-burn horror about the stress of motherhood colliding with witchcraft in “The Night Nurse,” and good lord is it ever effective. She does a sublime job nailing that sense of creeping dread and growing paranoia.One of my early favorites, though, came from Mary SanGiovanni. She’s a wonderful author that made her way onto my own personal Must Read list with her cosmic horror book, Chills, a few years back. I rather expected her to deliver in a big way here, and I wasn’t the least bit disappointed. “The Memories of Trees” is a really cool near-future, post-apocalyptic story where witch trials are all the rage again. The woods hold far older secrets, though, and SanGiovanni does a wonderful job playing up the aspects of ancient paganism. I loved this one!Another standout came in Hillary Monahan’s “Bless Your Heart.” A mother fed-up with the bullying of her gay son by her town's supposedly-Christian neighbors takes matters into her own hands. Of course, we get a nice little spin on what this entails since Mom is a descendant of a swamp witch. This one had one hell of a damn fantastic ending that was supremely satisfying to read, and gave me a few jitters, too. Ania Ahlborn serves up a Grimm-like fairy tale about a young girl lost in the woods in “The Debt,” and while Tananarive Due covers a similar concept of youths lost in the woods, “Last Stop on Route Nine” couldn’t be more different. I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t read Due’s work previously, but this was a heck of an amazing introduction and I absolutely must read more from her! Her writing is so freaking evocative and she built up an incredibly rich atmosphere of dread that had me on pins and needles. The story’s witchly focus stemmed from racial tensions and animosity in the South, and this socially relevant and timely tale was just superbly told. This was an easy favorite of mine.Rachel Autumn Deering, however, is an author I have read several times in the past and she never fails to impress. She’s an author who just gets better and better with each successive story. “Where Relics Go To Dream and Die” is an excellent work of death and romance, and so eloquently written, too. I’m eager to see what she comes up with next, but this was a nice little fix after her contributions to two of last year’s standout anthologies, Lost Highways and Welcome to the Show. One of the joys of anthologies comes in finishing a story and immediately looking up an author to see what else they’ve done. Such was the case with Chesya Burke, whose “Haint Me Too” had me scrambling to Google and adding her book Let’s Play White to my wishlist. I’m gonna be buying that one soon, and Burke is a fantastic writer whose voice I expect to become a regular staple in my reading diet. In terms of introducing me to several new writers, or at least giving me an opportunity to finally read some I’ve been meaning to make time for, Hex Life is a definite win. I was a bit surprised, even, at just how much I ended up enjoying this book as a whole, although I’m not quite sure why that is. Editors Golden and Deering are wonderful storytellers in their own rights, and Hex Life had several talents involved that I knew would meet or even exceed expectations. A few of the stories were a bit too cozy for my tastes, while some others were just a bit shy of the mark for me, but overall this was a really rewarding read. It’s always good to see strong women at the forefront, in both the table of contents and in the narratives themselves, and Hex Life wins big in both regards. Even better, I’ve now got some new novels in my TBR pile that might not have been there otherwise, and that’s a special magic all its own.
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  • Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 StarsI loved the premise of this anthology so much, especially with an all-female group of authors. However, these stories did not end up working for me because I rarely enjoy urban fantasy. My favourite story in the collection was An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard.This story was haunting and spooky, which is what I wanted from the rest of the collection. If you love urban fantasy, you will hopefully like this one a lot more than I did.
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  • julia ☆ [owls reads]
    January 1, 1970
    An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard: ★★★★☆ | Brief story with a creepy atmosphere and a really cool take on witches and witchy gatherings.Widows' Walk by Angela Slatter: ★★★★☆ | Great world-building in only a few short pages! And the twist at the end is amazing.Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story by Kelley Armstrong: ★★☆☆☆ | I'm not really familiar with Otherworld, so this feels disconnected to me. It also doesn't have an ending.The Memories of Trees by Mary SanGiovanni: ★☆☆☆☆ | Pretty creepy,/>The/>Black/>Widows' An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard: ★★★★☆ | Brief story with a creepy atmosphere and a really cool take on witches and witchy gatherings.Widows' Walk by Angela Slatter: ★★★★☆ | Great world-building in only a few short pages! And the twist at the end is amazing.Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story by Kelley Armstrong: ★★☆☆☆ | I'm not really familiar with Otherworld, so this feels disconnected to me. It also doesn't have an ending.The Memories of Trees by Mary SanGiovanni: ★☆☆☆☆ | Pretty creepy, but it focuses too much on childcare instead of magic. Plus, the ending is super weird.Home: A Morganville Vampires Story by Rachel Caine: ★★★★☆ | Great glimpse at Shane's future! All the main players are back and happy. The ending is super campy, but that's Morganville for you.The Deer Wife by Jennifer McMahon: ★★★★★ | I love the set up of the Witch in the Woods! It gives the story an eerie atmosphere that works really well with the wlw romance.The Dancer by Kristin Dearborn: ★★★☆☆ | Quick and tense read with some explicit and implied scenes of abuse. The narrator is super intriguing!Bless Your Heart by Hillary Monahan: ★★★★★ | I, too, would curse homophobic assholes. It's what they deserve.The Debt by Ania Ahlborn: ★★★★★ | I was waiting for Baba Yaga! Really tense story and I 100% resent Karolin's dad forever.Toil & Trouble: A Dark-Hunter Hellchaser Story by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Madaug Kenyon: ★☆☆☆☆ | I really didn't like the writing style. I also quit Dark-Hunter about 3 books ago, so.Last Stop on Route Nine by Tananarive Due: ★★★☆☆ | Kind of scary? And shows we should always listen to kids when it comes to spooky stuff.Where Relics Go to Dream and Die by Rachel Autumn Deering: ★★★☆☆ | This is so???? weird???? But it has a really interesting world-building.This Skin by Amber Benson: ★★★★★ | Creepy murder children always make for good and creepy stories. Especially when they realize they can get away with things.Haint Me Too by Chesya Burke: ★★★★☆ | Empowerment comes in many different forms. Some of them are witches and ghosts.The Nekrolog by Helen Marshall: ★☆☆☆☆ | This is just way too confusing to follow and comprehend. At least to me.Gold Among the Black by Alma Katsu: ★★★★★ | I love the premise and the execution of this and I also want a Jesper, please!How to Become a Witch-Queen by Theodora Goss: ★★★★★ | My absolute favorite story from the anthology! Wonderful take on Snow White that takes a look at her future in a pretty unique and intriguing form.
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  •  Vanessa B. ☽♡
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this anthology! Perfect for this season, filled with dark and whimsical tales and an atmosphere mysterious and eerie! There were a couple of stories such as "Night Nurse" I found kind of disturbing and some others, like "The Deer Wife" that were perfectly magical! I am pretty sure this is going to be a seasonal re-read for me!ps. How great it would be to have different anthologies for every season. Autumn is more mysterious and eerie, summer could be for romance, winte I really liked this anthology! Perfect for this season, filled with dark and whimsical tales and an atmosphere mysterious and eerie! There were a couple of stories such as "Night Nurse" I found kind of disturbing and some others, like "The Deer Wife" that were perfectly magical! I am pretty sure this is going to be a seasonal re-read for me!ps. How great it would be to have different anthologies for every season. Autumn is more mysterious and eerie, summer could be for romance, winter more dark etc.. with elements from different mythologies and folklore! You read it here first!
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  • Clara
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely perfect for the season! 🎃🦇🔮🍂
  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    This it the best anthology I have read so far. Seriously, I devoured this book, even if I didn't love every single tale, which isn't surprising: this book is a collection of 18 different stories by 18 different authors, so of course there are ones I loved and ones I didn't. However, not a bad one in my opinion: I'd rate each of those witchy tales between 3 and 5 stars. Not less. Witches lovers will all find something they like in this book and each tale was written by a woman: no man writing abo This it the best anthology I have read so far. Seriously, I devoured this book, even if I didn't love every single tale, which isn't surprising: this book is a collection of 18 different stories by 18 different authors, so of course there are ones I loved and ones I didn't. However, not a bad one in my opinion: I'd rate each of those witchy tales between 3 and 5 stars. Not less. Witches lovers will all find something they like in this book and each tale was written by a woman: no man writing about female characters here, you'll only find women's perspective which makes it a perfect feminist October read.My top stories among those 18 tales are Widows' Walk by Angela Slatter (I would love to read an entire novel around this story), The Night Nurse by Sarah Langan, The Deer Wife by Jennifer McMahon (which made me want to read her novels even more), The Debt by Ania Ahlborn (I already read two of her novels and was looking forward to her story the most!), Last Stop on Route Nine by Tananarive Due (really spooky), How to Become a Witch-Queen by Theodora Goss (perfect ending for this anthology and great feminist novella, well done). I absolutely loved those six tales.I also really liked many of the others, of course: An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard was a perfect first story for this anthology, although a little short for me. The Memories of Trees by Mary SanGiovanni is set in the future which can be a disaster with me, but worked very well here. The Dancer by Kristin Dearborn was beautiful. In Bless Your Heart by Hillary Monahan, you meet a woman whose son is the victim of bullying. Where Relics Go to Dream and Die by Rachel Autumn Deering and The Nekrolog by Helen Marshall might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoyed them. Gold Among the Black by Alma Katsu was really interesting in its theme and for every witch who would pick a dog over a cat (aka not me) ;) Haint Me Too by Chesya Burke is pretty good too, although I didn't love it as much as the ones previously mentioned.There are only 3 stories that didn't work well with me: Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story by Kelley Armstrong and Home: A Morganvilles Vampires Story by Rachel Caine weren't bad stories (there isn't a bad story in this book), but I don't know how I'm supposed to get invested in stories where the world and the characters belong to a book series I haven't read. Yes, you can still read them, but I just don't get the interest of not writing an original story independent from your book series considering people buying this anthology obviously haven't all read it. As for Toil & Trouble: A Dark-Hunter Hellchaser Story by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Madaug Kenyon, it wasn't bad either and this time it's not book series related, but I couldn't get invested either. It's too bad, because honestly I would have rounded up my rating otherwise and given it 5 stars.I hope I haven't forgotten anything... Let's see: 6 favorites, 8 I also loved and 3 I didn't love. That's it, the 18 tales... No?... Are you sure?...Of course not, because there's also This Skin by Amber Benson who played Tara Maclay in Buffy the Vampire Slayer aka the best show ever! When I saw this, I knew I wouldn't be able to say her story was bad even if I didn't like it. Since I like honest reviews, I guess it's a good thing that her story is one of those I really liked. So 9 and not 8 stories ;)Happy reading witches! 🔮
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  • Tilly
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars This was such a great book of short stories about witches and witchcraft from some amazing authors.I love a short story and fantasy so when I saw this book, I was immediately excited and it did not let me down.With stories from 2 of my favourite authors Kelley Armstrong and Rachel Caine and 16 other writers, I had high hopes! There were about 2 stories that I didnt really enjoy and a few that had me terrified!!! I like the inbetween stories and even more loved the stories whe 4 stars This was such a great book of short stories about witches and witchcraft from some amazing authors.I love a short story and fantasy so when I saw this book, I was immediately excited and it did not let me down.With stories from 2 of my favourite authors Kelley Armstrong and Rachel Caine and 16 other writers, I had high hopes! There were about 2 stories that I didnt really enjoy and a few that had me terrified!!! I like the inbetween stories and even more loved the stories where the witches did some good. Whatever you love about witches, there will be a story for you!Thank you to Titan Books for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kristi
    January 1, 1970
    Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery is a collection of stories from a diverse group of amazing female writers! Every story in this anthology brought something powerful and meaningful despite the nature of the tale, good or evil. Some writers explored the sisterhood of women and the empowerment of defying the leaders that are threatened by them. Some brought a terrifying view of witches embodying the traditional view that all witches are evil and in league with the devil. In contrast, others b Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery is a collection of stories from a diverse group of amazing female writers! Every story in this anthology brought something powerful and meaningful despite the nature of the tale, good or evil. Some writers explored the sisterhood of women and the empowerment of defying the leaders that are threatened by them. Some brought a terrifying view of witches embodying the traditional view that all witches are evil and in league with the devil. In contrast, others brought the beauty and magic of being in tune with nature and using the elements around them to shape the outcome of things that are unjust. Some brought back favorite characters from series that are well-known and beloved.Regardless of the story or it’s content, one thing is certain and that is that each story in this book is a worthwhile read by a group of exceptionally gifted writers.
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  • Runalong
    January 1, 1970
    If you’re looking for some Halloween reads you can’t go wrong with this excellent tale of witches both good bad and dangerous to know. Brilliant collection of authors assembled too! Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...
  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up an ARC of Hex Life at ALA Annual this past June and was super excited because I LOVE witches. I love sweet homey witches that take in unloved and neglected children, I love vengeful witches that will as soon burn ya to the ground as look at you, I love Shakespeare's witches from Macbeth. I love'em all. I just think witches are great because they encompass such a wide range of what it means to have magic and this anthology manages to capture that range. The first two stories in the bo I picked up an ARC of Hex Life at ALA Annual this past June and was super excited because I LOVE witches. I love sweet homey witches that take in unloved and neglected children, I love vengeful witches that will as soon burn ya to the ground as look at you, I love Shakespeare's witches from Macbeth. I love'em all. I just think witches are great because they encompass such a wide range of what it means to have magic and this anthology manages to capture that range. The first two stories in the book "An Invitation to a Burning" by Kat Howard and "Widows's Walk" by Angela Slatter were probably my two favorite from the series. Kelley Armstrong's "Black Magic Momma" means I'll be bumping the Otherworld series up to the top of my TBR. "Night Nurse" by Sarah Langan reminds me of Victor Lavalle's THE CHANGELING in the best possible ways. And that's just the first handful of stories you'll read. I love an anthology and I love witches so this was an easy win for me and I think it will be a good read for anyone who enjoys stories of magic.
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I have always been transfixed by society. At first maybe you're drawn to how delightfully wicked they seem - especially what we see in the media. But as I've grown up, I've been more and more fascinated because of what they represent. These women, scapegoated and persecuted, threatened the societal order around us. They represent a community's fears and doubts. Hex Life is thrilli (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I have always been transfixed by society. At first maybe you're drawn to how delightfully wicked they seem - especially what we see in the media. But as I've grown up, I've been more and more fascinated because of what they represent. These women, scapegoated and persecuted, threatened the societal order around us. They represent a community's fears and doubts. Hex Life is thrilling in how the authors explore and dive into this space.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    A strong female line-up of authors bring a multitude a witchy narratives to life in the timely anthology, Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery. Edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Deering, it is out on October 1st from Titan Books. And it is the perfect Halloween read.Full Review at Novellives.com
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Titan Books, for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.Trigger warnings (that I found): grief, homophobia, death, gore, violence, abuse, bullying, kidnapping, cheating, racism, sexual assault, racist slurs.Rating: 3 stars (overall)This is for sure the perfect Halloween read! If you like creepy and spooky stories about witches and magic, this collection might just be for you!Story 1: An Invitation to a Burning (3 stars)A little too s Thank you, Titan Books, for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.Trigger warnings (that I found): grief, homophobia, death, gore, violence, abuse, bullying, kidnapping, cheating, racism, sexual assault, racist slurs.Rating: 3 stars (overall)This is for sure the perfect Halloween read! If you like creepy and spooky stories about witches and magic, this collection might just be for you!Story 1: An Invitation to a Burning (3 stars)A little too short and forgettable for me. I really liked the writing style though. “An Unkindness of Magicians” has been on my TBR for ages, so I will for sure be picking that one up soon!Story 2: Widow’s Walk (2.75 stars)Interesting concept, but this one didn’t work for me, personally.Story 3: Black Magic Momma (3.75 stars)I really liked the writing style for this one and the plot was very hooking.Story 4: The Night Nurse (DNF)Story 5: The Memories Trees (DNF)Story 6: Home (3 stars)Interesting but a bit confusing. I really loved Myrnin, he was basically the highlight of the whole story for me.Story 7: The Deer Wife (3.75 stars)Really loved the LGBTQ+ rep here. I enjoyed this story overall but I had a few problems with it. I would probably love to read a full-length novel of this.Story 8: The Dancer (3 stars)Overall, I was just confused but oddly hooked and I wish the ending wasn’t open to interpretation.Story 9: Bless Your Heart (DNF)Story 10: The Debt (2.75 stars)Very creepy and atmospheric, but I was very confused.Story 11: Toil & Trouble (2 stars)The writing style wasn’t for me, unfortunately.Story 12: Last Stop on Route Nine (2.5 stars)This one freaked me out, which was obviously the intention but I swear I had nightmares after this.Story 13: Where Relics Go to Dream and Die (1.5 stars)Probably the wackiest and creepiest out of all the stories, this wasn’t really my thing.Story 14: This Skin (1 star)This one was just really troubling. If you like super creepy stuff, this is for you!Story 15: Haint Me Too (2.75 stars)Major triggers for racism and racist slurs.Story 16: The Nekrolog (DNF)I was just a little bored at this point so if something wasn’t grabbing my attention, I DNF’d.Story 17: Gold Among the Black (3.75 stars)I mean, I could for sure read a full-length novel based on this story! I enjoyed it but I found it a little rushed and I wanted to know more.Story 18: How To Become a Witch-Queen (3.75 stars)Very interesting take on “Snow White”. This is another story that would work well as a full-length book!Full review on my blog, link in bio!
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  • Kirsty Stanley
    January 1, 1970
    4.75 stars overallHex Life is a masterful anthology of eighteen tales of witches. A mix of creepy, kind, feminist and vengeful. Some are even set in their authors’ existing worlds - although these tales stand alone for those, like me, who haven’t previously read their work.I just want to highlight one of the tales from Hex Life, though it’s hard to pick a favourite with a collection this strong - and beautiful. Look at that detail! Widow’s Walk By Angel Slatter gave 4.75 stars overallHex Life is a masterful anthology of eighteen tales of witches. A mix of creepy, kind, feminist and vengeful. Some are even set in their authors’ existing worlds - although these tales stand alone for those, like me, who haven’t previously read their work.I just want to highlight one of the tales from Hex Life, though it’s hard to pick a favourite with a collection this strong - and beautiful. Look at that detail! Widow’s Walk By Angel Slatter gave me Practical Magic’s “aunties” feels with the elderly witchy residents taking wayward young women into the fold. It twists tropes and has a purrfect ending. A huge thanks to Titan for the gifted copy hardback copy of Hex life.An Invitation to a Burning - Kat Howard - 5 stars Widow’s Walk - Angela Slatter - 5 stars Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story - Kelley Armstrong - 5 starsThe Night Nurse - Sarah Langan - 5 The Memories of Trees - Mary SanGiovanni - 4.5Home: A Morganville Vampires Story - Rachel Caine - 5The Deer Wife - Jennifer McMahon - 5The Dancer - Kristin Dearborn - 5Bless Your Heart - Hillary Monahan - 5The Debt - Ania Ahlborn - 5Toil & Trouble: A Dark-Hunter -Hellchaser Story - Sherrilyn Kenyon & Madaug Kenyon - 5Last Stop on Route Nine - Tananarive Due - 5 Where Relics Go to Dream and Die - Rachel Autumn Deering - 4.5 This Skin - Amber Benson - 4.5Haint Me Too - Chesya Burke - 4The Nekrolog - Helen Marshall - 3.75Gold Among the Black - Alma Katsu - 4How to Become a Witch-Queen - Theodora Goss - 5
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    A collection of short stories, all with witches as their central theme. Some are 'good' witches, others are more akin to those from the traditional fairy tales. I usually find anthologies to be a bit hit and miss but this was all hit for me. Perfect read for the month of October.
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  • Zoe Radley
    January 1, 1970
    Hmmm soo there were a few good stories.... but the vast majority were absolutely awful. Slow, dull and dare I say it shite. Also a few were rude and not in a good way and some felt almost hostile towards certain people . If you want to read terrible horror here it is for you in one book by authors who really should write better.
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  • Maggie May
    January 1, 1970
    A truly excellent collection of stories all with varied perspectives on the character of the witch. An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard is a beautiful story and the perfect beginning for the book. Widow’s Walk by Angela Slatter is my favorite of the works. The stories by Hilary Monahan and Tananarive Due were highlights as well. I didn’t love the inclusion of stories from ongoing series, but I am sure they will be fun for fans of those series to read. Recommended for everyone because I can’ A truly excellent collection of stories all with varied perspectives on the character of the witch. An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard is a beautiful story and the perfect beginning for the book. Widow’s Walk by Angela Slatter is my favorite of the works. The stories by Hilary Monahan and Tananarive Due were highlights as well. I didn’t love the inclusion of stories from ongoing series, but I am sure they will be fun for fans of those series to read. Recommended for everyone because I can’t imagine anyone who couldn’t find at least one story they love in this anthology.
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  • David Harris
    January 1, 1970
    I'm grateful to Titan Books for an advance reading copy of Hex Life to consider for review.With Autumn coming and you-know-what due at the end of the month (no, I'm not talking about Brexit) it's time for a bit of witchy magic, don't you think? And here to oblige is Titan bringing another of the themed anthologies which they've been on strong form with lately.The subject is witchcraft in all its glory and horror. Here is a fantastic spread of stories by a whole gathering I'm grateful to Titan Books for an advance reading copy of Hex Life to consider for review.With Autumn coming and you-know-what due at the end of the month (no, I'm not talking about Brexit) it's time for a bit of witchy magic, don't you think? And here to oblige is Titan bringing another of the themed anthologies which they've been on strong form with lately.The subject is witchcraft in all its glory and horror. Here is a fantastic spread of stories by a whole gathering of (almost entirely) women writing at the top of their game. What do we think of witches witchcraft? It's a contradictory and tricksy subject, taking in the traditional, menacing stereotype and more recent attempts to reclaim it as a spiritual practice. Either way there seems something intrinsically liminal here - whether as a tool and resort of the marginalised, a hidden sisterhood or a countercultural force. So, a fitting subject for an anthology, allowing a diversity of voices and themes. These stories cover a whole range from evocations of traditional, fairy-tale witchery to urban fantasy variants to stories of revenge, modern life with a little magic, and even the dystopian future. Truly you can find witches everywhere!Reading this volume is also a great way to taste the work of a diverse group of writers, hopefully to follow up with their other output (some of these stories are set in the authors' wider fictional worlds, others are standalone) and to sample a range of genres (witchcraft doesn't have to equate to horror - though it certainly can!)In the first story, An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard, it is Sage who receives the invitation, in Merrinvale, a town that 'burned its witches, when it found them'. You'd expect an anthology like this to survey not only the powers of witches but their potential fate, wouldn't you?Widows' Walk, in contrast, by Angela Slatter, looks at a group of widows who are much more integrated into their community (even if some people do cross the street rather than pass their house). The four women that this story centres on perform various services for their neighbours, even some that are, maybe, not strictly natural - but how will they respond when a young woman is caught stealing their milk?Kelley Armstrong's Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story is distinct again, more of a classic urban fantasy in which single mother Eve supports her daughter by trading in dodgy magical artefacts and spell books, crossing the paths of various supernatural and natural enemies. It's almost hard-boiled, a fast paced and twisty tale which was great fun to read, packing a lot into a few pages.The Night Nurse by Sarah Langan is more sinister. Esme is a desperate young New York mother who just given birth for the third time. Her career on hold, her nights sleepless, her husband high-earning but often absent and definitely unwilling to do his share of the feeding at 2am, she gratefully accepts the help of "Night Nurse" Wendy who has her own medications and ways with the kids. This story genuinely unsettled, leaving that residue of unease that characterises classic horror.Stories about witches don't have to be confined to the present, or the mediaeval past as Mary SanGiovanni shows in The Memories of Trees - which opens in a very traditional way but then swerves into a post-apocalyptic future where the fear and hatred roused by the catastrophe is channeled, as ever at women on the margins. A particular;arly sharp story, I felt, at the present time.Rachel Caine's Home: A Morganville Vampires Story brings a witchy element into her wider universe - why would the vampires be so afraid of a single woman? Here the witch is playing her familiar as a threat to the established order, but what is she really after? An intriguing episode which will I'm sure gain resonance from familiar characters.The Deer Wife by Jennifer McMahon recognises that the word "witch" may be applied to figures across cultures and she produces a wonderful blend of the Northern European tradition - a woman in a remote hut in the forest - with something more rooted in her North American locale - shapeshifting and an ease with the wildness of the forest (rather than it being a dark menace). Transgressive in several different ways, this rather sweet story was another of my favourites here.Kristin Dearborn's story The Dancer seemed at the start to be another tinged with urban fantasy, as Paul Baker, who seems to be a supernatural trouble shooter of sorts, drives to meet a new client. But it turns into so much, exploring themes of anorexia and familial abuse - and ending on a genuinely ambiguous note,Bless Your Heart by Hillary Monahan also touches on some very modern issues as single mother Audrey tries to protect her son, Tucker, who 'preferred barbies to GI Joe and crafts to sports' from endless years of homophobic bully, encouraged, or at least tacitly endorsed, by the mother of the chief offender who - rather than take her own son in hand - business herself having library books 'challenged' and pursuing other illiberal causes. A fairly simple story of revenge, I found Bless Your Heart very cathartic!The next story, The Debt, is much darker. Ania Ahlborn takes us back into the woods - the deep, primeval woods of Poland where mushrooms grow from shallow buried corpses, the last wild bison roam, and one could believe in an ancient witch living in hut on fowls' legs... This is a story that will stay a long time in my mind. Also dark is Toil & Trouble: A Dark Hunter-Hellchaser Story written by Sherrilyn and Madaug Kenyon and I think set in Sherrilyn's wider Dark Hunter universe. Drawing on Shakesperian elements (MacBeth's witches) this unpicks the correspondence between those 'secret, black and midnight hags' who became so characteristic of what we imagineer witches to be and the three Fates.Last Stop on Route Nine by Tananarive Due is another story that engages with recent history, explicitly drawing on the recent treatment of people of colour in the US South. Ideas of curses, disappearances and random, hateful attacks gain an even sharper edge when mixed up with hauntings and magic. This story has a real sense of enduring evil, making the point that witchcraft is not always a resort of the oppressed but can also be made into a tool of the powerful. Another of my favourites (if that's the right word for something so grim!) Haint Me Too by Chesya Burke has similarities - in its theme of racism and privilege - but is set in an earlier, even more violent time and here in contrast the witchcraft is something of a refuge for the downtrodden - if a slippery and tricky one, ever prone to blow back.Rachel Autumn Deering's Where Relics Go to Dream and Die is something of a love story, which while dark in places was rather sweet in its overall effect, the witchcraft here serving both to hurt and help. A nice story.This Skin by Amber Benson describes what happens following a multiple murder. It's unusual in this book in that the witchcraft is implied, perhaps uncertain: we have different explanations for what's happened and perhaps an unreliable narrator. What really did happen in the gym?Helen Marshall's The Nekrolog is a lovely and tender story about the lives of two cousins, one living in Canada, the other in Ukraine, whose families have lived through tumultuous events (there are some well observed glimpses of the uncertainty that comes form living a life in exile). The cousins suffer various tribulations, and share some significant moments with one another - but something is not quite as it seems... the thrust of this story is not primarily "witchy" although that turns out to be a ket ingredient, but it's a lovely piece on the lives of women. Another odd my favourites in this collection.Alma Katsu's story Gold Among the Black is about a girl and her dog. And that's all I am going to say. It is a very short story and I don't want to give away anything.The final story in the book, How to Become a Witch-Queen by Theodora Goss, gives us not only two rather magnificent witches but effectively hacks into one of THE classic fairy stories to tell us what happened next and whether "she lived happily ever after" (spoiler: she didn't, but she did well enough for herself). See if you spot which one is behind this. Goss has, though, written a cracker of a tale to round off this engaging and deeply readable collection.In short I'd strongly recommend Hex Life and that date in October coming, it wold make an excellent present for many witch-minded friends.
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  • Jordan
    January 1, 1970
    Let's just say that I need to stop reading anthologies. I never really enjoy them and this one was no exception.An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard - 3.5 stars - I think I would have enjoyed this one a lot more if it had been a bit longer. The writing was really good and I was intrigued by the story, but you can't really get much from nine pages.Widow's Walk by Angela Slatter - 5 stars - I really enjoyed this one! I feel like I could read a whole book about the widows. The writing was fantastic/>Widow's/>An Let's just say that I need to stop reading anthologies. I never really enjoy them and this one was no exception.An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard - 3.5 stars - I think I would have enjoyed this one a lot more if it had been a bit longer. The writing was really good and I was intrigued by the story, but you can't really get much from nine pages.Widow's Walk by Angela Slatter - 5 stars - I really enjoyed this one! I feel like I could read a whole book about the widows. The writing was fantastic and I'll have to look into Slatter's other works.Black Magic Momma by Kelley Armstrong - 2 stars - I wasn't a big fan of this story mostly because it takes place in a setting with characters that the author has a series centered around. Having never read that series, I didn't understand what was happening and it seemed like a waste of my time. The Night Nurse by Sarah Langan - 3 stars - This one was okay. It was a bit too long for my taste and it was interesting, but the ending was so confusing. It had good potential, I'm just not sure if the execution was great.The Memories of Trees by Mary SanGiovanni - 2.5 stars - I'm not really sure how I feel about this one. The ending, and I mean the very last page or so, was good, but the rest was a bit weird. I'm not a fan of the post-apocalyptic setting and the magic/witches weren't explained very well. I'm just confused really.Home by Rachel Caine - 2 stars - This was also a story from a series that the author has written that I have not read. I had no clue what was happening, but I managed to finish it! The writing wasn't that great and the story in general was lacking something. The Deer Wife by Jennifer McMahon - 4 star - I really enjoyed McMahon's writing and that's why I enjoyed this story. The plot was interesting, but I think I would have preferred it had it been a bit longer.The Dancer by Kristin Dearborn - 3.5 stars - Interesting concept and the writing wasn't bad. I just wish there was bit more explanation for everything. The ending was a bit shocking and depressing though.Bless Your Heart by Hillary Monahan - 4 stars - This was really good, but it didn't really blow me away. There was nothing wrong with it. The writing, the plot, and the characters were good, but nothing wowed me.The Debt by Ania Ahlborn - 2 stars - This story was pretty meh. There wasn't much to the story and I didn't really care about what happened. Toil & Trouble by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Madaug Kenyon - N/A - I didn't even bother to read this one. I'm really tire of seeing stories that belong to a series.Last Stop on Route Nine by Tananarive Due - 2 stars - This story definitely had potential, but it didn't really live up to it. I think I would have preferred it a bit more had we gotten more of the witches' backgrounds or a least a bit more explanation. I get that the main witch was extremely racist and that's why she cursed the main characters, but I didn't understand her magic/curse at all.Where Relics Go to Dream and Die by Rachel Autumn Deering - 1 star - I didn't understand this story in the least bit.This Skin by Amber Benson - 3 stars - This one was very interesting. I just wish we got further into the mind of the main character.Haint Me Too by Chesya Burke - 2.5 stars - Again, there was a good premise, but it wasn't explained very well. I understood the things that were happening in the town, but not the witchy/paranormal aspect.The Nekrolog by Helen Marshall - 3 stars - This was really good until it got to the last perspective. I feel like it would have been better if it was a ghost story rather than a witch story, but of course that wouldn't have worked with this anthology.Gold Among the Black by Alma Katsu - 3.5 stars - This one was good, but I felt as if the witchiness should have been a bit more upfront.How to Become a Witch-Queen by Theodora Goss - 3 stars - I love that this is a Snow White retelling. However, it was a bit too long.2.75 stars rounded up
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book via my Night Worms subscription box under their "Hex Education" October 2019 package. It could not have been more fitting! It was witchy, dark, and rich. I loved all of the stories, but here are the ones I liked the best:"Widows' Walk" by Angela Slatter - This reminded me of the movie "Practical Magic" in a wonderful way. It made me wish I could live under the wings of a trio of crones as fun and warm as the ladies in this story are."The Night Nurse" I received this book via my Night Worms subscription box under their "Hex Education" October 2019 package. It could not have been more fitting! It was witchy, dark, and rich. I loved all of the stories, but here are the ones I liked the best:"Widows' Walk" by Angela Slatter - This reminded me of the movie "Practical Magic" in a wonderful way. It made me wish I could live under the wings of a trio of crones as fun and warm as the ladies in this story are."The Night Nurse" by Sarah Langan - A weird and dark tale about a night nurse who is seemingly helpful to mothers who feel overwhelmed with their lives, children, and lack of sleep. The ambiguity of the ending left me wondering if the night nurse was a blessing or a curse, depending on who she came across. The narrator's voice is so like people I know that I slipped in and out of this story like a warm bathrobe, in spite of the iniquity present."The Memories of Trees" by Mary SanGiovanni - What a fantastically witchy tale. I felt like I was tossed into Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, but with real pantheistic witches, instead of just women being attacked and perhaps ALL wrongly accused. It was very magical, and also sad. It made me wish I could talk to trees and have them as very real allies."The Deer Wife" by Jennifer McMahon - This had a strong fairy-tale feeling to it. I enjoyed the love story and the magic of the whole thing. It holds such intrigue to me as we all wish we could turn into something we are not and be with the one we truly love. The deer part was great because usually people discuss a shift into predators rather than prey, so it gave a different perspective than other stories."The Debt" by Ania Ahlborn - Another story filled with the magic of fairy tales. This one especially dark. I couldn't believe how much I could relate to the young girl, Karolin, as she found herself mostly panicking and causing anxiety within herself. The difference here was that I am usually blowing things out of proportion, whereas this story explores the concept of your worst anxiety-induced imaginings actually becoming a reality."The Nekrolog" by Helen Marshall - So unique and enthralling. I felt like I was covered in radioactive material once I was done reading it. It was ethereal and yet so painfully real to imagine the girls in question, their 'schooling', and what they were to do once left to their own devices. I had to send a Twitter message to this author to declare my love for this story and how I had also made connections to residential schools in Canada through this work. Very well done."Gold Among Black" by Alma Katsu - A simple and short story that just felt good and right. I know so many people who have loyal and beautiful pets and I am certain they would all love this story and how it ends up."How to Become a Witch-Queen" by Theodora Goss - An amazing take on what happened to Snow White (White-as-Snow as she's called in this story) after she grew up. It is the last story in this anthology and I do not think they could have ended it on a better note. It is a tale of a strong woman wanting to encourage the women in her life to be strong and independent too. Loved it!So I've reviewed 8/18 of the stories in this anthology. But again, I really did enjoy every single one in the book. A wicked October read and I highly recommend this.
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  • A. Luna
    January 1, 1970
    “But magic, when ignored, when forbidden, twists upon itself and becomes strange.”And thus Kat Howard opens up the book, Hex Life, an anthology of stories of witchcraft, wickedness, and goodness. This book is written by women in its entirety with authors such as Mary Sangiovanni, Hilary Monahan, Tananarive Due, Theodora Goss, Chesya Burke and more. This anthology deals with themes of loneliness, self-acceptance, love, magic, womanhood, discrimination, and racism. Intermixed with these them “But magic, when ignored, when forbidden, twists upon itself and becomes strange.”And thus Kat Howard opens up the book, Hex Life, an anthology of stories of witchcraft, wickedness, and goodness. This book is written by women in its entirety with authors such as Mary Sangiovanni, Hilary Monahan, Tananarive Due, Theodora Goss, Chesya Burke and more. This anthology deals with themes of loneliness, self-acceptance, love, magic, womanhood, discrimination, and racism. Intermixed with these themes are tales of loss, of love, of fighting against oppression, of moments of life that are bound to be lost. I loved this book from beginning to end. I’ve always been a lover of magic and witches as their world is wondrous to me.Without being kitschy or tacky, it delivers original tales of witches. These tales don’t subscribe to traditional ideations of witches. We don’t get 18 tales of naked women around a fire, casting spells with a boiling cauldron, or vengeful women who seek the destruction of men. No, we get a wide variety of witches and magic: magic passed down from generation to generation, women who trade power for liberation, magic that is uncontrollable and untamed, magic that is oppressed. The language and the storytelling: all the stories are extraordinary.My definite favorite from this anthology is “Last Stop on Route Nine” by Tananarive Due. The story’s general vibe reminds me of Get Out, Us, and Midsommar. It has a quality of being unsettling and terrifying without outwardly explaining why until the very last second. I truly love Due’s writing. In her tale of witchery, she tackles racism in the south whilst providing a genuinely compelling tale. I was terrified from start to finish. My stomach clenched and I felt scared, something that seldom happens to me with books. I went through the pages at such a fast pace. I simply couldn't get enough. I would love to have a full-length book of this short story, but Due makes excellent use of her space and delivers a horrifyingly beautiful plot in just the perfect way.My second favorite was “Bless Your Heart” by Hillary Monahan. I laughed so much even though it was a sad story, but it's always wondrously cathartic to see someone get their just desserts. This tale reminded me of Como agua para chocolate, a book by Laura Esquivel. It's a book in which the mood the main character cooks in translates into the magic of the food. It’s a similar concept in this book, but instead of romantic love, it centers on motherly love. A mother is fed up with her son, who happens to be gay, being bullied (for years!) and decided to get her revenge. This story is just the right type of wicked.“The Memories of Trees” by Mary SanGiovanni is a sad story of ignorance, but of the earth coming to help. It tells of a deep magic from the earth, one that remembers, one that won't let the innocent die without at least some vengeance. What I love about this one is how the magic is collective. The earth is not just one being. The trees make up the whole of it, and its comes to aid. A bonus of this story is the language used. The writer is skillful for days. It’s written so gorgeously that I nearly cried.Honorable mentions are “The Night Nurse” by Sara Langan and “Widow’s Walk” by Angela Slatter. “The Night Nurse” is a story that has a pleasant build-up but ends in a sharp twist. The ending is not unexpected but it dawns on you with a true sense of horror. “Widow’s Walk” is a sad story with a lovely ending. A story of abuse in which the victim takes control and empowers herself, it truly adds another layer of depth to this book. I honestly loved the stories in which magic (the magic that's generally associated with the dark arts and wickedness) is being used for good, for release. It’s the tone the book needs to be truly successful.The book ends on a lovely note: “How to Become a Witch Queen” by Theodora Goss. It’s a retelling of Snow White. Anyone that has ever wanted Snow White to be an empowered woman will rejoice when reading this. It will satisfy more than the Disney version ever could.I highly recommend this book, especially if you’re a lover of everything witchy and magicky.This book is out for sale on October 1, 2019. You can purchase it on Barnes & Noble.Rating: 5/5 Stars
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  • Istoria Lit
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever imaged what it must be like to hear the tales of a coven of incredible women? Editors Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering have conjured up just that. Inside the pages of Hex Life are a collection of enchanted tales from the pens of eighteen fantastically talented female authors.Within these stories the writers explore not only elements of the occult but also the realities of what it is to be a woman. From motherhood and romance to the sisterhood and shaking off Have you ever imaged what it must be like to hear the tales of a coven of incredible women? Editors Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering have conjured up just that. Inside the pages of Hex Life are a collection of enchanted tales from the pens of eighteen fantastically talented female authors.Within these stories the writers explore not only elements of the occult but also the realities of what it is to be a woman. From motherhood and romance to the sisterhood and shaking off stereotypes, Hex Life gives us glimpses of life from a female point of view.In Widow’s Walk, Angela Slatter introduces us to a witchy version of the ‘Golden Girls’ who live together with their cats in a big old spooky house. We see how collectively their maternal skills coupled with a touch of magical flair can reach out to a young lost soul. This tale shows it takes a lot more than just giving birth to a child to be a mother.Widow’s Walk isn’t the only story to ponder mother hood. An overwhelmed mother of three thinks she finds the answer to all her wishes when she accepts a helping hand in the incredibly creepy story of The Night Nurse by Sarah Langan. It is not long before the young mother starts wondering whether the mysterious night nurse character is everything she seems to be.Jennifer Mcmahon explores the emotions of the human heart in the bewitchingly Sapphic tale of The Deer Wife. Some love affairs are meant to break the mould. In The Dancer, Kirstin Deerborn touches on the pressures of being a teenage girl. Something that Amber Benson, who once played ‘Tara’ in the TV show ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, also touches on when she gives a voice to another young girl in This Skin.Not only are there fresh faery tale retellings written by Ania Ahlborn and Theodora Goss but there are also stories that hand out a more unique interpretation on the dark arts. As readers we take a truly terrifying trip to The Last Stop on Route Nine thanks to the writing genius of Tananarive Due. Chesya Burke gives us a macabre scare as she paints a tale of terror using the dark history of the American south in Haint Me Too.However, if you are looking for a serving of revenge then you are in luck as Hillary Monahan delivers it in abundance in the shape of a mother trying to get to the root cause of the homophobic bullying her son has been made to suffer at school. Revenge really is a dish best served at room temperature and perhaps with a dusting of icing sugar in the sweetly satisfying story called Bless your Heart.These stories and more fill Hex Life with wicked witchcraft inspired tales that have been expertly edited in to this volume by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering.If you are looking for a book to, in the words of Mary Shelley, ‘curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart’ as all good fiction inspired by dark practices should then you should get your hands on a copy of this short story collection.When it arrives it will be time to light some candles and wrap yourself up in a blanket on the sofa then crack the spine and immerse yourself in the pages of Hex Life to enjoy a wickedly witchy night in.
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  • Judith Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted at Chain Interaction Content warnings: sexual assault, violence, eating disorder (there are more so feel free to contact me for more information)Yes, this is a short story collection all themed around witches. It’s practically perfect for anyone looking for some Halloween appropriate reading!As with most collections of this kind this was a mixed bag, there were a few stories I really loved and a couple that weren’t quite it for me. I think that’s the bes Originally posted at Chain Interaction Content warnings: sexual assault, violence, eating disorder (there are more so feel free to contact me for more information)Yes, this is a short story collection all themed around witches. It’s practically perfect for anyone looking for some Halloween appropriate reading!As with most collections of this kind this was a mixed bag, there were a few stories I really loved and a couple that weren’t quite it for me. I think that’s the best thing you can hope for when reviewing something like this, because it pretty much guarantees that this collection will have something for everyone.Because I am a soft (yet stabby) soul, my favourite stories were of course the somewhat less spooky ones. I liked the stories where groups of women got together to fix problems (albeit sometimes by murdering people). The real central theme of this book felt like ‘women getting things sorted’ which I’m here for. There are a lot of quite grim stories within this book, if you don’t like the idea of someone filled with bugs – don’t read (I’m still a bit itchy from that one). There’s also a story that I would not recommend reading if you’re about to have a baby as it was a little horrific – although I think that one had the most beautiful writing so maybe just prepare yourself.I was surprised to find I hadn’t read anything by any of these authors before! I think that’s because I don’t tend to read much paranormal fiction – I like my fantasy to have swords and dragons – but this was a great way to discover some new names. The contributors were diverse which was fabulous and absolutely enriched the offering.If you like short stories or you’re looking for a lot of different approaches to witches then I’d say this is worth reading. This certainly isn’t just a wholesome girl power book – it goes to some weird and scary places – but hey, it’s Halloween.My rating: 3/5 stars (averaging all the stories).I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.Hex Life is available now!
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  • Jackie Cowgill (LanternsJourney)
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! An anthology about witches written by a diverse group of kick ass women. All the stories were unique and enjoyable (they all got between 3-5 stars from me) Some of the stories only got 3 stars because they weren't quite the style I go for, or I didnt fully understand the concept. A few of the stories were more abstract, and not directly about a witch, but spiritual magical things. The stories ranged between spiritual, dark, humorous, modern urban, classic fairytale, modern fai I loved this book! An anthology about witches written by a diverse group of kick ass women. All the stories were unique and enjoyable (they all got between 3-5 stars from me) Some of the stories only got 3 stars because they weren't quite the style I go for, or I didnt fully understand the concept. A few of the stories were more abstract, and not directly about a witch, but spiritual magical things. The stories ranged between spiritual, dark, humorous, modern urban, classic fairytale, modern fairytale, and the last story was a cool reimagining of snow white after the happily ever after. I even found some new favorite authors to try!Here's a list of the authors whose stories I gave 5 stars, in order of appearance in the book: Kat Howard, Angela Slatter, Jennifer McMahon, Hillary Monahan, Ania Ahlborn, Tananarive Due, Chesya Burke, Alma Katsu, and Theodora Goss (so yeah, more than half the book!). I also appreciated the notes I  the back about the authors and their previous works. It makes it easier to look them up so I can read more from them. I will definitely be revisiting this book in the future.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    For those of us with Halloween in our heads year round, HEX LIFE is like a favorite black hoodie. Halloween isn’t the theme of the book, witchcraft is, but I’m sure - with an October release date - it was intended to add to the mesmerizing and spooky feels of the season. There are EIGHTEEN stories in this anthology, so you definitely get your money’s worth. I discovered new favorite authors (who I quickly began following on social media) and I finally got to read a couple of authors that I’ve be For those of us with Halloween in our heads year round, HEX LIFE is like a favorite black hoodie. Halloween isn’t the theme of the book, witchcraft is, but I’m sure - with an October release date - it was intended to add to the mesmerizing and spooky feels of the season. There are EIGHTEEN stories in this anthology, so you definitely get your money’s worth. I discovered new favorite authors (who I quickly began following on social media) and I finally got to read a couple of authors that I’ve been meaning to try out. There wasn’t a single story in this collection that I wouldn’t reread. All were well-written and entertaining. That being said, there were a few (ofc) that resonated a little stronger with me personally. A few of my faves:Scariest. Sucked me in almost instantly: LAST STOP ON ROUTE NINE, Tananarive DueBest twist/most appalling: THE DEBT, Ania AhlbornCreepiest: THE NIGHT NURSE, Sarah LanganMost gratifying. A tie between: THE MEMORIES OF TREES, Mary SanGiovani and BLESS YOUR HEART, Hillary MonahanMost “wish the story hadn’t ended”: THE DEER WIFE, Jennifer McMahonHappy reading.
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  • Doreen
    January 1, 1970
    Oooh, 18 brand new tales of witchcraft from some of the finest female fantasy and horror authors working today? Sign me up!Now some of these stories are set in certain of said authors' established universes, which is super great for fans but can seem daunting for newer readers. For the most part, these stories work well as stand-alones. I was actually really pleased with how easily accessible Home, Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires story, was for me given that I've never read any o Oooh, 18 brand new tales of witchcraft from some of the finest female fantasy and horror authors working today? Sign me up!Now some of these stories are set in certain of said authors' established universes, which is super great for fans but can seem daunting for newer readers. For the most part, these stories work well as stand-alones. I was actually really pleased with how easily accessible Home, Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires story, was for me given that I've never read any of her books. Kelley Armstrong's Black Magic Momma was also a strong addition to her Otherworld universe but honestly, I don't think she's ever written a bad thing in that series. I was also a big fan of Theodora Goss' How To Become A Witch-Queen even as I hesitate to group it with her Victorian-era novels of lady explorers: it's set in a much earlier Europe but still features accurate period detail with a strong dose of Ms Goss' trademark female agency in the retelling of familiar tales.That said, the best stories in this volume were, for me, the ones that fell decidedly on the horror side of the scale rather than the fantasy. Sarah Langan's Night Nurse is a nightmare of modern motherhood, while Amber Benson's This Skin gives us a glimpse into the mind of a budding psychopath (I was also glad to remedy my prior lack of Amber Benson reading, and need to look out for more of her stuff in future.) On a lighter, if no less gruesome, note, Hillary Monahan's Bless Your Heart is a wickedly witchy story of small town Southern motherhood. Parenthood is a prominent theme in this collection, perhaps unsurprisingly given the historical association of witches with midwives and other independent women.There were certain stories I think I would have enjoyed more were I smart enough to understand the endings, and some where the link to witchcraft seemed rather tenuous, but overall this was an excellent contemporary, popular showcase of women writing specifically on this supernatural theme. And, in keeping with Titan Book's other productions, it's a simply gorgeous volume, from the intricate dust jacket to the interior illustrations. Definitely a perfect read for the Halloween season, especially for women with a bent for the fantastic and bizarre.
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