Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow

Title: House of Ivy & Sorrow
Publication: April 15, 2014 by HarperTeen
Reviewed by: Taryn
Rating: 4 stars
Reason for Reviewing: Ebook provided in exchange for an honest review.
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

Josephine (Jo) Hemlock lost her mother ten years ago to the mysterious curse that follows her family. The only surviving Hemlocks, Jo and her Nana, live in a magic-fortified house under the interstate bridge in Willow’s End, Iowa. There are rumors about a witch who lives in that house, but only Jo and her Nana know that the stories are true. One day a mysterious man shows up looking for Jo, and she fears that he is somehow connected to her mother’s killer. Soon Jo finds herself digging further and further into the truth and racing to find some answers before she and Nana fall victim to the curse themselves. Another mysterious boy appears who may have some of the clues that Jo needs, but can she trust him?

I don’t read a lot of books featuring witches as characters, but I’m glad I gave this one a chance. The descriptions of how their magical powers worked was really intriguing. It made sense that they distinguished between witches who were in control of their powers and those who were consumed by them. The small town setting and the details of the Hemlock home were vividly described, and the family histories were really interesting. Also, I loved the strong relationship between Jo and her Nana as well as Jo’s close friendships with Kat and Gwen. There are several awesome ladies in this story!

I think my only complaint would be that the tone felt a little light for the subject matter and it read more like a middle grade novel than YA. I think I was just expecting it to be darker and scarier (although it had its creepy moments). Also, I should mention that there are some kissing scenes, but they are pretty tame (in my opinion).

I would recommend this to fans of the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White who are looking for another light supernatural read with some humor, action, and romance sprinkled in.

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