The Darkest Arts Series
By Jessica Penot
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Lachesis Publishing
Number of pages: 276
Just as Phaedra decides to commit herself to a serious drinking problem and an eating disorder, or two, a mysterious spell book arrives in the mail. Feeling desperate, Phaedra uses it to cast spells to save her fading patients. Suddenly, good things start happening. Phaedra’s patients begin to get better and she even starts dating the sexy doctor from the hospital.
Phaedra is so happy she doesn’t notice the small things that start to go wrong in Dismal, or the dark creatures slithering out of the shadows near her house. When Phaedra finally realizes her spells have attracted every card-carrying demon from hell, she has no choice but to accept help from a slightly nerdy, 500 year-old warlock with a penchant for wearing super hero T-shirts and a knack for getting under Phaedra’s skin. Now, if only she could get the hang of this witch thing, she might be able to save her town.
The Accidental Witch was a nice, easy read. It was fairly short, only 276 pages, and read very smoothly. I enjoyed the world that Jessica Penot created very much and would really like to see more of her work. However, it is a good thing I did not judge a book by its cover in this case. The concept for the cover was ok, but the artwork was kind of cheesy. But the cover doesn’t affect the story so let’s move on!
Phaedra Michaels is a middle aged, divorced, psychologist with very few friends, who has made mistakes in her past but hasn’t really been letting it her affect her too badly. Though she has been drinking a lot, stopped exercising, and apparently lives off of Animal Crackers and Diet Cola. Ok, maybe she’s been affected just a little bit. She focuses more on her patients health and happiness than she does on her own, which I can identify with because I do that with people as well. It’s a distraction from the reality that is life.
Phaedra works on the psych ward at the local hospital with a staff of under qualified and under motivated people. The way they are described makes it sound like a pretty crappy place to work. The employees seem worse than the patients! Most of them are only there because a job is a job to them. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of compassion for other human beings from the majority of the staff or administration.
She has no real family. Her mother left when she was very young, and her father recently passed away. Her father was a very religious and abusive man and so was Phaedra’s step-mother. She was not treated well growing up, and I think this caused problems for her as an adult, trying to learn how to have proper relationships. She has a few close friends, but not many, and she lives alone in the local “haunted house”, which she is restoring. I think the house sounds awesome, and would be happy to live there with there. As long as she gets rid of her demon friends.
The Accidental Witch focuses on Phaedra’s journey from boring, lonely, divorcee, to super powerful witch with a boyfriend, trying to free her town from the nasty demons that she has accidently summoned with her magic, who are sucking the life out of her town.
I don’t see how anyone could become an “accidental” witch. Generally speaking, I think you would need to intentionally start casting spells. Most of the time, a spell doesn’t just pop out of nowhere unless you have done something previously to start the ball rolling. Light a candle, read something out loud from a creepy old book while you are alone instead of to yourself like a normal person, SOMETHING must happen for that first spell to be cast. So I did think it was kind of silly that the characters in this book kept claiming she had accidently done this or that, when I was under the impression that she was very intentionally trying to help her patients. I’m thinking the “Accidently” part of the title may refer more to the side effects that occur due to her untrained magic use.
It is interesting to me who all in town turns out to be a witch or has a power of one sort or the other, and what the real story behind her mother is. I think you will like the storyline. I know that I did. I can’t really complain about anything other than I think a character or two could be left out and no one would notice. Maybe give a little bit more details about the main characters and such, but they really do ok as they are. I think I would like to have known more about Diane, as she seems like a pretty interesting character, and I would have like to get a better developed back story for Phaedra’s house.
I enjoyed this book and it was fun to read. Phaedra has a witty sense of humor that kept me laughing at the appropriate times. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good witchy, magic filled book that is looking to pass a rainy (or snowy!) afternoon.
It is amazing how the most world-changing days can seem entirely mundane to begin with. Friday the 13th seemed no different than any other day to me. I woke up late, as always, and rushed to get dressed and make it to the car with my usual box of animal crackers and diet cola. I pulled my shoes on as I backed out of the driveway and ate while I drove to work.
I was late to work, but just early enough to not be noticed as late. The small hospital where I worked was a blip in a vast nowhere and the small psychiatric floor I worked on was a blip in a blip. I was a blip within a blip within a blip, making me practically nothing. I could’ve died in my sleep and the world would barely belch. I liked to think that I was good at what I did. I liked to think that even though I was a nothing, I made a difference in the patients’ lives. I was one of those deluded people that believed in saving the world one person at a time. I guess I still am. Certainly, I was one of the few people that actually cared about the patients. The management didn’t care that I cared. Management was too busy trying to balance the books and keep the floor profitable to care what the staff did with the patients. I could take all the patients outside and have them moo like cows and management wouldn’t care as long as I billed it as a recreational therapy group and got the proper reimbursement.
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About the Author:
Jessica Penot is a therapist who lives in Alabama with her 2 corgis, cat, sons, husband and other strange creatures. She is the author of Haunted North Alabama, Haunted Chattanooga, and Circe.