Book Review – Hexes and Horns by Rowan McAllister

The Magic Emporium
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 242
Characters: Ryan/Leo
POV: 3rd
Genre: Paranormal, Series

Ryan O’Byrne has rules: 1) no using his magic, 2) no getting dragged back into his family’s craziness, and 3) no dating supernaturals of any kind, especially shifters … in other words, nothing and no one who will tempt him to break rule number one.

But what if the gorgeous wall of muscle he can’t seem to stay away from just happens to be a shifter? Well, it is only a short-term thing, and he isn’t a master of denial for nothing.

Leo Holt can’t help it if he has a teeny tiny weakness for bad boys—not really bad, just a little prickly around the edges. Even for a unicorn, all sweetness and light, all the time, can get a little boring. But, falling for the eldest son of the dark witch family who runs his little West Virginia town might be getting his fingers too close to the fire, even for him.

For Ryan, it was supposed to be a simple trip back home to show support during a family crisis. But when hexes, secrets, a family demon, and the O’Byrne witches are involved, nothing is ever simple.

Hexes and Horns is part of the Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains explicit sex scenes, a muscular moonshiner, a reluctant witch, a spooky best friend, and a guaranteed HEA.

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This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’m hooked. I loved Ryan and Leo’s story and its mix of sweet romance, magic, and action. I thought Marden’s Magic Emporium and the item in the save me sack were very cleverly used in this story, and the final showdown is wonderfully tense as they go up against a very manipulative evil.

I loved Ryan and Leo, and although this story might at first seem like an opposites attract, Ryan quickly, despite having a dark witch family, proves himself anything but. His family are not nice people, especially his younger siblings who are a good example why self-entitled people shouldn’t have any kind of power! His Gran might be the only one with any redeeming features, but she’s definitely got her own agenda going on.

Leo is sweet, and not just because he’s a unicorn. I loved how he and Ryan were drawn to each other, and the revelation as to their true relationship. I enjoyed them getting to know each other, and their realisation that their romance is way more than instant mutual physical attraction. I particularly liked the conversation between him and Ryan about magical natures not being defined by who your family is.

The world building is fabulous. I love how the magic works, and that the human world has no idea that the supes exist. I liked how there are several strong female characters in this story, including Kaia, Ryan’s friend, and Morag who is nothing like the reputation that precedes her. I liked her relationship with Leo and how protective she is of him. She’s clever too, and sneaky to boot. Although it’s Ryan who saves the day, he couldn’t have done it without Morag’s support or her idea of how to get rid of the bad guy, and reason behind his brother’s illness.

I enjoyed the ending. Go Ryan! I’d loved to read more stories set in their world.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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