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REVIEW: Motor City Witch by Cindy Spencer Pape

Dear Ms. Spencer Pape:

I requested this book from NetGalley because I was intrigued by the blurb. And because of it’s awesome cover.

Once upon a time, Elise Sutton had been a powerful witch and paranormal enforcer. Once she’d been madly in love with Fae lord Aidan Greene. But when Aidan had considered his duties more important than their relationship, the love affair ended badly. Shortly after, while on the hunt for a rogue demon, Elise was brutalized and almost killed. Months later she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. To protect her child-‘and her heart-‘Elise decided to live a nonmagical life.

Motor City WitchSo the blurb tells me it is a reunited lover story about a strong woman survivor who makes a great sacrifice for her child. I’m intrigued.

There is a lot to like about Motor City Witch but there was one issue that kept bothering me for the entire book. Let me explain in these terms. A while back Sarah Wendell blogged about Playing With Fire and she mentioned that she struggled with the timeline. I had the very same problem. The heroine goes down to drag the firefighter hero out of the emotional funk he is in due to having watched his fiance die in a fire in front of him. Five Months Ago. So every time I would read about the heroine telling the hero it was time to come back to the living or that he needed to forgive himself and let go, I would be silently yelling at her to allow him to grieve. It has been only 5! months.

That’s how I felt during most of this book. What brings Elise and Aidan together again is that Elise’s daughter is kidnapped directly after a wedding. It is a wedding that Aidan attends and when he sees Elise’s daughter with eyes just like his, he immediately assumes the child is his. Aidan is wrong. As the blurb says, the sperm that created Elise’s daughter was from the rogue demon who raped her but Aidan, upon seeing the girl, feels an immediate kinship. Plus, he has never stopped loving Elise.

I love this storyline. It’s one of my favorites (not the kidnapping, but the reunited lovers story). I couldn’t really get into the story because of two things. The first was that there was no urgency to the characters despite the fact that Elise’s daughter has been kidnapped. I mean, I am all for showing that the female character has great emotional strength even in the direst of times, but Elise seemed so unconcerned at times, that I wondered if she even remembered she had a daughter. We were introduced to what seemed like a dozen characters. Elise worried about what she would wear in front of the Fae Queen. She took the time to get a history lesson on Aidan’s grandparents. As they are speeding to the location of where they are to meet the kidnappers in Edinburgh, she aloud about how she has always wanted to visit Scotland. All I can think of is “WHAT ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER”???

There was a point in the story where Elise still doesn’t have her daughter back, Aiden may be injured, and she is busy healing someone and thinks about another guy “Nice, if you liked dark and dangerous, but he didn’t do it for her–not the way Aidan did.” Seriously, you are ogling another guy’s naked chest whilst everything is going to hell in a handbasket?

Also? the blurb that promised that Elise was living a non magical life to protect herself and her heart? Yeah, that wasn’t explained or touched on at all until the very end. I know I shouldn’t rely on the blurb to be accurate but as I had read it, I was expecting certain storylines to come to fruition. In fact, when needed Elise uses her powers without a second thought. I don’t know if I am supposed to fill in stuff here like Elise has some internal agnst about using her power again after five years of letting it lie dormant to protect herself but decides that she must use it in order to save others?

The second thing that I struggled with was the sheer cast of characters. There are a number of players in this book and I felt like I was dropped in the middle of a play that already had two acts I hadn’t seen. At every turn, I felt like I (and Elise) were being introduced to new people. I wasn’t sure that it was necessary and it was hard to stay focused when I tried to mentally separate and identify all the new individuals. Maybe this is my own fault for not starting with book one.

I liked the idea of urban arcana. I liked the concept of the world that was being set up, but I didn’t really love the execution. I found even the romance to be on the pale side. There was a lot to fit into this story: worldbuilding, romance, action and mystery and I felt all of them got a short shrift. But I will always remember this book as the one where I kept asking “but what about your daughter!!”. C-

Best regards,


Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony| Carina Press

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


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    Oct 05, 2010 @ 12:51:24

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  2. DS
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 20:58:38

    Is brutalized the new weasel word for violently raped? This is the third time recently I’ve see it used in a description of a book to mean that.

    I like things to be said a little more directly. While using the word rape might put someone off reading the book, it’s just as likely to squick someone out who wasn’t prepared for it.

  3. Cindy Spencer Pape
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 06:50:55

    Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to review my book. Sorry it wasn’t what you’d hoped for.

  4. Sandy D.
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 11:33:53

    It sounds like it’s worth checking out. I like the idea of using Detroit instead of New Orleans or NYC for a setting – Laura Bickle does an awesome job of this in “Embers” and “Sparks” (urban fantasy w/o much romance).

  5. Estara
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 13:56:10

    Well, I think I still try the first Motor City … book, but maybe not this one.

  6. Jane
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 17:52:59

    @Estara I would love to hear what you think of Book 1.

  7. Angela James
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 15:59:17

    You should do a post/poll on what readers expect from back cover copy. I would love to read that conversation. Back cover copy is HARD.

  8. Jane
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 16:08:29

    @Angela James: I don’t doubt it is hard but I thought, given that her decision to live magic free was mentioned in the back cover copy that it would play a more important part in the overall story and I kept anticipating it, but it was never really integrated into the plot (or at least, it didn’t appear that way to me).

  9. Angela James
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 16:13:11

    For the record, my comment wasn’t a defense of the blurb (or commentary on the blurb in any way). I was just saying I’d really like to see that conversation happen because it is so hard. That’s all!

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