Book Review: Always Practice Safe Hex by Juliette Cross

Always Practice Safe Hex (Stay a Spell #4)
Pub Date: 24 May 2022
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)


There’s a reason no one messes with a grim…

Livvy Savoie is a people person. Not only does she have the magical gift of persuasion, but her natural charisma charms everyone she meets. She hasn’t met a person she didn’t like. Until her annoyingly brilliant competitor walks through the door. No matter how hard she denies it, loathing isn’t the only emotion she feels for him.

Grim reaper Gareth Blackwater is rarely, if ever, moved beyond his broody, stoic state. But the witch he’s partnered with in the public relations contest is destroying his peace of mind. He’s convinced that the flesh-melting attraction he feels for her is merely her witchy magic at work.

But forced proximity proves there is more than magic sparking between them. Livvy learns this enigmatic grim’s abilities are beyond any supernatural she has ever known. And when Livvy becomes the obsessive target of a dangerous wizard, Gareth proves just how powerful he truly is. Because no one is going to hurt his Lavinia.


Sexual harrassment (on-page), sexual assault (on-page), child abuse, light BDSM

*This review was first posted to Goodreads on November 2022*

TL;DR: This series honestly keeps getting better and this group of supernaturals feels more like family with every book I read and I WANT MORE. These books definitely play into the paranormal romance ‘mate’ trope but I love the way Juliette Cross writes it. There’s so much tenderness, heart and emotional vulnerability in these characters and their romance that it makes it easy to fall in love with them and to root for their HEA. Livvy and Gareth were absolute FIRE! 🥵 Their tension and chemistry were so intense that I was sure my Kindle would malfunction! 😂 I loved every moment of their story and their playlist was absolute PERFECTION and suited them to a T!

I didn’t expect these two to become my favourite couple in the series but it just happened! Their contrast, their dynamic, THE TENSION. Lavinia and Gareth were EVERYTHING and I loved their romance to bits!

I loved the dynamic between Livvy and Gareth. What starts as rivals-to-lovers turns into this swoontastic romance full of so much heart, vulnerability and emotion! This book continues to play heavily into the “mates” trope but I really enjoy the way Cross writes it. I love when characters antagonise each other to cover up the deeper, more lusty, feelings they don’t want to admit they have for the other person. There is such fantastic tension between them as they spend more time together and I enjoyed seeing them connect mentally with their big brains as well as on a deeper, more emotional and personal level outside of the work environment.

Prior to this book, all we know about grim reapers is that they have a looming dark aura that entices people to engage with their darker/baser side. The tight rules within the grim community prevent them from opening up because to them information is everything and they prefer to hoard knowledge like dragons hoard treasure. That’s why I enjoyed learning so much about grims through Gareth’s perspective! It made me appreciate his vulnerability more, and how it showed his commitment to Livvy when he opens up and tells her everything—from the history of grims to his own fairly tragic and lonely upbringing. His serious, grumpy and introverted demeanour won me over right from the start!

In contrast, Livvy was this positive ray of sunshine. She’s talkative, bubbly, and always thinking about others and she has no issue taking control and demanding what she wants. Although he’s quiet, Gareth is just as domineering and this perfect match in their dominant personalities was what made their exchanges so spine-tingly good! There was always this thick AF tension and intense chemistry that permeated their interactions and you didn’t know whether they were going to bite each other’s heads off or tear each other’s clothes off and y’know, I’m all here for that kind of intensity! 😂

But seriously, can we take a moment to talk about all the moments of seduction that went with the music playlist, please? 1. That scene at the 80s club where Gareth makes his way across the dance floor to Livvy while mouthing the lyrics leading to smooth sensual dancing? 2. That scene at his house when he’s mouthing the lyrics to that Violent Femmes song and then prowls over to her against the couch? 3. THE SCENE where his monster takes over while NIN’s ‘Closer’ is playing in the background and 100% perfectly describes him losing control and giving her everything? 😮‍💨 Hoo boy! Everything about Gareth was sexy as hell but these scenes absolutely sent me. I was a goner! RIP Me cos my heart flew out of my chest!! And there was absolutely no chance for Livvy to resist these LEVELS OF SWOON because it was seriously off the damn charts!! And I mean, it’s needless to say that their sex scenes with lite BDSM vibes were steamy AF. I really thought my Kindle was going to malfunction (just like my brain). 🥵 What made it even better was how much of a devoted simp Gareth was for her and as much as he wanted to dominate her (in bed), he also worshipped her like no other. The tenderness in his actions was just as swoony as his sensuality! The man literally would’ve done anything she asked and it showed in his every thought and action.

This really had everything from great character arcs, swoontastically fab romance, wonderful family/found family dynamics and really great bonding scenes—like when certain wolfy babies are born and when the guys have their regular game nights! Just adorable. 😍 I’m gonna stop myself now cos I can really go on about this book but do yourselves a favour and read it!

Check out the author’s playlist for Gareth and Livvy! 😍

Have you read Always Practice Safe Hex or is it on your TBR?

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Always Practice Safe Hex by Juliette Cross

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