House Of Ivy & Sorrow – Natalie Whipple

House of Ivy & Sorrow Title: House Of Ivy & Sorrow
Author: Natalie Whipple
Published: HarperTeen, April 2014
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][][the book depository]

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.

Witchcraft is dark stuff and Josephine Hemlock knows it’s up to her to control magic or be consumed by it. When strangers start showing up in her town, Jo senses dark forces and danger. Is her mother’s killer finally making the fatal move to end the Hemlock bloodline?

I started reading this late at night and before I knew it, it was 5 in the morning.  House Of Ivy & Sorrow  was amazingly entertaining!  Almost everything about this book made me giggle – small-town setting, neighborly characters, hair-pulling spells – the ingredients used in conjuring spells were not meant for the faint of heart and I nervously laughed and winced whenever the witches gave up their nails, flesh and teeth to activate spells.  No wonder old witches all looked ragged, toothless and rotten!

I really liked that there wasn’t any battle between white magic and black magic.   In this story, all magic was dark.  Depends on the level of intention and control, magic could be wielded, directed to make a situation better (if the intention was good) or worse (if the intention was foul).   If the witch lacked control, she could be consumed by the darkness of magic and ultimately be destroyed.  Because there was always a price to be paid to call upon magic, Jo learned at a very young age that unless the benefits truly outweighed the price, she should never tap into the darkness.  I liked the brief explanation of why certain ingredients were used in a spell.  The symbolic meaning of these ingredients helped me see why Jo and her Nana were powerful but friendly witches as opposed to those nasty ones who simply aimed at stealing and destroying lives.  It’s disgusting to learn about those who lived to destroy but without them, I guess I wouldn’t see how Jo put herself in action and used what she knew to fight, give and create.

Remarkably entertaining, House Of Ivy & Sorrow  is a bizarrely addictive story not to be dismissed in my opinion.  Don’t let the cackling of a witch stop you from picking this one up – I hope you’ll have fun reading it as much as I did!


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  1. This does sound like a good mystery!

  2. Glad you liked this one! So far I’ve been hearing mixed reviews but I guess it depends on your expectations when you first start reading it because it sounds kind of flippant and flamboyant more than anything else. I want to give this one a try though because it sounds pretty cute and addicting 🙂
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted..Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

  3. Hehe, I didn’t think about that being a reason maybe the older witched were always so scary looking. Definitely makes sense. 🙂 They went through a lot to get those spells to work. I had a hard time with this one, but I am happy that it was a good read for you. Great review!
    Jenea @ Books Live Forever recently posted..Double Cover Reveal: Swimming To Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown & Lifestyles of the Rich and (In)Famous by Tierney Fowler

  4. Wow, sounds like a really fun witchy read Henrietta! I like how you mentioned this one only delves into dark magic, sounds really interesting. I’ll be picking this up for review next month 🙂
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted..Reading Styles – Do You Change It Up?

  5. I have read a couple reviews, I think you either like the bizarre or don’t!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
    Missie recently posted..Review of No Place Like Oz and First 12 Chapters of Dorothy Must Die

  6. This one definitely sounds interested! I’ll admit, I’m a bit wary of going into this one since the synopsis doesn’t sound very entertaining, but I’m really glad you liked it! I’m definitely into small-town settings and hair-pulling spells, haha! Lovely review, Henrietta. 😉
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted..Movie Review: Divergent

  7. Wow, this one sounds interesting. I had just read a negative review on it, so it’s so nice to get a gauge from a positive one! So glad you enjoyed this one Henrietta, books that keep us up half the night are always the best 😛
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted..Disruption Book Launch Event

  8. This one looks really good and I am reading it after The Here and Now so very excited!

    Brilliant review, Henrietta! <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted..Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

  9. Excellent review, Henrietta! I love your bit about why witches look so horrible, lol! 🙂
    Rachel @ The Readers Den recently posted..Showcase Sunday #49

  10. Ooh I love those books that you stay up all night reading! I wasn’t planning on reading this one, but your review has me wanting to add it to my TBR pile after all. It sounds like so much fun! Fantastic review Henrietta!

  11. I actually just read a negative review of this one so I’m happy to see a positive one. I LOVE the cover, but wasn’t sure if I should bother with it. Your review has me convinced that I have to at least give it a try, even if I just borrow it. Though I do love that cover and want it on my shelves…

  12. Giving up your nails and teeth? Sounds painful! 🙂 I do love a good small-town setting, and I haven’t had one of those in a long time. I’m glad you enjoyed this overall, Henrietta. I’m still unsure if it would be for me, as it’s been really splitting opinions so far, but I hope it will. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted..Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

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