As a book reviewer, you sometimes have to deal with sifting through a lot of rock in order to find a gem. You also sometimes get the very distinct pleasure of getting to see a writer turn into an author; make no mistake, there is a definite difference.

One of the best parts about reviewing books is that you sometimes get to watch an author grow and change in ways that you have to wonder if that author expected herself to go. Such is my experience with Kimberly Frost.

I first found Frost’s Southern Witch series after the first one, Would-Be Witch, came out and the second one, Barely Bewitched, was due out any minute. I ate my way through them giggling and thoroughly enjoying the stories and characters found in their pages, even going so far as to send a note to Ms. Frost expressing my appreciation for them. So when I got the opportunity to read Halfway Hexed, book three in the series, I jumped at the chance.

We return to the town of Duvall, Texas, to join Tammy Jo Trask shortly after the events of Barely Bewitched have transpired.  The consequences of her actions and the actions of Bryn Lyons are coming back to bite at them in the form of WAM, the World Association of Magic, and all that they embodied. We were shown that small towns aren’t the only places that small minds show up, though Duvall seems to have a few more than their fair share (*cough*Jenna Reitgarten*cough*). We also get to see Tammy Jo come into her own a bit more with her magic.

The story and characters that we’re familiar with are there; what’s new and fun about this particular installment is that the story fills itself out and becomes more real. There’s an added darkness to the world that wasn’t there in the first two books.  It wasn’t lacking in the first two, but it shows up in the third and makes the town of Duvall and the events surrounding Tammy Jo and Bryn seem more three-dimensional, almost to the point where I wonder if Ms. Frost backed away from her computer at the end of it, wondering where all of that came from.

Frost has done really good things with this book, and I’m looking very forward to seeing how the story continues. Like most great characters and stories, I’m guessing that they’ll write themselves, with Kimberly Frost as their channel through to the words on the page.

~ Review by Jeremy Bredeson

Author: Kimberly Frost
Penguin Books (Berkeley Trade Paperback), February 2011
pp. 336, $14.00