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Don't Hex with Texas    by Shanna Swendson order for
Don't Hex with Texas
by Shanna Swendson
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2008)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Don't Hex with Texas is the fourth in Shanna Swendson's cozy magical series that began with Enchanted, Inc.. In earlier episodes, Katie Chandler, a girl from small-town Texas who is immune to magic, secured a job as personal assistant to Merlin, head of Magic, Spells, and Illusion Inc.. She fell hard for super powerful, super handsome, super rich - and incredibly nice - wizard Owen Palmer, whose protective instincts for Kate became a job liability in fighting evil wizards.

So Kate returned for a spell to her home town of Cobb, Texas, where she now lives with her parents, tolerates her quirky siblings and in-laws, and helps run the family farm-and-ranch supply store. But it turns out that her departure from NYC didn't leave magical problems behind. Weird things happen back home in Texas, like a chanting robed figure who makes statues move. Katie finds a magical newspaper ad offering training to wannabe wizards, and traces it to their nemesis, Phelan Idris. Merlin quickly dispatches his 'top gumshoe', Sam the gargoyle, who helps Kate investigate.

When Owen Palmer shows up in Cobb and Kate's mom insists on his staying with them, life gets even more complicated. Granny claims she has the Sight, and the wee folk she's been talking about for years turn out to be pixies - and willing to help for the right price. After magically enabled robberies, stolen goods show up awfully close to home. When Idris appears with a large supporting cast of student wizards, Katie and Owen decides it's time to bait a trap, leading to a hilarious melee of a confrontation between good guys and villains, with a walk-on role for batty fairy godmother Ethelinda.

Don't Hex with Texas is another highly entertaining episode in this light fantasy series that regularly pits a spunky girl-next-door heroine and a mild-mannered, diffident (though hunky) hero against a remarkably inept (think Maxwell Smart in a black hat) villain. This episode ends as Katie returns to New York ready for 'the wild ride I knew was ahead of me in the crazy life I'd chosen.' Readers are equally ready for more engaging Magic, Inc. adventures.

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