Serpent's Kiss, by Melissa de la Cruz.
Hanging was less violent than burning, but neither could be called humane, and now the memories of Salem and her own girls' hangings returned, as much as she tried to push them away: the townspeople jeering and celebrating, couples kissing and groping as the hangman fit the nooses around each of their necks. Some in the crowd were raising their fists, while others cried out in ecstasy or with smiles on their faces as the condemned swung off the platform. This was a part of humanity that Joanna would rather not have witnessed. It was the wrong way around; those with blackened hearts were in the crowd, not on the gallows. She wiped away a tear, remembering Freya's defiant stare and Ingrid's broken sobs. Joanna loosened the red scarf at her neck, because she suddenly felt as if she was being choked herself.
I reviewed the title book in the series in August 2011. I am a big fan of de la Cruz's books, and I especially like how characters in some of her other series tend to pop up in different series of hers; in the first Witches book, some of the Blue Bloods vampires showed up in East Hampton. In Wolf Pact part 1, which I also recently read, Freya and Ingrid's uncle, Arthur, has a small role as well.
In the second book in the series, things appear to be settling down in the Beauchamp family's life - at first, anyway. Life in North Hampton has become a little less complicated, at least until Freya's twin, Freddie (or the god Fryr, in their world) shows up. Freddie has been in "Limbo" for quite a while, and Freya is overjoyed to see him, though he makes her promise not to tell their mother, Joanna, that he is home, or their sister, Ingrid. Freddie claims that Freya's boyfriend, Killian, stole something important from him, and it was because of Killian's actions that Freddie was placed in Limbo.
At the same time, 32-year-old Ingrid has finally found love, with Matt Noble, a police detective - who is also a mortal. Ingrid is a little inexperienced, as well, and finds herself embarrassed every time she tries to explain this to Matt.
Norman, Joanna's husband whom they thought was long-lost, has also reappeared, and he wants to work things out with Joanna, who is currently dating a gentleman named Harold, also a mortal - or so she thinks.
The author juggles a lot of plot points in this novel, but ties most of them up nicely at the end. The witches and their partners have interesting lives, and Serpent's Kiss is just as good of a read as Witches of East End; their story will continue in June 2013, as well, with The Winds of Salem. I liked how Ingrid and Freya had some "normal" human problems - Ingrid is deciding if she wants to date Matt, and Freya is dealing with trust issues with Killian, ever since Freddie returned - yet they also have their "witchy" problems to deal with that we in the human world don't usually experience.
Also, stay tuned: I will be interviewing Melissa de la Cruz over email sometime in the next week, about this series, Blue Bloods, and her new Wolf Pact e-book series.
4 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.