Always a Witch - Carolyn MacCullough I confidently predict that readers who loved Once a Witch will also love the second half of the story about the seemingly talentfree, teenaged witch Tamsin Greene, her wacky, magic family, her hot and talented boyfriend Gabriel and their joint fight against the super evil and humans-hating Knight clan, because it is basically composed using the same elements:
- an imperfect and insecure but likable, courageous and strong teenaged heroine.
- a cute and devoted love interest and side-kick.
- a slightly nutty familiy of bickering but well-meaning witches who provide both surprise elements and entertainment.
- physically dangerous time travel.
- action and a little thrill.
- throroughly evil black witches lacking a conscience and compassion but filling the gaps with cool calculation, greed and gruesome practices like human sacrifice.
- decent writing.

For me personally, „Always a Witch“ dropped half a star from the 3.5 stars I doled out to Once a Witch (out of a total of 5), maybe mainly because the sequel is exactly that: The second part of the story, one which did not add new elements, take the romance to a further level, or make the heroine’s otherness stand out – apart from her developing quite angelic traits in the end. All in all, a sequel that is almost as good as its precessor is an unexpectedly positive thing, for the nature of paranomal sequels seems to have this natural gravitation thing, that drags them down, built in. Still, I nonetheless irrationally hoped for

- Tamsim to have more difficulties to adapt to her life in the past (the struggle of nowadays’ people with the customs and the mechanisms of everyday life in past centuries is what makes time travel stories so attractive to me. But Tamsin takes over the life and the tasks of a lady’s maid within a day and without blinking an eye or getting scolded for being clueless.)
- Tamsin’s and Gabriel’s shared time not to be wholly consumed by witchy business matters (i.e. saving the Greene family) instead of occasionally letting some hot sparks fly. (I really expected Tamsin, who is different from her family, not to be so hesitant and/or old-couplish. Apart from one misunderstanding Gabriel interprets Tamsin’s invitation to her room as taking the initiative to a good rolling in the hay, all of the young couple’s actions consist of heroically saving each other, planning together, trying to exclude each other from overly dangerous acts. „Always a Witch“ is a paranormal targeted at girls. And in the end I could not even remember what Gabriel looks like.)
- the villains (members of the Knight family) to be less than 100% evil.( Yes, there are some specimen that turned out to belong to the good side, but those who didn’t, were painted a shiny black without any hints of gray.)
- Tamsin’s heroics to be a little more real and believable. (Sure, Tamsin did the right thing and it is consistent to show her being courageous, but I expected her to be more afraid, more desperate to find an alternative solution in the end and to be a little more spunky and inconventional altogether.)

I really did enjoy reading „Always a Witch“, but I have to summarise that I am a little disappointed and that I did not feel compelled to write a review in order to persuade all my friends not to miss this book. On the contrary: I shoved writing the review from day to day, getting a worse and worse conscience, because I had been kindly provided with the opportunity to read the book before it was published by NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcout, the publisher.