Book Reviews

The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste

Published March 5th, 2024 by Sourcebooks Fire

Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, LGBTQ+

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In a country divided between humans and witchers, Venus Stoneheart hustles as a brewer making illegal love potions to support her family.

Love potions is a dangerous business. Brewing has painful, debilitating side effects, and getting caught means death or a prison sentence. But what Venus is most afraid of is the dark, sentient magic within her.

Then an enemy’s iron bullet kills her mother, Venus’s life implodes. Keeping her reckless little sister Janus safe is now her responsibility. When the powerful Grand Witcher, the ruthless head of her coven, offers Venus the chance to punish her mother’s killer, she has to pay a steep price for revenge. The cost? Brew poisonous potions to enslave D.C.’s most influential politicians.

As Venus crawls deeper into the corrupt underbelly of her city, the line between magic and power blurs, and it’s hard to tell who to trust…

Herself included.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for sending me an ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste, and I’m so excited to share my thoughts on this novel with you all!

This urban fantasy follows Venus Knox as she tries to find her place in a world divided by witchers – beings who possess magical abilities – and humans. In this version of DC, witchers experience a lot of discrimination very similar to the real discrimination faced by the Black community and other minority groups in the United States today.

As witchers, Venus and her friends and family possess both a birthright, innate magical abilities, and a calling, special abilities unique to the individual. Venus works as a Love Witcher, a gig that requires her to brew illegal love poisons for those willing to pay the hefty price and accept the inherent risk.

“Let love drive you to do what needs to be done.”

Baptiste did an incredible job creating this urban fantasy world. Rooted in reality, the magical twist to a modern America felt completely believable. The magical system was great. Between callings, poisons, familiars, and more, it was complex, but very well thought out and explained to the reader.

I liked the importance family played in this novel. Different family members, including siblings, parents, aunts/uncles, and even grandparents played a huge role in the plot. This book included a large host of characters, all of whom felt well-developed. Also, we love a non-binary love interest. 💗

While this book was quite long and did drag at some points, it was able to keep my interest because I was caught up trying to figure out all its twists and turns. I only wish the lead-up to the final reveal had been swifter, as it felt like there was a lot of stopping and starting for longer than was necessary. Once the first domino fell, I expected things to start to progress a lot quicker, but that wasn’t the case. However, I liked how things revealed earlier were called back to as the story progressed, showing that everything Baptiste included was done so for a reason.

About the Author

Bethany Baptiste is a slightly responsible grown-up living Jacksonville, Florida in a little brick house with her fiancé, three chaotic evil dogs, and too many books. She holds two degrees in Early Childhood Education and taught for seven years. Now as an inclusion specialist, she advocates for preschoolers with special needs. When not prying a shoe from a Schnauzer’s jaws, she writes about Black kids with big hearts and little morals. You can visit her at or @storysorcery on Twitter. Bethany is represented by Andrea Morrison of Writers House.

Website | Instagram | Buy Link

~ Check out the rest of the tour schedule here! ~

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Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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