I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
The shorts were okay alone, but didn't work as an overall book for me. They just didn't fit together properly, and they tried to be a complete story. It can work, it has in the past, but it didn't work in this case for me.
Also, super depressing. Blargh.
Onto Practical Magic!