Blogtober Day Nineteen: Books With Witches

Hello, lovelies! Who doesn’t love witches around Halloween? That’s today’s topic: witches. I want to talk about some books I really loved that feature witches. Some of them are maybe not called witches, but they are all books with people that do magic. There were entirely too many to choose from, so I tried to stick to the more traditional idea of magic.

Year One by Nora Roberts: This is an ‘end of the world’ sort of story, so if you’re feeling overly anxious in the world’s current state, maybe skip this one. But this trilogy is incredible. A plague spreads through the world, some die, but others awaken with magical powers or identities. I loved the creativity of this story and what the world could look like in a situation like this. I also sort of loved how dark this story was. Nora Robert’s series are usually romantic and dramatic, but this was the opposite. The series was dark and gritty and I loved every page of all three books.

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno: What a sweet summer story. I know this is a list for October books, which this one would still be good for. It’s a story of family and self discovery. The women in this family all have magic, but it’s nearing Georgina’s eighteenth birthday and she still doesn’t have her magic. The twin sisters were my favorite. I loved the family dynamics and the tight knit community.

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer: I read this one recently and it was everything I wanted it to be. The setting was stunning and the characters were fascinating. The story follows two covens that have to come together to prevent three brothers bringing something back to life. There was OCD representation and one of the main characters is bisexual. I highly recommend this one.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moria Fowley-Doyle: This one is less witches and more someone casts a spell from a mysterious spell book they find and it affects everyone in town. It was full of mystery and incredible characters. The relationship dynamics between all the different character were what made this story so great. There were friendships and romantic relationships that I was easily invested in. I also loved the representation. Two of the characters we follow are bisexual.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: Gay witches. That’s all I want to say. This book takes place in Salem, MA (I just love books that take place in my home state). There are all sorts of witches for all the elements. I really liked that the rules oof magic are very clearly defined which is something I always appreciate. There were really great family dynamics too. I just all around loved it.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg: Ceony has just graduated from magic school and as an apprentice must learn from a master magician. She was hoping to be assigned to a metal magician, but instead she gets paper. She will bond with paper forever. What I loved about this book was the creativity of the magic. Magic works with materials, metal, paper, and glass, among others. I really enjoyed getting to see Ceony learn this type of magic (called folding). It was such a fun and enjoyable story.

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke: Sideways is a witch and a lesbian. When she is hired by the three most popular girls at her school to cast a spell at their first Halloween party of the year. Things don’t go quite as Sideways planned and she somehow ends up absorbed into their friendship. I loved these girls. They’re fierce, they’re angry, and they don’t take shit from a gods damned soul. I loved literally every page and I am so happy it’s a trilogy. I loved that Sideways barely knew what she was doing, but still took the time to teach her new friends what she knew and let them learn new things along with her. They’re my all time favorite girl gang.

That’s all I have for you today. These are a few books with witches or magicians that I really enjoyed and I hope you will too! What books with witches did I leave out that I should know about? Please leave me some recommendations below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Horrid by Katrina Leno

fullsizeoutput_3144GoodReads Summary:
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?
HorridReview:
Horrid was one of my most anticipated releases for the spooky season. I’m really upset to say that I was very disappointed with this book. This book was another that was completely ruined by the ending. I am going to have a bit of a spoiler rant after the last paragraph. I will clearly label when I start with spoiler complaints.
So, this story follows Jane and her mother Ruth as they move from Los Angeles to the middle of nowhere Maine. This is a huge adjustment for Jane. But she’s also dealing with the grief of losing her father. This grief is a huge part of the story and I really appreciated that. It wasn’t just her father is gone, but it really talked about what that meant for Jane. Her father was the one that could help her calm her rage. Now that he’s gone, she’s fallen back into old coping mechanisms: eating pages out of books. This aspect of her character was weird but I sort of understood it on a comfort level. I liked Jane. I felt bad for her, but I liked her. I didn’t like how she clearly knew something was wrong with North Manor (where she and her mother had just moved into) but she wasn’t willing to ask for any real answers about it. It felt obvious that something was wrong and everyone in town knew it. I liked Jane’s relationship with her mother, Ruth. She was obviously closer to her father, but the love between Jane and Ruth is clear and I appreciated that they were doing their best to be there for one another.
I also really liked the new friends that Jane made. She meets Alana and Susie at school. The three become fast friends. I liked them well enough, but the relationships weren’t too deep. I also like Jane’s friendship with her new boss at the coffee shop/book store, Will (who is also Susie’s older brother). They bond over books and coffee and I liked them even though it wasn’t a very developed relationship.
Overall, I enjoyed most of this book. I really liked the spooky aspects, the possibility of a ghost in North Manor. I thought the suspense and the mystery were interesting (though a little obvious). I didn’t love how oblivious Jane was being. She knew there was something wrong in her house and she never pushed when she asked questions and that really bothered me. The ending is what killed my enjoyment of the book. Without spoilers, the book ended at the climax of the story. We’re finally getting all the answers we’ve been searching for the whole story and then we’re still left with so many questions because of the players that were present in the final pages. I’m just really mad about how the story ended and that anger makes it really hard for me to say I liked this book. I felt similarly about Wilder Girls by Rory Power, so if you liked that book, you might like this one. This book has a pretty decent rating on GoodReads, so don’t let this deter you from picking up this book. But if you don’t like unsatisfying endings, this book might not be for you. Now, I’m going to get to spoilers about the ending in the next paragraph.
The spoilers are starting now. The final pages have Jane letting someone die, which is essentially murder, at the guidance of her sister ghost. But it’s never really clear whether the ghost is real or not. The ghost was pretty convincing, but there were hints here and there that made the reader think that there might never have been a ghost and it all could have been Jane. What I’m mad about is that we never got any sort of answers. The book literally ends in the climax of the story. Someone dies and the story just ends. The synopsis says “Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?” and the way that the synopsis is written makes it seem like we will find out whether it is one of those three things, but we don’t. We don’t find out what really happened or what happened in the aftermath and I’m very annoyed by this. I’m just angry and sad because I had really high hopes for enjoying this book. Okay, rage complaining is over. Thanks for reading!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Summary:
Magic passed down through generations…
Georgina Fernweh waits with growing impatience for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has touched every woman in her family. Her twin sister, Mary, already shows an ability to defy gravity. But with their eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.
An island where strange things happen…
No one on the island of By-the-Sea would ever call the Fernweh’s what they really are, but if you need the odd bit of help—say, a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight—they are the ones to ask.
No one questions the weather, as moody and erratic as a summer storm.
No one questions the (allegedly) three-hundred-year-old bird who comes to roost on the island every year.
One summer that will become legend…
When tragedy strikes, what make the Fernweh women suddenly casts them in suspicion. Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, of love, of salt—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.
Summer of SaltReview:
The only thing wrong with this book was that there wasn’t more of it. Summer of Salt was the group book for the Witch-A-Thon. I’ve had it on my TBR shelf ever since I saw Chelsea Dolling Reads talk about it on her channel. I didn’t really even know what it was about before I picked it up. Queer beachy and witchy? Sign me up.
So, being honest. I was slightly disappointed when I learned that most of this book centers around a bird. I know that the story is more than that. But it just seemed so silly to me. But as the story progressed and certain things happened, I came to appreciate this little bird.
I loved the characters. They were all so vibrant and interesting. The relationship between Georgina and her twin, Mary, was absolutely my favorite part of Summer of Salt. I have two sisters and sibling stories always seem to hit me in the feels. They were a realistic pair of sisters and I adored the family dynamic.
Right along with the family dynamic is the atmosphere of By-the-Sea. I want to live on this spooky and atmospheric island. Witchy and beachy is my preferred environment. I loved the way that the weather was brought into the story. I could help but smile at the tugboat scene.
Overall, I would have liked to learn more about the magic, more about the Fernweh family and their history, more about the island, just more. I also really liked the representation. Georgina acknowledged that the environment she’s in is likely more accepting than what others might experience. I liked that she was aware of the privileged she has growing up on a close-knit island with a family that isn’t totally normal themselves. I definitely will be reading more work by Katrina Leno and soon.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.