Tag Archive | witches

Listen for witches – read with your ears!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC are downright witchy! Do you dare to read with your ears?

Download either or both of these complete audiobooks from Thursday through Wednesday (6/22-28/2017) by clicking on the link following title, then you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Bookmark the SYNC site now so you can download great audiobooks all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD cover of The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff | Read by Eliza Foss Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Witches: Salem, 1692 (download here free 6/22-28/2017)
by Stacy Schiff
Read by Eliza Foss
Published by Hachette Audio

Historical figures of the Salem Witch Trials come to life in this non-fiction narrative, noting one of the few times in early US history when the voices of women were truly heard.

The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories (download here free 6/22-28/2017)CD cover of The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett | Read by Julian Rhind-Tutt Published by HarperAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Terry Pratchett
Read by Julian Rhind-Tutt
Published by HarperAudio

Funny short stories written by acclaimed fantasy humor author Sir Terry Pratchett when he was a young man include cowboys and trolls, men in a submarine in a bathtub, sorcery, and assorted mayhem.

Do you prefer your witches serious or sarcastic?





Summer of Chasing Mermaids, by Sarah Ockler (book review) – voice lost, heart found?

book cover of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler published by Simon TeenA singer with no more voice,
a young mermaid expert ignored,
a dutiful son without a plan B…

No surgical procedure can ever restore Elyse’s voice, but time spent with the funny (cousin and her outspoken BFF), the darling (mermaid-obsessed young Sebastian), and the heartbreaker (Christian does what??) may start the healing of her musical soul.

Ockler writes of another summer of enormous changes in The Book of Broken Hearts  (my recommendation here).

If your greatest talent/gift/strength were taken away forever, how would you cope?

Book info: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids / Sarah Ockler.  Simon Pulse, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After a boat accident robs Elyse of her singing voice, she lands in her aunt’s tiny Oregon town where the Trinidadian teen finds herself falling for the wrong guy and caring too much about the shady mayor’s big plans.

Leaving her twin sister in Tobago was so hard, but staying to watch Natalie continue the singing career which had been theirs together was impossible.

The warm Caribbean stole her voice; perhaps the chilly Pacific currents can heal her soul. But if Elyse ignores her cousin’s warnings about heart-breaker Christian or helps the summer guy’s little brother search for mermaids, the sea may try to claim her forever.

A bet between the mayor and Christian’s dad puts Aunt Lemon’s home and gallery in jeopardy, as whichever son wins the Pirate’s Regatta will win the property it stands on.

Will the mayor’s desire for money turn off-the-beaten-path Atargatis Cove into just another tourist town?
Can Christian and Elyse rebuild his sailboat in time for the regatta?
Can Elyse face down her fear of being on the water again and help him win?

Of course, sweet little Sebastian should be able march in the Mermaid Parade, and the property developers must be stopped, and Elyse should decide if she can afford to lose her heart…  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Identity-switch magic to read with your ears – SYNC audiobooks for free

Magic, malice, bodies switched, perhaps love? Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

These complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, but once downloaded, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

Click on the title to go directly to its AudioSYNC download site, enter your name and email, and follow the instructions to get these magical, dangerous tales for yourself.

CD cover of The Ring and the Crown  by Melissa De La Cruz | Read by Jennifer Ikeda Published by Recorded Books, Inc. The Ring and the Crown
by Melissa De La Cruz
Read by Jennifer Ikeda
Published by Recorded Books, Inc.

To escape an arranged marriage in the Franco-British Empire, the princess will give her identity to Morgan whose magical talents almost equal those of the Empress herself. But can the deception keep both girls safe?

CD cover of Sea Hearts  by Margo Lanagan | Read by Eloise Oxer, Paul English Published by Bolinda PublishingSea Hearts
by Margo Lanagan
Read by Eloise Oxer, Paul English
Published by Bolinda Publishing

As the sea witch discovers how to turn a seal into a woman, the magical consequences may affect everyone on her remote island. Is creating the perfect wife for a sailor worth the risk?

Have you ever wished that you were someone else?

J for Jessica Spotswood – Born Wicked (book review) – eccentric sisters, witches in hiding

hardback book cover of Born WIcked by Jessica Spotswood published by PutnamDon’t talk about the girls who disappeared,
Pray that the Brotherhood will approve your choice of husband,
Hide any hint of difference or intuition or possible magic skill,
Witches persecuted in New England… how 19th century?

A new alternate history, where New England is the ultra-religious patriarchy and the Middle East is the home of freedom.

The next book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, Star Cursed,  will be published in June 2013, so grab Born Wicked  now at your  local library  or independent bookstore – and if you buy your copy from Jessica’s favorite indie bookstore, One More Page Books,  she’ll autograph it, too!

Oh, In case you wondered, clicking any link in BooksYALove posts won’t benefit me in any way, shape, or form, just like my Policies page states.

Is Cate right to keep secrets if the truth will put her family in grave danger?

Book info: Born Wicked (Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1) / Jessica Spotswood. Putnam, hardcover 2012; Speak, paperback 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer]

My recommendation: Magic only in the rose garden, avoid attracting the Brotherhood’s attention, watch over one another – that’s what Mother told Cate before she died. How can a sixteen-year-old keep her younger sisters from spellcasting in this land where suspected witches are sent to Harwood Prison?

Oh, to live in Dubai where women have freedom, can learn more than reading and simple sums, where they can use their magic gifts if they choose! Here in New England, the Brothers preach that magic is “devil-sent” and the Brotherhood Council runs absolutely everything.

Keeping to themselves except to attend Services and piano lessons hasn’t stopped gossip about the Cahill sisters, as Cate had hoped. Now Father has hired a governess for them! Worse yet, she’s from the Sisterhood, where women must go if they do not marry by 18. She will polish their manners and perhaps help them repair their social standing in their small town.

Cate’s own intention ceremony is in just six months, when she’ll announce who she intends to marry – probably Paul, her lifelong friend who’ll return from university soon. But she’s becoming fond of Finn, the bookstore owner’s son who’s had to take on other work as the Brotherhood drives off their customers.

Social calls among Brotherhood wives bring out new information about old situations, and the most influential daughters decide that Cate is worth spending time with after all, to her chagrin. A letter from “Z.R.” tells Cate to search for her mother’s diary and find answers there.

Who is Z.R. and why did she wait so long to contact them?
Is there truly a prophecy about three sisters like Cate, Maura, and Tess?
Will Cate’s intention ceremony begin a life of contentment or close the door on happiness?

This first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles introduces an alternate world where New England is a place of religious oppression, where truth can be more dangerous than lies, and where Cate must decide how much she’ll sacrifice to protect her sisters from the Brotherhood’s menace.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Cats of Tanglewood Forest, by Charles De Lint (fiction) – saved and condemned, quest to make things right again

book cover of Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles De Lint published by Little BrownThe forest cats did what they could.
Is it so wrong to wish death away?
Lillian so wants to be a human girl again, but the consequences…

Trying to follow the instructions of Old Mother Possum, meeting up with the Bear People, Lillian only wants to make things right, even if she cannot undo everything that the cats’ magic set in motion.

An excerpt posted by Tor here gives you the flavor of Lillian’s story in this lyrical tale, much expanded from De Lint’s 2003 “Circle of Cats” 44-page novella also featuring illustrations by Vess.

This most-magical book is being released tomorrow (March 5, 2013), so ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore.

Indeed, is it so wrong to wish death away?

Book info: The Cats of Tanglewood Forest / Charles De Lint; illustrated by Charles Vess. Little Brown, 2013.  [author’s website]   [publisher site[illustrator’s website] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: It was the cats who decided to save Lillian. She just wanted to say hello to the fairies, but here she lies, dying of snakebite. Changed by their magic from a dying girl into a live kitten, Lillian can’t comfort her aunt or the neighbors who search the old woods. She must find out how to turn back into herself… and then how to make right the consequences of her choice.

These forest cats know that their magic might anger the Father of All Cats, that great black puma who stalks these ancient woods, who prowls in dark dreams. But they just couldn’t let the girl die, not after she’s been so generous with milk for them and respectful of the Apple Tree Man.

Lillian-kitten sets out to find Old Mother Possum, who might help her turn back into girl-Lillian. Accompanied by T.H. Fox (his mother named him Truthful and Handsome), she makes the long journey, despite his warnings that the part-witch-part-someone may not choose a solution that’s easy or simple.

Oh, turning back one death puts it onto another! Now Lillian has a bigger problem to solve and consults the wise woman at the Kickaha reservation nearby. Aunt Nancy sees only one path and not an easy one, as this problem is so big that Lillian must ask a difficult favor of the fearsome Bear People, no matter what the personal cost.

Does young Lillian have the courage to walk alone into the Bears’ den?
Why do the cats of the forest keep watching her?
Is love enough to turn away death?

Originally a very short picture book, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest brings even more depth to Lillian’s journey as she searches for a way to make things right again in her world, despite the danger to herself. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Unnaturalists, by Tiffany Trent (fiction) – steampunk, witch-fairy mutiny?

book cover of The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent published by Simon SchusterScience is good, magic is bad.
Technology is better than nature.
The powers-that-be hold all the power in this city…
or do they?

Steampunk plus pixies, manticores, and sphinxes – all in an alternate London swept out of its own world and time by a Tesla coil in the wrong hands! Vespa is in great peril as she awakens to her powers as a witch in this so-rational City.

If you’ve ever wondered about how book covers are created, go behind the scenes at the photo shoot for The Unnaturalists.  You’ll find it in hardback now at your local library or independent bookstore; don’t wait for the August 2013 paperback edition!

So, just how steampunk do you like your alternate history books?

Book info: The Unnaturalists / Tiffany Trent. Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Vespa loves working with her father, preparing captured magical creatures for display in the museum. But now she must make a good match, ignoring the signs that she’s as Unnatural as anything in the museum – and in terrible danger.

The Church of Science and Technology controls New London after a temporal quirk landed that city in an alternate England generations ago; it allows no magic or witchery within its bounds. The Tinker folk who respect nature and its Elementals endure a hardscrabble existence outside the City Wall, adopting City children born with magical traits and abandoned there, exposed to the Creeping Waste.

Syrus listens to Granny’s stories in the Tinker camp, knows that the City soldiers will soon take more Tinkers to slave in the Refinery which produces the substance to power the City, senses that Vespa is not like other City folk, knows that the land will rupture and perish when the last Elementals are gone.

The secret society of Architects also knows that the Church cannot keep capturing Elementals /Unnaturals without endangering their world, and they foil the Refiners at every turn. When Syrus gets caught up in their conflict, he rushes to rescue his clan members from the Refinery.

Vespa’s time as Companion to high-born Lucy is filled with dressmaker’s appointments and matchmaker consultations, when her mistress suddenly demands that she use magic to craft a love charm! But lurking secrets in Lord Virulen’s manor house may upset the young ladies’ scheme before it begins.

Does so-ordinary Vespa possess enough untapped magic to help Lucy capture a nobleman’s heart before the Empress discovers their crime?
Who is the secretive Architect risking exposure as he shields Syrus from the Refiners’ wrath?
Why didn’t Vespa ever suspect that she was a witch in the first place?

Steampunk and fantasy collide in this alternate world created by Tiffany Trent, as the creatures seen as Elementals by the Tinkers and as Unnaturals by the Citizens hold the key to everything.(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

W for Widdershins and witches – Body of Water, by Sarah Dooley (book review)

book cover of Body of Water by Sarah Dooley published by Fiewel and FriendsWednesday – her home is gone in minutes.
Wondering why her best friend has gone into hiding.
Widdershins, her wonderful dog – gone forever?

Why can’t people just be nice when they don’t understand someone? As nature-centered Wiccans, Ember’s family stands out too much in this small Southern town, no matter how quiet they are. Her mom reads tarot cards for townspeople who call her a witch behind her back and won’t even say hello to her at the store. Ember uses her spells only for peace, for clarity, to ward off Ivy’s nightmares.

Her continuing search for loyal dog Widdershins – “who was a good dog and came when I called her – six times out of ten” – and for objects that the fire left behind brings her close enough to former best friend Anson’s place every week that he might speak to her, tell her why he set the fire… but his silence is very, very loud.

Float out on the lake with Ember, find balance and clarity on her favorite Body of Water, feel how being homeless doesn’t mean being hopeless.

Book info: Body of Water / Sarah Dooley. Fiewel and Friends, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Three hours after the fire, Ember wonders if Anson did it, if her best friend torched her family’s trailer house everything they owned, if that would keep his father from doing worse things to them for their beliefs.

Just because folks in the little Southern town call them witches doesn’t make them bad people. Dad calls their beliefs Wicca, Mom says not-quite-Wicca and teaches young teen Ember spells for clarity and balance with nature and peace. She also says that revenge is a bad seed to plant in your mind as it just might take root in your heart.

So now they’re homeless, Mom and Dad and Ember and little sister Ivy. She can’t find her dog Widdershins, and big brother Isaac is away at college. No room in Grandma’s tiny apartment, as if that devout lady would welcome her pagan son and family anyway, so eventually they find themselves at Goose Landing Campground, beside the lake where Grandpa drowned, the event that stopped Mom and Dad’s wanderings.

Ember ventures back to her burned-out home every week, searching for things that the fire might have spared – half a pair of Mom’s sewing scissors, a soup ladle – and for Widdershins. She mourns the loss of her spell journal, of Ivy’s random collections, of her former best friend. The only place she finds peace is floating far out in the center of the lake, where the water and the sky hold her.

And now it’s time for school to start. How can Ember and Ivy attend when their address is a pup tent, when they have no notebooks or decent clothes? Can they ever find a place to live when Dad can’t find a job? Did Widdershins perish in the fire or run away to find a safe home? Will Ember even be able to speak to Anson when she sees him again?

A story that circles back again and again to home and family and hope, Body of Water brings readers along on Ember’s search for clarity and balance and peace. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Always a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough (book review) – Time travel, magic battle, prophecy

book cover of Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough published by ClarionFace her sister’s wrath or buy the world’s most unflattering bridesmaid dress?
Stay here to be with true love Gabriel or travel back in time to save the world?
Why doesn’t Tam ever have any easy choices?

As the first book in MacCullough’s duet ended, high school senior Tamsin Greene learned that she does indeed have a witch Talent and is one of the few skilled at time Travel. Oh, and that somehow she is now keeper of the Domani, the magical object that keeps the malign Knight family of witches under control.

No wonder Alistair Knight goes back in time to help his ancestors keep the Greene family from creating the Domani… no wonder Tamsin time Travels to stop him.

Twisted witch souls, lust for power, a big magical battle – be sure to read Once a Witch (book 1 – my review) before you race through the conclusion of this exciting duet.

Book info: Always a Witch / Carolyn MacCullough. Clarion HMH, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Recommendation: Tamsin can’t let evil Alistair Knight go back in time to wipe out her family! Yes, she knows that time Traveling is dangerous, but the fate of the Greenes – and of all unWitch humanity – hangs in the balance.

Few can Travel, and no one else can repel another witch’s Talent or take it away – finding her magic Talent late is better than never, Tam decides, even if she doesn’t want to be “most powerful of them all,” as her grandmother reads the prophecy from the past and future pages of the Greene family book.

Clues indicate that Alistair intends to contact his 19th century relatives with information they could use to ambush the Greenes and prevent them from creating the Domani which controls the powers that witches have over mere humans. So Tamsin decides to get into the Knight household before he can arrive in 1887. Surely Gabriel will be able to draw her back into the present before her sister Rowena’s wedding next weekend…

Posing as a lady’s maid, Tam finds that more than just modern conveniences are lacking in the huge house. The matriarch, La Spider, is using highly unconventional means to retain her youthful appearance and to control her grown son and daughter. And the son is experimenting with ways to use humans, such a bother when they are used up…

Blood and a dungeon, an uncanny stone statue, a stealthy war of magic power that bustling New York City cannot even see – will Alistair succeed in giving Liam Knight the key to defeating the Greenes? Can Tamsin stop the Knight family without stranding herself in the past? Why are the pages of her grandmother’s prophecy book blank past the day Tam left for 1887?

The prophecy heard in Once a Witch (my review here) echoes over and over through the closing book of the duet, as Tamsin strives to do what’s best for her family without destroying the world. One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Once a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough (book review) – prophecy with no power?

book cover of Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough published by ClarionGetting away from a bad situation always seems like a good idea… except when a bigger problem roars down from an unexpected quarter.

There’s always someone, somewhere, who is taller or has a better free throw average or solves the crossword puzzle faster than you – usually we find something else to focus on and things seem better.

But Tam’s birth prophecy said she would be “most powerful” and “a beacon to us all” – she’s not imagining her family’s disappointment as she grows up with no Talent at all. Her mom’s arguments about Tam leaving home made the weather storm and moan; her grandmother’s future-sight never shows whole pictures.

At least Gabriel is here now – his Talent for finding things might help Tam as she searches for the professor’s long-lost family heirloom. And a little time-Traveling with a cute guy…

Followed by Always a Witch which extends and completes the story of Tamsin and the Greenes as they struggle to keep the Knight family from gaining control over humankind.

Book info: Once a Witch / Carolyn MacCullough. Graphia HMH, 2009. [author’s website] [book website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Recommendation: Boarding school is a better place for Tamsin, unTalented among her family of powerful witches. There, she can almost forget the words of her seer grandmother – that Tamsin will be most powerful of them all. Ha!

At least her childhood pal Gabriel and his mother have moved back to Hedgerow, where the extended Greene family has lived quietly for many decades, more than content to stay out of public notice. He doesn’t yet know that Tam’s Talent never manifested, but someone will surely tell him soon.

When a professor visits the family bookstore and asks her help in tracing an heirloom, mistaking Tam for her very Talented sister, she agrees. A bit odd that McCallum finds them both in New York City soon after, as Rowena shops for her wedding dress…

Tam’s search for the missing clock takes her and Gabriel much further than she had imagined – back to 1899, in fact, thanks to Gabriel’s time-traveling Talent. But finding the clock triggers a new quest as Tam learns more about her family’s history and their past battles with another group of witches who’d rather rule over unTalented humans than avoid their notice.

Can Tam keep the clock away from the professor long enough to discover its secrets? Have she and Gabriel altered the path of time? How can she do anything to help her family when she has no Talent?

Tam tries to balance her personal world with the larger questions of good versus evil in this first book of a duet which is followed by Always a Witch. Surely Rowena will decide on a wedding dress before it’s all over… (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

This Thing Called the Future, by J.L. Powers (book review) – tradition, love, AIDS, hope in South Africa

Tomorrow is South Africa Youth Day, celebrating the 1976 youth protest in Soweto. Khosi’s mother and father were among the many who fought for freedom from apartheid, the South African government’s brutal racial discrimination policy.

Although apartheid has crumbled, Khosi and Zi are growing up in an era of changes, as traditional beliefs clash with Christianity, and new menaces stalk the villages and cities of Africa. “The disease of these times” Khosi calls it – HIV and AIDS leaves many children orphaned.

I visited with author J.L. Powers at TLA, and she told me of life in today’s South African townships, the funeral bells, the push for education. Reading this strong book, we can believe that Khosi will stay in school and find a way to balance her beliefs, avoid threats to her health, and see a bright future.

Book info: This Thing Called the Future / J.L. Powers. Cinco Puntos Press, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation: Khosi wants to do well in school, keep her family safe, escape AIDS, “the disease of these times” in South Africa. Life can be so confusing at 14, as she prays to the great God-in-the-sky at the church and also honors her ancestors with traditional ceremonies, uses herbal cures from the sangoma as well as modern medicines from the clinic. Born on the day that her grandfather died, Khosi often has vivid dreams – are they merely warnings from her ancestor or dire predictions of the future?

She and her little sister live with their grandmother in Imbali township, while her mother teaches in another city, coming home on the weekends; their father lives so far away that they see him only on holidays. Khosi wishes that Mama and Baba were married, but during the struggle for Liberation who could afford the lobolo, the bride price?

A widowed neighbor accuses Mama of stealing her late husband’s money, a drunken man near Gogo’s house follows Khosi and Zi home from school every day, and the witch woman calls out that she will take Khosi’s spirit! How Khosi wishes she could just ignore these things and plan her future as someone who heals or dream about her crush on Little Man at her school …

When Mama comes home, sick and skinny and weary, Khosi fears that the neighbor and the witch have cursed her family. What can she do?

Author J.L. Powers’ time in South Africa has given her great insight into the lives of its girls and women, ever-shadowed by HIV, neighborhood violence, and the struggle to rise above poverty, as she brings us a powerful story that still holds hope for This Thing Called the Future. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.