I have been drawn to witchy books recently and I have embraced it!
Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning.
Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.
Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.
I went into Corn in a Cornfield expecting a fun slasher and that is what I got… eventually. I will be honest that I almost put this down because there was so much setup and I did not care about these characters. I was there for the killer clowns and that is what I was promised I would get, so I pushed through. I am so glad that I did because it was everything I want in a slasher. There were some brutal scenes! I do think that this reads almost like a satire as the killer’s motives were over the top, but it was trying to make a point, which I appreciated. I have heard mixed things about the sequel and I was happy with where this one ended, so I don’t think I will continue on, especially since I wasn’t invested in the characters or the relationships.
Sonia Hartl’s The Lost Girls is laced with dark humor and queer love; it’s John Tucker Must Die with a feminist girl gang of vampires.
When Elton Irving turned Holly Liddell into a vampire in 1987, he promised her eternal love. But thirty-four years later, Elton has left her, her hair will be crimped for the rest of immortality, and the only job she can get as a forever-sixteen-year-old is the midnight shift at Taco Bell.
Holly’s afterlife takes an interesting turn when she meets Rose McKay and Ida Ripley. Having also been turned and discarded by Elton—Rose in 1954, and Ida, his ex-fiancée, in 1921—they want to help her, and ask for her help in return.
Rose and Ida are going to kill Elton before he turns another girl. Though Holly is hurt and angry with Elton for tossing her aside, she’s reluctant to kill her ex, until Holly meets Parker Kerr—the new girl Elton has set his sights on—and feels a quick, and nerve-wracking attraction to her.
The Lost Girls is a book that you cannot take too seriously but I think is a fun ride if you go into it with the right expectations. It is very much John Tucker Must Die with vampires. I have to say that I was charmed by the found family aspect of this story and I wasn’t expecting it. The friendship that these three vampires form is delightful! There is something about revenge stories that draw me in. There is also a sapphic love story and I thought that the conversations around vampires and sexuality were interesting. I will say that I struggle with that whole trope of a vampire having a relationship with a human teenager, but I think this book was making fun of itself. And the author does make a point of acknowledging that our main character, Holly, was turned when she was sixteen and hasn’t really matured since then and the human love interest is eighteen. I also appreciate that the vampires in this don’t have any sort of moral code and we get some more gory scenes. Again, this is another campy book that is fast-paced and I had fun with it!
If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple.
At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls–Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle–took the oath to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is now the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she’s a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right.
Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven.
I buddy read Her Majesty’s Royal Coven and I recommend doing that if you can because there was more to unpack here than I was anticipating! I thought that the history of this government agency that Juno Dawson created was so unique and the fact that Anne Boelyn was the founder was a fun touch. This is really a story about female friendship and the corruption of those in power. One of the characters we follow is definitely inspired by J.K. Rowling. It is difficult for me to know how much I should tell you about the plot because I went into it knowing next to nothing, so I appreciated being surprised. There are important conversations about gender at the heart of this story and about different opinions on who and who does not belong in a coven of witches. That is where the conflict of this story stems from.
The one thing that annoyed me about this book is the sheer number of pop culture references. I loved the Spice Girls as much as the next person and it was fun to see them referenced at first, but it eventually became overkill. I just think that pop culture references will age a book quickly, which is frustrating because I think this book could have staying power. I will definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out next year! But I will say DO NOT READ the synopsis of the sequel because it definitely spoils the ending of the first book.
When a guest dies in the B&B she helps her aunts run, a young witch must rely on some good old-fashioned investigating to clear her aunt’s name in this magical and charming new cozy mystery.
For four hundred years, the Warren witches have used their magic to quietly help the citizens of the sleepy New England town of Evenfall thrive. There’s never been a problem they couldn’t handle. But then Constance Graves–a local known for being argumentative and demanding–dies while staying at the bed and breakfast Brynn Warren maintains with her aunts. At first, it seems like an accident…but it soon becomes clear that there’s something more sinister at work, and Aunt Nora is shaping up to be the prime suspect.
There’s nothing Brynn wants more than to prove Nora’s innocence, and it hurts her to know that even two years ago that might have been easier. Brynn, after all, is a witch of the dead–a witch who can commune with ghosts. Ghosts never remember much about their deaths, but Constance might remember something about her life that would help crack the case. But Brynn hasn’t used her powers since her husband died, and isn’t even sure she still can. Brynn will just have to hope that her aunts’ magic and her own investigative skills will lead her to answers–and maybe back to the gift she once thought herself ready to give up forever.
In the Company of Witches has become one of my favourite cozy mysteries! I need to read more cozies centred around witches because they obviously work for me. I will say that this book deals a lot with grief as our main character, Constance, has moved back in with her aunts after the death of her husband. This loss has affected her in all aspects of her life, including her relationship with her magic. I actually teared up by the end. This book has everything I love about cozy mysteries- a small-town setting, a wide range of characters, and delicious food descriptions. I think this would be a good place to start if you are looking to get into cozy mysteries! I cannot wait to read the sequel!
For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.
In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.
In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.
In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.
In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.
I wanted to love The Nature of Witches but I found myself underwhelmed by it. I don’t think I realized just how much time would be spent on the romance, and it was a romance I wasn’t invested in. There was actually a past relationship that the main character had that I thought had more potential. This book explored some interesting themes, climate change in particular, that I thought were interesting and had potential but were overshadowed by the romance. The elemental magic was also compelling!
In the midst of the woods stands a house called Lichen Hall.
This place is shrouded in folklore – old stories of ghosts, of witches, of a child who was not quite a child.
Now the woods are creeping closer, and something has been unleashed.
Pearl Gorham arrives in 1965, one of a string of young women sent to Lichen Hall to give birth. And she soon suspects the proprietors are hiding something.
Then she meets the mysterious mother and young boy who live in the grounds – and together they begin to unpick the secrets of this place.
As the truth comes to the surface and the darkness moves in, Pearl must rethink everything she knew – and risk what she holds most dear.
The Lighthouse Witches was one of my favourite books of last year, so I was thrilled when I heard that C.J. Cooke was releasing another Gothic horror novel. The Ghost Woods had everything that I have come to expect from this author. No one writes atmosphere quite like she does! I was fully immersed in this story and in both perspectives. There was something so haunting about the whole thing! This has cemented C.J. Cooke as an auto-buy author for me and I am on the edge of my seat wondering what she will write next!
Welcome to Isla Bruja, a secret magical enclave near Miami and home to the richest and most powerful Latinx witch families.
When Catalina Cartagena returns home for her older sister’s wedding, she’s shocked to discover that her soon-to-be brother in law is possessed by a demon. To make matters worse, everyone else seems to be under the demon’s spell—except for Diego Paz, younger brother of the groom and Cat’s childhood rival.
With only three days until the wedding, Cat must join forces with her sexy nemesis to break the spell and defeat the demon. If they fail, demonic forces will control two of the most powerful witch families on Isla Bruja.
There’s only one bed at the magical B&B, and it’s time for these witches to get wicked…in more ways than one.
At only 101 pages, What the Hex makes for a quick, one-day read! It is also an Audible Original, so the audiobook is available for free if you are an Audible Plus member. This is a fluffy and fun witchy romance with a lot of my favourite tropes- rivals to lovers, only one bed, and fake dating.
Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling—and keep the real killer from striking again.
There is so much to love about The Spare Man that I don’t even know where to begin. I will say that it is not a perfect book- there are pacing issues, the relationship between Tesla and her husband is cringy at times, and I wasn’t as invested in the actual whodunnit, but everything that it does well makes up for this. in my opinion. I adore the setting and the near future world that Mary Robinette Kowal has built. The entire story takes place on board a spaceliner, so it has that isolated feeling. We have a disabled, Tesla (I don’t know how I feel about that name!), who is dealing with chronic pain and PTSD after a terrible accident. Tesla has a service dog named Gimlet who is truly the star of the show. She is also aided by deep brain stimulation, which was fascinating. I also appreciated that Tesla, who is a famous heiress and inventor, recognized her privilege in this situation and that money talks, so she knew that her husband, who was accused of murder, would be fine. That said, it did lower the stakes a little bit! Another bonus is that we get cocktail recipes at the beginning of each chapter!
What books have you read recently?