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  • Tara Sonin 7:00 pm on 2018/01/10 Permalink
    Tags: a discovery of witches, , , , breath of magic, crystal cove, , daughter of the blood, , erika mailman, , , , , , , , , naomi novik, , , paula brackson, practical magic, , , , , the witches of east end, the witching hour, the witchs daughter, the witchs trinity, toil and trouble, uprooted, , wicked deeds on a winters night, witch and wizard   

    16 Witchy Books You Need This Winter 

    You may think Autumn is the only time for witchery, but we say winter and witches go together like snowflakes and hot cocoa! If January has been keeping you cold, here are some witchy reads that will excite…and maybe even scare you a bit, too.

    A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
    When factions of supernatural creatures set their sights on a document that could give them the upper hand in a war, a reluctant witch must seek the protection of an equally reluctant vampire, her supposed mortal enemy. Witch stories have a tendency to emphasize the importance of family…but in this case, it could be her own family that wants her dead. Can true love between two warring beings prevail?

    Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
    The Owens sisters are cursed: the men that they love will always die. But with that curse comes unique abilities—magic—that on more than one occasion, they have used to try and prevent others that they love from falling prey to the same fate. Gillian and Sally grew up as outsiders, always trying to escape the rumors about their family. One of them married, and the other ran away, determined never to do so. But when tragedy brings them together again, the curse is always there to welcome them home…

    Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts
    In this witchy trilogy, Iona Sheehan travels to Ireland to connect with family she has always yearned to know. Reunited with her cousins in the home of her ancestors, Iona is hopeful she’s found everything she’s been looking for. And then she meets Boyle MacGrath: a cowboy with no ties, except the one winding its way around her heart.

    Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, by Kresley Cole
    In the fourth installment in this paranormal romance series, Mariketa the witch has been stripped of her magic, leaving her with no choice but to seek the protection of her greatest enemy, Bowen MacRieve. Bowen is a tortured werewolf determined never to let his heart belong to another—especially Mari—but soon enough, they cannot deny the passion between them. Forbidden love, evil forces, and magic combine for a riveting tale.

    Breath of Magic, by Teresa Medeiros
    Arian Whitewood is a witch from the seventeenth century…which means she does not belong three hundred years in the future, but alas, that’s where a mysterious amulet takes her. She meets Tristan Lennox, a billionaire with no faith in magic…and so he never expected his reward of 1 million dollars to the person who could prove its existence to ever come true. Outlander fans will love this reverse-time-travel billionaire romance.

    Crystal Cove, by Lisa Kleypas
    Friday Harbor has been a good home to Justine; here she’s found the stability she never had with her untamable mother, Marigold, and she enjoys the safety in her mundane life of running a small hotel. But then, her world is rocked by the truth that her lack of love is the result of a dark curse cast on her at birth.

    The Witch’s Daughter, by Paula Brackston
    One of the most fascinating and engrossing witch tales I’ve ever read: you will not be able to look away from the tale of Elizabeth Hawksmith, a witch who has survived over three-hundred years in loneliness, only to discover a Witchfinder from her past has been stalking her through time, determined to collect on a debt. But this time, Elizabeth can’t run: she has a teenage girl under her care, and something more important than her own immortality to protect.

    The Witches of East End, by Melissa De La Cruz
    The Beauchamp witches try to live a normal life; the fact that they are forbidden to practice magic makes that slightly easier. But when murder and mystery find them in their solitude, they decide the time has come to defy the rules and do what must be done to defeat the evil in their midst.

    Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop
    This high fantasy in which power is manifested through magical gems stars a mysterious Queen who will rise to a power stronger even than Hell itself. Three men seek to find and control the girl who is destined to ascend the throne in a ruthless quest of corruption, greed, and lust.

    Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
    The story of the Wicked Witch of the West begins at birth—born green, an outcast in society, she is nonetheless destined to wield a magic that will make her infamous. This villain origin story is action-packed, beautiful, and romantic.

    The Witch’s Trinity, by Erika Mailman
    This fascinating tale of witchcraft, fear, and history begins in 1507 when a German town is struck by a famine…which one friar believes is the result of witchcraft. Güde Müller has been tormented by visions that she cannot explain…and soon she realizes that her position in the town is compromised, perhaps even by her own family.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
    This unique story is difficult to describe, but incredibly ethereal, dark, and haunting. A man comes home to Sussex for a funeral, and is drawn to the mysterious house at the end of the road where, as a child, he met a mysterious girl and something magical and dangerous happened to him as a child.

    The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe
    Connie’s summer is full to the brim with research for her PhD. But when her mother asks her to help handle the sale of her grandmother’s house, Connie finds herself pulled into a dark mystery involving a family bible, an old key, and a name: Deliverance Dane. Who was she? And why is Connie suddenly having visions of the Salem Witch Trials?

    Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
    A terrifying wizard known as The Dragon kidnaps girls in a small town every ten years—and soon, Agnieszka’s best friend will be chosen. That is, until a twist of fate results in her being chosen instead.

    Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson
    In a dystopian world of governmental control, Wisty and Whit Allgood are siblings accused of being a witch and wizard. Young people everywhere have been torn from their homes and forced to face judgment for this “crime” of magic.

    The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice
    This lush, dark, and gorgeously gory paranormal series introduces readers to the Mayfair witches, whose stories have been told for centuries by the Talamasca. This time, Rowan Mayfair is a neurosurgeon who never knew of her abilities until one day when she brings a man back from the dead. Cursed (or gifted, or both) with the ability to see the dark realm and the evil spirit who wants to come through to the mortal realm, Rowan must find a way to defeat him and protect the world—and people—she loves.

    What witchy books do you love?

    The post 16 Witchy Books You Need This Winter appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Amanda Diehl 4:00 pm on 2017/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: a discovery of witches, a promise of fire, alana delacroix, alanea alder, amanda bouchet, , amy raby, annette blair, anya bast, bed mcmaster, , , cecelia tan, , christine warren, crux, cursed, , dana marie bell, , daunter of mystery, , , diablo lake: moonstruck, elisabeth stab, elizabeth hunter, emily croy barker, enchanted warrior, firelight, , grace draven, , heart of crystal, heart of stone, heather rose jones, her wish, how to tame a beast in seven days, if he’s wicked, , , , , juliet marlier, , kerrelyn sparks, kirsten callihan, kylie griffin, labyrinth lost, lauren d.m. Smith, , lilith saint crow, lucy leroux, lynn kurland, m. j. rose, mary robinette kowal, masked possession, master of crows, michele bardsley, moira rogers, my commander, never again, nina walker, no proper lady, , prince of power, prism, rebecca zanetti, rising fire, , rose & thunder, , , second sight, sex and the psychic witch, shades of milk and honey, shadow bound, shadow of the wolf, sharon ash wood, sophie h. morgan, spellbound falls, star of the morning, , terri brisbin, the devil in disguise, the fire seer, , the mark of the tala, the red, the scribe, the siren and the sword, the thinking woman’s guide to real magic, , the witch of painted sorrows, , vengeance born, , wicked ride, wickedly dangerous, , witch fire, zoraida cordova   

    50 Magical Romances to Read Right Now 

    My own romance reading is rather varied, but I have a weakness: magic. Psychic abilities, being able to shoot fire from one’s hands, or even just mystical elements is enough for me to give a book a double take. Magic adds an extra, fantastical element to a romance as characters need to contend with their abilities or fight off powerful villains. Though the fifty romances below are not an exhaustive list, if you love magic in your books or are hoping to find the right blend of magic and romance, you’ll definitely find something to add to your reading pile!

    A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
    A Discovery of Witches is probably the first book that comes to mind for books that blend magical elements and romance. Unbeknownst to her, Diana Bishop finds an “alchemical manuscript” while conducting research. Further complicating things, Diana also comes from a long line of witches. The emergence of the manuscript sends Diana’s life into chaos as other witches, demons, and even vampires join in the quest to obtain the manuscript for themselves.

    A Promise of Fire, by Amanda Bouchet
    I cannot say enough amazing things about this book. If you like strong, powerful heroines with dark secrets and a burgeoning need for revenge, pick this up immediately. Cat works at a traveling circus, hoping the constant moving will keep her from being undetected because she’s a Kingmaker. She has the rare ability to sense when someone is lying, making her very valuable, especially to Griffin, a normal warlord who has bested a magical family to rule a kingdom. With elements of mythology and face-melting fireballs, this is a fantasy romance readers won’t soon forget.

    Burn for Me, by Ilona Andrews
    Ilona Andrews has a handful of amazing series with magic, but their Hidden Legacy series is by far my favorite. In Houston, magic is real and the elite community is ruled by powerful magical families. Nevada Baylor works as a private investigator, taking small time cases where she can determine what is the truth and what’s a lie. As her abilities grow stronger, making her a target of anyone who wants her talents on their side, she may very well wind up in over her head on her next case, especially when it causes her to partner with elusive billionaire, Connor “Mad” Rogan.

    Crux, by Moira Rogers
    Mackenzie Evans is on the run from a man who thinks she’s destined to mate with him to create strong, supernatural babies. Taking refuge in New Orleans, she soon learns that not everything her stalker has said is nonsense. Magic is real and she’s part of a shifter bloodline. Jackson Holt is a charming spell caster and a private investigator. He’s been hired by Mackenzie’s new boss to help her with the stalker situation. There’s action, mystery, and plenty of scene-stealing secondary characters as Jackson introduces Mackenzie to a world she’s never known before.

    Cursed, by Lucy Leroux
    Up until the age of twelve, Isobel Sterling was trained in witchcraft, a gift that she kept secret from the people around her. She’s found a haven working as a governess for the Montgomery family, but soon the home is visited by several strange individuals, namely Matteo Garibaldi. She senses something dark in Matteo and does her best to avoid the Montgomerys’ guest whenever possible, but fate has other ideas when Isobel and Matteo become shut inside for a night.

    Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier
    Juliet Marillier is the author to go to if you love beautifully detailed fantasy settings. Sorcha is the youngest of seven children, with six older brothers who are now cursed to take the form of swans. As her father takes a new wife following the death of Sorcha’s mother a decade earlier, things take a turn for the worse as she’s sent away, kidnapped by her family’s enemies. When a man comes to her rescue and takes her under his protection, Sorcha is conflicted between her blossoming feelings of love and her need to break her brothers’ curse.

    Daughter of Mystery, by Heather Rose Jones
    Daughter of Mystery is a lesbian romance set in a detailed fantasy realm with religious-based magic, political intrigue, and a fish-out-of-water heroine. Margerit Sovitre is surprised to learn that she’s inherited the fortunes and the protective bodyguard of a baron. The change in finances catapults her to being one of the most eligible heiresses on the market. Thrust into a world with which she isn’t familiar, she relies on her new guard, Barbara to lead her. But when Barbara sees an end to her servitude, she must choose to finally live a free life or take up arms for Lady Margerit.

    The Devil in Disguise, by Cynthia Eden
    As overlord of dark, sinister creatures, Luke Thorne typically wants for nothing until he meets Mina James, a living, breathing siren. Her appearance in his life is a temptation he cannot ignore and he longs to claim the rare woman, but he comes to realize that Mina is out for herself. She is destined to escape her enemies and Luke’s all encompassing power is the best way to make that happen. Can the two come to a mutually beneficial arrangement or are they destined to use and betray each other for the sake of power?

    Diablo Lake: Moonstruck, by Lauren Dane
    Katie Faith isn’t happy about having to slink back to her hometown, especially after being jilted by her werewolf ex-fiance. But Diablo Lake is full of magic and two warring shifter families, the Dooleys and the Pembreys, and her return doesn’t go unnoticed. Werewolf Jace Dooley has known Katie for years, though now that both of them are all grown up, there are more than just friendly feelings getting in the way. Unfortunately, Katie and Jace’s flirtation means all sorts of trouble once the Pembreys realize their rivals have a witch on their side.

    Enchanted Warrior, by Sharon Ashwood
    As one of King Arthur’s knights, Gawain remembers the fall of Camelot. But the world he is now in looks nothing like the one he has known. Somehow, someway, Gawain wakes up in present day in the Medievaland Theme Park. Historian Tamsin Greene isn’t sure she believes that stranger who appears in the park in which she works. However she’s determined to help him. Though no matter how much Gawain wants Tamsin’s help, he senses a deep magic within her. And if there’s one thing he abhors as a knight, it’s a witch.

    The Fire Seer, by Amy Raby
    In the Coalition of Mages, Taya is known as a fire seer, and she’s determined to maker her fellow magical colleagues take notice. By accepting a mission to track down a rogue mage, Taya knows her work is cut out for her, which is why she’s taking on a bodyguard. What she doesn’t expect is that her guard is her former nemesis, Mandir. The two are unsure if they can set aside their differences to work together, but they see no harm in trying, if the rogue mage doesn’t track them down first.

    Firelight, by Kristen Callihan
    A paranormal historical with Beauty and the Beast elements, Firelight has one of the strongest heroines, both physically and emotionally. Miranda Ellis is a fire starter, a secret she desperately tries to hide. Lord Benjamin Archer is a mysterious figure who hides his face behind a mask. He’s also been in love with Miranda for years. As circumstances throw them together again, leading to a marriage of convenience, the two not only must confront their growing feelings for one another, but also deal with accusations that could lead to Archer’s arrest.

    Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen
    Sarah Addison Allen is an expert at writing magical realism. The Waverly women are used to being the subject of gossip in their small town in North Carolina. Claire Waverly keeps to herself, dedicating her time to her catering business, but when her wayward sister and niece come back to North Carolina, things become increasingly complicated. Claire’s predictable life spirals into a tailspin; her magic, based on emotions, becomes harder and harder to control. For readers who prefer their romance on the lighter side and have a weakness for sisterly relationships, this one’s for you.

    Heart of Crystal, by Lauren D.M. Smith
    Azara comes from a family of fire mages, a family that has been kidnapped and taken from her. She’s heard rumors of her family’s whereabouts and she’s determined to free them. In order to save her family, she must pose as a tea merchant alongside her emperor’s magus, Jin, to gain access to enemy territory. Her rescue mission is more dangerous than she realizes, as the two mages battle their feelings for one another amidst an underlying betrayal.

    Heart of Stone, by Christine Warren
    Ella Harrow is a self proclaimed “art geek.” She also just so happens to have psychic abilities. Working in a museum allows Ella to keep herself secluded, alone with artifacts and her powers contained. But then one of the museum’s statues comes to life. Kees is a gargoyle unintentionally awakened by Ella, though the why of the matter has yet to be determined. Was he awakened to protect the earth from danger, or does Ella’s presence have something to do with it?

    Her Wish, by Sophie H. Morgan
    With a quite funny take on the typical paranormal romance, genies are celebrities in the modern world. Women want them and men want to be them. Unfortunately, Charlie Donahue wants absolutely nothing to do with genies, which makes it awkward that her friend entered Charlie into a lottery to win a genie at her command. It’s even more awkward once she wins and notorious genie Jax Michaels appears to make all her wishes come true. The two are not quite enemies, but Charlie makes it quite clear she’s immune to his charms, which only spurs Jax on even more.

    How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days, by Kerrelyn Sparks
    Luciana has lived a sheltered life, never once leaving the Isle of Moon, but her father has given her a chance to see the rest of the world. There’s just one catch: In order to leave their home, she must agree to marry Lord Leofric, known as the Beast of Benwick. Both individuals agree to the match, though they imagine love probably isn’t in the cards…Until they discover each other’s magical abilities. Luciana is more powerful in her magic than Leo realizes, while Leo’s fear of endangering others with his ability to harness lightning slowly seems to wane. Two magical strangers falling in love after agreeing to an arranged marriage? Yes, please!

    If He’s Wicked, by Hannah Howell
    Julian Kenwood can’t shake the feeling that his life is in danger, but he has nothing to corroborate that feeling, until Chloe Wherlocke shows up on his doorstep. Chloe receives visions and the latest one she has shows a dangerous and deadly plot against Julian and his child. She’s earnest in her need to save him and prevent her vision from occurring. All she has to do is convince the broken-hearted Julian to trust her.

    Labyrinth Lost, by Zoraida Córdova
    If you’ve always thought you needed a queer Alice in Wonderland-inspired romantic journey featuring witches, look no further than Labyrinth Lost. When it’s revealed that Alex is a the most powerful bruja in a generation, she’s anything but excited. In fact, she hates magic and schemes to rid herself of her abilities. But when the spell goes haywire and her family vanishes, Alex knows she must use her powers for the sake of righting her wrong. There is an element of romance that I think will delight many readers, though it’s worth a read just for the world-building and magic.

    The Magpie Lord, by K.J. Charles
    Magician Stephen Day absolutely hates Lord Crane. Well, rather, he hates Crane’s family. But Stephen quickly learns that Crane is nothing like his father, and when the man needs magical assistance, Stephen can’t find the heart to say no. Sexual tension runs rampant between these two men amidst of backdrop of evil magic and mysterious attacks. For readers who like Gothic romances with a twist, The Magpie Lord has chemistry that crackles off the pages and a dark mystery that propels the story to great heights.

    The Mark of the Tala, by Jeffe Kennedy
    Andi doesn’t mind being the middle princess of her father’s kingdom. She prefers being overlooked in favor of sneaking off to the stables. Then, a strange man turns her life upside down. Rayfe is a man who rules a mysterious kingdom where gossip is frequent, as whispers travel that his lands are overrun by evil magic and shapeshifters. During a chance meeting with Andi, he declares the princess will make a fine queen for his kingdom. But the declaration sends Andi’s father into an obsessive madness, and Rayfe may be just the ally she needs.

    Masked Possession, by Alana Delacroix
    Caro Yeats is a masquerada, a person with the rare ability to change his or her appearance. Working for a public relations company that specializes in supernatural clients, she’s never met anyone quite like her, until now. Hoping to understand more about herself and her abilities, she takes on, albeit hesitantly, the assignment to assist Eric Kelton, a masquerada desperate to “rebrand” himself and fix the problems his alter egos have caused.

    Master of Crows, by Grace Draven
    Martise of Asher is on a dangerous mission: spy on the rogue sorcerer, Silhara of Neith, by posing as an interested apprentice, and turn him over to the Conclave. Silhara knows Martise is a spy the moment they meet. Not only does he have to navigate Martise’s eventual betrayal, but he’s also battling a madness that could have lasting effects on his world. As Martise commits to the role of her apprenticeship, her quest to find a cure for Silhara’s affliction starts to change, from duplicitous to earnest and sincere.

    My Commander, by Alanea Alder
    A sewing circle of magical matriarchs takes a turn after they consult a witch elder about when their sons will be supplying them with grandchildren. The elder surprises them with the knowledge that their sons all have mates waiting to be found, there’s just one catch: they’re all human. Aiden McKenzie truly feels like he doesn’t need a mate, though fate has other ideas when Meryn Evans enters his life and promptly knocks him out. Literally.

    Never Again, by Michele Bardsley
    In small town Nevermore, Texas, witches, wizards, and humans live relatively peacefully in their close knit community. Lucina Rackmore is a witch down on her luck. Her family’s finances are nonexistent, and her former lover and master wizard has reduced her magical talents to nearly nothing. To make matters worse, Nevermore is home to her ex-brother-in-law, Gray Calhoun, a man who was nearly sacrificed to a demon by her sister. But when it’s clear that there’s no love lost between Lucinda and her hometown, and that her dangerous ex is trying to “win” her back, Gray begrudgingly steps up to be her knight in shining armor.

    No Proper Lady, by Isabel Cooper
    Joan is from a time when demons plagued the earth. Unfortunately, she now finds herself thrown back in time to Victorian England, where a woman outfitted with all manner of weapons is a sight to behold. She knows what she must do though, as she’s been sent back in order to defeat an evil magician, to keep the demon-filled future from happening. To blend in enough to reach her target, Joan must seek help from Simon Grenville to teach her how to become the perfect Victorian woman.

    Prince of Power, by Elisabeth Staab
    Few rivalries have lasted longer than the one between vampires and wizards. Anton is the son of the Master Wizard, and his aim is to steal the power of the vampire king’s sister, Tyra. Though when he’s finally face-to-face with the undeniably beautiful vampire, things become…complicated, as Tyra also can’t seem to bring herself to vanquish the wizard before her. An enemies to lovers romance between two strong individuals from warring families.

    Prism, by Nina Walker
    Prism has an interesting concept that will make readers want to know more. The cover is also pretty gorgeous. In Prism, colors are directly related to alchemy, and young alchemist Jessa is undergoing her training under Prince Lucas. While Jessa just wants to complete her apprenticeship, Lucas is in desperate need to uncover the magic needed to heal his ailing mother, and time is running out. A unique take on the typical magic and alchemy young adult narrative, with a charming prince and an ambitious heroine.

    The Red, by Tiffany Reisz
    Tiffany Reisz knows how to write a darn good mysterious and erotic romance. Mona Lisa St. James made a promise to her mother that she’d do anything to keep her art gallery running, but Mona isn’t sure she has any choice but to sell it. Then Malcolm enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. If she submits to Malcolm for a year’s time, he’ll save her gallery. Mona accepts, unaware of what she’s getting into, and who or what Malcolm truly is. A twisty and surprising romance that’s unlike anything you’ve read before.

    Rising Fire, by Terri Brisbin
    Brienne of Yester is having a problem. Her abilities with fire are starting to become dangerous, surging and sparking beyond her control. What she doesn’t know is that the dark powers of the “fabled fire goddess” are slowly starting to seep into her magic. William de Brus has been sent by the king to track down this destructive magical force and is completely taken off guard once he realizes the magic is coming from a woman. William does his best to try and free Brienne from her magic, but if he can’t, his orders are to destroy her.

    Rose & Thunder, by Lilith Saintcrow
    Isabella Harpe is a witch who lives a nomadic lifestyle, taking her tarot cards and packing up whenever the mood strikes her. She lands in Tremont City, where a tough assignment is waiting for her from her newest employer, Jeremy Tremont. His family has built their estate on an ancient, cursed plot of land, a land that has many secrets, and he needs her help. Isabella can’t argue with Jeremy’s paycheck, but the question is, can she survive through nightfall in order to break the Tremont curse?

    The Scribe, by Elizabeth Hunter
    Ava Matheson can’t stop hearing voices and she’s traveled to Istanbul, hoping to find answers. During her travels, she begins to realize she isn’t alone, as she’s seen the same group of men tailing her time and time again. Malachi is tasked with protecting the human race, that tattooed words and images on his skin imbued with magic. What Ava doesn’t realize is she has her own abilities, ones that are meant to complement Malachi’s. He just hopes he can convince her before someone takes Ava for their own, greedy purposes.

    Second Sight, by Amanda Quick
    Venetia Milton is at the Arcana House to photograph its mysterious artifact, though there’s something about her employer, Gabriel Jones, that unsettles her. Independent and thirsty for adventure, Venetia has the secret ability of sensing energies and auras, which makes her curiosity for the Arcane House’s artifacts even stronger. Though when people start disappearing and dying around Venetia, Gabriel takes a keen interest in getting to know the photographer a little more intimately.

    Sex and the Psychic Witch, by Annette Blair
    Prefer your romances more on the comedic side? Give Sex and the Psychic Witch a try! Harmony helps run her sisters’ curio shop. She’s able to “read” objects and get a sense of their previous owners. When a Celtic ring turns up, Harmony travels to Massachusetts in an effort to put an angry ghost to rest and restore King Paxton’s renovation project back to working order. An opposites attract, slapstick romance with a pushy witch and a stuffy hero!

    Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal
    Jane Austen meets magic in the start to the whimsically romantic Glamourist Histories series. Jane Ellsworth has the power to use glamour and when she finds out her sister’s suitor is manipulating her for her dowry, she refuses to stand idly by. The magic is interesting and the setting will be familiar to many historical romance fans. If you prefer a more subdued romance, this is a series that just keeps getting better and better. (The covers also look beautiful on any bookshelf.)

    Shadow of the Wolf, by Dana Marie Bell
    Christopher Beckett is a wolf shifter and he’s ready to find his mate, fed up with his life of loneliness. However, the qualities he seeks in a mate are very particular, and he hopes that by casting an ancient spell to find his partner, he’ll get everything he’s looking for. What he gets is Alannah Evans, a witch who has no problem with his “wolf” but has many issues with the fact that he practices magic. Though the two are unsure if Lana’s witch and Chris’ wizard will get along, an old enemy will become a bigger threat than any adversarial opinions.

    Shadowbound, by Bec McMaster
    An ancient relic has gone missing and Ianthe Martin is the one tasked with finding it. However, the only man who could possibly help her is that last man who wants to see her. Ianthe is the one responsible for having the Earl of Rathbourne locked away in Bedlam. He has zero desire to aid her in finding the relic, but the promise of freedom is too tempting to resist. However, Rathbourne has a few conditions of his own that will lead Ianthe to his bedroom, night after night.

    The Siren and the Sword, by Cecilia Tan
    An erotic LGBT magical romance set on a university campus! Kyle Wadsworth starts his freshmen year discovering that he’s magical. At a time when many young adults are beginning to learn about themselves, throwing in having to addresses one’s magical talents makes a stressful time even more so. Fortunately Kyle quickly settles into a group of students just like him, as the group undertakes honing their magic while trying to solve the mystery of the library’s secret siren who wanders the shelves.

    Spellbound Falls, by Janet Chapman
    Widow Olivia Baldwin isn’t interested in cultivating a relationship; her heart is full of helping take care of Inglenook, but when Maximilian Oceanus and his young, precocious son help her in escaping the unwanted attentions of a rather persistent suitor, there’s something that won’t let her ignore Mac’s presence. Her seatbelt locks and sticks when he’s around, doors just seem to open for him, and other little things that don’t seem to add up. For fans of contemporary small town romances with a cozy element, Janet Chapman’s Spellbound Falls series will hit all of those notes and more. And by more, I mean some rather adorable magic.

    Star of the Morning, by Lynn Kurland
    The Black Mage is slowly overtaking the kingdom of Neroche with his dark breed of magic, and there’s only one way to defeat him: a pair of magical swords. Morgan is no ordinary, maidenly woman. She’s a warrior and she wields one of the magical swords that can end the Black Mage’s reign. She knows she has a duty and along her quest, she meets Miach, a man with his own reasons for protecting the kingdom of Neroche. Morgan is wary of Miach at first, but with the trials of their journey ahead, distrust slowly gives way to respect and then to romance.

    Stars of Fortune, by Nora Roberts
    Nora Roberts is another author who has some great magical romances to read. What makes Stars of Fortune such a compulsive read is the cast of characters and Roberts’ deft hand at packing so much into a 300-ish page book. Sasha Riggs is an artist plagued with visions of people destined to save the world. Her only solace is to paint what she sees and she soon realizes that the people in her visions are very real, including the magician, Bran Killian.

    The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, by Emily Croy Barker
    This is more magical fiction with romantic elements and is great for readers who enjoy romance, but would rather it not be central to the story. Nora Fischer is supposed to be busy working on her dissertation, not getting herself sucked into a portal to another world where her life is transformed. But it all seems too good to be true, and the enigmatic Aruendiel is the only one who can get her back to her world in one piece.

    Vengeance Born, by Kylie Griffin
    Annika is half-human and half-demon, a disgrace to the pure blooded demons in her kingdom. The only thing she longs for is escaping to the human realm to live a life of peace. Kalan Tayn is one of the demon’s greatest enemies, known as a Light Blade, but he soon finds himself a prisoner to the demon horde. Sensing that Kalan is her chance to leave, Annika promises to help him make it home if he takes her with him. Vengeance Born is gritty, full of action, and Annika really shines with her ability to give and take away life.

    Water Bound, by Christine Feehan
    Rikki is autistic and has found a home amongst her sisters, but nothing comforts her quite like the water, and being near the ocean gives her a sense of peace. When she spots Lev Prakenskii caught in its currents, she doesn’t hesitate to rescue him. But Lev has no memory of his life before winding up in the waters, a treacherous life in which he served as a killer for the Soviet government. Fantasy and suspense combine perfectly in this romance with a slow burn attraction and two people who aren’t aware how close to danger they really are.

    Wicked Ride, by Rebecca Zanetti
    Come on, who doesn’t want to read about a magical, immortal, motorcycle-riding hero? Wicked Ride is the first book in the Realm Enforcers series, which gets better and better, though it’s advised that you read them in order. And who better to go up against an immortal than Alexandra Monzelle, a tough as nails vice cop? She does her best to avoid Kellach Dunne, but with his constant interference in her work, he’s rather hard to ignore. Especially when she’d rather get him into bed and get her attraction over with.

    Wickedly Dangerous, by Deborah Blake
    For those familiar with Russian folklore, you might recognize Baba Yaga as a figure of magic and mischief. Barbara Yager is a Baba Yaga, which is not just one, solitary being, but a title bestowed to several worthy women. Barbara lies low, posing as a researcher and herbalist with her dog and traveling in a magical camper. When a child goes missing, Barbara must help and confront several enemies she’s left behind. At least she has the attractive Sheriff Liam McClellan to keep her company.

    The Winter King, by C.L. Wilson
    Wynter Atrialan is out for revenge. Unfortunately, his quest has caused him to absorb a powerful magic that is slowing consuming him. Part of his plan for vengeance is taking one of his enemy’s daughter as his bride, Khamsin Coruscate, known as Princess of Summerlea and summoner of Storms. But while Kham expects the marriage to be a punishment to her, it actually affords her the freedom she’s long been denied. She wants to love her new husband, but the dangerous magic to which her Winter is connected may just destroy them both.

    Wintersong, by S. Jae Jones
    All of you Labyrinth fans out there, read this, immediately! This is a lyrical, magical romance in which a young woman with the gift of music agrees to become the Goblin King’s bride in order to save her sister. Fair warning that there’s a bit of a cliffhanger and many of us (myself included) are eagerly awaiting the follow up book. The Goblin King’s loneliness is palpable; he’s afraid to fully give himself over to Liesl knowing that she’ll soon leave him. A heartbreakingly fantastic story.

    Witch Fire, by Anya Bast
    Jack McAllister can harness the power of fire and his next mission from the Coven is rather personal. Years ago, he saw Mira Hoskins’ family murdered and he’s carried around guilt ever since. Now the same forces that destroyed her family are determined to drain Mira of her rare magical abilities. There’s just one problem, Mira has no clue that she’s an elemental witch who can command the power of air.

    The Witch of Painted Sorrows, by M.J. Rose
    What can you do when you become possessed by La Lune, a famous witch and courtesan from the sixteen century? When Sandrine Salome becomes fused with La Lune’s spirit, she starts to fully accept her “erotic nature,” while on the run from her cruel husband. Set in Paris in the late nineteenth century, The Witch of Painted Sorrows is undoubtedly romantic, but there’s an additional underlying seductive aspect of playing with fire.

    What romances with magic do you love?

    The post 50 Magical Romances to Read Right Now appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jordan Rosenfeld 7:00 pm on 2015/10/15 Permalink
    Tags: a discovery of witches, , , , justin cronin, , the enchanted   

    The Time Traveler’s Wife and the Rise Of The Literary Hybrid 

    I will never forget the two days I lost to the astonishing novel The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, in which an artist falls in love with a man who travels, unwittingly and uncontrollably, through time. It wasn’t the story alone that held me rapt, but the spell the author wove, with prose so lovely it sent me hurtling through time and space.

    But I also couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened next, which is the hallmark of a great plot. I felt I had stumbled across something different, maybe new, a literary novel that thwarted the formerly stodgy reputation of the term “literary” and had the life of a fantasy novel breathed into it.

    Literary writers often lament the category’s lack of appreciation, pointing accusing fingers at the robust sales of genres like mystery and fantasy and blaming them for lit-fic’s impending demise. But other literary novelists, such as Justin Cronin, Kate Atkinson, David Mitchell, and Marisha Pessl are simply following in Niffenegger’s footsteps. They are straddling the worlds between literary and genre with surprisingly elegant results.

    After all, what makes a genre book qualify as such is its emphasis on plot, which could be reduced even further to simply “a good story.” And what makes literary novels so beloved is their careful attention to language, character, and big ideas. Who says a great book can’t have both?

    In search of more of this kind of novel, I made my way to Justin Cronin’s The Passageafter hearing Cronin interviewed on NPR. Cronin was originally known for a very “quiet” literary novel-in-stories called Mary and O’Neil. By contrast, The Passage is an epic, 766 page first installment of a trilogy set in a time after a virus has decimated humanity, turning some humans into vampire-like creatures who hunt other humans. And yet it’s less of a post-apocalyptic novel and more of an exploration of the foolhardiness of humans in their urge to be immortal. It asks big questions about what the healthy boundaries of science are, and when humans will grow to accept ourselves as part of nature, rather than above it.

    It’s also, most notably, a heavily character-driven novel: the first hundred pages or so are loaded with backstory and history about the key players in literary fashion. Then the “vampire” story begins in earnest. I was hooked by its first line:

    Before she became the Girl from Nowhere—the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years—she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.

    (I can’t help but think that’s also a nod to Harper Lee there, a literary icon if ever there was one.)

    There’s also something deeply satisfying about a trilogy (and they are few and far between when it comes to literary novels) for anyone who loves an immersive reading experience, or has trouble letting go of beloved characters, as I do. Recently author Alexander Chee explored this notion in an essay for LitHub titled “From Potter to Tartt to Ferrante” about why serial novels are so popular. He writes:

    …before there was binge-watching, there was binge-reading: the three-volume novel, for example, also called the triple-decker, was a tent-pole of Victorian popular culture in the 19th century.

    Some of us, of course, are still binge-reading. Excited by Cronin’s book, I gobbled down the second and began an eager search for more while awaiting the third, and found my way to David Mitchell’s work. Mitchell is not only lauded for being literary but for bending genres within one book. His novel Cloud Atlas attempts a different genre every chapter, a series of interconnected stories that follow a reincarnated soul across time and was made into a movie by the directors of The Matrix movies.

    Then his most recent novel The Bone Clocks kept me up late at night asking questions about the human soul. (Where does it come from? Where does it go once we die?)

    Most recently I made my way into another literary hybrid, A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, which turned out to be yet another trilogy, though I didn’t realize this when I picked it up. I wasn’t really in the mood for a fantasy novel, still savoring the echo of the elegant and poignant The Enchanted, a straightforwardly literary novel by Rene Denfeld. But within a few pages I was drawn into Harkness’s novel by her deliberate use of language and imagery, and yes, a damn good story.

    A Discovery of Witches is about a New England witch named Diana who has avoided her powers, and the pressures of her witch aunts, because her parents died of magic, and become a scholar and historian instead. She meets an equally studious vampire named Matthew and begins not only a romance but a journey that spans three books and tackles big questions such as identity, miscegenation, and good old fashioned star-crossed love. The very descriptions of magic itself remind me of what it feels like to read a great story: “Just because something seems impossible, doesn’t mean it’s untrue.”

    One of my favorite passages is deceptively simple, an ancient spell that Diana will one day learn is the key to the fate of all “creatures”: “It begins with absence and desire.”

    Doesn’t all great art begin with absence and desire?

    So to reassure those literary writers who fear the genre’s demise; it isn’t going anywhere, it’s simply changing shape.

     
  • Joel Cunningham 3:30 pm on 2014/07/31 Permalink
    Tags: a discovery of witches, , a people's history of the united states, america: imagine a world without her, brilliance, , danielle trussoni, , dinesh d'souza, , , , marcus sakey, , paul malmont, , the astounding the amazing and the unknown, the dagger and the coin, , ,   

    What to Read Next if You Liked A Discovery of Witches, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Insurgent, A Game of Thrones, or America 

    What to read this week

    A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, offers readers many pleasures, not the least among them a plot-driving quest to discover ancient hidden secrets and historical artifacts that are of great consequence to a modern world that includes witches, vampires, and various and sundry other beasties. If you’re looking for another book about a modern day heroine who takes a deep dive into the past to discover dark secrets lurking, Angelology, by Danielle Trussoni, stars a young historian who learns that the Nephilim, human-angel hybrids of the Old Testament, are real, and have been manipulating all of human history to their own ends. Also, one of them is kinda cute.

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon, is a singular work, on one hand a deeply personal story of love, friendship, and heartbreak; on the other, an excursion into the arcana of comic book history, an examination of why we’re all still so fascinated by weird guys running around in long underwear and capes. The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown, by Paul Malmont, can’t quote match Chabon’s heart (or his prose), but it gets the geeky part right, building an inventive and slightly fantastical mystery story around the true-life involvement of some of history’s most famous pulp sci-fi authors (including Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and L. Ron Hubbard) in World War II-era weapons research.

    Insurgent, the middle volume in Veronica Roth’s dystopian Divergent trilogy, was where I bailed. It wasn’t the book (it was every bit as pulse-poundingly readable as the first book); it was me. After reading about countless post-apocalyptic scenarios that twisted the world in weird ways (and even trying to write one myself), I just needed a break. If you’re feeling similarly, Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey, might be just the palate cleanser you need. It hits some of the same beats while building an entirely new future, one in which a small percentage of all children born in the U.S. begin to develop superpowers, with world-altering results. Call it a dystopia in the making.

    Let’s face it, it is going to be a long, long winter or two before George R.R. Martin gets around to releasing the next book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. If you’ve already digested all 5,000 pages of A Game of Thrones and its sequels, The Dagger and the Coin series, by Daniel Abraham (a protégée and friend of Martin’s), will more than sate you while you wait. It has all the strengths of Martin’s work, from complex characters, to intricate point-of-view plotting, to a richly imagined world, all while lacking its one great weakness: the books are actually coming out on schedule, year-by-year. Start with The Dragon’s Path; book four, The Widow’s House, releases in August.

    I realize I am treading on thin ice here. If America: Imagine a World Without Her, by Dinesh D’Souza, and A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, were any more ideologically opposed to one another, they would be magnetically repelled to opposite sections of the bookstore. Yet the former was written almost as a direct response to the latter, with D’Souza lionizing the U.S. for its role the same historical events for which Zinn criticizes it (starting with whether the country itself was “stolen” from Native Americans). Trying to imagine a person who would naturally gravitate toward each of these books independently is too great a cognitive dissonance for my brain, but I think reading both and letting them bounce off one another would be a fascinating experiment.
    Are you interested in checking out any of the recommendations above?
     
  • Nicole Hill 5:00 pm on 2014/07/15 Permalink
    Tags: a discovery of witches, all souls trilogy, , , , , shadow of night,   

    The Book of Life’s 7 tips on Maintaining a Successful Marriage 

    The Book of Life

    Brace yourselves, gird your loins, and stow your erotic Gallowglass fan fiction! Yes, it’s time. Those troublemaking de Clermonts and meddlesome Bishops are back again, and this time they’re wrapping everything up in another continent-hopping magical romp with the final installment of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy.

    All your favorite characters return (be they corporeal or not) in The Book of Life, and it’s a good thing, too, because there’s still much bewitching debris to sort out after freakily handsome vampire Matthew and accidentally all-powerful witch Diana return from their working vacation in 1590.

    For one thing, Matthew and Diana are still on the hunt for two missing pages of Ashmole 782, the all-purpose origin story for the world’s creature population. Secondly, the Congregation remains hot on their tail, and no less forgiving of this forbidden romance than before the power couple’s time-traveling holiday. Third, Diana’s got great big new powers, even bigger news, and a persnickety firedrake to handle.

    That’s a lot to unpack, so thank heavens it’s all hands on deck, with even the Bishop house and a crackerjack team of Yale researchers pitching in.

    In the center of this storm is, of course, the vampire-witch union of Matthew and Diana, which is as strong and achingly felt as ever. Surrounded by stressors, the Bishop-Clairmont marriage is a thing of wonder. Thus, to honor the final chapter of their love (that we’re privy to), we proudly present:

    How to Maintain Your Marriage: A Manual, by Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont

    1. Surround yourselves with loved ones, no matter their species or temporal state.
    Because what are a few ghosties or daemon accountants among family? When we pick up with our magical mystery tour in The Book of Life, we begin at Sept-Tours, the de Clermont familial homestead that has been transformed into a turreted Mystery Machine with its ragtag band of vigilantes and rabblerousers. As it should beso long as no one gets under Marthe’s feet.

    2. Understand your partner’s pressure points, and know what might set them off on a homicidal rampage.
    Matthew’s blood rage affliction is front and center once again, and finding the root of its genetic existence is crucial. At the same time, one must manage the condition, or else the body count starts climbing rapidly, and these books are already on the chunky side. Luckily, Diana’s become pretty intuitive when it comes to vampiric rage, one of the traits that very importantly endeared her to Philippe de Clermont.

    3. Care for your partner’s fire-breathing Charizard familiar and bloodsucking pals as if they were your own.
    In marriage, you don’t just get a mate, you get all the baggage that comes with them. And when there’s a 1,500-year-old vampire and a time-traveling weaver involved, there are tremendous amounts of baggage, most of it in the form of inconvenient associates, eccentric relatives, and the odd firedrake.

    4. Remember: stepchildren can be fun!…And not so fun.
    The charismatic Marcus is great! And look what he’s done with the Knights of Lazarus! Some of Matthew’s other psychotic children? Less so. But you take the good, you take the bad.

    5. It’s important to make an effort to get on with your in-laws.
    Even if that means bending time over backwards to seek them out. After all, there’s often much to learn from their example (e.g., Philippe and Ysabeau, Rebecca and Stephen, Sarah and Em).

    6. Take time to read.
    Don’t think it’s any coincidence that Diana and Matthew are happy together and spend half their time in libraries?

    7. Do not ever hang out with Christopher Marlowe.  

    Are you excited to read The Book of Life?

     
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