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  • Tara Sonin 7:00 pm on 2018/01/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , breath of magic, crystal cove, , daughter of the blood, , erika mailman, , , , , katherine howe, , , , 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.

  • Sabrina Rojas Weiss 7:30 pm on 2014/11/10 Permalink
    Tags: Bethany Griffin, , , Elizabeth Eulberg, katherine howe, , , , , the crucible, , , ,   

    The Fall Dares To Out-Haunt Poe, And Three Other YA Retellings of Classics 

    Katherine Howe's ConversionAs long as there are English classes and mandatory curricula, our teen years will be spent reading more classic literature than we will at any other point in our lives. It makes sense, then, that young adult novelists have found a way to entertain readers with new riffs on the stories they’ve studied, loved, and analyzed to death. Even if you haven’t read the classic works on which these new books are based, you’ll be able to appreciate their timeless plots, themes, and characters, proven ground upon which fresh stories can flourish. Here are some recent releases with classic pedigrees—just don’t try reading them in lieu of the real thing if you’ve got a test coming up!

    The Fall, by Bethany Griffin (Based on “The Fall of the House of Usher,” by Edgar Allan Poe
    The original story: A man goes to stay at the haunted home of his ailing former school friend, Roderick. While there, Roderick’s sister Madeline apparently dies of a mysterious illness, and they bury her…only to find a wicked surprise a few days later.
    Griffin’s take: The same characters and setting, only told by Madeline, jumping back and forth in time through her and Roderick’s childhood, as she communicates with the cursed house, Roderick gets sent away to school, and she gets buried alive in the family tomb. Nobody can out-spook Poe, but The Fall is still skin-crawlingly scary. And if you like Griffin’s style, pick up her two-book Mask of the Red Death series, which places another Poe story into a postapocalyptic modern setting. (Then again, these days, maybe we shouldn’t be reading any fictional accounts of plagues.)

    Great, by Sara Benincasa (Based on The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
    The original: (Like we have to tell you.) In a nutshell, young stockbroker Nick rents a house on Long Island, next to notorious party-thrower and self-made man Gatsby, who is still pining for his now-married love, Daisy, coincidentally Nick’s cousin. Tragedy ensues.
    Benincasa’s take: While summering in the Hamptons with her mom, Naomi befriends her Internet-fashion wunderkind neighbor Jacinta, who is really interested in Naomi’s friend Delilah. The gender switching and modern setting provide an entertaining twist and a fresh story without displacing the original in our hearts.

    Conversion, by Katherine Howe (Based on The Crucible, by Arthur Miller)
    The original: After Puritan girls from Salem, Massachusetts, are caught dancing in a forest with a slave girl, one falls into a coma. Accusations of communing with the devil and practicing witchcraft fly, and though a man who had an affair with one of the girls knows they’re frauds, he acts too late to set things right.
    Howe’s take: Modern-day high school senior Colleen starts doing research on the Salem witch trials and The Crucible after girls in her class begin having seizures and other odd symptoms. In between chapters from Colleen’s perspective are interludes from 1706, when a girl named Ann has a confession to make. With both stories moving along parallel to each other, the novel avoids readers predicting whether it will end like the original.

    Prom and Prejudice, by Elizabeth Eulberg (Based on Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)
    The original: Lizzie Bennet is one of five daughters whose parents are desperate to marry them off to a rich young gentlemen who is staying in town. Lizzie clashes with his friend, the standoffish Mr. Darcy, but it’s all just a prelude to true love.
    Eulberg’s take: It’s brave to reimagine this favorite, especially after Bridget Jones’ Diary, but a private high school seems like the perfect place for a modern-day Darcy and Lizzie to butt heads. And who needs marriage when you have prom to contend with?

    What’s your favorite reimagined classic?

  • Joel Cunningham 6:00 pm on 2014/07/24 Permalink
    Tags: at home in the world, beth macy, crash course, , , everything connects, factory man, katherine howe, , paul ingrassia, remarkable creatures, the alliance, , the mockingbird next door: life with harper lee, , , , , ,   

    What to Read Next if You Liked The Book of Life, The Mockingbird Next Door, The Signature of All Things, The Alliance or Factory Man 

    IMG_7207By now you’ve no doubt torn through The Book of Life, the concluding volume in Deborah Harkness’ trilogy about a historian whose discovery of an ancient manuscript clues her in to a reality of witches, vampires, time travel, and a whole hidden world of monsters and mayhem (you’d think those ancient manuscripts would have warning labels). If you’re looking for a book that will extend the magic a little further, try Katherine Howe’s The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, about a graduate student who stumbles upon a host of witchy family secrets and a magical tome called a “physick book,” a volume that holds terrible lost secrets from hundreds of years in the past (seriously, people just leave these things lying around?).

    The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, by Marja Mills, recounts the writer’s years living in the house next door to one of the world’s most famously reclusive authors. It has become a must read not only for the promise of revealing details about why Lee never published anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, or because of the controversy it’s generated (the ailing Lee has denied agreeing to participate), but also because it paints a vivid picture of a changing South. If you’re looking for another book that provides an unusual window into the life of a great, reluctantly famous writer, Joyce Maynard’s memoir At Home in the World includes details of her relationship, at age 18, with then-53-year-old J.D. Salinger, and caused a similar furor when first published.

    With The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) proves herself as adept a novelist as a memoirist. Rich in historical details of the 18th and 19th centuries, the book follows the life of Alma Whittaker, the daughter of a wealthy botanist who becomes a scientist in her own right, unearthing discoveries that challenge the way people think about the world. For another story of a woman who defied the thinking of her time, not just about science but about what a woman could accomplish in a world built for and by men, Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures recounts how Mary Anning, a girl living in rural England in the early 1800s, became one of the world’s greatest fossil hunters, her discoveries of ancient dinosaur bones changing much about Victorian ideas of science and religion. (For the record, Alma is fictional, but Mary was the real deal.)

    The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh, is an essential handbook for dealing with the challenges of managing an ever more connected, ever more mobile workforce. For more insights into sparking creativity and innovation in a world that is redefining the idea of “career,” look to Everything Connects, by Faisal Hoque and Drake Baer.

    Amid omnipresent headlines of companies closing down manufacturing in the U.S. and moving jobs overseas, Factory Man, by Beth Macy, reveals how one dedicated businessman managed not only to keep his hundred-year-old Virginia furniture business’s doors open, but actually managed to grow it even while competing with cheaply manufactured imports. For a less colorful but still fascinating look at the way the global economy has changed American industry, read Paul Ingrassia’s Crash Course, a comprehensive review of what led to the near-collapse of the U.S. auto industry, and how, post-bailout, it has begun to thrive again.

    What are you reading and recommending this week?

  • Melissa Albert 3:30 pm on 2014/07/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , jodi lynn anderson, katherine howe, , , , una lamarche,   

    5 Reasons July Is an Amazing Month for YA 


    This month’s most exciting young adult titles have it all—ghosts, superpowers, epidemics, and love in all its forms (star-crossed, triangular, requited, un…). Here are 5 great books hitting YA shelves now:

    Sinner, by Maggie Stiefvater
    A new Stiefvater book is always cause for celebration. Sinner finds two hardheaded characters from her mega-hit Shiver series reuniting in Los Angeles. Recently clean Cole is finishing an album while embarking on a spectacularly ill-advised reality TV career, while guarded Isabel is living with her mother and extended family, hiding out from the fallout of her parents’ failing marriage. It’s immensely satisfying to watch these two damaged souls banter, circle each other, and move in for the kiss.

    The Vanishing Season, by Jodi Lynn Anderson
    In this atmospheric, slow-blooming thriller, a lonely teen moves with her family to a lonely shore, where her life is quietly watched by a lonely ghost. Maggie’s the bright daughter of parents struggling to make ends meet, which spurs their move to a dilapidated house in a tourist town on the edge of Lake Michigan. The day they move in is also the day a young girl’s drowning—murder, accident, or suicide?—hits the local papers. One death becomes a string of them, and the fearful atmosphere adds an eerie edge to Maggie’s coming-of-age story, as she meets and falls for Liam, who’s already in unrequited love with his beautiful best friend. Fans of the crystalline, often interior voice of Anderson’s 2012 book Tiger Lily will fall hard for this one, too.

    Conversion, by Katherine Howe
    This dual narrative sets an account of modern-day teens succumbing to disturbing, seemingly contagious symptoms—seizures, gagging, fits—against a story that unfolded three centuries prior, when the teens’ hometown of Danvers, Massachusetts, was known as Salem Village. One of the original accusers from the infamous Salem witch trials has stepped forward to come clean about what she’s done, while in 2012, one of the suffering Danvers girls is trying to determine whether the mystery outbreak has supernatural origins.

    Like No Other, by Una LaMarche
    This star-crossed love story finds two teens who never should have met overleaping engrained prejudices and familial expectations to be together. Though Devorah and Jax live on the same Brooklyn street, they’re divided by their backgrounds: he’s the geeky son of West Indian immigrants, she’s a highly sheltered Hasidic Jew. When they meet in a stalled hospital elevator, Devorah finds her doubts about her strictly prescribed life path growing into something more powerful, and Jaxon is swept away by his first taste of grand romance. The perils of their budding attraction—disapproving family members, racial violence—make this first-love tale a page-turner.

    Illusive, by Emily Lloyd-Jones
    Who among us can resist a book billed as “X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven”? Ciere is our slippery narrator, a teenaged superhero (of a kind) who has developed the power of “disguise,” allowing her to manipulate her surroundings and blend in to the point of invisibility. And she’s not the only one: for a small subsection of humanity, a vaccine deployed in response to a plague outbreak had the unintended side effect of granting them one of seven types of superpower. When we meet Ciere, she’s a fugitive from the government. We learn why she’s on the run, and the conditions of the new world order, in a propulsive narrative that hops between Ciere and superpowered escape artist Daniel Burkhart.

    What YA are you reading this month?

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