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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, , , , , , , , , 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, 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.

     
  • Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick 7:00 pm on 2014/10/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , the mists of avalon, , wicked,   

    7 Bad Witches We Adore 

    The Mists of AvalonBooks about witches are great every day of the year. I will happily read about witches on Christmas Day, Memorial Day, and every day in between. But around Halloween, I, and everyone else in the universe, really start craving a good witch—by which I mean a bad witch.

    Not every witch is a bad witch. Being able to cast spells isn’t enough—a bad witch doesn’t play by society’s rules. She may or may not be evil, but she definitely isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty if she has to. Sometimes she plays the femme fatale, and sometimes she’s just straight-up crazy. Whatever form she takes, you definitely don’t want to end up on her bad side (either of them). Let’s take a minute to recognize some of the best bad witches in literature.

    The Three Witches (Macbeth by William Shakespeare)
    There’s always been debate about the role of the witches in Macbeth. Are they to blame for the damage he causes after hearing their prophesies, or are they neutral bystanders who simply tell Macbeth his future? Even if you don’t blame his bloody killing spree on them, you still can’t call them innocent. They don’t just thrive on chaos, they seem to create it for fun, and confess at one point to messing with a woman’s husband just because she wouldn’t share a snack with them. Only a true bad witch would do that.

    Jadis the White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis)
    I like a woman in charge, even if that woman has to turn all of Narnia into a frozen tundra to get her way. Jadis is a witch who gets what she wants, regardless of who she has to hurt. Not content to play second fiddle to her sister in Charn, she utters the Deplorable Word and kills everyone in the land. She doesn’t exactly clean up her act in Narnia, either. Besides terrifying its inhabitants and manipulating the Pevensie children, she also kills Aslan. Not everyone can kill a godlike Lion, even if he does get revived pretty quick.

    Bellatrix (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
    Bellatrix is, to me, the epitome of a bad witch. After all, she’s Voldemort’s most trusted minion. And if Voldemort, the darkest wizard of all time, trusts you to do his worst dirty work, that’s saying something. She’s absolutely insane, has no qualms about killing anyone who stands in her way, and managed to survive years in a fearsome magical prison. You don’t have to like her, but you sure as hell have to recognize what a badass she is.

    Elphaba (Wicked by Gregory Maguire)
    Sure, the movie version’s Wicked Witch of the West was cool, but she doesn’t hold a candle to Wicked’s version. While not technically a villain, Elphaba was still feared throughout Oz, and for good reason. A powerful sorceress and a rebel fighting against the tyranny of the Wizard, Elphaba had no problem with upsetting authority, and was willing to kill if she needed to. (I’m beginning to see a pattern: “bad witch”= “pretty casual about killing people.”)

    Morgan Le Faye (The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley)
    There are a ton of different stories about Morgan Le Faye, and she’s pretty much a boss witch in all of them. Most of the time she’s portrayed as an evil sorceress who does her best to cause trouble for Arthur, but in The Mists of Avalon, she’s way more badass. She has to protect her land and femalecentric religion from King Arthur’s patriarchal Christianity, and she’s more than up to the challenge. A woman who casts spells, defends her country, and takes whatever lover she damn well pleases? Get it, girl.

    Circe (The Odyssey by Homer)
    The original bad witch. She seduces men and turns them into pigs for…fun? It’s never entirely clear why Circe likes to turn men into swine, so I’m going to assume she just does it because she can. Which isn’t a bad reason, especially if you just want to show off how incredibly powerful you are. Sure, she gets bested by Odysseus, but let’s cut the girl some slack; he basically won the Trojan War. Men beware, no one is immune to her charms.

    Witches (His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman)
    Again, definitely not villains, but they aren’t exactly using their magic to make cupcakes. These warrior women are a force to be reckoned with if you’re a member of the General Oblation Board. Of course, they’re an even bigger threat if you’re a lover who has scorned them. Poor John Parry found out the hard way that turning down a witch is a bad idea, at least if you don’t want an arrow through your heart. Still, as long as you don’t piss them off, these witches are a hell of an ally in battle.

    Who is your favorite fictional witch?

     
  • Nicole Hill 7:00 pm on 2014/09/26 Permalink
    Tags: , egg & spoon, , , , , , wicked   

    A Glimpse of the Present in Tsarist Russia With Gregory Maguire’s Egg & Spoon 

    egg&spoonWicked scribe Gregory Maguire takes his patented vim, vigor and wit and applies it to Russian folklore in his latest, Egg & Spoon. At times rollicking, the story follows two young girls, Cat and Elena, in a classic tale of princess-and-pauper mistaken identity. But Maguire has made flipping classics on their head his bread and butter, so naturally things aren’t that simple. While Rasputin might be the window dressing, this is a story with relatable modern elements, like an environment gone haywire, which sets much of the action in motion. There’s also Maguire’s madcap take on the legendary figure of Baba Yaga to keep you entertained.

    The author took a few moments to talk about his latest book—and that little matter of a Wicked movie adaptation.

    Egg & Spoon is certainly a departure from Oz. Where did the desire to dabble in Russian folklore come from?
    Anyone who grew up with “Lara’s Theme” at the local rollerama, or got slightly giddy with the dancing lily maidens and Cossack dandelions of the Tchaikovsky passages in Disney’s “Fantasia” has a yen to believe in the magic and romance of Russia. Tolstoi and Dostoyevsky came later (and Chekhov). The greats belong to everyone, even to Irish Catholic schoolboys with dirt under their fingernails.

    The setting, of course, is early 20th-century Russia. But the appearance of the last tsar doesn’t necessarily make this a period piece. It reads very much like a modern story, with modern problems, between the class issues and unexplained natural disasters. Is it challenging to tell a story that way, or is it actually more effective to couch our problems in something like a fairy tale—serve a little uncertainty with the familiar?
    One of my gambits as a novelist is to try simultaneously to make my readers feel off-balance and at home. In this instance, the intense poverty of the peasant girl is, for most American readers I hope, a bit of a stretch—as is the setting of a decaying Russian estate. But when issues of weather disruption and crop damage come into the story, I want my readers to think, “Oh, I kind of get this—I didn’t think I would.”

    The narrator of the story is neither of the main characters, Cat or Elena, but actually a prisoner. Why did you choose to frame the story with a self-described “unreliable scribe”?
    I tried to write the book without a narrator at first, and it seemed like an overweight fairy tale. Once I settled upon the fact that this was a quirky, slightly mad view of events, it allowed me to accept them not just for their quaintness and form, but also to indulge in the expression of vision and magic that would otherwise, in my narrator’s voice, have perhaps seemed indulgent. I, Maguire, wasn’t being indulgent: blame it on the unreliable narrator!

    Then there’s the matter of Baba Yaga, who is a hoot. How do you take that kind of legendary character and make her fresh? Granted, I suppose high-heeled table legs help…
    Baba Yaga rose up out of this book on the first page on which she appeared and slapped me on the face and said, “I’ll have none of your whiffy sentimentalism, you; I’m my own old broad, and stand aside.” I had no choice but to obey. She’s totally id, all acting out and roughing it up. I see her as Granny Yokum in the old “Li’l Abner” cartoons—Granny Yokum as played, perhaps, by Miss Piggy. Or, as someone said, Phyllis Diller.

    Be real: Who would play your Baba Yaga in the movie version?
    Well, as the aforementioned Phyllis Diller has gone on to her rewards, maybe (ooh, this is hard), Tina Fey? That, or the ghost of Robin Williams, as Mrs. Doubt-Yaga.

    I ask because, well, what’s the status of the long-awaited Wicked movie?
    I am told, about once a year, “Oh, we’re moving along—slowly. We’re taking our time to get it right.” That’s all I know.

    Back to Egg & Spoon: one line really struck me as the heart of the story, and I’m curious if you’d agree. It’s a line Great-Aunt Sophia mutters (naturally as chaos envelops her): “Have you ever noticed that the world can hardly fail to be beautiful even when it is falling apart?”
    You caught it. A story, if it has more than one true character, must have more than one true heart—but that line certainly represents one of the true hearts of the book.

    Before you go, I have to ask why you chose the dedication to Maurice Sendak.
    Sendak was a dear if occasionally distant friend of mine for more than 35 years. He remains my muse—if I am ever confused, or wonder if it is worth it to go on as a writer, I need only pick up any one of two or three dozen of his best books (among the hundred or so he worked on) and I am restored to faith about the value of the book that tells a truth—however comically—with conviction, with artistry, and with faith in the sharp mind and open heart of the reader. If I am going to stumble, let me stumble in the light and in the shadow of my heroes.

    Egg & Spoon is out now!

     
  • Chrissie Gruebel 7:00 pm on 2014/07/18 Permalink
    Tags: , alice walker, , , , , , , , les misarables, , , , , , , , , wicked   

    Musical Theater Geeks & Book Nerds Unite: 8 Literary Musicals to Swoon For 

    American Psycho

    Fangirls, fanboys, can you handle this? Are you ready for this jelly? Because we’re pulling together two obsessions in one post—books and musicals! Watch out or we’re all gonna spontaneously start singing “Seasons of Love” while smelling the pages of every novel we own and crying—because loving something this hard is FUN, and sometimes when you have this much fun, you cry…right?

    Here’s a list of our favorite books that have made it all the way to the stage. (To be fair, most ALSO made it to the movies, but if there are no show tunes involved, who can muster up the energy to care, you know?) Though not all of these were hits, if the law of musical theater fandom holds any glitter-water, we all know each one has a fervent, enthusiastic fan base. In fact, statistics say somewhere right now in America, there’s a group of misfits sitting in a basement and belting out the full soundtrack to every one. Our culture lives on forever in the hearts of our melodramatic teens! And also this list:

    Matilda, by Roald Dahl
    It’s a musical based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book about a girl who loves to read. Could this BE any more perfect? It’s on Broadway right now and won 5 Tony awards, including Best Book of a Musical, so you know it won’t disappoint even the most ardent Dahl-ings. Also, if Broadway history is anything to go by, musicals about little kids are always destined to become classics (Um Annie? Billy Elliot? EVER HEARD OF THEM?).

    Best song: When I Grow Up
    Little British angels singing and swinging. Get ready for a cute explosion.

    Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
    This was on Broadway for just a hot second, and even though it wasn’t the biggest hit of all time, some of the songs are very beautiful. It’s a little bit of of a bummer that it didn’t take the world by storm—considering the love so many of us feel for the source material—but let’s be really real for a sec: Sutton Foster playing Jo March is more than enough awesomeness for one musical.

    Best song:Astonishing
    Sutton Foster is the triple threat the world deserves. She’s only singing and acting here, but you KNOW she can tap dance like a boss.

    50 Shades! The Musical (The Original Parody) (Based on Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James)
    Featuring some of the best, most hilarious musical comedians in New York (Amber Petty and Ashley Ward, hello?!), this show tickles your mom’s fave sexxaay page-turner with a large fancy feather. Because the word “sensual” makes everyone laugh, right?

    Best song: “Red Room”
    It’s a delightfully NSFW song that includes the phrase “nipple clamps.” Gilbert and Sullivan are rolling over in their graves.

    American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
    Um excuse us—books, musicals, AND DOCTOR WHO?!?! This is almost too much. But yes, it happened. Matt Smith starred as Patrick Bateman in the London premiere of this show back in 2013. It closed a few months later, but it’ll be returning to the West End at some point, and hopefully coming to America shortly thereafter, and hopefully-hopefully Matt Smith will come with it (he probably won’t, but it’s nice to dream). Also: Mr. Duncan “Spring Awakening” “Barely Breathing” Sheik composed it—so let’s all just get with the program already.

    Best song: Not sure, but here’s a picture of hot hot hottie Matt Smith covered in blood for your perusal.

    The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Alice Walker’s powerful and moving Pulitzer Prize–winning novel found a second life as a film (Oprah alert) and then a third life as a musical, which was nominated for 11 Tony awards back in 2006 and is now touring the country (2nd Oprah alert—Ms. Harpo herself was on the producing team behind the show). Just like Oprah, it’s basically gonna change your life for the better in ways you didn’t even know you wanted. You get a musical! You get a musical! Everyone! Gets! A! Musical!

    Best song:God is Trying to Tell you Something
    Hope your chair can hold your full body weight because you’ll wanna get up on it and testify when you hear this.

    Wicked (Based on Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire)
    There are some haters out there who say the musical can’t hold a candle to Gregory Maguire’s book—and, okay, maybe the plot of the show isn’t that tight, BUT BUT BUT if you were an angsty teenager the first time you heard “Defying Gravity,” sorry but you’ll love the musical as if you gave birth to it. The book is great but Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel? Bow down, Maguire. Witches get things done.

    Best song: HAHAHAHAHA AS IF YOU DON’T KNOW.

    Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo
    The one musical that unites us all. Have you read the book? Maybe not. But you’ve seen the show or at least that clip of Anne Hathaway getting her head shaved, right? At this point, we’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the whole wide world who hasn’t heard at least one song from this Broadway stalwart. And if it’s “Stars,” we’re sorry for you. (J/k,some people really love that song).

    Best song: Come on. It’s like choosing which beret you want to put on your pathetically adorable French orphan child. There’s no right answer!

    The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    Mandy Patinkin played old hunchback Archibald Craven during its 1991–93 Broadway run, and no matter how many community theaters try, there’s just no way to ever re-create his angelic counter-tenor. And regardless of how many Homeland episodes the man stars in, to some of us, he remains forever the grieving widower of Misselthwaite Manor, haunted by ghosts and the eyes of his newly arrived niece. He made us believe in second chances. This is the stuff musicals are made of.

    Best song: Lily’s Eyes
    Can we marry Mandy Patinkin’s voice?

    Honorable mention: Hold On
    Martha the chambermaid SHUTS. IT. DOWN.

     What book do you think would make a great musical?

     
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