Happy October, everyone! We thought we’d share with you some lovely witchy reads to get you in the mood for Halloween magic. We have eight plus (some are series!), so here we go! (This post contains affiliate links for our reader’s convenience).
How About some Young Adult Witchery?
- The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood
The prophecy written in Mother’s diary is clear: “A trio of sisters will come of age, all witches. One of the sisters, who will be gifted with mind-magic, will be the most powerful witch born in centuries.” Her daughters—Cate, Maura, and Tess—compose the trio, and Cate is the one who possesses mind-magic. But Mother is dead, Father is oblivious, and the Brotherhood is intent on stamping out all witches in New England in an effort to squelch female independence and initiative. How can Cate protect herself and her sisters from the Brotherhood’s terrifying scrutiny?
Sissy: My daughter read these in her late teens, loved them, and passed them on to me. They are written in a historical setting with an alternate reality of paranormal and magic. The series kept me so emotionally engaged–intrigued at the romantic possibilities, disgusted and disturbed by the Brotherhood and their misogyny, fearful for the sisters, and terrified at what would happen next. Bubby had to bring me a chocolate truffle.
Bubby: Yup. Throw a truffle at her and keep a safe distance. Sometimes we get to that point. I at first felt that this series was predictable, but then the author threw in some really good plot twists and I ended up feeling emotionally unhinged like Sissy! Gimme a truffle!
2. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
When Sophie Mercer gets in one scrape too many, she gets exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus.
Sissy: I liked this author’s magical spin on diversity, and I liked the various twists and turns that kept things fairly interesting. The descriptions of Hex Hall and its matron were vivid and gave me anxiety, but in a good way. Plus there were some new and creepy paranormal beings introduced that could give me nightmares if I were an overly emotional person like Bubby.
Bubby: Not even going to respond to that attack on my character. (I am tender-hearted, that’s all!) I did think that there was an overdose of teenage angst. I tend to lose patience quickly with kickbutt girl characters that agonize over whether or not the hunky boy really likes them. On the other hand, I probably would have reacted the same way that Sophie did had I been in her situation. Cute boys still make me swoon! Over all a great series. Once I read the first one I HAD to know what happened next, so I bought the rest (which were subsequently stolen by Sissy). So watch out–you might get hooked like me!
3. The Switch Sisters by Gwen Li
As the only Chinese family in town, the Switch sisters have always kept to themselves. But when Mara Switch is framed for murder, her sisters are forced to step into the spotlight and prove her innocence—all without revealing a dark family secret.
Bubby: What a lovely little gem of disturbing quirkiness! About 1/3 of the way in I was sure I knew the direction the plot was going to take. I had it all figured out. And then the bombshell dropped – and the plot went in a direction I had never even considered! The small town arrival of a pregnant Chinese woman with 3 daughters and no husband would have created quite a stir. Throw in a spooky house and rumors of witchcraft and it’s easy to see why the Switch sisters had a hard time being accepted by their peers.
Sissy: You know how in a small town everyone knows things about everyone else and there are rumors about this or that strange family and their secrets? That’s how these poor Switch sisters were talked about. They had to suppress their specialness so that everybody didn’t get crazy and run them out of town. This happens to me sometimes when I’m looking too beautiful and the neighbors get jealous. Or Bubby… I liked this weird tale of extraordinary Chinese witches and I liked that despite their very different personalities, the sisters joined their unique powers together and turned their story into a happy one.
And now for some Grown-up Witching…
- Witchcraft Mysteries by Juliet Blackwell
Lily Ivory, a natural-born witch skilled in brewing and botanicals, opens a vintage clothing store called Aunt Cora’s Closet in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, where she makes friends—and becomes part of a community—for the first time in her life. Unfortunately, San Francisco is brimming with supernatural mischief…and very human murder.
Bubby: This absolutely delightful series combines magic with cozy mysteries and some sweet romance to give readers three of their favorite things all at once! Okay, they are three of my favorite things, anyway. And the array of magic heroine Lilly Ivory uses and encounters keeps you surprised and entertained.
Sissy: All you have to do is look at the above magical, whimsical covers and you want to dive in and read. I love how Lilly’s familiar is a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Oscar, and how you never know how the magic is going to manifest–visions from a vintage cloak, vibrations from antique jewelry, mysterious sicknesses, dark magic and hexes–it’s all hugely fascinating and engaging!
2. A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley
A charming romantic comedy about a hard-up single mum inheriting a stately home – and a host of headaches. The perfect novel for curling up with during the long winter nights.
Bubby: From the synopsis you may be wondering what this book has to do with witches, but wait–the witchiness is very subtle. Main character Sophy inherits a mansion and a host of troubles. Too bad there was no fortune to go along with. At least not in cash. There is, however, witch in the family history, and a legend that somewhere lost in the walls of Winter’s End is a treasure of immense proportions. And there is. But I can’t talk about it. Sissy would smack me for being a spoiler!
Sissy: I would never smack you! (Unless it was vitally necessary to your maturation process . . .) At the beginning of every chapter there is a quote from the journal of Alys Bezzard, Sophy’s ancestress. So as Sophy’s story unfolds, the last bit of Alys’ life is revealed as well, and it is full of intrigue and sadness. A Winter’s Tale is a contemporary fiction/mystery/romance, but it is also salted with scrumptious bits of historic witchery and magic.
3. Magic All Around by Marcy L. Peska
Meet Vivian Marshall, an introverted artist from Juneau, Alaska. Painting, cooking, hot baths and quiet evenings make Vivian happy. Neighbors with poor boundaries, her moms’ coven-style living arrangement and dogs make her unhappy. When Vivian moves into a new apartment, she finds her sensible life turned topsy-turvy by dogs, a pony-tailed landlord and an inconvenient prophesy. Vivian is about to learn that there is magic all around!
Sissy: I found this series on an independent author Pinterest board, of all things, and was curious enough to look it up on Amazon. I liked what I read, and got the books. So glad I did! I then told Bubby she must read them immediately, which she did, because she is such an obedient little sister (pause while I choke on my own saliva). These books have so many magically quirky elements–were dogs, a shapeshifting Pandora’s Box named Daisy, goddess powers, to name a few–I was absolutely and delightedly taken in.
Bubby: I love finding books where a normal, contemporary setting suddenly gets injected with a big fat dose of magical happenings. I keep waiting for that to happen in MY life, but the closest I get is Sissy stealing my daughter’s tutu and flitting around the house sprinkling glitter on everything. *Sigh* Hurry up, Marcy! Write book three so I can have more magic in my sorry existence!
Lastly, if you’re looking for Witches and Hilarity…
- Be My Banshee by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Sunshine Merryweather is a young witch with a passion for colorful clothes and good food. She is the owner/operator of the Purple Door Detective Agency. Her partner, John, was brutally murdered three days ago, and she won’t stop until she finds his killer. Aine is only interested in one thing when she walks into the building with the purple door–locating the last man alive in the branch of the O’Neill family she haunts as a beane sidhe. She has been asleep for 200 years in a ruined Irish castle and realizes that the world has moved on without her. She needs to find the O’Neill heir and encourage him to start a family or she will pass from existence when he dies. Sunshine sees a potential partner when she looks at the powerful beane sidhe – they could be the next Dynamic Duo!
Sissy: I thoroughly enjoyed this delightfully quirky tale. Such a different take on a magical mystery. The whole setup of The Purple Door Detective Agency with its eccentric cast of characters (and we haven’t even mentioned the shape-shifting mouse/receptionist, who is unintentionally hilarious) is so weird but such a goldmine of story potential.My absolute favorite part of the whole thing is that Aine, the screaming banshee of death (who’s been dead for centuries) gets a romance! Go crone love!
Bubby: It’s a strange romance, but hey. Anything is better than nothing, right? And it certainly is better than your run-of-the-mill pretty girl and handsome man love story. There was nothing predictable about Be My Banshee in any way! The murderer? Didn’t see that one coming. The truth behind strange Mr. Bad in office two? I’m still not quite sure exactly WHAT he is, but he’s not Joe Businessman, that’s for sure. And the ending? Let’s just say that I need the next book. Now. In my hands. Please.
2. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
Fairy Godmother Desiderata has died without doing any estate planning – leaving Princess Emberella at the mercy of the not so good and wise Godmother Lilith. Lilith is dead set on having a happy ending no matter what and she’ll stop anyone who tries to get in her way. Now a trio of witches from a neighboring land, Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg, must travel via broomstick to Genua and make sure that the age-old story of servant girl and prince ends differently this time. During the journey the witches face vampires, werewolves and even falling houses before they can battle it out with a power mad woman who is eerily familiar to one of their own.
Sissy: This book is not for people who take themselves too seriously. Terry Pratchett is a wickedly funny satirist and overly stuffed shirts might find him silly. But as I told my friend the other day, if you don’t take time for silliness in your life, your soul becomes constipated. In Witches Abroad, Pratchett revisits many familiar fairy tales. He teaches us about sensible magic and manages to crack me up on every page. Even the character names are hilarious. I tried to read funny bits out loud to my son today and he just looked at me like I was a blooming idiot.
Bubby: Yes! That’s the same reaction I get from my husband. I own almost everything Terry Pratchett has written and I often find his books so hooting funny that I laugh out loud. I try to share the funniness with my family but they are too closed-minded to appreciate dry British humor. That’s the disclaimer with these books. It seems that a reader will either find them side-splitting or just a pain in the side. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. If you appreciate old BBC television shows like “Fawlty Towers” or “Keeping Up Appearances” then you will enjoy Terry Pratchett. If not, well, just move on to the next review.
Aaaaand that’s it! May your reading be ENCHANTING!
Click HERE to buy The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood
Click HERE to buy Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Click HERE to buy The Switch Sisters by Gwen Li
Click HERE to buy Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell
Click HERE to buy A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley
Click HERE to buy Magic All Around by Marcy L. Peska
Click HERE to buy Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett