Tag Archives: witch

They’ll Put a Spell on You: The Once and Future Witches and Murder Most Fowl

6 Oct

Here are two of my recent reads that are sure to bewitch you too!

The Once and Future Witches
Three very different estranged sisters reunite to join their powers in Alix E. Harrow’s novel The Once and Future Witches.  I enjoyed the unique interweaving of women’s suffrage in with the idea of women’s magical power being suppressed by men who labelled their magic as a weaker branch of sorcery, just as women were labeled the “weaker” sex.  As the sister’s explore their heritage and create new spells they also discover their path forward in life and find hidden strengths that they will need to overcome the obstacles in their path.  This is Harrow’s second novel after The Ten Thousand Doors of January. It is available in print and as an ebook.

Inspired to make some magic of your own? Check out Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman.

Murder Most Fowl
Murder Most Fowl is the latest in one of my favorite mystery series centered on Meg Langslow, a blacksmith and mother of twins.  In this spooky edition perfect for the lead up to Halloween, Meg’s husband is rehearsing a performance of the “Scottish Play.”  Unsettling things keep turning up from oddly shaped mushrooms to a fragment of a creepy spell.  Although the book keeps to Donna Andrews light hearted touch it definitely has a much spookier atmosphere than many of her other works. You can borrow it in print from BCCLS libraries or as an ebook from eLibraryNJ (log in with your Hoboken Library Card for access).

Hunting for more fictional witches? Click on the links for our previous posts on magical historic fiction involving NY and books centered on magical family bonds.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

Humor with Bite: Housewitch, Mermaids in Paradise, and The Grendel Affair

8 Jul

The following stories all have varying elements of urban fantasy and wit including a satire of mean moms who are real witches, a honeymoon hijacked by tropical mermaids that slyly harpoons the American dream, and the slapstick humor of monster hunters who find out that an epic literary legend is real.

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet

Mermaids in Paradise by Pulitzer finalist Lydia Millet defies easy classification.  The mermaids of the title make a splash briefly, but the existence of the supernatural is more a trigger for the novel’s drama than a focus as in a typical Urban Fantasy genre work (for that you can check out Mary Janice Davidson’s Fred the Mermaid series).  Also added to the mix is mystery, romance, espionage, and action.  What holds all these elements together is the caustic wit of Deb whose honeymoon with her new husband, Chip, doesn’t go as planned when mermaids are spotted on a snorkeling trip.  The book satirizes everything from upper middle class privilege, environmentalism, political correctness, relationships, and more.  Along with Deb and Chip there are a cast of quirky characters that Deb describes in biting detail.  I wasn’t expecting the ending, but as with many twists the plot took, I felt that the surprising conclusion still felt organic to the work and added a poignancy to Deb’s sometimes superficiality.

Housewitch by Katie Schickel

Allison Darling is a witch, a secret she has kept and tried to ignore since she was abandoned by her mother as a child.  She feels like an outsider in the wealthy town where she lives and never quite fit in with the Glamour Girls, the cool moms in town, until one day her magic begins to manifest whether she wants it to or not.  When her mother passes away, Allison must confront not only her past, but that of her heritage to create a safe and better future for herself and her kids.  Housewitch at times felt like two novels in one; parts felt like a humorous take on the Mommy Wars with magic thrown in to add an air of absurdity to conflicts over things like children competing in a Science Fair and at other times it felt more of a straight urban fantasy with elements of a powerful evil witch and the use of classic nursery rhymes as spells.  For me the humorous parts were stronger elements and I would love to see Schickel focus on this more in her future books since I felt she had a keen eye for satire.

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

Of the three books on the list, The Grendel Affair is the most typical of the Urban Fantasy Genre.  Fans of Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series or Men in Black, will want to check out Shearin’s humorous tale about the SPI (Supernatural Protection Investigations), who keep the monsters in check in Manhattan.  New agent Makeena Fraser can see through any spell or disguise so knows supernatural creatures from werewolves to vampires for their true nature.  She and her partner must prevent descendants of Beowulf’s Grendel from ruining New Year’s Eve in Time Square and revealing the existence of monsters to an unsuspecting world.  Fraser is spunky, but gets herself into a variety of quirky situations along the way to solving the case.  The series starts off with the Fraser already working for the agency and throws the reader right into the action.  The next in the SPI series, The Dragon Conspiracy is also available and is set at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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