Blogtober Day Nineteen: Books With Witches

Hello, lovelies! Who doesn’t love witches around Halloween? That’s today’s topic: witches. I want to talk about some books I really loved that feature witches. Some of them are maybe not called witches, but they are all books with people that do magic. There were entirely too many to choose from, so I tried to stick to the more traditional idea of magic.

Year One by Nora Roberts: This is an ‘end of the world’ sort of story, so if you’re feeling overly anxious in the world’s current state, maybe skip this one. But this trilogy is incredible. A plague spreads through the world, some die, but others awaken with magical powers or identities. I loved the creativity of this story and what the world could look like in a situation like this. I also sort of loved how dark this story was. Nora Robert’s series are usually romantic and dramatic, but this was the opposite. The series was dark and gritty and I loved every page of all three books.

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno: What a sweet summer story. I know this is a list for October books, which this one would still be good for. It’s a story of family and self discovery. The women in this family all have magic, but it’s nearing Georgina’s eighteenth birthday and she still doesn’t have her magic. The twin sisters were my favorite. I loved the family dynamics and the tight knit community.

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer: I read this one recently and it was everything I wanted it to be. The setting was stunning and the characters were fascinating. The story follows two covens that have to come together to prevent three brothers bringing something back to life. There was OCD representation and one of the main characters is bisexual. I highly recommend this one.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moria Fowley-Doyle: This one is less witches and more someone casts a spell from a mysterious spell book they find and it affects everyone in town. It was full of mystery and incredible characters. The relationship dynamics between all the different character were what made this story so great. There were friendships and romantic relationships that I was easily invested in. I also loved the representation. Two of the characters we follow are bisexual.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: Gay witches. That’s all I want to say. This book takes place in Salem, MA (I just love books that take place in my home state). There are all sorts of witches for all the elements. I really liked that the rules oof magic are very clearly defined which is something I always appreciate. There were really great family dynamics too. I just all around loved it.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg: Ceony has just graduated from magic school and as an apprentice must learn from a master magician. She was hoping to be assigned to a metal magician, but instead she gets paper. She will bond with paper forever. What I loved about this book was the creativity of the magic. Magic works with materials, metal, paper, and glass, among others. I really enjoyed getting to see Ceony learn this type of magic (called folding). It was such a fun and enjoyable story.

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke: Sideways is a witch and a lesbian. When she is hired by the three most popular girls at her school to cast a spell at their first Halloween party of the year. Things don’t go quite as Sideways planned and she somehow ends up absorbed into their friendship. I loved these girls. They’re fierce, they’re angry, and they don’t take shit from a gods damned soul. I loved literally every page and I am so happy it’s a trilogy. I loved that Sideways barely knew what she was doing, but still took the time to teach her new friends what she knew and let them learn new things along with her. They’re my all time favorite girl gang.

That’s all I have for you today. These are a few books with witches or magicians that I really enjoyed and I hope you will too! What books with witches did I leave out that I should know about? Please leave me some recommendations below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

www wednesdayy

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I’ve heard nothing but good thing about this series so I’m excited. Plus it fulfills on of the subjects for the Magical Readathon I’m doing this month.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Fire Falling by Elise Kova. It’s the second book in the Air Awakens series and I’m really excited to see where it goes next.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently finished my reread of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I’m so happy I’m doing a reread of this series. There’s so many details that i didn’t remember. I’m getting super excited for Queen of Air and Darkness to come out later this year.

Antonia- I just finished Air Awakens by Elise Kova. Amanda’s been raving about this series for awhile and I thought it was time I finally figured out what the fuss was about. I’m so glad I did because this book was amazing. You’ll see my review of it soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next I will either reread the Air Awakens series or the next book in the Hotbloods series by Bella Forrest. I’m having a baby today, so I’ll probably not have a whole lot of reading time anyway.

Antonia- I’m not sure. (Isn’t that my answer every week?) I might continue with the Air Awakens series or the Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg. I’m stuck with my kindle for a little while so my options are somewhat limited.

These are our W’s! What are yours this week? Let us know in the comments or leave a link to your post.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Summary: Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

Review: This book was a little hard for me to get into. Mostly I think it’s because I started it on audiobook and didn’t much like the narrator. The voices she gave the characters were weird and hard to differentiate between. Several times, I thought one character was speaking and it turned out it was someone else. It was almost as if the narrator forgot which voice she assigned to who and kept mixing them up.
Luckily I decided to switch over to Kindle and liked the story much better after that.
Ceony annoyed me a little at first. It seemed like she was alternately very intelligent or very naive, whichever was convenient to the story at the time. For instance, she worked crazy hard to finish years of schooling in just one year but then when Thane gives her a few books to read for “homework”, she complains about all the work. I found this ridiculous. If she managed to finish what’s basically a college degree in one year, then she would have no qualms about a little reading. It seemed to me that, because she’s supposed to hate her apprenticeship, Holmberg just made her complain about everything whether it was realistic or not. After a while she got better about it though and Ceony became I character I actually liked.
Emery Thane was fun. Unfortunately we didn’t get to know him as much as we normally would. For the better part of the book, Ceony’s basically walking through his memories but we don’t see him for real. It sort of gave us random glimpses of his character but it made it awkward for me to form real opinions about him.
Also the (potential) romance between them felt extremely forced to me, especially because everything happens in such a short amount of time. I’m hoping that gets better in the next book.
Despite not necessarily wanting the characters to be my best friends, I would like this book solely for the magic. In this world, magicians can control man-made substances; they bond to one substance in particular and that’s the only one they can ever work with. Ceony and Thane are paper magicians. She doesn’t want to be a Folder, they’re looked down on by other magicians because it’s not considered very useful. I loved watching Ceony slowly learn all of the amazing things she can do with paper. It’s an extremely unique magic system that I loved reading about.
Then Holmberg also made a dark side to the magic. Someone once figured out that since humans are technically man-made, they could be controlled by magic and Excision was created. These evil magicians use blood and flesh to control and torture people. It added a seriously dark aspect to an otherwise fun storyline.
Overall this was a very interesting read. I wouldn’t call it a favorite but I am excited to see where the rest of the series takes me. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories about magic. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Summary:
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.
Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking-the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.
Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries-in as short a time frame-as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.
Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking-and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.
To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

Review:
The Plastic Magician is the newest book in The Paper Magician series. Holmberg is back, writing the story of this crazy unique book world, but with all new characters. A few months ago I read the first three in the series and fell in love. Holmberg does a wonderful job building this unique world. The story is based in London in the early 1900s, so it’s mostly seated in the real world. I liked this because the author found a way to insert magic into the real world making it realistic instead of creating a fantasy place for these magicians. Being from the United States, I really enjoyed reading the story taking place in Alvie’s point of view. She’s also from the U.S. and getting to travel to London (somewhere I have always wanted to travel) for the first time. So the reader gets to see the world from the fresh perspective of someone coming to London for the first time.
In The Plastic Magician, the world is full of ‘material magics’ with plastic being newly discovered. With the discovery of a new material comes enthusiastic and creative magicians. Elvie and her teacher, Magician Praff, are two people that are both incredibly excited about Polymaking and the things still to be learned. Our main character, Alvie, was someone that I really enjoyed reading about. She’s excited about this new adventure, moving across the world to study a new kind of magic with the goal of making new discoveries to better the world. Alvie is super intelligent and really tries to think outside of the box, this out of the box thinking helps her in so many ways throughout the story. She seems to be a strong independent woman that doesn’t let what others think to determine her path in life. For example, she hates wearing skirts, which is what most women wear daily because it’s the early 1900s, so she wears trousers and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone has to say about it. She’s a little awkward and a lot nerdy and I absolutely adore it. I love reading about a nerdy main character, it just makes me happy. She’s creative, with Polymaking, but also with any situation that is thrown her way. She’s also so clever which’s helps her in a few different situations that could have gone way worse had she not been a quick thinker. The only thing I didn’t like about Alvie was that she has a bit of low self-esteem when it comes to her relationship with a guy that she meets at the train station. He’s a perfect gentleman to her and gives her more chances than most would, and she can’t seem to stop doubting what they have. It’s a little bit annoying. But their whole relationship was a little annoying. Even at the end of the book, they hadn’t actually talked about their relationship or anything. They were sweet and innocent which I think it what was trying to be portrayed, but it was a smidge on the irritating side.
I liked the dynamic with Alvie and her mentor Magician Praff. I hope Holmberg is going to continue this series with our new character Alvie and her training. I like that this apprenticeship isn’t the typical one. Alvie’s traveled across the world to study under one of the leading minds in Polymaking. They work incredibly well together and I liked Praff because he’s a great teacher. Praff makes sure to take time to listen to what Alvie is thinking. They end up being a really great team and I think they could have more adventures for sure.
There is a little bit of mystery here and there throughout the story but in an obvious way. We meet our villain at the beginning of the story and to me, it was pretty obvious that he was the villain from the moment we met him. This was only reinforced every time we saw him. I thought the villain totally could have been done a bit better, maybe just made a little less obvious that he’s the villain. I actually have some suggestions that I’m not going to make because they would be spoilers. Aside from the lame villain, I liked the mystery. There were break-ins all over London, but only at the houses of Polymakers, it was an interesting feature that definitely added to the story.
The one last thing I want to mention is the question I had from the very first page, “But do we get to see the characters from the first three books?” The answer is yes. I won’t say where or when, but yes. And yes, I did squeal a little when they appeared.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this story. It was fun to read and I enjoyed getting to know these new characters in a world that I already love. I’m going to end this review a little differently than most. The Plastic Magician ended with a sentence that I really just found delightful, so I’m going to leave it here for you all.

“After all, it wasn’t about the magic it was about the discovery.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!