#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Witch-y Books

Six for Sunday

Okay so I’m pretty sure October only started last week but apparently, this is now the last Sunday of the month! I’m off to London MCM Comic-Con today and really rather excited about it! (Report and hopefully Vlog coming next week). First though, it’s time for Six for Sunday with the prompt for this week (from Steph at A Little but A Lot) “Witch-y Books” and I’ve read a fair few witch-y books in my time so this shouldn’t be too difficult.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The clue is in the title I guess? I read the first book in the All Souls series last year and I’ve been desperate to get back to the next one! I really loved this book and I like that we have not only witches but also Daemons and Vampires. You can find my spoiler-free review here.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Andersen
One of my favourite reads from last year, I received an advance copy at YALC and instantly fell in love with this very Halloween-y feeling book. Mila is awesome and the twist in this really threw me. You can find my spoiler-free review here. 

Sanctuary by V.V James
Defintley in my top three reads this year and certainly my favourite new release. This witch-y murder-y book was fantastic. It was also very stressful and full of twists and turns. I adored it. You can find my spoiler-free review here.

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne Harris
Although not witchy in the exact same sense of most of the other books on the list I defintley think our nameless wild girl from A Pocketful of Crows is someone who would be classed as a witch. Not just because the villagers of the town name her so in an unkind or spiteful way but because of her connection to nature and the ritual of the magic she uses. Guess what? You can find my spoiler-free review here!

The Near Witch by V.E Schwab
Again, this one is a little different to most of the ones on the list as the main character isn’t a magic-user at all but is instead in search of one but this has a witch-y feel to it nether the less as she befriends a witch and goes to another group of witches for help. I loved the spooky, chilly vibes throughout this book. You know the drill, spoiler-free review here.

Finding Home Vol. Two: The Healer by Hari Conner
So this isn’t technically a book that would probably be regarded as a witch-y book BUT it does feature a witch annnd Chepi uses magic? I’m basically obsessed with this book right now and can’t stop going on about it so makes the list okay? Just check out my spoiler-free review for the funny pic of Janek.

So I guess that’s it for October. I’m kicking myself that I never got around to reading Hex-Life (yet) as it’s literally an anthology of witchy stories but things have been SO hectic. I honestly don’t know where all the time went? Anyway, hopefully I’ll see you back here tomorrow for my turn on the Angel Mage Blog Tour! (Part four of my Inktober posts will be Tuesday instead next week!)

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Sanctuary Blog Tour

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Sanctuary by V.V James

Rating: XXXXX

Published: August 8th 2019 by Gollancz

“The bad days were behind us, and our friendships and theirs were stronger than ever. Lies, lies, lies. And they all knew it.”

The small Connecticut town of Sanctuary is rocked by the death of its star quarterback.

Daniel’s death looked like an accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died.

Then the rumours start. When Harper insists Dan was guilty of a terrible act, the town turns on her. So was his death an accident, revenge – or something even darker?

As accusations fly and secrets are revealed, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a trial that the whole world is watching . . .

I received an e-Arc via Netgalley from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. One of my friends has been recommending Vic James books to me for a couple of years now and I’ve never quite made it around to them but when she got mega excited after reading Sanctuary, Vic’s newest book I knew it was finally time and this witchy murder mystery was just the place to start.

Sanctuary, out August 8th, has been one of the most intense page-turning books I have read this year and has already become a firm favourite. I absolutely flew through it in just a couple of days. In the world Sanctuary is set in, almost everything is the same as we already know it except Witchcraft is a normal every day, mostly accepted occurrence with its own rules and state-mandated laws and such, which I found fascinating but also very grounded. I also loved the particular brand of witchcraft we see used with charts, herbs, hand gestures and energy as well as the fact that different witches from around the world use different varieties of spell casting derived from their personal culture and traditions. One particular detail I really enjoyed was the explanation that witches familiars are considered an important role as they are a witches connection back to the earth and nature. You could really feel Vic had done her research, there’s not a huge amount of really obvious world-building to be done but all the tiny details, as well as the big ones, were executed brilliantly and so organically as well as the general feeling of the town which almost felt like it’s own entity at times.

The story is told from three main points of view, two distraught mothers on either end of a possible murder and police officer, Maggie trying to unravel it all. Following these particular characters was a fantastic choice, watching events unfold from each ‘side’ was particularly interesting and then seeing how Maggie dealt with said information or revelation and the conclusions she then came to as a result, not to mention that she was fantastic at injecting a little humour into the narrative here and there which impressively didn’t feel out of place in a book that is otherwise fairly dark. I loved seeing how far each of the three women were willing to go to protect themselves, what they believed in and the ones they love as well as the way their friends and neighbours reacted to the turn of events. Every character, even ones who weren’t what I would call “main” supporting characters felt interesting and solid, I found most of these characters very easy to picture and each had memorable traits without falling into stereotypical troupes (for the most part). Sanctuary has an insanely interesting and thrilling narrative but it also very much feels like a startling study of the darker corners of human nature.

To start with, the plot seems simplistic in nature and like any other “whodunnit” kind of mystery with a few extra additions such as the inclusion of witchcraft but still enjoyable and as the story continues on it becomes a whole other creature full of secrets, lies, twists and turns leaving you pointing fingers every which way and really taking a good hard look at your own morals in the process. I’m not ready in any way shape or form to talk about that ending so you’ll have to wait for the spoilery book talk on Youtube for that because right now when I try to type about it I just bash my keyboard keys while making incoherent noises of pain and anxiety. Every secret feels expertly layered as each revelation becomes tangled in a web of persecution and fear, author Vic James has a terrifying gift and I can’t wait to read more of her books if this standard of writing is the norm because it absolutely blew me away.

Sanctuary is out August 8th but if you were lucky enough to have picked up an early copy at YALC or the beautiful green sprayed edges edition in July’s Illumicrate you may have already read it but if not make sure you check out your local bookstore or most convenient retailer to preorder if you fancy a twisty, witchy murder mystery with bite.

Trigger Warnings: Rape of a minor by an older minor, gaslighting.

Also don’t forget to check out all of these other lovely bloggers taking part on the Sanctuary blog tour too!

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Undead Girl Gang

35707056Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Rating: XXXXX

Published May 8th 2018 by Razorbill

“Spells are just prayers with more steps and a name that scares people.”

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Undead Girl Gang when I brought another book from the same stand at YALC this year. Originally I found an enamel pin badge as shown on the cover, fell in love with it and then searched for the book it was from which the stand only had in ARC form if you brought another book so I ended up with two books and pin badge for the price of one book! This was a wise choice and I’m so glad it caught my eye!

This book absolutely has it all. Death, Witches, Romance, Mystery, Zombies, Magic, Betrayal, Cats called Thackery Binx, multiple funerals and …Mushrooms. This book has it all and is easily one of my favorite books released this year. I expected to enjoy it but what I had not realised when I started reading was as follows:

– That I would then be up until the small hours the next morning reading by the light of the street lamp outside my bedroom window.

– That I would get in a genuine huff the next day when I had to go get my hair cut and therefore had to stop reading.

– Actually be glad about an hour and a half wait for a bus because I could read more.

– Consider stabbing my husband with a spoon if he didn’t stop trying to talk to me while I was trying to read

– Become traumatized by mushrooms.

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Undead Girl Gang was full of great surprises, genuine mystery and some great whodunnit vibes which kept me guessing the whole way through. The zombie magic was well done without being overly gross and the teenage witchy/wiccan side to things was interesting as someone who went through a similar phase when was a youngling so a lot of things sounded familiar, especially Mila’s attitude to the practise to begin with. One of my favourite things about this book is actually the relationships and family dynamics, especially between Mila and the other girls which change throughout the narrative. There are some other subtle themes throughout as well that I was pleased to see along with a funny, capable plus sized leading lady.

This book feels well rounded even with a dash of everything thrown in. The characters are memorable and it’s enjoyable to learn more things about them throughout the story and each have their own distinctive voice. I feel like Mila’s responses to some events and circumstances felt especially genuine and relatable, I couldn’t help but laugh every time she was distracted by a pretty boy because that was very much what I was like as a teenager. This is one of those books that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with but find it hard to describe in a few paragraphs without repeating myself because I don’t think I can pinpoint one or two things that made me love it, this book is a culmination of great things that net it a very easy XXXXX rating from me. Well worth a read if you enjoy stories about sisterhood, all things witchy, funny zombies, murder mystery and some VERY tense moments.

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