Witch Book Wednesday: How to Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather

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Welcome to my last “Witch Book Wednesday” post. Every Wednesday, during the month of October, I suggested an atmospheric and witchy book you should definitely add to your October TBR. Today I am highlighting How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather.


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Title:
How to Hang a Witch
Author: Adriana Mather
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

Synopsis

The more things change in Salem, the more they stay the same.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous Witch Trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam is not exactly welcomed with open arms. She is a descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those Trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that wasn’t enough, Sam finds herself face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff.

Soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting everyone with ties to the Trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first alleged witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

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If you are in the mood for the perfect Halloween or Autumn read, I highly recommend adding How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather to your TBR list. As I was reading, I kept picturing the meshing of my two favorite movies: Hocus Pocus and Mean Girls.  This witchy book is the perfect blend of Salem, Massachusetts’ history, modern-day teenage gossip, family curses, and creepy apparitions.

As a mood reader, I enjoyed the dark and spooky ambiance of How to Hang a Witch. Each chapter was like stepping onto the cobble-stoned roads of the 17th century, hearing the creaks of old houses, and collecting old musty books filled with family secrets and town history. I loved the historical atmosphere that Mather creates for her main character, Samantha, to discover and uncover. Even more, I liked Sam as a character, because she portrays a character that is feisty, determined, and caring.

Overall, I really enjoyed How to Hang a Witch and its “out of nowhere” surprising end. I think it’s a great book that connects the crazed witchhunts of the 17th century with the crazed persecutions that take place in our modern-day society. Additionally, I also loved the ghostly and witch figures sprinkled throughout the pages. Their supernatural and magical presence brought a very eerie feel to the pages and made the book a constant page-turner for me.

Witch Book Wednesday: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

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Welcome to a new “Witch Book Wednesday” post. Every Wednesday, during the month of October, I am going suggest an atmospheric and witchy book you should definitely add to your October TBR.


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Title: 
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Author: Katherine Howe
Release Date: June 9, 2009
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Fantasy

Synopsis

A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history–the Salem witch trials.

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest–to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.

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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is the perfect witchy book to read in the month of October. I am so glad that the booksellers at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati are such great book-pushers. When someone tells you that a book is like the adult version of Hocus Pocus, how can you say no to purchasing it? YOU CAN’T!

One of my favorite elements of this book is the unraveling of mystery spread through the pages. The author, Katherine Howe, provides a great story plot that allows her characters, especially the main character Connie, to explore their own identities through their ancestors, which helps intertwine new and old friendships.

I also enjoyed the alternating time periods in this book, which explored the Salem Witch Trials and paralleled that time with Connie’s role in the 1990s, who went about collecting information/research from the 1690s for her PhD history degree. I was so enthralled by the idea of linking the past with the present, which helps Connie to discover old family secrets that affect her current situation.

Along with the mystery and historical background, Howe incorporates fantastical elements and a slow burn love story into the mix. I would highly recommend this book to readers who love history, growing friendships, the Salem Witch Trials, romance, and a thrilling mystery.

Witch Book Wednesday: Mooncakes

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Welcome to a new “Witch Book Wednesday” post. Every Wednesday, during the month of October, I am going suggest an atmospheric and witchy book you should definitely add to your October TBR.

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Title:
Mooncakes
Author: Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Genres: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Synopsis

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

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Well, I hope you are ready for the most adorable, witchy graphic novel that has ever existed. Mooncakes wowed me from the beginning to the very end. I adored this fantasy story about friendship, family, love, and self-acceptance. The pages are filled with vibrant colors, which sketches a well-developed and mysterious plot, spooky and vivacious scenes, and most importantly, the artwork allows the characters to fully come to life throughout the pages.

In addition to a world of witches, werewolves, and demons, Mooncakes depicts a cozy little bookshop in a small New England town. Melded into this setting, the graphic novel provides intriguing (and tragic) backstories for both the two main characters, Nova and Tam. As the characters pursue a spell to battle dark forces, demons, and their very own internal struggles, Nova and Tam are also exploring their past friendship and new relationship. With the most adorable female/non-binary love story I have ever read, this fantasy graphic novel is swoony with a dash of eeriness. It is definitely the perfect graphic novel to pick up during the season of autumn.

Witch Book Wednesday: The Witch of Black Bird Pond

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Welcome to a new “Witch Book Wednesday” post. Every Wednesday, during the month of October, I am going suggest an atmospheric and witchy book you should definitely add to your October TBR.

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Title: 
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Author: Elizabeth George Speare
Genres: Young Adult, Historical

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met.

Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.

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I remember reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond in grade school and adoring it. During my recent reread, I was just as entranced as I was back then. Filled with American history truths and the hysteria of witchcraft, The Witch of Blackbird Pond provides a very realistic account of women’s placement in Puritan society. It was fascinating to see how men inculcated the ideas of how women should act, dress, think, worship, and behave. 

In regards to the “witchyness” of the book, Elizabeth George Speare positions her main character as an outsider. Kit, an adolescent teen, moves from the warm and beautiful Barbados into an American colony where politics and religion are fiercely stamped into everyday life.  Once in Connecticut, Kit’s world is turned upside down; she is even criticized for the being able to swim and read. But Kit never lets her “oddness” falter her ability to adapt to the new society, learning every chore she can to survive the harsh living conditions of the new world. 

My favorite part of this book is the ending. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is a slow burn romance that fills the pages of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and when that flame ignites, I was so ready to watch that ship sail.

Witch Book Wednesday: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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Welcome to my first “Witch Book Wednesday” post. Every Wednesday, during the month of October, I am going suggest which atmospheric and witchy book you should definitely add to your October TBR.

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Title:
The Wicked Deep
Author:  Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

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Synopsis:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


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Shea Ernshaw’s The Wicked Deep
is a beautifully written and very atmospheric novel filled with heartache, curses, and mystery. The enriched storytelling is spellbinding, enchanting, and heavily saturated with thrills and chills surrounding three accused and executed witches, the Swan sisters.

You will fall in love with the town of Sparrow–a cursed city that is filled with speculation, a heightened sense of magic, and a dash of residual sorrow that yearns to be healed. Littered with twists, slowly unraveled truths, and witchery, The Wicked Deep is a very haunting narrative and love story filled with lavish prose, revenge, and sacrifice.

Review of The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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Title:
The Wicked Deep
Author:  Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

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Synopsis:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


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The Wicked Deep
is a very haunting and oftentimes heartbreaking read. Shae Ernshaw’s novel is beautifully written; the storytelling is spellbinding and enchantingly engaging. I fell in love with the town of Sparrow–a cursed city that is filled with speculation, a heightened sense of cursed magic, and a dash of heartache that yearns to be healed. The characters are enriched with so much emotional turmoil, making it hard not to only feel sorry for the lured victims but also feel sympathy towards the cursed “witches.”  

There are various characters strung throughout The Wicked Deep, but it was not the main character, Penny, that I was rooting for throughout the novel. Instead I really enjoyed the development of Bo Carter, Sparrow’s mysterious outsider. I liked that even though he is an outsider of the cursed town, he blurs into the setting so naturally. He creates his own firm ground and purpose in the story. Bo has a very curious atmosphere about him, but he also radiates an aura of kindness, devotion, and resiliency. 

Overall, I liked The Wicked Deep but there are some parts of the book that dwell in the back of my mind. I personally found the book’s “twist” to be predictable, but that predictability does not fault the story; instead, it’s through this twist and unraveled truths that the resolution of the story filters through a lens of heartache, sacrifice, and so much vulnerability. I was not a huge fan of the ending, but I really could not see the conclusion going any other way. The whole vibe of the ending just does not sit well with me, but I think it is because I adored Bo so much; and without adding any spoilers, I think he deserves so much more after that downpour of truth that saturates his heart and his dreams.
 3 star rating
 
Note:
 I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.