Top 5 Wednesday – I Put A Spell On You

Hello all! I haven’t done a Top 5 Wednesday in quite some time, but I LOVE the topics they chose for October so I’ll probably try to keep my hand in this month. 🙂

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday Topic is: Books Featuring Witches.

A Night in the Lonesome October (Roger Zelazny)

lonesomeoctoberLoyally accompanying a mysterious knife-wielding gentleman named Jack on his midnight rounds through the murky streets of London, good dog Snuff is busy helping his master collect the grisly ingredients needed for an unearthly rite that will take place not long after the death of the moon. But Snuff and his master are not alone. All manner of participants, both human and not, are gathering with their ancient tools and their animal familiars in preparation for the dread night. It is brave, devoted Snuff who must calculate the patterns of the Game and keep track of the Players—the witch, the mad monk, the vengeful vicar, the Count who sleeps by day, the Good Doctor and the hulking Experiment Man he fashioned from human body parts, and a wild-card American named Larry Talbot—all the while keeping Things at bay and staying a leap ahead of the Great Detective, who knows quite a bit more than he lets on. — Since everything is told from the Dog’s perspective, you only discover things as he does, so I had quite a lot of fun trying to figure out who was who in this book. Not a very scary tale, but enjoyable nonetheless.

A Tale Dark & Grimm (Adam Gidwitz)

taledarkandgrimIn this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after. — This was a really interesting take on the old fairy tales. The author manages to have the kids run through quite a few of the them, changing things around to make it one continuous story. He keeps the grisly nature of the originals, though, so keep that in mind before handing it to your kid to read.

Dark Witch (Nora Roberts)

darkwitchIona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives. When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package. Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive… — This was my first ever Nora Roberts book! Not being a romance-y person, I had avoided her until now, but this was such an interesting story that it completely pulled me in, romance and all! 😉

The Excalibur Murders (JMC Blair)

3312838Merlin is no magician, merely a scholar and advisor to King Arthur. But after the supposedly magical Stone of Bran is stolen along with the legendary sword Excalibur and one of Arthur’s squires is brutally murdered during the theft, Merlin must use the power of reason to conjure up a miracle and catch a murderer. — Does Morgan Le Fay count as a witch? She’s really more of a sorceress, but she’s totally awesome so we’ll go with it. This was a fun little mystery book!

The Bone Witch (Rin Chupeco)

bonewitchTea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human. Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves. — I haven’t actually read this one yet, but it’s written by the author of The Girl From The Well (which I LOVED) and it has really good reviews, so fingers crossed!


While trying to find books for this list, I realized I haven’t read very many books with witches! Got any suggestions?

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T5W – In A Land Far, Far Away

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books NOT Set/Inspired By The Western World!

Wow, this one was actually WAY harder than I thought it would be. Getting into the Pop Sugar reading challenges and a few groups on Goodreads has really broadened my book horizons, but I still apparently haven’t read very many books that aren’t based on the Western World. :/ I had to break into my TBR pile to make up the difference!

The Night Parade (Kathryn Tanquary) — Japan

thenightparadeThe last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare. But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked… and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth – or say good-bye to the world of the living forever. If you like Hayao Miyazaki films, you will love this book!

Wildwood Dancing (Juliet Marillier) — Transylvania

wildwooddancingHigh in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm. But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop. When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love. This one was really good. I love reading about mystical creatures and faerie tales from other countries and this book managed to incorporate quite a few of them! 🙂

The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith) — Botswana

theno1ladiesdetectiveagencyThe No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors. This one is from my TBR pile. It looks pretty good, so fingers crossed!

The Girl From The Well (Rin Chupeco) — Japan

thegirlfromthewellA dead girl walks the streets. She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago. And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan. Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out. This one is cheating a bit, since it DOES start out in the US. But the premise of the book is Eastern and all the characters end up in Japan, so I’m counting it.

The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm (Nancy Farmer) — Zimbabwe

theeartheeyeGeneral Matsika’s children steal out of the house on a forbidden adventure–and disappear. In Zimbabwe, in the year 2194, the children’s parents call in Africa’s most unusual detectives–the Ear, the Eye and the Arm–who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely. Also from my TBR pile, I picked this book up at a used book sale last year and it looks really fun!


Anyone have some recommendations for great novels that aren’t set in the Western world? I’d love to broaden my book horizons even more! 🙂