A #WitchyWednesdays Discussion | Jorie has a slight addiction to #WitchyReads!

Posted Wednesday, 8 May, 2024 by jorielov 0 Comments

#WitchyWednesdays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

#WitchyWednesdays is a curated collection of #WitchyReads this Wyrd And Wonder on Jorie Loves A Story. I have long held a fascination with Paranormally inclined stories involving witches and wizards as well as magic schools. I read either Contemporary or Historical releases as well as completely fantastical worlds featuring a Witchy premise and storyline. This year for Wyrd And Wonder, I’m focusing on specific stories I’ve been wanting to share and discuss either during our annual event in May OR our sister event #SpooktasticReads in October. Every Wednesday there will be a new Witchy story to discover as I share my readerly adventures into Witchy Fiction this month. I am considering keeping this a mainstay of focus both during May & October for our events for Wyrd And Wonder.

In regard to the name I chose for this showcase of reviews, I sort of stumbled onto the name when I was deciding which day of the week I wanted to feature Witchy Reads this year. I thought it was original until I ran a search online, I saw others use the #WitchyWednesdays tag however, I did not source an origin of the tag – only a collective recognition for it attributed to different creative projects or venues whilst I didn’t find an actual meme origin for it on a blog or website. If someone knows who started it – kindly let me know so I can add attribution.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I am choosing to expand on my curiosity for #WitchyReads this seventh year of Wyrd And Wonder and use my first #WitchyWednesdays to showcase the Witchy stories which encompass my #stackofdoom! Meaning, I have a rather LARGE stack of books which befit this category of Fantasy – and despite my earnest attempts to whittle it down every year, it seems to continue to grow into a much larger list of #mustread stories and/or series!

For me though, I don’t oft look at things in a negative way – so although the prompt does stipulate a ‘stack of doom’ for me it’s more of an encouraging list of #nextreads that just happens to be a bit of a mile long and involves multiple series and authors! Laughs. Sometimes our stack of reads can become quite all-compassing and consuming but this particular list for me has been one that has become a bit self-motivating and self-directing to seek out a particular styling of Witchy Fiction.

I thought it might be a good segue into the month, as this day marks the beginning of Wyrd And Wonder – to not only show the selection of stories on my mountain of Witchy fiction yet to be consumed but to discuss a bit about what drew me into these particular stories, series and the world-building allure of their authors. It would be brilliant if throughout the month visitors and readers alike could offer a few selections of their own musings and wanderings – as I could use those as a footpath and guide into future reads of my own.

 

Now, let’s start with the series which has bewitched my heart and mind since the very first time I heard the narrator’s voice in my ears:

Wonky Inn series promo banner provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

The Wonky Inn series : by Jeannie Wycherley

The Wonkiest Witch (book one)

The Ghosts of Wonky Inn (book two)

Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn (book three)

Fearful Fortunes and Terrible Tarot (book four)

The Mystery of the Marsh Malaise (book five)

(*) all of these are on audiobook read by Kim Bretton

This series is 18(!) books all-inclusive but only the first five are released in audio. I’ll have to switch to purchasing the novels in print format after book five and there are some novellas which can be read concurrently as well. 

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Reviews thus far along:

The Wonkiest Witch (book one) + The Ghosts of Wonky Inn (book two)

The author gifted me the first three novels on audiobook and this year, in the weeks leading into Wyrd And Wonder, I purchased books four and five on audiobook. Whilst there is a novella (entitled: The Witch Who Killed Christmas) I need to collect as well as I’m attempting to read the series in the order of stories the author suggests advisable to the discernable reader. 

I am resuming my listening of this series with Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn and I am most anxiously delighted for the chance to dive back into a setting and world I feel so deeply connected too! In fact, when it comes to Comfort Zones of Fantasy, this series is at the top of the list for me! And, that is credit to both the author and the narrator who brought the series to life for me as a listener.

It doesn’t matter how long of an absence I have from listening to this series, too. You would think I’d feel untethered but whenever I make a return visit to this enchanting world by Wycherley, I find myself re-rooted and grounded into the backbone of the storyline and of the evolving series! She has such a charming wit about her and the ways in which she emotionally pulls you into Alf’s life and world is beyond brilliant, too. This is what I had to say about it after listening to The Ghosts of Wonky Inn:

Wycherley has such a wicked knack for comedic timing and comedic dramatic interlude when it comes to how she’s written the tone of this series! I loved how we’re chasing after Alf as she’s dealing with a mysterious occurrence in her house – the visual clues Wycherley gave us keeps us on the very edge of our seat and of course, once we see what Alf sees it is almost too fantastical and yet, this is how Alf lives her life – having to deal with the otherworldly moments which would leave most of us dead faint on the floor!!

What is most engaging of all though – aside from the characters Wycherley has infused into the heart of the Wonky Inn series is her impressively visceral storytelling and eye for detail of the fantastical settings she entreats us to explore! Even when we are somewhere much more ordinary than fantastical as a lot of the setting of this series is rooted in what I would refer to as an Urban Fantasy as there are impressions of our known world within the realm of the world Alf inhabits as her own – we’re given beautiful visual clues and glimpses into these places which truly light our imagination with JOY just to listen or read about them. For that, I am especially grateful because part of the joy I have as a reader of Fantasy is being able to feel as if I’ve become wholly transported into that particular world and taken up residence there as if I were as familiar to its dimensions as the characters were themselves.

I am so wholly entertained by the pace, style and world-building of the Wonky Inn series I can honestly attest to each return visit is a wicked good one for me! I feel so comforted by the atmosphere of the stories, too! As there is lovely intrigue, mystery and suspense etched into the background of it all, too! Not everything is benign in this world either – there are true dangers for all the characters involved but at the heart of it all – is family related or found and a wonderful menagerie of fantastical entities all round. If you want something that will immediately lift your spirits – this is definitely a must read for you.

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Leanne Leeds author logo provided by the author and used with permission.

The Magical Midway series : by Leanne Leeds

 Witchiest Circus on Earth (book one)

Life on the Lion (book two)

Unbearable Magic (book three)

Go for the Juggler (book four)

Irrelephant Omens (book five)

A Call to Charms (book six)

Hole Lotta Magic (book seven)

When Curse Comes to Love (book eight)

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Reviews thus far along with the Magical Midway series:

Witchiest Circus on Earth (book one)

Life on the Lion (book two)

Unbearable Magic (book three)

I first learnt of the writings of Leanne Leeds through her series the Magical Midway series wherein I read quite a few of the novels ahead of their re-edits and re-releases. I was asked not to read them ahead of the republications as there were changes to the stories, I had received but I simply haven’t had the chance to re-purchase the newer copies and finish my readings of The Magical Midway as of yet. I have to buy books 4-8 even though I have books 1-5 already they are the previously published editions which the author gave me initially.

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A handful of years ago, she offered me to discover a different series of hers via audiobook – which are called: The Owl Star Witch Mysteries. I have the first four novels on audio and I’ve only managed to listen to a few chapters of the first novel. For whichever reason, I just couldn’t get myself to sink into it as of yet. As this year celebrates Comfort Zones – I think my heart was just attached to the world(s) in which Wycherley has created which is why my fallback has been to listen to either Wonky Inn or Wonderland Detective Agency stories vs trying to explore the genre further into other Witchy read universes.

However, I want to try to pull myself forward into other stories and series this May, and this series (ie. Owl Star Witch Mysteries) is on the top of my list. It would be great if I could soak into the first novel and get a feel for the vibe of the overall series, too, as it has evolved into quite a large series now.

The first novel of the series is the following:

Star of Sage and Scream by Leanne Leeds

The series has had a cover art change since I was given the covers – but an owl as at the center of focus for the books. I loved the original art a bit better, which also goes along with the original art for the Magical Midway series. However, I know authors and publishers alike equally have the option to switch the artwork to better market and sell their collective works. It just happens that generally speaking I have the tendency of appreciating the original selections moreso than the newer editions. However, that is neither here nor there.

The Owl Star Witch Mysteries are as follows:

Star of Sage and Scream (book one)

Owl’s Fair (book two)

Magic’s A Hoot (book three)

Heavy Metal Magic (book four)

These are the ones I have on audiobook which need to be listened too. The series actually goes on quite a bit further and you can find out more information about the series by visiting the series page on the author’s website. It will be keen to see if I can finally sort out this series and get lost inside it at long last. She writes Cosy Cosy Mysteries – meaning, that you don’t have to worry about anything too untoward afflicting her characters and although there is drama and suspenseful elements, it is of the cosier cosy side of the genre. There is a bit of comfort in that too as if you don’t want a jarring story and just want to listen or read something lighter this is an author to seek out.

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Dead as a Dodo Insta post created by Jorie in Canva. Book cover used with permission by the author Jeannie Wycherley.The Wonderland Detective Agency series : by Jeannie Wycherley

Dead As A Dodo (book one)

The Rabbit Hole Murders (book two)

Tweedledumb and Tweedledie (book three)

The Curious Incident at the Pig and Pepper (book four)

A Tragic Tea Party (book five)

The graphic I’m resharing is from (2022) when I listened to the audiobook during #SpooktasticReads and had the full intention of sharing a FULL review on my blog. However, the hours zoomed past me and I never could fulfill my thoughts properly to share a review. I was going to re-listen to this over the last few years, and then, eh, time swept away with me again and again. I’m not sure if I will get back into this series during May this year, but it is a goal of mine to relisten to Dead As A Dodo before progressing forward with the series.

Ooh my dear ghouls – what can I say? I was commuting a heap at the time of listening to this lovely audiobook and it was the first time I can honestly say I heard the entire story in the car whilst feeling as if the outside world had melted away and the ONLY thing left was the beauty of the world crafted by Wycherley left to bemuse me as we travelled. Mum was just as connected to this story and the Wonderland Detective Agency as I was at the time. It is a series we’re choosing to listen together as I oft talk about my love of Wycherley’s novels and worlds and she now has found what has left me so smitten about them!

For those who love the original origins and wanderings of ‘Wonderland’ you will find nuanced references to that Wonderland throughout the first novel of Dead As A Dodo. And, yet she has re-envisioned it all the same into her own flavour of presence and tone and delivery. I loved her instincts for taking what we all might have remembered from childhood and then, given it new life and vitality in a completely re-imagined world of how this kind of world can be so closely anchoured to ‘our world’ as well. I seriously cannot wait to return!

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Catching A Witch by Heidi Eljarbo

This is actually a duology, as the sequel is called: Trailing the Hunter. I had it in mind to pick up the second novel this year, but hesitated as the last time I attempted to read Catching A Witch it was quite the emotional and evocative read. I decided to table my readings of this until a) I could get the sequel and b) find a moment where a hard-hitting duology would be better suited to a moment of less stress in my life overall. I find it harder at times to soak into a dearly difficult read if the rest of my life is a bit chaotically stressful. What I did enjoy about my brief stay in the book itself though is how it was written and told.

What I appreciated about Eljarbo’s style of entrance into this novel was how approachable it felt – despite the fact we’re entering into a story set in the 17th Century, she found a way to make it tangible for us in the 21st. You could connect with the storyteller in her story, of Clara who wants to talk about her own living history and thereby, reconnect to her past as if she herself was telling us a story aloud. I love whenever Historical Fiction stories begin on that footing, as it allows us to take an inter-personal vantage point into the novel. Thus, it felt more like reading a personal diary or journal than a story spun from a writer’s mind, and I delighted in the discovery.

She has a cleverness with her words – of painting such a strong portrait of what she wants you to visualise that it makes it an enjoyable experience to move through her narrative. I even loved the symbolism she shared in the very beginning – about the artfulness of prisms and how those can reflect the sage wisdom of our lives as they re-shift our perspectives?

I am hopeful I can delve back into this duology over the score of Summer or Autumn this year – as it would be nice to see what becomes of the character(s) and storyline. It holds your attention and dares you to pursue after the pages as Eljarbo writes very convicting fiction.

Do you read Historical novels set round the world of Witches!? I’ve previously read quite a few including: The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose and Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.

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Witchy Reads TBR collage graphic for Wyrd And Wonder created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

The Witchy Reads I’m borrowing via my local libraries:

The Very Secret Society of Witches by Sangu Mandanna (not pictured)

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Hallow

In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace

All of these lovelies were recommended reads by my fellow book bloggers in the community I’ve had a pleasure of being a part of for the past eleven years (!). Imagine? Where did a decade disappear off too? It was the lovely Annemieke (adancewithbooks.wordpress.com) who tipped my hat towards finding out about In the Company of Witches a few years ago now. I was initially going to read the book I checked out from the library but for whichever reason, my mind wasn’t focusing so I learnt I could listen to it on audio instead! I currently have it re-borrowed and I’m hoping to make better progress into it this May.

Whilst it was Lark (bookwyrmshoard.com) who clued me into The Very Secret Society of Witches as a cosy comforting read for those hours where you just want to soak into something that takes you on a fantastical journey and uplifts your spirits at the same time! I felt that was a rather fitting recommendation as that generally is what I am game to find more times than not. As soon as I tuned into the narrator’s voice of this lovely, I was truly smitten! I haven’t heard too much of it either – but whenever a narrator’s voice enriches the presence of the story, I am definitely the kind of listener who feels anchoured into the author’s vision of the story and character(s). I have this one re-borrowed as well!

If memory serves, Lisa (deargeekplace.com) was one of the signal boosters of The Once and Future Witches but I thought there were a few other bookish mates nudging me to read this one as well. I’ve forgotten who exactly has continued to push me towards reading this story, but it definitely has endured its tenure on my TBR! I never did see if I could listen to it on audio or even if the narrator would be a good fit for my ears – something I intend to resolve this May as well.

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These are the ‘newest’ #WitchyReads to bewitch me to read – every so many moons I seem to discovery another lovely Witchy Fiction story or series and I am truly blessed I can continue to seek out stories which are either magically bent in the ways in which you’d expect a story or series to be driven by witches at the centre of it OR to be completely surprised by a new directional interest the author has carried their story. Either which way you look at it – this is one subniche of Fantasy I shall continue to pursue and any new recommendations you feel might suit me are happily encouraged to be left in the comments below this post! I’d especially love to note if you’ve read ANY of the stories I’ve shared on this post and what your personal thoughts were about them, too.

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And, what about you?

What is your personal Maze of Endless Series and/or stories?

Are they of a particular flavour & styling of Fantasy or a mixed bag?

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This discussion is part of my showcases during #WyrdAndWonder: Year 7:

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. IMAGE CREDITS: black dragon image by crosspixel on 123RF.com. Banner is used with permission.

NEVER HEARD OF WYRD AND WONDER? | READ JORIE’S YEAR 7 INTRO

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Enjoying my fantastical reviews about the worlds of Fantasy?

Ever since the beginning of Jorie Loves A Story, I have embarked on a Quest to seek out stories within the worlds of Fantasy which would heighten my awareness of the genre and give me wicked good reads – across the subniches of a genre I’ve loved since I was seventeen. Every May, I happily co-host @WyrdAndWonder – whilst throughout the months of the year, I regularly read & discuss the Fantasy reads I am discovering.

Visit my full archive for ALL my #EnterTheFantastic wanderings! As well as take a walkabout through my archives for #WyrdAndWonder – or take a walkabout through my archive for everything deemed wickedly fantastical!

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{SOURCES: The Wonky Inn graphic provided by Jeannie Wycherley and is used with permission of the author. Leanne Leeds author badge and audiobook cover for Sage and Scream provided by the author and is used with permission. Catching A Witch book cover provided by Historical Fiction Book Tours and is used with permission. Wyrd And Wonder banner and badges created by Imyril. (Image Credit: black dragon image by Ehtisham Sajid on 123RF.com) Banner is used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #WitchyWednesdays banner, Witchy Reads TBR graphic, Best Halloween Read graphic and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2024.

I’m a social reader, I am on BlueSky & Instagram!

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 8 May, 2024 by jorielov in #WitchyWednesdays, #WyrdAndWonder, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features




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