The Graces

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Books Featuring Witches

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s about books that feature witches, whether they are the main characters or there just happens to be a witch as a side character.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Eragon, and the whole Inheritance Cycle, features one of my favourite witches ever – Angela. I love her so much because she’s much older and wiser than she appears, she can make potions, she can fight and maybe she can see the future. You never really know what she’s capable of and that’s what makes Angela such a great character.

Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan
This is the first book in the Sweep (or as I knew it Wicca) series. it’s about a girl called Morgan who thinks she’s perfectly normally until she discovers she’s a “blood witch” which is someone who is born with magical powers and she’s in fact a descendent of a long line of witches. I read this book, and the whole series, when I was about eleven or twelve and it was the first series I read solely by getting it out of the library.

Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman
It’s been a while since I’ve read Northern Lights but the witches in it, including witch queen Serafina Pekkala, came straight to mind when I saw this week’s topic. The witches in this book live in the north, don’t feel the cold and they can fly if they have the right type of tree branch. I really like their relationship with their dæmons, which are always birds, because they can be a part from each other without it causing either of them pain.

The Graces by Laure Eve
The Graces is one of those books where you it makes you wonder if magic and witches are real or if what happens is just pure chance. It’s such an intriguing read and there’s definitely magic in the air of some sort and the Graces do seem all powerful and mysterious.

Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pieńkowski
This is the first book I thought of when I saw this topic. It’s an illustrated series of stories about a witch called Meg whose spells always go a bit wrong and her black and white stripped cat Mog. I had a collection of these stories when I was little and apparently I drove my mum mad by getting her to read it to me every single night!

What are some of your favourite books featuring witches?

REVIEW: The Graces by Laure Eve

The GracesLike everyone in her small seaside town, River is obsessed with the Graces. They’re a family with wealth, secrets, beauty and glamour, and everyone says they are witches. River wants to be like them and she wants to be liked by them. River wants to be a part of the Graces world and she knows exactly what she’s doing. Doesn’t she?

The Graces is a slow, atmospheric book that has a lot of mystery. You don’t know why River and her mum have moved to this town, you know very little about the Grace’s and while there is talk of magic and spells are performed it treads that fine line of being real and just a fantasy. The magical element of The Graces is one of the interesting things about the story, is magic real or does it not matter if it’s real or not, what matters is what you believe to be true? This is the idea that runs throughout The Graces as various things happen that make you question whether magic is really playing a part in these characters’ lives or if it is all pure coincidence.

It’s hard to connect with both River and the Grace children because they all hide so much of themselves from everyone. With the Graces, it adds to their mystery and makes sense but with River, even though the book is from her point of view you don’t really know much about her or her motivations for wanting to be so close to the Graces. It’s hard to connect with River as she seems to be keeping secrets from her friends and from herself so you never really know who she is. River changes herself to make the Graces like her, watching how everyone else who don’t manage to get the Graces attention acts and doing the exact opposite.

The Graces, Summer, Thalia and Fenrin, are a part of a family that likes to keep their affairs private and that just adds to the mystery surrounding them. They’re glamorous and come from old money so the weird things that happen around them could easily be put down to that rather than magic that Summer and River both desperately want to believe in.

The setting of The Graces, this beautiful small town on the British coast adds to the mystic surrounding the Graces. They are a family who has been in the area for generations so the woods and the sea almost seems a part of their identity. This adds to the mystery and potential magic of the story.

The Graces is an intriguing read even though not a lot happens until about two thirds of the way through. There’s something about the mystery that kept me reading even though I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. 3/5.

August’s Illumicrate Box

I went to my Gran’s yesterday and my Illumicrate box was sitting there waiting for me. Illumicrate is a UK based subscription box for YA book lovers, the box is sent out every three months and you can find all the info about costs and shipping here.

I’ve had the Illumicrate box for a while now and you can check out what was in the February box and the May box – so far I’ve only read one of the books I’ve received, hopefully I’ll catch up on the books I’ve received through various subscription boxes by the end of the year.

I was really impressed with this month’s box. On social media it said it would contain two books, both of which would be pre-releases which is very cool, but I had no idea what books they’d be. The two books were Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and The Graces by Laure Eve. I’ve not read anything by Jay Kristoff before (Illuminae is currently sitting unread on my shelves) but wow Nevernight is such a beautiful hardback book I can’t really deal with it. The story sounds interesting too but really I just can’t get over how pretty this book is. The Graces is all about magic and witches and it’s not released in the UK till the beginning of next month! I like the sound of both books and I can’t wait to read them. Both books came with a signed bookplate and Nevernight also had a art card, bookmark and there’s a video from the author you can access while The Graces came with some temporary tattoos and a letter from the author.

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Now for the goodies, there’s a Gilmore Girls-inspired tote bag by Colorful Geekiness (a show I have never seen but have heard nothing but good things about), Colouring Quotes by Ashley Poston, a couple of amazing Harry Potter coasters from Taratjah Art (I love them so much!) and some Strawberry Tea from Post Tea that smells absolutely gorgeous – I’m not much of a tea drinker but I think I’ll have to make an exception and try this tea.

There’s also some extras relating to Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Unboxed by Non Pratt and A Torch Against the Night by Sabba Tahir. There was supposed to be a sampler of A Torch Against the Night in all of the subscription boxes but the publisher was unable to send enough copies so in my box that was missing, however the lovely people at Illumicrate has it all sorted out and if you’re like me and didn’t get the sampler, you can contact them with your order number and they’ll send one out to you.

I really do like Illumicrate, so far the books have all been new to me and in the case of When We Collided from May’s box, the sort of thing I wouldn’t normally pick up. It’s been nice receiving I’d never even heard of, books from new-to-me authors and from genres I don’t always read. I do get a bit worried about just getting more and more unread books and goodies that I won’t necessarily use but so far that hasn’t been the case. The next box will be sent out in November but you’ve got to be quick if you want one, they seem to always go super fast!