1) I finished The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree over my Christmas break, but haven't blogged about it, yet. This is Susan Wittig Albert's new cozy mystery series set during The Great Depression in Darling, Alabama. The ladies of the Darling Dahlia Gardening Club set out to solve the murder of a local girl with a colorful past. There's even talk of missing buried silver from The Civil War and ghost haunting. This cozy series opener is a hit and just as good as her Beatrix Potter tales and the China Bales' series. I highly recommend it for longtime fans and new readers.
2) If you're looking for a short, informative introduction to the world of herbs used in magick, you might enjoy A Beginner's Guide: Herbs for Magic and Ritual. This book by Teresa Moorey discusses making your own incense, herbal uses in magic, astrological correspondences, essential oils, and cooking magically with herbs. She covers a few basic herbs that are easy enough for anyone to find or grow locally. However, I would recommend looking into another book, if you're expecting an in depth read.
3) If you're studying to become a witch or researching Wicca and rituals, then the classic, To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft by Silver Ravenwolf will fit nicely in your library. This book covers all the basics in a friendly conversational tone. Topics discussed include Wicca ethics, The Charge of the Goddess, creating your own sacred place, dedication and purification rituals, networking with other witches, spells, consecrating tools, meditation, divination tools, and a slew of other information. I highly recommend this book for any witch or anyone interested in learning more about Wicca.
4) A Circle of Cats is a quick, delightful read for adults. The book is intended for 8 years and older. Illustrated by the enchanting Charles Vess and written by Charles de Lint, the story follows the tale of Lillian, an orphan who enjoys playing in the forest. Lillian is bitten by a venomous snake one day and falls asleep under the ancient beech tree where cats go to dream. The cats take pity on her and save her life by making her one of them, but Lillian longs to be a little girl again so she can go home to her aunt. She seeks the help of the Apple Tree Man. Will she get her wish? Read and find out. You won't be disappointed!
5) Charles de Lint's Little (Grrl) Lost is an imaginative tale about the Littles, a group of magical people standing just six inches tall. Set in Newford, this young adult novel follows the story of T.J., a teenage girl having a hard time fitting in after moving from the country and giving up her horse, red. She befriends Elizabeth, a runaway Little with a punk attitude and wardrobe to match. Elizabeth is on a mission to prove she can live on her own and discover the origin of the Littles. She's heard rumors that her people can fly and seeks out the help of a local author who can help solve the mystery. This is a great read for adults and teens alike. It's a wonderful introduction to de Lint's fictional town of Newford or a fabulous welcome back!
6) The Undead Zombie Anthology edited by D.L. Snell and Elijah Hall from Permuted Press wasn't all that memorable. It wasn't bad, but truthfully, after letting the stories sit for a few weeks, not one really remains stuck in my head. If you're a lover of zombie fic, this one shouldn't be passed up, but if you're expecting something earth shattering, this isn't the collection for you. The stories are written well, but they just catch my interest.
7) Normally, I don't read traditional crime fiction, but I picked up T. Jefferson Parker's The Fallen at my local library book sale and I loved it! The main character, Robbie Brownlaw, is a cop with a unique ability; he's a synesthesist. He sees colored shapes while people are speaking, allowing him to tell if they are lying or not. This is a result of a nasty fall he took while trying to save someone from a burning building. The strain of his recovery and his new gift has worn thin for his longtime girlfriend, Gina, who leaves him. While coping with the loss of the love of his life he sets out to solve the murder of a local cop turned Ethics officer for the city, who many didn't like because of his dedication to justice. It looks like Garret committed suicide, but did he really. Read and find out. This plot has a few twists and turns to keep you interested. It's not fluffy and Parker's main character has a great tone to him.
Happy reading and happy writing to all!