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Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

Reviewed by Kandi Vance

The small town of Sugar Maple, Vermont seems like any other typical small New England town. However, the residents of Sugar Maple happened to be witches, vampires, spites, and many other supernatural beings thought to be just fantasy. Sugar Maple has also been protected by charms placed by a witch named Aerynn Hobbs. These charms will protect the town as long as a magical Hobbs daughter lives and reproduces a daughter. Now, three hundred years later, the last descendant of Aerynn, Chloe Hobbs, has shown no signs of magic and the whole town feels the enchantments weakening. The protections are so weak that for the first time there is a murder in Sugar Maple. The county is now forced to send in the police, Luke MacKenzie, to solve the murder. The whole town is in an uproar because now there is a human among them. As Chloe tries to keep an eye on Luke and keep the towns secrets, she also fights the sparks of chemistry between them.

Casting Spells is the first book in the Sugar Maple series.

Available at TCPL: Book | Large Print

 

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Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Reviewed by Laken Lester

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was attacked by the Kingdom of Spring. The death of the queen and the breaking of the locket that held the kingdom’s magic left the citizens of Winter enslaved. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape with the heir to the throne. For sixteen years they have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back the broken locket to restore Winter’s magic and rebuild their forsaken kingdom.

Orphaned as baby during Spring’s attack, Meira has lived her entire life as a refugee. She has trained to be a warrior and will do anything to help Winter gain it’s freedom.
When the scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to throw caution to the wind and go after the pieces herself. But the closer she gets to restoring what was lost, she finds herself entangled in a web of evil magic, dangerous politics, and lies that have kept the most sacred things hidden.
Join Meira, Mather, and the Winterian’s on a journey to recover the kingdom that was lost in Snow Like Ashes, Ice Like Fire, and Frost Like Night.

Available at TCPL: Book

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The Belgariad by David Eddings

Reviewed by Tasha Hunt

belgariad

This five book series is of a young farm boy named Garion. Garion steals away from the only home he knows with Polgara the Sorceress and Belgarath the Sorcerer. On the journey to find what was stolen from Belgarath, Garion learns of the family he never had and of the prophecy that made him an orphan. Moving to what will be the mending or the breaking of the world Garion will finally claim his birth right and avenge his murdered father and mother.

Available at TCPL: Book

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The Beastly Bride edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Reviewed by Jade Crabtree

the-beastly-bride

The Beastly Bride is a collection of short stories revolving around an age old theme: shape-shifting. Each story features a shifter of some kind: fish, wolf, bird, etc. The stories also incorporate another timeless theme: love (some familial, romantic). This selections are typically short and enjoyable reads and the reader can get a sense of the overall themes without having to read every story unless they so choose.

Available at TCPL: Book

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Movies similar to Stranger Things

Reviewed by Jami McDonald

If watching Stranger Things on Netflix has left you wanting more 1980s, check out these three movies that were released during that decade.

Flight of the Navigator – DVD

flight
While taking his dog out for an evening walk in 1978, 12-year-old David Freeman tumbles down a large embankment and loses consciousness. When he wakes up a few minutes later, he walks back to his house and finds out that someone else is living there. The year is now 1986, his parents have moved, his younger brother is 16, and NASA, who discovered an alien spacecraft around the time David woke up, is very interested in finding out where he was during the eight years that he was missing. Full of 1980’s references and nostalgia, Disney’s Flight of the Navigator is fun for the whole family.

The Goonies – DVD
goonies
A group of friends are afraid they are going to lose their homes to a new development project when they discover a treasure map hidden behind a picture in one of their attics. Determined to find the treasure and save their homes, they set out on an adventure filled with trap-filled caves, pirates, and dangerous fugitives. Will the kids find the treasure before the criminal Fratelli family finds them? You will have to watch the movie to find out.

The Labyrinth – DVD
labyrinth
Sarah is a sullen teenager who is resentful of the attention her step-mother and half-brother are receiving from her father. She loves to pretend to live in the world of her favorite story, a fairytale about magical creatures. When she gets angry at her family for making her spend an evening babysitting her brother, she calls out for the king of the goblins to come and take her brother away. She realizes after it is too late that the goblins really do exist and have taken her brother deep into their enchanted maze. Before times runs out, Sarah must reach the center of the maze and battle the King of the Goblins. Puppeteer Jim Henson directed this fantasy film that has a little something to offer everyone in your family.

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The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Reviewed by Laken Lester

glittering court

For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they could only have dreamed of. To Countess Lady Whitmore, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court promises something else: the chance to choose her own destiny and an adventure in a new land across the sea.

After a chance meeting with the court’s scout Cedric Thorn, Lady Whitmore poses as Adelaide (her maid) to join the collection of underprivileged girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her knowledge of etiquette comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends Mira, a Sirminican war refugee, and former laundress Tamsin who is determined to be the top maiden of the court.

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the prison of her old life behind just to become another prisoner across the sea. But nothing is as intimidating—or as wonderful—as the attraction growing between Adelaide and Cedric. With forbidden romance, old English laws, and a Wild West frontier, this book is sure to please!

Available at TCPL: Book | Overdrive eBook

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Crystal City by Orson Scott Cart

Reviewed by Natasha Hunt

The Crystal City book cover

Orson Scott Card, author for the  Science Fiction classic Ender’s Game, is the author of the very fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker.  The series follows Alvin Maker and his life adventure of learning how to use his fantastic ability of makering. Makering is the ability to look at something and see how it works and then fixing it with just a thought.

In the Crystal City, Alvin’s wife Margret (who can see the future) sends Alvin Maker and Arthur Stuart to Neo Barcelona. They arrive not knowing why or what they are supposed to do but knowing that they need to be there.  During a yellow fever outbreak, Alvin and Arthur Stuart’s abolitionist actions and makery of healing are seen by the poor French and slaves as miracles. Alvin performs the marvel of getting 5,000 people across a lake in order to escape the wrath of the Spanish governor. Alvin asks Tenskwa-Tawa the Red Prophet of the Indians to help and give them safe passage through their land. The three then use their Amazing Makery to create another miracle of biblical proportion – to keep the soldiers from following the fugitives. They keep performing miracle after miracle until land is found to build Alvin’s vision of a utopia: the Crystal City.

Alvin receives help from some famous historical people that add a nice twist to the story. This is currently the last book to The Tales of Alvin Maker, but according to Orson Scott Card’s official website he is currently writing the seventh book in the series Master Alvin.

Available at TCPL: Book | Overdrive Audiobook

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Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry

Reviewed by Jade Crabtree

Caught Dead Handed book cover image

Lee Barrett has been living in Florida for the last few years, but this October she is headed home to Salem Massachusetts. Lured by the prospect of returning home to her Aunt Ibby and an interview at the local TV station; she is ready to heal after her husband’s death. Lee goes to the station for her interview only to be told that it has already been filled, then on her way back to the car she stumbles upon a dead body! Talk about a bad day. The dead body just happens to be Ariel Collstellation, the host of the station’s late night horror/psychic call in show, and guess who the station manager has decided would be perfect to take her place. Lee!

What is Lee supposed to do? She isn’t psychic but she needs the job so she decides to apply her acting chops to the “role” and make due. Lee soon starts seeing odd images in Ariel’s black crystal ball; she starts to wonder if maybe she does have some psychic abilities. Lee and her Aunt Ibby have adopted the cat of the late Ariel and discover that someone is trying to poison him! There is another murder just down the street from the women and the killer tries to abduct poor O’Ryan the cat! Can Lee keep everything together while trying to unmask the killer and protect her aunt and cat?

Available at TCPL: Book

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Big Fish, A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace

Reviewed by Brenda Brewster

Big Fish book cover image

Big Fish, A Novel of Mythic Proportions is a complex story involving relationships and tall tales.

Edward Bloom is a joker and a storyteller who has never allowed anyone to really know him.  Now, as he lies dying, his son, Will Bloom, wants more than anything to figure out just who his father is.  Edward Bloom admits he was an absentee father who spent most of his time away from his wife and son trying to be a great man, a good provider, and someone of whom his son could be proud. The problem is Will does not know his father. Whenever he tries to get information from him, Will gets jokes and tall tales! Will is desperate to become closer to his father before it is too late.

Big Fish was written in 1998 and later became a well-known movie. As with most books, most people feel like the book is better than the movie. Barter Theatre, in Abingdon is presenting this book as a play during their spring 2016 season. Reading the book first will allow you to have a better understanding of what is happening in this complex, but fascinating story.

Available at TCPL: Large Print Book

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Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Review by Circulation Assistant Mylinda Poteet

Storm Front Book Cover

Storm Front by Jim Butcher is book one of the Dresden Files series.    Harry Dresden is a down on his luck wizard for hire in the windy city of Chicago.  All sorts of paranormal beings have made themselves known to the general public.  Harry needs a client soon before he is evicted from his office.  As luck or (bad luck) would have it, Harry is called on by the Chicago PD to consult on a death that is of the paranormal sort.  Harry is also hired by a distraught wife looking for her missing husband.  Before the week is out, both cases will push Harry to rethink his career choice.

Storm Front is the first in a series that so far has reached fifteen titles.  Harry is a very flawed character who is revealing his secrets very slowly.  I think anyone who enjoys paranormal fiction or science fiction would enjoy these books.  The series was made into a television show that aired on the Sci-Fi channel for one season.

Available at TCPL: Overdrive Audiobook

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