Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble. Something wicked this way comes. Break out the pumpkin spice and get cozy, because we've got witchy books available for check-out!
We are in the thick of the spooky season and Halloween is upon us—and so is Samhain.
Samhain—a Gaelic word pronounced "SAH-win"—is an ancient Celtic festival that marks the end of summer and a time to prepare for the dark half of the year. It was believed that during Samhain, the world of the gods was "made visible to humankind" and it was a time were supernatural entities—spirits, fairies, and/or ghosts—played tricks on people.
When Rome conquered much of the Celtic lands by 43 A.D., many Celtic traditions were reframed with Christian narratives. In 609, Pope Boniface IV declared a celebration called All Saints' Day—or All-Hallows at the time—and during the mid-eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved the celebration to November 1 to coincide with Samhain. All Saints' Day or All Souls' Day incorporated some aspects of Samhain, including dressing in costume, food offerings, and playing tricks. The day before was known as All Hallows Eve, later as Halloween, and became a day for trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, dressing in costume, and throwing parties. This pagan-turned-Christian-turned-secular holiday is still celebrated to this day!
So, in the spirit of Halloween, we've put together a list of great books to read while you prep your potions and curl up with your fuzzy familiars. Whether you like witch-related historical fiction, romance with a hint of magic, mysteries with a dash of gothic horror, family-centered fantasies, young adult supernatural adventure, or magical manga and graphic novels, we have great books for your inner witch to celebrate this spooky season.
- Looking-Glass into the Past
In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters—James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna—join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.
Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.
As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.
Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is 24 years old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful.
When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary's hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary—a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony—soon finds herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary's garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows.
Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.
Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.
- Love and Spells
Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn't been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.
But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She's determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.
On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup... with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?
But most concerning of all: Why can't she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?
Read The Witches of Thistle Grove Series.
Witches aren't real. Right?
No one has civic pride quite like Emerson Wilde. As a local indie bookstore owner and youngest-ever Chamber of Commerce president, she’d do anything for her hometown of St. Cyprian, Missouri. After all, Midwest is best! She may be descended from a witch who was hanged in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials, but there’s no sorcery in doing your best for the town you love.
Or is there?
As she preps Main Street for an annual festival, Emerson notices strange things happening around St. Cyprian. Strange things that culminate in a showdown with her lifelong arch-rival, Mayor Skip Simon. He seems to have sent impossible, paranormal creatures after her. Creatures that Emerson dispatches with ease, though she has no idea how she’s done it. Is Skip Simon…a witch? Is Emerson?
It turns out witches are real, and Emerson is one of them. She failed a coming-of-age test at age eighteen—the only test she’s ever failed!—and now, as an adult, her powers have come roaring back.
But she has little time to explore those powers, or her blossoming relationship with her childhood friend, cranky-yet-gorgeous local farmer Jacob North: an ancient evil has awakened in St. Cyprian, and it’s up to Emerson and her friends—maybe even Emerson herself—to save everything she loves.
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don't mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she's used to being alone and she follows the rules...with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and... Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he's concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn't the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn't know she was looking for...
Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths… and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.
That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.
Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed-off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off-the-charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.
Read the sequel, The Kiss Curse.
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series—with an extra serving of historical realism.
Read the whole All Souls Trilogy.
A young noblewoman must pair up with a rumored witch to ward off a curse.
It is the year 1814 and life for a young lady of good breeding has many difficulties. There are balls to attend, fashions to follow, marriages to consider and, of course, the tiny complication of existing in a world swarming with fairy spirits, interfering deities, and actual straight-up sorcerers.
Miss Maelys Mitchelmore finds her entry into high society hindered by an irritating curse. It begins innocuously enough with her dress slowly unmaking itself over the course of an evening at a high-profile ball, a scandal she narrowly manages to escape.
However, as the curse progresses to more fatal proportions, Miss Mitchelmore must seek out aid, even if it means mixing with undesirable company. And there are few less desirable than Lady Georgianna Landrake—a brooding, alluring young woman sardonically nicknamed “the Duke of Annadale”—who may or may not have murdered her own father and brothers to inherit their fortune. If one is to believe the gossip, she might be some kind of malign enchantress. Then again, a malign enchantress might be exactly what Miss Mitchelmore needs.
With the Duke’s help, Miss Mitchelmore delves into a world of angry gods and vindictive magic, keen to unmask the perpetrator of these otherworldly attacks. But Miss Mitchelmore’s reputation is not the only thing at risk in spending time with her new ally. For the rumored witch has her own secrets that may prove dangerous to Miss Mitchelmore’s heart—not to mention her life.
- Supernatural Families
For generations, the Kalotay family has guarded a collection of ancient and rare books. Books that let a person walk through walls or manipulate the elements—books of magic that half-sisters Joanna and Esther have been raised to revere and protect.
All magic comes with a price, though, and for years the sisters have been separated. Esther has fled to a remote base in Antarctica to escape the fate that killed her own mother, and Joanna's isolated herself in their family home in Vermont, devoting her life to the study of these cherished volumes. But after their father dies suddenly while reading a book Joanna has never seen before, the sisters must reunite to preserve their family legacy. In the process, they'll uncover a world of magic far bigger and more dangerous than they ever imagined, and all the secrets their parents kept hidden; secrets that span centuries, continents, and even other libraries...
Reina is desperate.
Stuck living on the edges of society, her only salvation lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never known. But the journey is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.
Attacked by creatures that stalk the region, Reina is on the verge of death until her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.
Eva Kesare is unwanted.
Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries her best to be perfect and to hide her oddities. But Eva is hiding a secret: magic calls to her.
Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet, it’s hard to deny power when it has always been denied to you. Eva is walking a dangerous path, one that gets stranger every day. And, in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.
Lizzy Moon never wanted Moon Girl Farm. Eight years ago, she left the land that nine generations of gifted healers had tended, determined to distance herself from the whispers about her family’s strange legacy. When her beloved Grandmother Althea dies, Lizzy must face the tragedy still hanging over the farm’s lavender fields: the unsolved murders of two young girls.
Lizzy discovers a Book of Remembrances meant to help Lizzy embrace her own special gifts. When she reconnects with Andrew Greyson, one of the few in town who believed in Althea’s innocence, she resolves to clear her Grandmother’s name.
A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites.
Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.
As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.
- Magic and Mysteries
When two former friends reunite after decades apart, their grudges, flawed ambitions, and shared obsession swirl into an all-too-real echo of a terrible town legend.
Centuries ago, beautiful young Ilsbeth Clark was accused of witchcraft after several children disappeared. Her acquittal did nothing to stop her fellow townsfolk from drowning her in the well where the missing children were last seen.
When author and social media influencer Elena returns to the summer paradise of her youth to get her family's manor house ready to sell, the last thing she expected was connecting with―and feeling inspired to write about―Ilsbeth’s infamous spirit. The very historical figure that her ex-childhood friend, Cathy, has been diligently researching and writing about for years.
What begins as a fiercely competitive sense of ownership over Ilsbeth and her story soon turns both women’s worlds into something more haunted and dangerous than they could ever imagine.
When Eva's husband is arrested for the murder of a friend, she must confront her murky past and embrace her magick to find out what really happened that night on the river.
Eva Santos Moon is a burgeoning Chicana artist who practices the ancient, spiritual ways of brujería and curanderisma, but she's at one of her lowest points—suffering from disorienting blackouts, creative stagnation, and a feeling of disconnect from her magickal roots. When her husband, a beloved university professor and the glue that holds their family together, is taken into custody for the shocking murder of their friend, Eva doesn't know whom to trust—least of all, herself. She soon falls under suspicion as a potential suspect, and her past rises to the surface, dredging up the truth about an eerily similar death from her childhood.
Struggling with fragmented memories and self-doubt, an increasingly terrified Eva fears that she might have been involved in both murders. But why doesn't she remember? Only the dead women know for sure, and they're coming for her with a haunting vengeance. As she fights to keep her family out of danger, Eva realizes she must use her magick as a bruja to protect herself and her loved ones, while confronting her own dark history.
After a security guard is found dead and another wounded at the Children’s Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma, Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson are summoned to investigate. They find no fingerprints, no footprints, and no obvious means to enter the locked building.
Monique discovers that a portion of an ancient and deformed skeleton had also been stolen from the neglected museum archives. Her uncle, the spiritual leader Leroy Bear Red Ears, concludes that the stolen remains are those of Hatak haksi, a witch and the matriarch of the Crow family, a group of shape-shifting Choctaws who plan to reestablish themselves as the powerful creatures they were when the tribe lived in Mississippi. Monique, Leroy, and Chris must stop the Crows, but to their dread, the entities have retreated to the dark and treacherous hollow in the center of Chalakwa Ranch. The murderous shape-shifters believe the enormous wild hogs, poisonous snakes, and other creatures of the hollow might form an adequate defense for Hatak haksi.
But what no one counts on is the unexpected appearance and power of the Old Ones who guard the lands of the Choctaw afterlife. Blending tribal beliefs and myths into a modern context, The Hatak Witches continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in Devon A. Mihesuah’s award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations.
When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it's an opportunity to start over with her three daughters—Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she's frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.
Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she's initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers—except she's still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she'll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn't realize just how much the truth will change her.
- YA Paranormal
Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year-old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset.
Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?Image
Sixteen-year-old Thrash doesn’t enchant eyeliner over her lids or clear her acne with magic. She is plus-size, but she doesn’t hate what she sees in the mirror—that’s the realm of her mother, Osmarra, a slim and elegant Glamour witch. When Thrash unexpectedly breaks a mirror with her mind, she discovers she has a knack for magic and will receive one of the three sanctioned Gifts: Glamour, Growth, or Sight. The only problem is that mothers choose the Gifts, and Osmarra is convinced that the Gift of Glamour will fix her daughter’s looks.
When Thrash fails to persuade Osmarra to accept her as she is, a trio of cool witches who call themselves The Lunes offer her an out. Their leader, fiery and charismatic Cresca, recruits Thrash for a road trip to New Salem University, where the girls plan to steal their own Gifts. As Thrash crosses the magical Thirteen States of America, Osmarra hot on her heels, she discovers bewitched diners, haunted tourist traps, and a secret about the Gifts that will change the Thirteen States forever.
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
Every year on St. Walpurga's Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.
Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.
Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won't make the same mistake. She's willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.
When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other as water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice.
You don't know what you must give up to become a witch.
Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island's sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.
Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she's never been wrong before.
Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.
Avery walks the knife's edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper's sweeping debut: the story of one girl's fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.
- Magical Manga and Graphic Novels
"Reach out your hand, and your story will begin!"
Those words changed young Atsuko "Akko" Kagari forever, sparking in her a lifelong dream of becoming a real witch. Now she's been accepted to the same school as her childhood hero, Shiny Chariot—the prestigious Luna Nova Witchcraft Academy. As the only student to come from a non-magical family, Akko finds herself surrounded by prodigies from around the world, but giving up isn't in her vocabulary. Whether it's making friends, proving the doubters wrong, or just flying on a broom, Akko is going to make her fantasy a reality!
In a world where everyone takes wonders like magic spells and dragons for granted, Coco is a girl with a simple dream: She wants to be a witch. But everybody knows magicians are born, not made, and Coco was not born with a gift for magic. Resigned to her un-magical life, Coco is about to give up on her dream to become a witch…until the day she meets Qifrey, a mysterious, traveling magician. After secretly seeing Qifrey perform magic in a way she’s never seen before, Coco soon learns what everybody “knows” might not be the truth, and discovers that her magical dream may not be as far away as it may seem…
In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted... and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help—as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family... and be truly himself.
Jessi Zabarsky's lushly illustrated shoujo-adventure comic introduces Lelek the witch as she blows through town one day, kidnapping the peasant girl Sanja. The unlikely pair grow more entangled as they travel together, looking for the missing half of Lelek's soul—the source of her true magical abilities. Both women are seeking to learn, in their own ways, how to be whole again. This book collects the serialized story all into a single volume, including the heart-gripping conclusion and other all-new material.
Get into the spooky spirit of Halloween with events at the library! Enjoy Halloween-themed stories and songs, games and crafts, at local library branches across the Library District.
Creepy Crawly Obstacle Relay — October 26, 4 p.m. at Cone Park Branch
Come join us for Halloween-themed story time and obstacle course relay. Creep and crawl your way to victory, and maybe learn a thing or two about Earth's creepiest and crawliest inhabitants!
Hawthorne Hub: Spooooktacular Fun — October 31, 3 p.m. at Hawthorne Branch
Discover your Spooky Name, enjoy some howlingly fun games, craft a creepy, googly-eyed slime monster, and have some spooky fun at the library!
Teen Halloween Rock Painting Party — October 31, 3:30 p.m. at Micanopy Branch
Do you like jack-o-lanterns, monsters, and haunted houses? Join us for snacks while we paint some eye-catching Halloween-themed art on river rocks using acrylic paints. Show off your costumes too!