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Book Review: The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow


The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d like to thank the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) for gifting me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. While I deeply appreciate the gift, the giving of it had no impact on the thoughts and opinions expressed below.

One witch you can laugh at. Three you can burn. But what do you do with a hundred?

The Ten Thousand Doors of January was my favorite book of 2019. I adored Harrow’s way with and respect for words and stories. The tale was such an ode to both that it made my heart feel as though it would burst. I kept having to pause periodically and close the book and my eyes so I could just soak in the exquisite prose. I wasn’t sure Harrow could ever again pen something quite that beautiful. But while I didn’t quite connect to her second novel as deeply as I did her first, I needn’t have worried. The Once and Future Witches is just as lovingly and impeccably crafted as Harrow’s incredible debut.

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Book Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover designed by: Lisa Marie Pompilio

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Pages: 528 pages

Published: October 15th, 2020 by Orbit (UK) and October 13th, 2020 by Redhook (US)


Similar to The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Once and Future Witches will be a big hit among many readers.

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Book Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Once and Future Witches

 

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Published: October 15th, 2020 by Orbit (UK) and October 13th, 2020 by Redhook (US)


ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Witchy as HELL! The Once and Future Witches was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and Alix E. Harrow absolutely, unequivocally, brought the magic.

I first picked up The Ten Thousand Doors of January earlier this year (2020) and loved it beyond description. In fact, that book now occupies a space on my favourites shelf. It is unsurprising then, that The Once and Future Witches was one of my most anticipated book releases of the year. Luckily, I have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to read this book before the official release date. The icing on the bookish cake is that I have had the privilege of reading not just one, but two of Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding stories in less than seven months and both have filled me with an unbridled sense of wonder.

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Book Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

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The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Published: 15th October 2020 (Orbit)

‘Proper witching is just a conversation with that red heartbeat, which only ever takes three things: the will to listen to it, the words to speak with it, and the way to let it into the world. The will, the words, and the way.

… everything important comes in threes.’

‘Once upon a time there were three sisters…’ Three Eastwood sisters, to be precise. Agnes, Bella, and James Juniper. They live in a world where magic and power were female, once. Now it is all hushed words passed from mother to daughter, hidden workings and small tricks, all the better to stay beneath notice. For in this place, which is also our place, women are less than they were. They are made small by the power of men— and expected to stay that way.

The year is 1893 and in New Salem the suffragists are rallying for the vote. But the ballot box isn’t the only path to change and a little witchery might be what’s needed to counter the arrival of a new danger, one cloaked in shadows and sickness. Juniper certainly thinks so. But these are sisters are riven by their past, too uncertain with each other in the present. To have a future, they’ll need mend the hurts that broke them, find a way to bring back what was forgotten, and forge something new… something wild and witchy.

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Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Ten Thousand Doors of January cover

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


“…there are ten thousand stories about ten thousand Doors, and we know them as well as we know our names. They lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, Atlantis and Lemuria, Heaven and Hell, to all the directions a compass could never take you, to elsewhere.”

I have been watching my cats lazing about in the warm, reposeful afternoon sun. Languid stretches and lazy yawns and leisurely rolls. Complete comfort and contentment. The sheer bliss of surrendering to the moment evident in their eyes. Melting, mellow happiness. Felicity.

That is the feeling that came over me upon finishing this book, and I basked in every second of its warmth. Lyrical. Stunning. Beautiful. Spellbinding. Richly imagined. Eloquent. Wistful. A riotous swirl of adjectives, all apt and all applicable. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is an emphatically stunning debut by Alix E. Harrow, delivering a tale that speaks to one of humanity’s oldest fantasies – visiting another world.

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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 List.


Hello everyone!  This is the first time I’m listing my top reads for the year 2019.  Initially, I wanted to opt for Top 10 but having read 100 books and rated a lot between 4.5 and 5 stars, I felt that I would struggle to limit it to ten.  The parameters for my list are as follows:

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.  Those not published in 2019 will be specified.

With exception of #1, none of these are ranked.  I’ve merely listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  I’ve also included my favourite classic read of the year as we’ve started the Novel Notions Classic Club in July. All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists.


If you’d like to see more stats about my reading year, click here.

The literary world was kind to me this year.  In 2019, I read over 115 books, and a ton of those have been 4 or 5 star reads. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to my top 20 books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

For the first time, I’m ranking my reads for the entire year. That being said, every single book on this list was a 4.5 or 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2019.

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Interview with Alix E. Harrow

Interview with Alix E. Harrow

Hello, everyone! Celeste here for Novel Notions, bringing you an interview with author Alix E. Harrow. We’re celebrating the publication of her debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January. As soon as the synopsis and cover art dropped in 2018, this book became my most anticipated of 2019. From its very first page, I knew that my expectations were not only going to be met, but far exceeded. January’s story is utterly delightful and charming, and Harrow’s novel is a lavish love letter to the power of the written word and the people who love words so completely. It’s thrilling and romantic and breathtakingly beautiful, and is a wonderful blend of so many genres, like magical realism and historical fiction and portal fantasy. It’s a book that I can’t wait for the world to read, and I’m incredibly humbled to have been given the opportunity to interview its author. Without further ado, here is my interview with Alix E. Harrow!


Hi, Alix!  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.  Before we get started, I wanted to congratulate you on winning a Hugo for  your lovely short story, A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies. It was definitely worthy of the award.

Thank you so much for having me! The thing about the Hugos is that all the stories were deserving of awards this year. I’m glad the finalists and winners are spread out a bit this year, between the Nebula/Locus/Hugo/Eugie Foster, because there are so many excellent authors that deserve it.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself.  When did you know that you wanted to become and author, and how did you first get into writing?

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Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

TS’ rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haïfa’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


TS’s Review

ARC provided by the publisher, Orbit.

Incredibly lush, exquisite and enchanting, The Ten Thousand Doors of January has all the makings of a classic. One which I’m certain will be well-loved and much-read. And I dare say not only by those who enjoy fantasy, for this novel is pure joy in literary form that is a tribute to almost every reader out there.

Do you love books? This book is for you.

Do you love the written word? This book is for you.

Do you love stories and escapism? This book is for you.

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Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 Lists. His work is amazing, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have been favored with it. Thank you so much, Felix!

So far, 2019 has been an incredible reading year for me. Between January 1st and June 30th I read right around 60 books, and have found a number of new favorites. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to ten books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

For the first time, I’m ranking my reads. That being said, every single book on this list was a 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link  in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of the past six months.

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