Welcome to the Book Report! I hope you enjoy this report’s selection with books featuring Tales of Magic; Life Support: On Self-Awareness + Self-Care; Tuning In: The Way of the Empath; a few wonderful, sweet reads for the young bibliophile; and a ‘Just Because’ book.
As we slide into the last full measure of Summer, I feel myself wanting to curl up with some magical stories, tend to my inner life with renewed devotion, sharpen and expand my empathic qualities, and cultivate joy and wonder. With those desires in mind, I have put together some options for support and guidance on the path.
I hope you find something inspiring and encouraging below…
“That’s the thing about magic; you’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.”
Goblin Market by Diane Zahler tells the story of sisters Lizzie and Minka as they interact with a charming goblin prince and how one sister must risk it all to save the other.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is a New York Times bestselling epic feminist fantasy of a world divided, a queendom without an heir, and the awakening of an ancient enemy. I’m delighted to say that this one is also available in a Spanish language version.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan brings us young Xingyin who has grown up on the moon, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. As Xingyin comes of age and her magical gifts begin to reveal themselves, she is forced to leave her home and her mother behind. In order to save her mother from the emperor’s wrath, she embarks on a perilous quest – one which ultimately leads to honor and triumph.
Genevieve Gornichec’s The Witch's Heart spins a tale of a banished witch who falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki and how she must find a way to recover her destiny in the face of betrayal and danger.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel is a stunning debut novel about the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana. It is a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak and the extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men traditionally dictate the shape of things to come.
Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan by Liz Michalski is a modern-day reimagining of J.M. Barrie’s classic in which, in order to save her daughter’s life, a woman must take on the infamous Peter Pan – who in this story is not the innocent adventurer the fairy tales have made him out to be.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean takes place out on the Yorkshire moors where a secret line of people live for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious; eating a map can help them remember destinations, and so on. Just in case you’re wondering where a deeper story line might lie, rest assured dear reader, this is, at heart, a cautionary tale.
In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power tells the story of a pair of twins named Rhea and Lexos who, together with their other siblings control the seasons, the tides, and the stars, and help their father rule the kingdom. All goes swimmingly until…well, you’ll have to read the book to find out the details.
All the Horses of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie is a hypnotic historical fantasy which revolves around the mystical origins of the wild, small, and free horses of Iceland. I’m intrigued - aren’t you?
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey is an enchanting tale of a cursed mythical creature and the lonely fisherman who falls in love with her. Every great love has a great love story and this one doesn’t disappoint one little bit.
Sistersong by Lucy Holland takes place in an ancient land steeped in wild magic where three royal siblings fight to keep their kingdom safe from the warriors who threaten its borders. Loyalties and bonds are tested as the story unfolds with a well-crafted series of twists and turns to keep the plot interesting.
“You use up everything you’ve got trying to give everybody what they want.”
Listen, I know I keep putting books on self-care and healing into the reports, but they just keep feeling so relevant to me…and, if I’m feeling this way, then I imagine a fair amount of you are as well. If that’s true, then may you find something supportive and helpful below.
Worth the Risk: How to Microdose Bravery to Grow Resilience, Connect More, and Offer Yourself to the World by award-winning behavioral science professor Kristen Lee helps us to discover and savor the rewards of strategic risk-taking using small, intentional acts of courage to build resilience, confidence, and meaningful connection. She writes: “You are not your trauma, labels, fears, or raw emotions. You are wired for resilience. Your human spirit is indomitable.”
How Are You Really?: Living Your Truth One Answer at a Time by Jenna Kutcher is a guide to creating a life with more fulfillment. Divided into three sections…Part One: Who You Are; Part Two: Who You Have and Who Has You; and Part Three: What You’re Going to Do About It, Jenna takes the reader by the hand and gently but firmly encourages us to ask the hard questions and to listen with compassion to what comes through.
Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint: A Powerful Guide to Transformation Through Disentangling Multigenerational Patterns by Judy Wilkins-Smith offers us practical information and practices for breaking free of the patterns that hold us back and open to a life of greater authenticity and possibility. I ask you, who among us can’t use some help with that?
Different After You: Rediscovering Yourself and Healing After Grief and Trauma by Michele Neff Hernandez offers a life-affirming process forward for those of us dealing with grief and trauma…which is pretty much everyone, right? This is an accessible guide to help us discover a map for grieving what’s been lost, identifying what’s been gained, and learning to embrace the person in transition.
Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times from best-selling author and long-time Buddhist meditation teacher Lodro Rinzler supports us as we to learn how to retrain our minds to experience contentment, peace, and joy – even in the midst of difficult, painful circumstances.
Humanual: A Manual for Being Human by Betsy Polatin explores how each of us has an everyday self that we assume our whole self to be. But what if there is more to us than meets the eye? What if there is an expanded version of our self that includes not only the habitual patterns, the lost parts, and the innate organization but also a connection to the grand, scintillating space of the universe and the possibilities it offers us?
Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us edited by Colleen Kinder brings together sixty-five extraordinary writers all grappling with this mystery: How can an ephemeral encounter with a stranger leave such an eternal mark? These essays are organized around such themes as Gratitude, Wonder, and Farewell and guide us both across the globe and through the mysteries of human connection.
Move the Body, Heal the Mind by noted neurologist Jennifer Heisz shares paradigm-shifting research on how exercise affects the brain, finding that intervals of intense workouts, or even leisurely walks, help to alleviate depression and dementia, lessen anxiety and ADHD, and encourage better sleep, creativity, and resilience.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
Psychic Tarot: Using Your Natural Psychic Abilities to Read the Cards by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie A. Howard is a lovely tool for learning how to better work with, develop, and trust your innate intuitive gifts.
Lighting the Wick: An Intuitive Guide to the Ancient Art and Modern Magic of Candles by Sandra Mariah Wright and Leanne Marrama is an illustrated guide to improving your life through the simple act of lighting a candle. Learn how to find, repair, or end a relationship, guard your boundaries, ground and center, break negative patterns, and more.
Reading the Leaves from Sandra Mariah Wright and Leanne Marrama is an intuitive guide to the ancient art and modern magic of tea leaf divination. Here we learn how to brew a cup for divination purposes, interpret more than 200 time-tested symbols that are most likely to show up, set an intention, do a reading, and respond when a difficult symbol shows up.
The Modern Oracle: Fortune Telling and Divination for the Real World by Lisa Boswell shows us how to use our star sign to help answer life’s big questions and resolve everyday dramas.
Psychic Spellcraft: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Divination & Intuition Rituals by Shawn Robbins and Leanna Greenaway explores how to harness nature’s magick to tap into your psychic intuition and hone your divination abilities. Included throughout are spells and rituals to help you purposefully utilize your gifts and help enrich your life and the lives of those around you.
“Fairy tales had been her first experience of the magical universe, and more than once she had wondered why people ended up distancing themselves from that world, knowing the immense joy that childhood had brought to their lives.”
Brown Girl Dreaming is a gorgeous memoir for readers 9+ by Jacqueline Woodson, telling her story of a childhood lived in both South Carolina and New York in the 1960w and 70s – living with remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement and her place within it.
I’m happy to report that this title is available in a Spanish language version as well.
The award-winning book Watercress by Andrea Wang with illustrations by Jason Chin brings us the story of a child of Chinese immigrants who learns to appreciate both her heritage and her new culture as she and her family forage for watercress growing wild by the side of the road.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson is a poem, a love letter to black life in the United States, with much historical context and many reasons to celebrate.
My Footprints by Bao Phi with illustrations by Basia Tran is a beautifully told story of the challenges and struggles within the immigrant experience as well as what life is like for the child of two moms.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson, illustrated by Tara Calahan King is a perfect book for kids (or, anyone of any age) learning how to make new friends or deal with conflict.
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, Sydney Smith illustrator brings us the story of young boy with a stuttering issue whose father helps him to find his voice and take pride in himself in the process.
Calvin by J.R. Ford and Vanessa Ford with illustrations by Kayla Harren is about a young transgender boy as he prepares for the first day of school. As the big day approaches, he’s nervous and the what-ifs gather up inside him. But as his teachers and friends rally around him and he tells them his name, his anxieties begin to melt away in the warm light of acceptance.
The Philosophy of Snoopy by Charles M. Schulz is a sweet delight – full of the joy and wisdom that can only come through a dog.