The best magical novels that will make you feel happy, and maybe even enchanted..

Why am I passionate about this?

Having heard Celtic legends as a kid made me want to either become a leprechaun or a goddess with the power to remake the world’s worst parts. Although I didn’t achieve either, I write about both, as well as other quirky people who march to the rhythm of delightfully offbeat drummers. I so adore eccentric people and jaunty environments, I’ve built a career out of writing them. That has allowed me to capture the sassy voice of the daughter of madcap Hollywood stars, the outrageous garments worn by a cheerfully fake psychic, and the journey of a brokenhearted chef who can’t quote an adage normally to save her life.


I wrote...

Magical Alienation

By Kris Neri,

Book cover of Magical Alienation

What is my book about?

Samantha Brennan is a mouthy, cheerfully eccentric, questionable psychic, whom fate threw together with Annabelle Haggerty, a Celtic goddess/FBI agent. Samantha has hit the mother lode by becoming the spiritual adviser of the aging bad boy of rock, Rand Riker. It’s all fun and games at first, and Samantha deserves some laughs after her breakup from former beau, Angus, the ever-hot Celtic god of youth, love, and laughter. But a rift develops between Samantha and her mismatched partner in crime, Annabelle, and when the earth moves toward the darkest night the planet has ever seen, Samantha concludes the fun has truly ended, and she wonders whether any of them will survive. 

A Lefty Award nominee for humor and a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award winner.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Garden Spells

Kris Neri Why did I love this book?

The Waverley women all possess magical abilities.

Claire, as a caterer, can alter moods by cooking with her edible flowers. Even their garden is delightfully eccentric, with an apple tree whose fruit possesses prophetic abilities. Although I adored the journeys of the major characters, my favorite character is Evanelle. This elderly relative experiences irresistible impulses to bring objects to people.

Often it's something ordinary, like a kitchen tool, though sometimes it’s more substantial. Neither Evanelle nor the recipients understand her need to share the object, but the recipients soon invariably require it; at times, it changes their lives.

I’ve read Garden Spells several times, and though I now know what will happen, I still never want the novel to end. Seeped in magic and thoroughly enchanting.

By Sarah Addison Allen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Garden Spells as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to Bascom, North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The house that's been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Every Waverley woman is somehow touched by magic.

Claire has always clung to the Waverleys' roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies - famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs - until one day she waked to find a stranger…


Book cover of Abby Cooper

Kris Neri Why did I love this book?

I’ve loved mysteries since Nancy Drew led me into a life of crime. Mixing in magic adds such zing to the mystery puzzle.

I especially enjoyed the charming Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye. A series of misadventures with a guy cause Abby to become entangled with the local PD, which allows her to bring some pretty bad guys to justice. I love Abby’s engaging voice and her spirited outlook. Especially appealing is that she believes herself to be different from others, someone who doesn’t fit in. Yet she also sees herself as shockingly normal compared to the oddballs who come to her for readings. Yet Abby finds humor in the irony of her situation.

If you like your magic mixed with mysteries, you’ll find this book fun.

By Victoria Laurie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Abby Cooper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients-or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.

 


Book cover of Nazaré

Kris Neri Why did I love this book?

Nazaré is a charming fable, showcasing the pursuit of justice in an authoritarian world. Kin, a young homeless boy, originally accused of sorcery and forced to flee, eventually leads a band of revolutionaries pitted against their oppressive dictator. His army is made up of delightful misfits, along with a variety of wild animals.

I love the rebels in this parable for the modern world. How could any writer or reader not appreciate revolutionaries who, while living rough in the countryside, impose a reading hour on their members. There is such beauty in the author’s language, unexpected humor throughout, and the most appealing charm.

If you believe in magic, as well as the the power of right to prevail against tyranny, despite impossible odds, this is the novel for you.

By JJ Amaworo Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nazaré as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nazaré tells the story of a peasants’ revolt in the polyglot city of Balaal. The story begins with a miracle. A homeless boy sees a whale washed up on the beach. He alerts the local fishermen, and soon the whole town is trying and failing to push it back into the ocean. With just the boy left to accompany the whale now in its dying throes, a freak wave pulls the creature back into the sea. This is an omen. Change is coming.

The boy and the washerwoman who adopts him cobble together a ramshackle army of fishermen, shopkeepers, lapsed…


Book cover of Secondhand Spirits

Kris Neri Why did I love this book?

I love witch protagonists in magical mysteries, especially Juliet Blackwell’s Lily Ivory.

This novel is so immersed in witchcraft, you can’t help but believe in Lily’s magic. After some cruel treatment as a young witch, Lily fled her hometown. Now she lives in San Francisco, where she sells vintage clothing. Having been wounded in the past, while Lily is lonely, she’s afraid her new friends will reject her if they knew what she was.

Yet this sweet woman is so caring of others, she’s always performing spells to protect even those skeptics who don’t believe. She even risks her life fighting a demon who steals children to save an innocent girl. She finds her friends know what she is, and they love her for it. So do I. 

By Juliet Blackwell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Secondhand Spirits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Love the vintage- not the ghosts

Lily Ivory feels that she can finally fit in somewhere and conceal her "witchiness" in San Francisco. It's there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically.

Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity secret, or will her witchy ways be forced out of the closet as she attempts to stop the phantom?


Book cover of Charlotte and the Demons

Kris Neri Why did I love this book?

Although I don’t usually read dark fantasy, Charlotte and the Demons has become one of my favorite books.

Young Charlotte’s father is an abusive alcoholic, causing his kids’ lives to fall apart. Suddenly, the floor of Charlotte’s closet opens into a gateway to hell. Charlotte’s soon meeting the underworld’s worst baddies. She crushes on Ezequiel, a clerk who does secretarial work for the Old Guy, the Prince of Darkness who seems to have lost control over his underworld.

A plot that turns in the most unexpected ways, the richness of the humor, and the engaging voices of an imaginative range of characters make this novel creative and unique. I wasn’t sure how it would end, but the last chapter absolutely made my heart fill with joy. You’ll love it.

By Alethea Eason,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charlotte and the Demons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She prayed for an angel, but demons entered her life.

Nine-year old Charlotte lives in Las Vegas amid a hellish scenario of domestic violence. A vision of a beautiful woman on a screen door appears, and she prays for a guardian angel.

She's convinced the vision is of the Virgin Mary.

No dice.

It's the demon Lilith in disguise.

One night, Ezequiel, a fledgling demon of 16, strikes a match in her closet. He steps into her bedroom adorned with both horns and halo. He warns that satanic forces are headed her way, but he can only do so much…


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Let Evening Come

By Yvonne Osborne,

Book cover of Let Evening Come

Yvonne Osborne Author Of Let Evening Come

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a family farm surrounded by larger vegetable and dairy operations that used migrant labor. From an early age, my siblings and I were acquainted with the children of these workers, children whom we shared a school desk with one day and were gone the next. On summer vacations, our parents hauled us around in a station wagon with a popup camper, which they parked in out-of-the-way hayfields and on mountainous plateaus, shunning, much to our chagrin, normal campgrounds, and swimming pools. Thus, I grew up exposed to different cultures and environments. My writing reflects my parents’ curiosity, love of books and travel, and devotion to the natural world. 

Yvonne's book list on immersive coming-of-age fiction with characters struggling to find themselves amidst the isolation and bigotry in Indigenous, rural, and minority communities

What is my book about?

After her mother is killed in a rare Northern Michigan tornado, Sadie Wixom is left with only her father and grandfather to guide her through young adulthood. Miles away in western Saskatchewan, Stefan Montegrand and his Indigenous family are displaced from their land by multinational energy companies. They are taken in temporarily by Sadie’s aunt, a human rights activist who heads a cultural exchange program.

Stefan promptly runs afoul of local authority, but Sadie, intrigued by him and captivated by his story, has grown sympathetic to his cause and complicit in his pushback against prejudiced accusations. Their mutual attraction is stymied when Stefan’s older brother, Joachim, who stayed behind, becomes embroiled in the resistance, and Stefan is compelled to return to Canada. Sadie, concerned for his safety, impulsively follows on a trajectory doomed by cultural misunderstanding and oncoming winter.

Let Evening Come

By Yvonne Osborne,

What is this book about?

After her mother is killed in a rare Northern Michigan tornado, Sadie Wixom is left with only her father and grandfather to guide her through the pitfalls of young adulthood.
Hundreds of miles away in western Saskatchewan, Stefan Montegrand and his Indigenous family are forced off their land by multinational energy companies and flawed treaties. They are taken in temporarily by Sadie's aunt, a human rights activist who heads a cultural exchange program.
Stefan, whose own father died in prison while on a hunger strike, promptly runs afoul of local authority, but Sadie, intrigued by him and captivated by his…


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