Always a Witch

( 70 )

Overview

Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be
forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever.
When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorianera
New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is...

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Always a Witch

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Overview

Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be
forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever.
When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorianera
New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the
past. She soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the
evil Knight family. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of
magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An enjoyable magical adventure."—Kirkus Reviews

 

Praise for Once A Witch
"A fantastic urban fantasy with an enchanting romance at its heart."—Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author of City of Bones

"Carolyn MacCullough casts a mesmerizing spell with Once a Witch. Family secrets and sibling rivalry, time-travel and magical 'Talents' all brew together to create a superlative—and supernatural—coming-of-age story. Add an epic battle of good versus evil and an enchanting first kiss and this bewitching novel commands a sequel."—Megan McCafferty, New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series

"A light urban fantasy that goes down easy and will have readers asking for its sequel."—Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
The cover of this book deceives the reader into believing the pages reveal a dark, sinister novel; but, in actual fact, the story line is more accessible than the jacket image seems to indicate. The young witch, Tasmin, must travel back in time to save not only her families' talents or powers, but possibly their existence. Going back to the 1800's proves easy, the hard part occurs as she tries to figure out a way to return. It appears hopeless unless she brings along her special friend, Gabriel; except he does not have unlimited abilities to travel back in time without physical damage. Tasmin ends up going alone and finds her way into the household of the Knight family where all her adventures begin and end as a handmaid. Maids in this time frame have a rather short life expectancy. Although the topic of witches in itself can rattle cages this is an entertaining book with its witty dialogue and unexpected events that have the reader turning the next page. Capturing the voice of Tasmin adds to the plot, but at the end I still wonder about her age and how she looks. The traveling back in time gives a little history lesson about the Victorian era in New York City. Reviewer: Julia Beiker
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Seventeen-year-old Tamsin Greene has finally found the Talent that her grandmother prophesied, yet her experiences still set her apart from her magical family. When sinister Alistair Knight from Once a Witch (Clarion, 2009) reappears, and Tamsin becomes aware that he has traveled back in time to destroy the Greenes, she must stop him. The danger increases exponentially when she becomes a maid to the powerful Knight family, the deadly magical enemies of the Greenes, in mid-19th-century New York City. In the process of trying to save her family, the teen is faced with the reality of her grandmother's prophecy and its life-changing implications for her and her Talent. Deft plotting and sinister characters and setting make for an enjoyable and gripping read, and a gentle romantic subplot adds to the appeal. Tamsin is an interesting and believable character, and the 19th-century figures are briefly but vividly drawn. Although this book will be most enjoyed by fans of the first title, MacCullough's prologue, judicious explanations in the body of the novel, and a satisfying ending will allow librarians to recommend it as a stand-alone novel.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547721972
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 259,558
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 12.80 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn MacCullough is the author of the young adult urban fantasy Once a Witch and three other YA novels. Born and raised in Connecticut, she has lived in Sicily, Scotland, and even the wilds of New Jersey before settling down in Brooklyn where she now lives with her husband and daughter. In addition to writing, she also teaches creative writing at NYU and The New School. Visit her website at www.carolynmaccullough.com .

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

I was born on the night of Samhain. Others might call
it Halloween. Born into a family of witches who all carry
various Talents. Others might call it magic.
 Except for me.
 I alone in my family seemed to have no Talent. No
gift to shape me or to grant me a place in my family’s circle
around the altar to the four elements. All I had was the
prophecy that my grandmother made to my mother in the
first hour of my life. “Your daughter will be one of the most
powerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beacon
for us all.”
 And then for reasons still unknown, my grandmother
spent the next seventeen years making sure I doubted that
prophecy at every turn. It took the return of an old family
enemy, two episodes of time travel, and one very dangerous
love spell that nearly killed my sister before I learned three
things. First, I can stop anyone from using their Talent to
harm me. Second, I can absorb a person’s Talent if they
attempt to use it against me three times. Third, I apparently
have a choice ahead of me. A choice that will explain the
mysterious workings of my grandmother’s mind and why
she raised me in complete denial of my Talent. A choice
that’s vaguely hinted at in my family’s book. A choice that
will fulfill the prophecy my grandmother made all those
years ago.
 Or destroy my family forever.
 A choice that will be so terrible to contemplate that I’d
just rather not encounter it at all.

One

 “I look awful,” I say, staring at myself in front
of the dressing room mirror. The dress I have just struggled
into hangs like a shapeless tent down to my ankles.
Okay, actually, it clings to the top half of me a little too
tightly before suddenly dropping off into the aforementioned
shapeless tent. And it’s gray. Not silver, not opalescent
mist, as the tag promises. Gray. Concrete gray.
 My best friend, Agatha, scrunches her eyebrows
together over her bright green eyeglasses as she examines
me from all angles. “You do look awful. Perfectly, awful in
fact,” she finally confirms.
 I stick my tongue out at her. Agatha loves the word perfectly
just a little too much. “Yeah, well, that was probably
Rowena’s intention all along,” I mutter, struggling to find
the zipper. The overhead lights of the narrow boutique are
suddenly too hot and glaring.
 “Here,” Agatha says, and with swift fingers she yanks
the zipper down.
 With a sigh of relief, I slip back into my jeans and flowered
T-shirt, then steps into my fringed wedges that I found
in my favorite thrift store last week. I can’t resist them even
though my ankles start to throb after more than five minutes
of wearing them.
 “Why can’t you wear your rose dress?” Agatha asks
again as she arranges the hated gray tent back on its hanger.
Rowena had pronounced it “ethereal” when she had been
in the city a few weeks earlier and had left me three messages
on my cell to come to store “at once.” However, I never
picked up the phone. Caller ID is one of the best inventions
out there.
 “Because Rowena wants silver. And what Rowena
wants, Rowena gets.”
 “Bridezilla, huh?”
 “She gives new meaning to that term.” I refasten my
pink barrettes to the side of my head, useless, I know, since
they’ll be falling out in about three minutes. My curly hair
defies all devices invented to contain it.
 “Too bad,” Agatha says as we exit the dressing room.
“That rose dress is so pretty and you never get to wear it.”
 “Yeah,” I say, keeping my expression noncommittal,
while inwardly feeling the familiar pang. Oh, how I wish I
could tell Agatha that I already did wear it. I wore it when
Gabriel and I Traveled back to 1939 to a garden party in
my family’s mansion on Washington Square Park in New
York City. But if I told her that, I’d have to tell her who I
really am. What I really am. And the truth is, I don’t know
who or what I really am. For most of my life I thought I was
ordinary. The black sheep who got stuck in a very extraordinary
family. Not until I left my hometown of Hedgerow
and came to boarding school in Manhattan did I learn not
to mind that so much. For the first time in my life, I was
surrounded by people who had no idea that just enough
powdered mandrake root mixed with wine can make a
man want to kiss you. But too much can make that same
man want to kill you. It felt good to be among people who
thought I was just like them. It felt normal. I felt normal. I
felt like one of them.
 And now that feeling is gone. And I can’t decide if I’m
happy or sad about that.
 I gaze at Agatha for a moment and contemplate how
to tell her that I don’t really have a hippie crunchy granola
kind of family, as she likes to think. Instead, I have a family
of witches who actively practice their Talents but who
still manage to live relatively obscure lives. I have a mother
and grandmother who offer love spells, sleep spells, and
spells for luck, good fortune, and health to the town residents
who come knocking on the back door after night
falls when they can’t be seen by their neighbors. I have a
father who controls the weather. A sister who can compel
anyone to do anything just by mesmerizing them with the
sound of her voice. My grandmother's sister who can freeze
someone where he stands just by touching his forehead. A
boyfriend who can find anything and anyone that’s missing.
A whole bunch of other people I've been taught to call
"uncle" or "aunt" or "cousin" who are all Talented in one
way or another.
 If I told Agatha any of that, she’d look at me like I was
speaking in tongues. If I showed her that I could shoot fire
from my hands or freeze people into statues with one tap of
my finger, she’d think I was a freakshow.
 Or worse, she’d be afraid of me.
 Agatha’s one of the first and relatively few people who
made me feel normal in my life. Back when I thought I
didn’t have a Talent at all, when I first came to boarding
school in Manhattan, it was okay omitting certain things
about my family life. It was okay to blur the line between
the truth and a lie. But now that I’ve discovered I do have a
Talent after all, it feels harder.
 “So what are you going to do?” Agatha asks, breaking
into my headlong rush of thoughts.
 “What?” I blink at her until she flourishes the dress
through the air. “Oh. I’m not buying that thing!”
 The saleslady who has been hovering around the
dressing room apparently overhears me. She takes the
dress back from Agatha, stroking it like she’s afraid its feelings
just got hurt. Her long pink nose twitches once, reinforcing
my initial impression of a rabbit. “Well,” she says,
her tone frosted over. “Your sister did say that was the one
she wanted. She specifically asked me to put it aside for you
even though it’s really not our policy to do that here. Not
for more than twenty-four hours and it’s been three weeks
already.” The saleslady blinks a little as if suddenly wondering
why she did break store policy.
 I try not to roll my eyes. Apparently Rowena has won
over yet another heart. People seem to want to throw themselves
in front of speeding buses for Rowena. Part of her
Talent and all. Not that she ever would abuse that. Oh, no.
 “You know, she is the bride after all. It’s really her day,”
she says.
 “No kidding,” I reply sweetly. “She been reminding us
all of that for three months now.”
 “Still,” the saleslady says, fluttering the hem at me.
“I’m sure it looked lovely on you. Perhaps if you put on a
bit more rouge and—”
 The doorbell chimes softly and I look up to see Gabriel
stepping into the store. Okay, I know it’s lame, but my
heart still does this weird fluttery thing sometimes when I
see him. When the afternoon sunlight is hitting his cheekbones
the way it is right now. When he smiles at me—that
smile that makes me feel safe and not so safe at the same
time. When he gives me that look that spells out, I know
you, Tamsin Greene. I know exactly who you are.
 Thankfully, someone does.
 I smile back and manage to pull my gaze away long
enough to shake my head at the saleslady. “I’ll tell her it
didn’t fit me.”
 “Yeah, she was bursting out of it anyway,” Agatha adds
in helpfully. She makes a motion toward my chest.
 “Really?” Gabriel says, interest streaking through his
voice. “And that’s a bad thing?”
 Agatha bobs her head up and down. “You should have
seen how—”
 I clear my throat loudly. “Okay, thanks, everyone, but
I think—”
 Just then the door opens again and another woman
shoulders past Gabriel, a look of desperation on her face.
She swings a little black purse by a tassled cord and I notice
Gabriel take a step back to avoid getting hit in the jaw. “Do
you have the new Dolce Vita dress in purple? It has to be
purple. I’ve looked everywhere!”
 Instantly, the saleslady’s face assumes an expression of
sorrow. “No,” she whispers, her gaze wandering to a spot
above the woman’s shoulder as if eye contact is too much
to bear during this difficult moment. “I’m so sorry. We only
carry the Dolce Baci line.”
 “Oh!” the woman gives a muffled little shriek. “No one
has this dress and I have to have—”
 “Try Lily Lucile on Spring Street,” Gabriel says helpfully.
“They’re carrying it. The purple one that you want.”
 A small silence fills the room as all eyes land on
Gabriel. He turns his palms skyward, lifts his shoulders in
a shrug. “Don’t ask me how I know that,” he murmurs.
And then, “Ah, Tam, I’ll wait outside for you,” he says, and
ducks out.

Dusk is falling by the time Gabriel’s front tires hit all the
usual potholes of my family’s driveway. The house is blazing
with light and smoke tinges the air from tonight's bonfire,
which I know is already burning behind the house.
A small clump of my younger cousins chase each other
across the snow-dusted meadow into the darkening woods
beyond the house and fields.
 “How pastoral,” Gabriel says, grinning sideways
at me.
 “Yeah, until you look closer,” I say, grinning back and
leaning toward him. My seatbelt presses into my hip and I
fumble to undo it, then decide not to bother.
 Just then the air is split open. “Mother! I said I wanted
peonies, not posies. Posies are ridiculous in winter. Who
ever heard of a bride carrying posies anyway?”
 Gabriel turns his head. “Are those Rowena’s dulcet
tones that I hear?”
 I shift back into my seat just as my sister storms around
the side of the yard, heading toward the house. The porch
door opens and my mother steps out. She takes one look
at my sister’s face, then another look at my father, who is
trailing Rowena, a bunch of yellow flowers drooping in his
hand.
 “Mother,” Rowena yells again. “You need to explain
something very important to my father.” She flings one arm
back to identify our father as if our mother is unclear on just
who this man might be. “You need to tell him that I am getting
married in three days. Three days and . . . Mother!”
 I grin. The porch door remains closed, but mid-diatribe,
my mother has simply vanished. No doubt she’s
zoomed into another part of the house at her usual lightning
speed. Rowena skids to a stop, and for once her flaxen hair
has escaped from its perfect chignon. She whirls around
and looks at my father, who shrugs and begins slowly backing
up toward his greenhouse, probably wishing right about
now that he also possessed my mother’s Talent of moving
at warp speed. Then Rowena pivots again, her gaze narrowing
in on Gabriel’s car.
 “Tamsin,” she calls, her voice imperious as she starts
down the driveway.
 I sink down the length of my seat and begin picking at
a tuft of foam that protrudes from a rip in the seat.
 “Piece of advice?” Gabriel offers, his eyes tracking
Rowena’s progress toward us. “Don’t tell her you didn’t
buy the dress.”

As we step into the kitchen, carrying our bags, my mother,
who is standing at counter, looks up with a startled expression.
“Tamsin,” she says, her voice vibrating with relief.
“And Gabriel,” she adds, and offers us both a smile before
turning back to the heap of glittering silverware that’s piled
on the counter. “You’re here.” She examines two butter
knives, and then suddenly raises her head again like a hunted
animal to glance behind us. “Where’s Rowena?” she
whispers.
 “I froze her,” I say, setting down my backpack and
stretching my arms to the ceiling. “She makes a great statue
in the garden.”
 Gabriel snorts and ducks his head into the open refrigerator
as the knives slip from my mother’s grasp and crash
back on the pile of silverware. “You did?” she asks, a note
of hope throbbing through her voice. Clearing her throat,
she tries again. “I mean, you did what? You can’t just freeze
your sister.”
 I shrug. “It’ll wear off. In a week or two. Is there anything
to eat here?” I ask, and bump Gabriel with my hip as
I join him at the fridge. We spend a few seconds in a shoving
match as cold air billows in our faces.
 My mother makes a noise like a teakettle coming to
boil. “Tamsin—”
 “Relax, Mom. I’m kidding,” I say, stepping back, ending
the fridge war. “She’s chewing Aunt Linnie’s ear off.
Something about the tablecloths not being the right shade
of cream and how Aunt Linnie has to dye them again. Or
the will would come to an end…

 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 70 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 70 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Review: Always A Witch

    I think books involving magic might be one of my favorite types in the paranormal genre. This series is no exception. I really think the magic involved is subtle, which makes the storyline that much more intriguing.

    I think Tamsin is one of my favorite female witches. She's really had the best of both worlds (although I'm sure she would disagree). She grow up surrounded by people who can do extraordinary things, while she can't. She's tried to live a normal life in NYC, far enough away from her family. And even after she learns that she really does have magic that has been kept hidden from her, she still tries to appear normal. Much to the dismay of her family. When she goes home for her sister's wedding, she discovers that Alistair aims to bring down her family in the past. And she also knows that she's probably the only one who can save them.

    Tamsin chooses to time travel alone. But, she has no idea how to find her family or how to warn them about the dangers to come when she does. How do you go about telling something that a spell they have no idea they are going to cast needs to be stronger? Instead, she ends up an employee of the very family set to destroy her own. I found it interesting that they were much more diabolical than the stories told made them seem. They will stop at nothing to make sure their magic is as powerful as it can be.

    When Tamsin realizes what the Knight family intends to do, she realizes that only she has the power to fully stop them in the tracks. Blood magic is extremely powerful and will take something equally strong to bind it. Tamsin makes the ultimate sacrifice, which I greatly admired her for. I wondered if it was part of the reason her magic was kept hidden for so long.

    The story has a great pace, with a dramatic ending. I was really afraid something was going to happen to someone I really cared about in the story. Which I hope doesn't make it sound like the life that was lost was unimportant. But, I think he knew the sacrifice he was making at the time. I enjoyed how the characters interacted. I especially enjoyed how Tamsin has developed from a girl who that she had no powers, to someone is in fully control of what she can do. I don't know if there will be another one or not. But, if there is, I will read it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Love the book...only one complaint

    My one and only complaint are all of the typos in the book. I have the Nook version on my eReader and the typos are driving me crazy. Overall, I love the story and really enjoyed this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    This book started right where it left off and another adventure began. Only this time, Tamsin must make choice that can change the fate of her family's entire future.

    One thing I enjoyed about this book is the great plot line the reader gets to go on. Tamsin is thrown back in time, trying to save her family. I like watching Tamsin go back in time and play a different person. I loved watching a character time travel!! I guess it because I always dreamed of time traveling as well. Tamsin is really good at playing different roles in order to get where she needed to be. She also learned many new secrets about not only the Knight family, but her family as well.

    In this book, I felt as though Tamsin didn't grow up as well as she soon. She still lacked trust in Gabriel and always went off doing things on her own. Granted, it was her choice that is important, but there is nothing wrong with a little help.

    Overall, I felt like this book wasn't as good as the first one. They are still going through the same thing, fighting the Knight family, learning secrets, learning talents, etc. I was really hoping for more of new adventure instead of a repeated one. I wanted more twists, more secrets, and more love! Though the ending was tied up nicely, I am somewhat disappointed in the lack of adventure.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2013

    Whoa. Just wow, I really wasn't expecting that ending. It came f

    Whoa. Just wow, I really wasn't expecting that ending. It came flying up out of nowhere and hit me smack in the face. It was completely brilliant though. Since I adored everything about Once A Witch, it really is not surprise that I loved this one as well. Carolyn MacCullough took everything I loved about Once A Witch and managed to improve upon it when writing this book. It's witty, it's funny, it still has that great Tamsin/Gabriel relationship. The sarcasm is cut down a bit, but it is still great.

    This novel pics up not too far after the last one left off and it follows Tamsin in an adventure in the past. Her grandmother can no longer see a future for their family, so her only real option is to follow Alistair into the past and prevent him from warning the Knights. Deciding it is best to do this alone, she uses the Domani to travel back 1887 with no real plan beyond warning her ancestors and finding Alistair. She ends up taking a position as a lady's maid for the Knight family to watch for Alistair since she can't find anyone with knowledge of the Greene family. Complications arise, ensue, and are overcome.

    I really loved this novel. Love, love LOVE it.

    I loved Tamsin going off on her own (though it was stupid) and blindly charging off to save her family. I love that it doesn't turn out perfect when she arrives. Too many novels have the heroine arrive and it just all magically falls into place, like the first person she asks knows where to find her family and they believe her and fix it and then cue the happily ever after. No, Tamsin arrives and cannot find anyone that has even heard of her family. She wonders around cluelessly until a man offers her a job as a lady's maid for the Knight family. Then when she finally finds her family, they don't believe her. I truly loved that. Call me cruel, but I like seeing the heroine (or hero) struggle to get what they want/need.

    I was a bit sad when she left without Gabriel because I love him and I want as much of him in the novel as possible. He finally shows up in 1887 a little over halfway through the book, so those of you fearing (like me), that you won't get enough of him here, let me put your mind at easy. You get plenty of the signature Tamsin/Gabriel banter.

    I have to give it to Carolyn for catching me off guard because I didn't see that ending coming at all. I don't know exactly what I was expecting but it certainly wasn't that. Even though I didn't expect it, it was perfect. It seamlessly tied the whole story together. It makes it completely understandable why Grandma forced everyone to hide Tam's powers from her. It really left me speechless.

    I also loved that this series is just a 2 part set. It is very refreshing to see a short series in a world where it seems like every story is continued to like 15 volumes. Oh and for those of you wondering, this series had no love triangle. :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Love it

    This is such a captivating story an this sequel to once a witch pulls you in just as thoroughly as the first. Ends with a conclusion that makes you wish for more and more

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fast paced and engrossing!

    Always a Witch is the second book in the ¿Witch¿ series by Carolyn MacCullough. I absolutely loved reading Once a Witch, and couldn¿t wait to get my hands on Always a Witch. This series is so very awesome; it¿s definitely one of my favorite series.

    In the book, we follow Tamsin and her hunky boyfriend, Gabriel, as they travel back in time to save the Greene Family from destruction at the hands of the evil Knight Family. Tamsin is just an awesome character. I love her. She's very courageous, and will do whatever it takes to make sure her family is safe. I love her family as well, they are so great. Gabriel is very swoon-worthy. He is totally devoted to Tam, and you can tell her cares for her deeply. I missed him a lot in the first half of the book though. Even the villains are well thought out and very interesting.

    This book is very fast paced, and the storyline is engrossing. Mrs. MacCullough's writing definitely kept me interested in the story, and I had a really hard time putting the book down.

    Overall, this book was great. This series is great! I love the characters, I love the storyline. I love it all, and I can¿t wait to read the next book in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    :)

    I haven't read this one but I read the other one so this must be great!!! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Amazing!

    I was looking through the nook store one day for a book to read and I found this series. At first I thought that this series would be one of those books you read and forget about, boy was I dead wrong. This series is a work of art. Where one book leaves off the next book picks right back up. And all throughtout the series Tamsin has one question on her mind, why did her family lie about her talent? She doesn't only find that but something else that touches her. I would highly recommend this book to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    Really good

    I bought this book yesterday and there is 180 pages in it and i finished it in a couple of hours. This book begins with action and the ending i love. This book along with the first book has a strong moral to it and i just love that

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    Always a Witch is just bewitching!!!

    Beautiful, just beautiful! I was entranced at the first word. This novel, which was handcrafted with much thought, had twist and turns at every page and much surprise and supense. I love how at the end she loved her familynso much she gave herself up. I hope this author writes another book just as great as this one. Btw, you must read the books in order.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A personal favorite

    The Greene family has always been very talented--magically Talented, that is. Except for Tamsin. Instead of a Talent she had a cryptic prophecy from her grandmother declaring that Tamsin would one day be a beacon for her entire family.

    At least, that's what she thought for the first seventeen years of her life.

    Now she knows the truth about her Talent and her family's past. Unfortunately so does Alistair Knight and he's gone back to Victorian era New York to share what he knows with his ancestors and possibly destroy the Greene family forever.

    With Alistair Traveling to the past, time is running out and Tamsin realizes she has no choice but to follow. Alone in 1895 New York Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the Knight mansion. She still has a crucial role to play in her family's struggle with the Knights even if she isn't sure what that role is yet. All she knows for sure is that it will involve a terrible sacrifice and, in the end, she may not have any choice at all in Always a Witch (2011) by Carolyn MacCullough.

    Always a Witch is the sequel to MacCullough's delightful novel Once a Witch.

    As some regular readers might already know, Carolyn MacCullough is one of my favorite authors of all time and also an author I was lucky enough to meet a while back which remains one of the high points of . . . my life. All sounds like tangential information unless you got to see a galley of Always a Witch.

    On the covers of the advanced reader copies (and in the image attached to this post) part of my review of Once a Witch was quoted. There are a lot of reasons for any reader to love this book but for me a lot of that love is wrapped up in MacCullough being one of my favorite authors and also my excitement at being quoted on the galleys* and being so fond of these characters.

    In other words, I'm delighted my words got to endorse this book, however briefly. (The quote didn't make it to the final cover but I'll always have the galleys. I realize this sounds made up so I am taking the liberty of including a copy of the galley cover here: [...] )

    Once a Witch was a clever urban fantasy with an original take on magic as well as a fast-paced, funny and entertaining story. It was a delightful introduction to Tamsin and her world. Always a Witch is just as good as the first--maybe even better. Definitely good enough that I finished it in one day.

    Family is still a central element of this book, as it should be when the family is as splendid as the Greenes, but there is a lot more to this story with the extended time travel and Tamsin's choice looming throughout the narrative.

    As a sequel there is always the risk of summarizing too little or explaining too much. MacCullough strikes a perfect balance of summary and new material here. The inimitable Gabriel also returns along with other favorite characters. Tamsin's same fierce love for her family permeates these pages.

    Always a Witch is a great fantasy with a well-realized look at old New York besides. Tamsin is one of my favorite heroines with her strength, resilience and general charm. Like Once a Witch before it, this book is a wonderful story about family and love and, yes, about magic too.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    good read

    maybe aimed at younger audience but in a witchy version of magic genre books...fast paced..suspense filled and lots of humor...what's not to like...2nd in a series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    It was ok

    It fine i like ok i like idea of celtic holday in it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Very good READ

    Very very good. I couldnt put it down.

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    Entertaining

    This is the conclusion to Once a Witch. While it isn't a gripping page turner, it is an entertaining way to pass the time.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chapter by Chapter review of Always A Witch

    With the way that Once A Witch ended, just begging to give the world a sequel that sounded just as amazing as the first novel in the series. I was pretty eager to get started on Always A Witch. from the way it started, which I found a bit comical and was still serious, I was wondering how this novel would go exactly...it wasn't like how Once A Witch ended, with everything perfectly fine. There's still a hundred and fifty nine questions running through my head (and since I'm too lazy to list ALL of them I'll list my top three): What happens to Alistair Knight? How does Tamsin warn her family? Does she stop the Knight family from rising to power once again??? Now I know what you're thinking “I was thinking those same things too!” and now you're thinking “I want answers, now!”. Those same thoughts were going through my mind while I was reading, and lucky for all of us they get answered. All one hundred and fifty nine of them.

    In this installment, Tamsin has to travel to the past to a time before the Domani was created to warn her family about the Knights and that this time the Domani won't work. I instantly was intrigued because of the fact that Tamsin had to travel back to Victorian, New York City where we got present day insights on the past. I found that really, really cool. Well, not only that...the other thing that made this installment stand apart from Once A Witch was the way that MacCullough made her olden day New York so believable. I could easily imagine the outfits that the characters wore. I could imagine the settings genuinely and better yet, I found the old Victorian characters more memorable than the present day ones that we met in Once A Witch (That isn't a bad thing). Mainly because we got to get an insight into the Greene family's enemies, the Knights.

    We got to see La Spider and see just how vicious and terrible she was, so willing to help increase her Talents no matter what the cost was. We got to see the sort-of-hunky-but-only-if-he-weren't-such-a-creeper Liam Knight whose Talent of slipping into other peoples bodies I found disturbing, what I found even more disturbing was the way he found his victims whose blood he would end up drinking. But despite meeting the frightening Knight family, the servants that they had control over were very interesting, like Rosie and Cook who ended up being very realistic characters who both remained in the Knight household for reasons unknown until later in the novel.

    I remember myself gasping whenever a major point in the plot was revealed where I would end up stating what I thought might happen next (I won't say what). It had a spectacular ending though, one that I found very memorable and because I nearly cried. If you don't believe that Tamsin Greene is a strong and powerful character even after reading Once A Witch just wait until you read Always A Witch where you'll finally see just how strong she really is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    ????

    Should i buy it? Will i waste my money?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    I wonder

    I wonder if this is a good book i hope so.... so im just puttijg five stars cause that is how i think this book will be... i love magic books

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Pretty good

    After the events of Once a Witch, Tasmin must go back in time posing as a maid, to warn the Knight family about Alistair. Likeable main character Tasmin, even the love interest Gabriel. The Knight family with the exception of Jessica, are weird and creepy. Cool cover and good ending.

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    Beautiful Story!!!

    WOW, just wow! This is a wonderful read! I received a copy of this novel from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, via Netgalley, and though excited, was afraid that I would be a tad bit lost as I hadn't yet read the prequel, Once a Witch. Luckily, this is not the case at all. Always a Witch is more than capable of standing on its own, and while reading the prequel always helps, I found that Always a Witch gives the reader all the background knowledge he/she needs to understand the sequel fully. Now, of course some tidbits of information from the first novel were touched upon, giving away some small portions of Once a Witch, so if you don't want any spoilers, I highly suggest reading the books in order. But, if you're like me and occasionally read books out of order, then rest assured that reading Always a Witch first won't ruin Once a Witch.

    MacCullough is a truly gifted writer, creating a beautiful tale of selflessness in which Tamsin must choose to do the right thing. With the many twists and turns within the novel, I was pleasantly surprised and enamored as I read, making it impossible to put the book aside until I finished it all, in one sitting. That being said, I'm dying to get my hands on Once a Witch! I am in love with both Tamsin and Gabriel and cannot get enough of them-and it is my understanding that Gabriel takes up a good chunk of Once a Witch, while he shows up a lot less in Always a Witch. They are such a great match, and Gabriel makes me swoon a bit, so it only makes sense that I backtrack and read the original book that starts it all. I am excited to get the background to their story, and find out more about Tamsin's family and their Talents as it's such an intriguing tale. I highly recommend this book! Five stars.

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