The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

by Emily Croy Barker
4.1 42

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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Hands down one of the best things I've read this past year! I couldnt put it down! If you love The Magicians, The Discovery of Witches, & Harry Potter you will love this too! I can it wait for the sequel!
j-mom More than 1 year ago
Loved story line , pace, and characters. Hope there is #2 in the pipeline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it is so creative and captivating. I didnt want it to end, I hope she writes a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More please!!! Loved it, couldn't put it down.
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
Involved--But Worth It. This is a novel which is going to take a chunk of time to read; it's involved and extremely detailed. However, those are not bad elements. This is a wonderfully imaginative novel--so much so it is rather mind boggling. Tipping her hat to everything from 'Alice in Wonderland' to Harry Potter, Narnia, and Tolkien, Barker has crafted an incredible epic starring a Ph.D. candidate whose life is a mess. Nora's boyfriend has dumped her; her dissertation is stalled; her cat has bee run over--and all she wishes is that her life was different. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Stumbling into another world, one dominated by magic and wizardry, Nora is forced to come of age. While this will keep you up to the wee hours, it is not necessarily a quick read; Barker's world is dense. There are endless characters and plotlines--to the point they are sometimes hard to keep straight. While the author's place and character names are extremely creative, they are also extremely hard to pronounce at times. While we learn endless details about this magical world and how its people live, its societies operate (sexism runs rampant), there are definitely chunks that drag; it could use some editing. And while there are those that keep insisting upon comparing this to the 'Discovery of Witches' trilogy--I really do not see it except for the idea of 'young woman immersed in magical world.' This is beautifully written, starkly/wildly original with a heroine who, while not always totally likeable, is given a true arc of character development. Barker makes not only Nora a real person but this incredible world real as well. I have NEVER found that in either of the 'All Souls' novels. Additionally, the romance here is tension-filled, understated, and smacks of a real relationship. Those readers looking for the ridiculous (and icky) over the top sexual fantasies of a 'Twilight' or 'All Souls'--between beyond gorgeous people--need not look here. This is a romance between two very physically and emotionally damaged people that is more a meeting of the minds than of the bodies. Also--anyone looking for neatly tied up plotlines will be disappointed; I cannot help but think there has to be a sequel here. Several characters' fates are left uncertain; Nora's final choices seem rushed, and that relationship with her mentor, Arundiel, seems to have unfinished business. What I like most about this is that the title really is true--this IS a thinking woman's novel full of fantastic worlds, beautiful writing, all sorts of literary allusion...a really amazing debut that I really hope has a follow up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was exceptional. It was very different from many books I have read before in a very good way! I can not wait for the sequel!
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic Emily Croy Barker. ARC provided by Netgalley. I love books about magic, but as this is Emily's début novel I didn't know what to expect. Its been compared to Deborah Harness Witches trilogy which I love, so I put in my request. Started it yesterday and was engrossed and transported into a different world. It starts in a fairly conventional way, then Grad student Nora wanders off from a wedding party into a churchyard...and steps through into another dimension, populated with all sorts of folk including the Faitloren, a magical group who need her for a specific reason. There follows all sorts of adventures. Fabulous parties with amazing food and clothes, sunshine and sweetness everyday. Nora meets all sorts of people from history, goes all over the world in the blink of an eye and doesn't find anything strange about this, except occasionally a little voice in the back of her mind says “is this real”, but then Ilissa plans another party and the roundabout starts again. Once Raclin marries Nora then a different side to the group emerges, and she learns the truth about her friends but she's trapped. The story is full of kidnappings, rescues, escapes, magical creatures and dangerous undertakings. The magician Aruendiel has taken her in reluctantly, and over the following months she works in his household with his long time housekeeper. Slowly she persuades him to teach her magic, it takes up time but that’s something she has in abundance, not knowing when or if ever she can return home. The descriptions, first of the wonderful parties Ilissa has, and then of the castles and places Nora visits are wonderful. They really took me into a magical realm, where it seemed normal to heal by magic, to mend pots and things using magic, and to have transport made of sticks and feathers that could fly, doors in walls that were hidden and opened by witchcraft. The descriptions too of the differences between Wizards and Magicians and the spell books were fabulous. I felt as if I was there with Nora, learning as she learned, feeling all that she felt. Loved that, I like to get so absorbed in a story that I become part of it and swinging in the shade on my hammock in the garden yesterday that’s exactly what happened. I've always had a vivid imagination and enjoyed books about magic. As a child my mum used to try to persuade me to more practical books, rather than the fairies and magic I preferred, and I can recall a conversation with my father over why he couldn't buy me a magic wand for Christmas. “They're so expensive we couldn't afford to buy presents for anyone else” “but dad, I could just magic them” Logic of a child :) I was always being told off for having my head in the clouds, and getting board rubber thrown at me by teachers for daydreaming...well, fantasy was so much more interesting than the real world and still is to me at times.... Anyway, back to the story, there were some things that didn't work so well for me. It took time for me to warm to Nora, at first she seems too anodyne, and I didn't ever really warm to her as a person, which made it hard for me to empathise with her. I felt a bit detached and need to be almost one with the main characters to feel and worry about them even though its fiction.... Then the world of Ilissa; I know Nora was under many spells but I think we needed to have that reinforced a few times, because I began to get impatient with her when she just accepted everything. This was explained much better later by Aruendiel, and I understood more but it could have put me off earlier as I was soo “Nora, get a grip girl!!” and of course later I learned why she couldn't, however if it wasn't a review book I may have given up then, and missed out on a magical treat. It is a long book, and I love long novels but there is a lot in it that tends to drag a little that maybe could have been tightened. I guess for me its because I’m always looking for the romance, this isn't marketed as a romance ( I think anyway ) but for some reason I expect one to develop. Maybe because of the one in the Harkness trilogy which is the cornerstone of those books. Anyway I was always looking for some developments between Nora and Arundiel – I suspect that he does want her but for whatever reason won't allow himself, and its clear Nora at times has feeling for him. The ending is somewhat opaque, it suggests to me that there will be another book and that may have the romance that I wanted but missed – who knows? I can't find any references that say there's a follow up, and this can easily be read as a stand alone but it just seems to me to hint at more to come – or perhaps its wishful thinking on my part, as I'd love Nora and Arundiel to get together and to be back in that magical world. Overall a good read, and at £3.99 for a massive 572 pages its a bargain on my VFM scale. Stars: four, I needed that romance :) and a little more explanation of Nora earlier, and to make her more likeable. That would have made this a five star read for me but then we all need different things and I'm sure for others Emily has got this spot on.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I hope there is a second book coming, because I thoroughly enjoyed this one by the end of it. That being said, it was a little slow moving at times. I wish there was more social interaction, romance and magic, but well written and worth the read!!
Anonymous 9 months ago
There better be a sequel! This book was absolutely fantastic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, clever & very long. Overall good read!
JudyBookLover More than 1 year ago
This is a great story! I really loved this story of a modern woman Nora who gets lost in a kind of fairy-tale world where she is forced to marry an evil prince. Then she is rescued by a magician who frightens her at first, but then when he begins to teach her magic, their friendship grows. She has a talent for magic and magic is used for many things in this alternate reality - I feel like the author really thought about the world she was creating. A real respect grows between Nora and her magician too which is wonderful to read about. There's much more going on than that but no spoilers here! A lot of it is very funny too. Reminds me of the TV show Outlander - I have not read those books - but similar idea - a woman lost in time. I really hope the author, Emily Barker, writes a sequel!
SaraRoseGA More than 1 year ago
As someone who grew up on fairy tales I spent the first few chapters a bit frustrated with the main character for not realizing what was going on, but if you feel the same way, I'd encourage you to stick with it because they lay the foundation for the rest of the story and it does change and pick up. By the end of this book I was extremely storry to find that it was published several years ago and all I've been able to find is that the author's working on the sequel and there's no release date for it yet that I can find. It's also a grown-up story without being inappropriate for (especially older) teens to read. Overall, I very much enjoyed this story and have my fingers crossed that when the sequel comes out it will be as well-crafted and enjoyable.
gotquidditch More than 1 year ago
If you have a penchant for the fantastic and incredibly well-done worldbuilding, then you absolutely must read Emily Croy Barker's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic." I haven't been so transported by a book since the Potter series, and I turned the final page with the same sense of excitement and horror. Thrill for the wild and wonderful ride I'd just been on, and terror at the prospect of not being able to go again until the next book. Barker's mastery of the written world will leave you certain that magic exists, and she's the greatest witch of them all. I can't wait for the next installment!
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Nora Fischer has just been dropped by her boyfriend and her Supervisor has informed her that her slowness with her dissertation writing is proving to be a problem that might mean she’ll be out of the program.  All in all, she’s in a bad place, unable to be inspired to do the requisite research and writing and in a surrealistic way unable to accept that her former lover has dumped her.  So she decides she needs a break and sets off to a friend’s wedding.  One day she decides to take a walk, one that will change her life forever! For Nora has literally walked into another world, time and place!  Ilyssa becomes Nora’s mentor, guiding her with gifts of dress, makeup, and introductions to the “partying” crowd who share love and fun indiscriminately.  In time Nora can hardly believe she was the troubled woman of before as now she sees herself in an entirely new way – beautiful, smart, and loving life!  Ilyssa’s son Raclin is an artful, teasing and seductive lover with whom Nora becomes obsessed!  It all seems too good to be true and so it is – after their wedding, Nora begins to realize that something is dreadfully wrong.  Raclin has no time for her and disappears for days, eventually telling her that now she is pregnant, he will have very little time for her.  Now Nora begins to realize something is dreadfully wrong and that these people are far from human and are her sinister imprisoners.  One ray of hope appears in the magician Aruendiel who will rescue Nora, albeit reluctantly! Nora longs to return to her own life but must learn the magic she abhors in order to go home. This portion tends to slow down and drag a bit but she will learn what she needs to, to a certain degree.  The relationship between Aruendiel and Nora seems to be of growing attraction the never really evolves to reality for some unspoken reason.  However, the last portion of the story picks up the pace with a few unexpected and stunning turn of events, leading this reviewer to believe there will definitely be a follow-up to his intriguing novel. There are allusions to Pride and Prejudice, Game of Thrones, Alice in Wonderland and a few other vaguely veiled connections.  I’m not sure these work so well but they perhaps increase the tension-filled plot.  The origins and purpose of the enemy are slowly and even lately provided, which is interesting to a point but then inches into frustration.  Standard formulaic fare or a new addition to the Harkness, Potter, Martin-style fiction – you the reader must decide! Interesting, Ms. Baker! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rexcatz More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the rest of the series. No, it's not Harry Potter and it's not The Magicians, but if you like those sorts of books, you might enjoy this book as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why would I have to read this book now after all the very long reviews full of plot spoilers. Iaccidentally read one and now know the whole story. So I shall look elsewhere for a fantasy story where I won't find reviews that tell me everything!!
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lazyhazel711 More than 1 year ago
When I first began reading I thought I'd made a big mistake by purchasing this book, because the first part of the story was very wierd and disjointed, although I was happy the author pretty much jumped right in to the action. After reading further, I understood why the beginning was so odd. In the beginning, I did not care for Nora at all, thinking her shallow and, quite frankly, an air-headed bimbo. Once I got to know her and her story, I became rather fond of her and found myself in admiration of her courage and determination. She ends up having more integrity than I ever thought her capable of and thought she was missing in the beginning. I found I could relate to her plight. (I don't want to go in to too much detail or it will spoil the story for new readers.) I honestly can't wait for the next book. As soon as I finish this review, I'm going to see if it is out yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I really enjoyed this book, it's obvious it was written as a first title in a series. I'm a little tired of series, and may not have started it had I known. I'm already waiting on 3 new titles in book series. Seems since Harry Potter, this is the strategy for many authors. But it is a good story. Good vs Evil, magic, romance--it's all in there. Entertaining but not deep. Good for a weekend read.
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