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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Stories from the Witch Store is a humorous collection of fictional anecdotes written and illustrated by Olga Gutsol. Arelia Waterstone is a fifth generation hereditary witch who owns and runs a magical apothecary in Burnaville. The patrons to her store are plentiful, ranging from desperate women seeking love potions to a priest seeking a cure for the common cold. But with such little buzz happening lately in such a quiet town, Arelia begins keeping a daily journal of those who visit her establishment, those who are seeking to cause trouble and, of course, those nearest and dearest to Arelia in her everyday life – Puck (Arelia’s ancient house ghost) and Cat (Arelia’s cat). Life is quite mundane until trouble suddenly brews after one of Arelia’s karmic potions goes terribly wrong, setting off a chain of unbelievably hilarious events.
I initially chose Stories from the Witch Store expecting to read true-life anecdotes of a High Priestess. As a Pagan, however, I quickly realized that the fantasy tales within the pages are written as pure entertainment for a young audience. Stories from the Witch Store is a combination of Young Adult, fiction, and fantasy genres sprinkled with a touch of Paganism (through the use of Sabbat rituals). It was not long before I was able to indulge in an immense amount of laughter brought about by the diarized entries of each page. With a blend of pure fantasy (dragons, demons, werewolves, vampires and more), Olga Gutsol has created a magic bubble, enabling magical creatures to exist among us from the wizarding world. It takes a lot of creativity, imagination and talent to be able to pull off such a feat, creating one of the most memorably magical tales I have read in a long time.
I very much enjoyed reading Stories from the Witch Store (in particular, seeing a were-bear cured of unwelcome fleas he’d discovered after waking from hibernation) and will be keeping my eyes open for all future publications from Olga Gutsol. Young readers aged 12-17 who are fans of fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal tales (such as Harry Potter or Twilight) would definitely be able to immerse themselves in the magic within.