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Witch #2

Always a Witch

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The adventures of Tam and Gabriel continue with more time travel, Talents, spy work, and of course, the evil Knights.

Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, 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 Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. 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.

276 pages, Hardcover

First published August 1, 2011

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About the author

Carolyn MacCullough

12 books688 followers
Carolyn MacCullough received her MFA in creative writing from the New School and lives with her husband in Brooklyn.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 648 reviews
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
June 28, 2019
Always a Witch (Witch #2), Carolyn MacCullough
Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, 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 Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. 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.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیستتم ماه جولای سال 2016 میلادی
عنوان: همیشه یک ساحر: جلد دوم سری روزگار یک ساحره؛
ا. شربیانی
February 6, 2016
I was a little hesitant going into this book because all I remember saying to myself the first time I read it, was that it wasn't as good. After reading, I've decided that it was pretty good. I still think that Ms. MacCullough could've just written a longer and single book instead of two.

Since the ending of the last book, Tam and Gabriel realize that they have to time travel and find the Knights, the family that is trying to ruin their own. Tamsin is still thinking about the prophecy that her grandmother has told her about; that she will have to make a very important choice. Tam, while going after the Knights in the 19th century New York, is concerned about this. To spy on Alistair and the other Knights, she disguises herself as a lady's maid and works in the heart of the evil family. She has to pretend that she is Talentless, hide from La Spider, the head of the family, and to ignore Liam's dangerous advances on her.

Toward the end, Tam realizes her horrific choice and protects herself against the Knight's with a lot of Talent.

There were many things about this book that I liked. One was the action. Tam was always hiding or using different personalities to stay in the house with her fake name of Agatha.

Tam was also a strong leading women. Instead of whining, giving up, and loving other men, she is determined and very level headed. The ending of the book definitely continued to how her character.

One of the things that I didn't like was that there wasn't more development of the characters. The reader just went on the what they learned about her peculiar family and Gabriel. I would've liked to see more of Gabriel or more love between Tam and him. Gabriel was one of my favorite characters so that would have been good.

Another weakness that I saw was how adjusted Tam seem to being in the 1880's New York. She blended right in and talked the same as everyone else. This wasn't that believable.

The ending was not what I expected and I was a little disappointed. I felt bad for Tam but I sort of did like the outcome.

Overall, Ms. MacCullough did write a very good historical fiction novel as the second installment of this series.
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
778 reviews518 followers
March 5, 2011
I confidently predict that readers who loved Once a Witch will also love the second half of the story about the seemingly talentfree, teenaged witch Tamsin Greene, her wacky, magic family, her hot and talented boyfriend Gabriel and their joint fight against the super evil and humans-hating Knight clan, because it is basically composed using the same elements:
- an imperfect and insecure but likable, courageous and strong teenaged heroine.
- a cute and devoted love interest and side-kick.
- a slightly nutty familiy of bickering but well-meaning witches who provide both surprise elements and entertainment.
- physically dangerous time travel.
- action and a little thrill.
- throroughly evil black witches lacking a conscience and compassion but filling the gaps with cool calculation, greed and gruesome practices like human sacrifice.
- decent writing.

For me personally, „Always a Witch“ dropped half a star from the 3.5 stars I doled out to Once a Witch (out of a total of 5), maybe mainly because the sequel is exactly that: The second part of the story, one which did not add new elements, take the romance to a further level, or make the heroine’s otherness stand out – apart from her developing quite angelic traits in the end. All in all, a sequel that is almost as good as its precessor is an unexpectedly positive thing, for the nature of paranomal sequels seems to have this natural gravitation thing, that drags them down, built in. Still, I nonetheless irrationally hoped for

- Tamsim to have more difficulties to adapt to her life in the past (the struggle of nowadays’ people with the customs and the mechanisms of everyday life in past centuries is what makes time travel stories so attractive to me. But Tamsin takes over the life and the tasks of a lady’s maid within a day and without blinking an eye or getting scolded for being clueless.)
- Tamsin’s and Gabriel’s shared time not to be wholly consumed by witchy business matters (i.e. saving the Greene family) instead of occasionally letting some hot sparks fly. (I really expected Tamsin, who is different from her family, not to be so hesitant and/or old-couplish. Apart from one misunderstanding , all of the young couple’s actions consist of heroically saving each other, planning together, trying to exclude each other from overly dangerous acts. „Always a Witch“ is a paranormal targeted at girls. And in the end I could not even remember what Gabriel looks like.)
- the villains (members of the Knight family) to be less than 100% evil.( Yes, there are some specimen that turned out to belong to the good side, but those who didn’t, were painted a shiny black without any hints of gray.)
- Tamsin’s heroics to be a little more real and believable. (Sure, Tamsin did the right thing and it is consistent to show her being courageous, but I expected her to be more afraid, more desperate to find an alternative solution in the end and to be a little more spunky and inconventional altogether.)

I really did enjoy reading „Always a Witch“, but I have to summarise that I am a little disappointed and that I did not feel compelled to write a review in order to persuade all my friends not to miss this book. On the contrary: I shoved writing the review from day to day, getting a worse and worse conscience, because I had been kindly provided with the opportunity to read the book before it was published by NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcout, the publisher.
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,090 followers
February 18, 2011
Wow. Just wow. I did NOT see that coming. After I read Once a Witch, I remember saying that MacCullough's writing was pretty decent. Now I'm forced to swallow my words. It's not just decent, it's pretty damn good! In this sequel to Once A Witch, Tamsin must journey back in time to the New York of the 1880s to stop her family's enemies from regaining their power and destroying what the Greenes have spent a hundred-odd years building.

MacCullough seems to have a talent for historical fiction. The story moves much more smoothly in Always A Witch. The pacing is fast, the writing is tight and the plot is absorbing. I'm not saying that this book is a great work of literature. But I am saying that it's a worthwhile read. Tamsin is a likeable heroine who doesn't whine or angst or fall in love with multiple men at the same time. For someone who is supposed to have great powers, she seems remarkably level-headed. Also, on a side note, can I mention that, apart from Rowena, who does a good job of being the sister from Hell, Tamsin's family is adorable. I would actually have loved it if this book had taken a few extra pages and focused a little deeper on Tamsin's family dynamics. I want more Uncle Morry! Gabriel, however, seems to be strictly supporting cast, as in the first book. In fact, that is one of my minor complaints with regard to Always a Witch. In the interests of fast pacing, MacCullough seems to have sacrificed a certain amount of characterization, so we see very little of the family, or the conflict that Tamsin's super-powers are causing, and there is no fleshing out or deepening of her relationship with Gabriel.

There are several aspects of this book that are a little too smooth to be believable. Deus ex machina plays a big role in Tamsin's fortuitous entry into the Knights' house and her subsequent discoveries. "Of all the gin joints in all the world..." as Bogey would say. Also, her transition from modern-day New York to the New York of the 1880s is practically seamless. Please. If someone moved me from the city into a village, I would have trouble adjusting, but our heroine just breezes into another era and faces no constraints?

Overall, however, this is a book I would recommend for anyone looking for a well-written, fast paced read that's not too taxing on the brain. It all wraps up neatly, tied with a big, shiny bow and the reader is left feeling satisfied and positive. MacCullough's second offering trumps her first hands down.

I received this ARC from the publishers via Net Galley. No monetary or other considerations ahve affected this review, yadda yadda.
Profile Image for Kate.
170 reviews46 followers
August 27, 2011
More reviews can be found at my blog Nomalicious Reads

Always A Witch was a thrilling, sigh worthy read; a fantastic conclusion to Once a Witch.

Carolyn MacCullough tied all the ends off very nicely, and I'm sad that Tamsin's journey is now over :( But it ended so well that I can't complain.

Tamsin dealing with the social norms and bad guy,s in the nineteenth century definitely had its amusing moments as well as its heartwarming and shocking ones.

The bad guys, La Spider and Liam were amazingly, chillingly evil; Carolyn did an amazing job with them. At some moments, she had me on the edge of my seat anticipating what would happen next, hoping that Tamsin would survive working in their lair.

Gabriel.. is just so yummy! I would have loved to have seen even more of him and Tamsin, but really that's just me fangirling.

And Tamsin? She's just an amazing, down to earth, kick-ass heroine.

I'm really sad to see this book come to an end, but I'll be eagerly awaiting Carolyn's other books, she's won me over as a fan for life.

I give Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough 5 noms.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,601 reviews89 followers
June 25, 2011
Loved this even more than the first book in this series...my question is...will there be a book three? I am not quite ready to say good bye to Tamsin and Gabriel.

Always A Witch
Carolyn MacCullough

From The Book…
Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, 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 everyone she loves. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian Era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight, 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.

My thoughts…
This book was fabulous. The author managed to write a sequel that I thought was even better than the first book. The danger and mystery and fear were accented by Tamsin’s offbeat 16 year old mannerisms and sarcasm. Tamsin loves second hand clothes and her BFF Agatha and lattes and fun…her hair is pretty much always a mess…she is irreverent to say the least and has a typical 16 year old disregard for any and all authority.
So she finds herself in practically medieval times (for her) trying to secure pins in the hair of the daughter of her family’s evil enemy. She knows she is the only one who can fix all of the awful things that the Knight family has done to innocent people and to the Greene family. And because of her grandmother’s warning…she knows that she may not come out of this unscathed.
So…it was a breathtaking reading experience for me…nail biting even. I literally finished it overnight. I cheered Tamsin. She is a fun and an amazing heroine…
Now…I yearn for book three.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
December 2, 2010
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 there Talents 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.

Since this book isn't released till Aug 2011, I don't want to say to much since I want others to just read.this.book.
Always a Witch is such a quaint, engaging and genuine story filled with so much spirit, magic and heart.
I love these stories and it's characters. It's just a really fun book. I loved going back in time with Tam and Gabriel and meeting new villains along the way. I love that Tam doesn't always have the answers, but it doesn't stop her from trying. What she did for her family was amazing, such an incredible character and I simply adore Gabriel!

Bottom line, Great adventure, lots of twists I didn't see coming and lovable character that will keep you entertained from minute one.
I adore this book to pieces and I can't wait to get a copy to treasure always!
I'm pretty sure this is the ending to this series which makes me sad, but I can't wait to see what MacCullough comes up with next. Her books will always have a special place on my shelf;)

Thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcout for giving me the opportunity to view an early copy!
Profile Image for Annie ⚜️.
501 reviews16 followers
February 26, 2020
I really didn’t like the end at all and the lack of sense, common or otherwise, in this story was a big reminder of why I shy away from YA. That being said, it was a quick, pleasant enough read and I do like a witch family story. It’s only a duology not a trilology so at least it’s short.
Profile Image for Lauren.
143 reviews20 followers
July 13, 2012
Always a Witch is the sequal to Once a Witch. In Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene grew up in a talented family of witches believing herself to be ordinary. Her own family were rather awful to at her times considering their deception. We find out part of the reason why they treated her this way in Always a Witch.

Both novels handled the complicated matter of time travelling rather well. Tamsin has to go back to 1889 New York to stop Alistair Knight from preventing her own ancestors from defeating the Knights. Tamsin goes undercover as a ladies maid.
This could have had much more potential. Tamsin had it much too easy maneuvering her way around a time she did not belong in. She missed breakfast once, but the hardships of the times weren't felt by her character. The Dark Shadows revival came to my mind. Victoria was accused of being a witch because her clothing said machine wash on them. Tamsin was prepared somewhat with an outfit but, she didn't plan her excursion into the past all that well. She should have fallen on her face some.
Tamsin from Once a Witch made a few mistakes and lied. Perhaps, if the writer had borrowed a page from Iva Ibbotson's The Countess Below Stairs things might have been more compelling. Life as a ladies maid was hard. She could have been expected to actually use the equipment of those times and burned someone's hair off.

Liam was creepy lite. He hit on her and murdered people but again, the missing maid was not utilised as it could have been. She found out straight away that Rosie and Horace had lied. I will overlook that it was too convenient she met Horace who got her the job in the first place. The book would have been bogged down with detail if everything was explained.
Liam wasn't used to his full potential as a pervert. She never wanted him. There just wasn't much tension or stakes in this book. Alistair was more insidious in Once a Witch when he put a love spell on her sister. If she had been a governess instead to the weird child Edmund things could have had more drama. No romantic feelings towards the perverts? Oh well, Gabriel is a nice love interest. I can't blame MacCullough for keeping their relationship intact.

I kept thinking of Hugh Jackman in Kate and Leopold during her excursions in 1889 New York. "This sir, is not New York!" Always a Witch shared more in common with Kate and Leopold's New York than Gangs of New York.
Profile Image for Kate McMurry.
Author 1 book87 followers
August 9, 2011
Book 2 of the Witch Urban-Fantasy Series for Teens

Note: Please do not read this review if you have not read Book 1 of the Witch series, Once a Witch, because there will inevitably be spoilers for that book.

Once again 17-year-old Tamsin Greene’s life is strongly influenced by one of her grandmother’s prophecies, in this case that she will soon have to make a huge decision that could affect her family’s very survival. After the events of Once a Witch, Tamsin has become fully aware of her enormous Talents as a witch. Other witches’ magic has no affect on her (a common motif in many traditional fantasy novels, as well as an ability of Bella in Twilight, but still quite intriguing here), and if other witches use their magic against her three times, she absorbs, but does not steal, their ability (much like Peter Petrelli in the TV series, Heroes). She also knows that the evil witch family, the Knights, have a long-time blood feud with the Greenes, because the Greenes found a way to inhibit their magical power. The Knights are determined to get their magical power back, and they will stop at nothing, including murder, to accomplish their goal.

The action begins in Book 2 when Tamsin discovers that the villain from Book 1, Alistair Knight, has traveled through time to Victorian-era New York in order to help his ancestors wipe out Tamsin’s before they can halt the Knight family’s magical crimes. Tamsin is determined to go back in time just prior to Alistair’s arrival and cut off his scheme, but she refuses to let anyone else get involved. If someone is going to be killed in this overwhelming mission, she is determined that the only loss of life will be her own.

Unfortunately, without her boyfriend Gabriel along as he was in Book 1, she can only manage a one-way trip to the past. She also doesn’t have the assistance of his other crucial Talent of being able to find anything in her quest to locate and warn her Greene ancestors about Alistair Knight. As a result, Tamsin has no luck in her search for the Greenes, but she stumbles on the Knight family when she is offered a job as a lady’s maid in the Knight mansion in New York City.

Tamsin quickly shifts direction and sets herself up as a mole within the Knight family in order to prevent the vicious matriarch of the Knight family, La Spider, from connecting with Alistair. Unfortunately, her task is made much more difficult when she is forced to resist the seductive charisma of the magnetically handsome and magically compelling Liam Knight, the eldest son of the family.

This book is not only a worthy successor to Once a Witch, but actually in many ways even better. Tamsin continues to be a dynamic heroine who is extremely sympathetic because of her willingness to sacrifice herself for the greater good. She is also a true survivor, as evidenced by her willingness to improvise and persist against overwhelming odds as she deals with the horrible Knight family in the 19th century, completely out of her element, cut off from all support.

The writing throughout this book is very well done, both as to the actual words on the page and the content of those words. The urban fantasy world-building continues to be well executed, the time travel element in particular. Tamsin’s relatives and magical enemies are very convincingly portrayed, particularly Liam Knight. He is the best kind of villain, a multilayered one who is both attractive and repulsive at the same time.

In this book, unlike Book 1, Tamsin doesn’t smoke, and though she does drink a beer that is offered to her in the 19th century, it is more as a thirst quencher rather than a mood-altering substance. However, Liam’s sexually seductive attitude toward all females, including Tamsin, may cause some parents to judge this book less suitable for pre-teens and younger teens than Book 1. The age range for YA extends from age 11-19 according to YALSA (the YA portion of the American Library Association), and I would personally peg this book as appropriate for the more mature end of that range, for teens 16 and above.
I grade the novel this way:

Heroine - 5 stars
Subcharacters - 5 stars
Fantasy World-Building - 4 stars
Writing - 5 stars
Magical Thriller Plot - 4 stars
Romantic Subplot - 4 stars
Overall – 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars
Profile Image for Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids.
1,952 reviews205 followers
July 30, 2011
Reviewed by Sophie for MM's-

Well established weaknesses for me include: time travel, magic, stubborn girls and boys who always, but always do the right thing. Need I go on to add that yes, Carolyn, hit them all.

Let me start by saying that I completely admire Carolyn's ability to plot a two story arc and then gracefully execute it until the very last page when that one thing mentioned in the first book (that was oh so important) comes back full circle. Yes, I'm trying hard to keep this spoiler-free so forgive a true, fan-girly moment here. But this is not just a well written story with characters I want to spend time with in real life (remember the fan-girl warning) but it packs an unexpected action plot line and draws in characters from the first book with new ones from the second in such an elegant way that I couldn’t help finishing the book in a day. I think the only word I had left when I closed the cover was “whoa”. I was in shock at how Carolyn brought all these wonderful, detailed elements from Once A Witch around to the sequel and quietly led me down the path of her plot until piece by piece every single thing made sense to Tamsin and well, to me.

And don’t worry, Mundie Moms, one of my favorite fictional boys ever, Gabriel, is still there. In fact here he is from page 12 when he and Tamsin are tempted to taste some of the sweets her mother is preparing for Rowena’s wedding:
“Mhmm,” I say, licking the icing from the corner of my mouth. “It’s good. Even if it’s probably poisonous. Go on, I dare you.”
Gabriel narrows his eyes a me, then takes the remainder of the cake from my fingers and eats it in one gulp.
“Some of it,” my mother answers, inspecting a fork. “And stop hanging on the door,” she admonishes absentmindedly. “It’ll break again and I’m tired of having Chester fix the refrigerator. The last time he fixed it, it sang ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ every time opened it. It drove me insane.”
Gabriel inhales on a laugh, then begins choking on cake crumbs. Alarmed, my mother whirls aroud. “Which one did you eat?” she cries.
“The chocolate flower one,” I say, “Will he live?” I help myself to another cake, this one covered in sugar violets. “Is this one okay?” I ask, and then pop it into my mouth.
My mother closes her eyes briefly, “Yes.”
“Yes I’ll live or yes the second cake that she just ate is okay? It’s kind of important that you be specific here,” Gabriel says.
This quote also illustrates how much of this book is about family – past and present. They are all around Tamsin. They are part of who she was and is and well, they’re definitely her mystery to solve. I can’t emphasize how much I love them and their fierce loyalty to one another. It reminds me of my own family and I swear we have an Uncle Chester, too.

If you haven’t picked up this series, don’t wait, you’ve got to meet Tamsin, Gabriel, Rowena and yes, even the Knights. A huge thank you to Carolyn for making this Mundie Mom stay up way past her bedtime. It was worth every hour of lost sleep.
Profile Image for Sandy.
291 reviews187 followers
May 14, 2011
More like 3.5...better than the first with a thriller of an ending.

Fans of Carolyn MacCullough's Once a Witch will absolutely devour this sequel, Always a Witch. MacCullough has upped the action and the plot, and the second half of this novel is utterly gripping. It's one of those sequels that's better than the first with an absolute thriller of an ending.

In Always a Witch, Tamsin must travel back to the 1880s to stop Alistair and the Knights from destroying her family. Readers who love time travel stories will enjoy Tamsin's adventures in nineteenth century New York. I personally would have no idea how to be a Victorian-era lady's maid--how do you do those complicated up-do's?? no clue--so it would have been nice to see Tamsin struggle with acclimating to the past, not to mention things were a little too coincidental at times. But Tamsin? She's the strong, loyal, independent heroine we met in Once a Witch, but now she's on a dangerous quest to save her family...will she be willing to make a devastating choice and face the consequences?

Paranormal romance fans who like their books with more PARANORMAL and less ROMANCE will enjoy this series. Gabriel is present and supportive in both books, but his romance with Tamsin definitely takes a back seat. I personally wish there could have been a few more swoony moments, but those wishing for more kicking and less kissing will like the de-emphasis of the romance.

Two things really set this series apart for me: that zany family and the uniqueness of the "talents". Tamsin's loving family is always entertaining, and some of the best scenes of this series include moments with her wacky family. Such a present, supportive family is refreshing for YA literature. The concept of a "talent" opens the way for such creativity and surprise in the story, and I loved seeing everyone's talents and how they affect the conclusion.

And that ending? So did not see it coming. It made me want to use one of Tamsin's Grandma's "Ah"s once everything was revealed. All of a sudden, it all made sense...the predictions, the secrets, the choices. The real driving force of this sequel is the sequence of events barreling towards that harrowing conclusion, and WOW the conclusion delivered. What a thrilling end to this series! (At least, I think it's the end? We'll see!)
Profile Image for Kelly.
616 reviews150 followers
August 24, 2011
Alone among her relatives, Tamsin Greene grew up believing the family’s Talents had skipped her over, and learned to get by without magic. But in Once a Witch, Tamsin learned that she was far from powerless. Rather, she was one of the strongest of the Greene witches. Always a Witch concludes her story.

Tamsin is still getting used to having magic, and her sister Rowena is annoying her with her bridezilla antics. These concerns take a backseat when the family learns that the sinister Alistair Knight has altered the past and restored his ancestors to power. Tamsin travels back to the Victorian era to set things right, excluding her boyfriend Gabriel from her plans because she believes he’ll die if he comes along. Once there, Tamsin is hired by the decadent, sadistic Knights as a lady’s maid, a position that gives her an inside view of their schemes but also puts her in great danger.

The time-travel element here is stronger, in two senses of the word, than in the previous book. There’s more of it (Tamsin spends the vast majority of the book in 1887), and it works better. And the Knight house, though populated by creepy people, is a fun setting filled with secret passages — and maybe a few new allies as well.

Tamsin works out what needs to be done to stop the Knights once and for all. She learns the nature of the terrible choice that was prophesied in Once a Witch. This did lead to a slight “how did that happen?” moment, since according to the spell’s logic, I think it should have affected . Yet the scene is an effective dramatic moment, heroic and bittersweet. Afterward, we learn the real reason the family kept Tamsin’s Talents a secret.

Though I was occasionally confused by the way some of the magic worked, I would gladly recommend Once a Witch and Always a Witch to young adult readers. This is an enchanting, quick-moving, spooky duology with a likable heroine.

Originally written for FantasyLiterature.com
Profile Image for Andrea at Reading Lark.
950 reviews81 followers
April 1, 2013
Review Posted on Reading Lark 6/24/11: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2011/...

I read Once a Witch awhile back after it was first released and remembered really enjoying it, but this one blew it out of the water. It may be cheesy to say that this book put a spell on me, but that is exactly what it did. I was unable to put this book down for long. Every time I closed it to do something other than read, my Kindle kept whispering my name urging me to pick it back up and dive into the story. This edition in the series is so fast paced that there are hardly any lulls in the action. My heart was pounding as I read chapter after chapter.

Tasmin and Gabriel are back for more adventures of the witchy variety. In the first book, they have to travel back in time to find a family heirloom that left in the wrong hands can spell disaster for the Greene clan. In this follow up novel, Tasmin and Gabriel will once again have to use their Talents to track down Alistair Knight as he seeks to protect his family from losing their magic. Will Tasmin and Gabriel be able to stop him a second time OR will Alistair prevail and destory the Greenes once and for all?
I love Carolyn MacCullough's take on magic and witches. Each of her characters has a special talent that they can wield for both good and evil purposes. Some have the power to heal, others have the power to manipulate the weather, and some can even steal the bodies of others to use for their own purposes. Tasmin is more special than all the rest - she has the power to resist Talents and if someone uses a Talent against her three times then she takes on their powers. Just like they say in Spiderman - with great power comes great responsibility. Tasmin must use her unique Talents to save her family before the Knight family erases them for all time.

Fans of witch novels and historical fiction are sure to be delighted by this tale. The writing is solid and the characters come to live as the story unfolds. I have to admit that I have quite the crush on Gabriel at this point. He sacrifices everything to make sure that Tasmin is safe. That is pretty swoon worthy if ya ask me. I also enjoyed getting a break from the whole love triangle plot strand that seems to be dominating YA books these days.

One Last Gripe: I didn't like that the ending left me feeling hollow. I am just not happy with how things were left for Tasmin. I just didn't get a strong sense of closure with this one.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The fast paced action that begins as soon as Tasmin goes back to the 1800's - the momentum rolled through the novel and kept me enthralled

First Sentence: I was born on the night of Samhain.

Favorite Character: Gabriel

Least Favorite Character: Liam
Profile Image for Kristi.
844 reviews202 followers
August 3, 2011

After Tamsin Greene’s horrific encounter with the wicked Alistair Knight in Once a Witch, Tamsin is just starting to get comfortable with her new found Talent and finding her place within her extraordinarily Talented (magical) family. Tamsin’s happy and relieved to have found her Talent yet struggling with her grandmother’s prediction that she will soon make a decision, a decision so vital it will affect her entire family’s future.

Life has finally settled down a bit for Tamsin; her sister, the lovely Rowena is getting married, she has Gabriel, the boyfriend of her dreams and she’s back at school in her dorm room with BFF, Agatha. She deserves a little peace, right? Well-- not quite yet—there’s a bit of a problem with the future. It seems that Alistair did indeed travel back to the Victorian era; warning his ancestors of the Greene’s intent to compile the Knights power into the Domani thus disabling them from causing harm and doing ‘blood magic’. It’s up to Tamsin to travel back in time and stop Alistair from warning the Knights of the Greene’s intent.

When Tamsin travels back to Victorian era New York ahead of Alistair she finds a position in the Knight household as a lady’s maid for Jessica Knight; daughter of the cruel calculating matriarch La Spider and sister to charming Liam Knight. The Knights are powerful witches and along with their extended family, they use their Talents for increasing wealth and personal gain at any cost. Add Alistair to the picture and things start to get a little hairy.

Tamsin finds herself caught between her wary ancestors and the vicious Knights in a struggle to save her family--past, present and future, all while trying to protect the innocent’s that are caught in between. It’s through other’s love and sacrifice that she learns how every move she makes and every word she utters impacts the fateful decision her grandmother predicted. She can only hope and pray that she doesn't lose her future along with that of her friends and family along the way.

Carolyn MacCullough spins a spellbinding story of magic, time-travel, suspense and adventure. The story flows fluidly from chapter to chapter and the characters are richly defined. The history of Victorian era New York is fascinating and visually descriptive.
Profile Image for kari.
849 reviews
October 10, 2011
Well, now I kind of wish that I hadn't wished for a sequel to Once a Witch. I hate to say it, but nothing much happens in this one until the very end and the evil person is eliminated off-screen and without any fanfare. Although there are plenty of other evil people, I'm not sure that the villain should meet his end without it being shown. That feels like it's unfinished in some way.
Also, most of what I enjoyed in the first book is completely missing here. There is very little interaction between Tamsin and her family (that quirky bunch were such fun in the first book) and hardly more than that with Gabriel who I'd have liked to know more about.
Tamsin is an interesting heroine. She's been kept in the dark a great deal about her own life and abilities and we finally get to learn why.
I'm not quite satisfied with the ending, but I wasn't quite satisfied with the whole book.
If you've read the first one, you'll likely want to read this one. I think it would be somewhat confusing if you haven't read the first book.
It's an okay read.
Profile Image for Saf SK.
89 reviews6 followers
June 5, 2020
3.5 rounded to 4 ✨

I liked this second book very much. It grabs the attention and the plot has so much action, I couldn’t let it go.

Perhaps there wasn’t a need to make it a duology. Since the two parts are short, I would have liked it to be one single book. They probably decided to publish it in two parts because it was a debut novel. I think it would have worked better as a whole to balance out the slower first part and the non-stop action in the second.

This second part is fast and follows Tamsin in her time-travels in order to save her family.

As characters go, there are new ones that appeared in the past, but I didn’t care for any of them. I wished there were more of Gabriel, since he was my favorite character. I understand as the MC, Tamsin should be the one fixing the problem, but I missed her side kick for pretty much the whole book.

Overall, it was a nice quick read! Let’s not forget though, I am biased as I’ve loved this kind of stories about witches and covens since I was a little girl.
Profile Image for Crystal.
449 reviews92 followers
December 3, 2010
I have to say that I really enjoyed this one. Tam and Gabriel continue on in their quest to stop Allistair from his plot to save the Knight family from destruction. I really liked the time travel aspect of this one. I haven't read many books with that in it and it is refreshing twist to the story. I missed Gabriel in the first part and would have liked to have seen Tam reach out a little more for help even though I know why she didn't. I was very sad in the end but it was expected and completely the right choice for Tam. I don't want to say too much as this one doesn't come out until August so I will leave with if you enjoyed the first one you should definitely pick this one up and if you haven't read either these are quick fun reads so give them a try.
Thanks Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcout=)
Profile Image for Kiki Z.
1,027 reviews51 followers
October 11, 2019
I still don't like Gabriel or his so-called romance with Tamsin. In fact, it makes even less sense in this book.

There's also absolutely no reason why this book and the first one couldn't have been one book. It would have flowed better AND easily explained why Tamsin's gift was truly kept a secret instead of the ridiculous reason that we're given in the first book. It genuinely feels like book one was an entire prequel event rather than part of the main action when you're finished with this one.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,217 reviews462 followers
January 6, 2011
Synopsis: Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmothers prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision - one so terrible that it could harm her family's future. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian Era New York, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the 19th century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off advances of Liam Knight. 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.

This is is the follow-up story to Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough which I truly enjoyed.

Tamsin comes from a long line of very powerful witches. During the previous book, it was revealed that she had Talent all along, but it was hidden from her by her mother, father, sister, and Grandmother.

Her sister Rowena can compel anyone to do their bidding just by mesmerizing them with her voice. Her father compels the weather, while her mother and grandmother offer up spells. Her grandmothers sister can freeze someone by simply touching that persons head. Gabriel, her bff, can find any object anywhere. Tamsin found out in Once A Witch, that if someone uses magic on her, she is uneffected. She also has the ability to steal that persons abilities; like fire from her hands, or the ability to freeze someone just by touching them.

When we open the story, Tamsin is reading herself for Rowen's (her sister) wedding and refusing to wear the gawd awful dress Rowena has picked out. Then a mysterious man disguised as her Uncle Morris shows up and Tamsin is unable to use her powers of fire. He then gives her a dire warning for her boyfriend Gabriel.

Her grandmother realizes that her powers are good for three days only, which is why she couldn't use fire against the intruder. She can, however, still use her ability to freeze people. Tamsin and her Grandmother soon realize that she has to travel back to 1887 and find Alistair and save her family.

Tamsin travels back in time and finds herself in a park in New York 1887. She runs into a man named Horace in a bar who offers her a job at the Knight household as a lady's maid. Using the name Agatha Smithsdale, she runs into Liam Knight, the same person who showed up in her house under the guise of Uncle Morris. Alas, who should also show up at the same time? Alistair Callum himself.

Tamsin becomes a lady's maid to Jessica Knight who is so unlike the rest of her family. She seems not to care for the Talent that she has, and dislikes the choices her mother La Spider has tried to set for her. Jessica is in love with a William Finnegan, but she is also to be married to another man who she dislikes.

Tamsin soon discoves that the Knights, especially Liam, have been experimenting with their maids and using their blood as drinks to extend their powers and their longevity. One of those experiments ends up being Alistair himself.

Gabriel makes an appearance and is not too happy with Tamsin. He shows up and becomes Jessica's new music teacher. After they reunite, they escape from the Knight household and end up at the Greene's ranch where they tell her thanks for the warning, but be gone with thee!

When Tamsin and Gabe reach the Greene's, they are unwilling to help her and want her to go back to where she came from. The proble is, Gabe can't locate any of Tam's family. It is as though they have never been born.

In the final battle between the Greene's and the Knights, Tamsin sacrifices herself, and her Talents to save Jessica Knights life. In doing so however, she also created the Domani and took away the Knights Talents. After traveling back home, she is distraught over losing her powers, but her grandmother calls her the Family Beacon.

Thoughts: I love this story. I love the fact that the author takes us back to 19th century New York, and does a wonderful job of world building. She has a really good character in Tamsin Greene, and it will be interesting to see if this series continues.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Alisha Marie.
869 reviews80 followers
July 21, 2011
I loved Once A Witch. Seriously, it was one of my favorite books read last year (or was it the year before?) and not only was it the PERFECT Halloween read, but it was also a fairly unique read. You don't see many YA novels written about witches (or at least many that have been done well...or at least I haven't). Therefore, I have been anxiously awaiting the sequel, Always A Witch. While I didn't think the sequel was as good as Once a Witch, it was still a really entertaining novel.

Always a Witch had more thrills, adventures, wit, and sarcasm then it's predecessor, Once A Witch. And I loved the whole Elizabeth Bathory type of storyline that it used. Tamsin is still a strong heroine that never grates. In fact, NONE of the characters in Always a Witch grate (and that has to be an absolute first for me). In fact, Always a Witch is as much fun as Once A Witch was. It might even be more fun as Tamsin stays in the past more than a matter of minutes (like she did in Once A Witch). The sense of danger was also more prevalent in this novel, so that made it that much more intriguing to me.

So why the four stars while Once a Witch got five full stars? I felt that Always a Witch was a bit...rushed. While I did feel that sense of urgency as Tamsin did in wanting to accomplish her goals and destroy the Knight family, I felt like we got to that point extremely quick. I didn't feel that there was enough development in the first few chapters for Tamsin to decide that she has to go right at that particular moment. I would have liked more build up to that. Also, a huge reason why I loved Once A Witch is because I loved Tamsin's wacky, zany, and endlessly entertaining family. Unfortunately, in Always a Witch, Tamsin's family is barely a footnote. They are there for a few pages in the beginning and a bit in the end. That really wasn't enough for me.

So, in the end, I really did like Always a Witch. I just didn't think it surpassed the awesomeness that is Once a Witch. I am, however, still saddened that this seems to be the last in this series. While some authors take their series to the extreme and keep churning one novel after the other even though it's clear to everyone that the series should have came to a close some novels ago, I feel Carolyn MacCullough should at least write one more novel to wrap the series up. Anyway, I recommend Always a Witch. Like it's predecessor, it is an amazing, light read.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews710 followers
January 13, 2014
*This mini review has also been posted onTangled in Pages

This year I want to get the reading I've been avoiding done. I want to complete series' that I refuse to finish and read sequels I once awaited eagerly. I thought this would be a good place to start seeing that I read the first book in this duology back in 2012. I cannot remember exactly what put me off but I decided not to read the sequel and let things be. Perhaps it was fear of a love triangle (how I hate those) but I have to say, whatever the reason, my fear was unfounded because the sequel turned out to be rather pleasant. It was not particularly special but there is something satisfying about it.

Tam is a refreshing female lead. She does make some stupid decisions but she is also mature. Of course, she also happens to be a teenager so she does have certain insecurities but it worked out just fine. It's never bothered me.

Her love interest, Gabriel, was adorable. The romance between the two is nice and doesn't overshadow the plot. In fact, it's more in the background than anything else.

The plot was actually decent too. This plot basically flies by so I cannot say much about it but it all ties back nicely. As someone who loves time travel and the science behind it, I must say, it was done pretty damn well in both books.

I haven't felt this satisfied by a conclusion in a while. I really did enjoy this book and it's nice that it flew by. Sometimes you just need a book that flies by instead of one that makes you think a lot. I recommend this series to anyone who just wants to take a break and read a nice slow book.
Profile Image for JeanBookNerd.
321 reviews40 followers
December 14, 2011
Always a Witch is a marvelous and pleasing continuation to Carolyn MacCullough’s Once a Witch. It started right where it left off and another adventure began. The outline of the story was planned out well and MacCullough definitely knew how everything was going to happen. This time around, Tamsin must make a choice that can change the fate of her family’s entire future. Usually when a story involves time traveling, it can tend to be confusing and get the reader out of place, but I found it to be easy to follow. It takes the reader to
the 1800’s in which the author does a wonderful job describing what New York looked like. You can definitely tell that she has done her research. It was a quick read but it was full of fantasy and magic.

I thought the plot was wonderful. Tamsin takes the reader into an adventure where she is thrown back in time to save her family. The characters, old and new, are brilliantly crafted and it was fun reading how Tamsin playing a different person back in time. The process of her time traveling reveals many secrets about not only the Knight family, but her family as well. Tamsin has become an incredible and tough main character that isn’t afraid to do what is right and what needs to be done, however how difficult it is. All of the characters seemed to be well written and fleshed out.

The Talents each character introduced were fascinating and amazing. The setting mainly occurred in the 1800’s but the outlook was different inside the mansion. The story was fun, carried enjoyable dialogue, built interesting characters, created likeable protagonists, and produced a fulfilling ending.
Profile Image for Kristy.
592 reviews88 followers
December 15, 2011
Dare I say I enjoyed this one more than Once a Witch (Witch, #1) by Carolyn MacCullough ?? Yep, I enjoyed this one more. It had a clean historical fiction vibe going that I completely enjoyed. It is very much age appropriate for the YA crowd.

Spoilers and complaining ahead:

I want more relationship between Gabriel and Tasmin. I love that their love-story is not the main element in the book, but I feel like the scenes they do share could have been a bit more romantical.....

Honestly, I feel like this was super-fast paced and over too quick. I needed just a bit more information and time to process what was going on. I would like to have seen Tasmin use her powers more. I feel like she just got them and BAM, now they are gone.... really?!?!?!?

And, I really did not like Rowena in the beginning of the book. Why was it even neccessary to have all that about her wedding in there? And, why is she SUCH a diva? What does that have to do with anything?!?!?

Props to the author for creating a completely different witchy world. They're not the voo-doo, warty or cackling kind. They are just different and all their talents are interesting. I would like more of that.

People who enjoyed the first installment will probably like this one. I did enjoy it more than book #1, but I am not frothing at the mouth for me. I'm not blown away, but I'm not put-off either. I'm a couple notches above meh.

3 stars

And, yes... I am aware this is a sham of a review...
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,122 followers
May 29, 2012
The plot centers on two family of witches, the Greenes and the Knights. Every witch has a talent be it speed, fire or being able to find lost things. Tamsin always believed she had no talent but recently found out that she does in fact have a powerful talent, she is immune to all other talents and can take other peoples talents if it used on her three times.
The Greene family in the 1800's discovered the Knight family using their talent for evil so they created the Domani, the Domani stops the Knights having any talents. So Alistair Knight travels back in time to try and destroy the Greene family. When Tamsin finds out about Alistair's plans she also travels back in in time too stop him destroying her family.
I like that Tamsin was focused on trying to save her family, instead of thinking about boys and other angsty nonesense. Her relationship with Gabriel was pretty good,it's not front and centre in the book like most YA novels - where the heroine obsessesively obsess about their love interests and nothing else matters to them except having the hot, mysterious, powerful boyfriend at their side. Tamsin and Gabriel aren't really like this, they both have their own lives but are still committed to one another.
Tamsin's relationship with her perfect older sister Rowena and her grandmother was what I liked most, I liked that her family was a big and ever present part of her life..most YA novels suffer from absent parents/families.
The ending had a surprise twist of a sort but I ok with the way it end that way, everything was more or less resolved by the end.
Profile Image for Amber.
341 reviews110 followers
January 5, 2011

I'm going to start off by saying that I am so so lucky not to have a sister like Rowena...aka Bridezilla!!

The protaganist in Always A Witch, (aka Tamsin Greene) is faced with many challenges and finally pieces together the path she was chosen for. I admire the courage throughout the story she exudes and the selflessness that leads her on her journey back in time to when it all began.

I really enjoyed Always A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough. At times I felt it was a little slow but when it started to regain my interest it didn't back down. I was very pleased with how well the story flowed and the little pieces that weren't left unfinished such as making the promise to "Cook" to change back "Mary". Don't want to give it away, but more importantly the author took the time for small details.

I think the story really started to evolve once Gabriel entered the scene. There's something about him, but it's totally something good ;) and once again that connection between Tamsin and Gabriel was fresh and exciting once again. I love that you can feel the love between them. I would really like to see more of those two together in the future.

Overall, a very clean and enjoyable read.

Thank You Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!
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