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A Wolf for a Spell

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The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never do The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body! Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all. “Karah Sutton has crafted a vivid and rollicking adventure that proves a wolf doesn’t have to be big or bad to win the day!" —Rosanne Parry, New York Times bestselling author of A Wolf Called Wander


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The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never do The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body! Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all. “Karah Sutton has crafted a vivid and rollicking adventure that proves a wolf doesn’t have to be big or bad to win the day!" —Rosanne Parry, New York Times bestselling author of A Wolf Called Wander

30 review for A Wolf for a Spell

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mischenko

    A Wolf for a Spell is a deliciously magical adventure involving wolves, witches, and villagers—all of whom must work together to defeat an evil tsar. The story begins with Zima, a wolf who’s dealing with issues within her own pack. She’s always been told to fear humans, but she isn’t sure what to believe anymore. One thing Zima knows for sure is that it’s not safe to converse with witches, and she’s been given strict orders. After an unforeseen event, Zima is forced to communicate with the forest A Wolf for a Spell is a deliciously magical adventure involving wolves, witches, and villagers—all of whom must work together to defeat an evil tsar. The story begins with Zima, a wolf who’s dealing with issues within her own pack. She’s always been told to fear humans, but she isn’t sure what to believe anymore. One thing Zima knows for sure is that it’s not safe to converse with witches, and she’s been given strict orders. After an unforeseen event, Zima is forced to communicate with the forest witch, Baba Yaga, and discovers there’s real danger on the horizon for all who live in the forest. Concurrently, a young girl named Nadya from a nearby orphanage is puzzled about her friend, Katerina. Katerina has recently left their orphanage to marry, but something just isn’t right, and Nadya knows it. The mystery must be solved, and it’s going to be up to her and some other brave characters to put the pieces together and save their forest. This is such a fascinating story; I could easily read it over and over. I love fairy tales and that’s exactly what this story feels like: a Russian fairy tale. There are multiple points of view throughout the story, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out how these paths were going to converge. All the characters have something to learn and it comes together beautifully in the end. There are themes of friendship, trust, heroism, good vs. evil, and overcoming. The illustrations were unexpected and added a nice touch. Even though they were quite simple—just black and white—they were perfect for the story. Overall, A Wolf for a Spell is a beautifully crafted tale that captivated me from beginning to finish. Middle-grade readers who love fantasy, especially Slavic fairy/folk tales, will fall in love with this book. Honestly, it’s a story for any age. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers. 5***** I’d like to thank NetGalley for sharing this book with me in exchange for my honest review. You can also see this review and others @www.readrantrockandroll.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karah Sutton

    EDIT: Thank you everyone who has read, borrowed, bought, or shared A Wolf for a Spell! I hope it's a warm cozy read for readers young and old. If you enjoyed it, I'd also be forever grateful if you would also share your review on Amazon. You aren't required to have purchased on Amazon in order to review. Thank you, and happy reading! --- EDIT: One week until WOLF is out in the world!! Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed so far. I would love for you all to join me and Gail Carson Levine EDIT: Thank you everyone who has read, borrowed, bought, or shared A Wolf for a Spell! I hope it's a warm cozy read for readers young and old. If you enjoyed it, I'd also be forever grateful if you would also share your review on Amazon. You aren't required to have purchased on Amazon in order to review. Thank you, and happy reading! --- EDIT: One week until WOLF is out in the world!! Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed so far. I would love for you all to join me and Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) in talking about the book on Dec 1, at 7pm ET: https://www.josephbeth.com/event/kara... Also I will be chatting with Rediscovered Books on Dec 3 at 4:30pm MT! They have been huge supporters of WOLF, so I hope to have you there: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rediscov... --- Hi everyone! This book is like a window into my 11 year old brain and a love letter to the Russian fairytales, animals, and adventures I loved then and now. I hope you and your young ones enjoy, and thank you so much for reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thank you to NetGalley, Karah Sutton (author), Pauliina Hannuniemi (illustrator), Random House Children's, and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read A Wolf for a Spell in exchange for an honest review. This book is full of Russian lore, mythology, and fairy tale elements. It almost has a "Little Red Riding Hood" feel to it in the beginning, as wolf Zima sees a girl with a red hood in the forest and chooses not to kill her, despite what Zima's pack leader orders. Nadya, the gir Thank you to NetGalley, Karah Sutton (author), Pauliina Hannuniemi (illustrator), Random House Children's, and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read A Wolf for a Spell in exchange for an honest review. This book is full of Russian lore, mythology, and fairy tale elements. It almost has a "Little Red Riding Hood" feel to it in the beginning, as wolf Zima sees a girl with a red hood in the forest and chooses not to kill her, despite what Zima's pack leader orders. Nadya, the girl with the red hood, lives at an orphanage in a nearby village. An older orphan girl that Nadya looks up to as a sister is being taken by the tsar to be wed. Nadya is hoping to be a good girl, to stay away from the forest so she can prove herself and join Katerina at the palace. When Katerina is taken, Nadya decides to visit Baba Yaga, a witch who lives in the forest, to get a gift to take to the tsar so she will be accepted. Meanwhile, Baba Yaga made a terrible mistake with the tsars of the past and needs to fix it before it is too late. The current tsar is not the true heir, and he has some shady plans in the works when it comes to Katerina and Baba Yaga. In order for Baba Yaga to fix her mistake, she must switch bodies with a wolf, and Zima just happens to need help, thus offering herself for exchange. Zima knows nothing of being human. When Nadya seeks Baba Yaga's help, she has no clue that the Baba Yaga she sees is actually a wolf inside the witch's body! Despite not knowing how she can help, Zima, in Baba Yaga's body, offers to help Nadya if Nadya can promise to call off the big wedding hunt the tsar has planned. Zima must unite the forest witch, the wolves, and the people of the villages to bring light and happiness back to the land. This is a very cute story that is easy to read and full of fairy tale magic. It is perfect for middle grade readers, but can be enjoyed by high school age, as well as adults who just need a touch of whimsy in their day. I enjoyed the magical feel of this book, the bit of nostalgia it brings to known fairy tales, and the way it provides its own new fairy tale to tell.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received this as an advance copy via NetGalley. A Wolf for a Spell spins Russian folklore around Baba Yaga into a fun new middle grade book. It follows a number of strong characters: Zima, a young wolf desperate for respect from her pack; Nadya, a young orphan who is sad her dear friend is marrying the tsar and yearns for a family of her own; and Baba Yaga, the magic-wielding old woman who is trying to save the woods before all is lost. Zima strikes a deal the Baba Yaga, and the two end up switc I received this as an advance copy via NetGalley. A Wolf for a Spell spins Russian folklore around Baba Yaga into a fun new middle grade book. It follows a number of strong characters: Zima, a young wolf desperate for respect from her pack; Nadya, a young orphan who is sad her dear friend is marrying the tsar and yearns for a family of her own; and Baba Yaga, the magic-wielding old woman who is trying to save the woods before all is lost. Zima strikes a deal the Baba Yaga, and the two end up switching bodies. Nadya goes to find Baba Yaga for help, and ends up working with the changed-wolf to confront the tsar and save the woods. This is a tale with lots of twists and turns. I found it pretty fun, though the number of names left me confused at times. The tsar also came across as a very one-note bad guy; I wish he’d had more nuance. Still, a fun read, and a good way to introduce kids to Baba Yaga and her delightful chicken-footed house.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenn of The Bookish Society

    Rarely do I read a book for Middle Grade and think immediately about gifting it to everyone I know. The Russian folktale pulls the reader through a high staked multiple viewpoint adventure through the woods. Kids who haven't read any of the Baba Yaga myths are in for a treat. The animal POV reminded me of a bit of Pax by Sara Pennypacker if that book had magic. In this book, You get three rotating points of view, a girl, a wolf, and a witch. All of them have significant problems that they need t Rarely do I read a book for Middle Grade and think immediately about gifting it to everyone I know. The Russian folktale pulls the reader through a high staked multiple viewpoint adventure through the woods. Kids who haven't read any of the Baba Yaga myths are in for a treat. The animal POV reminded me of a bit of Pax by Sara Pennypacker if that book had magic. In this book, You get three rotating points of view, a girl, a wolf, and a witch. All of them have significant problems that they need to solve, and the background of the Russian forest is just ideal when they join together. The magical forest and the quirky witches home keep the scariness to a minimum, all the while building up to a satisfying conclusion. It is on my holiday shortlist as a perfect gift book this year.

  6. 5 out of 5

    The BookSnom

    I am not a big reader of middle grade, but I decided to give this one a try mostly because it’s a retelling of Baba Yaga, a character from Slavic folklore. For those who don’t know me, I come from Romania, which is between a bunch of East European Slavic countries so we do share part of those myths and legends. I haven’t grown up with stories of Baba Yaga, mostly because my Grandma had her own original stories, that she knew from her grandma and so on. But this book made me go back to those cold I am not a big reader of middle grade, but I decided to give this one a try mostly because it’s a retelling of Baba Yaga, a character from Slavic folklore. For those who don’t know me, I come from Romania, which is between a bunch of East European Slavic countries so we do share part of those myths and legends. I haven’t grown up with stories of Baba Yaga, mostly because my Grandma had her own original stories, that she knew from her grandma and so on. But this book made me go back to those cold winters when I would sneak with my little brother in her room and she will start telling us fantastic stories half asleep after a day of hard work. The characters are completely amazing and well written, I enjoyed, in particular, Zima’s POV in Baba Yaga’s body and that somehow it gave me exactly the feeling of a wolf experiencing the human world for the first time. Baba Yaga personifies here one of my favorite tropes, the morally grey character, who’s done some bad, looking to fix it, and you are not sure if you should root from them or not. I do really have trouble finding any kind of faults to this story, while I had a hard time at the beginning with Zima’s POV, and the fact that you are thrown right into it doesn’t help a bit after I got used to it the story had an amazing flow. I honesty was caught up completely, this book has that timeless placeless feeling that fairytales usually have. It does also has a very straightforward plot common to the genre, where the good always triumphs at the end. This was not a problem for me, as I expected it, and is honestly part of the charm with fairytales. In the end, this was a very enjoyable read, and will probably recommend this in the future to middle-grade kids and adults alike.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paige Marie

    This book was amazing from start to finish. The illustrations were so beautiful! A favorite so far this year!! Highly recommend!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elley Murray

    This book is AMAZING. I was a little leery about reading a middle grade book (at the ripe old age of 35...), but I adore Baba Yaga and when I read the back cover blurb I knew I needed to read this book. I can't believe this is Karah Sutton's debut novel!! This intriguing, magical story of a wolf, a girl, and and a witch is written for middle grade readers, and is so well told and that it's enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Told in the limited third-person past tense, A Wolf For A Spell altern This book is AMAZING. I was a little leery about reading a middle grade book (at the ripe old age of 35...), but I adore Baba Yaga and when I read the back cover blurb I knew I needed to read this book. I can't believe this is Karah Sutton's debut novel!! This intriguing, magical story of a wolf, a girl, and and a witch is written for middle grade readers, and is so well told and that it's enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Told in the limited third-person past tense, A Wolf For A Spell alternates between the point of view of Zima (a young female wolf), Nadya (a young orphan girl), and Baba Yaga (a notorious witch, whom you may have heard of...). The threads of their stories are so intricately woven to create a beautiful tapestry of a tale that is, at heart, about finding the courage within yourself. If this is what Karah Sutton brings to the table for her debut, I can't wait to see what she writes next! This is definitely a debut author to watch. A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own. Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter

  9. 5 out of 5

    DeAnne

    *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. While I knew a little about Baba Yaga and some of her attributes, I have never really read a story involving her and I'm so glad this was my first. We follow a few different perspectives in this story with Baba Yaga being one of them, the others being Zima (a wolf) and Nadya (a young girl). At the surface this could certainly be framed as a fairy tale, but I felt it went much deeper than that. The three characters we follow as *I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. While I knew a little about Baba Yaga and some of her attributes, I have never really read a story involving her and I'm so glad this was my first. We follow a few different perspectives in this story with Baba Yaga being one of them, the others being Zima (a wolf) and Nadya (a young girl). At the surface this could certainly be framed as a fairy tale, but I felt it went much deeper than that. The three characters we follow as well as other characters go through transformations. There's a lot of narrative about not taking things at face value and forming their own opinions/decisions. There's also a lot about learning to face your fears or rise above fear when you feel it. I absolutely flew through this story and was engrossed the entire time I was reading it. I did not want to put it down since I was so absorbed. The style of writing was easy to read and just kept me hooked the whole time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sigelakis-Minski

    See full review on my blog, Sam's Beach Reads. I was so excited to receive this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Children’s because it has so many things that I love: Russian mythology, an animal narrator, and a spooky forest. One of my favorite ARCS I’ve ever gotten from Netgalley was Bear and the Nightingale, a YA historical fantasy based in Russia. A Wolf for a Spell is even more exciting to me to a certain extent (despite my lack of experience with middle grade books), because of Baba Yag See full review on my blog, Sam's Beach Reads. I was so excited to receive this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Children’s because it has so many things that I love: Russian mythology, an animal narrator, and a spooky forest. One of my favorite ARCS I’ve ever gotten from Netgalley was Bear and the Nightingale, a YA historical fantasy based in Russia. A Wolf for a Spell is even more exciting to me to a certain extent (despite my lack of experience with middle grade books), because of Baba Yaga!! What I Loved: The Split Narrative. Normally, I am not a fan of split narrative. It distracts the reader, gets confusing, and often, writers use it as a tool to have the reader be omniscient. It also usually results in weird time gaps that make no sense, so the reader has no idea how far along in the story they are. In Wolf for a Spell, Sutton does a really good job of showing instead of telling. Nadya, Zima, and Baba Yaga all have a role in a larger plot, and each of them is equally important. The satisfying conclusion could not have happened if not for each of these strong female characters doing exactly what they did when they did it. Strong Female Characters. Without being redundant, I think that Zima, Baba Yaga, and Nadya each deserve a call out for being really well-written, flawed but relatable. Zima is a wolf who has the wellbeing of her pack at the forefront, who is willing to risk losing herself to Baba Yaga to save her brother, and who can recognize that humans are not the ultimate enemy. Baba Yaga wants to save the forest at all costs, but learns that she hasn’t been listening to the forest’s needs until she meets other people. And Nadya is a brave little girl who saves her friend and the forest, and does so despite being neglected. I also love her goal of learning the forest in and out. The Worldbuild. Sutton sets the stage for the reader to enter medieval Russia, a cold place where tsars are made through bloodshed and the forests seem all consuming. The snowstorms are fierce, the people are gritty, and things can kill you quite easily. However, Sutton also keeps it light in that these things are shown, without the characters being adversely affected by it (no one dies in the snow, or gets eaten by wolves in-page). This strikes a good balance for a middle grade book, so the reader can get the ambiance without being scarred for life. What Didn’t Work as Well: The Pacing. This is a minor problem, since I think overall Wolf for a Spell was paced well, but I did think that the beginning to middle of the book flew by, while the last half was slower. For me, it was fine, but for a younger reader, it may make more sense to space the action sequences further apart to keep interest engaged. I would have also made each section a little longer so the reader gets to spend time with each character more. That is really it as far as negatives go. I am unused to reviewing middle grade books, but from the perspective of a younger reader, this hits all the right notes. Bottom Line: I would buy this for my niece in a heartbeat if she was old enough. Wolf for a Spell is a great way to introduce younger readers to Russian mythology and a kid-friendly way to bring in Baba Yaga, who has a bit of an infamous legacy in Russian canon. I loved the animal narrator, since it teaches children empathy for other creatures, and also has some good lessons about the environment and nature. Bonus, it comes with some gorgeous illustrations. Favorite quote: I am the forest. It flows through me. And now, I will flow through it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Many thanks to Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for the ARC. If A Wolf for a Spell had existed when I was a kid, it probably would have been one of my favorites. This Middle Grade novel based on Russian fairy tales has everything I could possibly want: wolves, magic, a plucky young heroine, and (did I mention?) fairy tales. It's a story that will entrance any fantasy loving child and that's equally enjoyable for adults. It also features gorgeous illustrations Many thanks to Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for the ARC. If A Wolf for a Spell had existed when I was a kid, it probably would have been one of my favorites. This Middle Grade novel based on Russian fairy tales has everything I could possibly want: wolves, magic, a plucky young heroine, and (did I mention?) fairy tales. It's a story that will entrance any fantasy loving child and that's equally enjoyable for adults. It also features gorgeous illustrations by Finnish artist Pauliina Hannuniemi. I am officially obsessed with her art. It's so beautiful! Look at that cover! The illustrations match the story perfectly. I'd love to see what they look like in a print edition instead of on an e-reader. My favorite thing about the book was, of course, all the fairy tale elements. Readers familiar with even just the most basic Russian fairy tales will recognize Baba Yaga, her hut, the gray wolf, and Ivan. There's also a slight nod to "Vasilisa the Beautiful" with Katerina's magic doll. However, I wouldn't quite call this book a retelling. From what I can tell, the plot is entirely original, and Sutton puts her own take on the familiar characters. Zima is entirely different from the Gray Wolf who appears in Russian fairy tales, and Sutton opts to use Baba Yaga as a magical helper rather than as a villain. This isn't unprecedented in fairy tales; she appears as a helper in several tales, but it seems she's more well-known as a villain. The story is told in the limited third person, and we rotate between Zima, Nadya, and Baba Yaga as the point of view characters. It was great to see three strong female characters working together due to their love for the forest. Zima was my favorite, mainly because I love wolves but also because of her dedication to protecting her family and home. I also loved that Baba Yaga is included as one of the three major protagonists. A character like her would usually be a side character, someone to give the heroine information and help her out of a few scrapes. Having her as a point of view character was fantastic. I did feel the development of certain characters was lacking a bit. By the end, I knew Zima and Nadya and even Katerina quite well. I never quite felt the same way about Baba Yaga; I wanted to know more about her. But the lack of development was most noticeable in the villain, Tsar Aleksander. He feels flat and just evil for the sake of being evil. I never got a good idea of his motivations. This didn't bother me too much because it is in keeping with the fairy tale feel of the novel, but I would have liked to see a little more. Overall, A Wolf for a Spell is a beautifully illustrated fairy tale that is perfect for any fantasy loving child and can be enjoyed just as much by an adult.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Divya

    A Wolf for a Spell follows the story of Zima, a wolf who is extremely wary of humans. However, fate leads to Zima exchanging her body with Baba Yaga’s for a certain period of time- for a reason. Will Baba Yaga get to complete her goal, and does Zima get to return back to her body? This book is so cute, I JUST CANNOT. AAARGH. I have read more than a few middlegrade gems this year, but this one certainly takes the cake for me! Whimsical stories are my jam. I’ve always been fascinated with the Baba Y A Wolf for a Spell follows the story of Zima, a wolf who is extremely wary of humans. However, fate leads to Zima exchanging her body with Baba Yaga’s for a certain period of time- for a reason. Will Baba Yaga get to complete her goal, and does Zima get to return back to her body? This book is so cute, I JUST CANNOT. AAARGH. I have read more than a few middlegrade gems this year, but this one certainly takes the cake for me! Whimsical stories are my jam. I’ve always been fascinated with the Baba Yaga stories, but this was my first time actually reading one related to it. And this was my first Russian folklore book too! Yay! I loved the fairy tales vibes. Honestly. From Zima being turned into a human who can start speaking immediately to Baba Yaga’s final plan, everything was seemingly non-complicated and that’s what I like the best about middlegrade. It’s like a breath of fresh air! I absolutely adored the huge cast of characters, from Zima to Baba Yaga to Veter to Nadya and EVERYBODY ELSE. Also, look at the ABSOLUTE GORGEOUSNESS that is the cover of this book! I’m dying to hold this in my hands. The story was incredibly quick paced, and is very engrossing. The ending though, hit me hard omg. It was just so perfect that I had to close my kindle and just stare at the wall in front for me for a whole five minutes. This book would be perfect for anyone who’s looking for a light, captivating, and charming little fairytale! Definitely recommend.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Candyce Kirk

    A Wolf for a Spell was my first time reading a Baba Yaga retelling and I highly enjoyed this book. It's clear this book has been influence by Russian fairy tales and I loved how everything comes together. Karah Sutton created a world I really enjoyed and could really see as I was reading the book. I really appreciated the 3 POVs in this story. For me it really help keep the story going and me wondering how they were all going to come together. In A Wolf for a Spell we follow Zima (a wolf), Nadya A Wolf for a Spell was my first time reading a Baba Yaga retelling and I highly enjoyed this book. It's clear this book has been influence by Russian fairy tales and I loved how everything comes together. Karah Sutton created a world I really enjoyed and could really see as I was reading the book. I really appreciated the 3 POVs in this story. For me it really help keep the story going and me wondering how they were all going to come together. In A Wolf for a Spell we follow Zima (a wolf), Nadya and the witch Baba Yaga. All three of these characters are stronger than they realize and plan on fighting for what they believe in. None of them plan on sitting around doing nothing. My favorite thing about middle grade books are the lessons we often find in them. I really believe A Wolf for a Spell shows us to believe in ourselves and family isn't always blood. In the end our main characters come together to fight evil and it shows that not all is what it seems. Wolves, witches and humans can come together to make everything right. For me A Wolf for a Spell was a magical adventure that I'll definitely revisit in the future. I really hope Karah Sutton writes more magical middle grade books. Her writing style and imagination made this book a great read. Add some really nice illustrations throughout this book and I was a happy bookworm. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by this author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brandy {The Review Booth}

    I love Russian folklore, so naturally I was beyond excited to join the tour and read this middle grade fantasy. This version of Baba Yaga was the most positive light I have seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her this way. One of my favorite things was one of her modes of travel – a mortar and pestle that could take flight. The illustration for it was even better! I was not expecting illustrations but they are rustic and lovely. They also provide illustrative breaks for younger readers t I love Russian folklore, so naturally I was beyond excited to join the tour and read this middle grade fantasy. This version of Baba Yaga was the most positive light I have seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her this way. One of my favorite things was one of her modes of travel – a mortar and pestle that could take flight. The illustration for it was even better! I was not expecting illustrations but they are rustic and lovely. They also provide illustrative breaks for younger readers to look at and enjoy. I loved seeing the intertwining relationships and their importance throughout the book. Once each character ceased attempting to use force and let situations guide them, it brought them all to exactly where they needed to be. Zima and Baba Yaga learned the most about themselves throughout A Wolf for a Spell, heightened by the fact that they switched bodies. Even though Baba Yaga thought she was prepared for the outcome – she wasn’t. The supporting characters were also well done, I didn’t feel like they lacked depth or reasons behind what they were doing in the story. My favorite was the snarky raven – so much sass for a bird. A Wolf for a Spell is a beautiful tale with beautiful illustrations about finding your true path, making the right choices (and how to make up for them if you don’t), and how good found family and a place to belong can feel. I would highly recommend reading this book to those who enjoy middle grade, folklore, fairytales, and fantasy. I would like to thank TBR and Beyond Tours and Karah Sutton for the chance to read a digital ARC of A Wolf for a Spell – all opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sally Griffin

    4.5/5 A Wolf for a Spell is a fantastic fairy tale. While not quite a retelling of previous fairy tales, it's definitely inspired by tales of Baba Yaga and the grey wolf. I loved this version of the grey wolf, Zima is well fleshed out and I loved her time in the castle. If I'm honest, I think it was a mistake to have parts of the book from Nadya's POV. She's just not that strong a character and it took away from Baba Yaga and Katerina's stories. I think Katerina should have been the POV instead. I 4.5/5 A Wolf for a Spell is a fantastic fairy tale. While not quite a retelling of previous fairy tales, it's definitely inspired by tales of Baba Yaga and the grey wolf. I loved this version of the grey wolf, Zima is well fleshed out and I loved her time in the castle. If I'm honest, I think it was a mistake to have parts of the book from Nadya's POV. She's just not that strong a character and it took away from Baba Yaga and Katerina's stories. I think Katerina should have been the POV instead. I think that would have allowed me to sink deeper into the story. Overall, this is a sweet book but I think it should have been a few pages longer to really give it that richness it seemed to be aiming for.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    3.5/5 I'm a sucker for Baba Yaga tales, so this one was right up my alley. Luckily though this wasn't as terrifying as most Baba Yaga tales can go and it's perfect for older kids/younger MG. It's delightful and has the feel of a traditional fairytale and not to mention it also has a huge case of wonderfully strong, kind, and grave female characters, both 2-legged and 4-legged! The pacing was good, not too slow but enough chapters that a lot developed over the course of time. A fun read! Thanks to 3.5/5 I'm a sucker for Baba Yaga tales, so this one was right up my alley. Luckily though this wasn't as terrifying as most Baba Yaga tales can go and it's perfect for older kids/younger MG. It's delightful and has the feel of a traditional fairytale and not to mention it also has a huge case of wonderfully strong, kind, and grave female characters, both 2-legged and 4-legged! The pacing was good, not too slow but enough chapters that a lot developed over the course of time. A fun read! Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Allison (SPELLBOUND READER)

    Thank you Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. . Middle grade books that can be loved by readers of all ages are my favorites! A Wolf for a Spell is odd, charming, cozy book with a dash of whimsy. Would recommend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A well told story. I loved the three POVs of wolf, Baba Yaga, and Nadya.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rafaela (dragonsandpaperbacks)

    Review coming soon.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bobby

    Delightful characters and a wonderful story very well told!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I received an electronic ARC from Random House Children's Publishing through NetGalley. Readers meet a rather different Baba Yaga when she tries to right a mistake she made in first dealing with the current Tsar. To do this, she needs to trade places with a gray wolf. Zima also makes a mistake when she does not attack a human who has come into their forest. This leads to her brother being severely injured. A bargain is struck and wolf and witch trade places. The story spins out as both characters I received an electronic ARC from Random House Children's Publishing through NetGalley. Readers meet a rather different Baba Yaga when she tries to right a mistake she made in first dealing with the current Tsar. To do this, she needs to trade places with a gray wolf. Zima also makes a mistake when she does not attack a human who has come into their forest. This leads to her brother being severely injured. A bargain is struck and wolf and witch trade places. The story spins out as both characters do what they can to save their forest from destruction. Sutton created her fantasy with rich characters who show their flaws and needs along with their strengths. Each is finding their way to save others and figure out how to adapt to new ways.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nichole

    I love Baba Yaga stories, and this one is fantastic! Definitely one of my favorite middle grades. I loved the characters and the message of this book. And the cover is so beautiful. I have already ordered a finished copy. I received a copy from Net Galley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tanya E

    This is the 2nd Middle School book I’ve read as an adult (and both just in this month alone) and I must say, I think I’ve been missing out on some really great reads. Where were these awesome books when I was in Middle School, I wonder? As a child in school, I remember watching a short film that took place in snowy Russia, had a wolf and a boy as the main characters, fighting against some evil villain. I remember I really liked the short film, I can recall a few images in my mind, but that’s abou This is the 2nd Middle School book I’ve read as an adult (and both just in this month alone) and I must say, I think I’ve been missing out on some really great reads. Where were these awesome books when I was in Middle School, I wonder? As a child in school, I remember watching a short film that took place in snowy Russia, had a wolf and a boy as the main characters, fighting against some evil villain. I remember I really liked the short film, I can recall a few images in my mind, but that’s about it. I’m guessing now, that was probably a popular Russian fable and I think A Wolf for a Spell may loosely be based off of that particular fable, sort of like the reimagining of Fairy Tales that have gained popularity over the past several years. Like those, this book is so much fun! And the cover! It is just simply beautiful. It’s like a piece of art that I want to have on my bookshelf, immediately! A Wolf for a Spell is a beautifully written, magical tale that begins with a classic good vs evil scenario. Zima, the (good) wolf and Baba Yaga, the (evil) witch are both in need of life-altering assistance that only the other can provide. “A crack and a snap split the air. And then the witch was before her. Baba Yaga. Zima had never seen her, but there was no mistaking the cane in her bony hand and the smell of magic clinging to her like smoke. Her skin was as rough and wrinkled as the bark of a pine, and what little gray hair she had stuck out in all directions from her head like many twigs forming a crown. Stone-gray teeth punctured shriveled gums.” Zima has always been told by her pack to stay away from Baba Yaga and her evil magic as previous interactions with the witch have left other wolves forever cursed. “Humans lie. The witch lies. Wolves do not lie.” But when Zima’s family is in danger, Baba Yaga is the only source she can turn to for help. Baba Yaga has never had the inclination to care about anyone or anything except her hut and her woods (and maybe her raven). But now an evil threatens to impose its will over her woods and the winds have whispered that she must find the grey wolf before it’s too late. “For so long she’d been content to stay in her hut and let the problems of the outside world pass her by as though they didn’t concern her. But they did. The forest was now in danger because of her mistake – no, her choice. Of all the evils in the world, the greatest was the temptation of the easy path over the right one.” Add to this interesting plot, 2 girls from the orphanage who will play very important roles in this story and you have a large female cast of characters that will have the ability to shape the future of their land. Go girl power!! The roller coaster of events will take you on an adventure that will definitely keep you up late at night (yes – I’m very sleep deprived this morning) to find out what happens. There are some moments in the story with strong themes of family (both family chosen for you and family you chose) that will sufficiently warm your heart and keep you cozy on these long winter nights. And don’t let the Young Adults label keep you away from these great stories. This is definitely worth the read, whether you are a YA or an Adult!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Balsamo

    I would like to thank PRH International for providing a digital copy in exchanged of an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I always, always love reading middle grade books. Every story is just cozy, warm, and refreshing. The heart is also always present in it. I wouldn't deny that I picked this book because of its beautiful cover. Who wouldn't, right? What I didn't expect is how I would love the story so much. A Wolf for a Spell is an enchanting middle grade n I would like to thank PRH International for providing a digital copy in exchanged of an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I always, always love reading middle grade books. Every story is just cozy, warm, and refreshing. The heart is also always present in it. I wouldn't deny that I picked this book because of its beautiful cover. Who wouldn't, right? What I didn't expect is how I would love the story so much. A Wolf for a Spell is an enchanting middle grade novel that is heavily woven with Russian folklores. The story is unique and original. Plus, it has strong yet lovable characters. It followed the three main characters: Zima, Nadya and Baba Yaga. Zima was a wolf who dedicated her life protecting her pack and home. Nadya was a young girl who often went to the forest to find somewhere which she belonged. Baba Yaga was the forest witch who had a bad reputation among wolves and humans. When the forest which the three of them loved was threatened to be destroyed, the unlikely trio teamed up to face a common enemy. Upon reading the synopsis, the plot was pretty straightforward, but there were some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. It was told through the alternating POVs of the three protagonists. The pacing was good, and the author did a great job describing the overall atmosphere and setting of the book. Lastly, did I mention that this novel also has gorgeous illustrations? They really complimented and highlighted the story telling. The things that made this book standout for me were the Russian folklores and fairy tale elements. To people like me who weren't familiar with Russian folklores, you wouldn't be lost and confused. Instead, it was a great introduction to Russian folklores. I was amazed with the uniqueness and quirkiness of these elements. I only knew Baba Yaga and her character was often viewed as a villain. That was why I really liked how she was portrayed as one of the protagonists instead. Overall, A Wolf for a Spell is a delightful tale both young readers and adults will surely enjoy. It talks about finding your home, unlikely friendships, and understanding oneself. I highly recommend this novel. 5/5 stars!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Yakira Goldsberry

    A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton sounds like your typical fairytale retelling for middle grade readers. Promising intrigue, fun and action. But A Wolf for a Spell is much different. At first I was a little skeptical, as it’s a retelling of the story of Baba Yaga, but as I read, I realized just what a fascinating and beautiful retelling the book really is. A Wolf for a Spell follows three characters—Zima, a wolf; Baba Yaga, the forest witch; and Nadya, a girl who doesn’t want to be separated fro A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton sounds like your typical fairytale retelling for middle grade readers. Promising intrigue, fun and action. But A Wolf for a Spell is much different. At first I was a little skeptical, as it’s a retelling of the story of Baba Yaga, but as I read, I realized just what a fascinating and beautiful retelling the book really is. A Wolf for a Spell follows three characters—Zima, a wolf; Baba Yaga, the forest witch; and Nadya, a girl who doesn’t want to be separated from her childhood friend. All three characters meet when Baba Yaga switches bodies with the wolf so that she can hunt down the true heir to the throne, and when the girl comes to Baba Yaga for help, not knowing that the witch isn’t really the witch. I could try to pick a favorite character but that would be nearly impossible. All three were very interesting, well-rounded characters, each with their own goals that ultimately tied together. I loved the fact that one of the characters was a wolf, as wolves are one of my favorite animals. It was also nice to see an old character as a protagonist, as that’s not done often enough in fiction. I also enjoyed the new twist on the plot and the forest-magic. There were some moments in the book, however, that I feared things might go a little too far and would be more suited for older readers, but Sutton never described any of the violence or ‘scary’ moments in a way that would be too much for young readers. I can confidently say that my younger sisters, who still read Middle Grade, would be able to enjoy this book without me worrying that something was too much. Overall, A Wolf for a Spell was a beautiful and unique twist on the tale of Baba Yaga and is perfect for fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill and the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson and can even be enjoyed by older audiences. NOTE: I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley for review purposes only. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debjani Ghosh

    The wolves do not trust humans or witches. Yet, when her pack is in danger, Zima, a young wolf, is forced to take Baba Yaga’s help. But Baba Yaga does not help for free. She wants something from Zima – her keen sense of smell. The result – Zima switched bodies with Baba Yaga, who flees into the forest to set her secret plan to fruition. Meanwhile, Nadya, an orphan girl, visits Baba Yaga seeking her help. How will Baba Yaga, Zima, and Nadya help each other and help their beloved forest? Wolves, Wi The wolves do not trust humans or witches. Yet, when her pack is in danger, Zima, a young wolf, is forced to take Baba Yaga’s help. But Baba Yaga does not help for free. She wants something from Zima – her keen sense of smell. The result – Zima switched bodies with Baba Yaga, who flees into the forest to set her secret plan to fruition. Meanwhile, Nadya, an orphan girl, visits Baba Yaga seeking her help. How will Baba Yaga, Zima, and Nadya help each other and help their beloved forest? Wolves, Witches, forests – my favorite concoction in the world. I am glad to say Karah Sutton’s A Wolf for a Spell brews this concoction perfectly. A Wolf for a Spell is a story of compassion, finding friends in the unlikeliest of places, and facing your fears. It is lucidly written and poignantly drives home the fact that you do not need to be the biggest, fiercest wolf to lead your pack. Sometimes, you can be the wolf whom no one believes can win. What is important is to believe in yourself and not let fear hold you back. The book sketches vivid portraits of a pack of wolves running through verdant forests, large and tall gold-decked castles whose turrets touch the sky, and a dangerous but magical and protecting forest. The magic in the book does not overwhelm the plot. The simple illustrations further bolster the strength of the book. Further, all the characters felt real to me. However, Zima was my favorite. She does not cling to the rigid beliefs of her pack, trusts her instincts, and forms her own opinions. Moreover, the story builds to a tense and bittersweet climax. A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton is an enchanting Russian folklore retelling. It is a perfect wintry read and will endear itself in no time to the middle-grade audience. Recommended for young readers. Many thanks to the publisher for my digital copy of the book via Netgalley.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cassidy

    This review was originally on my blog at https://cassidymgbooks.wordpress.com/... A Wolf for a Spell is about Zima, a wolf struggling with her pack leader/brother, and how she switches bodies with Baba Yaga in a deal to save a different brother. After finding out that the whole forest is in danger, she, along with Nadya, a (human) girl from the village, and a few other friends, set out to stop it. I thought that this book was kind of similar to a fairy tale. Maybe that's mostly because Baba Yaga's This review was originally on my blog at https://cassidymgbooks.wordpress.com/... A Wolf for a Spell is about Zima, a wolf struggling with her pack leader/brother, and how she switches bodies with Baba Yaga in a deal to save a different brother. After finding out that the whole forest is in danger, she, along with Nadya, a (human) girl from the village, and a few other friends, set out to stop it. I thought that this book was kind of similar to a fairy tale. Maybe that's mostly because Baba Yaga's in it, and it takes place in (something like) fairy tale Russia, but it was still fun. I liked the characters, but I did feel like Baba Yaga should have gotten more character development. Or maybe she didn't really need it. I'm not exactly sure... I also thought that, even though she wasn't really a main character, Katerina could have also done with some more character development, beyond being perfect and then making a few mistakes. And if that was being done, I feel like it could have been written a little better. I really liked Veter, though. There were a few other things that I thought could have been better, like how there seemed to be a few things that seemed already used, (very slight spoiler) like some past tsar being a good person, but the current tsar being pretty much totally evil, and the climax towards the end of the book. But I really liked the very ending, with the bittersweet place where all of the characters were left at. In the end, I think that this was a pretty solid read. I would recommend this book for grades two through five. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children's for the DRC (Digital Review Copy)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Sutton combines Russian folklore with curious characters and descriptive writing to build an enticing fantasy world for young readers as multiple stories converge into a whirlwind of adventures. Zima, a wolf, and Nadya, a young girl, both seek the help of Baba Yaga but neither of them get what they expect. Zima is tricked into trading bodies with Baba Yaga so the witch can carry out a secretive quest. Nadya then arrives, believing Zima to be the true Baba Yaga and makes her heartfelt request. Th Sutton combines Russian folklore with curious characters and descriptive writing to build an enticing fantasy world for young readers as multiple stories converge into a whirlwind of adventures. Zima, a wolf, and Nadya, a young girl, both seek the help of Baba Yaga but neither of them get what they expect. Zima is tricked into trading bodies with Baba Yaga so the witch can carry out a secretive quest. Nadya then arrives, believing Zima to be the true Baba Yaga and makes her heartfelt request. The two are thrown into a perilous predicament and they'll need to use everything they have, courage, love, and magic, to save those they care for. Sutton's writing is so full of descriptive details that readers can nearly feel the ice form around them as the cold winter blows through the enchanted forest. This narrative style fits perfectly with the story as the setting, characters, and plot are peppered unique elements to make readers eager to learn more. Even characters that lack a large amount of "page time" are granted full personalities and motivations to make the story seem even more tangible. The only downfall of the book is pacing. The chapters switch between the perspectives of Nadya, Zima, and Baba Yaga, offering pieces of the puzzling plot as they go, but the switch is often quick, giving readers only a few pages to acclimate to the new information. Overall, this is a charming title with an all-too-rarely featured folklore character and a fantastic message of confidence, love, and courage.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Brandt

    What an absolute delight of a book! I often will read books on recommendations from friends without reading the jacket of the book. About thirty pages into this book, I stopped and flipped to the front of the book to read the description and exclaimed, "WOW! What a fascinating sounding book. I'm so glad I'm reading this!" Truly, I'm so glad I got to read. A Wolf for a Spell has all of the story pieces I most love: the interweaving of folk tales (here, we read about Baba Yaga, Ivan, wolves and oth What an absolute delight of a book! I often will read books on recommendations from friends without reading the jacket of the book. About thirty pages into this book, I stopped and flipped to the front of the book to read the description and exclaimed, "WOW! What a fascinating sounding book. I'm so glad I'm reading this!" Truly, I'm so glad I got to read. A Wolf for a Spell has all of the story pieces I most love: the interweaving of folk tales (here, we read about Baba Yaga, Ivan, wolves and other Russian fairy tales that I'm not as familiar with!), many moving pieces and characters that twine together in unexpected ways, magic that comes from the earth, subtle messages of heart and having the space to discover who you truly are, and a tone and atmosphere that feels like a fairy tale itself. Not one character in this book is who they first seem to be. I quite enjoyed having the opportunity to watch expectations for who characters would be turned on their heads. All of the point-of-view characters were beautifully written, from Zima (the wolf) to Baba Yaga (the witch). It's not easy to pull off a book with this many POVs, but Sutton managed it quite artfully. I quite happily read this in one sitting. Karah Sutton is a wonderful writer. It will be very fun to see what she comes up with next.

  30. 5 out of 5

    gwendalyn _books_

    This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. This is a non spoiler review, because you as reader need to read this book. Also, I feel sometimes I have in the past gave away to much of the plot line. This has diminished the pleasure for would be readers A YA middle grade historical fantasy based in Russia. A Wolf for a Spell featuring my all time favorite perceptive for middle grade bo This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. This is a non spoiler review, because you as reader need to read this book. Also, I feel sometimes I have in the past gave away to much of the plot line. This has diminished the pleasure for would be readers A YA middle grade historical fantasy based in Russia. A Wolf for a Spell featuring my all time favorite perceptive for middle grade books, animal narration. “I am the forest. It flows through me. And now, I will flow through it.” A spellbinding Russian inspired tale that is richly detailed. This story inspired by RussiaA delightful fairy tale told in alternating chapters by three main POV’s. A young orphaned girl Nadya, a female wolf Zima, and the witch Baba Yada... and the woods that must be saved. These three characters will find their past cross and their destinies enter-woven together in charming middle grade book. Karah Sutton delivers a compelling, intriguing, and well-written read here with absolutely fantastic characters that I found myself captivated with. This stunning book that I can’t wait to read more from author.

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