Review: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox!

Happy Saturday everyone! I don’t know what all is happening weather-wise around the globe but here in Dallas it’s been a constant downpour all day. It’s perfect for cuddling up on the couch and reading. I’m so excited to ring in the new season of cooler weather with some exciting creepy reads! Today I’m going to be bringing you all a review for quite the witchy read! I read this one with the Traveling Sisters, hosted by Brenda and Norma over at Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee and it was a fantastic group read! We’ve all ended up really enjoying it which I can tell you, doesn’t happen often.

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I mean Halloween = tiny pumpkins right?

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Initial Thoughts: 

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Aw yeah, get it you witchy woman.

Welcome fellow readers, to 1800’s Boston, Massachusetts – two centuries after the Salem Witch Trials. Meet Lydia Montrose – she is the daughter of a wealthy businessman and a prim AF lady of the house. She does not shine quite as bright or as boldly as her elder sister Catherine, and she is not as imaginative and carefree as her younger sister Emeline. As a prominent family in the large city of Boston, we enter our story with the devastation of having to leave their established society due to the rumor mill churning on about Lydia’s sister Catherine. They’ve left Boston in the wake of scandal for what was intended to be a summer home in the quiet countryside town of New Oldsberry to make Willow Hall their home.

Yet at the same time I want to untether my heart, toss it up into the sky and let it take wing. There’s a wildness here that, if nothing else, holds promise, possibility.

While Catherine and her mother lament this move, Emeline is too young to care about much except for the prospect of mermaids in a nearby pond. Lydia, having recently had her engagement broken off wants nothing more than to care for her younger sister and avoid any more scandal befalling her family. However, Lydia has past secrets buried deep within her that she must keep bottled up but that Willow Hall seems to want to bring to the surface.

As the family settles into their new home, strange happenings seem to follow in Lydia’s wake. She hears the deep, painful wails of a woman in mourning, she sees pale-faced little boys roaming the grounds and their tinkling laughter fill the halls. As Lydia continues to ignore these signs, tragedy befalls the Montrose family and these dark secrets about her familial past come bubbling to the surface.

A witch has a third eye that she may use to see the world not as it is, but as it may be. See what you want to see, bend the vision to your will.

This was truly the perfect blend of many different genres that I couldn’t imagine a better book to ring in the Halloween season. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a bit of a seasonal reader but I don’t think you have to be one to enjoy changing things up as the weather and atmosphere around you change as well. There’s something so enchanting to me about this time period as the weather cools down outside. There is an intoxicating ambiance to the propriety, fashion, customs and overall vibe of novels like this that just get me in the mood for the season.

In addition to the historical fiction/fantasy that Fox has constructed here, there is a bit of romance thrown in. Based on the synopsis I didn’t see this coming and while I haven’t been reading a lot of romance recently I’m honestly a sucker for a good love story. I love getting swept up in the excitement that goes along with romance and I’m a bit of a cheese-ball so I loved seeing that pop up here. However, I think that even if you aren’t a big romance fan that it wouldn’t sway you from enjoying this story. The romance isn’t overwhelming or insta-love the way many are these days. It feels genuine and I my heart soared and sank as the romance ebbed and flowed and I was absolutely on the edge of my seat to see how it all played out.

“Lydia Montrose,” he said, his sea-storm eyes dancing with light, “you are an exquisite little mystery and I have never wanted anything or anyone so badly in my life.”

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Hey boy hey. #SWOONING

What left me wanting a bit more with this one, however, was that it got a bit bogged down on weaving what felt like less necessary plot points. I was left wanting a bit more witchy-ness and development into the history of the Montrose family. The first quarter of this moved fairly slowly for me and it did start to pick up but didn’t really get moving to me personally until the second half. While I enjoyed the ending and my overall takeaway was pure enjoyment and entertainment I wish I knew more about what felt like the basis of this novel (witches and history) and little less about the MCs feelings about the scandals that will ultimately be forgotten.

Despite a few misgivings I absolutely adored this novel and I’d suggest it to anyone to pick up and read. It has a little bit of everything in it and I think anyone who loves a good October read would really enjoy this. It was expertly written, well paced and had developed and likable characters throughout.

Long Story Short: 

end
Just read it.

Suggested For: Fans of historical fiction, fantasy, ghost/witch stories and anyone looking for a good October / Halloween read!

Music Mood: Sake of the Sound by Front Country


Do you seasonally read? What are some books you have in store for the upcoming Holiday season? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

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Where The Crawdads Sing Review + A Southern Comfort Feast!

All right, all right, all right fellow readers – welcome back to the table! It has been a hot minute but I’m finally smoothing out a difficult transition and back on my reading, reviewing and recipie-ing game! This week I’m really excited about my Recipe and a Read. We’re bringing this one back to the good ol’ U-S-of-A with some traditional southern comfort. I’ll be reviewing Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and giving you all a recipe for fried shrimp, cheese grits, fried “okree” and fried green tomatoes! As I mentioned in a previous post, my little family isn’t big on frying food for many reasons – mainly because it’s not super healthy and it makes a giant mess. However! One must suffer for their art (also it’s been a dumpster fire the last few weeks so #TREATYOSELF). I read this one with the Traveling Sisters and we’ve all equally loved this story – it’s outside of what I’d normally pick up for myself but as I’ve said before, these ladies know how to pick them!

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Special Guest: Fitzgerald

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Initial thoughts:

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All aboard the hype train.

When Kya Clark is 6 years old, she watches as her mother walks away from her, seemingly without a second thought. With the departure of their matriarch, the Clark family slowly but surely vanishes into the marsh that will become the only family Kya will ever know. Her siblings leave shortly after her mother, leaving Kya alone with her father who is negligent at best and abusive at worst. She is left to raise herself, care for her father and their home as she struggles with feelings of abandonment, a deep loneliness and fear that during one of her father’s absences social workers will come whisk her away to the dreaded group home.

She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored and protected her when no one else would.

It’s the 1950’s when we’re given the bulk of Kya’s story and upbringing. To say it was difficult is putting it in the absolute mildest terms. She has no education to speak of, she has no means to make money and she must rely on her whit and the lessons of the marsh and a few kind townspeople. For the most part, people avoid her, don’t let their children play with her, mock and marginalize her. As we see Kya grow, what really shows most brightly for me was her utter resilience. She is one of the strongest and most genuinely likable characters I’ve come across in a long time.

While Kya’s story is our main timeline, there is a dual timeline running in 1969 that starts off with the death of town legend and golden boy Chase Andrews. As rumors entrench the town about what could have happened to Chase, what might have happened in his past with Kya, things get sticky.

Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.

This, at it’s heart, is a deeply sad but moving story about a misunderstood girl, about abandonment and loss. However, there are uplifting moments and characters that come into Kya’s life that shed light into her dreary and lonely world – through friendships with a shop owner named Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel, through a boy named Tate who teaches Kya not just how to read but about acceptance and friendship and joy. These two timelines slowly begin to converge upon one another and as it does the true gem of this story becomes apparent: nature and all it’s wonders.

I really took my time reading this one, and while it did start off a little slow for me, what never wavered was the truly magnificent prose that Owen deals out with an incredibly deft hand. I’m not sure I’ve ever read something so empirically lovely, it’s the type of story that satisfies a need for a reader to love and appreciate language. One of my favorite things I’ve found in many historical fiction novels is the ability of an author to create secondary characters out of things like setting, the time period and in this case, the marsh itself.

Kya was bonded to her planet and its life in a way few people are. Rooted solid in this earn. Born of this mother.

I’m not sure I quite understood what the term atmospheric meant prior to reading this novel. The marsh, the insects, the birds, the mud and the sand permeate this entire story. It creates a heady need to immerse oneself fully in prose so elegant and indulgent that you can’t help but reflect in awe of the ability to weave such a vivid and emotional story in a way that becomes exceedingly difficult to do it justice with mere words that ultimately fall flat in comparison to what you have just read.

Long Story Short: end

Suggested for: Fans of historical fiction, lovers of language and beautiful prose, those with an appreciation for nature in general.

Alrighty then, now that we’ve sufficiently fawned over this incredibly beautiful book lets get this dinner party started!!! I’m not doing serving sizes, calories or any of that stuff for this one because honestly this is not healthy, but it is delicious! This recipe is a little more involved than my average recipe but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for this one!

Carolina Fried Shrimp Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pounds shrimp
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Enough oil for frying (I’ll be doing all my frying in the same oil so I’ll fry the shrimp last to not add a seafood flavor to the other food)

Fried Okra Ingredients:

  • 1 (ish) pound fresh okra, sliced ½ inch think
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Fried Green Tomatoes Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium sized green tomatoes, cut into 1/3 inch slices
  • Salt to taste

Cheese Grits Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded

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DIRECTIONS – Fried Shrimp:

  1. Peel and de-vein shrimp, combine flour and spices.
  2. Place corn starch, egg whites and flour in three separate small bowls
  3. Lightly coat shrimp in corn starch mixture and shake off excess, then coat in egg whites, then in flour mixture (dry, wet, dry) and then place on cookie sheet to side while oil pre-heats to 375 degrees.
  4. Only add 5-6 shrimp at a time and cook for 1 minute each – remove immediately after 1 minute or you will overcook! Sprinkle with salt and let rest while you finish the rest of the shrimp.

DIRECTIONS – Fried Okra:

  1. In medium sized bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, season salt and cayenne. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in the cornmeal-flour mixture and coat well. Add okra to hot oil (350-375) until golden brown. Be sure you don’t crowd the pan – repeat if necessary until all okra is cooked.
  2. Remove to paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

DIRECTIONS – Fried Green Tomatoes:

  1. Combine egg and buttermilk – set to side.
  2. Combine ¼ cup flour, cornmeal salt and pepper in shallow bowl.
  3. Dredge tomato slices in remaining ¼ cup flour, dip in egg mixture then dredge in cornmeal (dry, wet, dry)
  4. The ideal for fried green tomatoes is to use a cast iron skillet and only fill with ¼ to ½ inch oil and fry at 375 for 2 minutes on each side. I drained off a bit of the oil from the okra and shrimp into a cast iron skillet and fried the tomatoes while I fried the shrimp in the remaining oil.

DIRECTIONS- Cheese Grits:

  1. Pour milk, water and salt into a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. *Breaking a cream sauce is super easy, I bring cream to room temperature and you want to go low and slow
  2. Once milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add cornmeal while continually whisking. Once all the cornmeal has been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover.
  3. Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3-4 minutes to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps – make sure to get the corners of the pot when whisking.
  4. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until mixture is creamy.
  5. Remove from heat, add pepper and butter and stir to combine. Once butter is melted gradually add in cheese and serve immediately.
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Quite good…but all I’m saying is grilled okra > fried okra.

Quote: Pa motioned for her to sit at a small table overlooking the wharf. She couldn’t read the menu, but he told her most of it, and she ordered fried chicken, mashed potatoes, white acre peas and biscuits fluffy as fresh-picked cotton. He had fried shrimp, cheese grits, fried “okree”, and fried green tomatoes.

Music Mood: Miracle by Temper Trap


Now that, that southern whirlwind cooking extravaganza is over I’d love to know what meals you enjoy when you’re feeling like a special treat! Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

Monday I’ll be back to my typical easier, weeknight friendly and healthy meals with a recipe and a read for Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan!

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Craftsman by Sharon J. Bolton!

Can't Wait Wednesday

Alright my peeps! As I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about my leaving my current job for another this will be my last mention of it (probably)! I finally told my staff yesterday after hiring my replacement on Friday. It’s definitely bitter sweet but it was certainly one of the hardest things I’ve done in a while. I’m very sad to be leaving a team where I am valued and needed for an unknown venture. It’s been incredibly stressful so reading and blogging has had to take a back seat. However, I’ll have a new (special) recipe and review for you on Friday and another on Sunday! Friday, I’ll be bringing you Where The Crawdads Sings by Delia Owens and Sunday I’ll be bringing you Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

However, TODAY IS WEDNESDAY! Which means me and the ladies over at Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee and I are bringing you another installment of Can’t Wait Wednesday. Can’t wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about and that we have yet to read. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine

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We’re halfway there my dudes.

This week I’m really excited about an upcoming Traveling Sister’s read The Craftsman by Sarah J. Bolton. I’m definitely in the mood for some creepy reads because it’s October – so, why not? This one is definitely dealing out the creepy feels in spades. From just the synopsis I’ve got shivers and I can tell that once I pick this one up I wont be able to put it down! There’s some great questions posed as well so I’m even more excited to read it with a fun group of ladies so we can discuss the mysteries that are sure to be in this one!

For a long time I was not a big fan of dual timelines but they’re very prevalent in thrillers and mysteries and I’ve come to love them. This one presents a unique blend of a bit of historical fiction along with the dual timelines along with what is sure to be some great police procedural drama. There’s nothing quite as fun as curling up for a good scary read when it’s dreary outside and we’ve been getting non-stop rain here in Dallas for weeks so this is perfect for this weather!

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From Goodreads:

Catching him will make her career – and change her forever.

August, 1999
On the hottest day of the year, Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of Larry Glassbrook, the convicted murderer she arrested thirty years earlier. A master carpenter and funeral director, Larry imprisoned his victims, alive, in the caskets he made himself. Clay effigies found entombed with their bodies suggested a motive beyond the worst human depravity.

June, 1969
13-year- old Patsy Wood has been missing for two days, the third teenager to disappear in as many months. New to the Lancashire police force and struggling to fit in, WPC Lovelady is sent to investigate an unlikely report from school children claiming to have heard a voice calling for help. A voice from deep within a recent grave.

August, 1999
As she tries to lay her ghosts to rest, Florence is drawn back to the Glassbrooks’ old house, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where she once lodged with the family. She is chilled by the discovery of another effigy – one bearing a remarkable resemblance to herself. Is the killer still at large? Is Florence once again in terrible danger? Or, this time, could the fate in store be worse than even her darkest imaginings?

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Wrong craft? Ah, well I can’t win them all.

What are some Halloween reads you have lined up for the witchy season? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!!

Sneak Peak Sunday: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox!

I’ve been a little absent from life outside of work and preparing for my departure from a really wonderful job. I’ve been stress-shopping and let me tell you – my new cardigans and house shoes are amazing. HOWEVER, I’ve also been lagging on my reading and reviewing but I’m getting back into the swing of things. I’ve finished two books this weekend so I’ve got some great things in store for ya’ll this week!

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My typical Sunday aesthetic.

As the weekend comes to a close I’m excited to participate with the ladies over at Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee as well as It’s All About The Thrill for another installment of Sneak Peak Sunday. A meme where we bring you books we’re excited to be reading and our initial thoughts after reading the first few pages or chapters! This week, I’m bringing you another book I featured a few weeks ago that I just started this weekend: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox. 

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I’m incredibly enthusiastic about this book! I knew right from the synopsis that this was right up my alley. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a bit of a seasonal reader. While I’ll read pretty much anything and everything at any time of the year there is something extra cozy about historical fantasy for me in the fall/winter months. We’re due to get a cold front in on Tuesday so I’m extra excited to be curled up on the couch with this one.

Right off the bat the intrigue, writing and suspense of this one drew me right in. Not only do I have a general interest in the history of witches and witch trials throughout time but the set up of this one is really working for me. I tend to have a slower time falling into new reads because I read so many books back to back that sometimes it’s hard to let go of a previous story but I was immediately engrossed in this. I’m thrilled to be reading this with some wonderful Traveling Sisters and am so excited for the discussion that’s sure to follow!

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From Goodreads:

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…


Do you have any fall cozy reads you’re excited to be starting? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!!

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth!

Can't Wait Wednesday

Welcome dear readers! I thought I’d start this post off with a quick life update. I’ve been a bit absent this past week, both from blogging and reading in general. As you may have gleaned from previous posts, my husband is donating a portion of his liver to his father this upcoming December to not only improve his quality of life, but to save it. To say I’m in awe of him is to say the absolute least. This has been an incredibly stressful and anxiety-ridden process for all of us but it’s also been a very positive and moving one as well.

That brings us to today! I’ve been with my current company for nearly 5 years. This position has it’s ups and downs but it has given me the foundation for my professional career and I’ve learned things here that I don’t think many fresh-out-of-college, first-time-jobbers get to learn. Well, last week literally out of nowhere I was offered a remote Directorship position in which I will be able to do my job from home. This presented a unique opportunity to be able to be home during my husbands recovery. It is also something I can take with me after our eventual move when Colin finishes his PhD in May. However, this also means that I’d have to resign from a job that has given me nearly everything I have as a professional. These are people that I spend 40+ hours with every week and have been doing so for years. To say I was stressed about this is the understatement of the century.

So for the past week or so I’ve been working up the courage to discuss this with my boss and then dealing with everything that has come from this decision. It has left me little to no time to read, cook or do nearly anything other than bite my nails off. HOWEVER, things are smoothing out and looking up and I’m excited for not only new opportunities but for upcoming reads as well! I’m getting back on the reading wagon and I’ll have new reviews and recipes for you all later this week! 


ANYWAY MOVING ON FROM THE PERSONAL NOVEL I JUST LEFT YA’LL: Can’t wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about and that we have yet to read. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine

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NBD: Just me opening my Kindle to see my new widget for this book.

This week, the ladies over at Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee and I are teaming up with Kim from It’s All About The Thrill for an upcoming Traveling Sisters Read The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth. As I’m sure you all have noticed we love ourselves some great thrillers! I’ve noticed that thrillers of a similar trope tend to be released at the same times (I’ve recently finished six million reads about a child going missing – all released in the past 6 months for example) and I’ve not really seen anything about an in-law relationship gone awry recently. That gets me extra excited to start this one with a fun group of ladies that can discuss what is sure to be a twisty tale!

What’s great about The Mother In Law is that the synopsis gives juuuust enough away to get you absolutely hooked and in need of finding out what happens but not enough that you could even guess how it’s going to end. I myself am a licensed red-herring chaser and a true-blue garbage detective so I’m thrilled to be reading and discussing this with others – it’s sure to make for a great conversation to say the least!

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From Goodreads:

A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.
The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?

With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.

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Have you read anything by Sally Hepworth? What did you think? What books are you excited to have coming up? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Night Before by Wendy Walker!

As another weekend comes to a close and as I curse the Monday Morning Blues, I can at least get excited about all the great books I have to read! Things have been incredibly busy for me recently but I always try to take at least a little bit of time out of each day to read. The ladies of Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee and I are bringing you another installment of Sneak Peek Sunday! A meme where we discuss books we are excited to be starting as a group, and our thoughts after reading the first few pages. 

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This week, I’m featuring The Night Before by Wendy Walker. I discussed this book a few weeks ago on a Can’t Wait Wednesday post and let me tell ya’ll – I was right to be excited! There’s so little information out about this one (we don’t even have a cover!) that it really gripped me right from the start. I’m at about the 50% mark and things shot right of the gate at a fast moving pace and are only speeding up.

I’m absolutely loving the formatting of this one as well! There are so many interesting and layered elements at play here and I’m incredibly impressed with Walker’s writing and suspense building skill. I think I’ll be finishing this one off pretty quick because once you pick it up – it’s almost been impossible to put down! You’ll find yourself thinking about it while you have to do other things because the story is gripping and the mystery and suspense are thick.

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From Goodreads:

Twelve hours earlier, she was…
Hopeful.
Excited.
Safe.

Now she’s gone.

What’d I tell ya’ll? Not a lot to go on, but what I can tell you, it that flying blind on this one is the way to go! It’s thrilling and exciting and an absolute race-to-the-finish read that I can step away from!


What books do you have on the docket to finish or start this week and what do you think so far? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

 

 

Review: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas!

Alright ya’ll, I’ve fallen a bit behind in my reading. It’s been a hectic few weeks and I’ve had to put my favorite of favorite things to the side to take care of some personal matters with work and life. But! Good news – my husband passed his Master’s Defense so the next stop is PhD!! Anyway! I’ve got a big weekend planned ahead for recipes and reads and some extra special treats so stay tuned!

Today I’m giving you all a review for an ARC provided directly from the publisher to the wonderful ladies Brenda and Norma over at Two Sisters Lost In a Coulee. This was a great one to read with others because time travel is a tricky trickster and the ins and outs of this one left as all equally confused and impressed! However, my take-away here (despite some of it being over my head) was overall entertainment and enjoyment!

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Featuring my pretty new iPad my husband got me for my birthday!

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Initial Thoughts: greatscott

This was an incredibly unique and interesting story about four women who pioneered the invention of time travel in 1967 and the repercussions of that choice and ability. This book was 100% #LADYPOWER and I absolutely loved that. I think centering the story around women, gave Mascarenhas the ability to add a deep empathy to the affects of time travel and how it touched those who took part in it, and those on the sidelines.

There are three timelines in this, one running with the invention of the machine, another in the present and the last taking place 50 years later after time travel has really taken off. There is a lot of switching between POVs and differing story lines that made it a bit difficult for me to follow. In between the story of how time travel works and what it does to those who encounter it there is a little mystery thrown in. Ruby is the granddaughter to one of the pioneers Barbara (Granny Bee) and when a post from the future arrives about the murder of an unknown woman – this sends Ruby into a tailspin about what this could mean.

Your face is the wrong way round, Barbara thought. You’ve been burning the midnight oil – that’s why you’re pale. You are trembling – you are blinking over and over. Has the hard work been worth it? You can remember my feelings. But I don’t know what you’re feeling at all.

At the same time we receive the post, we’re also given the POV of Odette – the woman who finds this future unknown murder victim and this storyline begins to unfold and overlap as well. Time-Travel has always been a sticky subject for me – it’s like my brain has to slog through mud just to wrap itself around the intricacies of how that would all work and it was no different in this novel. The detail that went into this is truly impressive and wholly original. I think the sheer number of narratives going on in this hurt the flow a bit and made it hard not only to follow along, but to connect with the characters as well.

When you’re a time traveler, the people you love die, and you carry on seeing them, so their death stops making a difference to you. The only death that will ever change things is your own.

I’ll be honest – this one took me a minute to get through. As I mentioned, things are confusing and get a little convoluted. However, if you stick with it, there really is a magnificent and truly original story here that I found touching and overall worthwhile. It was a hodgepodge of many different genres – science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and mystery all rolled into one book and it will take you on an interesting ride to say the very least.

A relationship between equals isn’t possible if one person has all the knowledge.

My favorite aspect here, and what I think worked the best was the examination of how time travel affects each person. It was incredibly interesting to see how it touched each individual character – from those that had encountered a great deal of it, to those that only touched it a bit. It is truly awe inspiring the level of detail and thought that went into this. While I do think this book suffered from a bit <i>too much</i> story at times my overall takeaway was enjoyment and entertainment. This is a real time-travel masterpiece that examines it for the convoluted subject it is.

I completed this as a Traveling Sisters read and while many of us were a bit confused, we all really enjoyed discussing the ins and outs of time travel and the moral dilemmas it presents! Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for an advanced copy of this novel.

Long Story Short: 

woah
Shocking. Thrilling. Surprising.

Suggested For: Anyone with a mind that is good at keeping a lot of moving parts straight, those who enjoy female centered stories with a bit of science-fiction and fantasy thrown into a mystery

Music Mood: On Trees and Birds and Fire by I Am Oak


Have you read anything that’s outside your comfort zone recently? What tropes are hard for you to wrap your mind around? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!