2021 Book #96 – The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

Title: The Witchfinder’s Sister
Author: Beth Underdown
Date finished: 10/23/21
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Pages in book: 316
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth—but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew’s soul.

There is a new darkness in the town, too—frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice’s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he’s become, Alice is desperate to intervene—and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew’s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul.

Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother’s brutal mission—and is drawn into the Hopkins family’s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils—before more innocent women are forced to the gallows.

Inspired by the real-life story of notorious “Witchfinder General” Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown’s thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with echoes of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for a truly haunting reading experience.

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve had this one on my list for awhile and since it is Spooky October I am trying to read some witchy books this month and this one was a great fit. Even though I did not end up loving this one – it was pretty slow for me. It was a well written book but wow was it sad. It was honestly hard for me to get through it because it was just so heavy. Not just because of these poor women that this actually happened to (being accused of being a witch) but also because of everything that Alice had to go through. Losing her husband, all the miscarriages, all the shit she went through with her brother – all of it was just so terrible. This book felt really relevant though with all the people touring Salem this month and the travesties that occurred to women there. I thought this book had a really adept presentation of how fear can develop and grow over time and that development of the “mob mentality” that takes over. There were some good plot twists too that I didn’t see coming. Overall it was a good book, it was just not a book for me right now!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2020 Monthly Status Update: October


October has somehow come and gone. This year has flown by so quickly I don’t even know where the time has gone. And even though work is still very busy, I have been able to find time here and there to read! And I had some time around Halloween off so I was able to read more on my favorite holiday. So here are some reading highlights from October for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 2,834
# books read year-to-date: 78
# pages read year-to-date: 25,730

Other Posts this month:

No other posts this month!

Favorite books from this month:

Nothing that really blew me away this month

Next Month TBR List:

  • None!

I currently have no scheduled reads for November and I did that on purpose. I did that so I can catch up with some of my backlog – I currently have 2 books that I’m behind on for 2020 and I’d LOVE to have a year where I kept up with all my scheduled reads. And the next month is still going to be crazy for me! But hopefully November continues to be a productive reading month! Hope you all had a wonderfully spooky Halloween and are looking forward to a festive Thanksgiving! Happy reading everyone!

UPDATE – October Reading Challenge: Booktober Reading Bookish Bingo!!


I unfortunately did not get bingo this month. I still had a ton of fun reading – I especially loved the bingo board for this month (see below). I wish I had been able to devote more time to reading – then I’m sure I would’ve been able to get bingo! Maybe next year.


Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie! Top Ten Spooky Reads (Plus Bonus Top Ten Halloween Movies)



Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a different bookish topic and bloggers are asked to post their own top ten list based on the topic. This week is a Halloween themed freebie week where you can post about any Halloween related topic you’d like! I decided to do my Top Ten Spooky Reads and as a bonus am also doing my Top Ten Favorite Halloween Movies! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and my Mom and I both look forward to it every year. We watch all those dorky Disney Halloween movies and each a bunch of Halloween candy and just have a grand old time.

For my Top Ten Spooky Reads, I’m splitting up my listing into two sections, books that I have already read and ones that I have on my to be read list.

Top Ten Spooky Reads – Already Read

1. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
2. Undead and Unwed series by MaryJanice Davidson
3. Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
4. Cousins O’Dwyer series by Nora Roberts
5. Wild About You series by Vicki Lewis Thompson
6. Insatiable series by Meg Cabot

Top Ten Spooky Reads – TBR List

1. Wicked series by Gregory Maguire
2. Witches of East End series by Melissa de la Cruz
3. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
4. Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

BONUS! Top Ten Halloween Movies (in order pictured below)

So what are all your Halloween favorites? I always love hearing about new books/movies to try with a Halloween theme!


2015 Book #109 – The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

51WGFB7KW6L._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Island of Dr. Moreau
Author: H.G. Wells
Date finished: 10/18/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: 1896
Pages in book: 157
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Ranked among the classic novels of the English language and the inspiration for several unforgettable movies, this early work of H. G. Wells was greeted in 1896 by howls of protest from reviewers, who found it horrifying and blasphemous. They wanted to know more about the wondrous possibilities of science shown in his first book, The Time Machine, not its potential for misuse and terror. In The Island of Dr. Moreau a shipwrecked gentleman named Edward Prendick, stranded on a Pacific island lorded over by the notorious Dr. Moreau, confronts dark secrets, strange creatures, and a reason to run for his life.
While this riveting tale was intended to be a commentary on evolution, divine creation, and the tension between human nature and culture, modern readers familiar with genetic engineering will marvel at Wells’s prediction of the ethical issues raised by producing “smarter” human beings or bringing back extinct species. These levels of interpretation add a richness to Prendick’s adventures on Dr. Moreau’s island of lost souls without distracting from what is still a rip-roaring good read.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (October). This book definitely wasn’t something I would have picked up on my own but I have to say it was absolutely the perfect thing to read during October. I found it to be very creepy and gave me the goosebumps thinking about these creatures that Prendick encounters on the island. It was only 157 pages so it was a quick read. Basically Prendick finds himself lost in the middle of the ocean on a dingy and he gets picked up by a boat with a man named Montgomery aboard. Montgomery is Moreau’s assistant and he’s returning to the island after picking up some supplies. Prendick gets ditched on the island too and even though Montgomery is very hesitant about letting him stay, he doesn’t really have much of a choice.
Prendick encounters many different kinds of people on the island, though there seems to be something a little off about each one and he finds himself wary of these creatures. Turns out Dr. Moreau had been performing vivisection on various animals over the last 10 years on the island and had managed to mold different animals together to take on a human-like form. I guess my issue is that I can’t imagine what these beasts would have looked like and how they possibly could have resembled a human even in the slightest.
MV5BMjI0OTY1NDY5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjkwODg0NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_I mean none of the creatures in the photo look even remotely human to me. And Dr. Moreau spoke some about combining the different animals brains together. I’m not a scientist or anything but I feel like that wouldn’t really be possible. I don’t think you can take 2 separate brains and mash them together and have them work. I think with humans they are able to replace certain lobes of the brain but they use another human brain I’m pretty sure, I don’t think you can graft brains across different species.
I thought this was an interesting book though and it was a great October read. Its also a literary classic so I would recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already!

The bottom line: I liked this book fine. I don’t think I loved it but it was a short easy read and was appropriately creepy for the month of October.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2014 – Book #90


As part of my October spooky series reading challenge, the nintieth book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the third book in her Undead series about vampire queen Betsy Taylor. This is the series I will be focusing on this month for my Spooky Series reading challenge for the month of October. I finished this book on 10/5/14. I rated this book 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up 3 months after where the last book left off, starting about two weeks before Halloween. Betsy’s Dad stops by one morning to let her know that even though she received an invitation, no one expects her to come to her stepmother’s baby shower. During this unpleasant visit with Dad he lets it slip (oops!) that the Ant had a baby almost 20 years ago and gave it away.

After interviewing the Ant, Betsy finds out that Eric knew she had a sister all along. Apparently its written in the Book of the Dead that “the Queen’s sister shalt be Belov’d of the Morning , and shalt take the Worlde.” Betsy is just so sick of finding out about all this stuff from the Book of the Dead whenever Eric or Tina deign to let her know about her own life, so she decides to just sit down and read the whole thing. Bad idea. After going crazy from reading the book for too long, she physically attacks Jessica, emotionally attacks Marc, boinks Eric, and tries to kill Tina. Busy afternoon. Once they all figure out that Betsy went a little cukoo, they lock her in a room until they decide what to do with her.

Once Betsy wakes up though she is back to her old self. Unfortunately she remembers everything though and has to work hard to make it up to the people she hurt that she loves. While all this is happening she also has to deal with finding and meeting her sister, rebellious and eventually murderous employees at Scratch (the nightclub she inherited after she staked another vampire in the last novel), and trying to decide if she really loves Sinclair or if she’s just hurt that he has stopped chasing her. All very compilcated.

I’ll say pretty much the same thing I said for the first book here, overall obviously I love this book or else I wouldn’t be re-reading the whole series. I can’t say enough good things about this book and this series. I always end up laughing out loud. I would definitely recommend this series to other readers! The thirteenth book in the series is coming out tomorrow so if you’re looking for a light, fun, easy-read this whole series is perfect!

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unappreciated-Queen-Berkley-Sensation/dp/0425207226/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1412612573&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #88


As part of my October spooky series reading challenge, the eighty-eighth book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the first book in her Undead series about vampire queen Betsy Taylor. This is the series I will be focusing on this month for my Spooky Series reading challenge for the month of October. I finished this book on 10/4/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This series is about Betsy Taylor, who wakes up one day to find herself naked on a slab in the morgue. She had been hit by a car and when she wakes up she is, surprise!, a vampire.

Since she doesn’t recall being bitten by a vampire, though she does recall being hit by a Pontiac, why she is waking up as a vampire is a mystery to her. She decides not to think about it too much at first though and lets her friends and family know that she is alive (well, sort of). She is met with mixed reactions, from relief and elation to denial and fear. After letting her family know she is ok, she meets up with a bunch of other vampires, and the leader guy tells her that she must pledge her allegiance to him. Betsy finds this amusing, she just wants to continue her life as she knows it, she definitely does not want to get involved in vamp politics.

Unfortunately this is something she can’t seem to avoid, since yummy Sinclair seems to think she’s some foretold Queen from the Book of the Dead. Sinclair and the current leader Nostro don’t get along. Betsy agrees that Nostro seems like a complete jerk, though she doesn’t find the arrogant Sinclair to be much of an improvement, but she doesn’t understand why we can’t all just get along.

Overall, obviously I love this book or else I wouldn’t be re-reading the whole series. I can’t say enough good things about this book and this series. I always end up laughing out loud. Betsy is such an unlikely heroine. She is vain, sarcastic, and childish but she somehow seems to figure thing out as she goes and blunders her way through. And despite all her screw-ups she still maintains her circle of close friends and family, who all love her even though she is completely self-absorbed. Awesome books, fun and interesting plots, and I love re-reading the earlier books and picking up on different nuances that stand out based on my knowledge from the later books.

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unwed-MaryJanice-Davidson-ebook/dp/B002YKOXGG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412546723&sr=8-1&keywords=undead+and+unwed

Spooky series reading challenge – October 2014

halloween_2010_by_crypticdisdain-d31qt2x for reading challenge2

Halloween is almost here! And one of my favorite series (the Betsy Taylor series by MaryJanice Davidson) has a new book being released this month! And since it is the 13th book in the series, I’ve been thinking what I could do to celebrate Halloween through my reading and incorporate the new book in my plan. So I came up with a great idea! Spooky series reading challenge!

So here’s the plan. For the month of October I plan to read through the Undead / Betsy Taylor series in its entirety. I also plan to read other spooky books here and there (witches and warlocks and werewolves and vampires and whatnot). But my main goal will be to read the Undead series. Make sure to follow my progress through the series and through the reading challenge throughout the month of October.

And I would love to invite you all to join the reading challenge for the month of October with me! You don’t need to be at the beginning of a series to join in. And I know plenty of spooky series so if you need ideas I can definitely provide suggestions! Just make sure to link up to this post so I can check in on your progress with the reading challenge!