2021 Book #30 – The Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

Title: The Hour of the Witch
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Date finished: 4/18/21
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Pages in book: 401
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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:

A young Puritan woman–faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul–plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive novel of historical suspense from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant.

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary–a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony–soon becomes herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows. A twisting, tightly plotted novel of historical suspense from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying story of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.

My rating: 1.5 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 was interested in the premise behind this book and thought I would give it a try. And I should have known that I wouldn’t end up loving it but I still thought it sounded interesting. I just couldn’t get into the characters or even the plot line. I’m sure it’s historically accurate but it was so depressing and more than that it was maddening! Which I’m sure it was supposed to be maddening because they did actually murder a bunch of innocent women calling them “witches.” The whole book though with trying to first divorce Thomas and then second defend herself against a completely unfounded accusation of witchery. I liked maybe the last 5% of the book (the ending) but the rest of the book was somewhat torturous to get through. Overall I really didn’t enjoy this book very much but I’m sure that there are many who would end up loving it – it seems like it might be an accurate representation of the frustrations of the time.

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

2017 Book #85 – The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

61KeAE7JDlLTitle: The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Date finished: 10/8/17
Genre: Fiction, magical realism
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Prequel to Practical Magic
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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:

Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

My rating:  4.0 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. This book tells the story of Sally and Gillian’s aunts, Bridget (Jet) and Frances (Franny). We first met these two when Sally and Gillian were newly orphaned and went to live with their aunts they’ve never met after the death of their parents. In this book though we get to hear about the lives of Jet and Franny before we meet them in Practical Magic, when they were still young and full of hope. They also were affected by a curse that caused anyone the Owen’s women love to die, and it changed they’re lives in a dramatic way. We also learn about their brother Vincent, who we don’t really hear about in Practical Magic. We learn about these three as they grow from adolescence into adulthood and beyond. As they learn about their powers and the curse, and as they fall in love and as they learn about loss and grief. We learn about their family’s history and all the things that led up to where Practical Magic begins.

Overall I really liked this book. I loved returning to this magical world where anything is possible. I loved hearing Franny and Jet and especially Vincent’s story. I loved hearing about the history that brought us to Sally and Gillian and all the magic that was to come. And I really liked that some of my long burning questions (about how Gillian and Sally were related to Franny and Jet) were answered. This book was heart-wrenchingly sad and honestly I sobbed for like the last 5% of the book at least.  There were also some pretty dry parts to the story and some of it was a little hard to get through. I still really enjoyed it though and I would definitely recommend it, especially to anyone who was in love with the Practical Magic story already.

The bottom line: I liked this book a LOT. Although it was slow in parts, it was so wonderful to return to the world of Practical Magic and also it was so heart-wrenchingly sad/beautiful. I loved hearing the back story to Sally & Gillian. I would recommend this to fans of Practical Magic.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #98 – Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

51kzmkkpjtl-_sy417_bo1204203200_Title: Practical Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Date finished: 10/16/16
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: June 3, 1995
Pages in book: 317 (paperback)
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: own it

Blurb from the cover:

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back-almost as if by magic…

My rating:  4.5 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 was about Gillian and Sally Owens, sisters who go to live with their elderly aunts in Massachusetts after their parents death. Gillian and Sally are as different as two sisters can be, but it is their status in the town that ostracizes them from society and forces them to be closer than they might have otherwise. Because there’s something different about Gillian and Sally and their aunts too – they’re all Owens women and they’re all witches. As Sally and Gillian grew into women, neither of them end up where they thought they would be. Sally lives in NY with her 2 daughters and hasn’t seen her sister in years, though they talk on the phone regularly. And Gillian moves through relationships at break neck speed until she meets the one that can make her stay, even though he’s a heartless abusive bastard. And then one night Gillian shows up at Sally’s house with a dead guy in the car, and both sisters lives are changed.
Overall I really liked this book. I’ve read this one before and it was actually my book club pick for this month. This is one of my favorite books of all time, I love how magical it is. For any of you that have seen the movie, the book is very different from the movies. The story lines are very different but I’ve always felt like the idea behind the story line stayed true. I like that the book went into more detail with all of their lives, including Sally’s daughters. There is magic and danger and romance all combined in a great story about love family. This is a great read and I would recommend, especially for those who like a touch of magic in their reads.

The bottom line: I love this book, it is probably my all-time favorite book. It is very different than the movie but I love both the book and the movie! A great read and I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

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

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!

2014 – Book #31

 

ShadowSpell

The thirty-first book I read in 2014 was Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts. This is the second book in the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy, I read the first in 2013. I finished this book on 4/28/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Connor O’Dwyer and his lifelong friend Meara Quinn.

As the cousins O’Dwyer and their friends recover from their last battle with the evil Cabhan and try to plan for their next attack, Connor finds himself attracted to his sister’s lifelong friend Meara. But Meara has scars from her past that close off her heart from Connor’s love, and leave her susceptible to Cabhan’s sorcery.

One of the things I love most about this series is the interwoven back story back to the original Three Dark Witches, children of Sorcha. The story from long ago used as a backdrop for the journey of the Three Dark Witches now is very interesting. This book was fairly riveting, I didn’t want to put it down once I started it.

Though this was a simple story, it was one full of love, friendship, and family. It was a very touching story and I think I may have even liked it better than the first in the series. I am looking forward to the third book so I can find out if Fin and Brannan are finally able to work out their issues and be together.

Link to author website: http://www.noraroberts.com/index.php

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Spell-Cousins-ODwyer-Roberts/dp/0425259862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398736504&sr=8-1&keywords=shadow+spell