Book Review

Book Review: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Historical Fiction / Gothic / Romance
Length: 364 pages
Author: Hester Fox
Publisher: Graydon House
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences but those around you, as well.

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.


That’s mostly how I felt after finishing this book.

It’s a bit creepy, definitely disturbing, and it does hit that Gothic vibe well.

Those were basically my good thoughts. And the audio was good. I’ll give it that too. I love an atmosphere read and I was spooked out here and there with this one.

But the struggles.

Oh my gosh I hated her sister. That was probably the point, which is fine, but what drove me wild was that the main character Lydia, kept letting herself be walked all over. And even when Catherine (the sister) KEPT BEING AWFUL, Lydia kept feeling like she needed to defend her and believer her? I’m sorry, once bitten, twice shy, STOP TRUSTING HER ALREADY. Lydia was a fool.

The romance was good when you focused on Mr. Barrett and Lydia. Unfortunately this pairing turned into an odd love…pentagon? I don’t know. There was a triangle at one point, then someone else would get throw in, then taken out, AND I JUST COULDN’T KEEP UP.

I did think it was written well, and the mystery was interesting (even if obvious). I liked the setting and some small scenes here and there. Most of the characters honestly weren’t that bad. The awful ones were just glaringly obvious.

Overall audience notes:

  • Gothic Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical altercations, dueling, incest, suicide, miscarriage, death of a child, animal death

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Book Review

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Sci-Fi
Length: 476 pages
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.


I can’t believe I had to have multiple people tell me to read this book before I did because OH MY GOSH I LOVED IT SO MUCH.



And if you can get your hands on the audio book, HIGHLY recommend that avenue. The audio was one of the best I’ve ever listened to.

I’m trying to stay purposely pretty vague because it’s more fun going in blind on this one.

This book starts off wild and doesn’t let up. I loved moving back and forth between the present and the moments that Ryland started to remember what was happening. It’s intensely scientific and at times I felt smarter and dumber all in the same sentence, and I loved that.

Not to mention how much I loved the progression of the story and THAT ENDING. Apparently some didn’t love it? I couldn’t see it ending any other way for multiple reasons and thought it gave Ryland the right kind of conclusion. I felt even a little teary about it because it just clicked that well.

This book is laugh out loud funny. I couldn’t help myself with the laughter, it is spot on. I loved how this balanced out the heavy topics and things happening around Ryland. It was the perfect juxtaposition and wow I can’t give this book enough stars.

If I keep going I might spoil things, so trust me, if you got this far, READ THIS BOOK.

Overall audience notes:

  • Science Fiction
  • Language: some
  • Violence: small depictions of blood
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discussion of suicide methods, apocalyptic scenarios, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Kara McDowell
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That’s about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what-ifs. What if she’s destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there’s a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)

That’s why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she’s paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family’s romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?

Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in — in the form of a slippery grocery store floor — and Paige’s life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.

However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she’ll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety — and learn that you don’t have to be “perfect” to deserve true love. 


This was a nice quick holiday read.

I liked the anxiety rep in here. Even though it stressed me out (because I would have some of the exact same thoughts as Paige), it was relatable in a way I could really feel. I appreciated her journey and finding safety and help from her loved ones as she recognized its impact on her life.

Fitz was sweet. I liked him much more towards the end. I didn’t like the dual timeline aspect. It made some of the drama (and love triangle) feel a bit forced. I guess there might not have been enough without it, though I can see that this could have been a great novella length read too.

The Christmastime vibes were there and its a good, true young adult book. Not overall note worthy, but it fit that spirit of the season I was looking for.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: head injuries
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: many depictions of severe anxiety

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Book Review

Book Review: The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 600 pages
Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: November 15th, 1990
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of th Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of…Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen.


That’s what kept chanting in the back of my mind. This felt long. Almost, do I want to continue this story after? kinda long. Though I give it up to Jordan. By that ending I finally felt invested in the characters. And at long last, necessary pieces of the plot started clicking too.

I think that’s the downfall with long series sometimes. You have to give them grace to lay out the details, but also hope to be captivated by each installment. The hunt for the horn left me following a traveling trope (one of my least favorites) wishing for something more.

The entire cast is growing on me. I liked getting to know them better and seeing more solid story line foundations building for everyone. I’m curious to see how this series keeps expanding.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some flirting
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, some blood/gore depiction, loss of loved ones

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