Categories: Contemporary Romance / Paranormal Ghost Romance / Witches and Wizards Romance / Small Town Romance / Romantic Suspense Romance
Returning to her beloved home of Salem after a trip away, Lucy Finch can’t shake the feeling of anxiety that suddenly plagues her. Nor can she shrug off her third eye’s urging that she has a mission she must undertake—a secret she must uncover.
As a green witch, Lucy has always felt strongest and the most at home in the forest, surrounded by nature. But when a disturbing dream wakes her and sends her fleeing into the woods, she isn’t prepared for what she finds. She expected her element. Perhaps a message from spirit. She didn’t expect to cross paths with a sexy-as-sin man, straight out of a movie scene.
Jonas Morley isn’t like the other residents of Hallows End. He knows the town’s secrets, as well as Salem’s, and it has been his honor and duty to protect them for as long as he can remember. But the gorgeous witch who graces the town’s hidden border shakes him and makes him second-guess his directive. She calls to him like no other. But can he save his home and those under his care and still make her his? Or will their union mean danger and destruction for not only them but also those who live within the town’s borders?
Curses don’t discriminate, and the curse of the blood moon is the most determined and dangerous of all.
This book weighed in heavier on the suspense/plot side of the story then the character development side, which some will enjoy and some will not. I’m actually here for it. It was a palate cleanser. I’m all for character development and deep emotional dives and a reasonable amount of angst, but sometimes I just want to read a book about witches and magic and time travel and have it just be about breaking the evil curse while a couple fall in love.
Having said that, let the suspension of disbelief begin, because sometimes that’s the funnest part. Three friends. Three witches. They live in Salem. Because of course they do. Where both non-magical people and witches live in harmony. A nightmare sends the heroine, Lucy, into the woods where she meets the hero, Jonas, a male witch capable of time traveling, sort of. He needs to break a spell he cast to shield Hallows End from the infamous witchcraft trials happening in Salem in the mid 1600s. And now Hallows End exists in the 1600s but not in contemporary times.
A colourful, quick read about three friends navigating past hurts, lasting friendships and banding together against an evil entity. It that’s your sort of read, give Hallows End a chance and see what you think.
I picked up this story for three reasons. 1) It got a lot of attention last year. 2) I was looking to end my reading slump. 3) It was available at the library. Usually I don’t pick books written in first person point of view. Or books that are rom-coms. Or books with yellow covers. But I’m so glad I did. It was delightful and just what I needed. It was heartwarming. A bit ridiculous. So sweet. And, at one point, I laughed. Like out loud. Definitely recommend. Especially if you prefer reading romances without sex scenes.
One of my reading goals for 2023, actually my only reading goal, is to read more Canadian authors who’ve written stories set in Canada. Particularly when it comes to the romance genre, which is my favourite for obvious reasons. But I’m also looking for that criteria in general fiction too. Which led me to Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel.
Categories: Historical Fiction / Fiction / Canadian History / Canadian Setting /
1657. Marie, a gifted healer of the Deer Clan, does not want to marry the green-eyed soldier from France who has asked for her hand. But her people are threatened by disease and starvation and need help against the Iroquois and their English allies if they are to survive. When her chief begs her to accept the white man’s proposal, she cannot refuse him, and sheds her deerskin tunic for a borrowed blue wedding dress to become Pierre’s bride.
1675. Jeanne, Marie’s oldest child, is seventeen, neither white nor Algonquin, caught between worlds. Caught by her own desires, too. Her heart belongs to a girl named Josephine, but soon her father will have to find her a husband or be forced to pay a hefty fine to the French crown. Among her mother’s people, Jeanne would have been considered blessed, her two-spirited nature a sign of special wisdom. To the settlers of New France, and even to her own father, Jeanne is unnatural, sinful—a woman to be shunned, beaten, and much worse.
With the poignant, unforgettable story of Marie and Jeanne, Danielle Daniel reaches back through the centuries to touch the very origin of the long history of violence against Indigenous women and the deliberate, equally violent disruption of First Nations cultures.
Set in the 1600s, Daughters of the Deer is a very moving and heart wrenching story of how Indigenous women were stripped of their humanity and culture under colonization. Daniel writes of Marie, an Algonkin woman, who is forced to marry a French settler, whose religious ethics clash with Marie’s Algonquin beliefs. She details Marie’s life and gives us a thought provoking look into an Indigenous woman’s experiences with early settlers that few people have heard or been taught. Daniel’s ability to intertwine those harsh realities with the details of everyday life for Marie and the community make for a very compelling and thought provoking read. This book is going to stay with me for a long time. Definitely recommend.
Does it make sense to say the days were long but the month flew by? I’ve been in hibernation mode, or wintering, for most of this month. I baked a couple of things, I read a couple of books and I revised a couple of scenes.
I will say that this January had to have been very pretty, a real winter wonderland. We have had lots of fog here, which is a departure from the norm, which resulted in rime frost.
Book Round Up:
I finished Eden Robinson‘s Trickster trilogy. I loved this book and this trilogy. Eden Robinson’s way of weaving carnage and humour makes for an epic read. The final instalment, Return of the Trickster, was a page turner full of magical realism, complicated intergenerational family dynamics and rich storytelling. So much happening. So many characters. Yet, manageable, if that make sense. And Jared. I kept rooting for him. Kept hoping he’d remain tender-hearted while he figured out how to survive all the time supported by a fabulous cast of fierce female characters.
I also read a book by a dear writer friend, Donna Gartshore. Finding Her Voice is a lovely, tenderhearted story of what it looks like to move forward from trauma. They’re both looking for a fresh start while keeping up the walls that have protected them after life dealt bitter hurts. They both have plans for the clinic where Bridget work and both are at cross purposes. But when Sawyer’s grief stricken daughter bonds with Bridget’s shy dog, they have to look deep to take the next step. Sweet, charming, and set in the lovely town of Green Valley, Finding Her Voice will tug at your heartstrings and have you rooting for Bridget and Sawyer.
And my book recommendation for January is Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn, who is one of my favourite authors and you can read my review here.
Baking Round Up:
I made my favourite muffin recipe, Blueberry Turmeric Muffins from Renee Kohlman’s lovely cookbook, All The Sweet Things. You can find her blog, Sweet Sugar Bean here. If you love cookbooks, Renee Kohlman’s two cookbooks are beautiful and include personal stories and I highly recommend buying either of the them. Bonus she’s from Saskatchewan!
This reading year is starting off strong. My first read of this new year is by Kate Clayborn, who is one of my very favourite authors, and this book just made me love her writing even more. I’m delighted to recommend it.
Longtime personal assistant Georgie Mulcahy has made a career out of putting others before herself. When an unexpected upheaval sends her away from her hectic job in L.A. and back to her hometown, Georgie must confront an uncomfortable truth: her own wants and needs have always been a disconcertingly blank page.
But then Georgie comes across a forgotten artifact—a “friendfic” diary she wrote as a teenager, filled with possibilities she once imagined. To an overwhelmed Georgie, the diary’s simple, small-scale ideas are a lifeline—a guidebook for getting started on a new path.
Georgie’s plans hit a snag when she comes face to face with an unexpected roommate—Levi Fanning, onetime town troublemaker and current town hermit. But this quiet, grouchy man is more than just his reputation, and he offers to help Georgie with her quest. As the two make their way through her wishlist, Georgie begins to realize that what she truly wants might not be in the pages of her diary after all, but right by her side—if only they can both find a way to let go of the pasts that hold them back.
This delicious and sweet book has it all. Characters so real you can’t help but love them. Kate Clayborn carries us along on an intimate journey of self discovery grounded by great writing, great dialogue and great depth. It was a multi-sensory delight from beginning to end, from milkshakes and green beans in pasta to dock boards underfoot and a dog named Hank. It’s charming, it’s rich, and it will tug at all your heartstrings.
It also just so happens that I saw a great clip between Kate Bowler and Elizabeth Gilbert talking about ‘purpose anxiety‘ and it reminded me of this book. One of the things Elizabeth Gilbert talks about is our obsession with finding our higher purpose, in narrowing that down to an absolute and then putting a significant amount of energy into nurturing and honouring that higher purpose. That’s aside from living our life, which is a pretty big deal. And I think that’s what this book is about at its core: making a good life for yourself, focussing on the moment, and not having to make everything about a higher purpose.
This gorgeous book was a heartbreaker, in the best way. Kennedy Ryan‘s writing gives you something different each time. In Before I Let Go, we meet Yasmen and Josiah Wade, whose marriage was supposed to last forever. But, as we find out, grief can rip the best of intentions to shreds. At the beginning of the story they have been divorced for two years. Moving forward means moving on from each other. But to do that they have to confront the grief that tore them apart. Sensual, angsty, and raw, this book has it all.
I’m going to leave you with another sneak peek at the first book in my Whisper Creek series. Charlotte has moved into her family home and has plans to turn it into a bed and breakfast. Four generations have lived in Darcy House, which was built by Albert and Louise Darcy in 1907. Rumours also swirl around The Darcy Diamonds. Jewelry given to Darcy brides on their wedding day and on the birth of children.
This Sunday is Grey Cup. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the CFL (Canadian Football League), that means this weekend is the final game of the season. Now normally I don’t care about the sports. Sorry, not sorry. But my city is hosting this year, which means there are all kinds of events happening. None of which I’m attending, by the way. But it’s fun to absorb the atmosphere from enough degrees of separation.
However, Globe Theatre is back and this year’s first reproduction is paying homage to football in Saskatchewan.Yes, ’tis the season for theatre going. That I can get excited about. Last Sunday was our first time back and the Globe is putting on #34 by Munish Sharma which highlight’s the incredible, groundbreaking career of George Reed. Reed was a running back who played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 13 seasons from 1963 to 1975. So, if you’re here to watch the Grey Cup, you might like to buy a ticket to the show.
I found it interesting. I really loved the last fifteen minutes of the show. There was deeper level of depth there that I felt was maybe missing from the rest of the production. Although, that is probably because of my lack of interest in the game of football. I still found it very entertaining and I learned some things about the early days of the CFL and what life was like for the players. I came away with even more reasons to love George Reed, like his support of Special Olympics Saskatchewan.
Me and my Momma! Who knit the sweater she is wearing, which in my unbiased opinion is a piece of art!
Until next time…
What’s everyone else out and about doing? Or are you keeping close to home?
This is the book I picked for October because, you know, Halloween. And it has vampires and werewolves and soulless humans (?) and the typical mortal kind. And they’ve found a way to co-exist in Victorian England. Mostly.
Soulless by Gail Carriger a combination of urban fantasy, victorian, romance, steampunk and mystery. I’ve never read anything like it. I enjoyed it. Alexia Tarabotti is an outspoken, sarcastic delight. She may have no soul but she’d got character in spades. Though I have to admit I had to do some backtracking. That doesn’t necessarily bother me, especially if it’s a genre I don’t regularly read. And there was a lot going on in this story. And a lot of characters. And layered world building to sort through. It’s not for everyone but if you’re curious definitely give it a try.
Here’s a sneak peek at a book I’m writing which may or may not have a ghostly character.
It’s been an interesting week. Canada is a Commonwealth country, and the Queen’s death has taken over news cycles, not just here, but around the world. Here in Canada, Monday has been declared a federal holiday by the Prime Minister, which means federal employees get the day off. Otherwise, individual provinces are responsible for statutory holidays for other workers. In Saskatchewan, Monday has been proclaimed September 19 as a Day of Mourning but otherwise it is off to work.
I guess now makes it a good time to have read a regency romance about a widow and a Marquess? How’s that for an awkward segue? To Have and to Loathe by Martha Waters is a delightfully witty read. Waters style reminds me of Emily Henry’s books. I have a bit of a nitpick though. I feel like the title is a bit of a mislead. These two do not loathe each other. I’m not sure they even dislike each other that much. They disagree and they bicker and it’s highly amusing but that’s not the same thing. As a big fan of the enemies to lovers trope, I was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, still worth the read for the dialogue alone. Just don’t expect any actual loathing. sigh. Also, not sure what that says about me…
Until next time…
Are you planning to watch the Queen’s funeral on Monday? I think I’ll pass. But I totally get why you might want to witness history.