“The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

“The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

What… what did I just read?

I just finished this book like five minutes ago, and I’m still processing. Seriously… what did I just read?

First, I really liked this book. It was well written; the story is compelling, the characters are interesting, and it’s faced-paced.

I love a good mystery. And I was interested in reading this because it had an art-deco feel. Nothing in the description mentions the early 1900’s, but that’s the feeling I got from the cover and the description. And I’m not an aficionado of murder mystery novels, but in my mind the early 1900’s (up until the 1930’s) is the golden-age of mysteries.

And this is a good mystery. Be forewarned that this book is surprisingly bloody. The author doesn’t dwell on it; and he’s not terribly descriptive of the gore, but body count is shockingly high. If you’re particularly sensitive to suspense (I’m not), maybe don’t read this just before bed.

This book follows Aiden Bishop as he seeks to find the killer of Evelyn Hardcastle. The mechanics of why and how he is doing this is part of the mystery, all you know at the outset is that Aiden is stuck in a loop of a single day from the perspective different people witnessing the same events unfold.

The amount of detail the author is able to weave into this story from so many different perspectives is truly impressive; I can’t imagine the amount of outlining he had to do to keep all the storylines straight.

One of the things I love about a good mystery novel is trying to figure out the answer, and usually figuring it out before the end; it makes me feel smart. This one made me feel like an idiot. I had no idea where any of this was going and where it finally wound up. That’s partly because there are really three mysteries in this story: who killed Evelyn? Who killed her brother all those years ago? Why is Aiden stuck in this loop?

And I never figured out any of them. Not a one.

The only thing I would change about this book is I would have liked a bit more explanation regarding what happens if Aiden ever escapes this loop. Where does he go? Who is he? What does he do? Unfortunately you never find that out.

My rating? 4.5 stars (out of 5).


“Dancing Through Life: Indulge Your Dreams and Pursue Life’s Possibilities” by Allen T. Brown

“Dancing Through Life: Indulge Your Dreams and Pursue Life’s Possibilities” by Allen T. Brown

*I won this book from a GoodReads giveaway

Why do I enter giveaways for this genre? I think it’s because I want to like self-help books. I want to gain wisdom. I want to be taught something that will make my life better… but man, they make it so hard. So. Hard.

And this book is no different.

I mean, this book really isn’t terrible… the writing is sufficient, I suppose. But really, it’s just a bunch of cliches wrapped up in secular humanism with a few personal anecdotes. Put good thoughts out into the universe and you’ll get good things back. You have ancient wisdom within you, just listen to it.

It’s just so… inane. And boring.

So, if you’re really lost in life you might find this book helpful. If you need to be told to take a chance it might be worthwhile. If you need to be told to stop being a doofus, maybe you do need to read this. Otherwise, I’m not sure it’s really worth the time.


Thoughts on Snow

Thoughts on Snow

So… I HATE being cold. hate. hate. hate. hate. Hate being cold. Which is why we live in the balmy paradise of NYC.

Just kidding. We live here because this is where God has placed us for the time being, I really do hate being cold though. But here’s the thing, if it’s going to be cold, I think it should snow. At least it will be beautiful while I’m freezing my tuchus off. But we live in southern Brooklyn, not far from the Atlantic ocean, so we rarely get much snow. A dusting here and there, but in the three years we’ve lived here we’ve only had one decent storm, but even then it only lasted a day, and had melted within a day of that. But, for the last week they’ve been calling for a big snow storm, like 6-10 inches big storm. Of course I have been skeptical because, well, we don’t get much snow here. So my lovely Lewis and I made a bet. If we get just a dusting of snow he has to serve me a bowl of rocky road ice cream. And if we get at least two inches of snow, I have to serve him a bowl of rocky road ice cream. Yeah, for as long as we’ve been married, whenever we make a bet on anything, we bet on a bowl of ice cream.

I’m in the midst of losing our current bet, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Lewis and I drove down to Brighton Beach because neither of us had ever been to the beach whilst in the midst of a snow storm.

As much as I hate being cold, I have a commensurate love of the ocean. And if we lived somewhere warmer than NYC, I’d like to think I’d spend more time down by the water. I also love the quiet of the falling snow. I find so much peace in these two things. Which is why I shouldn’t have been surprised when I started crying when we were down by the water. Seriously, tears just started rolling down my face. It was so beautiful. At 41 years old it’s not often that you get to experience something entirely new, but tonight I did. And it was so beautiful. The only thing that would have made it better is if we had been alone on the beach and could have experienced the serenity of falling snow in the quiet. There are a couple of things that are hard to find in the city: quiet and darkness. I miss both of those things sometimes.

“The Little Shop of Found Things” by Paula Brackston

“The Little Shop of Found Things” by Paula Brackston

Finally! As I mentioned in my last blog I was currently reading three books, so I finally finished one. When I read the jacket of this book, I thought, ooh, fun, a time travel book. I haven’t read many time travel books, but it sounded intriguing and I was looking to step outside my reading niche.

I was a little disappointed that it had ghosts; I’m not a fan of ghost stories, but (thankfully) that was a pretty small part of the story. I also didn’t realize that this was just one in a series of books; while I enjoyed this book, I’m not sure I liked it enough to invest more time in the series.

The rundown is this: a young woman (Xanthe) has the ability to “hear” objects, specifically she can hear objects that have a story to tell about their previous owners. She doesn’t hear words, but they sing to her or vibrate, or something like that. It is this ability that draws her to a particular piece (a chatelaine) — I had never in my life heard of a chatelaine, so of course I looked it up. It was a basically a decorative tool belt for women used during and prior to the Victorian era (I’ll post a photo below).

So anyway, this chatelaine calls to her… turns out it’s somehow connected to a ghost that threatens her if she doesn’t help her daughter… in 1605. So Xanthe takes up the ghost’s daughter’s cause (because that’s not confusing) and travels back in time. Shenanigans ensue. I won’t spoil the book any further by detailing said shenanigans, you’ll have to read it yourself to find out exactly what they are and how they play out.

I liked this book. It was generally lighthearted, somewhat of a mystery (though I didn’t find some of the resolutions totally satisfying), with just a hint of romance for good measure. The writing itself was good; although I find that to be so subjective (for example, I, very typically, love Jane Austen. However, my extraordinarily well-read friend, Katherine, cannot stand Jane Austen). So when I say a book is well written, what I mean is that the story makes sense; there aren’t a ton of overtly glaring plot holes; the grammar is fine; it’s written well regardless of how I feel about the story… wowee, I am off on some tangents today.

Back to the subject at hand… For a book that switches back and forth between modern times and 1605, I think the continuity of the storyline was pretty good. I understand the concept of time travel, but I was a little perplexed by some of the logistics of it as it plays out in this book’s universe. For example, if she (Xanthe) is able to travel through time, why is she limited to a linear progression in the 1605 timeline that she enters? Why does she always return later in the timeline rather than just return right when she left? And why is there such urgency from this dang ghost when all of this has already happened?

Anyway, I don’t think the characters are as well developed as they could be, but, since this is a series, it’s possible (hopeful??) that the author would flesh them out more in the following books.

Overall I would recommend this book for an escape from reality with some lighthearted fare. And who can’t use a little bit of an escape from the dumpster fire that is 2020, am I right?

A Victorian Lady’s Chatelaine

What Happened to November?!

What Happened to November?!

Seriously? What happened to November?! I’m sure I did something… but clearly nothing noteworthy, otherwise I would have written about it. I haven’t posted any book reviews because I’m currently reading three books… it would probably be helpful to finish one of them.

I’ve made a couple of quilts (I’m learning a lot), I’ve been practicing making bread (I’m getting better), I attempted to make a crepe cake (pretty disastrous), I made a lemon meringue pie (it tasted good, looked terrible), I made a pumpkin pie and an apple pie for Thanksgiving, and attempted a new cookie (pretty tasty).

I think I epitomize the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Sometimes I’m a little disheartened by this fact… I’ve always wanted to be really good at one thing! But being okay at a bunch of things is okay too, I suppose.