Saturday, February 26, 2022

Looking Back and Moving Forward

 I've been writing this blog since March of 2010. I'm closing in on twelve years, which is unbelievable. I started this blog because I enjoyed talking about books to people and I felt the need to widen my scope--talking to book lovers as a bookseller was great, but just not enough. I wanted to share my thoughts and excitement with more people.

I've had some high reading years and months, and really low reading years and months. One thing I've noticed in the past year is my energy to keep going with my blog has been really slowing down. When I say I'm tired it's just an all around tired in body and mind. Trying to keep up with my reading and always thinking about blogging is just tiring. Life has changed a bit recently, and I find it a struggle to read like I used to--which was pretty much anywhere, anytime. 

I love to read. It has sustained me all of my life, and kept me company through many tough situations and much grief. Feeling stressed? Grab a fun, lighthearted book and read my cares away.  It's a chill autumn night--best time to read a thrilling, spooky novel. Christmas is around the corner, and I can't wait to read new holiday books. Going on vacation? Which 6 books will I take? Connecting with friends over books? Wonderful! Having a library patron (or in my past life as a bookseller-a customer) tell me how much they enjoyed the book I recommended. Giving book club members ideas for future discussions. Giving book talks to groups. Heck, I even presented at a women's conference two years running. I did it all. 

I still get a thrill when I see a favorite author's latest book, and nothing makes me happier than being in a bookstore. Libraries also hold a special place in my heart. I love to see what people are reading and introduce them to new authors, genres, and nonfiction. 

I've enjoyed it all, and did it all on my own time and have not made one penny on my blog. It's a part time job that I do simply because I enjoy it. However, life brings changes, and I need to spend time building a life with my partner. We have plans to bring to fruition and can't wait to get started. He's always championed my blog and my reading passion and now it's time for something we will work on together. 

I'm going to take a break; see what life is like without blogging. Enjoy reading without feeling pressure to keep providing weekly content. 

I will still post reviews, but I'm slowing way down. I'm going to try some Tiktok videos, which are fun and fast. I'll link them to my Instagram.

If you're interested in following me on Instagram, my handle is:


My TikTok (which just has a few videos) is @luv2read66. 

I'm new to TikTok and still learning how to create videos but the few I've done have been fun to create. 

I'm on Goodreads under Sue Gerth (The Bookalicious Babe). Friend me! 

Thank you all for the years of support and feedback.  I'm not going away, just stepping back for a bit. I'll continue to post book related content on my Facebook page and am happy to give recommendations--just drop me a message. 

With much love and gratitude--

The Bookalicious Babe 


Saturday, February 12, 2022

A Lullaby for Witches by Hester Fox


To purchase from Amazon, click here
Hester Fox returns with a novel that combines history, museum work, magic, and tragedy. It's an interesting combination that all comes together and left me trying to decide if I sympathized with charming and mysterious Margaret Harlowe. 

There are two stories, with chapters either labeled Margaret or Augusta, so it is not difficult to switch between the two characters or time periods. Margaret is the only daughter of the wealthy Harlowe family in Tynemouth, Massachusetts in 1876. She's beautiful and restless. She also possesses magical abilities and on the side helps women in town who seek her assistance late at night in the woods. She's got her eye on the handsome Jack Pryce, a shopkeeper's son who can't take his eyes off Margaret. Is it love or lust between the two? 

Present day in Tynemouth, Augusta gets her dream job as curator for the Harlowe House Museum. She's got an eating disorder, is in a failed relationship, and feels strangely at home in Harlowe House. Augusta keeps hearing footsteps; books are left open on her desk showing important clues in her research, and she's quickly become obsessed with finding out more about Margaret. There's very little information about Margaret; it's as though she was swept under the family rug and quickly forgotten. 

Well. Margaret is still around, and she's got a plan. She wants to live, and Augusta is her key. 

This was a pretty good story; it kept my interest and I was fascinated by the story of Margaret and her tragic ending. She's at once a sympathetic character and one that is pretty selfish. She certainly has reason to be bitter. Augusta is a bit of a mess--she struggles to break free from a relationship that doesn't work but is comfortable; she is smart but troubled and just what Margaret needs to make her plan come to fruition. 

There are other characters who add to both storylines and are instrumental in determining the fate of both women. I loved the setting, the inside peek into museum curation (especially a small museum), and the magic and mystery of the woods, water, and beaches of Massachusetts. A theme running throughout this novel are the choices women make, both good and bad, and the lack of power they have within society and their own homes. 

Rating: 4/6 for an entertaining read that combines two of my favorite subjects: history and magic. It would make an interesting discussion for a book group. One of my favorite Hester Fox novels. 

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio. 

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Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf


I had to put the books I've been reading on hold this last week so I could read Heather Gudenkauf's latest--I had a 10 day check out from the library so I couldn't dither!

It wasn't hard to do, because this novel grabbed me from the first few pages and I quickly became completely invested in the characters and the plot.

Wylie Lark is a true crime writer, and she's come to Burden, Iowa to stay in an isolated farmhouse to finish her latest book. A big blizzard is heading quickly towards town, and Wylie heads to the farmhouse to huddle up and wait out the storm. 

Twenty years before, young Josie Doyle and her friend Becky were spending a last summer night together out at Josie's parent's farm. It was hot and hard to sleep. The girls slip out to jump on the trampoline outside, and hear gunshots in the house. Running towards the house, the girls quickly realize their mistake and turn around to flee into the cornfields. 

Josie makes it into the field to hide, but Becky doesn't. That night, Josie's world crumbles and Becky disappears.

The blizzard is raging, and Wylie lets her dog out and ends up having to go outside herself to get Taz to come back to the house. She finds a small child, lying in the snow. How did the child get there? 

Wow this was so good! The story flashes back and forth between 2000 and the violence at Josie's home, a young mother and child living in a basement (you know right away this isn't right!), and Wylie focusing on keeping the child alive and figuring out what the heck is going on--all while the power goes out, the storm rages, and no one is available to help. 

It wasn't hard to figure out who was who, but the story was tense and oh golly, that blizzard--I could feel it in my bones. I felt chilled the whole time I was reading. 

It's a quick read, but a good one. All the pieces come together at the end. There are some sensitive subjects involved in this one, so be prepared. 

Rating: 5/6 for a thriller set in an isolated farmhouse in rural Iowa during a massive blizzard. Past and present come together with a bit of a twist at the end. Heather Gudenkauf did not disappoint! 

Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio.