The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson

I cannot believe this is a debut novel.  Alexis Henderson has built an atmospheric tale that is impossible not to lose yourself in.

With the perfect amount of eeriness, creepy vibes, and a chilling haunting feel to it I was completely mesmerised by the entire story.

Set in the town of Bethel that borders the Darkwood where it is rumoured the spirits of four evil witches lie in wait for their latest prey, where entering the woods marks certain death or madness, where the town folk follow only the words of their Prophet and any who would dare speak against him or the Church must surely lean towards witchcraft and therefore must burn on the pyre. 

Argh, how good does that sound!!  I’m in!!!

In a world where a girl’s sole purpose is to bleed and therefore be ready for the cutting ritual.  Where the prophet can take as many wives as he likes to serve his needs, and women have no purpose other than to obey, Immanuelle stands apart.

Raised by her grandparents after her mother was killed for consorting with witches and her father burned on the pyre as a traitor to the Church, she constantly feels the pull to the Darkwood.  When one day this pull becomes to strong Immanuelle’s future will be changed forever.  After a dark and chilling encounter with the witches, as terrifying plagues start to befall the township of Bethel, is Immanuelle to blame?  Can she stop them or should she watch them all suffer for all they have put her family through?

This is so descriptive and beautifully detailed.  I was absolutely captivated and although not a huge fan of horror, and trust me, it’s interwoven into this one, I honestly could not put it down.

I was soooo excited to read that the author is currently locked away writing the sequel.  I can’t wait.

5 fabulous witchy stars for this one.

Review – Long Bright River

Long Bright River – Liz Moore

I really enjoyed this one.  For a decent sized novel it held my attention the entire way through, I just couldn’t put it down.

I’m a huge fan of thrillers and mysteries but sometimes ones revolving around police and detective plots I struggle with a little, definitely not this one.

Mickey has been a police officer with the Philadelphia Police Department for 13 years, working the streets in one of the rougher areas of the city.  Having had a pretty tough childhood growing up there was just Mickey and her sister Kacey to look out for each other.  As they got older Mickey was the studious sister, striving to do her best, while Kacey slid further and further away and eventually into a life of drugs, petty crime and prostitution, working the very streets that Mickey would be patrolling.

Mickey hasn’t seen or spoken to her sister in years, just hoping every day that the next overdose she is called out to is not Kacey.  “The first time I found my sister dead, she was sixteen.”

Suddenly there is a spate of murdered sex workers in Mickey’s district that no one on the force really seems to care about.  Having not seen Kacey around the streets for some time, Mickey becomes fixated on finding her sister before she too becomes a victim and in the process hopefully find the killer.

Narrated from Mickey’s point of view and alternating between Then and Now the story of Mickey and Kacey’s lives was interwoven perfectly.  I felt every one of Mickey’s emotions as she tried desperately to find her sister and make sure she was safe.

The character development was spot on and with just the right amount of twists and turns the storyline flowed along as if I was on Mickey’s journey.  So many times I thought I had worked out who the killer was and every single time I was wrong.  I loved that.  I hate it when thrillers are predictable.

I was struck by the terrifying realness of the opioid addictions and how drugs can tear families apart, destroying them at the core.  The storyline of drug addiction was both fascinating and heart breaking and the author covered this area with such insight and detail I honestly felt I was right there witnessing the pain, it was just so terrifyingly real.

The only tiny thing that stuck out for me was that for some reason I couldn’t get a clear image in my head of what I thought Mickey looked like, and I honestly don’t know why that was.  Again, the characters were so intense and full of depth I really can’t rationalise why I couldn’t picture her.

This was a solid 4.5 stars for me and I will definitely be grabbing more books by Liz Moore to jump into.

*****