Book Review: Wild is the Witch

Goodreads Summary:

When eighteen-year-old witch Iris Gray accidentally enacts a curse that could have dire consequences, she must team up with a boy who hates witches to make sure her magic isn’t unleashed on the world.

Iris Gray knows witches aren’t welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches’ Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they’re keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.

Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she’s about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch.

New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches’ Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything. 

My Thoughts:

I was so excited to read this book, as I absolutely adored The Nature of Witches, also written by Rachel Griffin. Plus, this book promised so many elements that I love: nature, owls, wolves, woods, magic. So when I settled in with this book and a cup of tea the other night, I already knew that I would more than likely love this book. And, I did.

Iris Gray loves her life in Washington. She loves the animal rescue she and her mother run, Foggy Mountain Animal Sanctuary. She loves the wolves, particularly a wolf named Winter, the animals they help, her mom’s “friend”, and most of all helping the animals using her special brand of magic that allows her to communicate with the animals. What she doesn’t like – or rather who – is Pike Alder, the intern at the rescue, who hates witches. After one particularly ugly incident between them, Iris practices a tradition taught to her by her grandmother, one that allows her to give her feelings to the earth, in a ritual that involves writing spells but not actually sending them into the world. However, the one that Iris intended for Pike but not really gets away from her, and could have terrible consequences, for more than just Iris and Pike.

I have to admit it sort of gave me anxiety! The rest of the story is about Iris trying to recapture her curse before it blows up, and to do so, she needs Pike’s help.

This book is a fast read, quick paced, and definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. I even got a little teary at one part! I would love to read a sequel, as I enjoyed the setting of the animal rescue and the Pacific Northwest. And I feel like Iris and Pike’s story is not over yet!

This was a fun read, and if you are into witchy magic books and animals, this is a definite must.

Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this book and provide an honest review!

10 on the 10th

Today’s 10 on the 10th is hosted by Marsha in the Middle, with questions by Gail of Is This Mutton. 10 on the 10th is the creation of Leslie from Once Upon a Time Happily Ever After.

This month is sports themed!

  1. Were you good at sports at school?
    • Hmm. I wouldn’t say I was good at anything that involved running. Lol. I was however a pretty good swimmer. I swam butterfly and freestyle for our high school team and I loved it. And I usually placed pretty high at meets!
  2. What are your three favorite sports to watch on TV?
    • Olympic Swimming, the Tour de France, and I love the winter Olympics, like all of the events. I tried to name my favorite events the last they rolled around and I ended up naming almost everything, except hockey. I used to watch the Detroit Red Wings play on television a long time ago but haven’t for years.
  3. Do you regularly watch any live sports?
    • Just the Olympics and the Tour de France.
  4. Does the Olympic medal ceremony make you emotional when your country wins a gold?
    • Yeah. Although like Marsha, I cry for any country who gets gold. I think about how those athletes must be feeling and boom, tears.
  5. What sport or fitness activities do you enjoy now? 
    • Hiking in the woods? I also love yoga but I haven’t done it in so long. I had hoped to get back to it this fall and looked into it but the classes don’t work with my schedule so.. I don’t know. Maybe I can just do yoga at home, an online class or something.
  6. Did you ever have a sporting hero who was your pinup?
    • No. I watch more sports now than I did even when I was younger. I always had band or actor posters.
  7. What’s the most memorable sporting occasion you can remember? 
    • When the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997 or 1998. My cousin had a huge viewing party, and had constructed a faux Stanley Cup for us all to drink out of. Then we all piled into our cars and headed downtown where everyone was driving around and yelling and celebrating in the streets. It was a lot of fun. I was probably..22 years old so it was a good time.
  8. Is anyone in your family outstanding at sport? 
    • Um, no. My grandpa was a fantastic swimmer though. And bowler.
  9. Name three sports you try to avoid on TV.
    • All the footballs, basketball, baseball.
  10. Who’s the sports personality you admire most in 2022
    • I do not have one. I should probably watch more sports?

What about you? Are you sporty?

A Morning at the Fair

This whole summer, Wyatt and I have been reading and talking about farms – we have visited farms, stayed at a farm, read many books about farms (including Charlotte’s Web), and still have some farm plans ahead of us. So when the Monroe County Fair rolled around this year, I knew we had to go.

I grew up going to this fair. Every summer, the first week of August, we would meet my aunts and uncles and cousins and spend an evening eating pie from my cousin’s grandmother’s church stand, probably a pie that she had made herself, riding the rides, climbing up and sitting on the tractors, and looking at all of the animals, my favorite part. As I got older, we didn’t go as a family anymore. But I still went. As a teenager my friends and I would drive down and hang out, when Billy and I started dating I dragged him down to the fair, I met my dad and my nephew there for a few years, and when we had Wyatt, I met my cousin and his family there, along with my aunt and uncle, for the first time since we were kids.

This year, we had to go. It had been too long. Unfortunately, there was a heat advisory for our area this weekend so we thought perhaps we should stay home. We talked about it since Wyatt is not great in the heat, but after some discussion, we decided it would be fine if we went early. So, first thing Saturday morning we took off for the fair, getting there just as the gates opened at 9 am.

It was a ghost town compared to the evenings, when the midway is packed and the smell of popcorn and elephant ears drifts at you from every corner. We were pretty much the only people there who were not there to take care of their animals, and all the 4-h kids and their parents were busy cleaning and feeding and mucking out stalls. The horse competition had started an hour earlier, so that was going on as well, horses getting made all pretty before entering the ring.

It was nice to have the room to move around and view the animals so early. Wyatt was so quiet, taking it all in. I don’t think he could believe how close we were to these huge animals! We started with the cows, and immediately saw the dairy cows from the farm nearest us, that we often get milk and butter and most importantly, ice cream from – the Calder Dairy Farm.

Next we moved across the street to my favorite building of all – the bunnies and the chickens!

I stopped and talked to probably every rabbit there. I thought of the hutch rabbits in Watership Down, and wondered what Hazel and his gang would think of some of these cute floofs – or the Flemish Giant who was lounging in a place of honor. He was as big as Wyatt! The small animal auction was scheduled for 11 am, but Billy was a real stick in the mud and said there was no way we were taking home a rabbit. Hmmph. One day. It is ok, I don’t think I could have decided between them all anyway! Well, maybe that little one on top there, the first photo. So stinking cute!

From here we wandered back to the larger animals, the sheep and the goats.

One young 4-H Club member was proud to tell us about his sheep, and he should have been proud. He also was keen to share his knowledge with us, and explained that in addition to shearing the sheep so they stay cool, they also do it so the judges can see the muscle structure. I hope that kid and his sheep earned a blue ribbon!

By this point Wyatt was having his hungriest moment and we were all turning into melted puddles from the heat and humidity. So we took a quick little break at the restaurant run by the 4-H kids, and Wyatt enjoyed a huge waffle.

Once we rehydrated and Wyatt finished eating, it was time to explore the barns of exhibits. I love seeing what these kids create! I even saw a few projects that I am going to incorporate into our homeschool year, like that little paper pie!

After this, there wasn’t much more left as it was still so early. The food trucks were just getting ready for business, the rides were not open yet, so we sort of circle one area and called it a morning. I was happy to see the church booth I used to eat pie at was still there, still serving pie. And has been for 75 years! We also saw these amazing woodcarvings.

And that was that. We moseyed back to the car, feeling pretty darn good about our morning! Although, I really would have liked one of those rabbits…

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Hello all! Wyatt and I eased back into our normal post-Covid lives last week after our time was up, and it was nice to get back in the world. The library was one of our first stops, and of course Wyatt resuming therapy was on the list as well. Then yesterday we went to a local county fair and had so much fun, despite melting from the heat.

I also have a question for you, fellow book lovers. Have you ever ordered from Thrift Books or Abe’s Books? I am thinking about placing an order with one of them and I would love to hear some opinions on the two. Thanks!

Read Last Week:

I was able to finally get some reading time in last week, and finished this one up. I really enjoyed it! It was a bit slow for me at times but I still enjoyed the characters and the mystery. I am looking forward to reading the next one in the series!

Reading This Week:

I have always wanted to read Willa of the Wood and I am finally going to do it. I also had started Wild is the Witch and honestly, I can’t remember if I finished it! I need to do a review of it for NetGalley so I am going to reread it. It somehow got lost in the shuffle!

Posted Last Week:

Kid’s Bedroom Inspiration: Nature and the Outdoors

The Wednesday Hodgepodge

Classic Movie Impressions: To Catch a Thief

Hello, August!

Watching and Listening:

Billy and I binged the newest season of Brokenwood Mysteries on Acorn this past week. I am so bummed out now that we are done and have to wait all over again for more episodes! This series is such fun. We started season 2 of Only Murders in the Building last night though, and that helped couch the sadness of missing Brokenwood. Lol. OMITB cracks me up. It is such a great show.

As for listening, I am listening to a podcast called The Night Owl Podcast, which is a bit scary and spooky. I guess even thought we are in August, I am already leaning into fall which will be here before we know it.

That’s about it from my corner of Michigan! What about you all?

Kid’s Bedroom Inspiration: Nature and the Outdoors

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So, during our COVID isolation, we had a lot of time to sit and look at our rooms. Again. I decided we pretty much need to refresh every room except my office. And the den. Lol. So the other day Wyatt and I sat down and looked at different things online to discuss his room! He had told me before he wanted outdoors and space for his room. I went more space and I think we both are unhappy with it. So, we revisited and he just wants more moon stuff to go with the outdoors stuff. That, I think we can do pretty darn easily. And, he is outgrowing the little low bed I got him, which is fine, I knew it was just a short term type thing. With his cerebral palsy I have to admit I am super nervous about him being in a big old bed alone, but I am sure there work arounds if I think about it. I am pretty creative when it comes to that.

Anyway, this is what Wyatt, with my guidance, picked. Because frankly we were not going with all of his choices. Seven year old boys have somewhat questionable taste! So let’s just say, I gave him lots of approved choices for him to pick from… although I did let him pick the colors all by himself.

First, the bedspread. We actually have a vintage Hudson Bay blanket that was in my mom’s house and she no longer wanted it, so my brother and I decided I could have it for Wyatt’s room. I think it will look really cool. I am glad we had access to one because phew they are pricey. (antique version) Although, if I can’t get it to feel less scratchy I will be getting this kids version, which is much more affordable at fifty dollars.

So, once we had that picked out we realized we needed to pick a new bed frame. We tried to find a wrought iron style with a trundle in case of overnight visits but we couldn’t really find one. He did like this one though and I agree it’s pretty cool. You can find it here. I like that it still seems pretty low and smallish which I think will be better for him to manage.

From here we looked at a million different bookshelf situations and lights. He really liked a bookshelf that looks like a little house, and I am sure Billy can build one himself all DIY style, which would be cool. I picked out the pendant light, sorry Wyatt. It was just so pretty! The light is from AADecor on Etsy. They are taking a break right now but that is ok, we are still in the planning and painting stages of everything.

We still have to talk about all his personal touches, like artwork. He does have some neat framed art already in his room that will just carryover, and some shelves with all his important things he has made or received. And his desk, which we will keep using until he outgrows it, which might be pretty soon! Then we will just move school to the dining room table, which will just free up space in his room – for more books or musical instruments or drawing stuff, knowing my son. We did pick a few new pieces of artwork out though, for the bedroom wishlist! Trying to get some of the moon elements in that way – I think that wolf print is pretty neat!

National Parks Explorer’s Guide Poster // Michigan Lumberjack // Moon Wolf

And, I think with these changes and some added extra personal touches, we should be good for a while!

The Wednesday Hodgepodge

The Wednesday Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce From This Side of the Pond

So I joined in last week with the hodgepodge and really had fun! Everyone was so nice and welcoming!

1. Do you have a sister? Tell us something about her. If you don’t have a sister, tell us about a friend who has been like a sister. Or tell us about a sister-in-law if you have one who is extra special. 

I have one brother, younger than me, who is one of my best friends. And lucky me, the woman he married has become one of my best friends as well. Chrissy is one of the most compassionate and empathetic people I have ever met. She makes me laugh with her wry sarcastic sense of humor, she is always someone I can count on, she loves my child deeply, so much so that this summer she leaped into a lake fully dressed, shoes and all, when he fell off the dock, to grab him. Over the past twenty years we have shared laughs, tears, sometimes laughing until we cry! We have committed some crazy shenanigans together, danced on beaches, sat around fires, taken care of each other’s children, and pretty much been there for everything together. I would do anything for her, she is one of my people, one of my tribe. She is absolutely one of the best people I know and I am lucky to have found a sister through my brother’s marriage.

2. Resister, assister, insister, persister…choose one of the words listed and explain how it relates to you and your life lately. 

Hmm. Let’s go with persister! The past few weeks have been filled with some challenges, and I just keep on keepin’ on.

3. Share a favorite song, book, movie, or television program that features sisters.

White Christmas! One of my favorite holiday movies, it also centers around the sister act of the Haynes Sisters and of course, their famous song, Sisters. Oh, and Frozen of course! And The Parent Trap!

And as for television show, back in my youth I loved watching Charmed about sisters who find out they are witches. And Little House!

Books – Sense and Sensibility (my favorite Austen story), Practical Magic, Little House on the Prairie

4. August 3rd is national watermelon day…are you a fan? Do you like watermelon flavored candy? Besides eating the melon as is, do you have a good recipe made with watermelon? 

Watermelon is one of my favorites! I love both watermelon and watermelon flavored things. I had no idea there was a watermelon day out there but I am glad that there is. My husband and I eat watermelon every night together. And watermelon candy is the best , Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids in particular. And gosh, as for a recipe with watermelon I can’t say that I have one! Although I was looking at a recipe for pickled watermelon rinds the other day. I couldn’t decide how I felt about it – would it be good, or gross?

5. ‘Tis August…what are three things you’re looking forward to this month? 

The Michigan Renaissance Festival, going rock hounding with my brother, SIL, and my niece, and all the fresh fruit and corn filling the farm markets!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Yesterday was kind of a rough day, but two things made it brighter. Watching The Brokenwood Mysteries newest season with my husband (as we ate watermelon lol), and that the giant swallowtail eggs that I found on my rue hatched! Two teensy tiny little giant swallowtail caterpillars! Nature is full of wonders and everyday I find something to make me smile.

Classic Movie Impressions: To Catch a Thief

Lisa at Boondock Ramblings and I have started recommending classic movies to each other this summer, and this go round she recommended To Catch a Thief for us to watch. I had just suggested two very heavy movies in a row to her (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire) so I lightened it up with Elvis and Blue Hawaii for her. You can read her review here!

If you are unfamiliar with this film the basic premise is that a former jewel thief, John Robie “The Cat”(Cary Grant) has to defend his reformed reputation and innocence when a cat burglar begins stealing from the rich tourists in the French Riviera, and everyone assumes he has returned to his old ways. Francie (Grace Kelly) is a wealthy American woman who is clever and bold and much more different than one would think under her icy blonde exterior.

So far, this movie is my favorite of Lisa’s picks for me. I absolutely loved every bit of it. I am an absolute sucker for cinematography and this movie is gorgeous. The water, the villas, the street scenes, the composition of scenes – it is easy to see why cinematographer Robert Burks won an Oscar for this film. So many scenes took my breath away with sometimes just their simple beauty! There is a scene where John and Francie are in her rooms, watching the fireworks and verbally sparring, with Francie goading John into revealing to her that she has figured out who he really is. The lighting, the shadows and use of shadow, the colors, the costumes, the placement of where the actors stand and sit is perfect.

I also loved how Grace Kelly’s character in this movie had hidden depths. On the surface she looks like an ice princess, with her blonde gorgeousness, her seeming aloofness – and then she slowly reveals that underneath that demeanor she is a little bit of a thrill seeker, that she is more hot-blooded than cold, and she is bold and goes after what she wants. She pursues Robie with single minded purpose, and pulls out all the stops including a chase scene along the coastal road which ends in a picnic with chicken and beer. She had her own version of “catching” a thief, it seems.

“The Cat” may not be immune to Francie’s charms but remains undeterred in his pursuit of the imposter thief. He follows his instincts, and lands on his feet after a dramatic rooftop scene where Robie confronts the thief amidst a hail of bullets. Because it can’t be too easy, right?

I just want to say that Jessie Royce Landis, who portrays Kelly’s mom Jessie Stevens, is also brilliant in this movie. I loved her sort of rough beginnings, her lack of regard for her own wealth, her taste for bourbon, and how she seemed to just embrace life despite missing her late husband Jeremiah. Her character was a lot of fun to watch in every one of her scenes.

Overall, I completely loved this movie, the charm and the beauty, the easiness that Kelly and Grant seem to have with one another. The surprises that made me turn to Billy with wide eyes, laughing, like when Kelly lays one on Grant soon after meeting him, totally breaking that ice princess facade. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to watch it!

Up Next:

We have chosen our movies for next time! For Lisa, I picked The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, at my mom’s suggestion. And Lisa, with her husband’s input, has picked His Gal Friday for me. Feel free to watch with us and chime in with your impressions next time!

Hello, August!

It’s August! And you know what that means – fall is right around the corner! But first – August. Here, gardens are usually lush and overflowing, days are hot, and everyone is scrambling to fit as much fun and outside time in before school starts again. Even though we are a homeschooling family, I feel the urgency to not waste a second more than I have to. These long, lazy days don’t last forever and we will eventually have to hit the books again.

We ended July on a bit of a bummer – Wyatt and I had Covid. The rest of July was pretty spectacular though, so I have to be happy for that, and thankful that we had mild cases. August however is looking to be a good looking month though, if we do even a few of the things I am hoping we do. Peaches, sunflowers, the Renaissance Festival (it will be Wyatt and Mermaid Girl’s first time and they are going to love it!), birthday parties, and things closer to home too, like raising caterpillars and reading and swimming. Eating cold watermelon at night with Billy, the evening glass of wine, farm markets, the wild and vibrant colors of the zinnias growing in Billy’s wildflower patch.

I am of course, looking ahead to school starting. I have lots to gather and prepare (and there is a metaphor in here that is eluding me this morning as I type). I have to organize our supplies, finish lesson plans – we are flexible but I do have plans. I need to keep working on the literary arts curriculum I am creating for Wyatt – I have made it to December and I have to say I am super excited about my choices and what I have put together already. I have field trips to plan, and I still have to convince Billy to build an addition onto our house for a sun room/plant room/homeschool room… (ok that isn’t going to happen but hey a girl can dream).

We still want to squeeze a camping trip in somewhere – I love the outdoors guys but I am not a camper, unless sleeping in a cabin or an RV counts. Right now I am daydreaming of reserving a night or two in an Airstream somewhere rustic, but I know my husband wants the whole camping experience with Wyatt, tent and all. I can maybe do one night? Maybe I will just sleep in the back of the Subaru…

Anyway, I am going to wrap this up here! How about you? Any plans for August?

Sunday Morning Coffee Catch Up

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

Last week was a long week. Wyatt threw up once after swimming last Friday (the 22nd) and we thought maybe it was just because he had swallowed water or something. But then Saturday he started coughing and was congested, so we gave him a home test, which almost instantly turned positive for Covid. Billy and I just stared at it for a second, in disbelief. We had had a busy week, but all were in medical buildings with screening and mask requirements – except for one. His speech therapy appointment Tuesday afternoon. Due to the nature of speech therapy, he can’t wear a mask. And since it houses many speech therapy rooms, etc a lot of kids are not wearing masks. When we looked at the timeline, it fit.

We immediately called Wyatt’s pediatrician, who told us not to panic (too late!), told us to treat it like a cold, and to also call Wyatt’s neurologist. His neuro team also told us not to panic but to bump up one of his seizure meds for two days in case of fever spikes. He thank goodness did not have any fever spikes but we were happy to have such a good medical team for our kiddo. Once Wyatt was settled, I went out for a PCR test. Which came back negative but two days later I became congested with a sore throat and tested positive as well, which I knew was coming. How could it not?

We spent the week resting and healing, and for me, worrying. I drove my friends and family crazy I am sure but with their help I managed to stay mostly calm. I drank tons of tea with honey, ate chicken noodle soup everyday for lunch, kept hydrated, and laid around as much as my bounce back quickly kid would let me. (which I was grateful for, Wyatt bouncing back so quickly). I was congested, husky voiced, and a little tired. That was probably one of the hardest things, being sidelined. I missed my college roommate reunion! One of my friends from college was visiting from Australia, where he moved after meeting and falling in love with his wife, an Australian woman from Perth. I see them so rarely for obvious reasons, and this was one other time I missed them. I will probably have to wait five years again now, which is a huge bummer.

At least I had my little buddy to hang out with. And my cats and my reptiles and my caterpillars. They distracted me when I needed a distraction. I daydreamed about adopting a goat. And an English Angora rabbit, because look at this little floof!! I want to kiss it and hug it … my husband calls me Elmyra from Tiny Toons and it is not an unfair comparison sometimes.

Billy and I watched lots of Virgin River because that was just the tv I needed, I attempted two audiobooks, and mostly scrolled the interwebs. On Thursday Wyatt was growing increasingly bored but as he had just passed day 5 and I was not there yet, we were still housebound – and pretty much are until day 10. And I was still pretty gross. But I rallied enough to set up this rock painting activity for him. His rocks were so…artistic. I thought they were beautiful.

I didn’t go outside much over the week, because I wasn’t interested in adding allergies to the mix, but I did sit on the porch a few times and was surprised everyday by some new and wonderful sight. Goldfinches perching on my lavender, eating seeds from flower heads, a baby robin, just a new fledgling sitting on our porch rail, unafraid. A hummingbird even swung by and hovered in front of us, saying hello for a few seconds before disappearing in a blur. And, I found giant swallowtail butterfly eggs on my rue! So, despite a pretty crappy week, there was some beauty to be found in it.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge is hosted by From This Side of the Pond

This is my first time participating and I am excited about it!

1. According to author Gary Chapman there are five love languages-words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Which one is yours? 

For what I like to receive, quality time. Is that what this means? I tend to be a doer for other people, so I think I show my love through nurturing.

2. What are five foods you eat every day? 

I am not sure there five foods I eat every day that are the same.. Let me try though… toast with jam. Cheese. Right now, watermelon. I’m almost there! Ok..carrots! I love carrots so much. And..the fruit snack I always sneak from the pouch before handing it to Wyatt.

3. Five places you’d love to visit?

Italy. Scotland. Ireland. The Pacific Northwest and Nova Scotia.

Photo by Silvia Trigo on Pexels.com

4. Something you’ve done recently that deserved a ‘high five‘?

Planned a few fun small activities and one awesome mini-getaway to a tiny house on a farm.

5. Give us five 5-letter words that describe your July. 

Books. Fruit. Trips. Dates. Farms.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I am sitting in my bed looking around and thinking I really want to refresh our bedroom. I have wanted to do this for a while but we have kept putting it off and I think I am going to prioritize it pretty soon. I am 100% over this wall color (that I never wanted, the husband chose it and I have never been a fan lol), I want my art hung, and my husband needs a new dresser. I am moving this project up the list!