Then and Now #3 (8/2 - 8/8)

Another week has flown by and we're officially a week into August. I don't know where this summer is going, which I appreciate is hardly an original thought! But let's get into this week! I got my second vaccine shot! Can't wait for that full immunity to hit in two weeks so I can go visit my dad while he's holidaying in the Italian Alps. I'm desperate for that mountain air but more desperate to see my dad! It's been over a year-and-a-half since I've properly seen him, cause I'm not counting the one day he and my sister flew in for my uncle's funeral. 

The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted @ Caffeinated Reviewer. See rules here: Sunday Post MemeMailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.  It is hosted weekly over at Mailbox Monday and every Friday they do a round-up of some of their favourite, shared reads!

I didn't post a whole lot this week, but here is what I managed.


I discovered a new podcast and it is honestly blowing my mind! It is The Silt Verses, a Horror-Fantasy podcast that is honestly everything I could ask for. It is produced and written by Jon Ware and Muna Hussen and has some amazing voice work. It is definitely scary and beautiful and hits allll the folklore spots. Here's the blurb!

Carpenter and Faulkner, two worshippers of an outlawed god, travel up the length of their deity’s great black river, searching for holy revelations amongst the reeds and the wetlands.


As their pilgrimage lengthens and the river’s mysteries deepen, the two acolytes find themselves under threat from a police manhunt, but also come into conflict with the weirder gods that have flourished in these forgotten rural territories.


This is a world where divine intervention takes place through prayer-markings scratched into stumping-posts, and offerings are left squirming to die in the flats of the delta.


This is a world of ritual, and hidden language, and sacrifice.


This is folk horror, and fantasy, and a dark road trip into the depths of unusual faith.

The first season is only 13 episodes in which means you can fully get into it. Warning: this is horror so there are body transformations, body horror, blood and gore, and discussions of mental health. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Podcast Addict!

My other recommendation is that I went to see The Green Knight and my mind was blown. It is definitely a Surrealist film so the viewing experience is at times a little disorienting, but that's the point! As a Medievalist of course I have many thoughts, but the first of my posts about it is already up, in case you're interested! Below is the trailer, so treat yourself to some visual delights before we dip back into books. 

Book Mail
Now, let's get into our mailboxes! Here's what came in for me this week, the first three are from NetGalley, the final three I bought myself!

The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West (Duckworth Books; 10/7/2021)

Belfast, 1914. Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, high society has become obsessed with spiritualism. In their collective grief they are attempting to reach their departed through séances.

William Jackson Crawford is a man of science and a sceptic, but one night with everyone sitting around the circle, voices come to him seemingly from beyond the veil, placing doubt in his heart and a seed of obsession in his mind. Could the spirits truly be communicating with him or is this one of Kathleen's parlour tricks gone too far?

Based on the true story of William Jackson Crawford and famed medium Kathleen Goligher, and with a cast of characters that includes Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, West conjures a haunting tale that will keep you guessing until the end.

I was first pulled in by the cover on this one, it almost feels like a puzzle? But I have always been intrigued by the spiritualism craze that swept through much of Europe and the US in the 20th century, so I can't wait to see what West does with it!

Beowulf: A Verse Translation from the Anglo-Saxon by Andrew B.F. Carnabuci (BooksGoSocial; 2/15/2021)

Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel! Beowulf is the classic Old English heroic-elegiac poem, presented here in a new verse translation. The poem follows the rise and fall of its titular hero on adventures in Denmark in his youth, and facing a dragon as the King of Geatland in his old age.

This edition is fully annotated throughout, and includes a translator's preface and introduction, pedigree diagrams for the major royal houses, and a full bibliography.

If you have never experienced the Anglo-Saxon world of savage violence, stark beauty, and deeply-felt sorrow--or if you are looking for a fresh new alliterative verse translation--you will find here one of the finest foundational epic poems of the English-speaking world.

Beowulf is indeed the Old English poem so I feel quite protective of it. But I also enjoy all kinds of new translations, each of which, in my opinion, brings something new to the table. Can't wait to see what Carnabuci can add!

How to Murder a Marriage (Ex-Whisperer Files #1) by Gabrielle St. George (Level Best Books; 11/9/2021)


Gina Malone, a bestselling relationships advice author and expert on exes, meddles in other people’s affairs for a living. It makes for enemies. One of them is scaring her to death.

A modern-day Miss Lonelyhearts, Gina’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s got a potty mouth, and she’s determined to live life on her own terms. She’s also divorced, an empty nester, and turning fifty. In the true spirit of mid-life crises, Gina dyes her hair, pierces her nose, and moves to a tiny tourist town on the Canadian shores of Lake Huron.

Just as she’s settling into her new life and deciding whether to fall into bed with her hot contractor, Gina advises a reader to leave her husband, right before the woman goes missing. And Gina’s got a stalker. Is it her vengeful ex-husband, the abusive ex of the missing woman, or her new crush’s crazy ex? All three would love to get her alone in some dark and deserted place, which isn’t tough to do since her new residence is an old family cottage she’s renovating on an empty stretch of beach.

Can Gina outsmart her stalker and find the missing woman before the noose around her own neck gets any tighter?

I love the idea of this book, which will be the first in a series! Can't wait to join Gina on her journey to escape the insanity that follows her.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (Alfred A. Knopf; 7/6/2021)
Shiori'anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she's been taught all her life to forswear--no matter what the cost.
Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.

I absolutely have Marie over at Pages to Explore to thank for this one! I saw it during the Friday memes, featured on her blog, and I quite simply couldn't not buy it. So here we are and I'm thrillleedddd... 

The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost #1) by C.L. Clark (Orbit Books; 3/23/2021)

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet's edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren't for sale.

Of course I had to complete the sapphic trifecta, who do you think I am? Also, I'm super here for assassinations, massacres and conversations in war rooms. Also, I want the arms of the woman on the cover, I want to be that strong!

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner (Orbit Books; 4/15/2021)

Deep in the Hungarian woods, the sacred magic of King Solomon lives on in his descendants. Gathering under the midnight stars, they pray, sing and perform small miracles - and none are more gifted than the great Rabbi Isaac and his three daughters. Each one is blessed with a unique talent - whether it be coaxing plants to grow, or predicting the future by reading the path of the stars.

When a fateful decision to help an outsider ends in an accusation of witchcraft, fire blazes through their village. Rabbi Isaac and his family are forced to flee, to abandon their magic and settle into a new way of life. But a dark fog is making its way across Europe and will, in the end, reach even those who thought they could run from it. Each of the sisters will have to make a choice - and change the future of their family forever.

I read a sneak peak of this in one of Orbit's other books, I believe For the Wolf, and was just deeply enamored! We used to have a collection of Jewish fairy tales when I was a child and I can't wait to get back into that world! 

So that's me! I think this might be one of the longest posts I've ever written that wasn't a poetry analysis or my own writing? Can't wait to see what y'all have been up to!


  1. Congrats on the second vaccine! I should be getting mine this coming week as well. And thanks for the podcast recommendation, sounds right up my street!

    I'm really excited to see Gawain and the Green Knight, partly because of my folklore/mythology/legend fascination but mostly because I just love to watch anything fantasy. I'm certainly not going in expecting a perfect reenactment!

    I'm also fascinated by the early Spiritualism craze! There was something so lovingly bonkers about it but also so .. gothic? I dunno, I love it, though. And ooh a new Beowulf translation. I still need to read even one, not sure whether to begin with Tolkien or seek out one of the ones considered "the best" (I figured there'll be a few up there, people rarely agree on these things). All sorts of interesting books here. Hope you enjoy! :D

    1. Yaay for second vaccines all around! The Silt Verses is honestly amazing, I even had to pause one episode until the morning because it got too scary xD The Green Knight is a beautiful movie, full of folklore references and just amazing visuals, I hope you enjoy it! And yes, bonkers and gothic is the perfect way to describe the Spiritualism craze I think. Tolkien's translation is, of course, very good, especially if you want to get a good feel for the poem. Seamus Heaney's translation is very poetic but, as an Anglo-Saxonist I don't agree with all of his choices! Thanks for dropping by :)

  2. Ooh, congrats on getting the second shot! Enjoy your visit with your dad.

    I am liking the look of your book How to Murder a Marriage!

    Enjoy your reading and your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. I definitely plan to enjoy family-time in the mountains :D And yessss, I love the sound of How to Murder a Marriage as well, a perfect blend between fun and thrills! Thanks for dropping by :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you!! I feel so relieved, can't wait for the full immunity to hit soon. Thanks for dropping by :)

  4. Italian Alps sound fantastic. I love me a new environment and congrats on getting vaccinated. Glad we are adding more people to the list.

    1. I'm so desperate to be back in the mountains, it's gonna be a real soul refresher! Thanks for dropping by :)

  5. The Light of the Midnight Stars is on my library wishlist. The Spirit Engineer is new to me but it looks good.

    Congratulations on your second shot! I hope you get to visit your dad soon! I didn't see my family for about 15 months because of covid so it was so exciting when I finally did. You're almost there!

    1. Ooh fingers crossed! I read the first chapter of 'The Light of the Midnight Stars' yesterday and loved it! COVID has really put a pause on family time but I'd rather make sure we're all safe and vaccinated before we meet up again. Thanks for dropping by :)

  6. Let's just pause on holidaying in the Italian alps, shall we?

    1. We're all fully vaccinated so we're keeping an eye on how things look, to make sure we're being safe. The one upside of where we're going in the mountains is that they're practically isolated in summer time, so fingers crossed. Thanks for dropping by :)

  7. Congrats on your second shot! That's great news.
    How to Murder A Marriage sounds really good.

    Hope you have a great week!

    1. Thanks, it was definitely a relief! I've got high hopes for 'How to Murder A Marriage' as well. Thanks for dropping by :)

  8. Congrats on the vaccine, and that's awesome that you'll get to visit.

    I'm super curious about The Green Knight.

    The King Solomon angle of that last one has me super intrigued too!

    1. Thank you! The Green Knight is a great film, chock-full of amazing visuals and interesting ideas, I hope you get a chance to see it! And same, that really caught my eye. Thanks for dropping by :)

  9. Congrats on getting the second vaccine! That's wonderful you'll finally be able to see your dad. I know that's one thing that was difficult in the past year.


    1. It really has been tricky since my family lives spread across three countries. Usually that's no problem in Europe but with COVID it meant a solid pause on seeing each other. Fingers crossed it goes well and thanks for dropping by :)

  10. Nice variety of reads! And congrats on the second shot!

    1. Thank you on both accounts :D I hope you have a lovely week!

  11. Congrats on the 2nd shot! And enjoy your visit with your dad <3 Thank you for sharing Six Crimson Cranes - I HAD TO add it to my pile... Happy reading!

  12. Oh - from Tolkien to Arthur. Sounds like a good week. Glad you completed your vaccination. I like The Spirit Engineer and Six Crimson Cranes.
    Happy Reading!

  13. I have Six Crimson Cranes on my wishlist, I really enjoyed Elizabeth Lim's previous duology! Hope you had a great week (and sorry I'm a week late visiting!)


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