Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: The Witch Who Made Adjustments

As I (sorta) mentioned last month, I am a sucker for free Kindle books.  I'll read almost anything and on a limited budget, the last couple of months I've been stuck with trashy romance, Christian romance which are in no way trashy (Surprise!  You never see those coming!), and pretty bad suspense stories.  But considering I have over 100 books saved to my Kindle, and I'm back to reading about a book a day, I'm clearly surviving.

Before I get to the book review, I often get questions about how I find said free books.  Honestly, once a week or so I go through the "Best Sellers" and download anything free that sounds remotely interesting.  Anything not-free I save to a wish list until I'm ready to read it.  That's my secret to keeping the Kindle costs down.  I never pay for anything until I'm ready to read it, that way I'm not wasting money.

I digress...

I had a pretty rotten afternoon so I came home and picked up my Kindle and a glass of the aforementioned Trader Joe's red wine and sat on my porch until my toes got too cold.  The first "new item" at the top of my Mystery Suspense Horror collection* was a novella called The Witch Who Made Adjustments which sounded interesting.  I think it's technically a long children's story and honestly, it would be excellent to read with older children so that wouldn't be wrong.

The story is about a woman who enters a town and makes "adjustments" - basically switching products between the town's stores - and then seats herself in the middle of the town until Halloween.  The story follows a (presumably) young boy who works at one of the town's stores.  It's a simple enough story loaded with meaning.  I knew I was hooked from the first paragraph.

The witch came into town in the early days of autumn, when the first curling leaves fell from the maple boughs and the breath of the world cooled along the cobblestones.  She was exactly what a witch might look like, except she wasn't.  She was neither old, nor ugly or wart-nosed, or stooped over.  Neither did she wear grimy black clothing or a pointed hat.  But somehow everyone knew what she was, with her large, dark, bruised valise, and a sizeable aspen-wood walking stick. 

After a grouchy day, that paragraph was exactly what I needed.

The story continues in such a manner.  It really is simplistic.  Nothing about it is difficult but it still manages to explore some pretty incredible themes (friendship, longing, losing and finding, first impressions) and allows you to grow as a reader (perhaps as a person?) while enjoying the story.  The story is technically a "Halloween" story but since the weather has dropped sharply here from the early start of spring, that didn't bother me in the least.  I can't wait to read it out loud, snuggled next to a campfire, with a child on either side of me.

The book was free when I downloaded it but it's now available for less than $2.  It would be a great book club read for people who never have time to finish the book - my book club is the worst at this! - as it took me less than 30 minutes to read (probably an hour for the average reader).  There are so many things about this book that I would love to discuss.  Apparently I'm also able to lend it to someone for free so if you're interested let me know and I'll try sharing it with you.  If you don't have a Kindle, you can still read Kindle books online or using an app for your computer or phone.

*Am I the only one who names "collections" in such seemingly vague and weird ways?  You should see my Pandora station list.  I honestly have stations called "Hauntingly Beautiful," "Dad's Music," "Work Safe Rock," and "Late 1990s and Early 2000s Awesomeness."  That's what they are to me!

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