The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, St. Martin’s Griffin!)
Summary: When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all.

These chilly mornings and chunky sweaters have me reaching for atmospheric, fall reads. Okay, who am I kidding, I went straight into fall mode right after my early September birthday when temperatures were still hovering near 100! So supernatural tales might not have been sending shivers down my spine while I was lying in pools of sweat, but now that fall is well and truly here, I am living for darker tales and what screams autumn more than a Sleepy Hollow retelling?

Katrina Van Tassel is the sole daughter of a wealthy farmer. Though she could easily have her pick of the most eligible bachelors, Katrina prefers spending her time with books and her dog – clearly a girl after my own heart. Unfortunately for Katrina, the one man determined to have her is the one she despises above all others: Brom Van Brunt. As children, the pair were thick as thieves as a threesome: Brom, Katrina, and Charlotte. Everything changed the day Brom branded Charlotte a witch; as Sleepy Hollow’s favorite son his words certainly have weight. Charlotte was effectively cast an outsider, still unmarried at 20, while it would appear Katrina’s father would love nothing more than to see his daughter married into the Van Brunt family.

Then a young man arrives from Connecticut. Ichabod Crane will be Sleepy Hollow’s schoolteacher, along with taking on pupils for music lessons. As the days stretch into weeks, Katrina and Ichabod become close, far closer than teacher and pupil, all the while Brom still vies for Katrina’s hand. A disastrous All Hallow’s Eve leads to Ichabod’s abrupt disappearance: did he abandon Katrina when she needed him most or could the legends of the Headless Horseman be true? Could Ichabod have been taken by the ghostly rider?

It should come as no surprise that I think Alyssa and her books are great. She’s a #HistoricalFix darling – we love her!! – and her novels have a way of completely enchanting me. Her books are slightly doorstop-length, but she writes in a way that I find myself flipping the pages at a blinding pace. The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, for example, is just over 400 pages. I read close to 350 in one sitting. Short chapters (think a few pages max) plus incredibly engaging characters and plots make for stories I literally can’t put down!

Despite my enthusiasm for this one, I have to admit I was expecting something a little more on the paranormal side, particularly with its title. That said, apart from the Horseman and Charlotte’s herb concoctions, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel was far more a romance than anything else, though a romance I found myself falling for. I was swept up in Katrina and Ichabod’s torrid affair, their secret nighttime trysts in the woods, and held my breath as I waited to see the consequences of their actions. It pains me to stop myself here, but saying anything more about these two would result in massive spoilers!

Although The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel has more sex scenes than spells, I was thoroughly enamored and found myself practically glued to the pages. It should say something about Alyssa’s skill as a writer that this over 400-page novel was just shy of a one-sitting read. Great characters and an engaging plot definitely made reading this one a breeze and I love retellings that explore other sides of the story. I do wish there was a bit more of a moody, broody quality to the story rather than the overly large emphasis on romance, but I really enjoyed this one and it’s the perfect time of year to sink into its pages! Alyssa has yet to let me down and I’m already anticipating her next release!


recently added.

The beginning of the week saw temperatures in the high 80s and we were still cranking up the a/c. Yesterday it dropped and, as I’m typing this, it’s 40 and rainy and with wind chills in the 30s. #Pittsburghweather.

One thing I love about colder temperatures is that it makes for perfect reading weather! Let’s be real, is there anything better than curling up with a cozy blanket, hot cup of coffee, and a thick book? Snow storms tore through the East Coast this January – you might remember all the bomb cyclone talk on the news. More like binge cyclone, amiright. In this post I shared five series to dive into, featuring contemporary romance, historical mysteries, and fantasy! A few years earlier I did a 2-part post on 19 series to read over the winter (Adult and YA).

This time of year is excellent for sinking into longer, moodier, heavier reads and while the four below aren’t multi-book series (okay, two are), they are books that sound perfect for grey, dreary days!

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
I forget where I first came across this one, but the moment I did I put in a request at my library and now have it sitting at the top of my stack of books! I always assumed Siddons was a “women’s fiction” writer, someone moms read. Much like Susan Wiggs, I couldn’t be more excited to be wrong!

This is a haunted house novel. A creepy, gothic tale from the 70s? Yes, please! A couple enjoys a relatively privileged life, hosting patio get-togethers and proudly displaying their perfectly manicured lawn. Then construction begins on a new home in the empty lot next door. Suddenly strange, unexplained things begin happening, a string of terrible tragedies, madness, and death. Does this not sound like the PERFECT fall read??

River Bodies by Karen Katchur
Karen and her books hold a special place in my heart. Her debut, The Secrets of Lake Road, was the first book I read after Matt and I bought our house. River Bodies, due to release November 1, is the first in a new series and I am so ready.

A body has just been discovered outside a small Pennsylvanian town. The crime shockingly similar to a two decade-old cold case. Though the detective is desperate to connect the two murders, there’s no concrete evidence to link them and the locals certainly aren’t talking.

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
Susan is an auto-buy author for me. I will read whatever she writes, no questions asked. My introduction to her work was last year’s A Bridge Across the Ocean, which unsurprisingly earned a spot of my Top Reads of 2017 list. In February she released As Bright as Heaven, another novel that made it onto part 1 of my Top Reads of 2018 and one that again had me ugly crying.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t even need to read the summary before I added The Last Year of the War to my To Read list, though it’s clearly such a me book. When Elise’s father is arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer, the entire family is moved to an internment camp and it’s there Elise befriends a Japanese-American girl. I know for a fact this one will put my heart through the wringer and, thanks to the amazing publicist, I have a copy! If you need me I’ll be drowning in my tears.

A Rogue by Night by Kelly Bowen
If it wasn’t already obvious, I’m a huge fan of Kelly’s Devils of Dover series. So huge, in fact, that when I returned from my month-long break, it was Last Night with the Earl that announced my return!

A Rogue by Night will focus on Harland Hayward, a Baron-slash-country doctor and brother to the two ladies from the previous novels. Thought he’s appeared in the other books, it was only in brief scenes and conversations so I’m thrilled at the chance to actually get to know this man! There’s also some illicit smuggling. Like I’m going to pass that up! Seriously, this series is quickly becoming a historical romance favorite of mine and I cannot wait for more.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Source: ARC + finished hardcover via publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)
Summary: When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Time Travel

In the mid 1960s, Caroline Sears is thrown headfirst into her new hospital job after she’s tasked with caring for the one patient the other nurses avoid. Listless, depressed, and possibly suicidal, Hunter refuses to speak to any of the doctors, won’t give the nurses the time of day…until he sees Caroline. Suddenly this strange and silent man begins to smile and laugh, fully willing to allow Caroline – Carly – to show him how to use crutches to get around on his newly broken leg.

Five years later Hunter is part of the family. Literally. Though Carly was initially hesitant to introduce her sister to a potentially disturbed patient, the pair immediately hit it off and, just a few years later, have a beautiful little boy, John Paul (naturally after John Lennon and Paul McCartney – Carly’s sister is a massive Beatles fan and the first day Carly met Hunter he sang right along with the latest Beatles song, odd at first since the song was just then making its debut on American airwaves, but Carly quickly learned that Hunter had a knack for just knowing things).

While Patti and Hunter have a perfect life, Carly’s is beginning to fall apart. She only just learns of her husband’s death – killed in Vietnam – when she discovers their unborn daughter (the baby Joe hadn’t even known about, Carly herself only recently found out she was pregnant) has a heart defect and the chances of survival are virtually nonexistent. With her world shattering, Hunter reveals a secret to Carly: he’s a time-traveler. And in order to save her child, Carly needs to get to the future.

Any new Diane Chamberlain novel is a cause for celebration. By curling up with an industrial size box of tissues, obviously, because as I’ve said time and time again, this woman has it out for me. So pardon me if I had a moment of blissful ignorance: why surely a sci-fi time-travel romp won’t have any heartbreaking scenes! For once, a sunshiney, happy tale!

Yeah, I was sniffling and puffy-eyed well before finishing. My bad.

St. Martin’s, maybe spring for a puppy? An entire menagerie of cute baby animals? Although what does it say about me that, not only do I keep coming back to these gut-punch stories, but I actually look forward to them?? The Dream Daughter pulls all the stops and I refuse to spoil anything, though I will say the moment I saw the chapter heading noting the date was September 2001 (and set in New York), I wailed a loud “nooo” and had to take a break.

Silly me, thinking 9/11 would be the emotional scene. What happens after is even worse.

Don’t take my unrelenting weeping as a sign this book is anything but amazing. The Dream Daughter is phenomenal and Diane Chamberlain proves she can shine in any genre, yet underneath the fantasy elements lies a very real, very universal question: how far will a mother go to protect her child? The characters are all so beautifully crafted, but Carly is sure to stick with readers, this one included. A slightly reserved woman content to spend to rest of her life in her childhood cottage undergoes a huge overhaul, discovering courage and tenacity she had no idea she possessed. She lost her husband and is all but guaranteed to lose her child unless she makes the leap – literally – decades into the future. Not only is she totally on her own, but she’s essentially in a new world: computers, cell phones, the Internet. Even money is a bit bewildering (Carly quickly learns a few hundred bucks in 1970 went MUCH further than in 2001). I can’t say enough about Carly and her character growth. I would not fare a fraction as well as she did if I were in her place.

As always, the time spent within the pages is all too brief compared to how long the story stays with me afterward. The Dream Daughter might be a dip in a new genre, but at its core it’s still a classic Diane Chamberlain novel that long-time readers are sure to love. Few things make me ugly cry like her books, but they’re just so. good. I can’t help but delight in each heartbreak – and eagerly await the next one. It will come as no surprise to anyone when The Dream Daughter finds its way back to the blog at the end of the year as a Top Read of 2018.

where I’ve been.

After a blogging break in September, The Pretty Good Gatsby is back in action! Earlier in the week I kicked things off with a gushing, rambly review of Kelly Bowen’s Last Night with the Earl, the second novel in her Devils of Dover series, and my final read in September. After a seriously lackluster summer, this one was an absolute joy!

But before we can get to the exciting posts and reviews I have planned for October, let’s do a recap of September! So what have I been up to this past month?

I TURNED 30 By far the highlight of the month. Unfortunately, I spent the day at a funeral. My bonus grandfather passed away a few days prior, so the day itself wasn’t exactly the celebration we had in mind, but birthdays can be celebrated any time. So while I wish the circumstances would have been different, when we all got together, the party was lovely.

I CHOPPED OFF MY HAIR As much as I’m obsessed with long hair, I absolutely love it super short. Every Fall I chop it off, letting it grow out again throughout the year, and by the time Fall rolls around once more I’m sick of it and ready for it to be gone ha. I shared a quick pic on IG: chin-length is my go-to. My ultimate hair dream is to one day be brave enough to do a pixie. About five years ago when partially shaved heads were super trendy, I went for it, so you’d think a pixie wouldn’t be a big deal!

I BASICALLY LIVED AT MY LIBRARY After a seemingly never-ending string of awful, disappointing, or just plain blah ARCs, I decided to put review copies on the back burner for a bit. And honestly? It was awesome. September started with an ARC of And the Ocean was Our Sky by Patrick Ness, a bizarre Moby Dick retelling told from the perspective of a whale pod. This book sealed the deal and the next 10 books I read were all library grabs. Definitely the highlight was Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, a time-travel romance. I furthered my Dilbert obsession (and still have several collections checked out that I’m eager to dive into) and played catch-up with Harrow County, a fun graphic novel series that put me in a Fall mood…despite the VERY Summer temperatures lol. I’ve shared my love of nonfic before and had a fun time with Of All the Gin Joints, a trip through old Hollywood. Lastly, I dipped back into ARCs with Last Night with the Earl to close out the month and what a way to finish!

What’s been going on in YOUR life??

Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen

Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen
Pub. Date: September 25, 2018
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Forever!)
Summary: After Waterloo, Eli Dawes, Earl of Rivers, was presumed dead—and would have happily stayed that way. He’s no longer the reckless young man he once was, and only half as pretty. All he wants is to hide his scars away in his country home. But when he returns home and tries to sneak into his old bedroom in the middle of the night, he’s shocked to find someone already there.

Rose Hayward remembers Eli as an arrogant rake who helped her late fiancé betray her. Finding him stealing into the house currently rented by Haverhall School for Young Ladies doesn’t correct her impression. Her only thought is to get him to leave immediately. Yet the tension between them is electric, and her painter’s eye can’t help but admire him, scars and all. He might be back from the dead, but now Rose will do anything to make him feel truly alive.
Genre: Historical Romance

Against his father’s wishes, Eli Dawes, only son of the Earl of Rivers, left his cushy society life in England for the battlefield of Waterloo along with his three best friends. Amongst the other horrors of war, Eli watched his three friends die, while he himself received grievous injuries. He hid away in Belgium in the years following, slowly recovering and coming to terms with his new life, until he was finally tracked down: his father had passed away and, unless Eli miraculously returned home (society believed him to be dead), a distant cousin in Ireland would inherit the title and fortune.

Eli would have happily lived out his life as a dead man; earls are not burned, scarred, and missing an eye. Yet he decides to return – to the family’s country estate, believing it to be a relatively safe bet. Quiet, away from society, no one to gawk and gasp. Sneaking into his old bedroom like a common thief, however, he’s startled to discover there’s already someone in his bed. The last person he ever expected – or wanted – to see: Rose Hayward.

In July I reviewed the first book in this series and while it was just a mini review, my love for it was fierce. As much as I loved A Duke in the Night, I have to admit I think I loved Last Night with the Earl even more. This book picks up shortly after the end of the first book, this time following Rose (her sister Clara was the main focus of the previous novel). Rose is the art instructor at Haverall, an…interesting and incredibly forward-thinking school for girls. Though fronted as an elite finishing school, in actuality the classes allow the girls to realize their dreams, something that would never happen as long as their fathers, brothers, and society have a say. At the school the girls are tutored in their passions, one girl, for example, wants to be a physician. Totally unheard of for a well-bred young lady, right? Rose’s brother, while a baron, is also a highly respected doctor, and took the girl under his wing, bringing her on as his assistant. Another girl was more business-minded; she studied the ins and outs of maintaining a restaurant.

As for Rose, her paintings go much deeper. Once a sought-after young woman, a cruel prank essentially branded her an outcast. The man she loved and believed she would marry – Eli’s best friend, as it turned out – was something of an artist himself. However, his caricatures were heartless and graphically depicted scores of young ladies in unspeakable positions. What’s worse, before leaving England, Anthony actually had the pictures published – anonymously, of course. The collection spread like wildfire and led to whispers, nasty remarks, and even boxes of dead rats at the Haywards’ door. So, no thank you, Rose is perfectly content remaining in the country where she puts her artwork to good: painting young ladies and wives to portray their true beauty, something these women thought was gone for good – if they ever felt they had it to begin with.

I realize I’m rambling about this book and I haven’t even started discussing the romance! You know it’s a head-over-heels book when you can’t stop gushing about it and the main characters haven’t even gotten together yet. Naturally Eli and Rose’s reunion is one of pain and confusion. Rose doesn’t shy away from Eli’s injuries (in fact, she threatens him with the pointed end of a paintbrush – honestly, that’s his own fault he believed it to be a knife – the night he snuck into the bedroom) and she also doesn’t pity him. To be truthful, she’s harbored as much anger and rage toward him as she has for Anthony. Surely Eli was in the thick of it when Anthony was creating those awful pictures. With Eli, he’s secretly been in love with Rose for years, though he never acted on it as she was engaged to his friend. Their first meeting in years results in an attempted murder – how could you not fall in love after that? Really though, their romance was a wonderful slow burn and I couldn’t get enough.

Possibly the best part of Kelly Bowen’s novels is that romance isn’t the sole focus. Shocking, right? Both books in the Devils of Dover series are so richly written, full of fantastic characters with their own personalities and lives and the other storylines are just as engaging. Much like with the first book, Last Night with the Earl had me captive while reading and when I wasn’t I was counting down the moments until I could get back to it. I fell hard for A Duke in the Night and absolutely loved Last Night with the Earl. A Rogue by Night doesn’t comes out until May but, but if it’s anything like the first two, I know it’ll be so worth the wait!

August 2018 recap


• August is a big birthday month in our family. My dad, my niece, a few cousins, my aunt, and my uncle all celebrated birthdays last month. The blog also became a year older! August is also special for another reason: it’s our adoptionversary.

• The end of summer and beginning of fall is my absolute favorite. August saw a local summer harvest festival AND a wing cook-off. This weekend will be the fall harvest festival (along with my birthday) and I can’t wait!

• If your office is anything like mine, you’ll completely understand my instagram photo of the absurd amount of sweaters I keep in my car!

• Matt took a trip back down to Baltimore and it was just me and the pups for a few days. I got an awful lot of reading done, though August turned out to be a month of duds ugh.

• Last month I read 12 books, 6 on audio, 6 print/e-books. Sadly, apart from Lauren Blakely’s fantastic The Real Deal, all of the ARCs I read were absolute duds and disappointments. The highlight of the month was another Roald Dahl collection, this time several audiobooks where he did the narration! I also revisited Wuthering Heights, a classic I last read 12 years ago, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I still enjoyed it!


JULY’S MINI REVIEW ROUND-UP featured the good, the meh, and a Middle Grade surprise. A start to a new historical romance series was among my favorite reads of the month, along with two non-fiction library grabs (one, a collection of letters Roald Dahl wrote to his mother over his lifetime and two, a biography of a French courtesan who rose through the ranks in society to become one of the wealthiest women of her time). I also quickly discussed a much buzzed-about thriller…that turned out to be just okay.






August mini review round-up

With You Always by Rena Olsen
Julia is left feeling lost after a painful break-up when, seemingly out of nowhere, Bryce walks into her life. Gorgeous and effortlessly charming, Bryce is everything Julia could ever want – and her newfound luck has been spreading to other areas of her life: she’s practically handed a promotion and her boss is eager to have Julia as her right-hand woman. A quick courtship with Bryce soon leads to a new house and a ring. Her friends voice concerns, but Julia doesn’t listen…until it’s too late.

Oh dear. Olsen’s debut, The Girl Before, was enjoyable enough to where I was curious about her follow-up. On the surface, With You Always sounded like a Leah read: domestic thriller, fairy tale romance gone wrong, and for the first few chapters it reminded me of Behind Closed Doors, one of my top reads of 2016. All good, right? Unfortunately, the more I read, the angrier I became.

Bryce’s cult-like church ruled his life, deciding who he could or couldn’t date, the house he bought, his career. As he becomes more and more abusive, the Reverend and his wife (Bryce’s adoptive parents) quickly swept it all under the rug and definitely had a hand in one doctor being fired after she reached out to Julia. Being lovesick is one thing, but Julia goes FAR beyond naive: she tosses away her job for a man she’s only know a few weeks, readily accepts his proposal after three months, and steadfastly defends him from every. single. person in her life who sees through his facade. The cop-out ending was a few paragraphs of climactic showdown and…the end. No resolution, no comeuppance, nothing.

Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
Jessie should be looking forward to a summer spent at her aunt and uncle’s house. Unfortunately, her cousin has an awful new best friend, which leaves Jessie out in the cold. She takes it upon herself to make the most of her summer, however, and convinces the grouchy neighborhood dog walker to take her on as an apprentice. When a rival dog walker begins stealing their clients, Jessie isn’t going to go down without a fight.

August was a month of books that sounded great but turned out to be massive duds. A Middle Grade novel about rival dog walkers! Um yes please! As it turns out, Rules of the Ruff was a book that tried to do too much and, as a result, suffered. Jessie’s mother died, she ends up falling for a new boy – who likes the awful new best friend (there’s a scene featuring a make-out session in the backseat of a car – uh, Jessie is 12 and the other characters were a year older), the local dog walker went through a divorce and might want to reconcile with his ex but there’s also one of his clients he’s been getting close to. Does a Middle Grader want to read about divorcees pining after their exes? The adult characters were far closer to my age and I didn’t want to read about their problems.

Vox by Christina Dalcher
On average, people speak around 16,000 words a day. In Vox, women have been almost totally silenced: now only permitted a vocabulary of a mere 100 words. With the language goes their ability to hold jobs, soon girls are no longer taught to read and write. Dr. Jean McClellan refuses to accept this new America and makes the ultimate decision for herself, her daughter, for every woman silenced: she will reclaim her voice.

Biggest disappointment of the summer? Of the year? This book started out great and immediately lured me in with its terrifying premise and just how quickly everything snowballed out of control: in the beginning women and girls had restricted passports, then cameras were installed on front porches. Soon girls were no longer being taught to read and write or do math above basic sums that would be necessary for running a house. Jean’s husband holds keys to their mailbox. She was once a highly renowned her laptop is locked away in a cabinet she cannot access. Vox is clearly a dig at the current White House administration, from the First Lady “I remember her from before she married, when she decorated the pages of Vogue and Elle” to the predecessor, the President of Hope – and I was totally on board – then it all descended into madness when Jean gets into a physical fight with a chimpanzee. I’m not joking.

The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie
The lack of interest lies on me here. I’m not a big fan of YA fantasy and I know this, but still I found myself intrigued by a publicist’s email about a band of rebel teens in space. How could I say no to that?

I hate to say it, but this one just didn’t work for me. It took me a good portion of the month to work my way through it; whenever I set it down I never found myself in any rush to pick it up again. My biggest issue was that nothing was explained. There’s a planetary system that’s not ours, but includes things like cars and telephones. There was a Great Freeze (or whatever they called it) centuries ago and now all the last names are variations of ‘castle.’ Icecastle, Lowcastle, Soarcastle, Elcastle. ..there’s no reason behind this. Also, the three main characters are somehow all linked to one another, they can feel what the others are feeling, taste what the others are tasting. Again, never explained, which makes things even more confusing by a reveal at the end of the book. I will admit that the notion of everyone knowing their deathday was really intriguing, sadly the rest of the book fell flat.

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
I…don’t even know. This is a retelling of Moby Dick told from the viewpoint of a whale pod (okay, yes, tell me more). Bathsheba is Third Assistant to Captain Alexandra as they hunt for the legendary Toby Wick.

The whales swim upside down? They refer to the Abyss (the world of men) as physically below them. They tow their own ship behind them and have harpoons strapped to themselves. They take a human captive and are able to communicate with him in English and then one day he understands their whale language. I just.. I don’t think I’m the right reader for this, though I will say it was an extremely quick read at 160-ish pages including full-page illustrations.