January 30, 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Secret of Isobel Key by: Jen McConnel

The Secret of Isobel Key by: Jen McConnel (Dec. 2013)
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery       
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Source: I received a free copy for my honest review for being a part of the Xpresso Book Tours.
Synopsis: Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.

They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past. Flashing between the seventeenth century and modern day Scotland, The Secret of Isobel Key is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.

My Review

The Secret of Isobel Key may be a little rough around the edges, but it is a solid read with an interesting story mixed within the past and present. 

Two of my favorite aspects of The Secret of Isoblel Key was that it was told in the present, and also in the past during the witch trials in Scotland, and that the transitions between the two were spot on. There was also a slight air of mystery surrounding the “witch” Isobel Key that was developed and revealed really well throughout the novel.

Now let's talk about the main character Lou, a very relatable and nice person who can be somewhat of a negative Nancy. I loved getting to read a book where the main character is a young woman struggling with finding a job after college, although this isn’t a huge part of the book, it was still nice that the author acknowledged that life right after college isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Lou’s trip to Scotland was fun and enlightening for Lou and for the reader. I really like that friendship plays a big role in this book, but on the other hand, I honestly don’t think it was handled very well. It seemed just a little forced. Brian, the tour guide and love interest, was a good character, except that the author really didn't need to remind us constantly what Brian looked like. Not that I mind reading about a hot Scottish man. ;) The writing was a little off and seemed choppy at times, and small details were not really needed, but overall none of these small issues kept me from enjoying the story.

The Secret of Isobel Key is worth taking a look at. It is an interesting story centered around witch trials that really tugs on your heart strings. I like that this book was new adult, but not like the majority of new adult books out there, it was unique.


Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.  She is the author of The Secret of Isobel Key (NA 2013) and Daughter of Chaos (YA 2014).  Visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.



  1. Glad you liked it, Kay! I also really enjoy stories with a past/present perspective I often like how it tells the story itself. Plus witch books are right up my alley - probably my fav paranormal genre! Great review! :)

    1. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book! Witches are for sure my favorite paranormal genre. :D

  2. There is something about the term "quarter-life crisis" that usually turns me off in a book description, but I am a sucker for all things Scottish, so may need to overlook that :)

    1. Since I swear I'm going through a quarter-life crisis I may gravitate towards that phrase. :)

    2. Oh no! I know it's a real thing, but for some reason I usually don't like it as a theme in books -- I don't read much contemporary anyway though -- I guess I like my books a bit more escapist :) Hope things are looking up for you soon!

  3. Thank you so much for hosting me today! I'm glad you enjoyed reading ISOBEL. :)

    1. Thank you for writing such an enjoyable book! :)

  4. It does sound very unique! I think i'd enjoy reading about the witch trials and Scotland. And when I think of hot Scottish men I think of Gerard Butler in PS I Love You (or, wait - he was irish?) Whatever, I always think of him =P

  5. Just for the record I totally swoon of Gerard Butler at all times as well. :D


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