I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
The upside to buying a book on impulse that you later find out from your BL friends is at best an average read: your expectations are set accordingly.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane was an impulse buy at a FOTL sale based on the oh-so-fabulous cover and an ultra-quick scan of the book flap. A story about a modern day Harvard Ph.D. candidate finding out about her witchy roots while cleaning out her grandmother's house. How could this be a bad story?
Well, it's not, but it's not a great story either. It held my attention in a rather detached way and the author did a credible job pulling me into Salem during the late 1600's for the flashback chapters. The cover quote refers to this book as a "gripping supernatural puzzler". I'm not sure what Matthew Pearl was reading but I don't think it was this book. It wasn't gripping at all, although as I said, it's not a bad story.
Each chapter head has a time frame on it - "Late June, 1991" or "Early August, 1991" but I think my biggest complaint about the story overall is I never got any sense of time passing from the story - the writing is very, very vague in terms of events moving towards their inevitable conclusion. The narrative really ended up feeling like just a listing of events; if not for the chapter headings I wouldn't have known if this story takes place over 4-5 months or 4-5 years.
I'm not sorry I read it and I never felt like throwing the book across the room, but really it's an average story encased in an extraordinary jacket.