October 2017 Wrap Up

Happy Halloween!

I am normally hard on myself for not reading more than five books in a month. Only, given the state of my personal life and this reading slump I’m in, the chance of me reading more books is unlikely. I read only four books in October, but on the bright side, none of them were under four stars. In fact, most of them were very good.

In October, I read:

 

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (library book)

4 stars

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I picked up Alias Grace mainly because the miniseries is due to go live on Netflix in November and I wanted to read the book before I watched the show. It follows Grace Marks, an Irish woman convicted of murdering her employer and his mistress in 1840s Canada. A young American psychiatrist, Simon Jordan, is enlisted by Grace’s supporters to prove her innocence. Only as Simon peels back the layers of a surprisingly complicated woman, he realizes that Grace might not be the conniving murderess people are convinced she is.

If I were to rate Alias Grace among the three books by Margaret Atwood I have read, I did not like it as much as I did The Handmaid’s Tale but I liked it more than The Blind Assassin. I go into my full thoughts and opinions in my review. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/review-of-alias-grace-by-margaret-atwood-spoiler-free/

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

5 stars

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My favorite book I read this month, And Then There Were None is the first book I have read by Agatha Christie. It is also praised to be the greatest mystery ever written and it did not disappoint.

Ten strangers are lured to an island by a mysterious host than claims each individual is responsible for a murder. One by one, the guests are murdered in correspondence to a nursery rhyme “Ten Little Indians.” Agatha Christie did a great job at creating morally gray characters. I go into full detail in my review, but overall I enjoyed And Then There Were None. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/review-of-and-then-there-were-none-by-agatha-christie-spoiler-free/

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (reread)

4.5 stars

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Continuing with my end of 2017 reread of the Harry Potter series, I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this month. Reading this novel, I started to see how this book is usually people’s least favorite. Chamber of Secrets is easily a filler novel until the resurrection of Voldemort in Goblet of Fire. However, I can’t deny its value with the Easter egg of Tom Riddle’s diary, which will come into play in later books. For all my spoiler thoughts, go see my review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/thoughts-i-had-rereading-harry-potter-and-the-chamber-of-secrets-as-an-adult/

 

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut

4 stars

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Bluebeard was one of the classics I wanted to read before the end of 2017 and it took me by surprise. I expected it to be as weird as Vonnegut’s most famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, but it read more like an actual autobiography, albeit fictional. I really liked Rabo as a main character. The writing was great and the story enjoyable. It was basically an elderly man reflecting on his life as an artist as he makes friends with a widow renting a room in his house on the Hamptons.

 

What was your favorite book you read in October?

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October 2017 Book Haul

After two months of not buying books and some stressful events, I finally said “sorry” to my bank account. I bought the five books I have wanted the most for a while. Believe me, I wanted to get more but I stopped myself. When I’m sad or stressed, I tend to turn to book buying. However, all of these books I’m incredibly excited for.

In October, I bought:

 

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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An Enchantment of Ravens is about Isobel, a human girl that paints portraits for fairies. Unlike the Sarah J. Maas fae, these fae cannot make anything without it crumbling. When she gets her first royal client, Rook the Autumn Prince, she makes the mistake of painting human sorrow in his eyes. Outraged, Rook drags Isobel back to the fae world to stand trial.

This book reminds me a lot of A Court of Thorns and Roses, my favorite book by Sarah J. Maas. An Enchantment of Ravens has exploded everywhere on BookTube and has gotten good reviews, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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The sixth novel in the Throne of Glass series and probably one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, Tower of Dawn follows Chaol Westfall during the events of Empire of Storms. While I was excited for the book, I was also nervous. Chaol has a bad reputation because of previous incidents in the series. However, Tower of Dawn is getting good reviews, which makes me very happy. I will probably read this before I read A Court of Wings and Ruin.

 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

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Another of my anticipated releases of the year, Hunting Prince Dracula is the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper. Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell are attending a forensic medicine school in Romania, where they encounter a bloodthirsty serial killer. That is all I know and I need to know. Of all the books on my TBR, this is one of the books I want to read the most.

 

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

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I knew nothing about Daughter of the Burning City until I started seeing it everywhere on BookTube in Fairyloot unboxings. It follows a circus-like city, where the main character, Sorina, is an illusionist that has created a whole family of illusions that serves as the circus’s freak show. Then, one by one, her illusions are murdered, and she teams up with a strange boy to catch the killer. Daughter of the Burning City is a fantasy stand-alone (as far as I know) praised to have diverse elements. This will likely be one of the first books I read in 2018…if not sooner. Once I get out of this reading slump.

 

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

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A book with an absolutely beautiful book cover, the story is about a family of women that tend a garden and believe they are cursed; for each time the women love someone deeply, the person vanishes. Then, a mysterious boy shows up in their garden with no recollection of who he is or how he got there, other than the first three letters of his name is Fel. Estrella, one of the family’s daughters, promises to help him recover his memories. In doing so, she uncovers some dark secrets of her family as well as the garden itself.

 

What is your favorite book you bought in October? Mine is probably An Enchantment of Ravens.

My Top 10 Favorite Horror Novels

I cannot let October go by without mentioning my favorite horror novels. While I love scary books and read quite a few, I realized I did not love all of them. I plan on remedying that in the coming year.

In the meantime, here are my current favorite horror novels.

 

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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The Dead House is told in diary entries, film transcripts, and police interviews, following a mysterious fire at a boarding school that killed three students. One student, Carly Johnson, has disappeared. In the ashes of the school’s attic, a diary is found belonging to a girl named Kaitlyn. However, there isn’t a student at the school with that name. What most people do not know is that Kaitlyn is the alternate personality of Carly.

The Dead House does a good job blurring the lines between psychology and fantasy. Kaitlyn’s sole motivation is to protect Carly, but she might have a reason to be paranoid as her diary entries indicate a downward spiral. There are also other strange happenings at the school involving other students and Carly herself is not above suspicion. I ended this book wondering if something magical did happen or everyone was simply losing it.

 

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

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Lucy is an heiress living in her family’s ancestral home with her father, her aunt Penelope, and her cousin Margaret. Her mother, Penelope’s sister, died when she was three, and then, when Lucy is seventeen, Penelope disappears in the woods surrounding the house. After that, Margaret claims to hear her mother’s voice inside the walls of the house. Fearing her own sanity is at risk, Lucy decides to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The Women in the Walls has a way of being disturbing without being gory. In fact, there isn’t any actual gore until the last fifty or so pages. As you learn more about the family, you learn how dysfunctional they really are. Plus, Lucy is a great protagonist: she knows there is a problem and she takes it on rather than ignore it.

 

My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

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One of the biggest mindf*k I have ever read in my life, My Sweet Audrina centers on a young girl that is haunted by the memory of her dead older sister, also named Audrina, whose death her family can’t seem to move past. Told through an unreliable narrator who is convinced time has stopped altogether, the story is all about dark secrets and dysfunctional families.

My Sweet Audrina would likely be classified more as a Gothic horror, as the story takes place primarily in the family’s Victorian mansion. The house, coupled with the entire family’s mental state, creates an unsettling atmosphere. While a strong character at her core, Audrina is an unreliable narrator. And the scenes her father makes her sit in her dead sister’s rocking chair to absorb her memories are plain creepy…even creepier when you find out why.

 

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

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The book that made V.C. Andrews’s brand, Flowers in the Attic follows the four beautiful Dollenganger children—Chris, Cathy, Carrie, and Cory—who are locked in the attic of a mansion by their selfish mother in the promise of an inheritance from their dying grandfather. The children are left at the mercy of their cruel grandmother, who sees them as products of sin as their mother was their father’s niece. And then Cathy and Chris have their own incest….

The years the Dollenganger children live in the attic are horrible. They are not allowed outside. There are times their grandmother will ignore them for days and not feed them. The grandmother mentally and physically tortures them. You need to have a strong stomach when you read Flowers in the Attic.

 

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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A terribly underrated book in the young adult literature community, Anna Dressed in Blood follows ghost hunter Cas, as he travels across the country with his witch mother and their cat killing troublesome ghosts. They wind up in Canada, tracking Anna Dressed in Blood, who rips her victims, literally, to shreds. No one that walks into her Victorian mansion leaves alive…. until Cas.

The mythology behind the story is amazing. Cas and his friends Thomas and Carmel are a great trio, easily comparable to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The romance between Cas and Anna will pull at your heartstring; not to mention a bittersweet ending that most YA authors these days aren’t brave enough to write.

 

And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

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In case you couldn’t already tell, Dawn Kurtagich is my current favorite horror author. This one follows two sisters, Silla and Nori, who flee their abusive home to live with their aunt, Cathy, in her country manor. At first, life is good and Cathy welcomes her nieces into her home, only the girls are not allowed in the woods. Then, Cathy’s mental state suddenly unravels, leaving Silla and Nori to fend for themselves. Little Nori starts talking to a strange man only she can see in the basement and Silla believes the trees are getting closer to the house….

And the Trees Crept In had an unsettling, claustrophobic feel to it. The girls are completed isolated where they are, as going into the woods proves to be too frightening. Like in The Dead House, Dawn Kurtagich does a good job of making you wonder if all of this is in Silla’s head.

 

As I Descended by Robin Talley

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A retelling of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth featuring a romance between two girls, this one took me by surprise in I enjoyed it more than I expected to. Maria and Lily are roommates secretly dating in a Southern boarding school who are in a fierce competition with a classmate, Delilah, the school’s golden child. Desperate to be roommates again at Stanford, Maria and Lily cast a spell hoping to increase Maria’s chances of winning the Kingsley Prize scholarship. However, it comes with more consequences than the girls anticipated.

I would highly recommend you not make the same mistake I did last year by reading As I Descended in the middle of the night. While I would not call it terrifying like American Horror Story, it does have its disturbing moments that made my skin crawl. The main girls, Lily and Maria, freaked me out sometimes, too, in the choices they made throughout the story—real horror movie stuff.

 

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Probably a staple on a lot of people’s scary books list, This Savage Song is the first and only book I have read by Victoria Schwab thus far, but it was one of the best books I read last year. It is set in a world divided by humans and monsters, following a human girl that wants to be a vicious killer and a monster boy that wants to be human. Monsters are born from the violent acts of humans and the city is filled with fear. The world of This Savage Song is terrifying and fascinating at the same time.

 

Horns & Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

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Even though I have only read two books by Joe Hill, Horns and Heart-Shaped Box are equally two of my favorite horror novels. Horns is about a young man named Ig who, after getting drunk on the one-year anniversary of his girlfriend’s murder and peeing on a statue of the Virgin Mary, wakes up with horns on his head that makes everyone in town reveal to him their most disturbing secrets. Heart-Shaped Box follows a retired rock star named Jude that receives a package containing the vengeful spirit of a man out for revenge and, with his stripper companion, must take a cross-country road trip to find out why this ghost wants him dead.

Both of these books are creepy in their own way. The kind you read when you really want to be scared or grossed out.

 

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

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An all-time favorite of mine in high school that I still sometimes think about to this day, Bliss is set at an Atlanta prep school in 1969, where main character Bliss is the new girl and befriends a classmate named Sandy. At first, Sandy is funny, sharp-tongued, and embraces everything different while the rest of the student body favors conformity. However, she is a little too fascinated with the occult, especially the Manson Family Murders. Bliss has no idea how deep the obsession goes until it is too late….

I haven’t read Bliss in years, so I might not find it as scary as I did back in high school. But that one particular scene, the one during the sleepover, would probably still gross me out. If you have read this book, you might know what I’m talking about.

 

What are your favorite horror novels?

I Am in a Reading & Writing Slump

This is an unedited impulse post I needed to write. A lot is going on in my life right now–too personal that I won’t get into at this time. Naturally, I’m stressed out and this is affecting my reading as well as my creativity.

I was in the middle of reading Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut and I was enjoying it. But then life happened. I thought books would distract me from my problems, only that didn’t last long. I checked out a bunch of library books, thinking that might help. Yet, as I stare at that pile of books on my nightstand, I feel no desire to read.

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What typically causes reading slumps? In college, I experienced reading slumps towards the end of the year around Thanksgiving. This was due to stress of studying for finals, getting distracted by the holidays, and burning out from reading too much to keep up with my yearly Goodreads goal. I have been out of school for almost two years, but what is happening right now is stressing me out more than finals ever did, to a point I have cried at least once a day last week.

Stress is also affecting my writing and blogging life. I have a notebook filled with blog ideas that I have yet to type up because writing is so far from my mind with all my priorities. My mornings are hectic, so by the afternoon I’m so worn out that all I want is to watch TV or YouTube videos. Writing up rough drafts for November’s Top 5 Tuesday topics is helping, but who knows what will feel like once I actually go to type them up? And I know my stress levels are only going to get worse from here.

 

 

 

Thoughts I Had Rereading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” as an Adult

As I continue on with my reread and reviews of the Harry Potter books, I am reintroduced to Hogwarts and slowly falling in love with the world all over again. But I see why people are so divided on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book in the series. It is either people’s favorite book, least favorite book, or simply a filler novel until we get to the resurrection of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

            Here are the thoughts I had rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as an adult (will contain spoilers):

 

Why Ginny?

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Since it had been so long since I had reread the books, I had forgotten Arthur Weasley’s Muggle Protection Act. It wasn’t covered in the movies—all we saw was Lucius Malfoy’s prejudice against Muggles and Muggle-borns. My guess is he picked Ginny because she was the youngest of Arthur and Molly’s children, Ron was too close to Harry, and the others were too old. All I know for sure is that I kind of wish Hagrid hadn’t broken up that bookstore fight between Arthur and Lucius.

 

How close Harry and Ron have come to expulsion on so many occasions.

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The flying car situation made me realize just how close, between Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets alone, Harry and Ron have come to expulsion from Hogwarts. They are so lucky they have Professor McGonagall as a Head of Gryffindor House.

 

Snape hates Harry and Ron because they remind him of James Potter and Sirius Black. 

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This occurred to me in the scene where Harry and Ron are facing punishment for the flying car. Snape is gleeful at the prospect of the boys getting kicked out of school and then “looks like Christmas has been cancelled” when he finds out they are only getting detention. Reading this scene, I was suddenly struck by the realization that Harry and Ron must remind him of James Potter and Sirius Black.

Let’s face it—James Potter was a bully. He tormented Snape when they were in school and then stole his best friend Lily Evens from him. Being so handsome and popular, James probably got away with a lot. And Sirius was always by his side, urging him on, just like how Ron is with Harry. Seeing Harry and Ron get in trouble, then get out of it, must have brought back a lot of unpleasant memories for Snape. Not that it is an excuse the way he treats Harry, who had nothing to do with any of it.

 

Why are the Weasleys so poor? Do parents pay for Hogwarts?

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Maybe they explain it in the later novels, but why is the Weasley family so poor? They make most of their things with magic, like most wizarding families. Which leads me into my next question: do parents pay for Hogwarts? It would make sense, considering the Weasleys have so many kids. But how much does Hogwarts ask for, over the course of seven years? It can’t be that much can it?

 

What happens to kids before Hogwarts/if they get expelled?

The Muggle-borns I get. They probably went to human school before they got their Hogwarts letters. But what was Ginny doing before she went to Hogwarts? Also, what happens to the kids that get expelled? Not all of them are as lucky as Hagrid. My guess, those are probably the Obscurus, the ones who repress their magic because they aren’t allowed to practice outside of school or they become Death Eaters.

 

Ron’s wand—can wizards do magic without wands?

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Wands supposedly choose the wizard. Will Ron be able to use a hand-me-down wand and still do magic? Or do magic without wands? Harry did; he was technically doing magic before he got into Hogwarts. I’m assuming it could be the same for Ron or other wizards.

 

I want to be a ghost at Hogwarts when I die.

I want my afterlife to be in a magical place, surrounded by children and life.

 

Petrifying a ghost: making the Basilisk too powerful?

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In recent years, there has been talk in the book community about the idea of “special snowflakes”: the main character, usually, is too powerful to be realistic or safe. I imagine the same would apply to magical creatures. If Nearly Headless Nick can’t die, can he really be Petrified? Is it really realistic to make the Basilisk powerful enough to Petrify a dead person?

 

Why didn’t Harry and Ron look for the Slytherin common room before taking the Polyjuice Potion?

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I have a tendency to overthink everything, but isn’t that something they should have checked first?

 

Why do people ship Draco and Hermione?

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If child Draco were more like the adult Draco in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I would get it. But Draco Malfoy in the early novels is simply plain awful. I know he was written that way, but still, I’m not a fan of the Draco/Hermione ship.

 

Harry is sung as a hero but he’s still just a kid.

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This became more apparent in the Chamber of Secrets, where he’s on the run from the Basilisk. There are also his interactions with others where he’s embarrassed and socially awkward. Harry is a hero that really does not want to be a hero.

 

Nature vs. Nurture: Harry & Lord Voldemort.

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Tom Riddle brings this to attention during his and Harry’s confrontation in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and Lord Voldemort did have similar upbringings. They were orphaned as babies, and then raised by Muggles that did not treat them well. While Tom Riddle was a half-blood, I would not necessarily call Harry one because Lily Potter was, technically, a witch. Knowing his mother’s story, I can understand where the root of Voldemort’s hatred for Muggles comes from: his father abandoned his mother after learning she was a witch.

But when you look at how horribly the Dursleys treated Harry, you would expect him to hate Muggles as much as Tom did. Yet, it never occurs to Harry to use magic to hurt humans, other than tease Dudley. Harry has a temper, but he never wants to hurt anyone (other than Snape or Malfoy). Then, you look at Tom Riddle, who was treated the same way and turned into the most evil wizard of all time. Go figure.

 

Do you agree with any of my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? Let’s discuss!

Spooky Scary Book Tag

Thank you Heather of Bookables for showing me this tag! I watched one of her videos recently where she did this tag. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect: I was looking for more Halloween posts to do.

 

What goes bump in the night? Name a book that has legitimately scared you while reading it.

 

I had to think about this for a hot minute. Either I don’t scare easily or I have been desensitized after watching episode 1 of American Horror Story: Hotel…whatever the reason, it was hard to remember books that scared me. If I had to give an answer, I would say No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong, book 7 in the Women of the Otherworld series. The book deals with a cult and I remember being genuinely afraid reading the scenes when the cult killed their victims and the way they did it.

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Jack O’ Lantern and Classic Costumes: A book you always reach for during Halloween time.

I don’t usually reach for a specific title. Instead, I usually pick up one genre: horror. During October, I make it a point to mix in scary books with my other TBR books. I save them to read in the week leading up to Halloween.

 

 

Black Cats and Magic Mirrors: a book you love that is laced with supernatural and/or magic.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, the first book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. It has supernatural elements with demons, Shadowhunters, vampires, and werewolves. There is also magic, with warlocks and their spells. And, before anyone asks…I have not read Lord of Shadows yet. I know, I’m awful, but I’m just so scared about where this book is going to go.

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Witch’s Brew: favorite witch character in any book/series.

I could say Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series like everyone else probably will. I do love her, but my favorite would have to be the severely underrated and underappreciated Threadwitch Iseult from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. Iseult has a good head on her shoulders. She’s loyal and fierce in a quiet way. She’s struggling with her rare magic but she does not let it dominate her. I haven’t read Windwitch yet, but I am really, really excited to find out where her story goes.

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Ghouls and Ghosts: a book that still haunts you to this day (good or bad).

Um…almost anything by V.C. Andrews, meaning the real one, not the ghostwriter. Of her work, I’ve read My Sweet Audrina, Heaven, and the entire Dollenganger series. Out of all these, My Sweet Audrina probably wins as the most haunting, giving the subject matter. But all of V.C. Andrews’s original works contain elements of abuse, incest, disturbing family secrets, and female psychopaths.

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Haunted Graveyard: you’re all alone in a haunted graveyard, you get ONE book to give you comfort, which is it?

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, a super cute young adult contemporary novel with an insta-love story that could easily distract me if I’m all alone in a graveyard. I just hope someone finds me before I finish it, because the book is a fast read….

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The Undead: favorite supernatural creatures to read about.

My favorite supernatural creatures are witches. I almost said vampires or werewolves, but witches trump both of them. In series, my favorite characters tend to be the spellcasters, if there are any, such as Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments series.

 

In the dead of night: pick a book with a black cover.

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I picked one I have not talked about at all on my blog and that is The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. It’s like Shadowhunters in Regency London.

 

Trick or treat?

READING! Most likely, I will be spending Halloween this year reading and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!

 

The Music Book Tag

The Music Book Tag was created by bookchanted and I wasn’t tagged by anybody, but this looked so fun I wanted to participate, too.

 

Ed Sheeran: an adorable book that left you feeling warm and fuzzy.

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli was cuteness overload. It was very lighthearted the whole way through. The kind of book I needed to keep away a reading slump towards the end of the summer.

 

Taylor Swift: a book with way too much drama to keep track of.

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The Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor is a book that comes to mind. The main plot of the novel had a lot of drama to begin with, but then extra stuff involving friends and family were thrown in. At its core, The Definitions of Indefinable Things was a good book, but it had too much drama for my liking.

 

Zayn Malik: the broody, mysterious character you totally fell for.

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Like Zayn from the formerly One Direction band, broody boys don’t do it for me. In fact, they annoy me most of the time. The only broody, mysterious character I can think of that won me over was Khalid from The Wrath & the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh. Mainly because he had a reason to be broody, though at his core he was a kindhearted person, a good ruler that only wanted the best of his people, and I agreed with his philosophy that he did not say the words “I love you” to people he loved, but chose to express it through his actions.

 

Jelena: a ship you really wanted but it never sailed. (Selena could do better, honestly.)

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Celeana Sardothian and Chaol Westfall from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. That is all I’m going to say.

 

Fall out Boy (aka one of my favorite bands ever): a series that just keeps getting better and better.

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The Half-Bad trilogy by Sally Green, which follows a war between white witches and black magic witches in modern-day London. The story is dark from the beginning, but only becomes more so as the books go on. All the characters are morally gray. The magic system is complex. And the government of witches is filled with twisted psychopaths.

Seriously, read this trilogy if you haven’t already.

 

Halsey/Demi Lovato: badass female character you really admire.

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Easily Tina from City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson, who is a Congo refugee that survived by her wits in the streets of a Kenyan city as a thief and doesn’t use how hard her life was as an excuse for anything. She just rolls with it and lives her life by her terms. I don’t remember her ever complaining about unfair her life was. Tina’s sole motivation was getting justice for those who deserved it.

 

One Direction: the romantic, cheesy book you couldn’t help but love.

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is not exactly what I would call cheesy. Don is a genetics professor hired by a young woman named Rosie to help her locate her biological father while in search of his perfect mate. Though the attraction is strong, Rosie does not fit Don’s requirements for a significant other, but as they grow closer, he opens up to the possibility that not everything can be solved by logic or science. So, the book does cover some serious topics, but in a more lighthearted, humorous manner that pulls at the heartstrings.

 

Adele: a book that delivers a really powerful message.

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A book I thought of that I don’t talk about often is The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout. It follows Mallory, who is reunited with her foster brother Rider after four years. When she discovers he’s involved in some dangerous activities, she struggles to find her voice again after years of abuse at the hands of her and Rider’s former foster parents. Rider also learns that just because he was a foster kid does not mean he doesn’t have a chance in building a new life for himself, especially since he has so many people around him offering support.

 

Miley Cyrus: a book/series that exceeded your expectations.

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A recent read for me, which was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Classic novels are always a hit or miss, as they are open to interpretation. And Then There Were None is declared one of the greatest mysteries of all time and Agatha Christie reigns as the Queen of Mystery. Needless to say, the book lived up to its reputation and did not disappoint.

 

Katy Perry: a book/series that didn’t live up to the hype. HA HA!

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Definitely The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton for me. In hindsight, I suppose the author was being realistic in her writing about the characters, but I just did not connect to it. I felt very underwhelmed the whole time and, for such a short book, it took me a long time to read.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Favorite Book Covers

I have no idea how I managed to narrow this list down to five….

I’ve never bought a book strictly for the cover. It might draw me to a book if I see it in a store, but only after I have read the synopsis do I buy it. For this post, looking through my bookshelves, there were a lot of covers I found that I loved. It proved to be harder than I anticipated. Even more interesting, as I narrowed it down to five, I realized some of these books were, in the end, cover buys.

 

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

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I had heard of Blood Rose Rebellion through Goodreads. For some reason, it reminded me of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, a popular young adult novel I am only mildly interested in. Then, I saw the physical book in Target. Entranced by the silver-and-pink roses against a white backdrop, I finally read the synopsis.

Blood Rose Rebellion follows Anna Arden, a girl born into a powerful magical family with no magical abilities of her own. She goes to Hungary to stay with relatives after she accidentally breaks a spell, leading her into a dangerous rebellion. The story is also heavily influenced by Romani culture, which I am interested in.

 

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

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The Book Jumper follows Amy Lennox, who moves from Germany to Scotland to live in her mother’s childhood home. Her grandmother insists she read, but in a different way: Amy comes from book jumpers, which means she can transport herself into the stories she reads. When she uncovers thefts inside the books, she teams up with another book jumper to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I already planned on buying The Book Jumper when I first heard about it. Then, the package from Amazon came in and the cover was even more stunning in person. It gives off a whimsical vibe with the girl’s dress made out of book pages, the knight by her side, and the stars scattered across the dust jacket. It almost feels like a movie poster, in a sense, for a children’s fantasy movie.

 

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crawley

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I had seen Words in Deep Blue on various BookTube videos, yet my interest was mild. It’s about a girl named Rachel, who had a crush on a boy named Henry, and when her family moved away, she left a note for him in his favorite book inside his parents’ bookstore. Only he never responded and Rachel was heartbroken. Many years later, she returns to that same bookstore after her brother drowns and she is forced to work alongside Henry.

I didn’t even add it to my TBR on Goodreads until I went to a bookstore and I saw the cover in person. All over the cover are books, either opened or closed, in various shades of blue. Without thinking about it too much, I bought it.

 

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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Wintersong is a retelling of the tale of Labyrinth, which I am not familiar with, other than it inspired a movie starring David Bowie. The story of this novel I was interested in anyway—a musically gifted teenaged girl offers herself as a bride to the Goblin King to save her younger sister, only to be enthralled with a world she thought was made of nightmares.

The cover of Wintersong, in my opinion, is simple yet beautiful. I love the muted color scheme and the white flower inside what looked like a snow globe. It already sets the mood for the story that I hope I will enjoy once I read it.

 

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

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The only book on this entire list I have actually read, Jane Steele is an adult historical fiction novel inspired by Jane Eyre. Except Jane Steele is a morally conflicted but ultimately good-natured serial killer. In person, the cover is stunning—black with shots of bright pink and white silhouettes of objects with meaning to the story. The insides are beautiful, too. The story is compelling, the writing is lyrical, and the Mr. Rochester of the story, Charles Thornfield, is one of the sexiest men I’ve ever read about in literature.

 

In case you were wondering, here are other covers I considered….

 

What book covers are your favorite?

Review of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Spoiler Free)

October is a great time to read mysteries and thrillers, with the weather being dark, dreary, and cold. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie was the perfect.

In case you were unaware, And Then There Were None is set in a mansion on Solider Island, off the coast of Devon in England, where a mysterious man named Mr. Owen has invited ten strangers to a dinner party. During the dinner, the guests listen to a recording revealing they were brought to the island to face judgment for the alleged murders they individually committed. One by one, the guests are killed in according to a nursery rhyme the murderer is fond of.

My favorite part about And Then There Were None was the atmosphere. Upon their arrival to the island, a violent storm hits. The way Agatha Christie wrote it made me feel as claustrophobic as the characters did. As it is revealed that the killer can only be one of them, the atmosphere is filled with fear. They are divided, not knowing whom they can trust among the group.

Agatha Christie does a good job at making each individual look guilty. All of them are morally gray, and not all of them likeable either. Some of the deaths they were involved in were accidents, not wholly their fault. Some you weren’t sure if they were killers or not. And others clearly were motivated to commit the crimes they are accused of. The reader is left to decide who is innocent and who is not. There was some I knew within a few chapters couldn’t have done it.

Another element I enjoyed about And Then There Were None was how fast-paced and suspenseful it was. You truly had no idea who was the killer or who was going to die next. The killer/mastermind was someone I suspected by the middle of the novel. But how they enacted their plan was absolute genius. I didn’t see it coming at all. The end of the story answered each question presented clearly. That is something I found recently a lot of mystery novels nowadays tend to practice.

Overall, I give And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 5 stars. I literally could not find any fault in it. If you are looking for a good mystery or suspense novel to read in the Halloween, or on your next rainy day, or you just love mystery novels in general, I highly recommend this one.

Hocus Pocus Book Tag

What is Halloween without Hocus Pocus?

Personally, I don’t love the movie Hocus Pocus. My staple Halloween movie is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Only when I saw Coffeeloving Bookoholic do the Hocus Pocus Book Tag, I knew this was the perfect kind of tag to do for Halloween. I was not tagged by anyone that I know of, but Katie at Never Not Reading created this.

 

The Sanderson Sisters: a great trilogy.

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I could talk about the Infernal Devices trilogy like I have in almost every other blog post these last few weeks. Only I’m not going to, because it is not the only great trilogy. I’m going to say the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson.

I know there was a fourth book. I’ve read it, but another writer published it after Larsson’s death and I don’t know how I feel about The Girl in the Spider’s Web. So, for this question, I’m going to answer with the three written by Stieg Larsson himself: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

            The story is an action-packed mystery and filled with political intrigue. You might think you know what is happening, only you are likely totally wrong. Lizbeth Salander is one of the best female protagonists I’ve read in literature—she could whip the ass of any Sarah J. Maas lady any day of the week with her hacking skills and her ability to put anyone in their place. She is open in her sexuality and not afraid to be who she is. While others might consider her behavior questionable, her heart is always in the right place. Anyone who hurts her better watch out, because she will give it back to them ten times worse. A survivor of rape and child abuse, she has sympathy for others and helps those that can’t help themselves. Lizbeth is what made the books for me.

 

 

Winifred Sanderson: a book with a truly evil female villain.

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It’s a tie between Queen Helewise from The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Sailsbury and Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Both of these women were evil for the sake of being evil. They got off on the power they had, making everyone afraid of them. They manipulated people around them and reacted violently if they did not get what they wanted. Queen Helewise tried to have a woman executed for being pregnant when she herself was struggling to conceive. Amarantha cursed a guy to live forever with a mask on his face, then tried to kill the girl who saved him because she couldn’t handle rejection.

 

Sarah Sanderson: a book that uncannily attracts children.

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Anything by Rick Riordan, at least by what I’ve noticed. So far, I personally have only read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series but I own the Heroes of Olympus. That is one of the series I aim to read in 2017.

 

 

Mary Sanderson: a book that is just plain silly.

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Almost anything by Meg Cabot, particularly her women’s fiction and young adult contemporary novels. Her Queen of Babble trilogy follows a young woman whose big mouth gets her into some awkward situations. The Boy Next Door is about a female reporter than falls in love with her neighbor’s nephew after said neighbor is attacked in her apartment, only the nephew is not who he says he is: he is a reporter from a rival newspaper. Teen Idol, one of her young adult novels, is about a teenaged girl who must escort a disguised movie star around her high school and keep it a secret from her classmates. Those are just a few of them I can think of off the top of my head.

 

Max: a book that is trying really hard to be cool, but doesn’t always succeed.

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The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, which I compare to the M&M cookies I like. They are really fun to read, but they don’t have a lot of nutritional value. They tried to be original, but they contained a lot of tropes that were popular in the young adult genre back in the early 2000s.

 

Dani: a book that isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

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I would have to say Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is one that comes to mind. An openly gay seventeen-year-old girl must go back in the closet when her preacher father remarries and they move to a small town in Georgia. Naturally, she meets a girl, falls in love, and her secret takes its toll. The book discusses sexuality and religion, as well as coming out to a community that is not entirely accepting of LGBTQ people in an honest way.

 

Binx: a book series that just won’t die.

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I hate to say it, but the Harry Potter books. I appreciate future generations reading the original seven books; I just have a problem with the books not part of the seven. Namely, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was clearly a ploy to get money out of fans. The franchise is being milked for all its worth, to a point I worry people will get tired of Harry Potter. And the Boy Who Lived deserves better than that.

 

Ice: a book with a character that’s dumb as a rock.

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I would have to say Isabel, Lily’s best friend in P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. She was not a bad friend to Lily, in theory. But a lot of her decisions throughout the novel had selfish motive. She thought she was helping Lily find a boyfriend, when in reality, she was trying to keep Lily away from the guy that really liked her, whom Isabel had previously dated in middle school but he dumped her.

 

The Black Flame Candle: a book or series you wish you could resurrect.

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The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz or the House of Night series by PC Cast. Both of these series had interesting concepts, but were poorly executed and loaded with tropes like “the chosen one” and insta-love. I didn’t finish either of these series because I outgrew them. But if these books were resurrected by different authors or given new stories, I might go for it.

 

Headless Billy Butcherson: a book that’s not so bad as people make it out to be.

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth, the final book in her Divergent trilogy—I know, a very unpopular opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I was bored for a good 75% of it. I knew the ending even before I read it. But once I took a moment to think about it, I realized Veronica’s decision to end the trilogy the way she did was realistic. In war, you would expect something like that to happen. No matter how badly you don’t want it to.

 

Winifred Sanderson’s spell book: a book with a mind of its own.

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Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, which is a character study of a woman convicted of murder in 1840s Canada. The whole story centers around nineteenth century psychology and feels like a textbook sometimes, too.

 

Gary Marshall: a book with a cameo.

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Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman, which features John Milton, the poet mastermind behind the epic poem Paradise Lost. He is seen mostly in the beginning of the book, when he is arrested and his daughter Elizabeth sets out to clear his name.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do the Hocus Pocus Book Tag!