Tag Tuesday / Blogoween | Finally Fall Book Tag

I’ve been seeing this tag around, so I figured I’d join in the fun.  This tag was created by Alina at TallTales, and although it isn’t part of the Blogoween prompts, it definitely fits in with the Autumn post theme!

In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!

dsom.jpgOne of my favourite worlds would have to be the “Londons” of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.  I have such vivid images of each London in my mind, and I enjoyed exploring each of them throughout the series.  My favourite, of course, would have to be Red London:

“Flowers and hearth fire, spiced wine and underneath, the scent of home.  A place of strength and beauty, laughter and music and the steady hum of magic.  Power in balance, and balance in power.  The palace arcs over the glittering Isle, the river like a ribbon of red light beneath.  The regal House of Maresh sits on the throne.  And a magician stands behind it.”

Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

child finder.jpgThe Child Finder by Rene Denfield is a heartbreaking and beautifully written story about loss and abuse.  It was a tough and unique read.

“Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.”

Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

A recent favourite non-fiction read was Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.  It was a thought-provoking look at systemic racism, specifically in Britain, but of course relevant throughout the world.  It’s one of those books that will make you think more critically about society and yourself.

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In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

I would love to be part of the Weasley family. Oh how I’d adore hanging out at the Burrow, surrounded by coziness and chaos 😉

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The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

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Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

51em3xUxHOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Yesssssssss two of my favourite books of all time fit this one: The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  The Kingkiller Chronicles take place over three days, in which Kote – the innkeeper – is revealed as Kvothe, whose famous name is shrouded in rumours and mystery.  Kvothe is a renowned sword fighter, musician, and magician who is even rumoured to have killed a king.  Now living life as Kote the innkeeper, Kvothe saves a traveling Chronicler from a terrifying spider-like creature called a Scrael, and in return, agrees to allow the man to chronicle his life as Kvothe.  I absolutely LOVE the first two books in the trilogy and, like so many others, I am anxiously awaiting the third!

The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

I haven’t read many dark, creepy reads.  I did recently read This House is Haunted by John Boyne, and it was incredibly creepy!  It was just the right amount of scary for me, and the gothic Victorian setting was perfection.

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The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

Hmmmm, to be honest I don’t read many short or heartwarming reads!  I tend to gravitate towards more deep, dramatic and thought-provoking books.  One light-hearted, but not necessarily short one that I enjoyed was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simson.  One that I’m looking forward to (if my books ever arrive in the mail….) is To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Fall (luckily, it’s my favourite season) returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.

The Harry Potter Series! I always get the urge to return to this series in the fall or winter. It just makes me feel cozy and is a total comfort read. We actually just finished our annual Harry Potter movie marathon, and are currently watching “Creating the World of Harry Potter,” which is an AMAZING documentary series about how the movies were created.  Another old favourite I always love to return to is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!

My favourite cozy reading necessities are a cute mug filled with tea, a cozy blanket, and a bookish candle burning beside me.  Tasty fall treats are always welcome too…

Spread the autumn appreciation and tag some people!

I can’t figure out how to actually tag people so that they’re notified – so if you know how pleeeeeease tell me how to do this in the comments!

I’m inviting anyone reading this to have some fun by participating in the tag 🙂


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Blogoween | Top 5 Books About Witches

It has been a busy week, so I totally missed my planned Blogoween post for Thursday October 4th!  The lovely Kaleena at Reader Voracious is our host for the prompt:

Top 5 Books about Witches

Here are my picks (in no particular order):

hermione.PNGHarry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I had to include my all-time favourite series, because it happens to feature Hermione – who is without adoubt my favourite witch 😉

1witches.jpgThe Witches of New York by Ami McKay

I loved this book! I am beyond excited to read Half Spent Was the Night: A Witches’ Yuletide, which is released this month!

Those averse to magic need not apply…

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Witches Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St Clair have opened a tea shop in Manhattan specialising in cures, palmistry and potions.

When an enchanting woman called Beatrice joins the witches as an apprentice, she soon proves indispensable, but her new life is marred by strange occurrences.

She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind?

Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over how best to nurture her gifts, Beatrice disappears. But was it by choice or by force? In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, is anyone really safe?”

spellbook kvt.PNGThe Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo

This novel – a retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow – portrays witches in a more real, historical context. I love it! It’s the perfect read for October.

“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. In Alyssa Palombo’s The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won’t erase.

the witches.jpgThe Witches by Roald Dahl

I read this book when I was quite young, and I remember being absolutely terrified!  I’d actually love to re-read this soon.

“This is not a fairy-tale. This is about real witches. Real witches don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you’re face to face with one? Well, if you don’t know yet you’d better find out quickly-because there’s nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she’ll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them.”

circe.PNG Circe by Madeline Miller

I am still reading Circe, and I am enthralled by this beautiful story of this Greek goddess of “magic” – sometimes called a witch.

“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.”

I’ve also just started The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox, and I’m loving it so far.


I’d love to know what some of your favourite books featuring witches are! Tell me in the comments below.

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Blogoween | Halloween/Fall Covers & Tuesday Intros

The Blogoween prompt for today is “Favourite Halloween/Fall Covers.” Today’s Blogoween host is Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward. I’m also going to combine today’s prompt with Tuesday Intros (hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach), because I’ve just started reading one of the books below and I love the intro!

I actually have very few books that fit this prompt well.  This is probably because I have just started reading more thriller and horror novels.  Two I love are:

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This gorgeous edition of Dr. Jekyll and My. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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As well as this delightfully creepy cover. The other version I’ve seen around is gorgeous as well!

Now for Tuesday Intros, featuring This House is Haunted by John Boyne:

17307162.jpg“London, 1867

I blame Charles Dickens for the death of my father.

In tracing the moment where my life transformed from serenity to horror, twisting the natural into the unspeakable, I find myself seated in the parlour of our small terraced home near Hyde Park, observing the frayed edges of the hearth rug and wondering whether it might be time to invest in a new one or try to repair it myself.”

I love how the novel opens by foreshadowing the death of her father as well as the horror and unspeakable things to come. Plus you really have to wonder how Charles Dickens could be blamed for her father’s death…

I am about a third of the way through This House is Haunted, and I am enjoying it thus far! As a newbie horror reader, it’s easing me in nicely.

Since it kind of goes with the prompt, here’s a nice little autumn-coloured collection of some of my books:

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I’m excited to see everyone’s favourite Halloween/Fall covers!


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September Wrap-up

Total Number of Books: 6
Total Number of Pages: 2,162
Average Pages per Book: 360
Average Rating: 4.7

I had an amazing reading month!  I will always choose quality over quantity, and this month I read quite a few wonderful books.  I must admit that I am quite liberal with my five-star ratings, compared to most people, but if I really enjoy every aspect of a book I think it deserves those five stars! I also just know what I love in a book, so I tend to abandon other less interesting books and finish the good ones…

spellbook.jpgThe Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo     ★★★★☆

This book definitely fit in well with September’s changing leaves and gloomier weather.  I love that the author told the legend of Sleepy Hollow from the female perspective.  There was a nice mix of romance, suspense, witchcraft and creepiness to make this a lovely autumn read. Thank you to NetGalley for this one – I’ll be posting a full review soon!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald      ★★★★☆great gatsby.PNG

I’d read this before (ages ago), but I decided to listen to the audiobook version, narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal.  I just adore the language in this book, and it has me seriously yearning for an evening spent at a Gatsby-style party.  This era is one of my very favourite settings!

usagainstyou.PNGUs Against You by Fredrik Backman     ★★★★★

The day I received this in the mail I started reading it. I’m pretty sure I finished it over a weekend, because I just couldn’t put it down! I am in love with Backman’s writing, and enjoyed spending more time with the residents of Beartown.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic     ★★★★★histmagic.PNG

This book is EVERYTHING I LOVE combined into one stunning masterpiece.  My major was history, and whilst at university I did a lot of research about magical beliefs and practices throughout history.  This essentially looks at the magical creatures and subjects in Harry Potter, and their ties to various practices and people throughout history.  It is absolutely fascinating, and is one that I will keep picking up and reading again and again.  Plus, it is illustrated and presented in such a beautiful way.

20180915_105040.jpgThe Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton     ★★★★★

I was sent this book as part of the HarperCollins Canada First Look program, and I am eternally grateful because it was one of those mind-blowing reads that you will keep thinking about long after you’ve finished it! Read my full review here.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover     ★★★★★educated.PNG

This book is a fascinating glimpse into a very different life.  I was completely captivated by the heartbreaking and unimaginable story of Tara’s childhood.

 

I have a really hard time sticking to a TBR list, HOWEVER since it is October, there are a few books that I am hoping to read this month:

  • This House is Haunted by John Boyne (1/3 through and loving it!)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas
  • The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

How many books did you read in September? What were some of your favourites?

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Top 5 Wednesday | Sept 26th – Favourite Covers

I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up my blog lately.  Let’s blame that on the demands of teaching teenagers?  Anyways, I thought a fun post to get back into things would be to join in on Top 5 Wednesday!  It was originally created by Lainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughtsontomes. You can find the Goodreads group, with all the weekly topics here if you want to join in the fun!

September 26th: Favorite Covers
— We’ve done this topic in the past, but with so many new, beautiful covers, it is time for an update!

I am guilty of judging books by their covers…. it’s just too hard not to!  An intriguing synopsis will always persuade me (regardless of the cover), but too often I am swindled by a GORGEOUS cover with a synopsis that leaves me thinking “hmmm, mayyyybe I’d like this story??”

Here are some of my recent Top 5 Favourite Covers. I had to narrow it down to books I’ve read/purchased/received in the last year or so:

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I had been eyeing this book up for AGES, but the only editions available at our bookstores were the movie cover and the white anniversary hardcover. I had seen this one online and FELL IN LOVE with it, so naturally I ordered it from the UK. I don’t even care how long it took to get here, just look at it!

 

 

 

9781787461703

 

I love this cover because it is so intriguing! Full of juxtaposition and expertly designed to be thought-provoking.

 

 

 

 

fawkes

I adore this cover! Clearly set in the past, and to do with Guy Fawkes, magic, and maybe some destruction… this cover drew me right in!

 

 

 

 

 

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This cover is so perfectly eerie: the ornate Victorian gate, tree branches, birds, and love that it is in greyscale. It perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the novel.

 

 

 

 

51em3xUxHOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This anniversary edition cover of The Name of the Wind is my FAVOURITE! It incorporates so many different aspects of the story, and I love the colours used. Just perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed gazing at these interesting and beautiful covers. I’m excited to see everyone else’s choices!

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Book Review | The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

If you’re looking for a completely unique, thrilling, atmospheric, and immersive page-turner, this is it!

The book’s premise instantly intrigued me:
“At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed. Again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.”

I’ve heard this book described as “Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day/Inception,” and I’d agree, but it’s so ingeniously crafted that you really need to read it yourself. The dilapidated Georgian mansion surrounded by untamed, grim wilderness creates the perfect dark and mysterious atmosphere. From the beginning we are abruptly thrown into confusion, as the protagonist grapples with where he is, who he is, and what exactly is going on. We delve into a complex plot, guided by an ominous plague-masked man, and join Aiden in attempting to solve a murder to escape the time loop. Starting each day in a new body presents unique challenges, but each character holds secrets and keys to unlocking the perplexing puzzle. The twisted plot will have you guessing until the very end. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an exquisite, creepy, enthralling and mind-bending story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime.

This is certainly one of my top reads of 2018! It will be on sale September 18th in Canada. A huge thanks to Harper Collins Canada for giving me a first look at this!