October Wrap-Up & November TBR

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I can’t believe it is already November! The last stubborn leaves have given up and fallen to the ground, where they’ve been covered in heavy frosts and falling raindrops. We’ve been gravitating towards our comfort foods, and our home, yard and vehicle are now ready for the blanket of snow that will soon cover us…

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October Wrap-up:

October was a decent reading month for me. I didn’t finish as many books as I’d have liked to, but I have completed my 2018 reading challenge: I’ve read 60/60 books!  I also didn’t have any 5-star reads this month, which is unusual!  I didn’t write any reviews in October, and I am struggling to read any of my NetGalley picks, because I really just despise reading on my e-reader.  If I have the option of choosing a physical book, I will read that every time – regardless of how interesting the book on my e-reader is.  The good news is that I own approximately 60 unread books…. which should last me another year without buying any (HAH, as if that will happen… )

haunted
★★★★

This House is Haunted by John Boyne

where the crawdads
★★★★

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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★★★★

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

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★★★★

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

word is murder
★★★★

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

I also read an amazing graphic novel of Poe’s Stories & Poems! I didn’t count it towards my challenge, but for all of you Poe fans out there: it is BEAUTIFUL!

I am still currently reading:

  • A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton

November (maybe) TBR:book thief

I’m horrible at actually following a set TBR, because I am a mood reader. These are some I’m really hoping to get to though.

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
  • The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

See any books that you’ve read or want to read!? Let me know in the comments below.

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Blogoween | Hallowe’en in a Fictional World

So #blogoween has basically been a massive fail for me! I had every intention of participating more regularly, but life is just too busy…

At least I’ll end strong with a few new posts to finish it off!

Today’s host is Clo @ Book Dragons and the prompt is “Pick any fictional world that you’d love to experience Halloween in.”  To be honest, I didn’t really have to think hard about this one….

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By the time Hallowe’en arrived, Harry was regretting his rash promise to go to the deathday party. The rest of the school was happily anticipating their Hallowe’en feast; the Great Hall had been decorated with the usual live bats, Rubeus Hagrid’s vast pumpkins had been carved into lanterns large enough for three men to sit in, and there were rumours that Albus Dumbledore had booked a troupe of dancing skeletons for the entertainment.

I would LOVE to spend Hallowe’en at Hogwarts! Oh how amazing it would be to spend the night in a massive, magical castle in the highlands of Scotland – full of floating carved pumpkins and a delightful feast in the Great Hall.  I’d love to stuff myself with goodies and pumpkin juice, surrounded by witches and wizards!  The atmosphere would be perfectly eerie, but also cozy.

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It’d be entertaining (and also slightly terrifying) to watch the ghosts glide around the hall.

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If I were feeling up for an adrenaline rush, I could wander down to the forbidden forest after dark, and see which creepy creatures are lurking there…

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Which fictional world would you love to spend Hallowe’en in!? Tell me in the comments below.

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Blogoween | Hallowe’en Book Tag!

In an effort to kind of catch up on my #blogoween posts, here’s a fun Hallowe’en Book Tag! I snagged it from an old post by @The Sassy Geek. Feel free to join in!

1)  Favourite Scary (must read) for Halloween

I don’t read many scary books, but I did enjoy The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I tried watching the Netflix series, but I didn’t get past the first episode… yup, I’m a major chicken and I value my sleep.

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2)  Scariest Book Cover

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IT. I am terrified of creepy clowns, so I despise this cover… and will never read the book OR watch the movies.

3)  If you could go trick-or treating with any author, who would you pick?

Do they have to be alive today? I’d totally choose Edgar Allan Poe.

4)  If you could dress up as any bookish character for Halloween, who would you be?

I’d love to be Alosa from Daughter of the Pirate King, because It’d be fun to be a bad-ass, red-haired pirate for the evening!

5)  If you could find anything (from any book) in your trick-or-treat stash, what would you hope to find?

I’d hope to find an invisibility cloak!

6)  In what fictional world would you like to go trick-or-treating?

I would love to go trick-or-treating in Hobbiton! I am smiling just thinking about how awesome that would be.

7)  What book villain would you not like to meet alone in a dark alley on Halloween?

The Headless Horseman or Voldemort. Both are quite terrifying.

8)  Would you rather dress up as a vampire, zombie, werewolf, or Shadowhunter?

Definitely a vampire… but a “classic” vampire, not the twilighty ones…

9) Pick a candy (just one) from Harry Potter that you would love to find in your stash.

Chocolate frogs! I am addicted to chocolate, plus frogs are just so cute. Hopefully mine wouldn’t hop away too quickly.

10)  What is your favourite Halloween candy?

Anything with chocolate!


Tag – you’re it!  Have some fun with this Hallowe’en tag!

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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…

1880

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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