Spook-a-thon TBR

Standard

Image result for halloween gifs

October is here, and I have yet to read any of the spooky books I wanted to read. In order to try to fix this, I’m joining the Spook-a-thon from October 16th (today) to the 22nd. It’s hosted by BooksandLaLa Bookerly and Paige’s Pages.

Challenge 1: Read a thriller

33984056

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena. I have no idea what it is about, but it’s the group book for this read-a-thon. I put it on hold at my library, and it still hasn’t come in yet. Hopefully I will have it in time to finish it, because I really wanted to follow the group book for once. This is supposed to have 305 pages.

Challenge 2: Read a book with a spooky word in the title

1947216

Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan. My spooky word here is killing. Apparently a group of students accidentally kill their English teacher. It sounds like a good time. This is 222 pages.

Challenge 3: Read a book based on a childhood fear

 9947386

Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan. A girl’s family takes in a cousin, and she’s sure her cousin is a witch. This might seem odd since I now love books about witches and magic, but I was terrified of witches when I was younger. I would constantly have nightmares about a witch getting her cauldron ready to eat me. Whenever I woke up from these dreams, I would be convinced she was in the corner of my room. So I would always lay very still, and never open my eyes. I guess hoping she wouldn’t notice me? I’m not sure, but I think that I was scared if I got out of bed to tell my parents that meant she would get me. This book is 226 pages.

Challenge 4: Read a book with orange on the cover

27845924

Little Deaths by Emma Flint. This is a historical thriller that I think will be interesting. It’s about a woman who’s two kids are murdered, and that’s all I know really. This is the closest thing I could find that fit kind of. It’s more of a red in person, but we could call it blood orange for the sake of the challenge.

Image result for blood orange gif

But it’s fine honestly. This is 304 pages.

Challenge 5: Read a book that has a spooky setting

18498558

Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. This is a book set in a world where if you look at this monster you go mad. I think. Which is a pretty scary place to be. This is 262 pages.

In total that adds up to 1,319 pages. I hope since this is five books instead of the usual seven I will get to them all. 

Advertisements

The Demon Notebook by Erika McGann

Standard

18509660

The Demon Notebook by Erika McGann is the first book in a middle grade quartet. It’s about five middle school friends who find a book with spells and try to test them out. They try eleven on them, but all fail. They move onto trying the Ouija board when finally something happens, but it’s more scary than they anticipated. Now one of them is acting weird, and one by one their spells are happening. And not all of them are harmless. 

I wasn’t expecting much from this book, and that’s a good thing. That doesn’t sound nice, but I mean it in the best way possible. I read this basically one sitting. The writing was simple. The plot was simple. It was fun, but it wasn’t the most complex piece of work. If I was expecting something truly complexly developed or something to scare my socks off, I would have been disappointed. Instead, I enjoyed my time with the story.

The strong friendship between the girls was a surprise for me. I’m so used to reading catty and competitive friendships between girls I don’t expect much anymore. But this group of friends wasn’t like that at all. They cared about each other deeply and equally.

I liked the lesson underneath the book as well. The girls made a mistake, and they did their best to right it. Even when it wasn’t easy or in their best interest at the time.

I gave this book an average three stars. The magic was nice. There were nice action scenes to bring up the tension too. I didn’t find this scary at all. For people looking a book with magic and demons without being creepy, I think this would be the book for them.

 

The Harry Potter Book Tag

Standard

HP

We were tagged by Lorryn from Reading Parental. Thanks so much for tagging us!

Am I a pureblood, half-blood, or muggle born?

Nicole: I never get answers like this. How am I supposed to know? Do I choose one randomly? Because then I would be a half-blood since they get the best of both worlds. Is it decided in terms of privilege? Then I would be a pureblood, but not the Sacred 28. More like the Weasleys.
Isis: I’m a half-blood for sure.

Which wand chose me?

Nicole: I just took the quiz on pottermore for this and it says elm wood with a phoenix feather core. 10” and unyielding flexibility. Apparently that means I’m capable of highly advanced magic with great range, and I guess it’ll be stubborn about working for other people.
Isis: I took the pottermore quiz as well. I got the vine wood with a unicorn hair core. 13 1/2″ and quite bendy flexibility. Mine is a rare wand, and their owners are those who seek greater purpose. So that’s new.

Did I take an owl, cat, rat, or toad with me?

Nicole: A cat obviously.
Isis: Owl!

Where did  the sorting hat put me?

Nicole: I’ve taken the quiz a lot, and it’s put me in every house. The most recent one was Hufflepuff. But I’m a Ravenclaw.
Isis: Hufflepuff every time!

What house did I want to be in?

Nicole: Ravenclaw
Isis: Hufflepuff!!! Represent.

What lessons are my favorite and least favorite?

Nicole: I always wanted to know more about the Ancient Runes class. History of Magic would be my least favorite.
Isis: I would love the potions class because Snape would be my teacher. I don’t think I would like the defense against the dark arts one because I’m not much of a fighter.

The form my patronus takes?

Nicole: Pottermore said an Osprey. Some type of eagle, I don’t know.
Isis: Deerhound. But honestly, I would have been okay with a snake.

What does a boggart look like to me?

Nicole: I have so many fears how would it just choose one? But uh maybe everyone hating me.
Isis: A giant worm that feeds on humans.

Do I partake in any magical hobbies or school sports?

Nicole: No I hate socializing.
Isis: I would attend every Quidditch game to support my house, of course.

Where would I find myself hanging in my free time?

Nicole: Probably by the lake, the library, or in the dorm when everyone else is in the common room.
Isis: The library, or anywhere where there’s food. Or candy.

What would I most likely get detention for?

Nicole: Being late to class.
Isis: Not getting all my work done.

What career do I want after leaving Hogwarts?

Nicole: Inventor of spells. But also a writer. There’s never any fiction books mentioned, and maybe it’ll make everyone relax if they could read for fun.
Isis: Can I be in film or television? I don’t think that was ever discussed in the books, but I want a career like that in the wizarding world.

Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?

Nicole: The Elder Wand
Isis: The Invisibility Cloak
 

Favourite book?

Nicole: The Goblet of Fire
Isis: I love The Prisoner of Azkaban, although it also breaks my heart.

Least favourite book?

Nicole: Half-Blood Prince
Isis: I’ve never liked the Chamber of Secrets so much.

Favourite film?

Nicole: Prisoner of Azkaban
Isis: The Order of the Phoenix. I loveee Dumbledore’s Army.

Least favourite film?

Nicole: Order of the Phoenix
Isis: The Prisoner of Azkaban. Love the book, but the movie never felt as good or exciting.

Favourite character?

Nicole: Harry Potter until the very end
Isis: I love Sirius Black very much.
 

Least favourite/most hated character?

Nicole: Snape always
Isis: Umbridge.

Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Nicole: Hagrid even if he sucked as a teacher
Isis: Snape! He’s my boy.

Least favorite teacher at Hogwarts?

Nicole: Umbridge
Isis: Umbridge, too. But does she count as a teacher?

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

Nicole: Honestly I’m not even sure what’s unpopular or not so here’s a couple of my opinions. Snape wasn’t bullied, and is a horrible person. Draco and Harry are not perfect parallels to Snape and James. Draco deserves more of the redemption arc/hero attention than Snape ever did. Dumbledore sucks and should have been put in Azkaban. Harry is biracial and bisexual. Ginny isn’t Lily reincarnate. Harry isn’t unobservant and stupid. Remus wasn’t a father figure to Harry.
Isis: I love Snape with all my heart. Leave him alone.  Also, maybe not relevant to the 7 “real” books, but MAKE SCORPIUS AND ALBUS GAY, YOU COWARDS!

If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?

Nicole: This is so hard but Fred. His death still hurts so much.
Isis: Fred. Honestly, why???? WHY did we have to break up that amazing duo? It’s just not fair. Not fair at all.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – Book Review

Standard

gent

“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with lacquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.”

Reading this book was a struggle. First, let me say that I adored Mackenzi Lee’s writing style. Her writing was a pleasure to read, and so engaging. I loved the way she described everything, right down to the smallest detail and smell, making me picture everything perfectly. I loved the characters, and the way she carefully developed each one of them. The adventures the characters embarked on were incredible, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

So, why did this book make me suffer so greatly?

Well, let’s just say I read it at the worst time I possibly could. During the length of time I read this book, my health was terrible. I had never feared for my life as much as I did during the last month. I read this book slowly, but every time I picked it up, someone in the book was ill, or unable to breathe, or going through very detailed near-death experiences. I hated every one of those moments because it only gave me anxiety.

This was a great book, and I am very sad I couldn’t enjoy it.

I do want to talk about all the good things because I want other people to enjoy it. The book is set in the 18th century, and takes place over a disastrous tour starring three amazing main characters. Henry Montague, or Monty, is our lead guy. He’s an eighteen year old aristocrat (really wanted to write aristocat) who loves drinking, women and men alike, and engaging in non-gentlemanly behavior. He’s trying to get it all out of his system before he settles into his father’s estate, under his father’s total control. Then there’s Monty’s sister, Felicity, who loves reading, hates her big brother, and definitely does not do the romance thing. I loved her to pieces. My girl was tough to the bone, intelligent, clever, and I would honestly trust her with my life. Then there was Percy, the sweetest boy in the world, and Monty’s best friend (also his great unrequited love). Percy is biracial, and for that he deals with a lot of shit. He lost his parents, but he carries his father’s fiddle around with him as his only memory.

It’s important to mention that Monty suffered from physical abuse by his father from a young age. This is something that completely took me by surprise while reading it, and it’s very present throughout the book. There’s also homophobia, but mostly from Monty’s horrible father. Percy deals with epilepsy, which is a complicated topic during the time period, and it basically drives the plot.

The journey they go on is exciting. They face great danger while on the run, and things only slow down every once in a while. The trio have a lovely dynamic, always rushing to save one another, and never leaving anyone behind. I loved each of them separately and together. The pirates were one of my favorite aspect. I also really enjoyed the alchemy incorporated, though it made me uneasy at times (again, I read it at a bad time). Monty and Percy were really sweet, too. I loved their friendship, and I was rooting for them to get together. I found Monty’s inner monologues over his undying love for Percy to be absolutely endearing. I kept making notes on the margins every time it happened, calling him a “Lovesick fool.”

I have to say, I don’t regret reading this book, despite how difficult it was to get through it. I would recommend it to anyone into big adventures with bisexual protagonists, kickass ladies, and a hint of fantasy.

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

Standard

25117605

One elderly ghost peered over her round spectacles and shook her head before returning to her ghostly knitting.

“In my day, young children didn’t come to the cemeteries trying to raise the dead,” she tsked. “What is this world coming to?”

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh is an own voices middle grade ghost story. Harper and her family move into a new house. There are rumors that it is haunted, and then her little brother, Michael, starts to act strange. Harper has her own mysterious past that she has to deal with because she’s recently lost some of her memories. As events begin to unfold, Harper knows that both her memories and Michael’s odd behavior are somehow tied together.

Harper’s family includes her younger brother that I’ve already mentioned, an older sister, her mom and dad, and an estranged grandmother. This story really touches on the dynamics between all of them in a very natural and real way. I enjoyed the siblings relationships, the love and the fighting. Harper’s relationship with her mom is tough, and it mimics her mother’s relationship with her own. It’s a strong element to this book.

The formatting in this book was a very nice touch. In between normal chapters are pages of Harper’s journal she has to keep on orders from her therapist. In it, she lists things she hates, and has small rants about life. These brief pages added a lot to Harper’s character, and always made me smile.

I had a blast with this book. It was funny yet creepy in all of the right places. The Korean influences threaded throughout make this book stand out compared to the other very similar ghost stories out there. I gave this book five stars. I’m not sure if this is going to be a series, but I hope so.

 

The Ghost and Mrs. Hobbs by Cynthia DeFelice

Standard

966973

“It’s so weird, Al. It’s like you attract ghosts. Like you’re some kind of – ghost magnet.

“That’s one way to put it, I guess,” said Allie, not sure if the idea made her feel proud or uncomfortable.

This is the second book in the ghost mysteries series. I reviewed the first one here. It follows eleven year old Allie who can see ghosts. She’s supposed to interview an elder for a school project, and a new ghost is guiding her into helping him. Allie wants to help, but finds things quickly spiraling out of her control.

I had a little bit of frustration with this book, I must admit. The answer seems so obvious to me from the very beginning that I wonder how can you not think things through a little more carefully. But it is a children’s mystery book, and I still end up enjoying it a lot. Maybe that’s a point in the book’s favor. I knew what would happen yet I still really liked it.

This one is a lot more darker than the first one. Allie has to learn not to take everything at face value. Placing trust in someone can end up to be very dangerous. It’s a good lesson to have, and makes the series going forward a little bit more complicated. I hope, at least.

I gave this one a four star rating. I think it is a ton better than the first one. It’s an easy, addictive read. I finished it in one day. Before I wasn’t sure if I would continue the series. I picked this one up on a whim when I saw it on the library shelf. But I know for sure that I will be picking up the third one.

My Theories and Hopes for The Ship of the Dead

Standard

28006120

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan is the third and final book in the Magnus Chase series. It comes out in six days, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Isis still hasn’t read the first one like I’ve been begging her to do for months, so I decided to make a post similar to her Ari and Dante post talking about hopes and theories for what will be in this next book. 

Disclaimer: I’ve only read the first three books in the original Percy Jackson series, and the first two of the Magnus Chase series. I have no idea what happens in the rest of the series, so if something ties into that I don’t know about it.

Also, there is obviously going to be spoilers below.

  • Alex and Magnus romance. In a perfect world, this would be extended to a five book series so that this romance could continue to be a slow burn. However, I think I saw Riordan say on twitter it is definitely three books, and I need Magnus and Alex to acknowledge the feelings they have in some meaningful way.
  • Blitzen and Hearthstone confirmation. I’m not usually so set on the romance side of books, but they are obviously together. I need them to confirm it very obviously in the text to be happy. Maybe with hand holding? An I love you? I don’t ask for much.
  • A conversation between Riptide and Jack. I want Annabeth and Percy to be shocked. It can last for two lines, honestly, it just needs to happen.
  • I know everyone is freaking out over Percy being in this book. I saw Riordan put on Twitter that it won’t be a big part. Honestly, I think he’ll be in it for one chapter, maybe three at the most. I see them talking, and Percy sending Magnus to talk to someone else as a way to help. Or giving him something, like the ship of the dead, that will help, and that’s it.
  • Speaking of the ship of the dead, does that mean that Hotel Valhalla is gonna be on this ship? Is T.J., Halfborn, and Mallory going to play a bigger part in this book? I hope so because I love the time they are present.
  • But if they are all going to be out that means that Ragnarok will happen? It seems likely, yet I hope not. I don’t see how it can happen and be all wrapped up in one book. Not in a satisfying way at least.
  • Sigyn, Loki’s wife. I think she will end up playing a big role in taking down Loki. I’m not sure if she’ll team up with Magnus or do something completely on her own, but I think she will be important.
  • I don’t think Andirson or Greta, Hearthstone’s brother and mother are dead. Or, at least, their deaths are more than what we’ve been told. I’m not sure what part this will play in the overall plot, or if it’ll be a part of the cursed ring keeping them from their journey.
  • Frey, Magnus’s dad. I think we will see him in person in this book. 
  • Sam will be in great danger with Loki, but she will overpower him.

There’s probably a very big plot point that I’m forgetting to even mention, but oh well. I realize these aren’t very creative, or even thought out in a big way but honestly I’m bad at that. I  just know I’m excited for this book, and wanted to list out a couple of things I think are important for this last book.