October Goal: Read a Spooky Classic ☑️

Every October, there are two types of books that I try to read:
#1 – A Stephen King novel.
#2 – A classic horror or noir novel.
This year, the classic of choice was Dracula by Bram Stoker. I was lucky enough to find a group on Instagram to read it with and that was good motivation for me. Classics are not typically my cup of tea, though I wish I could say they were. I am extremely glad that I picked this one up and stuck with it. Vampires are probably my favorite noir creatures, so finally reading one of their most famous stories is super significant for me!

10483223Considering that Dracula is probably the most famous vampire, and this is probably the most famous vampire book, while reading the book itself I really discovered how much I don’t know about the “legend” of Dracula. I thought I sort of knew the story but honestly, I had no clue! Even the simple fact that Van Helsing’s origin is in the Dracula book. I did not know that (how did I not know that??). Many vampiric traits and characteristics are the same or similar to vampires that we think of in modern pop culture–not active in the day, sensitive to garlic and holy relics, immortal, etc.

The book itself was surprisingly easy to read. It was very well-written and had such good flow to it. Sometimes books written from multiple points of view, and as correspondences or journal entries are difficult or obnoxious to read but I thought Stoker did pretty well with this one. There was only a little lull in the middle where my mind wandered a bit, but other than that, I was constantly turning pages and transfixed by the language and by the action.

bela_lugosi_draculaI have to say that Van Helsing is my new favorite character ever. Professor (as Mina calls him), Doctor (as “friend Jonathon” calls him)….however you address him….the man is extremely intelligent, loyal, persistent, brave, and kind. I wish that I could choose a quote of his to use here to point out his intelligence and compassion, but he just has so many good, intelligent, and sublime things to say! I could not believe the kinship between the group of friends in this book. Not only was the writing excellent, but the bond between the characters as they faced this horror was just beautiful.

Yes the book had its moments of action and excitement and then its duldrums, but as I mentioned, it was so well-written and I so wanted to see where it went and I was so invested in the characters that I had to keep reading. Again, I am so glad I picked up this book. I can’t wait to pick up the illustrated annotated version!

signature

Advertisements

October (Re)Reads: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Just a warning: this review is likely an unpopular opinion regarding the first book in this (so far) trilogy. I have been seeing so much hype and merch around about Audrey and Thomas lately that I decided to take a trip back to the beginning. Maybe I’ll like it more this time around. Maybe my opinions will have changed. Hm. Nope!

img_0607I really like the premise behind the books! I like the victorian London setting, I love a female MC studying anatomy and post-death this and that. However, I just have such dislike for Audrey! I understand her motives and her thoughts and of course I want girls/women to be treated fairly as well! I want you to be able to think freely and study what you want and to be respected also! But don’t be such a prat about it! I can’t handle it!! The plot is constantly held up with her stubbornness and her own blindness to her surroundings because she is whining about being a female and being treated as such. Maybe Thomas (or your father or brother or Thomas…whomever) is just treating you like a human, not specifically like a “girl” or “lady” or “woman”!! Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Looking back, the last time I read the book, I mentioned disliking Thomas. Nah, I’ve warmed up to him. He has a flirty arrogance that I am rather digging. And god bless him for having patience with Audrey.

So now that Audrey is getting her way and is going away to “forensic school,” I am eager to see if she maybe (hopefully) calms down a little bit on her feminine whining. I’m sure school will still be tough for her but she at least has a good start since she’s already there and she will have Thomas. Of the books in similar time settings that I have read, women’s rights is always a theme but never quite this strong so once we get over this hurdle, things will clear out nicely.

Book soundtrack: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Lorde

signature

Read-a-Thon Wrap-up!

readathonLast week was a big…no…HUGE week for read-a-thons. I threw my name in for participation for two RAT’s and they were both so awesome and did a lot for me in terms of helping me reach some reading goals that I had for myself! The first RAT, I blogged about…it was a weeklong read-a-thon called the Spookathon. All week long, I made progress on my audiobook (Dracula), my hard copy book (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein), and my ebook (Southern Magic). I finished my ebook during the week so by the weekend, I was ready for business.

uihxu47i_400x400The weekend was the main event: Dewey’s 24-hour Read a Thon. Dewey’s RAT is 24 hours of non-stop up all night reading. Yeah baby!! This event happens twice each year and this was my fourth time participating in three years. I love this event and I always mark my calendar and look forward to this one.My goal was to finish everything I had started and see how far (if at all) I could get into something new. Well, I did it. Bully for me! Dracula? Check. Elizabeth Frankenstein? Check. I started the second book to the Southern Magic book, as well as another book: Haunting the Deep. So overall, I consider my weekend pretty successful!

On the down side, I am still a bit behind on my progress for the year so I still have catching up to do in order to hit my goal for the year….BUT this is a good time of the year to read. SO. I have to stay optimistic! Back to the books!

How are you doing on your reading goals? Do you set your goals high to try to stay on target? Or set low and surprise yourself?

signature

Amazingly fun October Read-a-thon: SPOOKATHON! 👻

denise-johnson-439378-unsplashHey hey! So, I feel that I would be robbing you all of an awesome opportunity if I didn’t tell you about one of my favorite readathons: the SPOOKATHON! This is my second year in a row participating in this weeklong RAT hosted by Kayla and her gang all around social media. I first discovered the party on Twitter where they have their own page with sprints, challenges, updates, and buddy read chats (and more). I love the spoopy memes that get thrown around there, so to hop on, just search up @thespookathon on Twitter and you’re there!

So next up, I’ve got some challenges to work toward for this RAT. They are as follows:
1. read a thriller … The Haunting of Hill House
2. read a book with purple on the cover … Hocus Pocus
3. read a book not set in the current time period … Dracula
4. read a book with a spooky word in the title … The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
5. read a book with pictures … The Halloween Tree
So the books that I bolded are books that I am reading currently, while the others are books that I am wanting to read this October/in the near future.

freestocks-org-425057-unsplashIf you would like to participate, the challenge goes  through the 21st of October. There is no minimum amount of books to read, no required entry or sign-up, its just all for fun and at your own pace. Check it out on Twitter like I said above, or Instagram, or Youtube. Happy spooky reading! Let me know if you decide to jump in…or if you’re reading spooky somethings for October!

signature

 

 

TAG TUESDAY! The Nightmare Before Christmas Tag

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone’s week is going well so far. As can be expected, the weather here is typical fall: one day sunny and 81, the next rainy and 45. One never knows when its fall in the midwest!! I’m hoping I’ll have the chance to go outside and shoot some photos soon. Fingers crossed! Oh, and here is a link to the creator’s original tag. Here we go…

FontCandy (7)Questions ☠️

1. Sally –loves someone a lot and gets them in the end … The first book that came to mind when I read this prompt was the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. This series, of course, is love triangle central and I won’t give away the resolution of who Alina finally ends up with, but I will tell you there is a lot of wanting and of course, someone(s) gets a HEA.

2. Jack – a character that longs for more … For this one, I’m going to go with Stalking Jack the Ripper. Audrey Rose is always wanting more training, more cases, more reasons to voice her opinions about women’s rights. She is a perfect example of a Jack-like character and how she sometimes got carried away with her wanting.

3. Zero – side kick character … My new favorite is Jacob from Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts. First off, I loved this book. Second, Jacob not only saved Cassidy’s life, but thereafter he was her best friend and stuck by her at all times. They understood each other so well and help each other through everything.

4. Oogie boogie – a book with a wicked villain … I’m going to go a little off a limb and go with Geekarella on this one. I finally got around to reading this book this summer and it was so cute and so fun that again, I don’t know why I waited so long! So the ‘wicked villain’ here is Elle’s mom and one of her stepsisters. In this modern world, it is just disgusting and cruel to treat someone the way that Elle is treated.

Regular_Final_-_8-21-20175. Halloween town – a book with a creepy theme … Anna Dressed in Blood. I feel like I don’t need to do a lot of explaining on this one. The title is rather creepy in and of itself. I didn’t love this book, but it was set up for the sequel and by the end of the book, things picked up and I was intrigued by that ending! So maybe someday I’ll get to the sequel.

6. Christmas town – a book that left you feeling warm and fuzzy … All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover. In some ways, this book was a tough pill to swallow. At times, I thought I might be walking away from this book, which is weird for me because I LOVE CoHo. However, by the end, I was crying happy love tears.

557682e7-6ea0-42bb-9a54-e662382233e57. What is this – book that took you by surprise …. I have to say Children of Blood and Bone for this one and here’s why: I was skeptical about the hype around this one. So much so that I almost didn’t even pick it up to read, but I’m so glad that I did! COBAB was so amazingly good and it moved so quickly, I was just in love with it from beginning to end.

So that’s that my friends. If you need some seasonal, bookish entertainment, then I tag you for this book tag! Have fun!!

signature

October Reads: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

alex-geerts-424409-unsplashOctober is absolutely my favorite month (and tends to be my most motivated month) to read in. I gather the biggest TBR–whether by accident or design–and read as much as I possibly can. I also sign up for as many challenges as I can find….and it seems like there are more challenges around as well. There are spooky challenges, trick-or-treating challenges, movie-themed challenges, classic book challenges, just everything under the sun. And I LOVE IT!!!! So as of now, we’re not even halfway through the month and already I have completely finished two books and I am halfway through another, and more than 100 pages into a monster of a horror novel (Stephen King’s “It”), which I probably won’t finish until next Halloween. Ugh. However, now that I’m decompressed post-wedding for the most part, I am going to be posting more with reviews and what I am getting myself into this fall (there is so much to DO!) and whatever else needs to go into the blog. So without further ado: my first review of the month!

October read number 1 was City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. I’ve had my copy since it released in late August but I was waiting for October to read it (that, and…uh….wedding). This book was spectacular! City of Ghosts is about a girl named Cassidy, whose beachy summer vacation plans are going out the window because her parents are about to start shooting a ghost hunting show abroad in SCOTLAND!!! Add on top of that the fact that Cassidy can not only see ghosts, but her best friend IS a ghost, and we have the makings of an amazingly fun story!

I am always wary of reading middle grade books for fear that they will be too slow (yes, I realize that I am an adult and I acknowledge that this is a risk that I take…that’s exactly my point here). The book has its moments of defining ‘vocab’ words that a MG reader may not know, but those moments are few and far between. Ultimately, I wasn’t bothered.

43951950_2159170047735147_2880454404434034688_nProbably my favorite part was how Schwab seamlessly wove history into the story as well. In no way does it feel like we’re reading a history novel, but there is so much history all around the characters in Edinburgh and its fascinating to hear about it and even see it! And creepy at times too. I am SO glad I read this book in October. It was the perfect spooky read to kick off the month.

Which leads to my next perk: the spook effect! There definitely was some creep factor in this book! References to hangings, shootings, drownings, etc. I mean, it wasn’t all out gory or violent, but it wasn’t exactly a bedtime story either. The family and camera crew travels to graveyards and what used to be execution grounds and an old prison. I don’t say this to be spoiler-ey, but it these truly freak you out, be warned! Most of it is narrated in a pretty historical way and our ghost friend is always there to coach that its okay to be afraid of things (he’s the scaredy cat in these scenarios).

Ultimately, I can’t recommend this book enough. This is going to be one of those books that I re-read at least once or twice in Octobers to come, and I recommend that you do too. I am so glad to see that this is book #1 of more to come because I can see Schwab setting Cassidy and Jacob and her parents with their show in other historical/ghostly locations and I absolutely cannot wait!!

Book soundtrack: Mordred’s Lullaby by Heather Dale

Game on! I’m back!

Hello! Not that anyone probably missed me but just in case you did….I’m back!! Its been almost a month and I took the time away to do this little thing with my best friend…

FontCandy (6)

It was, of course, an exciting time and a beautiful day. Everything came together so wonderfully, we really couldn’t have asked for anything more. We (I) did choose to do a lot of things “DIY” so there did end up being quite a bit of work, as well as set-up involved, but again, we were so blessed to have so many people willing to help with tear down so that my husband (I still squeak a bit saying that word) and I could enjoy our night.

So now things are winding down and we’re doing the last bits of getting our lives back on track (I requested a day off work in a couple weeks to get my name changed and do all of that running around). A lot of my reading was put on hold and slowed way down for a month so according to my Goodreads tracker, I am “9 books behind” and that has my blood pressure way up! HOWEVER, Dewey’s 24-hour readathon is coming AND October is usually a big reading month for me so I am optimistic!

That being said, if you are still following me, thanks for hanging in there. I have a couple of reviews to catch up on, and I have already finished one amazing October read so I am excited to get that review up. Until next time…ciao!

signature