Books · Favorites

Spooky Book Recs (pt. 3)

Greetings ghouls and gals! I hope spooky month is treating you well so far. I’ve been keeping busy making new decorations for the house and getting my costume ready. Anyone want to take a stab at what I’m going to be this year? I’d give you a hint, but my choice is a pretty ineffable one. 😉

I’m not ready to give my costume away yet, but check out the new skeleton earrings I got:

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Need some more suggestions for spooky reads for this month? It’s time for spooky book recommendations, part 3! (Check out pt. 1 and pt. 2 here)

22136611The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – You guys knew this one was coming, didn’t you? This book is one of my favorites of all time, not just during Halloween season. The Graveyard Book tells the story of Bod, a young boy who is raised by the ghostly inhabitants of the cemetery after his parents are murdered. It’s a beautiful story about life, death, and all the lessons learned during both. Bod’s journey from childhood to adulthood, aided by his ghost friends and family is a beautiful and creative one that will leave you wanting to read it every year.

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Marina by Carlos Ruiz-Zafon – When Oscar meets Marina at the creepy old house down the street, he’s taken on a wild and unexpected journey into the macabre. After witnessing a mysterious lady in the cemetery shrouded in black, they get thrown into a web of mystery and horror as they try to discover the woman’s bizarre secrets. If they can’t uncover her secrets soon and stop the forces working against them, the city of Barcelona and their own lives may be at risk. (Check out my full review here)

 

Honorable mentions for the vampire enthusiasts:

  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

 

 

Books · Fantasy · Favorites

The Ultimate Fall Read

Today we’re going to talk about a very special Fall book recommendation. It is the ultimate book recommendation, in my opinion, and I’m sure that my long time readers will not be surprised in the slightest. You’ve heard me talk about it plenty of times before, so I apologize if you’re tired of hearing about it, but I just can’t help myself. Every year, when the weather starts to cool off and the leaves change my brain takes me to Hogwarts.

That’s right, we’re talking about the Harry Potter series again. 😛

This year, my love of this beloved series feels even more appropriate to share, not only because it’s Fall, but because of some exciting news that I have…

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I’M GOING TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. *squeeeeeeee* After ten years of waiting, I finally got tickets to go see the magical settings of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley in Orlando. It won’t be for a few more months, but in the mean time I plan on re-reading some of the books in preparation.

And what better time to read the series than Fall?! I’m not calling this a “spooky” book recommendation because that would be inaccurate. (To check out some of my spooky book recommendations, check out these pots: pt. 1 and pt. 2) Every time I read the series though I can’t help but think about Fall, due to how many great scenes there are in the book that take place during the season: the back to school fervor, Fall visits to Hogsmeade, and Halloween feasts in the Great Hall. Plus, with appearances by trolls, ghosts, and werewolves it just feels very appropriate for this time of year. Make sure you have a giant mug of butterbeer and some pumpkin pasties on hand when you read this one!

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Books

Spooky Book Recs (pt. 2)

Merlin and I are gearing up for Halloween over here. Here’s a picture of him hanging out with this new buddy, Bill Door.

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Welcome to part 2 of Kiersten’s Spooky Book Recommendations. We’re a month and a day away from Halloween, so you still have plenty of time to start getting your creep on. (If you didn’t check out part 1 yet, click here to see what I recommended last time.)

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Slayer by Kiersten White – I finished this one a few weeks ago (review here) and immediately thought about how great this would be for Halloween season. It takes place in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after the comic series ends. The book follows Nina as she comes to terms with the newfound discovery that she’s a Slayer – the last of their kind. It’s hard to figure out what to do with your new identity, however, when demons show up and start wreaking havoc on the world. Clearly, this is all Buffy’s fault.

 

…Speaking of Buffy, the Buffy graphic novels/comics would be another great series to dive into if you’re looking for something a little shorter to read.

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There are some other great graphic novels/comics out there that perfectly fit the bill for Halloween. One of my favorites is the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Filled with witchcraft, occultism, horror, and gore, this one might not be suitable for younger readers though. There’s only one graphic novel available for now, but you can find some of the later volumes of the comics available online pretty easily.

Life · mental health

Just Let it Go, Damn It (the Frozen song remix?)

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I’ve been somewhat silent on mental health matters since that time I declared my profound hatred for cranberries. Since then I’ve changed medications and have been working very hard at making small lifestyle changes that will effect my mental health in positive ways. Overall, I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’m definitely in a better place and those scary thoughts that were beginning to take over have subsided for now.

Even with my major attitude shift there’s one thing I’m still struggling with: figuring out how to let go of stuff. This isn’t something new for me. Whether I want to blame my anxiety or chalk it up to a personality flaw, dwelling on things (particularly negative ones) is something that my brain specializes in. Lately, I find myself feeling bad or due downright angry (sometimes both) about the fact that I never feel supported by the majority of people in my life. All the times I’ve been depressed/suicidal the last few years I couldn’t help but feel like there weren’t many people who cared. I feel that way often, to be honest. I hear stories from my co-workers about the troubles their families/friends are experiencing and all the things they try to do to help them and I always think “Wow, that must be nice. I wish I had that.” I’ve lived in Charlotte for 13+ years now and I can’t even get people to visit me during good times, let alone the times when I could really use it. People always try to make me feel guilty for not coming to see them or for taking vacations, but I don’t think that’s really fair when I’ve gone to visit them multiple times over the years and they never reciprocate. Boyfriend and I have been together for a little over 3 years now and he’s never even met my family or some of the friends I have because nobody has ever come to meet him. Most don’t even ask about him. Or my book, or my cat, or most of the other important things in my life. Tell me, wouldn’t your brain be trolling you, repeatedly saying “nobody cares” if that’s what you dealt with most of the time?

*sigh*

I can’t change other people. I am smart enough to know that. I can’t make people want to spend time with me or want to be a bigger part of my life. And that sucks. Nothing good comes from dwelling on it though and letting it make you feel like garbage. That’s the part that I’m struggling with though. I tell myself to just let it go and stop worrying about it, but I can’t always help it. It’s hard to just turn your brain off or force it to focus on more positive things when it’s on some kind of destructive vendetta against you.

Brains can be really stupid sometimes.

 

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

Book Review: Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

‘Death has to happen. That’s what bein’ alive is all about. You’re alive, and then you’re dead. It can’t just stop happening.’

But it can. And it has. So what happens after death is now less of a philosophical question than a question of actual reality. On the Disc, as here, they need Death. If Death doesn’t come for you, then what are you supposed to do in the meantime? You can’t have the undead wandering about like lost souls. There’s no telling what might happen, particularly when they discover that life really is only for the living…

Goodreads

As humans, we are often taught to avoid and fear death. In Terry Pratchett’s world, you kinda want Death to be your best friend. Death is just one character in The Reaper Man, but he is the catalyst for the events that take place throughout the book. As his name suggests, he is the literal bringer of death and, afterlife be damned, he wants to start living. 

When Death decides to retire from his career the entire world gets thrown out of balance. People and wizards, like old Windle Poon, can’t even die properly anymore. It’s up to Windle, his new undead friends, and a group of bumbling wizards (of the living variety) to put a stop to all the madness.

I enjoyed all the characters in this story, but Death was by far my favorite. He was insightful and by far the most wise, despite having a childlike innocence at times. His relationships with Miss Flitworth, Binky, and the Death of Rats were surprisingly touching. Pratchett’s achievement at personifying death in such a way that makes you both laugh and really think about the importance of life was sheer brilliance.

 

Books · Favorites

Spooky Book Recs (pt. 1)

Greetings, fellow book nerds! I’m back from our awesome vacation out west (Post coming soon!) and I’m ready to jump into spooky season. Today I’m going to share a few of my favorite Halloween/Fall themed books, just in case anyone else would like to join in and have a hauntingly good time.

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman – When Coraline’s parents move her into a new house she can’t help but explore every single inch of it. Most intriguing is the fourteenth door in the house, which contains nothing but a brick wall behind it. To Coraline’s surprise, she opens to door one day and discovers a passageway to a house that mirrors her own. Things look like they are better in this new house until Coraline realizes that her new “parents” intend to trap her there forever.

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Cassidy Blake series by Victoria Schwab – Cassidy’s parents are famous ghost hunters. They drag her from place to place so they can track down supernatural life forces and record it for their tv show, The Inspecters. What her parents don’t realize is that Cassidy is the only one who can actually see ghosts, including her best friend, Jacob. As a middle grade series, this might not be the scariest for adult readers, but it’s still a fun one to check out. They’re steeped with ghost lore and rich history of the settings where the books take place. So far, my favorite book in the series is Tunnel of Bones. I loved the elegant descriptions of Paris and the creepy catacombs! (Check out my review of City of Ghosts)

Stay tuned for part 2, coming very soon! In the meantime, creep it real.

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Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

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My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period…

Goodreads

I wasn’t expecting a lot from this book, to be honest. I was never a huge fan of the show growing up (although I probably was a little too young to appreciate it) and I never read the comics. I’m not even sure what possessed me to pick this one, but I’m glad I did, because it was a fun read.

Nina is an unlikely candidate for the role that is thrust upon her, especially when her sister Artemis has been preparing her entire life. She grapples with her own feelings towards her newfound role and the life she has come to know. Given the upbringing and neglectful mother she had, you can’t really fault her for being so bitter and confused. I liked the shift in the two sisters’ relationship. It’s definitely not a cliche, “we’re such a happy family” one, but a rather messy one. I appreciated this a great deal, as family relationships are not usually all they’re cracked up to be. Some of the secondary characters, like Leo and Doug, were great, but a lot of the others fell flat for me. Even Artemis, felt a bit too predictable and it grated on my nerves at times.

I wasn’t super familiar with all the lore and background of the Buffy series prior to reading this, but the author does a good job of giving you enough detail without it being overwhelming. I’m tempted to dive into some of the comics now, just to see how what I’ve been missing out on.