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. ūüėČ

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. ūüėõ

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 · 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…

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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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Favorites · Television

Jessica Jones: The Anti-Hero We All Need

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About a month ago I began watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. It was a total whim. I’ve heard of it before, but didn’t really know what it was. Both Game of Thrones and Big Bang Theory had ended. I’d already watched all of Good Omens and Stranger Things season three hadn’t been released yet. I needed a new show to binge on.

About 20 minutes into the first episode of Jessica Jones I hopped on social media and demanded an answer: Why did nobody tell me how amazing this show is?! 

Jessica Jones is a super-powered P.I. living in New York. She’s strong as hell, angsty as a person can be, and has an intimate relationship with the bottom of the whiskey bottle. Jessica is as flawed and real as they come, which is what drew me to her immediately. The show begins in the aftermath of Jessica’s escape from manipulative super-villain, Kilgrave. Even a year after his death, Jessica is still haunted by her time spent under Kilgrave’s control, in which he was controlling her mind and her actions, forcing her to do unspeakable things.

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The cast of characters is exquisite. Patsy Walker, aka Trish, is Jessica’s adopted sister and famous television personality. Upon first meeting her, Trish looks like she’s going to be a boring, stereotypical “friend” type. But, oh, I was so wrong about that. The relationship between the two is a rather complex one and later becomes a huge part of the story line. (Those of you who are familiar with the world of Marvel comics will be delighted to see this crossover of Patsy Walker/Hellcat.)

Luke Cage (who also has his own show on Netflix) shows up in season one as a fleeing friend/romantic interest of Jessica’s. We’re also introduced to neighbor and ex-junkie, Malcom, crooked attorney Hogarth, and Jessica’s adoptive and emotionally abusive mother, Dorothy. Of all the characters we meet though, Kilgrave was by far my favorite.

David Tennant has been a favorite of mine since I was first introduced to him as the 10th Doctor. Even if I had never heard of him before, I would have immediately become a fan after watching his brilliant performance as Kilgrave. In my opinion, he’s possibly one of the most chilling villains in the Marvel universe. He has the ability to take over people’s minds, which, of course, he uses for horribly nefarious and twisted purposes. As if the psychological trauma of what Kilgrave did to her wasn’t bad enough, Jessica learns that it’s possible he’s still alive. Can she really trust anyone else, knowing that they might be under his control? Can she even trust her own judgement?

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Seasons two and three were also fantastic (although season one was my favorite), with new superheroes/anti-superheroes and bad guys alike. We learn more of Jessica’s backstory and how she came to possess her powers. There’s incredible character development, not just with Jessica, but across the board. Relationships are explored, strengthened and broken apart. Mistakes are made. Lives are lost. Shit gets real. Through it all, Jessica remains the bad ass that New York can count on again and again, whether she wants it or not.

Books · Favorites · graphic novels

The Chillling Adventures of Sabrina: Comics vs. Show

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Back in 2018 Netflix premiered The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and fans of the original show from the 90s (myself included) rejoiced. It was apparent right off the bat that this newer version of Sabrina was hardly anything like the family-friendly version we remembered. It was a darker Рmuch darker Рfilled with occultism, satanic rituals, orgies, murder, and the Dark Lord, Satan, himself.

I don’t know if everyone was pleased by such a huge shift in nostalgia, but I ate season one up. I enjoyed the newer, more twisted iteration of¬†Sabrina, possibly even more than the original show. Back in the spring, Netflix released a second season, which, to my delight, was just as good as the first.¬†It wasn’t until season two came out that I found out that the show was actually based on a comic series, set in the Archie universe. Recently, I picked up a copy of¬†The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible (vol. 1)¬†to see just how the two compared.

There are some major differences between the comic and the television show. The comic, believe it or not, is even darker and more mature than the show. The story arch is similar: Set in the 1960s, Sabrina is a half witch on the verge of turning sixteen. The eve of her dark baptism is approaching – the occasion in which Sabrina signs her name in the Book of the Beast and fully commits herself to Lord Satan – but, naturally, she has some conflicting feelings. Is she really ready to give up her friends, boyfriend, and all that she’s come to know in the mortal world?

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I really liked the comic version of¬†Sabrina.¬†Her mortal friends and boyfriend were a little less present than they were in the show, which I actually preferred because I found them a little annoying at times. (Both versions of Harvey are boring and too white bread for me.) There was more Salem in the comic and he actually talked, just like the original 90s version. More talking cats is always a win for me. I also liked the crossover with Riverdale and Archie characters (I was also delighted to see Sabrina make an appearance in the¬†Afterlife with Archie graphic novel.), although I don’t think this would have worked in the show. Sabrina’s backstory is quite different here and far more fucked up. Her parents aren’t dead this time. Rather, her mother is trapped in a mental hospital and her father is trapped inside a tree. There’s less misogyny than the show. We don’t really learn much about the coven the Spellmans belong to and there’s no Father Blackwood contending for a spot as the biggest douchebag in the series. Thankfully, Madam Satan (disguised as one of Sabrina’s teachers), is still present, following her own agenda and meddling in all of Sabrina’s affairs in a deliciously wicked way. Even without the brilliant performance of Michelle Gomez, comic version of Madam Satan is just as satisfying.

So far, there’s only one graphic novel and there’s some speculation as to whether or not there will be another. For now, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and just have to wait for Netflix to make another season to tide me over.¬†

Favorites · Middle Grade · Sci-Fi · Television

Strange Things, Indeed (Season 3 Review)

SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING SEASON 3!¬†

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Eleven and the gang are back for another season, only this time around there’s way more hair and bad outfits to go around. Everyone’s been busy since we last saw them: Eleven and Mike have been busy sucking face, Dustin has been off at summer camp, and Steve landed a job slinging ice cream at the brand spanking new mall, Starcourt.

Everyone is ready to have a normal summer, filled with teen love and angst when shit gets weird…again. Russian communists have infiltrated Hawkins and are trying to re-open the portal to the Upside Down, which had been closed by Eleven last season. On top of that, Max’s big brother Billy seems to be acting more douche-y than usual…

This season was amazing. I was worried that it was going to be lame, with all the teenage drama and whatnot, but I actually ended up liking this season better than the previous one. Despite the weird and sometimes horrific stuff going on, the writers managed to add comedy and lightness to this season that hadn’t been there before. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch any scene with Steve and Dustin.) The younger characters were a little more mature (except Mike, he was whiny and kind of annoying) and complex this time around, dealing with real-life issues that all teens experience: romance, strained friendships, boundaries, standing up for your friends, etc. There were some great new characters thrown into the mix, as well, like smart and sarcastic Robin. Of all the relationships we’ve seen evolve on the show, the big brother/little brother relationship between Steve and Dustin is by far my favorite. They are absolutely hilarious together and I just love them.

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The girls were more front and center this time around, too, which I really liked. Eleven finally gets to have a somewhat “normal” life and figure out who she is. It was fun to watch the friendship blooming between Eleven and Max and see how much Eleven changes throughout the course of the season.

Overall, this season was a huge win for me. I have some theories on that last scene we saw and what it all means, but I guess we’ll¬† have to wait and see if there is going to be another season.

Are you a Stranger Things fan? What did you think of season 3?