Blogtober: Favorite Reading Drinks

So today’s Anniek & The Library Looter prompt for Blogtober is favorite reading drinks.

When I’m reading, there are a couple of different things I like to drink, depending on a few variables. If it is cold outside, I generally like to have a cup of hot chocolate next to me while I’m reading. If it is cold outside and I don’t feel well, I’ll often have a cup of herbal tea next to me instead. I don’t drink regular tea, only herbal teas that don’t contain actual tea leaves. I also don’t drink coffee. If the weather is warm/hot, I’ll either have a glass of herbal tea on ice, a soda (usually Diet Pepsi), or ice water.

Other than the above mentioned drinks, I rarely have anything else to drink while reading. These seem to be my go-to drinks for reading. What do you like to drink while reading?


Blogtober: What I was Reading This Time Last Year

So today’s Anniek & The Library Looter prompt is “what you were reading this time last year.”

To be honest, I wasn’t reading this time last year. I was in kind of a reading slump at that point. I’d had surgery on my left foot at the beginning of September and hadn’t been able to focus on books much for all the pain medicines, doctor’s visits, and other things going on.

I didn’t pick reading back up until December, when my uncle lent me his copy of Radium Girls to read while I was visiting family in California. Funny enough, he’d gotten the book for Christmas and let me read it before he did. They’d bought me a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas as they usually do. I didn’t use it until I got home (I’d flown and didn’t want extra weight in my bags), but I bought a few books when I got home.

I do this on occasion. I’ll stop reading for a few months. I don’t know if I burn out or if I just lose interest. Although as of late, surgery or school has been the culprit for me not reading much.

So that’s my story – I wasn’t reading this time last year.

Book Review

Book Review: There’s Someone in Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Title: There’s Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult Thriller, Young Adult Horror
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 16, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 287
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

I’ve been wanting to read There’s Someone Inside Your House since I first started hearing about it, before it came out. Back then, it was a book that had some hype to it – people were getting really cool packages for this book. I wasn’t lucky enough to receive one of the packages and eventually the book fell off my radar. But the other day it was on display as a slasher/horror book for Halloween at the library and I remembered how much I wanted to read it, so I snagged it. I’m so glad I did.

Written by Stephanie Perkins, the same author of Anna and the French Kiss, this book definitely isn’t Anna and the French Kiss, or the rest of that trilogy either. This book is completely different. Those books were, as I recall, more contemporary romance type YA books. This is all thriller/horror. Trust me.

The writing was great. It was easy to read and the writing style helped keep my interest. The action starts from the very beginning, but in my opinion, the best thrillers do have action from the very beginning. I rarely like thrillers that start off slowly.

As for the characters, I love Makani. She’s fierce, loyal, and honestly, her secret just didn’t seem to be all that bad in the bigger scheme of things. Her idea that she might deserve to have the killer’s attention turned to her is just ludicrous in my opinion. I also loved Ollie. He was a great match for Makani and she brought him out of his shell a great deal. Plus, he made other friends in the process. Darby was great, though I cannot speak to the accuracy of the transgender representation, suffice it to say that I was glad to see there was transgender representation in this book. So many books I’ve read with LGBTQIA+ characters don’t cover trans characters. Alex was annoying but funny and I loved her character as well. We didn’t get as much of Darby and Alex as I might have liked, but the book wasn’t really about them.

As I said earlier, the action started right away. But I think it was necessary to set the tone and mood for the book. This was someone who was gaslighting his/her victims. This killer was playing with his/her victims’ minds before killing them. This killer took their time. The sick, twisted cat-and-mouse game played the killer played with the victims is honestly terrifying. Imagine finding objects in places they don’t belong, objects just plain missing, and thinking that something might be wrong with you. That’s what this killer did to his/her victims before actually killing them.

The one thing that was never explained was the reasoning behind the way each body was mutilated and that kind of bothered me. Each body was mutilated in a different way but there was never an explanation given for the mutilation, only the explanation for why the killer did what he/she did. That’s one of the few complaints I had for this book was the lack of explanation.

I gave this book four stars on Goodreads because it truly is a great book. I’m hoping to see more thrillers from Stephanie Perkins because she does have a knack for it.


Blogtober: Characters with Bad Luck

So today I’m back on track with Anniek & The Library Looter’s prompts. Today’s prompt is characters who have bad luck. I can’t think of too many characters with bad luck, but I do have at least a couple of them.

Harry Potter – “the chosen one” isn’t all that lucky. His parents were killed by Voldemort, Voldemort tried to kill him, and he spent all those years with the Dursleys. Not to mention all the trouble he gets into in each book and always having to defeat this or that.

Neville Longbottom – the other possible chosen one. He lost his parents to Voldemort as well, although I don’t recall there being any indication that Voldemort attempted to kill Neville like he did Harry. But poor Neville keeps losing his toad and forgetting things. Not that he can remember what he forgot.

Katniss Everdeen – Hear me out. Yes, she chose to take part in the Hunger Games. But that was because she had the bad luck to feel the need to protect her younger sister. She’s basically being used by the resistance as a puppet. She’s caught between two people she loves.

Katharine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe – Seriously – you’re 1/3 of a set of triplets. You’re ripped away from your sisters. You’re raised by strangers with the knowledge that at some point, you are either going to be killed by one of your sisters or you’re going to kill both of your sisters and take the throne. All because a bunch of people on the island on which you live believe that this is how you get a new queen. Yeah…

So those are my picks for characters with bad luck. Do you agree or do you have different ideas of characters with bad luck?


Blogtober: Balancing Work, School, and Reading

Today’s prompt was for favorite autumn quotes, but I don’t really do quotes very much, so I don’t have any. So made up my own thing to blog about today. I’m going to talk about how I balance work, school, and reading.

Balancing work, school, and reading is probably a bit easier for me considering I work at home. What do I do? Well, clearly I blog. I’ve started adding Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links to my book reviews (I’ll be linking up older book reviews as I have time), which will earn me a small commission if people make purchases through my links. I also keep house for my roommates. I clean the downstairs and upstairs hallway bathrooms, the laundry room, sweep and mop all the hard floors downstairs, vacuum all the carpets upstairs & the stairs (exception is the master bedroom, that is all my roommates’ responsibility), and run the dishwasher every day. They pay me a little bit – $150/month + room & board – so I’m not getting much, but it’s at least something.

Other work related things I do are freelance design work for blogs and helping people fix their website issues. I have a Ko-fi page (link in sidebar) as well, so people can donate to me if they like my content or just want to help me out a bit. Most of my work things take me a couple of hours to do each day, so in that respect, I have plenty of time to read.

Then I have school. Right now I’m going through the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program. I’m in my second semester of the Pathway program – a 3 semester program where you learn life skills, professional skills, university skills, and take religion classes like Book of Mormon 1 and Book of Mormon 2. In the third semester, you take three classes – University Skills, a religion class that I can’t think of, and your first class toward your first certificate through BYU-Idaho Online. School takes me about 10 hours a week total, so I still have plenty of time to read.

So then there is my reading. I tend to read late at night when everyone else is sleeping. I do my work and school work during the day, plus any errands that need to be run. Then, after everyone else goes to bed, I go downstairs, curl up in the comfy chair with a cup of hot cocoa and my phone, and start reading. I pull up Bookly and get a reading session started, then grab my book and get reading. I usually read until either my butt falls asleep or my eyes won’t stay open. Then I head for bed. Usually this is between 2 and 4 in the morning.

So that’s how I balance my work, school, and reading. I’m sure once I start BYU-Idaho Online full time or once I find a part-time or full-time job other than what I’m currently doing, this will change. But for now, balancing work, school, and reading is pretty easy.

Blogtober · Book Review

Blogtober Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Series: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 316
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

I’d had this book on my radar for a while, but couldn’t seem to find a copy of it. Then I happened to be at the library in the YA section the other day, and lo and behold, it was in a display of Halloween-worthy books. So I snagged it up. I started it the night I got it and finished it a couple of days later because I only had time to read late at night. This is the kind of ghost story that will keep you interested.

Kendare Blake has woven a tale that is unlike any other ghost story. First, you have Cas. He’s a ghost-hunter. Sort of. He doesn’t hunt ghosts like you see on TV. He isn’t just trying to figure out if a place is haunted. He’s trying to remove the ghosts. But only certain ghosts. Only those that are dangerous. Ghosts that are angry about being dead, have turned evil, and are trying to or succeeding in harming humans. He gets it from his father.

Cas’s mother is a Wiccan. She cleans Cas’s athame used to “kill” ghosts. She makes herbal remedies, herbal protection spells, and works with candle makers to make “spell candles”. She’s sweet, worried for her son, and one tough mother.

Cas’s father is dead. He lost his life while trying to “kill” a ghost. He’s the reason Cas is doing this – he wants revenge. Not much else is known about Cas’s father, other than the fact that he had a network of friends who could help him out, who now help Cas out.

Mike, Will, and Chase are the school jocks and local bully/jerk squad. They’re seriously obnoxious and quite rude. I’d say more but I’d spoil the book if I did.

Carmel is the sweet girl that everyone likes – including Cas. He quickly makes friends with her and she will play a very important part in the story. Trust me, you’ll like her as much as everyone else does.

Thomas and Morfran. Thomas is a classmate of Cas’s and becomes one of his best friends. Morfran is Thomas’s grandfather. They’re both integral parts of the story. They’re witches and that’s all you really need to know right now.

Now for our second main character – Anna herself. Anna is a beautiful sixteen year old girl, who happens to have been murdered in 1958. She’s not the nicest of ghosts and has a habit of killing anyone who comes into her house. Except for some reason, Cas. She lets him go. Now Cas has to figure out why she let him live – and how to stop her from killing. And just when he thinks he has it all figured out, including her tragic past, another wrench is thrown into the mix.

I loved the writing in this book. It wasn’t flowery or pretty and it flowed well. The book kept me wondering what was coming next and was pretty fast paced. I was enthralled from the beginning. It does start off a bit slow, but it’s not terribly slow.

This one is perfect for spooky Halloween reading! Grab your favorite thunderstorm sounds playlist if there isn’t a real one going on, grab your favorite hot drink, a blanket, and settle in. You’re going to love this one.

I gave it five out of five stars because I just couldn’t imagine this book not being a five star read when I was finished with it. Plus, there is a sequel. I’m waiting for it to become available at my library.

Book Review

Book Review: Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel by A. W. Jantha

Title: Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel
Author: A. W. Jantha
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Disney FreeForm
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 521
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest death-defying scheme.

I’m going to be honest, if there ever was a sequel that didn’t need to exist, this one is it. For one thing, they wrote the first half of the book based on the the movie Hocus Pocus. The movie left no questions, other than maybe did Jay and Ernie/Ice get out of those cages. Other than that, we didn’t have any questions. It never once occurred to us that the Sanderson sisters might find a way to come back. The way the movie is set up, it is pretty obvious that they’re supposed to be gone forever once the sun rises if they don’t get to use the life potion. Not to mention, honestly, if you’re picking this book up, you’ve probably already seen the movie so you know the story. You don’t need the first half of the book.

As far as the sequel, it wasn’t necessary. It didn’t seem like there was anything in “The All-New Sequel” that was worth having put down on paper. The writing was great, the characters were great, the main character of the story, Poppy, is a member of the LGBT community – although you have no idea how “out” she is – her best friend Travis knows, but there’s no indication until the very end of the book that anyone else knows. You only know because she has a crush on her friend. It’s never implicitly stated.

Poppy’s best friend Travis and her love interest are both black. So there are other races represented in this book as well. But the fact of the matter is, no matter how good the writing was, no matter what kind of representation there is, the book wasn’t a necessary addition to the franchise.

There are rumors going around that there might be a movie made of the sequel. Perhaps it would have been better to just make the sequel as a movie in the first place, if it those rumors are true. I know I’d rather have watched it than read it, since originally Hocus Pocus was just a movie.

I gave the book 3 stars because it’s not a terrible book, I just don’t think it was really a necessary book.