Blogtober: Wrap Up

Today is the final day of Blogtober and as such, Anniek & The Library Looter have requested a wrap up for the month. As far as blogging goes, I am proud to say that I was able to post every single day this month, so I successfully completed Blogtober!

As far as books I read, I finished the following during the month of October:

  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
  • Slasher Girls & Monster Boys – compiled by April Genevieve Tucholke
  • Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel by A. W. Jantha
  • Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey Book Three by D. J. Milky
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • Donn’s Hill by Caryn Larrinaga
  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
  • Payback’s a Witch by Breanna Hayse
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  • Slumber by Becky Bird
  • Dark Hearts by Gary Kittle

I also finished the following audiobooks during October:

  • The President is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson
  • The Outsider by Stephen King
  • Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King

I started Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers last night on audiobook and I also have Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater going on audiobook. I started Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, but haven’t even read 100 pages yet. I need to get that read before November 5, but reading is hard when it hurts to move your eye. The library says I’ll get the audiobook in six months.

So all in all, I finished 12 books and 3 audiobooks for a total of 15 books read in October. I’ll be posting my November TBR post sometime tomorrow.

How did your October go?

Blogtober: Favorite Book of the Month

Well today’s prompt from Anniek & The Library Looter is favorite book of the month. I’ve read a fair number of books this month (13) , so you’d think picking a favorite would be difficult. Especially since I think I only gave two books I read this month five stars.

But I’d have to say that my favorite book was Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. I just loved pretty much everything about the book and once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. I especially love that there is a sequel and I’m fairly certain that Coco will play a big role in the second book, considering the title Blood & Honey alludes to something Coco says about her magic in Serpent & Dove.

So what was your favorite book of October?

Blogtober: Halloween Plans

So, for today’s Blogtober prompt, Anniek & The Library Looter are asking about Halloween Plans.

I’ll be honest… I don’t have any at the moment. Other than going back to the eye doctor for the scleritis that has majorly flared up in my right eye again. My eye seems to have put its Halloween costume on several days early and refuses to take it off. I have a photo, but I don’t want to gross people out.

It’s snowing again – it started Sunday evening, continued on to yesterday, and now it is snowing again. Although there isn’t any snow in the forecast for Wednesday or Thursday, it is likely that we won’t hand out candy as we haven’t bought any and it’s too cold to sit out on the porch with the candy bowl. We can’t let the kids ring the doorbell because we have a dog that goes ballistic whenever the doorbell rings.

I’ll probably curl up on my bed with a spooky book and read, or listen to an audiobook and crochet or knit. I’m so boring. Normally I’m not this boring for Halloween as it is my absolute favorite holiday. But this year, I just don’t have the oomph to do much with school, helping Sarah while she can’t walk on her right foot, and just not feeling all that great.

So what are your Halloween plans?

Blogtober: Local Ghost Story

Ok, this prompt from Anniek & The Library Looter made me think. Mostly because I’ve lived in Colorado Springs for about a year and a half but I don’t know of any local ghost stories. But… I have a kind of freaky ghost/paranormal story of my own to tell, so tell it I shall.

I lived in Texas from June 2001 to December 2005. I’d say the following happened in late 2003. A friend of mine had come over to the house after getting off work and I was fixing dinner for her, my mom, and myself. It was about 10:00PM. I was standing in the kitchen when I heard a helicopter overhead. The problem was, it was really loud. As in, I thought it was going to land on the roof, loud. So I went to the dining room which had a large picture window overlooking the backyard. Sure enough, there was the familiar searchlight shining in my backyard.

There were a couple of things odd about this. First, the searchlight was only in my backyard. The yards on either side of mine were completely dark. Not a hint of the light from the searchlight touched the other yards. Second, even after stepping outside, I couldn’t see a helicopter. To only shine the light in my backyard, it would have had to have dropped low – but there was no helicopter above my yard. Not to mention that we had trees which would have hindered the helicopter’s descent. Last, the leaves – there leaves on ground and they looked like they were trying to crawl away from the light. It was pretty damn creepy.

The kicker that night was that my mom and my friend were both right there with me, but neither of them heard the helicopter or saw the searchlight in the backyard. I chalked it up to my imagination until the next day when I went to lunch and grocery shop with my friend Sarah.

She told me that the night before, she’d heard screaming coming from the front half of the duplex that she owned and lived in. The front half was empty at the time but she went to investigate anyway. No one was there and she thought maybe it was the neighbors at the house next door to the duplex messing around in the front yard. A few minutes after settling back down, she started to smell smoke. She checked her half of the duplex, did another sweep of the front half, and then asked the neighbors if they’d lit their outdoor fireplace. They said no.

Then she heard the sirens. She asked them if they thought the shopping center behind the houses might be on fire. They said they didn’t think so and that they didn’t hear any sirens. Then she heard the helicopter and saw the searchlight in her backyard. But when she looked up, there wasn’t a helicopter. The sky was perfectly clear, no obstructions. But she heard the helicopter and she saw the searchlight in her backyard. The neighbors saw and heard nothing.

We’d known that the duplex had been the second home to be on that property. We also knew that the original house had burned down. That had been disclosed when Sarah and her husband bought the duplex. But Sarah and I now think that perhaps the house that burned down hadn’t been accidental and that maybe, just maybe, someone was murdered there and the house set ablaze to cover it up. Because otherwise, why a helicopter and searchlight?

The one thing we still haven’t been able to figure out is this: Why would the nonexistent helicopter move to my house, four blocks away, and shine on my backyard? I didn’t see/hear anything but the helicopter and searchlight. Sarah had the whole thing. Did the murderer/arsonist come to my house? Did he/she come through my backyard? Or did someone want me to get just enough to talk about it to Sarah, prompting her to tell the story.

The oddest part is, we looked for newspaper articles for the house burning down. There are none. You can search house fire and the address of the duplex all you want to, you’ll find nothing but an apartment fire down the street that happened over ten years after we moved out of Texas. I guess we’ll never know what happened, but we both think someone was trying to tell or show us something.

Blogtober: Favorite Harry Potter Spells

Today Anniek & The Library Looter want to know our favorite Harry Potter spells. In full disclosure, I’ve only read the first three books all the way through. But I have watched all eight movies, so I know some of the spells, even if I don’t quite know how to spell them.

First up we have – Lumos! I mean, seriously, why wouldn’t being able to produce a reading light at the flick of a wand and a single word not be a favorite spell?

Next, Alohomora. I need this for when my hands are full and I can’t unlock the stupid door. Seriously…

Yep, I love expelliarmus. Who wouldn’t? Getting rid of a would-be attacker’s pesky weapons is a good thing. Making it fly out of their hand, scaring the living crap out of them? Priceless.

And my absolute favorite spell – expecto patronum. I love the patronus spell. I think it is because the result is personal to each person. Harry’s was his father’s animagus form. Luna’s was a bunny rabbit. Snape’s was the same as Lily’s – a doe.

So those are my favorite Harry Potter spells. What are yours?

Blogtober: Thrillers

Today’s prompt from Anniek & The Library Looter have me wanting to find a particular gif and post it, but I won’t. Because that’s cheesy. But…

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Anyway….

Verity by Colleen Hoover

If you’re expecting Colleen Hoover’s usual contemporary romance here, you’re not going to get it. In fact, she actually published this book herself because it is so different from what she normally writes. The ending is chilling and definitely made this a 5 star read in my opinion.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This one is kind of a slow-burn thriller. But the twist at the end… blew the whole thing out of the water. I loved the ending and never saw it coming! That’s unusual for me and a thriller – I can often predict what’s happening before it does. Not so with this one. My copy had some editing issues, so I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, but it is definitely a must read.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

This one is pretty chilling as well. You’ll never guess the who the killer is. But then again, kind of like in Broken Things, the killer ends up being one of those characters you don’t really know much about, don’t see too much of in the book, and probably won’t remember who it is by the time they reveal it. But it’s still an awesome read and I highly recommend it. I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

So there are three suggestions for thrillers that I’ve read and reviewed. I hope you like them. Let me know what your favorite thrillers are!

Blogtober: Book Review – Slumber by Becky Bird

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Title: Slumber
Author: Becky Bird
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: August 1, 2019
Format: Kindle
Pages: 277
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Amazon / Book Depository

A YA retelling of classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty

Prince Thomas cannot take the throne without a queen. Though the problem isn’t his lack of suitors but his refusal to marry a princess that is less than perfect.

The cardinal presents him with an opportunity: a quest to find the most beautiful princess in the land who has been in slumber for a century. But, unbeknown to the prince, the cardinal plans to kill him as soon as the prince embarks on his quest, and take the throne for himself.

Luckily, Prince Thomas’s path crosses with Lucy, a spirited orphan runaway, who saves his life and convinces the prince to continue the quest. When they eventually find Princess Aurora, they also find another contender – Prince Philip – vying for the princess’s heart.

Despite their mutual disdain for each other, Lucy agrees to assist the prince, and Thomas accepts her help to keep him alive long enough to beat out his competition and return to rule his kingdom alongside his perfect bride.

They just don’t count on falling for each other in the process.

If you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling that makes you ask, “what did I just read?”, then this book is for you. It’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty… with elements of Snow White. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. Elements of Snow White. Prince Thomas = Snow White. Cardinal Lionel = Evil Queen. Prince Thomas’s Guards = Huntsman. Yep.

So let’s start off with what I thought of the characters, shall we? First up we have Lucy. A tomboy in a century where that’s just not appropriate, of course. She’s sassy, mouthy, and opinionated. I love her. She’s hilarious. She’s also a feminist, getting angry when someone tries to make something easier for her because she’s a female.

Next up we have Jack. Lucy’s best friend. I’m not sure what to think of him. He’s got an eye for color coordinating and fashion, but can’t seem to get the hang of basic “manly” things. It’s like he and Lucy are the polar opposites of what the time period considers appropriate for their gender.

Prince Thomas is, well, a pompous ass at the beginning of the book. He’s shallow, rude, and just plain irritating. I don’t like him much for about 2/3 of the book. Then he finally becomes a likable character.

Cardinal Lionel is the bad guy. He’s a real piece of work. He masquerades as a man of God but has designs on taking the throne himself. He’s obnoxious and honestly, kind of stupid and boring as a bad guy.

Princess Aurora – finally, our Sleeping Beauty. She’s stupid, vapid, and so shallow and self-centered, I want to scream. I can’t believe how obnoxious she is. All she cares about are her looks.

Prince Phillip – he’s not much better than Aurora and honestly, they deserve each other. But at least he is loyal and a man of his word if nothing else.

The plot lines are ok I suppose. They aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible either. The book had the hate-to-love trope in it and honestly, in my opinion, it wasn’t done very well. I would rather the main characters either been in love from the beginning or hated each other through the whole book. It just bugged me. It was far too predictable.

I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars because it was quick and easy to read and it wasn’t a horrible book. Just not one I’d choose to re-read.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.