Top 5 Wednesday | Favourite Spooky Settings

 

 

This week’s theme is SPOOKTACULAR!!

I haven’t necessarily been spooked while reading them, there has just been something kind of eerie about each of these – whether it be the plot, characters or the setting. As you will see, I really fancy books which don’t feel like a particular time or place. So here we go!

5. Crimson Bound | Rosamund Hodge

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“Every day for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die. She still didn’t want to. She wanted to live with every filthy desperate scrap of her heart.”

It was tough choosing between this book and Cruel Beauty because they are both pretty spooky. I decided on this one because of the lore that Hodge has written into the story.

This book was stunning. I sort of forgot just how wretchedly beautiful it was until I looked into it again. It is set in Durendal – a fictional city with a quite disturbing Great Forest.

Rachelle is our protagonist – Hodge’s interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood – and she is a protector, assassin and guard of the realm. Her main goal throughout the story is to end/stop the Devourer – this dark creature that wants to destroy the world.

The characters are intense and violent. The story is thorny and twisty. There are many dark creatures killing townspeople. It’s just a very spooky village!

4. The Raven Boys | Maggie Stiefvater

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“I guess now would be a good time to tell you,” He said. “I took Chainsaw out of my dreams.”

What makes this book so spooky is that you are never quite sure what is happening. You are kept on your toes. The story is told from many perspectives but you still aren’t 100% sure of people’s motives – you can’t trust everybody. And I love it when fantasy elements are wrapped into real-life situations. It raises the intensity of the story.

3. Her Fearful Symmetry | Audrey Niffenegger

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“There was only the cemetery itself, spread out in the moonlight like a soft grey hallucination, a stony wilderness of Victorian melancholy.”

This is about two sisters who are mirror twins. They are completely identical except that one sister’s organs are on the opposite side of the body, so it’s like looking into the mirror of yourself.

They inherit their Aunt’s flat and it is here that their unusually close relationship starts to crumble. The other inhabitants of the building have their own issues and they start to seep into the sisters’ lives. Mistrust and paranormal activity keep the sisters and the reader on edge. It was an intense and almost stressful book to read.

2. In the Shadow of Blackbirds | Cat Winters

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“We live in a world so horrifying, it frightens even the dead.”

Not only is this one of my favourite books but it is one of saddest and creepiest. It explores one of the great questions: Are ghosts real? Is there an afterlife?

This book is atmospheric. Winters really encapsulates American life in 1918 – it’s close to the end of the war but many people are still dying, especially from the Spanish Influenza. Not only are the supernatural elements strong here, but it is also exploring the social elements of life for a 16 year old girl in this time. There is strength and horror and fear.

1. The Diviners | Libba Bray

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“There is nothing more terrifying than the absoluteness of one who believes he’s right.”

I am ashamed to say that I still haven’t finished reading this! I am currently listening to the audiobook which is either the greatest or worst decision I have ever made. The narrator is spectacular! Her accents and the story she is telling really places the reader in 1920s New York and I feel like I have stepped through time to see this story play out.

There are some pretty graphic murder scenes in this book and one of the creepiest villains ever – he just feels insubstantial and his motive for killing beyond “Because I want to and can” aren’t 100% clear yet. And the fact that he sings while hunting his prey really makes my skin crawl. So even though I am only about 1/4 of the way through the book this is by far one of the creepiest settings for a book that I have come across.

Honourable Mentions

  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Supernatural Murder Mystery with a side of quirky humour – count me in! There are creepy characters and the setting is atmospheric, but it wasn’t too spooky to me. Dry, hot desert doesn’t really scream “Bump in the night”.

  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This just missed out because the setting falls too much into the realm of surreal rather than spooky. An incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking story though.

 

October Reviews | 1 October – 7 October 2016

Perhaps a month of average books was necessary. My theory is that the more I read the harder it is for me to be impressed, intrigued and excited by a book.

My month began with the first three books in the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. Cole is one of my favourite supernatural romance authors but I have not been the biggest fan of her foray into YA.

So far it is has been the weirdest mix of post-apocalyptic, dystopia, fantasy and supernatural. I was overcome by how many elements there were and, although there was nothing inherently wrong with the way they meshed together, not enough time is devoted to each element because the “romance” overrides everything.

Poison Princess | Kresley Cole | 4 October 2016 | 3 stars

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“Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future-and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Derveaux.”

This was actually a fairly strong start to the series. I could feel Evie struggling with her hallucinations and the setting was clear in my head. I even liked the storytelling element. We are told from the start not to trust her version of events and there is nothing I like more than a purposefully-written unreliable narrator.

What let me down was the relationship drama. There is just so much petty jealousy and so many irritating conversations (both internal and external) about what certain characters did or didn’t do, and who they do and don’t like. Dudes. The world is ending. Finding food and water is a struggle. You are creating vegetables with your blood. You have bigger issues. This is a theme that ran throughout the three books and something I constantly struggled with.

Endless Knight | Kresley Cole | 5 October 2016 | 2.5 stars

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“Evie has fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jack was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, Evie realizes that there is a war brewing between the teens who’ve been given powers following the apocalypse, and it’s kill or be killed. When Evie meets Death, the gorgeous and dangerous Endless Knight, things get even more complicated. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history. One that Evie can’t remember, but Death can’t forget. Evie is drawn to Death, but in love with Jack. She is determined to discover why she’s been granted these powers, and in the process, struggles to accept her place in the prophecy that will either save the world, or destroy it.”

And here cometh the love triangle *eyes roll right out of my head*

The second installment in the series was good at exploring the universe more and the history of these tarot kids – unfortunately it was through the lens of Death’s and Evie’s history. Now, I am a hopeless fangirl who can’t help but choose a side and I love me a bad boy, so I am all about the Death.

This book was also good at exploring the “evil” side of this to-the-death game. Everything is not black and white and everyone has different motives and a different sense of morality and ethics. I liked the sense of discovery in this book.

It was very dragged out though. And repetitive. And very “I broke up with you in my head therefore I feel free to do what I want with whomever I choose because I am 17 and can adult”. I just did not have time for Evie’s shit. I just want her to have a bit more backbone. Go, FUCK ALL THESE BOY PROBLEMS and get her shit together.

Dead of Winter | Kresley Cole | 6 October 2016 | 2 stars

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“Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.”

And this is where I went “HELL TO THE NOPETY NOPE!!” It was legitimately an entire book about “Which boy will Evie choose?” I could even feel her exhaustion with it. And I was sitting there the entire time wondering why she should have to choose anyone at all. There was also some sort of incestuous evil twin thing going on but that was sort of glanced over because WHICH BOY?!?!

So, yeah. I think I have given up, despite there being another two or three books. I was tired and no longer cared what happened to the characters. Because, quite frankly, they were all fairly rank, desperate and fighting over a girl who is wishy-washy and condescending towards a character with Asperger’s.

Book-Tube-A-Thon 2015!!

I HAVE PARTICIPATED IN MY FIRST EVER BOOK-TUBE-A-THON AND IT WAS RADICAL! I have done a weekend-long readathon before but this was on a whole other level.

We were given a week to read as many books as possible while trying to complete set challenges. I ended up reading five books due to university commitments (yet I somehow had time to write this blog…why didn’t I read instead? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!)

Anyways, these were the books I munched on:

1. Read a book with blue on the cover

BT2015 - These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken Stars

Author: Amie Kaufman | Meagan Spooner

Rating: 8.8/10

2. Read a book by an author who shares the same first letter of your last name

BT2015 - Easy

Title: Easy

Author: Tammara Webber

Rating: 2.4/10

3. Read someone else’s favourite book

BT2015 - Yes Please

Title: Yes Please

Author: Amy Poehler

Rating: 8/10

4. Finish a book without letting it go

BT2015 - In The Skin Of A Monster

Title: In The Skin Of A Monster

Author: Kathryn Barker

Rating: 8.2/10

5. Read a book you really want to read

BT2015 - Magonia

Title: Magonia

Author: Maria Dahvana Headley

Rating: 8.6/10

So I ended up reading five books, which turned out to be about 1640 pages! I have also been doing a buddy read with my friend during the week so we have slowly been making our way through A Game Of Thrones, so that is about another 150 pages on top of that. I feel like quite the champion, even if I didn’t succeed in completing all seven challenges. Next year I will just have to take the week off work “sick” and make sure I am not studying 😀

Top 5 Anticipated Pre-Orders for 2015

SO SO SO SO SO!!! THERE ARE NEW BOOKS COMING OUT OVER THE NEXT 5 MONTHS THAT ARE JUST EVERYTHING AMAZING IN THE WORLD AND I CAN’T EVEN!

Here are my Top 5-ish. I am going to pretend that I can’t count and that will be why there are more than five here. Cough.

Here. WE. GOOO!

On the 1st of September, 2015:

Top5 Queen of Shadows

This is legitimately one of my favourite series at the moment and I can’t wait to read more about Celaena. I feel like I have been waiting for this book for a bajillion years – which is a completely accurate measurement of time.

On the 8th of September, 2015:

Top5 Stand Off

JDGJKFGCVNXMCVIUSYJSKFOAISGJHDFJGFKHGDFGFPSGITUEJFDDVL!! <– This is the only way I am able to express my feelings about this sequel.  Just a tad excited.

On the 6th of October, 2015:

Top5 Carry On

Now I am not the biggest fan of Rowell’s – don’t get me wrong, I love her books and I am excited for this but I am not making inarticulate screeches because of it. I am hoping for a winner here.

On the 20th of October, 2015:

Top5 Career of Evil

Queen Rowling – as Galbraith – is back! I absolutely adore her crime novels and I can’t wait to mentally munch on this.

On the 3rd of November, 2015:

Top5 The Revolution of Ivy

These are my feelings:

On the 10th of November, 2015 we have two releases. TWO!

Top5 November 9

Yes. Yes…ALL THE YES!

Top5 Soundless

A new book by one of my all-time favourite authors? Put me down for 57. Thanks.

Book Review: In The Shadow Of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

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Third book of the year and it is a whopper.

“In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death.”

Just turn around and look, I told myself.

I squeezed my eyes shut and counted silently to three.

One.

Two.

Three.

I flipped myself over. Opened my eyes. And found a dead man next to my bed.

GIF_List of Feels

This book will wreck you. There is no easier way of putting it.

You start off thinking it is going to be an historical romance novel, then you think it will be a romance novel that hurts. Then it goes on to become a supernatural feast of awesome! Then it scares the bejeesus out of you (I legit had goosebumps). Then the pain.. Oh, the pain. And it ends up being a mystery novel! Like, WHAT THE FRACK!

Oh, and the sass!

“The road ahead may be rather upsetting for a sixteen-year-old girl. I’m afraid your delicate female eyes and ears will experience some ugliness.”
“Oh, you silly, naive men.” I shook my weary head and genuinely pitied their ignorance. “You’ve clearly never been a sixteen-year-old girl in the fall of 1918.”

You need to get on this book and escape into one of the saddest periods of time in history and experience this eclectic, heartbreaking story. And an oddly-named bird: Oberon. Please name your future children thus.

I apologise for any pain this may cause you.

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