Tag: halloweenwr

Nov 02

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

Book Reviews, Books/Writing 7 ★★★★★

Book Review: Anna Dressed in BloodAnna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult, Modern
Pages: 320
Goodreads five-stars

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.

YES. THIS. This is the book I’ve been waiting for the entire month of October. Don’t get me wrong, I read a couple of other winners, like Stalking Jack the Ripper and The Architect of Song, but this is THE PERFECT Halloween book. I knew there was something behind it being on at least half of the TBR lists for the Halloween Read-A-Thon. It actually wasn’t on my TBR, but after the DNF on my “horror or thriller” category, I decided to give it a whirl.

urban-legends

There will always be more dead, and the dead will always kill.

I actually wasn’t expecting much out of a YA horror book. My skeptical brain said, “How bad can it be?”  Two nights afterwards, I was still jumping an embarrassing foot back from anything unexpected when the house is dark. The cat. A sock in the floor. The door. A fart.

Cas, our ghost-slayer, is a cynical piece of work who seems to rather enjoy his job. He was definitely HUGELY influenced by the death of his father in the line of this duty. The origins of said duty are never fully explained…but I guess that would have taken a lot longer than the span of this format. Still, I would have enjoyed finding out! Anyway. He’s not your typical 17 year old, but he doesn’t rub it in the face of his classmates…at least not most of them. He’s rather cold and uncaring in the beginning, but throughout the story he really grows and develops into a much more feeling person by the end. No thanks to coming up against more powerful ghosts, which he is grudgingly forced to admit, he can’t take down alone. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with any of the side characters, but I really liked that he had to reach out of his comfort zone and take the risk of trusting other people.

Anna – yes, the one dressed in blood – I love her. I feel horribly sorry for her. I practically shook in my chair when reading the flashback scenes. Like holy shit. No one deserves what she went through. I liked that she took personal responsibility for everything she did after she became a ghost, even if it wasn’t truly all her fault. She was influenced…but it was still her hands that did it. I could see the attraction between Cas and Anna, but I wasn’t entirely convinced. I mean…she’s a GHOST. Even if she really appears corporeal at times. Come on, Cas. And I didn’t want her suddenly returned to life to make a happy ending because…yeah no.

The plot moves along quickly. I was a little shocked when I realized that Anna was NOT the ghost that killed Cas’ father (not a spoiler, as if you read the blurb carefully, it DOES say that…I just somehow did the old 2+2=5). Kendare Blake does an AMAZING job of dropping ALL the hints that you just KNOW are leading up to something HUGE…and then smacking you in the face with the truth you didn’t see coming. I sat with my jaw hanging open even as I mentally ran back through all the foreshadowing. Yep. There it was. I just…didn’t realize…yep. Total awesomesauce.

“Don’t be afraid of the dark, Cas. But don’t let them tell you that everything that’s there in the dark is also there in the light. It isn’t.”

The descriptions were amazing. Gory at times, but um, if you weren’t expecting that by the title…well, maybe you should look at the cover again. Just saying. I had chillbumps. I curled into a little ball and pulled my hoodie as far over my head as possible while still being able to see the book.

I swear I could hear the blood dripping from Anna’s dress. I felt the wind, the chill in the air…oh, right. I was also reading this as the weather was getting decidedly colder. BUT THIS IS WHY IT WAS SO AWESOME!! I was looking for a book that could make me feel like I did as a little kid, like Halloween wasn’t just costumes, but maybe something darker…maybe the veil really does grow thin on October 31st. Well. Mission completely fucking accomplished. My almost-30-year-old self no longer wants to go to bed alone.

5/5 stars. I immediately ordered the second one and HIGHLY recommend this one if you like creepy and young adult books.

 

five-stars

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Oct 31

Something Else Sunday #14 – Happy Halloween!

Life 2

Happy Halloween!! I know the actual day is Monday, but for obvious reasons all the fun stuffs are happening over the weekend. I’m still recovering from the (awesome) party we went to last night. My social quota is DEFINITELY full, haha. 😛

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Weekend dose of cute, courtesy my lapwarmer a.k.a. hangover buddy a.k.a. Sir Tristan.

I really don’t have a whole lot to say other than I have a couple more Halloween Read-a-Thon posts to do, and a monthly recap/looking ahead post! Also, NaNoWriMo. But more on that later. For now, here’s a little food for thought, and pictures from the party. I wish I had celebrated Samhain a little more traditionally as well, but since I didn’t…I at least thought about it.

“Halloween is thought to date back more than 2,000 years to a time when Celtic people celebrated New Year’s Day, or Samhain, on the equivalent of November 1. Legend has it that the day before, or Samhain eve (now known as Halloween), fairy and demon spirits would appear in the ether as they traveled to the afterlife. Celts dressed in costumes to stave off the evil spirits and tap into the souls of their ancestry.” Emily Spivack, Smithsonian Magazine

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SO MUCH delicious food!!

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And drinks. In blood bags. Muwhahahah…surprisingly, no one showed up as a vampire!

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Our hostess has an AMAZING eye for decorating.

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Yours truly made these. I was so very proud of them. 😀

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And of my makeup. The struggle, let me tell you. The struggle. I loved the effect but GODDAMN. It took me over 2 hours, and that was WITH my husband helping!

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This is my “Really guys?!?” face.

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Oct 27

Book Review: The Architect of Song

Book Reviews 3 ★★★★

This book totally surprised me. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, though I was hoping I would. So I was delighted when this was my initial reaction:

Yep. This was one giant dark truffle of deliciousness. I started it one day, and about two chapters in decided I wanted to just sit down and devour it all in one go, so I waited for a weekend day and did just that.

First of all, don’t go into this book expecting something it’s not. This is a gothic historical romance. Period. It doesn’t try to have the next greatest plot twist. In fact it has some of the traditional YA tropes (it’s a NA, btw) that usually drive me to distraction or leave me throwing the book across the room. However, popular plot devices are popular for a reason. They resonate with a large percentage of the human population on some intrinsic level. That doesn’t mean we don’t get tired of them, particularly if you read a lot. What seems new and exciting to someone who reads 2 books a year may seem bland and unoriginal to someone who reads 200. Authors CAN, however, come up with new twists on the tried and true tropes of literature and A.G. Howard has done just that. ANYWAY. Climbing off my soapbox now.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD…but nothing too horrible, I promise!

As soon as the book starts, we’re thrown into a very melancholy, VERY Victorian atmosphere. I almost put it down, honestly. I wasn’t in the mood for another book where the heroine simpers and flutters and nearly passes out when the hero gets within 6 inches of her. But I was intrigued…and let’s just say, while yes, the time period is Victorian, the romantic intensity is SO NOT.

Because this is my mental image of the main guy. With slightly longer hair.

Because this is my mental image of the main guy. With slightly longer hair.

There are a few scenes that left me literally fanning myself. Not just because, um, hot bearded guy, either. The history between Juliet and Hawk is just so sweet and it gives so much more intensity to every scene between the two of them. It’s amazing, and heartbreaking, sweet, and at the same time simply smouldering.

The characters in this book are amazing. I was attached to them ALL. I hated A.G. Howard about halfway through for making me care about them ALL, because I wanted to be able to choose. Yes, there is a love triangle in this book (that was the spoiler). Maybe I should have guessed that from the blurb, but since it said ghost…you know…how can you…well. All I can say is well done, well done indeed. I was several chapters in before I was sure that was what was happening, and by that point I was so intrigued and invested that I couldn’t stop reading!

A.G. Howard writes IN COLOR. I swear I could see the colors, the fabrics, the clothes she described just spilling out of the pages. It was amazing. This is the first of her books I’ve read, so I’m not sure if she just always writes that way or if it was a feature of this particular book, but I loved it. I’m not a “clothes person,” but damn if I didn’t want to reach out and touch some of the dresses Juliet was wearing.

The plot is…well, gothic. Semi-tragic. There were SO MANY layers and so many half-truths that about 3/4 of the way through I just wanted to SCREAM because I was just as confused as poor Juliet, whom everyone seems to think needs “protecting” in the form of an elaborately built scheme to keep her “safe.” Geez Louise, people. Our young heroine is deaf, yes, but copes remarkably well and is no shrinking violet, even if she sometimes acts the part. There’s the love triangle. At first I was skeptical, and then I was sympathetic, and then I was panicked, because these two guys…well, they get ALL the hearts. AT FIRST. Then one starts to be controlling, manipulative, and demanding and my little gun-shy heart ran away screaming…but I still felt so sorry for him and wanted him to have a happy ending.

Now, the problems. First, as soon as a guy comes into her life, Juliet loses all focus on everything else, even when at first she had a relatively big goal regarding her estate. She just tosses it all aside for TWU RUV.

I’m sure we’ve all been there, but I hate it when that’s one of the first things to occur in a book. Especially in cases like this, where, as a true Victorian female, Juliet has been sheltered and taught that women shouldn’t have sexual desires like men, and then she just falls into the arms of the first man that waltzes across her path (it takes 149 pages). Le sigh. But ok, it’s a romance. Forgiven…ish.

Then there are a few times when the dialogue sounds like it was supposed to be description. Because honestly, who describes their hair color as “My hair is the warm glimmer of golden coins beneath the sun,” instead of just “My hair is blonde (golden, yellow, fill-in-the-blank-with-one-word)?” Ugh. It was just overkill for me…the flowery descriptions were great, but in dialogue it was just a bit too much.

My hat is off to A.G. Howard for not giving her book the traditional happily-ever-after ending. Oh, there’s plenty to be happy about, don’t get me wrong! But it’s definitely bittersweet, and by being so it’s much more realistic and makes me even more excited for the next one!

Overall, 4 out of 5 stars. I love Juliet and *bleep*. They’re giant dark chocolate truffles and I want to eat them.

four-stars

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Oct 25

Mini Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Book Reviews, Books/Writing 0 ★★

urban-legends

This was one of my picks for the Halloween Read-A-Thon, and…well, I’m really disappointed in it. Sadly, I DNFed it at page 136 of 293. I spent an inordinate amount of time on those pages…I think overall it’s just not my style of book or writing.

I couldn’t do it. I was almost halfway and was just draaaaagging myself into it every evening last week. I felt like I was back in college reading a book I had absolutely no interest in finishing. I can’t even really say anything bad about the writing – hence the 2 star rating even for a DNF. He has a great sense of description and he set the atmosphere…but he jumped around a lot. I was confused, not scared. I kept flipping back pages, trying to see what I missed. I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. I didn’t give a damn about a single one of them. There were crazy, bad things happening, but there was no rhyme or reason behind WHY they were happening…just these two boys, and one was born right before Halloween and one right after and now this weird – really weird – carnival…why? I can think of 50 different ways to write a better Halloween story. I really wish I didn’t feel this way, because the beginning of the book made me feel like there was going to be SO MUCH AWESOMENESS.

Bummed, because I really wanted to like this story, but I don’t have enough hours in my days to force myself to finish books that haven’t kept my interest halfway through.

two-stars

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Oct 21

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Book Reviews, Books/Writing 12 ★★★★

Book Review: Stalking Jack the RipperStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1) by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 20th 2016
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Goodreads four-stars

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

costume-party

This was my Creepy Cover pick for the Halloween Read-a-thon (hosted by the lovely Lauren at Wonderless Reviews)! So far, out of three Halloween reads, it’s been my favorite. 🙂

First of all, look at that gorgeous cover! I could practically reach out and touch the silk of that dress. Also I swear I see blood on the knife, every time I see it out of the corner of my eye. But when I look at it closely, of course there’s nothing there. And that, my friends, is why this was my Creepy Cover. Because no matter how many times I look at it…I see that blood (it’s probably the combination of the lip color with the knife when I just glance at it…but still). Oh, and inside at many of the chapter beginnings, there are these AWESOME old creepy pictures.

Like this.

Like this. Courtesy Wikipedia.

I’m fascinated by unsolved true crime. Yes, I am one of those people. At the same time, I like keeping a semi-safe distance between me and the crime. Hence, Jack the Ripper fits the bill because he’s obviously dead by now. Phew. All the same, this book raised the hairs on the back of my neck. While simultaneously causing me to tear up in the final chapter. Like what IS this mix of emotions, even?!?

Audrey is a scientifically minded young woman with a backbone of steel. She is fascinated with the human body and despite the VERY suspicious appearances, studies under her uncle, a professor with an unsettling obsession with the dead (now we call it forensic science). I love the way she flaunts society while at the same time enjoying what fashions suit her own fancy. Of course, this also involves disobeying her extremely protective father, who honestly comes across as rather unhinged after the passing of her mother. She still cares deeply for him, despite her constant frustrations with the limitations forced on her. Audrey’s brother, Nathaniel, is another sympathetic character. He deals with the loss of their mother much differently, seeming to have picked up and moved on as a sadder, melancholy person concerned only with his family and holding them together. Her motivation for studying science above and beyond what’s considered proper really resonated with me:

It was then that I knew I’d rely on something more tangible than holy spirits. Science never abandoned me the way religion had that night…God no longer held dominion over my soul.

Yessssss. I’ll join you in hell, dear sister.

Ahem. Moving on. *insert “Fight Song” playing in the background*

Then there is Thomas, the quirky, socially awkward student with the face of an angel and tongue of a viper. He’s annoying in an endearing sort of way. Every time I was about to be all, “Awwwww,” he would make some other caustic remark that made me want to slap him. Like for real slap, not pretend slap. He gets better and we get inside his crusty exterior more and more as the story goes on, though, and by the end I was feeling very charitable towards him, indeed. In the way one feel charitable to a naughty but adorable puppy.

Yep. Like that.

The hunt for the serial killer (a term not yet coined) Jack the Ripper – first called Leather Apron by the press (look at me, learning things!) keeps the plot moving along briskly. The attention to historical detail in this book is AWESOME, even if there were a few liberties taken that made me roll my eyes. Like at one point Audrey’s cousin says women should be able to wear a certain type of clothing to “go to work.” Um…wealthy women in the 1880s most definitely did not “go to work.” Just saying. I understand Audrey is something of a revolutionary, but to maintain believability I think a couple things like that should have been edited out. I do love the way she comes into her own through the story, and THAT part is handled exceptionally well.

“This who deserve respect are given it freely. If one must demand such a thing, he’ll never truly command it. I am your daughter, not your horse, sir.”

The creep factor is amazing. At first I thought it was going to be relatively tame (flaying bodies open and lots of blood really don’t bother me, ummm…sorry?), but the psychological aspect of it really starting affecting me about a third of the way in and I couldn’t put it down at all! I started it in bed one night…and quickly decided to finish the rest in broad daylight. 😛 I was by turns fascinated, horrified, and at the last just so very sad. The foreshadowing was incredible – which means it was so skillfully done that I was completing flailing in chapter before the reveal and while I felt completely broadsided, immediately saw the clues I’d missed.

My biggest issue with the book is actually the romance. Thankfully, it’s more of a sub-plot, but I think the whole thing would have been better by just hinting at possibilities to come instead of anything actually happening. In the first several chapters it’s WAY too distracting and it really seems out of place for Aubrey’s character. Contrary to popular opinion, it seems, I think you can have a very successfully told YA story without having any romance at all. Sometimes “just-friends” friendships are the strongest ones we have.

Overall, 4 out of 5 stars.

Monsters were supposed to be scary and ugly. They weren’t supposed to hide behind friendly smiles and well-trimmed hair. Goodness, twisted as it might be, was not meant to be locked away in an icy heart and anxious exterior. Grief was not supposed to hide guilt of wrongdoing.

 

four-stars

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Oct 17

Book Review: Throne of Glass

Book Reviews, Quotable, Reviews 3 ★★★½

Book Review: Throne of GlassThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's on August 7th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 404
Goodreads three-half-stars

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Yes, I’m just now reading this book. 😛 I was very late to the Sarah J. Maas train, only discovering her books after the publication of A Court of Mist and Fury. I was intrigued by reviews I saw of THAT book, and on the strength of those alone I read A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first in that series (which I wasn’t entirely on board with but then there was a horribly cliffhanger ending sooooo) quickly followed by ACOMAF, and I’ve been obsessed with the series ever since. Naturally I wanted to read her original series as well, but to be honest I’ve been a little scared. What if I don’t like it as much? What if I just think it’s crap compared to ACOTAR? Such high expectations. Honestly though, I was kind of braced to not like it, as everyone kept saying (as with ACOTAR) not to judge the entire series off the first book. So, SJM, I love you, but something about your first book game isn’t quite meshing with me…or maybe I just take a long time to fully commit to characters. Hrm. Anywho.

trick-or-treat

This is my Treat choice for the Halloween Read-A-Thon!

I have done my best to avoid spoilers and there are definitely no plot spoilers! However if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about the characters you might not want to read.

Throne of Glass launches us into what promises to be an epic fantasy adventure. I love the way we’re immediately thrown in with Celaena in a dangerous, scary situation because I, naturally, want to know HOW THE FUCK she ended up there. Also how she can seem to be so young and yet so skilled, so brutal…and yet so obsessed with frilly dresses.

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Both of these are totally Celaena. I’m still not sure how she does it or why, especially as she even notes that all the layers of skirts hamper her fighting skills. Only somehow she doesn’t seem to get caught in particularly bad situations while all dolled up. Hmm.

The forest was different here. The leaves dangled like jewels – tiny droplets of ruby, pearl, topaz, amethyst, emerald, and garnet; and a carpet of such riches coated the forest floor around them. Despite the ravages of conquest, this part of Oakwald Forest remained untouched. It still echoed with the remnants of the power that had once given these trees such unnatural beauty.

Maas has created a beautiful world that is by turns thrilling, intriguing, and terrifying. I would like to visit, but retain the option to return to my own world with the push of a button. 😛 Because Cain and those demon things were scary AF, and the king gives me nasty chills. I want to know all about it though, and I feel like there is SO MUCH that still needs explaining. Where did the current King of Adarlan come from? What happened to Celaena’s family and why? Why is Dorian so very unlike his father? Who is Chaol, really? How did the magic of Adarlan just…die? Where did the Faery people go?

The plot really moves along at a good clip. I loved the constant suspense of waiting for each new test of the Champions, and seeing who would be eliminated or die trying. I also really enjoyed the continuous building of tension in the court, as Celaena tries over and over to piece things together as she gains new information.  It all flows smoothly leading up to the final duel…except that Kaltain’s part seemed rather forced and contrived, to me…of course there is someone like her in EVERY court (usually several), but it was just very convenient and felt a bit out of place.  Maybe part of that was due to the influences on her, I’m not sure.

There are a couple of tropes here, and I spotted them almost as soon as the book started. I took notes as I rolled my eyes around page 47. Verbatim: “Celaena is naturally the most gorgeous woman at court, both the captain and prince will fall in love with her, and the prince is possibly/probably not the prince at all.” I was slightly annoyed.

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Not this AGAIN.

HOWEVER. The love triangle was handled much better than a lot that I’ve seen, and the special snowflake turned out to be a special snowflake through much hard work, not just being born to it. Why does she have to be so gorgeous that practically every man falls at her feet? With the exception of the other Champions, thank the gods that be. But the constant references to her beauty in the first part of the book were really annoying. Blah. The love triangle was slow in the build-up, and if I hadn’t already seen so many memes and fangirl sites over ToG I might not have been so sure about it early on (thanks, interwebz), but I still feel like it was pretty obvious.

As I’ve said many times, characters are what really make a book for me. This one is STUFFED FULL of wonderful amazing people that I want to go live with. They are flawed – each and every one of them. They do annoying things that make me want to choke them. (Chaol, anyone?) They also have pasts that I am DYING to find out about because they are such strong people but they have scars and tender spots that show through now and again and yet NO. Apparently I must wait for the next book (which, not to worry, has already been requested from the library).

“Second place is a nice title for the first loser.”

Ah, Celaena, our heroine. Despite her annoyingly perfect body and face (even with her time in the mines and the abuse to the rest of her body, her face was somehow left alone), she’s definitely someone I’d want in my corner. She’s got a backbone of steel, a quick mind, and…well, she’s The Assassin. She’s been hurt, and horribly. But she hasn’t entirely hardened herself again the entire world yet. She is, however, a badass with a flair for the dramatic, and she likes attention.

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

Also, she loves books and good food. Seriously, the descriptions of the library in Rifthold made me feel lightheaded and all delicious food she was forever gobbling down kept me feeling hungry. Thankyounotreally.

 “I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”

Girl after my own heart, I’m telling you. Such a fighting and adventurous spirit – and yet she loves books.

She had often wished for adventure, for old spells and wicked kings. But she hadn’t realized it would be like this – a fight for her freedom. And she’d always imagined that there’d be someone to help her – a loyal friend or a one-armed soldier or something. She hadn’t imagined she would be so…alone.

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No, they’re not brothers, but they might as well be.

Dorian and Chaol – best friends consisting of the crown princeling and captain of the guard – are…well, they’re just sweethearts and good guys. Dorian more openly so. Chaol is, to be honest, something of an ass, but underneath it is a soft heart that shows through from time to time and I just want him to be able to open up and trust SOMEBODY. Geez Louise, but the man seems to wear his tough guy armor 24/7 . Dorian, on the other hand, needs to grow a pair (he’s working on it, I know I know but come ON). I am solidly team Chaol, at the moment. Also, not going to spoil for anyone that hasn’t read it but…Celaena NAILED IT towards the end of the book, when dealing with these two. HATS OFF. YOU GO GIRLFRIEND. Now that, took guts.

Oh, but back to other characters. There is of course Princess Nehemiah, who is very intriguing indeed and has me dying of curiosity about her country and magic and all the sparkly creepy things she seems to know about. I’m sure we will see more of her. There’s also Nox, who I’m NOT sure we will see more of but I hope we do. The most intriguing side character by FAR though, is Elena…who I can’t really discuss without giving stuffs away. Mph.

“You could be great. You could rattle the stars. You could do anything if only you dared.”

SO MUCH POTENTIAL IN THIS BOOK. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Now that the competition is over but ALL the dastardly schemes are just getting started.

That said, I’m giving 3.5/5 stars. It definitely got better as the story progressed, but I did a lot of eye-rolling during the set-up, and still feel like the love triangle itself was/is unnecessary, even if the characters are definitely not. Also I’m still not sure on the prince thing, nothing else ever happens to make us think that Dorian isn’t the prince, but for some reason it’s still in the back of my mind.

 

 

three-half-stars

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Oct 15

Book Review: The Werewolf of Paris

Book Reviews, Books/Writing 10 ★★★

witching-hour1

This is my first finished read for the Halloween Read-A-Thon being hosted by the lovely Lauren at Wonderless Reviews! You can see my complete list in my first post. I picked an older book because I wanted to see some of the beginnings of modern paranormal literature.
The Werewolf of Paris was first published in 1933. The writing style is definitely of the age, but it also shows marks of the beginnings of modern day novel writing. Apparently they liked their smut in the 1930s too, they just tended to be more embarrassed about it. 😛 The first few chapters in this book made me think that maybe this was going to be more of a bodice-ripping paranormal than I was anticipating, but after the initial set-up most of that dies off. There’s only a few particularly descriptive passages.

Bertrand Caillet is the main character, but his story is mostly told by others – a young American who finds a written account of his crimes, and his adoptive uncle (the writer of the account).

The first third of the book has an entirely different flavor than the later parts. It sets up the story of Bertrand’s parents, leads us up to the full onset of his condition, and generally paints him as a sympathetic character. There is a lot of action and a decent amount of dialogue. After Bertrand’s arrival in Paris as a young man, however, the narrative devolved horribly into a dry, boring history lesson on the Franco-Prussian War – I had SO MUCH trouble staying focused!

I really struggled with how Bertrand was portrayed. As I said, at first he seems like a truly sympathetic character – his werewolf nature is in his blood, it’s not something he asked or encouraged. His uncle keeps anything he learns about it from him. He is locked up as a teenager, a prisoner in his own house. He believes his rampages are dreams. So far, so empathizing. BUT. THEN. He begins to figure it out…and he doesn’t fight against it, at least not at first. He is only conscious of his need and desire…he feels shame and sadness when he comes to himself, but he doesn’t truly seek for a cure until later. His relationship with Sophie was truly sad…all the passion of young love (though, what HER mental issues were, I never quite figured out) with so much sickness and no help at all offered to them. No one took pity, no one tried to truly understand, they just tried to force them into acceptable societal roles. 🙁

Overall, this book didn’t strike me as a horror novel, but more of a tragedy. Even reading it after dark didn’t help with that! I even took it to bed with me and read IN the dark with my backlight…yeah, not scary. I’m giving 3/5 stars. While of course there are some gruesome bits…I was mostly just overwhelmed by sadness for Bertrand, for Sophie, and for their families. Not the thriller/scary book I was hoping for.

That said, I can definitely see where this was an influential book for paranormal movies and novels in the modern world. Now I really want to delve into the history of the legends!

three-stars

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Oct 10

Halloween Read-A-Thon

Books/Writing, Life, Reviews 19

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I’m so excited to have found a group of people to do this with! As I wrote in my beginning of the month post, I was already planning to spend most of the month with Halloween-type books. This just makes it so much more fun! Many thanks to Lauren at Wonderless Reviews for putting it all together and making the gorgeous graphics available. Pretty much the rest of my month is going to be filled with spookiness and indulging my sense of the paranormal. 😀 😀 😀 I can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading.

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My pick: Stalking Jack the Ripper. This cover gives me a slight chill every time I look at it (there’s not actually blood pictured…but I keep thinking I see blood on the knife…), though from what I hear it’s not all THAT creepy of a book! I intend to find out.

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My pick: Dracula. I’m listening to this version from Audible, with different narrators for each person. So, sort of dramatized, but not exactly. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, but I keep getting annoyed at the way the women just accept being second-class citizens.

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My pick: Something Wicked This Way Comes. I don’t know a whole lot about this book, to be honest, but it sounds creepy AF. Lory at Emerald City Book Review posted about it a little while back and I put it on my list!

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My pick: The Werewolf of Paris. I’m trying to read some of the original supernatural stories this year, stories that started or shaped our modern day ideas of vampires, werewolves, etc. Obviously the legends of these types of creatures have been around much longer than even these books, but I thought this and Dracula were both good starts.

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My pick: Treat – Throne of Glass. I still have so many other books to read I have to mix it up a little or I will NEVER get through my pile of library books!

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My pick: The Architect of Song. While not specifically relating to Halloween, it does have a good deal to do with ghosts and again, sounds creepy AF. I am SO EXCITED to read this one!!

Fingers crossed I will get to all of these! Are you reading anything special for Halloween or autumn in general?

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