Books in October 2017

For 2017, I have challenged myself to read 80 books. In October, I read ten.

 

New Favorites: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King; There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Classic: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Least Liked: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Old Favorites (Re-Reads): Goosebumps: Ghost Beach by R.L. Stine

I enjoyed everything else that I read this month. I read three Goosebumps books (Phantom in the Auditorium, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, & Ghost Beach) for the Goosebumps-along and while I have read them all before, I liked this even more this time around.

I also re-read I Hunt Killers and liked it even more than before. Dracula is my favorite classic for the year so far. Pretty Little Liars: Vicious was fun and wrapped up the series well (finally).

Hotel Ruby was super disappointing. I almost DNFed it but it started getting more interesting halfway. I ended up getting pretty annoyed with it because it had such promise but poor execution and characters. I finally read the Rabbit in Red book that came in my Horror Block ages ago (RIP Horror Block) and I really enjoyed it. If you like horror movies and Ready Player One, you will probably enjoy it as well.

 

 

My new favorite read for October. I shared this on Twitter and look what happened!

Another favorite.

 

My classic read for the month. My favorite for the year so far.

 

My favorite re-read.

 

 

Sadly I didn’t get to any Harry Potter related reads this month but can hopefully do two for November or December. I did finish a Harry Potter themed cookbook but as I’ve only completed one recipe, I didn’t want to review it until I tried a few more. I will probably add that one at the end of the year.

 

 

So what did you read in October and what were your favorites? How many books are you tackling for 2017? How’s your progress going?

jnc

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Birthday Book Haul 2017

Apologies for the hiatus. It’s been a bit of a crazy month. My birthday was this month so I obviously bought myself some books.

I got The Chemist from my library’s outlet store. The top four books were from Book Outlet. Tiny Pretty Things, The Merciless 2, Get Even, & Partials. The rest came from my local used book store–all of these were about $4 because I took in some old books for store credit.  Two Animorphs, Just After Sunset, Dead White, The Unwelcomed Child, The Snow, Surrogate Child, A Gift of Magic, and Summer of Fear (which I already had a copy of but I liked this cover better and am planning to send the other to someone).

 

I got the Goosebumps book from Ebay so I can do the Goosebumps-along that Richard @ Richard’s Book Nook is hosting again this year. Join us! This Star Won’t Go Out, All the Light That We Cannot See, and Dumplin’ came from my local Goodwill.

So that’s a total of 18 books for my birthday, which is perfect since it landed on the 18th! Complete coincidence!

 

I took in about 15 books for store credit so at least I got rid of some of my collection. I probably won’t read any of these this year except for the Goosebumps book. Still, I feel like I’ve done better with book buying this year than I did in 2016.

 

What books have you bought lately?

 

Books in June 2017

For 2017, I have challenged myself to read 80 books. In June, I read five.

 

New Favorite: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

Classic: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Old Favorites (Re-Reads): My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

June was a slower reading month but I still enjoyed everything I read. Hoping to get a little more read next month. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was a re-read but since it was my least favorite of the series (still gave it 4 stars), I decided it didn’t count as a favorite.

 

My new favorite read for June … and also for 2017 so far. It was hard to put down!

Also ❤

My classic read for the month. I enjoyed this one even more than Tom Sawyer.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is my least favorite of the series so far but I still enjoyed it.

 

And My Sweet Audrina managed to make me love it even more this time around. It’s one seriously messed up story with even more messed up characters, but I can’t help it. I love it!

So what did you read in June and what were your favorites? How many books are you tackling for 2017?

jnc

January Book Haul

One of my goals for 2017 is to try and buy/receive less books or at least get more that I’m actually going to read this year. I don’t think I’ve done too bad for January since some of these really are books I plan to read for 2017. Trying to do a total book buying ban has proven to backfire so I’m going to try and just aim overall for less. Anyway, here’s the books I couldn’t resist!

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First of all, here is the beautiful special illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Jim McKay, a Christmas gift from my husband. However, it shipped from England and took over a month to arrive but it was definitely worth it. I’m sad it won’t fit on my current Harry Potter shelf though. This is the nicest book I own now. Pictures don’t do it justice.

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These were in my library’s outlet section. The hardbacks were $2 and the other were $1. While I already owned Rose Madder and Needful Things (that edition is missing the dust jacket but the spine is beautiful so I grabbed), they were ratty paperbacks. I decided these hardcovers were in great condition so I replaced them. I also got The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, a children’s book I remember loving, and Meg, a book I plan to read later this year.

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I can usually never resist Book Outlet. They were having some kind of winter sale and they had the last two Jasper Dent books for a bargain. Since I want to finish this series this year and my library only has the first one, of course I snagged them.

They also had the Puffin Bloom Classic edition for Anne of Green Gables, which I’ve never read but since I already have the edition for Little Women, I snagged it too. This set is expensive but Book Outlet occasionally has the singles for $6-7.

My library also doesn’t have Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, though they have the rest of her books for The Lunar Chronicles so I decided to get it. It was decently priced and I plan to eventually buy the series when we have a house with more space.

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I found Burial Rites at Dollar Tree. I’ve heard of this one and it sounded good so I couldn’t pass it up for a dollar. Most of the time Dollar Tree’s book selection is depressing but every once in a while they will have some good ones so always check!

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I signed up for my first Owl Crate because they were doing a classic re-mix and the last box, which I saw someone reveal on Booktube, looked excellent so I decided to try it. It is more expensive than my Horror Block but I’m thinking I might do Owl Crate when I’m not interested in the other. Like for February 🙂 The box came with this Phantom of the Opera re-telling and a signed bookplate. While I’ve never read the classic, it has always sounded good and I am excited to read this!

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And here’s the contents of the box itself since it is book related. I loved everything in this box (though I haven’t tried the tea yet, it sounds good). It came with the hardback of Roseblood by A.G. Howard, a letter from the author about the book, a signed bookplate, a Phantom of the Opera magnet (the purple thing, it’s gorgeous), book soap inspired by The Secret Garden (so cute it’s going to be hard to use it), a pretty watercolor bookmark with a quote from Slaughterhouse-Five, Little Prince inspired herbal tea, a 2017 calendar with classic book quotes and art, and an Owlcrate pin (currently on my purse). Very cool stuff.

I signed up for Feb box as well in place of my Horror Block since the theme is circus and the HB theme wasn’t wowing me. While I’m pretty sure the book is going to be one I already have, I’m okay with it because my edition is a review ARC and the new one (if I’m correct) will be hardcover and have a signed bookplate and letter from the author.

Honestly I don’t think I was too bad for January. One book was a gift, one came with neat bookish stuff, and the rest were fairly cheap. Out of the eleven I acquired, I’ve read one, plan to read five-six of them this year, and replaced two for books I already had. So really only two were complete impulse buys. I feel good about my haul.

I also unhauled about 30-40 from my shelf. All books I’d liked (like the Pretty Little Liars books) but also ones I knew I’d never re-read. I gave some to my co-worker for her younger daughter and plan to take the rest to my local used bookstore. Whichever ones they can’t take will be donated. So not bad at all. Right? How many books did you get this month and which ones are you most excited about?

jnc

Birthday Book Haul

My birthday was in September so of course I got a good amount of books. I bought some of these but a few were also gifts. Here’s some photos of all the books I obtained within the month:

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I also had to get the Jareth, Sarah, and worm Funko pops because I am a huge Labyrinth fan!

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Have you read any of these? What books have you recently hauled?

 

jnc

Books in July 2016

For 2016, I have challenged myself to read 100 books. In July, I read nine books.

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Favorite: End of Watch by Stephen King
Classic: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Least Liked: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

 

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Everything else was good as well. I really liked Caravel, Scarlet, The Witches and Pretty Little Secrets.

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My favorite read for July 2016.

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My classic read for July 2016.

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I was also lucky enough to receive this ARC. It was pretty good!

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What did you read in July and what were your favorites?

 

jnc

Post #666 (Horror Recs & Evil in the Walls Preview)

Hey guys, can you believe I made it to post #666? While this blog has been up for a few years, I find that to be pretty amazing. Since I am a huge horror fan, I thought this post number would be a perfect opportunity to share some book recommendations and a peak at my YA horror novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo of last year, Evil in the Walls.

 

Since this is post 666, I’m going to give you 6 of my favorite horror reads, in no particular order:

 

  1. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.

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    I have been a huge VCA fan since I was 13 or 14. Her books are more of a psychological, Gothic horror, but they are pretty shocking, especially during the time they were written. While the book may seem a bit dated today, I still think readers will be able to relate to and fear for the young characters and their situation.

    The book is told from the POV of Cathy Dollanganger, a young girl who finds her life completely changed after the sudden death of her father. When her family can no longer afford their home, Cathy’s mother takes them to her family home at Foxworth Hall. While Cathy’s grandparents are rich, the grandmother is cruel and the grandfather doesn’t know about her, her two brothers, or sister–and cannot until he dies.

    Since the grandfather can not know he has grandchildren, they are locked away in the attic to wait for his death. But the children soon learn that sometimes riches comes with a price.

    There are also two movies and book sequels.

  2.  Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

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    I actually dig a lot of Stephen King’s work but I choose this one because it is somewhat recent and has a pretty twisted villain. The book is more of a crime-horror, but definitely one of my favorites. It is the first in a trilogy, in which the last book comes out in June. So it’s the perfect timing to get started on this one.

    Mr. Mercedes is about the battle between a retired detective named Bill Hodges and a twisted killer called The Mercedes Killer. As Bill begins to crack down on the killer’s identity, the killer will do anything possible to make his life a living hell.

    There is talk of a possible TV show adaptation, which would be pretty awesome. Bill Hodges makes for a good protagonist, the story is interesting, and the killer is one of the most twisted ones I’ve seen in a while.

  3. The Merciless by Danielle Vega

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    This one is a young adult horror in which a new girl befriends a group of other girls who want to perform an exorcism on her. Unfortunately their idea of exorcism is more like torture and there is no escape.

    I feel like I talk about this book a lot but it’s really the first YA Horror that I’ve found so far that has been this good. It would make an excellent adaptation if done well and there is an IMDB page for it so maybe it will happen. If you like stories about exorcisms or shows like American Horror Story, you’ll probably like this one!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

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This is another YA Horror, but it focuses more on zombies and has two more books after this one. I felt it was a strong book, and the books seem to get even better as the story goes on. I can take or leave zombie stories in general, but I really enjoyed this one.

In the Forest of Hands and Teeth, Mary lives in a world full of protection from the evil things in the forest outside the fence. Once Mary begins to uncover the truth about the safe society she lives in and the fence is breached, she will have to make a difficult choice to survive.

The movie adaptation is supposedly in pre-production.

5. Lightning by Dean Koontz

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It’s been a while since I’ve read this one but it was always my favorite out of his books. I got into them during high school, though I never liked them as much as I did Stephen King’s books. This book involves a woman named Laura who finds herself being protected by a time-traveling stranger.

6. The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

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I read this one last year and found it to be very disturbing. While it’s dated, it still has a creepy atmosphere and vibe to it. Despite its age, it still feels relevant even today. This book is about a couple who moves into a new, too perfect town. Soon they begin to discover why things are so perfect, especially the wives.

Have you read any of the above? If so, did you enjoy any of them? What would you recommend?

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Now, for a sneak peek at my NaNoWriMo novel, Evil in the Walls!

The tea cup was halfway to her lips when she heard the noise. Her hand paused, slightly shaking. No. Not again. Aya Hara pressed her lips together tightly and waited. One second. Two. Five. Twenty. Everything was quiet. Swallowing, she moved the cup all the way to her lips, opening them to take a sip of the hot tea she always liked to have right before bed.

There is was again. Low, but it resounded throughout the room. Something in between a groan and a howl. Her hand began to shake so badly that a stream of brown liquid began to dribble down the left side of the delicate china cup. Taking a deep breath, Aya tried to calm herself as she lowered the cup to its saucer on the table beside her chair.

Aya pressed her hands together. “That’s enough,” she said as loudly as she could. It wasn’t very loud. She was ninety-six years old, and her voice seemed to be getting quieter and quieter lately.  Taking another deep breath, Aya reached for the ornately bound notebook that she’d been scribbling in since the death of her husband. Ten years of musings and she only had one last page left. She hoped that it would explain everything when she was gone.

There was no other solution that she could see. The hotel had to be destroyed. Over fifty years of hard work had to be demolished. Sadness filled Aya, but she knew it had to happen. If she didn’t destroy the hotel, it would destroy her and all that she loved. She couldn’t let that happen. So she pressed the tip of her pen to the paper, thinking of how to word an explanation in case she didn’t make it. Though she planned on surviving, she knew she shouldn’t take any chances. She was too old to be sure, and even if she’d been younger, there was no way to know for sure if she’d be safe even then.

This was her insurance plan in case things didn’t pan out. No one else was here; all of the help had been asked to go home over the weekend. All of the guests had checked out, the vacancy sign outside was dark, and no one was able to check in. It was just her and the evil that dwelled inside the walls. Her heart felt heavy. She had worked so hard and for so long on this place that it was like she was killing a piece of herself. She had to, though. If she didn’t, she knew deep in her heart that it would go after her family. The Grand Kansai had to go.

Tears leaked from her eyes as she began to write. It took her ten minutes to finish. Once she did, she closed the notebook and laid it on the table. Hands still shaking, she picked up the tea. It was still warm. She took a long, grateful sip, feeling the warmth flow inside her. She would finish her tea, put the notebook somewhere safe, then get to work. The thought of her only daughter and her family, who lived hundreds of miles away in the city, helped her gulp the remainder of her tea down. There.

She set the cup aside and grabbed the arms on her chair. There was a lot to do. Slowly she stood. Her reflection in the mirror gazed back at her. She had gotten so thin. The evil was eating her alive. I have to do this, she thought to herself. She nodded and moved to take a step forward. A sharp pain ricocheted throughout her heart.

Grimacing, she slapped a withered hand to it and squeezed her eyes shut. What’s happening? No. NO. Not now. A heart attack? She could barely think over the roar of the pain. Clenching her teeth together, she willed her eyes open as her stomach began to convulse as well. No! Her hands moved there and she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her reflection was smiling at her in a smug way. The evil. It was doing this to her.

“No!” she cried, gasping as another wave of pain gripped her. It hurt so much. Her stomach felt like it was eating itself with sharp, jagged teeth. What was going on? Her eyes met those in the mirror. Her reflection picked up the tea cup and lifted it, grinning. Aya watched, horrified, as her reflection turned the cup toward her so she could see the inside. The tea remains had left an image of a skull and crossbones. Aya’s eyes widened. Something had poisoned her! It had poisoned the tea she loved. Just as it had poisoned everything she loved.

Aya put a hand to her throat, tears gushing out of her eyes. Her mouth opened to speak, but nothing came out. So she glared at the reflection, at the evil there. Leave them alone! Stay away from my family! she thought at it as hard as she could. Her reflection began to laugh. The pain worsened and Aya sunk to the carpet. She wrapped her arms around her convulsing body. Fluids began to gush out of her mouth and she struggled not to gag on them.

Her letter. Her notebook. She had to get them. She tried to crawl to the chair. How long did it take for poison to kill someone? Maybe the evil wanted her to suffer. Her outstretched hands finally grabbed onto the softness of her chair. She tried to pull herself up, but she was far too weak. No. Karin! I’ve failed you. All of you. I’ve failed you all. Tears poured out of her eyes, snot ran out of her nose, and she began to puke. Blood was in whatever poison was coming out of her, but she knew it was too late.

Her hands flailed uselessly at the edge of the table where her empty tea cup and the notebook lay. Please! Then she crumpled to the floor, pulling her arms against herself. Her face turned up and she could see the edge of the notebook. Almost as if the evil were taunting her. And maybe it was. She tried to cry out, but the life was already leaving her. She stared up dully at the notebook, feeling the last seconds of life fleeing from her body. At least she could no longer feel the pain. Her thoughts were evaporating. Karin, I’m sorry, she thought before her head cleared and Aya Hara was gone.

 

jnc