Fortnight of Fright 2014: Favorite Halloween TV Episodes (Stephanie from Her Reviews of Books, Movies, and Everything)

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today we have Stephanie from Her Reviews of Books, Movies, and Everything talking about all of her favorite TV episodes with a Halloween theme! You guys are in for a treat because some of these are my favorites too and ones I try to watch every Halloween!


STEPHANIE’S FAVORITE HALLOWEEN TV EPISODES

Hello everyone! I’m Stephanie and I blog over at Her Reviews of Books, Movies, and Everything.

If I am not reading or spending time with my family, then I probably am watching TV. I love watching TV shows. I have been known to binge watch entire series, rewatch series repeatedly (like Veronica Mars/Gilmore Girls/Friends…) and I like to watch holiday episodes around the given holiday.

I don’t really do horror that much. I get scared pretty easily. (To the point that I sometimes get picked on because of how scared I can get even from TV shows or movies). So I don’t watch a whole bunch of scary TV Shows. So I am going to share some of my favorite Halloween Episodes that are primarily Comedy related.

Friends: The One With The Halloween Party

I love them dressed up in their Halloween costumes! Seriously, I love the costumes that Ross, Joey and Chandler wore the most! This episode makes me laugh every time I watch it.

friendsFriends – The One With The Halloween Party Photo Source

 

The Big Bang Theory

This show has three Halloween episodes and I enjoy watching them all.

The Middle Earth Paradigm
This episode is fun to watch because it is in the first season of the show. And the guys get invited to Penny’s Halloween party. I love the costumes that they were and I get a kick out of them trying to socialize with others. 

bbtThe Big Bang Theory-The Middle Earth Paradigm Photo Source

The Good Guy Fluctuation
This episode is fun to watch because the guys are all playing pranks trying to scare each other. 

bbt2The Big Bang Theory – The Good Guy Fluctuation Photo Source

The Holographic Excitation
And I love this episode because of the detail in the costumes that they wear. I also like that they are all going to a Halloween party at a comic book store. (So cool!)

bbt3The Big Bang Theory – The Holographic Excitation Photo Source

Boy Meets World

And Then There Was Shawn
Growing up I loved this episode. But back then, it definitely scared me at times. I love that I was able to laugh but still get chills watching it. I am no longer find the episode scary, but I do find parts of it to be funny. And I LOVE watching it still at Halloween time!

bmwBoy Meets World – And Then There Was Shawn Photo Source

How I Met Your Mother

This show also has three Halloween Episodes:

The Slutty Pumpkin // Canning Randy // The Slutty Pumpkin Returns

I love all three of these episodes! And I think my favorite thing from all of them have to be the costumes that Marshall and Lily wear as well as ALL the costumes that Barney wears. This show really makes me laugh. Out of the three, I think that The Slutty Pumpkin is my favorite, but I think that all three are worth a watch.

himymHow I Met Your Mother – The Slutty Pumpkin Photo Source

New Girl

I love this show, very much. And so far there have been two Halloween episodes.

Halloween
I like this episode because it is funny. Jess gets a job working in a Haunted House. And I really enjoyed getting to see the characters all dressed up.

ngNew Girl – Halloween Photo Source

Keaton
This episode is funny also. Jess throws a Halloween Party. I love that Jess dresses up as Joey Ramona Quimby. So funny. And I also love how they try to cheer up Schmidt. This isn’t an episode to make you scared, but one rather to make you laugh and remember why Halloween Parties can be fun with a bunch of friends.

ng2New Girl – Keaton Photo Source

 And before I go, I wanted to share a list of some TV shows that I think you could watch pretty much any of the episodes to get in the Halloween Spirit.

 Supernatural

superSupernatural Photo Source

If you don’t know what Supernatural is about: There are two brothers and they travel around hunting Demons, Ghosts, Vampires, Shapeshifters, etc. I am behind on the show (like season seven and they are now on season ten). But I think this is a great show to get a little spooked by (or if you are me, really spooked by!) The first couple of seasons are by far my favorite, but I still enjoy watching the show. Love me some Dean…and Sam. I think currently the episode that has scared me the most is: Bloody Mary. (Season One, Episode Five) Sure, I have been scared by other episodes of this show, but that one…I still don’t rewatch it, I usually skip it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I love this show. This show is older, it was originally on the air from 1997 to 2003. It is about a girl that slays Vampires. But there are other things in the show too. Demons and such. It can also be funny at times and I really like the cast. I think this was the show that made me interested in reading Paranormal books.

buffyBuffy The Vampire Slayer Photo Source

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

I remember watching this show when I was younger and it scared me a lot. I also remember that there were stories on cassette tapes and we used to listen to them in my BFF’s Mom’s van when she would drive us places. Currently, you can watch the episodes via Amazon Prime.

areyouAre You Afraid of the Dark Photo Source

 American Horror Story

I DON’T watch this one AT ALL. I have heard that it can be scary and have been told by several people that I won’t like it much. But if scary/horror is your thing and you haven’t seen this show…you should probably check it out! I know a lot of people like it. And who knows, maybe someday I will give in and try watching an episode.

americanAmerican Horror Story Photo Source

After typing all this up, I have realized that I REALLY LOVE seeing the costumes that the characters wear! I find them funny and sometimes really original (Ross and Jess for example.) And I love the fun aspects of Halloween more than getting scared.

Thank you so much Brittany and On The Same Page for letting me visit for A Fortnight of Fright and share my favorite Halloween TV Show episodes with you! And I hope you all have a Happy Halloween!


A big thanks to Stephanie for sharing her favorite TV shows! They’re also some of mine too. I always love Friends and I can’t believe they had so many Thanksgiving episodes and only one Halloween episode! Boy Meets World will ALWAYS be one of my favorites. That episode is my favorite of that whole show! And I always love the ones from How I Met Your Mother and New Girl! Thanks, Stephanie!

Top Ten Tuesday – October 21, 2014: Top Ten Series I Want To Start

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TOP TEN TUESDAY
October 21, 2014

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic: Top Ten Series I Want To Start

So wait. Really quick: FLASHBACK to the 3/5/13 Top Ten Tuesday post where I listed which series I wanted to start soon. I remembered doing a series post and I wanted to go back and see which ones I had listed. I only remember exactly two series — one which I hadn’t started yet (Mara Dyer) and one which I had actually started and finished (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) so I wanted to see which other series I had on that list! Did I finish any of the other series I wanted to start? Had I even started them? Well the short answer is… NO. Out of all of the series listed, I started exactly ONE other one (and DNFed the book). Sigh. SO I will redo this list in entirety because I’m not exactly super keen on starting some of the ones previous listed. Not that I don’t want to read them, but others seem to be more pressing!

Then I went through my Goodreads list and I just have so many series on there… Then finally decided there is no better place to go than my bookcase!

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SEVENWATERS – JULIET MARILLIER

I may have never picked this book up but Juliet Marillier is one of my bestie’s (Alyssa‘s) favorite authors EVER. She actually bought me the first book in this series — DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST — and like the bad friend that I am, I still haven’t started it! But I did make a promise to start it in 2015! I think it’s good that I’ve waited for so long because I wasn’t as into fantasy UNTIL this year so hopefully I will be reading it at just the right time!

THE WORLDWALKER TRILOGY – JOSEPHINE ANGELINI

TRIAL BY FIRE honestly sounds like something I would love…. so why haven’t I started this yet!? Well actually, I did start it but barely and then I didn’t have the time to continue yet. I really enjoyed the… 20 or so pages that I read so far! I really want to continue sometime soon!

ZODIAC – ROMINA RUSSELL

Well, this is embarrassing. I went to go look this one one up to see what the series name was and it’s not listed as a series! Maybe it’s too new? Maybe it’s a stand alone? Someone can educate me on this! :D

UNRAVELING – ELIZABETH NORRIS

I’ve had my eye on this book for a long time but was never really sure what it was about… I finally bought a copy when I met Elizabeth Norris at an event and it sounded so good! It’s also only a two book series so I could definitely knock out this series if I really enjoy it!

SCARLET – A.C. GAUGHEN

This is another book/series about which I have heard nothing but good things! Alyssa also bought me this book so I really, REALLY need to start reading the books she buys me! There are reasons why she loves them!

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS – RAE CARSON

I have heard soooo many good things about this one too. Again, it took me a while to really get into fantasy because I was figuring out what kinds of things I enjoyed reading within the genre and this one hasn’t come into the rotation yet. Now that the series is finished, I shouldn’t have any excuses!

STEELHEART – BRANDON SANDERSON

I am now apparently obsessed with Brandon Sanderson thanks to my read of the Mistborn trilogy/series (thank you, Nikki. Sarcastically but also so, so seriously.) I actually had the ARC from forever ago and then Amy — having found out about my new Sanderson obsession which she also revels in — bought me a copy of STEELHEART! Now I cannot WAIT to get into more Sanderson! (And also the Stormlight Archive.)

HOURGLASS – MYRA McENTIRE

Again. Crazy Brittany. Not reading series she’ll probably love! this sounds right up my alley. Just shame shame shame.

SERAPHINA – RACHEL HARTMAN

I actually borrowed this book from the library and didn’t have enough time to read it! Now that book two is coming out, I think Alyssa, Amy, and I are planning to read book one together! Me for the first time and re-reads for them!

THESE BROKEN STARS – AMIE KAUFFMAN & MEAGAN SPOONER

Yet ANOTHER series that has gotten so much love and that I just haven’t started yet. I cannot waaaaiiiitttttt!

So what do you say!? Which of these series should I start first? Which are the most important ones! I really need to start of these this year!

 

Fortnight of Fright 2014: Hocus Pocus (Morgan from Gone With the Words)

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today, Morgan from Gone With the Words is telling us all about one of her favorite Halloween movies (and one of mine too!) — HOCUS POCUS! I’ll let her take it away!


First off, writing a blog post about something you love so much is HARD. I get it now! I just want to shout HOCUS POCUS. Sistahhhhs! Boooooook! And hope everyone understands me and nods along happily. Which most of you might, but just in case I will attempt professionalism of the fangirl variety.



When I began thinking of a Halloween blog post to contribute to A Fortnight of Fright, my mind kept circling back to the Sanderson Sisters. If anyone asked me what the greatest Halloween movie of all time is, I would answer Hocus Pocus without hesitation.

It’s not just because it’s one of my favorite movies in general — I’ll watch it in July, March, December, anytime, in addition to all of October. Heck, I’ve watched it twice in the same day before. It’s also because I’ve never met or talked to another person who doesn’t like Hocus Pocus! Seriously. I don’t even know what I’d do if I met someone who disliked it. It’s practically a requirement of our generation! The official Disney Fan Club, D23, even held a screening last year to celebrate the movie’s 20th anniversary!


For those who haven’t seen it, Hocus Pocus is an American horror comedy from 1993 about a trio of witches, the Sanderson Sisters, who are inadvertently resurrected by a cynical teenager, his younger sister, and his crush. It’s the perfect blend of spookiness, sass, humor, magic, and Halloween spirit. There are cute boys, talking cats, evil witches, and a book made out of human skin. In other words, it has everything!

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It’s creepy AND silly and the perfect blend of Halloween elements. Small New England town, beautiful fall colors, graveyards, crumbling witchcraft museum. The historical accuracy is questionable to say the least but I gladly overlook it in favor of childhood memories and cheesy goodness. Honestly though, how did Winifred learn what a driver’s permit is?! And is this the most times that the word virgin has ever been spoken in a children’s movie? Those darn black flame candles…

 

The first time I saw Hocus Pocus was in a small local theater when I was 7 years old. I was with my parents and my little sister, and all I remember was thinking the movie was so scary! Haha!! The beginning is definitely creepy and seeing nooses and dangling feet isn’t exactly child-friendly. Nowadays, ABC Family and many other channels play it constantly throughout September and October. Even though I know I watched it a lot as a kid, it became a real favorite in college. I bought the dvd and watched it All. The. Time. Still do ;) And this time of year not a day goes by where I don’t see someone (LOTS of someones!) mention Hocus Pocus on social media. I love it!! After all, if you don’t tweet about it, did it really happen?

The best way to enjoy Hocus Pocus, in my opinion, is with friends, cozy sweaters, mugs of hot chocolate or tea and baked goods! Preferably Halloween funfetti cupcakes or something equally festive, with spice or caramel in the name. Or those Pillsbury sugar cookies with Halloween designs on them :) But I’ve been known to watch it by myself ohhhh, all the time.

I love the bewitching quality of the opening scene, and of Sarah Jessica Parker’s creepy song later in the movie. I love Thackery Binx, even though Thackery is a completely stupid name and I want to call him Zachary. I love that I was the same age as Dani when the movie came out. I love the three little girls dressed as the Sanderson Sisters. I love BOOOOOOOOK and I put a spell on you (Hello Salem!)…. I just love it all. The characters. The cute brother-sister relationship, and Max’s crush on Alison. I love Winifred’s statue too, wish they would add it to the Haunted Mansion grounds at Disneyland.

Hocus Pocus was released in July 1993 and didn’t do particularly well at the box office but has become a beloved cult classic for good reason. It’s Halloween in movie form- I’m still looking for two friends to dress up as the Sanderson sisters with me someday!

Thanks to On the Same Page for hosting A Fortnight of Fright, and thanks to Brittany for hosting my guest post on her blog!

Let me know in the comments: have you seen Hocus Pocus? Do you watch it every year? What’s your favorite Halloween movie?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling
Date Completed: September 28, 2014
Publishing Info: June 21, 2003 by Scholastic
Source: Audiobook borrowed from the library/personal hardcover
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Witches, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
    Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...
Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

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I think the most interesting thing about my Harry Potter re-reads so far has been how my rankings for the book has changed based on how I’ve developed as a person. There are just certain things I’ve connected with in some books, certain things that turn me off in others (though I still love them. I mean, I love ALL of them no matter what minor things I find) and all of the things I didn’t pick up on during my first thousand re-reads (yes, there’s always something new).

I was majorly excited to re-read HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. From the time I did my last re-reads say… maybe ten years ago? This book was my second favorite (or third — it was kind of a toss-up with Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince was still tops) so I was curious to see how this re-read would go. I totally changed my opinion of Prisoner of Azkaban, flipping it around from one of my least favorites to most of my most favorites so I was excited to see how one of my earlier favorites fared later on in my life.

I was a bit hesitant with all of the “angsty” comments I had seen about OotP — this is probably Harry’s moodiest book (well, he IS fifteen…) and yes, it was definitely more noticeable in the very beginning of this book. Sometimes it was annoying, sometimes it made me laugh, but most of the time it really didn’t bother me. In fact, if I hadn’t see all the angst memes on Pinterest and Tumblr and other forms of social media, I may not even have noticed… Who can say! But aside from Harry and Ron’s adventures with the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire, I think OotP is the first book that really starts to deal with relationship issues, crushes, and serious jealousy so there’s quite a bit of teenage melodrama and it DID wear on me JUST a bit.

I feel like the story is much more government-related with Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic getting super involved so that’s not AS appealing to me as the hunt for and battles with Voldemort. It’s a different kind of action and one that generally feels more frustrating (as in, I feel frustrated for the characters) than a sort of exciting nervous-feeling to see what will happen next. [SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE SERIES COMING UP (yes, there are still some and I don't want to spoil things for them!)] OotP was also the first book that dealt with a death that hit Harry really hard. He’s always dealt with his parents’ deaths, yes, but OotP not only shows Harry dealing with the aftermath of witnessing Cedric’s murder but also the first-hand account of Sirius’s untimely death during the epic battle in the Department of Mysteries. Things get HEAVY and there’s definitely a somber weight to the book because of those. Regarding Sirius’s death… It still didn’t hit me hard. I know it absolutely kills some people but I still didn’t find myself getting terribly choked up. It has nothing to do with how I feel about Sirius. SHEESH, I love the guy, but I feel like it’s almost an off-screen death. Everything just happens so fast and Harry is in disbelief/denial that it made me feel like it wasn’t real. I think even now I’m still in denial about it so for some reason it’s STILL just not hitting me that hard. [END SPOILERS]

So what’s the verdict? I still enjoyed OotP, of course, but I also don’t think it’s one of my favorites of the series anymore. I just feel like there isn’t as much mystery and sleuthing regarding Voldemort and his involvement in everything and the Ministry-centric plot doesn’t grab me as much as “evil villain” (although I DO hate Umbridge more than I do Voldemort. Fact).

Ranking after re-read of book #1: [1] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]

THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Cho Chang // Character Obsessions: Quidditch, Cedric, the DA, Harry.
Oh, let’s talk about Cho Chang. Do we have any Cho fans? Personally, I am not. She was Harry’s first big crush (an older woman! Go, Harry) but I could never really get on board with her. I don’t blame her for going to the Yule Ball with Cedric (who could?) but once she and Harry started dating in this book, she became so needy and whiny and clingy. Okay, okay, her boyfriend just died. I GET IT. So maybe don’t go out with someone else right away! Sorry, Harry. I don’t think it ever would have worked. She did like you but you were still a Cedric rebound and to add grieving on top of a budding relationship? Just not gonna happen.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Harry Potter re-reads. I’m still loving re-reading these on audio! This one was a bit longer so I was in a hurry to finish, but everything is still so magical!
Left Me Wanting More: Levity. I know there were light moments in this book, but it doesn’t even feel DARK, just heavy. The Ministry, Cedric’s death from the previous book, Umbridge, quidditch, and close calls (and more deaths). YIKES. I think this is the book with the most weight (and it’s the biggest so… haha. Literal weight too). Others may be darker, but this one hangs heavy in my heart.

Addiction Rating
Re-read it!

Well, of course. I think it’s a totally different experience re-reading these books as an adult! I have very different reactions to some events now. Some I see with eyes wide open. Others I can compare to something that’s happened to me that hadn’t when I first read it. It’s fun!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        shadow and bone       throne of glass

Fortnight of Fright 2014: Halloween Bookmark Craft (Kat from Perusing Bookshelves)

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today, Kat from Perusing Bookshelves is showing us how to make Halloween bookmarks! If you want to spice up your Halloween reads with this fun crafts, just follow her instructions below to make your own!


How to make a Halloween bookmark

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Voila! Halloween bookmark! Oh, those pumpkins are so cute, Kat!


A big thanks to Kat for today’s Fortnight of Fright post! You’ll have to tell me if you guys make these awesome Halloween-themed bookmarks! They look great!!

The Fall – Bethany Griffin

The Fall – Bethany GriffinTitle: The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Date Completed: September 28, 2014
Publishing Info: October 7, 2014 by Harper Collins
Source: egalley autoapproved by publisher via Edelweiss
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
    Madeline Usher is doomed.
    She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.
    Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.
    In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

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I’ve actually read very few original Edgar Allan Poe stories but when I was looking for a good, creepy Halloween read, I immediately turned to THE FALL, a retelling of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, for a good book with just the right amount of scary for me. See, I’m a total chicken when it comes to the scary. I like creepy, but I don’t like my books (or movies or TV shows) to be too scary. Fortunately, Bethany Griffin’s THE FALL was just the perfect mix for me!

I actually can’t really compare too much to the original Poe tale since I haven’t read it, but upon finishing, I definitely wanted to! The book revolves around Madeline Usher and her family. The chapters are quite short and each one details a different point in Madeline’s life from her childhood all the way through teenage years, meeting up with the “present-day” story line in the novel. Sometimes it’s hard to jump around from age to age, but I think just focusing on Madeline and not having a second point of view in the mix really helped and I also found it really interesting to slowly get the pieces of how the family curse worked, how it affected Madeline and her family, and getting that information in a strategic way. I’m always impressed when authors are able to manipulate a timeline like that to remove things from chronological order in order to maintain a mystery.
At times, the short chapters seemed like both a blessing and a curse. I really like short chapters because especially during times when I don’t have a ton of time to read, the short chapters really help me feel like I’m making progress with a book. At the same time, having so many chapters did make me feel like I was progressing really quickly and then it came as a surprise how much of the book I really had left. I’m not saying I would have done it differently but it was definitely something that I was aware of while reading.

I think the reason THE FALL worked so well for me as a good, creepy book was how much the actual house itself was involved in the story. I am not a ghost person. I don’t handle ghost stories well because they’re just too real and I always get a little too creeped out. There were ghosts in THE FALL, but really the culprit behind all of the actions — and actually part of the reason why the ghosts are even present — is the house itself. There’s more to the curse and the explanation as to why, but that’s more for the reader to experience! Anyway… I just really enjoyed how the house was its own character. It had its own reasoning, a sense of feeling, and it interacted with the other characters. I loved its daunting presence and exactly how big of a role it played in the book.

The other characters were fascinating as well. Madeline was a very interesting character, being the main point of view as well as the “favorite of the house” so she had the most insight to the curse and everything that went on in the book. The interactions of the other characters and the house was really interesting as well. I was totally sucked in, analyzing exactly how the curse affected each person in turn and how the house chose to manipulate each of them.

Pretty much everything about this book worked for me! It was such a perfectly dark and spooky book with a fantastic gothic-horror feel and such a great horror read for a person like me who doesn’t like being scared pantless. I was still able to totally enjoy it without getting so scared that I wanted to stop reading and yet it never felt like anything was really missing either. It was really just a great balance for me and one I’d recommend for a creepy read!

THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Madeline // Character Obsessions: The House of Usher, mysteries, family, her brother.
I really liked Madeline’s character! I remember feeling a few twinges of “hmmm” while reading, but I admired her determination to fight and figure out exactly what was going on with her family’s curse and trying to survive it. The family traditionally died young, had weird illnesses, and often fell victim to the curse in many ways so it was really interesting to see Madeline go through the same things and at the same time, try to fight it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Horror. I am not a horror person but I really enjoyed this book! A big thank you to Bethany Griffin for just the perfect amount of scary for a scaredy cat like me!
Left Me Wanting More: From secondary characters. There were plenty of secondary characters in this book but I guess the only thing I could say is that I wish I had felt a bit more connected to them. I actually think the house is the most important character after Madeline so the other characters felt a little pushed to the side (and actually, saying it like that seems totally reasonable considering how the book went! The house really did push them to the side…) but I did want to feel just a bit more connected to some of them.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really enjoyed this one and I hope others do too! If you’ve read the original story from Poe, I’d love to hear what you think of it as a retelling! I think I’ll have to go read the original now so I can compare and be even more delightfully creeped out!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        this dark endeavor       her dark curiosity

Book and a Beverage [77] – Michelle from Book Briefs

 

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

In case you don’t know the deal about Book and a Beverage, it’s a very simple yet fun feature: We read books, we drink beverages, we take pictures of them and then I share your photos and a little about you to the blogging world!

Give a big welcome to Michelle from Book Briefs!

 

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Name & Blog Name: Hi, I’m Michelle and I blog over at Book Briefs
Tell us a little about your blog! I started Book Briefs during my 1L year in law school (first year) because I was tired of just reading law cases. I have always loved Young Adult books, so I decided to start sharing my love through my blog. I discovered some book YouTube channels and then Goodreads, and back in 2010 and 2011 there weren’t a ton of YA blogs, so I decided to join their ranks. Throughout the years I have read traditionally published books as well as discovered tons of great Indie finds and authors. Now I make it my mission to share the greats of Young Adult and New Adult, both traditionally published as well as some “hidden gem” Indies. I also offer tons of giveaways to share the bookish love.
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? (Link us up!) I think my favorite post to date has been “the facts of me” post. I liked it because it allowed people to get to know me a little better.
Got anything special coming up we should know about? Lots of fun ARC reviews, indie reviews, and of course giveaways going on daily so be sure to check back in. I am also looking to get involved in some holiday events and read-a-thons, so if you know of any let me know in the comments below!

book

Whatcha reading? Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell
Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc) Publisher (Via NetGalley)
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? I joined the blog tour because the book looks awesome!  I love a New Orleans setting and throw in some voodoo, and I am totally all over that! (Plus, I really like the cover. I mean, what??! I don’t judge a book by its’ cover…)
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? I am not very far into it yet, but so far it is good. The atmosphere and feeling around the writing is excellent, which is a huge plus for me. It helps me immerse myself in the world.

beverage

Whatcha drinking?  Water — wow that seems so boring but I love it!
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading? If I am reading in the morning, Coffee (black) and if I am reading at night, water.
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! A milkshake! (vanilla with butterfingers or peanut butter cups mixed in) But I also have been known to enjoy a good beer, a whiskey, and a vodka soda.
bonus

What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Well, I would need to know what genres the person likes and some other preferences. (sorry the lawyer in me is coming out, our favorite answer as a profession is “it depends…”) But it does. If a person likes contemporary romance, I would urge them to try some New Adult by Valerie Chase (Sea Swept, With Every Breath), Chelsea Fine’s Trouble Series, Rumor has it by Elisabeth Grace, and Kiss the Sky by Becca & Krista Ritchie. If a person enjoyed magic/paranormal, I would suggest Painted Blind by Michelle Hanson, which is a FANTASTIC mythology romance, Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and the Abby Sinclair Series by Allison Pang.
What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment?  I think being asked to be the featured blogger by Macmillan for their Fierce Reads blog tour. I got to have a personal one on one interview all of the authors. It was an OMG moment for sure. But more regularly, I am blown away and honored by authors thanking me for reading their books, saying they loved my review and asking to feature me on their blogs. It is so nice because I am just sharing my love of books.
Anything else you’d like to share? Thank you so much for having me here today Brittany!!

Thanks so much, Michelle! That was DEFINITELY one of my best blogging moments too! The Fierce Reads tour is always amazing and so much fun! :D

I hope you enjoyed getting to know the Michelle! Connect with her at the links below!
 Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest // Tumblr // Goodreads // Instagram

And don’t forget! You can participate in Book and a Beverage at any time! Got a book? Got a beverage? Just tweet or post your photo on Instagram using the hashtag #bookandabeverage and I’ll retweet or repost your photo!

If you want to sign-up for Book and a Beverage, keep an eye out for sign-ups to re-open sometime in mid to late November! We’ll finally be catching up on the current schedule and I’ll be able to bring on some more people for the feature!

#bookandabeverage

 

On the Same Page: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

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ON THE SAME PAGE: THE GOOSE GIRL by SHANNON HALE
On pin-pointing why some books click and others don’t

It wasn’t until I started writing my review for THE GOOSE GIRL — originally intending to use that as my post for On the Same Page this month — that I finally came up with a good topic to really dig deeper into my experience with the book. THE GOOSE GIRL is one of Amy’s favorite books and with Alyssa and I never having read it, we chose it as one of our group reads. Honestly, before we chose to include THE GOOSE GIRL as one of our On the Same Page books, it wasn’t even on my radar. I actually thought it was a middle grade book (it has a sort of middle grade feel at times, I think, but the age range of characters is more young adult) and there was just something about it that I couldn’t quite pinpoint that just didn’t jump out at me, begging to be added to my TBR.

When I started the book, I started feeling that dread creeping in. The feel of the book was pretty much what I had anticipated (or did it come off that way BECAUSE that’s what I was anticipating? Self-fulfilling prophecy? Hard to say) and I was so upset that no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get into the book. It was one of Amy’s favorites!!! I was seriously in fear that she would disown me if I didn’t like it and I didn’t even give it a rating on Goodreads when I finished because I didn’t want her to see and know my true feelings. I really worked hard to get into it, but I just wasn’t connecting and the overall feel just wasn’t clicking with me. (Alyssa started the book after I had finished and told me, “Oh, yeah, I can see why you didn’t’ like this.” She just knows my tastes haha.)

It dawned on me once I started to try and write my review for the book… Why didn’t I enjoy THE GOOSE GIRL? I enjoy many, many, many other fairy tale adaptations/retellings. Hell, The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series of all time! So what’s the deal? I took a quick look at what I loved about The Lunar Chronicles and saw that aside from characters and plot and all of those easy-to-analyze things about a book, the series just has a completely different feel and the feel that makes the big difference for me is the setting. I would say the majority of the fairy tale retellings and adaptations I’ve read are either set in the present day or have a futuristic feel while books like THE GOOSE GIRL tell the story in a more traditional setting. Its original story is by the Brothers Grimm and it was originally published in 1815 and the book definitely takes after that sort of feel — I’m no fairy tale expert so forgive me for sound uneducated on this little section, but I feel like so many of the traditional and original fairy tales are difficult for me to connect with because that’s just not a time period I connect with. I’m guessing that if these fairy tales — when first penned — weren’t written as if they were in the present day, then they referred to times even before that time period, pushing the setting of the fairy tale even further back into history. From the historical fiction I’ve read, I’ve found that I’m extremely picky about what time periods work and what don’t for me and I think the general feel of the time period in THE GOOSE GIRL was one that just wasn’t clicking for me.

Seems unfair, right? It totally is. I don’t know why only certain historical settings/feelings work for me and some don’t. I loved the His Fair Assassin trilogy even though it was set in the 1400s — a time period I would never have expected to enjoy — and I really enjoy several high fantasy settings like in A Game of Thrones, Graceling, and Throne of Glass.  Then on the other hand, I didn’t really enjoy the feel of Cruel Beauty and that was a retelling as well. So what’s the difference between these? The only possible explanation I can come up with is the tone. Yes, all of these are fairly serious books with heavy subjects, meanwhile with dashes levity to keep the book from getting too dark… But I feel like there’s an overall feeling that I got from THE GOOSE GIRL and CRUEL BEAUTY that I didn’t get from the others that somehow had me feeling like something was missing.

Every way I try to describe what didn’t work for me, it just comes back to that feeling. For THE GOOSE GIRL, I was hoping to connect to the book in spite of the feel that I was anticipating but I was either searching for it and found it, or just failed to connect to the characters and plot despite it. I can’t help but wonder if it was the exact same story but told a bit more modern or set in a different time period or added a few more light moments, could that have changed the whole book for me?

I feel like the more we read, the more we realize what we won’t connect with and tend to avoid it, whether the specific reasoning as to why that feeling is there is apparent or not. It’s been two and a half years (at this point) since I’ve started my blog and I’ve tried many different age ranges, genres, topics, and characters and even still I’m never sure if a book will work for me or not but I think that more often than not, as readers we start to learn to trust our gut! I’m still glad I read THE GOOSE GIRL even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as Amy and Alyssa because it was a reading experience that helped me understand a little bit more about myself as a reader. I wish I had connected more (and Amy said she won’t disown me) but it was definitely an interesting experience to analyze after finishing!

Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about The Goose Girl today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Amy (Tripping Over Books)

Fierce Reads Tour Fall 2014 (Chicago): Recap, Author Interview, and Giveaway!

FIERCE READS TOUR

Marissa Meyer, Gennifer Albin, Jessica Brody, and Nikki Kelly
Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, IL
October 10, 2014

Macmillan is amazing. The Fierce Reads tour is really always one of my favorite tours and I was SO happy to accept the offer from Macmillan to not only be the official blogger on this stop of the tour, but also to moderate the event! I was so excited but admittedly terribly nervous too! (Not to mention how nervous I was meeting Marissa Meyer for the first time!!!) But I buckled down, put my questions together, and I was so ready to get my interview on with the Fierce Reads ladies!

I had a blast interviewing the Fierce Reads ladies! Let’s see what they had to say on books, writing, and more!

(Portions edited for time and reading purposes and will not affect the overall outcome of the show interview.)

Brittany: If you had to describe your book as THIS meets THAT — like Dracula meets Mean Girls — what would yours be?
Jessica Brody: Mine I’ve always said is Bourne Identity with an Inception-like twist.
Marissa Meyer: I would say that mine is Star Wars meets The Brothers Grimm.
Gennifer Albin: The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Matrix.
Jessica: I like Madmen meets The Matrix.
Gennifer:do like Madmen meets The Matrix…
Nikki Kelly: I’m gonna look to Jessica to answer this one for me!
Jessica: Well, Supernatural meets… City of Bones?
Nikki: Everyone wants to say Twilight —
Jessica: It’s not Twilight, though. It’s very different.
Nikki: It’s not — it’s very different. Maybe True Blood. Supernatural meets True Blood? Although that’s quite risqué.
Marissa: Is string theory the theory that’s all about different dimensions?
Gennifer: No, it’s universes are on strings, basically. Time is a string.
Nikki: What was that movie where [whoops, that's a spoiler! Taken out so we don't spoil LAILAH for you!] Maybe Supernatural meets City of Bones, then.
Jessica: The Mortal Instruments meets Supernatural.
Nikki: Yeah, we’ll go with that!

Brittany: Were there any major influences from other authors or books that really inspired your writing?
Marissa: Authors or books specifically?
Brittany: Either one. Or movies… TV…
Marissa: Well my biggest influences are Firefly, which is the most awesome sci-fi TV show ever because in Firefly is has this crew of totally random people that have completely different personalities and it’s like, “Let’s stick them on a spaceship and see what happens!” So going into The Lunar Chronicles, it was like “I just really want a whole bunch of people on spaceship to see what happens!” And then my other big one is Sailor Moon which is really what gave me the idea for the Lunars and a lost princess.
Gennifer: I’m now imagining The Lunar Chronicles like it’s a reality show. [announcer voice] Four princess, contained on a spaceship! What happens when people stop getting along?
Jessica: Who will be voted off next? I’d watch that show!
[laughter]
Jessica: One has been locked in a satellite for years and the other is just crazy!
Marissa: We need to make this a thing!
[we all bring it back around to the question]
Jessica: I think I was really influenced by the TV show Lost in just kind of the mystery and… hopefully my ending is better than theirs, but just the way they pieced these little pieces together and I love the mystery of that show. And I’ve always loved movies like The Matrix and Inception, obviously, and The Bourne Identity because the memory loss thing. I just love the idea of someone waking up with no memories finding out they’re a superhero. That’s just… the dream, right?
Nikki: Better than waking up post-apocalyptic!
Jessica: Waking up and the world’s been taken over by zombies! Not the dream.
Gennifer: For some people it is…
[Zombie tangent!]
Gennifer: Umm, influences… well, I think ever book you ever read influences you in some way. I hate pointing to a specific book because then people like to be like, “OH, now I see how you ripped that off.” [laughter] So I’m gonna go with movies and TV! And I would say that the kind of back and forth banter came from my love of screwball comedies of the ’40s. So like Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant… that whole crew, how they were constantly going back and forth. Actually, I think Cary Grant would make a great Cormac… which is impossible but he would be very handsome and suave and do a good job with the one-liners. And I always used to joke that I went to the J.J. Abrams school of writing because I like to leave a chapter on a… BOOM! A major revelation to the person! Or they finally kissed! Everyone’s like, “God, now I have to read the next chapter!” And I’m like, “That’s the idea!” [everyone agrees] I had another writer say to me one time, “Well I like to end it so people can shut the book and go to bed” and I was like, “You’re doin’ it wrong!” Sometimes when people shut the book and go to bed, they forget to ever open it again. That happens to me!
Marissa: That’s so crazy that a writer would say that.
Jessica: Let’s hope we don’t know this person!
Gennifer: So the Alias school of writing because I didn’t watch lost… I stopped watching Fringe after the first season because I already the second book written but I was like, “I’m going to be influenced by this” so I stopped watching it and I just finally watched all of Fringe and I was like, “WOW!!! We were REALLY on the same page on lots of things! I’m really glad I didn’t watch you. Also, why don’t I write for your show?” So yeah, J.J. Abrams and screwball comedies from the 1940s. Obviously these two things go together.
Jessica: So another answer to the first question is, it’s screwball comedies meets J.J. Abrams.
Nikki: And I’d probably say, do you remember Sliders from the 90s?
Gennifer: YES, I own the box set!
Nikki: That’s when I first discovered Jerry O’Connell… and then he popped up in Scream! But I loved that show and all different dimensions, different to what’s going on in Lailah with three set dimensions but they would use their little um… doobie-doo device. [Talking about Sliders for a while and possible spoilers for the show! Which convinced me that I really do need to watch more of this show...] And the thing would probably be Tales of the Unexpected which was an 80s and 90s show as well which was 15 minutes shorts where at the end it was a “tale of the unexpected” so there was a twist at the end of each episode and I think that’s why I write with twists now.

Brittany: If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be?
Marissa: I don’t know if I can answer that because it’s kind of something I’m not supposed to talk about! I’ll say that there IS a minor character that I’d like to do a tangent of, therefore I’m probably I’m going to do a tangent of and that’s all I’m going to say.
Nikki: Oooh, that’s really leaving them hanging! That’s how we do it.
Gennifer: Approved!
Jessica: I would love to do a story from Cody’s point of view — my little foster brother — but before he grows up and gets all old. Maybe like a middle grade! Him at thirteen. I did write a short story from Cody’s point of view from the first time he met Seraphina and I had a lot of fun with that because writing him from Serafina’s point of view is a whole different experience than writing from his head so. That’d be fun!
Gennifer: I feel like… We do these things for tour where we write short stories and a lot of times they’re other people so… I have one to do for Loricel so I have that one coming up for me, but I guess I’d probably go back and maybe do some prequel bits, actually, where you saw various characters before you met them. I think it’d be interesting to see Adelice’s parents [book two spoilers redacted!] So maybe them and I’ve had some people ask me to write Valerie and Enora’s love story but I’ve never had the time.
Nikki: I have written two short stories — one Jonah and one Gabriel which are online right now — and they’re set from Jonah and Gabriel’s point of views and they’re both prequels because Gabriel’s is set 100 years ago and Jonah’s is set before we meet him in the first book so probably 10 years, 11 years prior to chapter one of book one so I already got play with that and that was fun. But maybe Hanora if I was doing another one just because she’s an interesting character. Nobody likes her so I’d like to maybe just see how she sees things and her perspective of what’s going on when it all happens.
Jessica: I did write from Zen and Kalen’s point of view — two novellas! One is out now called Undiscovered and one is coming out in January called Unleashed.
Marissa: And I got to write a prequel about the evil queen that’s coming out in January called Fairest.
Gennifer: It was supposed to be a novella… like the rest of us… and then she went way above and beyond.
Marissa: Things just always get longer than they’re supposed to.
Brittany: No complaints here!

Brittany: What’s one gadget or invention in your books that you’re particularly proud of or fond of creating?
Jessica: I love that question! …. But I have to think about it.
Gennifer: I’d say mine are actually the panels that the sunrunners use in the second book because I spent a lot of time reading about solar energy so that I could use terminology that sounded like I had some idea what I was talking about and I actually DID at that point and so those could actually exist. I invented them. Kind of.
Nikki and Gennifer: Copywright Gennifer Albin.
Jessica: I have two. One I actually didn’t invent I just kind of… stole and then expanded but recently the creator of Tesla announced that he wants to create something called a hyperloop which is a little capsule that goes like, a zillion miles an hour using vacuum? Magnets? I can’t remember which one but you can basically get from LA to San Francisco in thirty minutes and he has a plan to implement this in California in the next 20 or 50 years, so I just made the assumption that in the future they will be using these to transport themselves around so I put that in book three which was super fun to establish a world like that. I feel like all future books they travel by train and I was like, “I don’t want to do a train. I want to do something else.” So I put the hyperloop in. One thing I created that actually got taken out — this is going to be a deleted scene — Diotech creates this genetic alteration that’s called the “eternal puppy” and it’s basically where you can make a puppy stay a puppy for its entire life.
Gennifer: That’s like, the scariest thing I’ve ever heard.
Jessica: But they would mature as a dog but they would always stay cute and little for their whole lives! But I had to cut that scene because it just really didn’t do anything for the plot.
Marissa: After hearing that I’m like “Why did Scarlet and Wolf waste all their time on that train…?” Why didn’t they take the hyperloop!?
Jessica: But then they wouldn’t have had the scene.
Marissa: For me again not really my invention but all of the characters in my future world have ID chips implanted in their wrists and this acts as their identification and their money and you can scan anybody’s thing and see their Facebook profile — except it’s not really Facebook but you know — and I think that would be just so convenient. Never have to carry your purse or your phone. And every time I have my Starbucks app and I go to pay with my phone I’m like “We’re almost there.”
Nikki: Probably in Lailah, the crystal in Styclar which gives life to their world. I don’t know if that’s an inventions so much as an energy source but it creates light and life. It was from my head and therefore… I don’t think there’s a crystal somewhere in another world is there that beams out lights at a certain frequency that creates life of beings and all sorts of fun things. And for things that are not my invention, you’ll probably notice there are lots of iPhones and Range Rovers in my book and that’s because I’m hoping for a sponsorship deal! [laughter]

Brittany: What types of scenes are your favorite to write?
[kissing noise and general agreement]
All except Jessica: Kissing scenes!
Jessica: I don’t like writing kissing scenes. I like writing fight scenes! Not like physical fight “take ‘em down” scenes but arguments between characters. I feel like that’s when their true personalities come out.
Marissa: Like sparring, verbal repartee, that is fun.
Jessica: Yes! And I love when my characters get in fights when I don’t plan them to. I just had a scene where I was like this is just going to be a normal scene where they walk to the locker (I’m working on a contemporary book) and suddenly they started fighting and I was like, “YES! Let’s do it!” And then once I was done I was like, “Of course they have to fight here. There hasn’t been any tension for the past three chapters. There has to be a fight! Thank you characters for reminding me about that!”
Nikki: And then us three all like the kissing scenes. Kissing and swooning! [Gennifer and Marissa agree]
Marissa: Big, epic gestures of romance.

Brittany: Your books make up some of our biggest fandoms. What are some of yours?
Gennifer: Doctor Who!
Marissa: Firefly! Sailor Moon.
Nikki: Doctor Who.
Jessica: Frozen! Is that a fandom?
Gennifer: It’s like the biggest fandom out there right now!
Jessica: There’s a lot of four-year-olds in that fandom.
Gennifer: But that’s okay!
Jessica: What are they called? Froze-hards? Oh, that doesn’t sound right! [lots of laughter]
Gennifer: The Gilmore Girls fandom is coming back HARD core now that’s it on Netflix and I’m like, “LET’S GO! Let’s do this! Let’s get our movie.” And Veronica Mars. That’s big one for me. Oh my god, I’m a marshmallow!

Brittany: Have you ever received amazing fan art for your books or received and awesome gift from a fan?
Gennifer: Marissa’s actually wearing one.
Marissa: Yes, a fan actually made me this awesome Lunar Chronicles necklace with all the charms that represent the different fairy tales. I get a lot of awesome stuff from fans!
Nikki: Some of us don’t.
Gennifer: Who got all the gifts yesterday! Lailah cookies!
Nikki: I do get a lot of cookies! And Lucky Charms cereal. Just the marshmallows! It wasn’t even the crappy fiber stuff!

Brittany: Wine and cheese style question: what food or beverage item would be a good pairing for your book or series?
Jessica: Well mine’s kind of obvious because in Unremembered she eats a grilled cheese sandwich and it’s a very influential scene…
Marissa: A euphoric moment.
Jessica: It is because it’s the first thing she remembers eating and she kind of falls in love with it so it’s kind of a pivotal scene for her getting reintroduced to the world so I would go with the grilled cheese sandwich and for the blog tour of Unremembered I actually did a video on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich so you can find that on my YouTube channel. It’s very difficult!
Marissa: For the Cinder blog tour I did a “cooking with Marissa” show and made shrimp dumplings because they eat it in one of the chapters and it was so much fun but nobody ever watched it and I was like, “I really wanted to keep making these but I guess I won’t” because it took like, all day long!
Gennifer: There’s so much food in Crewel! I would have a hard time choosing. I like to put curry in all of my books. Even in my contemporary books, people are always eating curry.
Marissa: There was a lot of curry in Cress too!
Gennifer: Yeah, I liked that about your book! And she also has a chocolate torte.
Nikki: Tea in Lailah because she makes a lot of tea, and chocolate digestives. Not cookies as the book says because they American-ized it but chocolate digestives.
[tangent about the word "digestive" which ultimates boils down to the fact that it's a specific type of cookie although the American gals agree that "digestive" is a terribly unappealing word in America! And how a "cookie" in England is any cookie that has chocolate chips and a "biscuit" is every other cookie]
Marissa: So for mine in book three, there’s this big royal wedding being planned and there’s this one scene where Prince Kai is meeting with the wedding coordinator and she starts going over the wedding menu and it’s like a traditional nine course menu. I planned out the whole thing and it took me like three pages to describe it in the first draft and I had every course from a different so there was a Korean course and a Philippines course and my Indian course and I had so much fun designing this menu and then one of my beta readers was like, “You realize you just took three pages to design and describe a feast. So I ended up cutting it all and only a few of them got mentioned in the book but then I ended up writing a blog post about it but I really, really want to have this feast some day. I really want to have this really fancy dinner party and nine-course meal.

Brittany: Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?
Nikki: Oh, yeah, I do. Obligatory cup of tea and twerk in the kitchen before writing. And then I write in my pants (which is knickers). [And yes. She does mean twerking as in twerking.]
Gennifer: I don’t really have… I need something to write ON and I prefer to have paper and pencil nearby because I like to scribble notes to myself and do some diagramming.
Marissa: Yeah, I like to have paper, and something to drink. Usually water but sometimes coffee or wine or something. Depending on whether it’s before or after noon!
Nikki: I like how you went from water to coffee to wine! Brandy… vodka…
Jessica: For me, I only drink coffee when I write so coffee has an extra, special effect — it’s like magic juice — so I have my coffee and I have my giant, noise-cancelling headphones where I blast this white noise with a special technology called brain entrainment so there’s actually a frequency that gets played under the white noise that brings your brain into focus mode.

Brittany: Are there any questions you always dread being asked?
Marissa: “Where do you get your ideas?” I don’t really dread that because the answer is so easy because you get asked it all the time.
Jessica: I’m always curious too but you just get tired of it. I don’t like getting asked my favorite book and I know it get asked all the time because I just can’t choose. It’s just so hard! I feel like if I don’t give “the right answer” someone’s going to come smite me. It’s a lot of pressure!
Marissa: Every once in a blue moon, you’ll get someone who’s like… trying to stump you. They’ll ask you a question about the world building or the technology like, “In chapter 40, you said THIS but did you know that actually scientists have said –” you know, that sort of question. And a lot of times it’s stuff I actually have considered and usually have a thought out response but every once in a while it’s like, “I don’t know. How was I supposed to know that?”
Nikki: That’s when you just say, “It’s fiction.”
Marissa: Creative license!
Nikki: If you feel like something’s missing, it was intention. You’ll find out in the next book!
Gennifer: You always get lots of writing questions on these panels. And there’s sometimes that mix when you go into an event and … I tend to just want to talk about books and fun stuff and there’s a couple of people who show up and they actually want you to figure out how they’re going to be come writers so the questions aren’t even broad-based questions but like, “How many queries did you send and what was your rejection rate and did you send them at a specific time of day?”
Marissa: I think I was on the Cress tour and it was in a really small town and so the bookstore that was hosting it was worried that they wouldn’t be able to get anybody to come and so they marketed it as writing workshop and I showed up and I was like, “I have no intention of giving a writing workshop! I’m just gonna talk about my books.” And there was only maybe like twelve people in the audience and one of them bought a book. They were just writers and they wanted the secrets of getting published.
Nikki: You should have said, “Buy five books and I’ll talk.” [laughter]

Brittany: The last question is actually “What’s one of the books that your recommend this most?” — Not favorite!
Jessica: That’s different! I recommend Eleanor & Park [by Rainbow Rowell] to anyone who lives and breathes and reads. And even if you don’t read, I’ll still recommend Eleanor & Park to you.
Brittany: Audiobooks!
Gennifer: I have been known to recently push The Discover of Witches series [by Deborah Harkness] on basically anyone who will listen to me so I would have to go with that one!
Marissa: Right now my two big series are The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo which all three books are out so you can sit and read them and marathon them so you don’t have the pain of waiting for the next book like I did!
Nikki: And the Darkling prequel is in the Barnes and Noble edition of Ruin and Rising so you can have that too!
Marissa: And then I am also super obsessed with The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski and there’s only one out — The Winner’s Curse just came out this year and I just finished and early copy of The Winner’s Crime and it was AMAZING.
Nikki: I would just echo Marissa and say I was on The Grisha Trilogy for about six months. I came into it when the third one was just coming out so I came into it at the right time.
Jessica: Oh wait, can I add one more? I also pitch The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

I had SUCH a great time interviewing these wonderful ladies and what a fantastic night it was! Another huge thank you to them for some really great answers and such a fun interview!

After the interview, we headed downstairs for the live event! I was so excited to moderate and I cannot express enough how excellent these ladies are! They really had such great answers to everything, they’re so much fun, and had great interactions with the crowd. Since the first interview is SO detailed, I’ll just give you a brief rundown of how the event went + some important things from the Q&A!

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 (I stole this picture from Katie/Polished Page Turners! I didn’t have a picture of me moderating since, well… I was moderating!) 

  • After the authors introduced their books, I asked them which of their characters is their favorite to write. Jessica Brody said that she loves to write Cody. Her editor actually wanted to cut that character but Jessica fought for him to be kept in the books! (She sends her editor all the fan letters for people who have told her that they love Cody!) Gennifer’s was (of course) her villain and Marissa’s favorite is Iko.
  • I asked the authors which power or ability from another panelist’s book they’d like to have and most agreed they’d want Seraphina’s super genius skills! Jesssica then said she’d want Adelice’s powers so she could rip people from universes if she didn’t like them.
  • The authors talked about the challenges they face in building worlds in their books and one of the hardest things was making sure everything worked in future books so the advice was to make sure you have those plans first! Marissa also created a very diverse and vast world incorporating many cultures so she had to make sure she did each of them justice.
  • I asked them about how their writing has changed from the beginning of the series (or book) to the end and many noticed their writing matured. Others ended up spelling things different (Nikki spelling “cruel” like “Crewel” and Gen finally fixing a typo!)
  • I asked which Hogwarts house their main characters would be in (the audience LOVED this) and they said:
    • Jessica: Seraphina –> Ravenclaw
    • Nikki: Hasn’t read or seen Harry Potter! (The only British person on the panel hasn’t read it, she said haha) She said “the best house” and knew that Slytherin was bad so NOT that one. The other ladies decided Lailah would Gryffindor
    • Gennifer: Adelice –> Gryffindor (and she has red hair! Maybe she could be a Weasley!)
    • Marissa: Agreed about Gryffindor and red with Gennifer for Scarlet. Cinder would also be Gryffindor and Cress would be Hufflepuff. Later a fan asked about all the boys and she said Kai would be Hufflepuff. We pressed “What about Thorne?” and she couldn’t decide. I said, “He probably dropped out!” and the authors laughed and agreed!
  • We wrapped up with panel with some audience Q&A!

Another HUGE thanks to these four wonderful authors! They were so fantastic and gracious for letting me grill them about their books all night and I couldn’t have been more thankful for the experience. A HUGE thank you to Macmillan to for providing me with this opportunity to interview the authors, moderate a book event, and make some of my dreams come true! It’s such an honor to be working with all of them.

Then after the panel, I stayed and chatted with some fellow bloggers and other event attendees before getting my books signed by all of the authors! (Poor Marissa. I made her sign my whole stack but she was really kind about it and happily personalized all ELEVEN. What a lady.)

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GIVEAWAY

The giveaway is thanks to the wonderful folks at Macmillan!! One lucky winner will receive ALL FOUR featured Fierce Reads books: UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody, UNRAVELED by Gennifer Albin, CRESS by Marissa Meyer, and LAILAH by Nikki Kelly! (This giveaway is US only.)

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) – Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) – Maggie StiefvaterTitle: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Date Completed: September 14, 2014
Publishing Info: October 21, 2014 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: ARC sent to me from Scholastic -- THANK YOU!
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
Related Posts: Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1), The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
    There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Review1

I actually had to wait a while after I finished BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE before I could form coherent thoughts (well, coherent enough to start actually writing a review). I waited until Nikki was reading so I could re-live the book through her because HOW was I supposed to write a review about this book? I really loved THE RAVEN BOYS and I fell in love with THE DREAM THIEVES, but absolutely everything in BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE was really stepped up a notch. My feels SKYROCKTED for just about every character and I was absolutely blown away by the things that went down in this book.

The character development for this book is out of this world. I absolutely love getting to know these characters more and more with each book I read in this series and of course, BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE was no exception to that. I think one of my favorite things is how complicated the relationship is amongst the friend group of Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah — that sounds like it’d be a negative thing, but it’s really not. It’s complicated because they really all are such a tight knit group that it’s like they become one entity. They always have each other’s backs, no matter the situation. They have such strong feelings for each other that they become so reliant on each person in the group and I love witnessing those bonds of friendship grown and strengthen with each book, and I’m so glad Nikki screen-capped this to me as she was reading because I had temporarily forgotten about it! (There is actually WAY more to that paragraph that adds to the LOVE but it’s long and you should read it for yourself :D)

Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want any other.

BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE sure had its share of “OMG moments” too. The book is chock full of FEELS of all kinds — rage, excitement, fear, passion, suspense, confusion, love. I was basically on an emotion-high the whole book. I loved how many new ideas were introduced as well as how elements from book one are still being built up. Maggie Stiefvater is excellent at prolonging suspense and maintaining mystery and as much as I’m DYING for answers, I’m still loving the fact that I don’t know everything yet. Maggie is also fantastic at “atmospheric writing” (is that a thing or did I just make that term up? I’m sure there’s a real term. Someone correct me!) — she has a knack for describing characters and emotions and situations without having to directly spell everything out. She creates a mood and a setting that takes the characters and the reader where they need to be and I just love being able to feel the book.

The mythology, fantasy, and paranormal aspects of the story all get a great boost in this book too. There were hints in book one, explanations in book two, and EVENTS in book three. The explorations — both literally and figuratively — of these supernatural players really drive the plot forward in BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, leading to some answers but even more questions too. Their presence floored me in many ways at many times and I cannot wait to see the reactions from readers as they discover them along with the characters!

Overall, BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE was absolutely a homerun for me. I absolutely loved every second of it and I already want to re-read it. I’ll probably have to re-read the whole series so far before book four comes out (to refresh my memory and just to enjoy them all again, especially knowing what I now know) and I am a ball of nerves until I get to read the next book! The wait will be long but no doubt worth it!

THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Characters1

Gansey // Character Obsessions: Glendower, friendship, mysteries, Blue. I had some major Gansey feels in this book. I think he’s the character that I really connected with most in BLLB because I got to see even more of his layers. We knew right from TRB that Gansey has at least two sides — nerdy, Glendower-obsessed Gansey and President Cellphone — but there’s so much more to his character than that too. I loved how he connected with Blue even more in this book (HONESTLY THE FEELS. I DIE) and there’s that ever-nagging thought that he’s STILL PROBABLY GOING TO DIE. Like, honestly. HOW CAN ONE PERSON HANDLE THESE FEELS.
Blue // Character Obsessions: The Raven Boys, finding her mom, family, friendship, security. I felt like I saw Blue’s character a lot in this book too. Not so much that she changed but that I really connected with her a lot more than I had in previous books and I felt like things got a little more personal than just her interactions with the raven boys. I got to know even more about her family, her past, and her inner-desires and there were even some hints at MORE things, but that’s something for the reader to discover on their own!

AddictionFactor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Shipping. Dear lord, my feels were a MESS with this book. So many feels for so many characters and I was shipping a few HARD.
Left Me Wanting More: EVERYTHING. OMG this book nearly killed me but I can’t wait to do it all over again. NEED MORE NOWWWW.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT

WHEW, what a wild ride this book was. I could not handle the feels but in a good way. I absolutely loved everything about it and I love how the series has progressed! Maggie Stiefvater fans, DO NOT WAIT TO READ THIS ONE!

Recommendations1

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        fairytales for wilde girls       grave mercy