Fortnight of Fright 2014: Book Review – The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Sajda from Across the Words)

FoF2014

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, Sajda from Across the Words is reviewing THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER! Check out her review below!


Fortnight of Fright 2014: Book Review – The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Sajda from Across the Words)Title: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Date Completed: See Sajda's Review!
Publishing Info: October 23, 2012 by Simon and Schuster
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

I’m super excited to be reviewing The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin for Fortnight of Fright. This was one of those books that seriously crept me out when I first read it and so, I think it’s absolutely perfect as a Halloween read. If you have not read the first book in this series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, this review may contain a few spoilers – consider yourself forewarned!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer is an incredibly gripping and captivating sequel. The first book ends with a crazy plot twist and we find out that Jude is not actually dead. We also discover that crazy supernatural things are happening to both Mara and Noah. In this second book, Mara basically continues to lose her mind. She really wants to lead a life as a normal girl but given her deadly powers and hallucinations, it’s difficult for her to mask what’s actually happening to her. Also, she finds it very hard to trust anyone and to get people to believe her story.  I truly felt terrible for Mara; she undergoes so many struggles and everyone pretty much doubts her sanity.

The one person that Mara can count on is the immensely electrifying and swoon-worthy Noah Shaw. I absolutely love Noah as a character and I was so glad to see more of him in this sequel. He becomes an even more complex and mysterious character, which I thought just added to his attractiveness. The relationship between Mara and Noah definitely intensifies in this book but their love for each other is also tested after numerous challenges arise.

Michelle Hodkin is quite spectacular at creating very chilling and haunting scenes. She includes some terrifying moments involving stalkers, creepy dolls, and psycho asylum patients. Despite the frightening nature of the book, Hodkin is also pretty great at offering much-needed comic relief (I love the banter between Jaime and Mara – they’re so witty together).

In this second book, we receive some answers but are also left with a ton of questions. Everything is incredibly mysterious and you’ll be left trying to figure out what could possibly be behind all of the disturbing occurrences Mara has to face. This book ends with a massive cliff-hanger; I’m so happy that I didn’t get around to reading it until this month because I have no idea how people lived with that ending for over two years! The ending is incredibly surprising and will pretty much leave you in agony.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re in luck because the third and last book in this series, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, is coming out on November 4 so there isn’t too long to wait! I was actually able to snag a copy of the third book early and just read it last week; it is absolutely chilling and I physically shuddered while reading some parts. If you’re looking for a mind-blowing and haunting paranormal series, this is definitely one that you will want to read!


Thanks, Sajda! I can’t wait to read this series. I’ve heard so many good things about it and I’m going in as blind as possible! Now I just need to pick these books up!

Fortnight of Fright 2014: Book Recommendations + Quiz (Caroline from The Attic)

FoF2014

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 Caroline from The Attic bringing you some Halloween book recommendations, but not just any old recs! Find the best Halloween read for you with her awesome quiz! Don’t delay — check out the graphic below!!


Having trouble figuring out what to read for Halloween? No worries! This handy-dandy quiz should help you out!

halloween quiz

The books:

Sadly, I could not fit every book into the quiz. But if you want even more Halloween bookish recommendations, check out this infographic from Epic Reads. Some books were on the quiz, some just missed the cut, and some are brand new!

What is your All Hallows Read?


A big thanks to Caroline for these fantastic Halloween recommendations! I just love the infographic/quiz (you know I do) and it’s just the thing to help people choose their next spooky read!

Book and a Beverage [78] – Hawwa from It Was Lovely Reading You

 

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 Hawwa from It Was Lovely Reading You!

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Name & Blog Name: Sawubona! My name is Hawwa, I recently turned sixteen years old [not young: old, and tired, and craving sleep] and I blog over at It Was Lovely Reading You. And no, unfortunately I don’t speak Zulu. I wish I did though.
Tell us a little about your blog! It Was Lovely Reading You was created one cold winter day just about two years ago out of boredom, and the idea that I could share my creative writing on an internet platform [although how I thought that would ever work when I don’t even show it to my family is a mystery still unsolved]. After six months of having three followers: an anonymous profile which creeped me out because I wanted to know who was reading the rants and raves of a teenager about life…my aunt, and – erm, myself… [In my defense it was encouragement. Two followers is, pitiful. Three is – maybe not so bad?!] I stumbled across a book blog. Cue fireworks and rainbows as I realized people shared opinions on books online, and I was not the only teenager obsessed with reading, nicknamed a ‘book vulture’ and craving more more more books all the time. The rest is history –
Oh, but what does my blog offer? Giveaways, book reviews, book photography, book graphics, bookish illustrations and more. I am a very visual and creative person so I try to break up the few reviews that I do with eye-catching and inspiring posts that are extremely fun to make, and to stare at: [I hope?]
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? (Link us up!) Firstly, I just changed the word spelt ‘favorite’ to ‘favourite’ because I am British and live in the land of rain and Harry Potter. Hence the change from alien American spelling to good ol’ English. Heh. But, back to the question at hand, as I trawl through my blog archive I can honestly say I don’t know. Each post is special to me in some way otherwise it would never see the light of day – Ah, found some. I enjoyed both writing, and reading the responses to my A Sea of Pages [The Novel Idea(s)] post I did, which actually turned into a tag after a few people decided to join in with moaning talking about their writing life. I also loved my Harry Potter: Bookish // V.II graphic-filled post I did, because who ever gets tired of Harry Potter + Art? And finally I liked my Keri Smith Collection post because I actually shared some of my art, and didn’t die of shame.
Got anything special coming up we should know about? Sadly: no. I started college a month ago and am currently drowning in homework, exams looming on the horizon and stress. So nothing extremely exciting is going to be happening in the coming future until maybe the winter holidays, just regular posting; however some of the posts coming up I am rather proud of!

book

Whatcha reading? The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins. I actually just finished it so I am in that uncertain place hovering between two fictional worlds. I feel rather like a ghost in limbo right now to be honest. A ghost with a torn heart though because whatdidIjustreadandcanIhavethenextbookNOWplease.
Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc) I was given it by a lovely human being with a book shaped heart. It’s a mystery who gave them their heart though – maybe Dorothy found it?
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? Because: whatdidIjustreadandcanIhavethenextbookNOWplease.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? WARNING: Do not read this book if you are just recovering from a case of book feels syndrome. I fear you may not survive. If you are fully recovered – go on ahead. But tread carefully.

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Whatcha drinking?  Nothing right now, I have a bottle of water in front of me but it’s too far away to reach…
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading? Mint tea, or a fruit smoothie, I am partial to both. [Not at the same time obviously]
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! UM UM UM UM UM UM a milkshake/smoothie.
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What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Top three. Can you hear theincredulity in my voice? I’m obviously going to cheat because what self-respecting book lover wouldn’t. I usually recommend to everyoneCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern,  If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell; and finally, even though this is aimed at middle-grade, I feel like anyone could read and enjoy it: theRuby Redfort series by Lauren Child
What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment?  I’m not a majorly successful blogger in that I am not a popular/well-known blog but I GET TO DO COOL STUFF TOO OK. Okay? Okay….I nearly fell on the floor when I was allowed to interview one of my favourite authors ever [sadly not face to face]: Laini Taylor. I was extremely proud when I had my first ever article published on the Guardian website, and finally, when I realised I was quoted in a book [I suddenly saw my blog name in the front inside cover of Siege by Sarah Mussi when I was flicking through the new paperback in my local bookshop and danced around everywhere. Thankfully I was the only one there – although that saddens me a little].
Anything else you’d like to share? Don’t ask me why I know these things [and they’re probably all false information I haven’t had the energy to work out are lies] but did you know Dr. Seuss coined the word ‘nerd’ in his 1950 book ‘If I Ran the Zoo’? Oh and a bibliokleptomaniac is someone who steals books – Liesel, Rudy got it all wrong – sorry to disappoint you but your nickname isn’t sophisticated enough..*sobs in a corner*…

Thanks so much, Hawwa! Very excellent recs and I cannot wait to finally get into the Mara Dyer series! I’ve been meaning to for a long time!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know the Hawwa! Connect with her at the links below!
Blog // Twitter // Pinterest // Tumblr // Bloglovin’

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

 

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

FoF2014

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

TTT

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)

FoF2014

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.

Review1

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!

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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.

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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.
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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