Tag Archives: Witches & Wizards

Mini Reviews: The Hogwarts Library

I got the Hogwarts Library for Christmas from my dear friend Amy at Tripping Over Books and being able to read new (to me) Harry Potter books!? You know I immediately tore into them! The Hogwarts Library is a gorgeous collection of hardcover books of the “extra” Harry Potter books: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES, and THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD. These books also happened to juuuust come at the right time to assist me in completing my Goodreads challenge because I needed a few short & quick reads to help me along!


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find themCompleted: December 23, 2013
Publishing Info: November 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury (Hogwarts Library Edition)
Source: Hardcover set gifted from Amy at Tripping Over Books
Genre: Fantasy (MG/YA)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

   “A copy of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief, which means that the pounds and Galleons you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, I can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.  –– Albus Dumbledore
” –– From Goodreads

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FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is hard to review. The beginning was actually… Kind of slow. There’s an explanation and foreword from Newt Scamander about different beasts, how they’re classified, and his adventures to track them all down, but a lot of it felt very textbook, which, well… This is a reference book for wizards! I shouldn’t be surprised haha.

Once I got past the foreword, it was actually a lot of fun reading about the different beasts! It was interesting to see which ones were classified as dangerous and which ones were “boring” (I love that JK Rowling even invented boring creatures haha). The book doesn’t really read like a book — it really is a frame of reference and so the beasts are merely listed and described.

I loved the “real writings” from Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The book is marked as Harry Potter’s official copy so there are occasional notes from the characters and that was honestly my favorite part haha! It’s something fun to zip through but doesn’t really read like a novel so don’t be surprised when you pick it up! Still fun to thumb through and check out all of the fun beasts and creatures from the series.


Quidditch Through the AgesCompleted: December 23, 2013
Publishing Info: November 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury (Hogwarts Library Edition)
Source: Hardcover set gifted from Amy at Tripping Over Books
Genre: Fantasy (MG/YA)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

   “If you have ever asked yourself where the Golden Snitch came from, how the Bludgers came into existence or why the Wigtown Wanderers have pictures of meat cleavers on their robes, you need Quidditch Through the Ages. This invaluable volume is consulted by young Quidditch fans on an almost daily basis.
    Proceeds from the sale of this book go to Comic Relief, who will use your money to continue improving and changing lives – work that is even more important and astonishing that the three and a half second capture of the Golden Snitch by Roderick Plumpton in 1921.
— Albus Dumbledore” –– From Goodreads

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QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES was a bit more enjoyable for me. It’s still a sort of reference book but there are a lot of little stories too since we’re getting more info on Quidditch history. It’s not just pure reference and involves small anecdotes and facts about Quidditch itself and players throughout history.

One thing that always ceases to amaze me is how much detail J.K. Rowling puts into her worlds. These companion books are just further proof of that. She not only invents the sport of Quidditch, but also comes up with famous players, how the game was invented, rules, fouls, penalties, and so much more.

I think my favorite thing was learning more about the history of the sport, taking us back hundreds of years. The details are just incredible and this book flowed a lot more smoothly versus an index of beasts (see above). I almost wish there was another section that was a bit more reference like, listing a sort of Guiness Book for Quidditch — facts of longest game, best player, most fouls, shortest game — some of these facts were actually mentioned in the book, but I’d like to see them as a list (although I’m sure someone’s listed it on a website somewhere. If so, link me up)! 


The Tales of Beedle the BardCompleted: December 24, 2013
Publishing Info: November 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury (Hogwarts Library Edition)
Source: Hardcover set gifted from Amy at Tripping Over Books
Genre: Fantasy (MG/YA)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

   “The Tales of Beedle the Bard contains five richly diverse fairy tales, each with its own magical character, that will variously bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril.
    Essential and enjoyable reading for Muggles and wizards alike, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a uniquely magical volume. With illuminating notes by Albus Dumbledore.
    Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.” –– From Goodreads

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THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD may be one of the most well-known of the companion books due to its heavy involvement in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s a collection of fairy tales/fables (although they know fairies so they don’t really call them “fairy tales”) from the wizarding world.

THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD was much easier to read as a continuous novel. It’s an actual collection of stories, each with commentary from Albus Dumbledore after them, breaking down the true message and and possible information surrounding the retellings and modifications to the tale. The last tale in this collection is in fact the tale of the three brothers that Hermione shared in HP7.

I really enjoyed these short stories! They were a lot of fun to read and like usual, just add a deeper layer to the entire world. It was just more thing to make me feel like I was really in the wizarding world and perhaps, just maybe, it really could exist, hidden from Muggle eyes.

Fortnight of Fright: Guest Post from Author Jessica Spotswood!

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

Last year, 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 this year and we have a TON of fun Halloween things planned for you!

Today I am SO excited to host author Jessica Spotswood whom you may know from her books BORN WICKED and STARCURSED (and book three SISTER’S FATE is out August 2014)! She’s sharing with us her mom’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (which sound FABULOUS) and of course, her favorite witches of all time! Take it away, Jessica!

In honor of Halloween, here’s one of my favorite recipes: my mom’s recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.  

3c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1.5 cups vegetable oil or applesauce
16 oz can pumpkin
2 cups chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, vegetable oil/applesauce, and pumpkin. Mix until everything’s incorporated but be careful not to overmix. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake 16-20 minutes at 400 degrees. (Makes about 36 depending on muffin size)

And here’s a list of my top 7 (seems a good witchy number) favorite witches — the Cahill sisters not included, of course! 

  1. Hermione Granger  (Harry Potter series)
  2. Luna Lovegood (ditto)
  3. Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  4. Samantha Stevens (Bewitched – I loved watching reruns of that show when I was little!)
  5. The three witches from Macbeth
  6. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz
  7. Kat Stephenson from Stephanie Burgis’s Kat, Incorrigible series 

Honorable mention: the New Orleans witches from the new show The Originals (the Vampire Diaries spinoff) seem to have potential! 

We also had Jessica answer some quick and fun Halloween Q&A! We like getting to know authors a little bit more, especially when it has to do with their Halloween preferences 🙂

HALLOWEEN Q&A

Why do you love Halloween? It’s a good excuse to dress up, eat candy, and have a party!

Do you have any fun Halloween memories?  Yes! We used to go up to my grandparents’ cabin in the woods and carve pumpkins and walk down to the lake, where people would gather to set the pumpkins afloat on a giant raft as an offering to the Hairy Hand of Fuller Lake (a local ghost story).

What was the best costume you ever had? (Or if you don’t have one, someone else’s): I like this picture (see attached) of me and my sisters from 1990. I’m the genie (with blue eyeshadow?), my sister S is the pumpkin, and A is the witch. 

Sisters Hween 90

Do you prefer mild scares or hair raising horror? Mild scares — more psychological horror than gross-out stuff. My favorite recent scary book was April Genevieve Tucholke’s Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. There’s this scene with spooky children in a graveyard that totally creeped me out!

FAVORITES

Halloween Candy? Reese’s peanut butter cups

Paranormal creature? (ghouls, gobilins, vampires, witches, etc) Witches, of course!

Halloween Movie? Scream is probably my favorite scary movie.

Halloween TV episodes or TV Shows? My fave scary shows are The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off, The Originals! I don’t know if they are truly “scary” so much as “excuses to watch cute guys” though.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SC cover2Jessica Spotswood is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles: BORN WICKED (2012), STAR CURSED (2013), and SISTERS’ FATE (August 2014). She grew up in a tiny, one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where she could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or – most often – with her nose in a book. Now Jess lives in Washington, DC with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. She can be found doing yoga, teaching writing workshops for teens, or – most often – with her nose in a book. Some things never change.

Find Jess online!
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Cahill Witch Inspiration Pinboard

Another BIG BIG thank you to Jessica Spotswood! It was such a pleasure to have her fun thoughts on Halloween and share a delicious recipe with us (which I most certainly am trying!!) — If you haven’t read her books yet, I highly recommend them! They’re absolutely wonderful!

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) – J.K. Rowling

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 22, 1998 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 29, 2013
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
    And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.
    But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself.
  

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I did a full review of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCEROR’S STONE but I opened up a new draft to start my review for HP2 and… My mind went blank. It’s honestly so hard to write a full review of a book and a series that I’ve loved and cherished for half of my childhood and all of my adult life so far (it’s totally epic) so it’s hard to put THINGS down into words, ya know? I think I actually know the series TOO well to write a review because I really know how everything goes!

What I can say is that it’s interesting starting over from the beginning. I haven’t done that in MANY YEARS because before when I would re-read Harry Potter, I wouldn’t necessarily do it in order. Books four, five, six, and seven are my favorites so usually I would just pick those up and re-read out of order since really, I knew the series so well anyway. The first three books are the ones I’ve re-read the least but the first two are also the ones I think have the closest movie adaptations so with a few minor exceptions, I still knew exactly how it all went.

I’ll just briefly recap the things I loved about HP and the CoS here:

  • Rule-breaking Hermione with the Polyjuice potion! You go, girl.
  • The mild annoyance and mild hilarity that is Gilderoy Lockhart
  • Learning so much more about Tom Riddle (and there were more tidbits in the book than in the movie (which that’s usually the case, but I thought that was interesting!))
  • Watching that best friendship between Harry and Ron really start to develop into a bond that extended beyond Ron and to becoming almost a part of his family

I’m also not a Harry-Ginny shipper so I won’t even go there. Their relationship always felt weird to me for some reason — both books AND movies — so it’s cute to see Ginny acting all love struck around him, but doesn’t get me all mushy for the future.

So what was your favorite think about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets versus HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Are you a fan of Harry and Ginny? Don’t you just LOVE Lucius Malfoy? (No, seriously. I love how evil he is and somehow I really just love him.) Are you a Dobby-love or a Dobby hater? Lockhart: Funny or annoying? Inquiring minds want to know!!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: September 1998 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 13, 2013 (re-read)
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.
    But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

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I’ve re-read the entire Harry Potter series countless times (seriously. I’ve lost count… Then again, I didn’t keep track when I first started all these re-reads) and before I started getting back into reading, whenever I needed a book, Harry Potter was my go-to. I’d finish the series and then just start all over again and for a while there, it was pretty much the only thing I read except for a few Meg Cabot books. I felt like it was time for a re-read because I really missed reading this series and I toiled over the fact that I’m falling further and further behind on my reading and wasn’t going to have time to do it. Lucky for me, I had plenty of friends who assured me that the audio was amazing and the perfect way to do my re-reads. And they were right.

It’s hard to review a book I’ve re-read countless times and that everyone already knows so well but I’m going to do my best! I will say that as a blogger, re-reading this series was kind of an entirely different experience. I was paying more attention to how the characters interacted and MUCH more attention to the world building which, BRAVO, JK Rowling because everything about this book is fantastic. Having more of a analytical approach to reading actually enhanced this experience for me because I was paying so much more attention to all of the details and the foreshadowing was that much more interesting as well.

I loved going through this discovery with Harry again for the first time. Obviously the movies have to cut things out and some minor things are switched around (like which character said what) for production, but Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone being the first book, this is definitely the closest book to movie adaptation of the series. One of the best parts about this movie series being so big as well (and also have watched the movies countless times too) is that listening to the audio was like watching the movie in my head. It’s great to be able to picture the characters in full. Usually when I read, I end up picking up on the author’s details of character descriptions (or sometimes I don’t… Oops) but I don’t usually see a specific face in my head. Since I don’t know the “person”, it’s hard for me to make up a face to match. I know the Harry Potter movies so well that it’s easy for me to picture each and every character as well as their mannerisms so it just makes the audiobook that much more lively for me.

I think the thing I was most impressed with was re-living all of the world building. In some fantasy books, the world building stops at the world and really, there can be some pretty amazing worlds out there. But JK Rowling right off the bat gets so detailed. She’s clearly thought every small thing out and plotted this whole world out for her readers which is really why I think these books are so amazing and almost feel real. We not only see the characters but we see their families, their friends, their teachers. We see Hogwarts but it also has ghosts, houses, rules, sports, classes, books, potions — all of which even have their OWN histories. There’s the wizarding world outside of Hogwarts with shops, communities, subdivisions, strategically placed wizards and squibs in the Muggle world. EVERYTHING IS THOUGHT OUT. Which is also why I really think this world is real and JK is just trying to BOLDLY TELL US that there really is magic out there!

Audiobook Impressions

Re-reading the Harry Potter series on audio is making me fall in love with it all over again and I’m SO happy that Jim Dale narrates these. I think I first fell in love with his narration on Pushing Daisies (I miss Ned the Piemaker… Sorry– focus, focus.) and was SO excited when I turned on the audio of The Night Circus to find out he was doing the narration for that too.
Okay, sorry. Sidetracked again… The narration of Harry Potter is wonderful. Jim Dale just has that narrator’s voice and it has a certain magic of its own. From the regality of Dumbledore to the peevishness of, well, Peeves (RIGHT? I totally forgot about Peeves after watching the movies for so many years), Jim Dale just totally nails the audio. If you’re looking for a good way to re-read Harry Potter (or read for the first time if you haven’t read it yet!), the audiobooks are totally the way to go!

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Harry Potter // Character Obsessions: Quidditch, learning magic, avoiding the Dursleys, suspecting Snape.
You know what… Harry has actually never been my favorite character. Yes, yes, I do like him, but he was just never quite my style. I fully appreciate every adventure that he’s been on, the hardships he goes through and okay… I guess in HP1, he is kind of a favorite. I mean, the main character and show-stealer SHOULD be a favorite, right? It’s just SO hard to separate this book from the others when I know the rest of the series back and forth.
Ron Weasley // Character Obsessions: Adventures, sarcasm, living up to his brothers.  
I think Ron was always a favorite. I can’t remember a time when his little quips, vivid blush, and natural awkwardness wasn’t endearing to me. I love the Weasleys as a family as well because they just warm my heart and each one of them just feels like they should be a part of my family (I wish). Anyway… In HP1, I love Ron for the way he pushes Harry into adventures and is truly the best friend and not just a best friend character. It’s an instant bond between Harry and Ron and I love seeing that friendship grow from the beginning all over again.
Hermione Granger // Character Obsessions: School, studying, answering questions, being a know-it-all, mastering spells.
Since I know where our Hermione ends up, it’s hard to feel irritation towards her like Harry and Ron did at first in this book… But I can appreciate how a know-it-all like Hermione would get on people’s nerves! As a kid, she doesn’t know how to control how she comes off to other people and that really hurts her reputation at first. I love how she, Ron, and Harry really became friends and how there was no doubt after that moment.
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Kept Me Hooked On: Re-reads. I’ve been dying to re-read Harry Potter for a while now so thank goodness for the audiobooks! I have NOT had any time whatsoever to fit in another re-read so this audio was PERFECT for me.
Left Me Wanting More: Wow, I actually sat here at the keyboard trying to come up with something and I can’t. Seriously, these books are too perfect, especially once you’ve fallen deeply in love with them and come back to revisit.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT! Of course.

Oh, COME ON, people. It’s Harry Potter. Just go buy this series. In multiple formats.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER

        The Night Circus        Shadow and Bone

A Fortnight of Fright: Halloween Reads!

Welcome to A Fortnight of Fright! Two weeks of Halloween any way you can possibly see it, hosted by me (The Book Addict’s Guide) and my wonderful co-host, Alyssa @ Books Take You Places!

In this edition of A Fortnight of Fright, we’re talking about all of our favorite Halloween reads! To keep it spooky in October, I read Ten by Gretchen McNeil, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood and Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard. Here’s a great list of some more Halloween Reads from your fellow bloggers!

GHOST STORIES/SPIRITS
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Reviews: Lost in a Great BookReading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Reviews: Tales of WhimsyAppraising Pages
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Reviews: YA CrushGone Pecan

WITCHES AND MAGIC
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Reviews: Book A WorldBittersweet Enchantment
The Harry Potter series
Reviews: The Cheap Reader reviews HP1, HP2, HP3

VAMPIRES
The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Reviews: Tripping Over Books
The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
Revies: Ink and Page
Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz
Reviews: The Dancing Nerd Writes Again
The Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris

ZOMBIES
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Reviews: Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf
Feed by Mira Grant
Reviews: Book Goonie
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

If none of those do it for you, Quinn from Quinn’s Book Nook has some great suggestions to whet your whistle!

I don’t know about you, but I love a good ghost story.  And what better time to read a ghost story than Halloween?  One of my favorite writers of ghost stories is Mary Downing Hahn.  Hahn had written numerous children’s/middle-grade ghost stories, and each one is just as awesome as the next.  Well, I have only read four of her books, but I have loved them all.  There are all kinds of ghosts in Mary Downing Hahn’s novels, mischievous ghosts, confused ghost children, and, of course, evil ghosts.  Hahn’s books aren’t too scary, but there is a definite creep factor.  I’m going to talk about the four ghost stories I’ve read by Mary Downing Hahn.

My favorite is definitely All the Lovely Bad Ones: A Ghost Story.  In this story, siblings Travis and Corey visit their grandmother, staying at said grandmother’s Vermont Inn.  There Travis and Corey meet see ghost children who love to pay pranks on the Inns guests.  But there is a more frightening spirit living at the Inn, that even the ghost children are afraid of.  

Another fantastic novel is Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story.   Ali vacations in Maine with her Aunt Dulcie and her four-year-old cousin Emma.  Once they arrive, Ali and Emma soon meet another girl called Sissy. But Sissy is a bad influence on Emma, and keeps telling the girls a story about a girl (Teresa) who drowned in the lake years ago.  Teresa’s body was never found.  Ali makes many discoveries on the vacation, including secrets of her mother’s past.

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story tells the story of siblings Molly and Michael, and their whiny stepsister, Heather.  When their new, blended family moves into a new house, that was once a church, and comes with its very own graveyard does not leave Molly and Michael very happy.  But when Heather meets a ghost named, Helen, Molly starts worrying about Heather’s (and her own) safety.  Besides the evil spirit in All the Lovely Bad Ones, Helen is the ghost that freaked me out the most.

Lastly, The Old Willis Place: A Ghost Story tells the story of Diana and her brother Georgie, who cannot leave the old Willis place.  What is unique about this story is that Diana and Georgie (who tell the story) are the ghosts.  Diana befriends the new caretaker’s daughter, Lissa, and with her help, Diana hopes they can release themselves from what binds them to the old Willis Place.

Thanks so much, Quinn!! Those look like some scary but great reads, and perfect to put us in the Halloween mood!

So tell us, what are some of your favorite books to put you in the Halloween spirit? 

Born Wicked (Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) – Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) – Jessica SpotswoodTitle: Born Wicked (Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) by Jessica Spotswood
Publishing Info: February 7, 2012 by Penguin
Source: Library
Genres: Alternate Reality, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 9, 2012

    Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

Breaking It Down Further: Cate Cahill and her sisters are witches. When their mother (also a witch) died years ago, she left them begging them to promise to keep their magic a secret — from their father, from the staff, and especially from the Brothers. The Brothers overtook the witches when they were in power and are now on a constant witch-hunt, teaching the girls of the community all of the evils of magic. It’s now Cate’s duty to keep her younger sisters safe from being shipped off to a ship to work practically slave labor or to the mental institution, and she manages quite well. That is, until her life is turned upside down in a matter of days. Her father hires a governess named Elena who Cate cannot trust although she’s not quite sure why. Cate finds out she had a godmother who was a witch. And she begins to fall in love with their gardener and old friend Finn Belastra. Now Cate struggles even more to keep their darkest secret, keep their family from falling apart, and figure out if it’s possible for her to have a true love.

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BORN WICKED was quite the interesting book! I think one thing I really liked was the fact that the story line wasn’t really good magic vs bad magic and their battle against each other. Of course, it did touch on the fact that magic can be used improperly or for the wrong reasons. BUT the main idea of the book is the fact that magic is seen as unnatural and morally wrong as a whole. Poor Cate has to keep her family’s secret from the Brothers for fear that they will all be taken away – her conflict is with the Brothers and their teachings, as well as the conflict we seen within her family and her magic itself.

Right away, we see that Cate doesn’t like her magic. It’s been a hardship for her and some of the last words said to her made her doubt that it could ever be a good things. We find out she has the ability to do mind-magic and is fearful to ever use it, but had to use it on her father once to keep him from sending her away from her sisters to go off to school. Magic is also a conflict between Cate and her sisters, especially Maura. Maura wants to learn to use her magic and she finds it exciting. It’s difficult for the younger sisters to keep their magic under wraps and Cate is the one who always has to scold them, creating a sort of rift between them.
I really liked the interaction between Cate and her sisters. Although they are at odds and their secret puts quite a strain on their relationship, it just seemed so real. I feel like it’s not often that I come across relationships that feel as real as this so it was really nice to see. It really pulled me into the book and I felt more involved in it.

I absolutely adored Cate and Finn. It’s such a bittersweet romance because you can tell they’re just perfect for each other, but Cate’s proper match would be Paul. She also can’t ever marry Finn because even though her family isn’t quite held in the highest esteem, marrying Finn would still be marrying below her class, and that would make matters for the Cahill family even worse. I just loved them together though.

The ending of the book was quite surprising and visually shocking (in the sort of “finale” scene – I could just picture the whole thing!) – After that ending, I can’t wait to pick up the next book and see what happens!

character_breakdown1

Cate Cahill: It’s kind of hard to say how I feel about Cate. It’s really hard for me to gauge a character who’s forced to keep the most important aspect of her life a secret. But I guess that is a big part of the story – No one really gets to know Cate who doesn’t know about her magic. Well, I guess until Finn. I do have to say though, it was so nice to see her loosen up around certain people! I could just feel the tension that she has to carry around with her all the time and you could tell it’s definitely not easy!
Finn Belastra: Oh, Finn! I simply adored him. He just seemed like the perfect match for Cate and cute and polite and sweet and strong – But at the same time, I also felt bad for Paul. Even though Cate doesn’t love Paul, she still does like him and he’s a perfectly nice guy.
Tess Cahill: I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about Tess that just made me love her like the little sister I never had. She seems really mature for her age (12) and she just seemed like such a real character. I absolutely adored her.
Elena: Oooh, this girl. I was with Cate — I didn’t trust her from the start. The story line following the entrance of this new governess was quite interesting!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE BORN WICKED


The Deja Vu Review [5]

The Deja Vu Review is a new Sunday feature with mini-reviews from books I’ve read before I began my blog at The Book Addict’s Guide! Since I’ve been reading my whole life and only started my blog back in April of 2012, this is my opportunity to revisit some older books and share some mini-reviews of those that didn’t quite make it into the blog spotlight after the initial read.

This Week’s Topic: A book about magic

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1)Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 1 of 5 stars (DNF)
My Original GR Review: This book just wasn’t for me. I saw the musical and I absolutely loved it. The book, however, was extremely different and I felt like there were a lot of unnecessary details, ideas, and concepts in the fact that it just made the book straight up bizarre. I only made it 45 pages into the book and just couldn’t bring myself to come back to it. I feel like this is either a love it or hate it book. Unfortunately I was not on the love it side. I would have kept reading if it was a short book, but I couldn’t make it through that many pages.
I think my mistake here was hoping it would be like the musical, which I adored! The musical is a very light adaptation. The book was extremely intense and a little too much so for me! I ended up not finishing and swapping the book.

 

The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1)The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My Original GR Review: Very interesting twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland tale. I like how it was intentionally different, making Wonderland a real place which Alice must claim back from her vicious aunt who stole the throne back from Alice’s mother. Very creative, quick read which keeps you reading until the end.
I still haven’t read more in the series yet, but I really did like this first book! I really enjoyed the retelling of Alice in Wonderland and how the magic of it all had a purposeful story instead of just chaos!