Slightly Spooky Reads // Letters to October (13)

Dear October,

There are many things I like about you. The way the leaves glint copper and bronze in the sun. How there are fewer bugs around. And the countdown to Halloween… to some extent. As fun as the anticipation and festivities are, I’m not so fond of the actually scary parts of Halloween. Anything that remotely looks like it might have a jump scare or a girl with hair dangling across her face and I’m done. (In this context, ‘done’ means my bags are packed and I’ve moved to the other side of the planet.)

So, as today is Friday the 13th, here are some slightly spooky (and some not at all spooky) books for my fellow scaredy cat readers.

1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

This story is narrated by Katherine ‘Merricat’ Blackwood, who lives with her sister Constance and their uncle. Years ago, the rest of their family was killed in an incident involving arsenic and now, the Blackwoods are something like outcasts in society. Apart from necessary trips to the village, they manage to live in their little bubble until one day, an arrival from a distant relative starts to unravel their peaceful existence.

At the start of this book, you will likely get the sense that something is not quite right. There’s a sense of unease and tension from the very beginning, which only grows until the horrifying climax.

Spooky rating: 4/5 non-spooky ghosts
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Books I’ve Read This Year

This year, my reading target was set at a very ambitious… *drumroll* 22. I know. Please hold the applause until the end of the post.

Because I didn’t read for myself much during my university years, I thought I would ease back into it and keep my target relatively reachable. And now, (a bit more than) halfway into the year, I have reached half my target. So in order to celebrate not totally failing, here is a quick recap of the books I have read so far this year.

IMG_70751. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Let me start off by saying re-reads count. Even though this book is my favourite in the series, I had only read it once, so I started the year off with it. Reading it again after several years was like experiencing it for the first time, and I loved it.

It gets 4.5/5 Roonil Wazlibs.

2. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

True to Sophie Kinsella style, this book was lighthearted, funny, and a cute little romantic comedy to get stuck into. The moments between the love interests were lovely and not too overdone. Whilst I didn’t like Poppy quite as much as some of Kinsella’s other characters (especially Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopoholic), I did enjoy her story overall. 

3.5/5 stars.

3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I read this one so fast so I could finish it before watching the film. The dialogue read as very natural — which I think is always a difficult task — and certain moments in the correspondence between Simon and Blue were so cute.

On the other hand, the pace dragged at some points. Although Blue’s mysterious identity kept me reading, the plot didn’t engage me quite as much as I wish it had. That being said, I was happy to see diverse characters. Yay for diverse characters.

3.5/5 Oreos.

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A Year in Books: January

Oh no, I hear you say. Not this again…

Well, yeah. I’m bringing back A Year in Books!

giphyAnyone else excited? Just me? Ok. | © Universal Pictures, via Giphy

For those of you who don’t know, A Year in Books is a series I started in 2015. The aim was:

  • read a couple of books per month
  • choose the one I liked best
  • and review it on the blog

All in a bid to encourage me to read more outside my syllabus. Perhaps it was sound in theory, but like most of my projects, it sort of petered out and faded into the background, never to be spoken of again. Until now!

The main reason A Year in Books failed was because I didn’t enjoy writing my original reviews (if you’re interested in reading them, they’re here. Spoiler alert, there are only three). The content felt dull and the process of writing them just wasn’t fun. So I’m going to try a few new things, see what works. The main thing I want to do is to talk about a range of books, and not necessarily about ones I liked.

So, since January is long over and I’ve some catching up to do, I’ll get started with the book of the month! Without a doubt, this would have to be…

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