Review// A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Standalone
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: May 5, 2011
Book Length:  206 pages 
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

My Review:

“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

I physically picked this book up at the library and read the first page 3 different times this year at minimum before setting it back on the shelf every time. I had seen praise for it around Goodreads, but I was never really compelled to keep reading so I always put it back. Eventually, I let curiosity get the best of me and decided to keep going and what a good decision that was.

This book is about a boy named Connor whose mother has cancer. Every night, Connor has a terrifying dream that wakes him up at the exact same time, and almost every night, he is visited by a monster that takes the form of a yew tree behind his house. Following Connor as he came to terms with his mother’s illness was very sad. On top of having to deal with that, he gets bullied quite a bit and feels like no one understands him; he needed a friend or some sort of outlet and I just wanted to be there to give him a hug and tell him that it was going to be okay. For a lot of the book, Connor has a really tough exterior that he paints on for the world—even going so far as sticking up for his bullies at one point. It was clear that he wasn’t even sad anymore, he was just numb, and I think that is so much worse than sadness.

I am shocked to type what I am about to say after having done this very thing many times before I finally read it all the way through, but this book was hard to put down. The monster kept promising Connor stories, and I was really interested to learn what the moral of them were. In addition, there was a lot of suspense built around what happened in the dream that kept waking him up every night, and it wasn’t until the end that you got to find that out. Although I felt extreme sadness about the situation with his mom, I got through most of it expecting not to cry. It’s safe to say that we can go ahead and add that to the list of things about this that I ended up being wrong about.

This book taught me to be thankful—thankful for health, family, friends, everything. Life is rarely fair or easy, and for Connor, it was neither, but the lessons the monster taught him about life, death, and learning to let go are things that I think readers of all ages can connect with and what makes this such a touching read.

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Review// The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #1
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Book Length:  369 pages 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy

My Review:

The Rules of Magic: do as you will, but harm no one; what you give will be returned to you threefold; and fall in love whenever you can.

I was hooked on the idea of this story the second I found out it was about witches; I could really use some more books about witches in my life. I think one of the best parts about this was the characters. Franny, Jet, and Vincent all had very different and distinct personalities but they worked so well as a team. Although they had their disagreements, as all siblings do, they always watched out for one another and had the others’ best interests at heart. Something I adored was getting to watch them grow old as the story progressed; usually a story will only show you a snapshot in time of characters’ lives, but this took you through practically their whole lifespans. This was made even better by real historic events being woven through the story as the decades went on to make it very believable.

Yes, one of the major themes in this book is love, but more than that, it is about family, growing up, loss, and choosing courage over caution to face it all. Most of the time, you don’t get to choose the cards you are dealt in life, but none of the siblings ever let the looming curse stop them from choosing courage to make it through, even though caution was always more convenient.

This was such a great book and one I would recommend to anybody looking for a feel-good, magical story.

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Disney Channel Halloween Movies Tag

Yay, a Halloween-inspired tag! Thank you to Rendz of Reading With Rendz for tagging me to do this; I was really excited because Disney Channel Halloween movies are my life this time of year. (And no, I don’t care how old I get, I will always love the classic Disney Channel movies – Halloween or not – of my childhood. No shame whatsoever).

Rules:

  1. Tag the creator (bookprincessreviews) of the DHM Tag.
  2. Thank the person who tagged who.
  3. Answer the questions.
  4. Tag five more people.

Halloweentown: Where is your favorite place to go for Halloween or a place you want to go?

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Can I literally say Halloweentown or is that cheating? The first Halloweentown movie is my favourite one they play on Disney Channel during this season. Normally I would be terrified to go where all of those creatures live, but that movie made them seem friendly and I was always so jealous of those kids. Really hoping I’m not too old for a distant relative to show up on Halloween night and tell me I’m a witch…

Under Wraps: What’s something that used to be scary to you and then you realized it wasn’t just the mummy in this movie?

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The dark used to be very scary to me and I’ve learned to not be as afraid of it, buuut sometimes I still can be! My issue is that I really like to read about/ watch things that freak me out, so if I do it too close to bed time I am in for a long, sleepless night.

Tower of Terror: What is the scariest place you’ve ever been?

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I went to one of those amusement parks around Halloween time that has mazes where people dressed in scary costumes jump out at you, and where people come at you with chainsaws. You can imagine I did not sleep well that night. But, like I said, I enjoy things that freak me out… even if I am tortured by the thoughts of it later.

Twitches: If you could be any supernatural creature, what would you be?

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I would want to be a witch for sure!!! I was that girl whose costume was a witch like 5 times in a row in elementary school.

Don’t Look Under the Bed: Were you scared of monsters when you were a kid? When did it stop?

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Yes. I used to practically suffocate under blankets before I allowed my feet to dangle off my bed for fear that a monster would grab my foot. I don’t even know when it stopped, but I’m gonna guess it was a lot more recently that I would prefer to admit.

Phantom of the Megaplex: Do you watch scary movies? If so, what is your favorite or the one you got most afraid of?

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I do! Does it count if I’m covering my eyes (more than) half the time though?! I liked IT – I’ve only watched the remake – and Poltergeist, and I remember watching The Strangers when it came out and being terrified. Going to a remote cabin in the woods??? Noooooope. Count me out.

The Scream Team: Who would be on your dream team if you went on a ghost/supernatural creature hunt?

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Rhysand from the ACOTAR series. I feel like he would be a good protector, and like he’s a High Fae so he has some cool powers I think may be helpful. (I’m only on the second book, no one spoil him for me!!!) Also, I liked Rendz’s idea of bringing along a hot guy to hide behind so I am totally stealing that.

Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire: Have you ever witnessed something/someone that could only be explained by the paranormal? If yes, what/who?

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I’m going to sound crazy, but when I was a kid my bed used to be close to my window and one night I heard a little kid calling for their dad over and over in the exact same tone (sounded like a broken record) at like 11PM. First of all, no little kid lived next door, and second, I don’t think one would be outside by themselves at 11PM on a school night in the dead of winter. The second I called for my own dad, the voice stopped. Pretty sure I slept with the covers aaaaalll the way up to my nose that night.

This tag was so fun! I tag: 

Shalini

Becky

Catherine

Angelica

Kristin

As always, if you don’t want to do the tag or have done it already, no pressure to do it! And if I didn’t tag you but you want to do it, feel free to say I tagged you so I can see your answers 🙂

Happy reading,

Catherine

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Review// A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns & Roses
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Book Length: 416 pages 
Publisher: Blooomsbury USA Children's
Review: 3/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

My Review:

No one understands how happy I am to finally be done this book. No one. Not because I disliked it, but because it took me way too long to get into it once I did—which is sad because the second half was actually really great!

If I went to look up ‘hyped’ in the dictionary, this book/series would be plastered all over the page—you wouldn’t even be able to see the definition. Do I think it’s for good reason? Somewhat. The last half of the book was amazing, but it didn’t entirely make up for how painfully slow the first half was. I kept asking myself if I was reading the same book everyone else has been because nowhere had I been warned of how anticlimactic it could be at times. I appreciate a slow burn, but not too slow a burn which is what I felt this was.

However, when the pace picked up, it really picked up and I had a hard time not thinking about reading it every chance I got. Honestly, once I saw that there was a map at the beginning of the book, I was all in and that aspect did not disappoint. The world Sarah J. Maas created  was really cool; I wish I could actually see it come to life (although that would be bad because we as humans wouldn’t stand a chance in it, but whatever).

Feyre was also such a badass character, and it was nice to see her walls come down a bit as the story progressed. I felt like, although flawed, she was a pretty well-rounded protagonist and someone I wanted to root for. I liked being kept guessing whether characters like Lucien, Tamlin, and Rhysand were ‘good’ or ‘evil’ because that is what kept me going through the slower parts. I have heard these names floating around the book community for a very long time, and it was exciting to actually be reading about them finally!

Hopefully the next books bring more action and excitement because I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

What did you think of this book if you’ve read it? Did you have the same problem with the pacing? Does the series get even better? I would love to know!

Catherine

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Tag: Three Day Lyrical Challenge | Day 3

Thank you Sara for the tag! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, please do 🙂 I’m kind of sad that this is the last day of the challenge, I had a lot of fun writing for this one.


The rules are simple:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  3. Nominate three other bloggers each day.

The Best Day
Taylor Swift

I really enjoy Taylor Swift in general, but her older music is where it’s at for me. This song makes me really emotional every single time I listen to it. It’s told in a narrative of her growing up and having the best days with her mom. My mom and I have always been very close, so listening to it makes me think about my own experiences with her. I had actually never watched the music video before writing this post, and let me tell you it’s a good thing this is the last day of this challenge because I think I did some major water damage to my computer. Totally worth it though, because this song is beautiful.

I’m five years old
It’s getting cold
I’ve got my big coat on
I hear your laugh
And look up smiling at you
I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch
And the tractor rides
Look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs
And fall asleep on the way home
I don’t know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you’re not scared of anything at all
Don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today
I’m thirteen now
And don’t know how
My friends could be so mean
I come home crying
And you hold me tight
And grab the keys
And we drive and drive
Until we find a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop
‘Till I forgotten all their names
I don’t know who I’m gonna talk to now at school
But I know I’m laughing
On the car ride home with you
Don’t know how long it’s gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today
I have an excellent father
His strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
Inside and out he’s better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house
And I’ve got space to run and hide
And I had the best days with you
There is a video I found
From back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen
And you’re talking to me
It’s the age of princesses and pirate ships
And the seven dwarfs
And Daddy’s smart
And you’re the prettiest lady in the whole wide world
And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side
Even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
Staying back and watching me shine
And, I didn’t know if you knew
So I’m taking this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today.

Tagging: Bibi | Lily | Celine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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