Book Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

Book: The Haunting of Hill House

Author: Shirley Jackson

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Release date: 1959

Pages: 182

Genre: Horror

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Goodreads | Amazon

As someone who doesn’t like horror movies, I always assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy horror books either, which turned out to be a lie. Recently, I have discovered that I like a spooky, scary story from time to time. I had never heard about this book or the movie adaptation until recently,  when the Netflix show came out. I really want to watch that show, but I was intrigued enough to give the book a chance before watching it.

I was expecting a really scary book, but that’s not what I got. This is eerie and uncanny, and it definitely made me feel unsettled at times, but I was never truly scared. Shirley Jackson’s writing works perfectly to fuel the feeling that things are not what they seem, her writing not always makes sense and there’s a lot of description to build up the spooky atmosphere.

The story is told from Eleanor’s pov and even before she gets to Hill House, it’s easy to tell that she is a very particular woman. She has always felt trapped and lonely in her life, she gets distracted easily, she is very imaginative and creates entire fantasies in her head, sometimes not very pleasant ones. She is self-consious and doubts herself and from the very beginning you can tell she’s not gonna be a very reliable narrator.  In that sense, even before getting to Hill House, I already had a sense of not knowing what was real.

When Eleanor finally arrives, the other characters are introduced, none of them are very likeable but they are intriguing nonetheless. The book moves slowly, we get to see the characters becoming friends and exploring the house with only a few strange things happening, it takes a while before the spooky events start to happen. I understand that the wait is supposed to increase the suspense, but to me there were points when I was a bit bored and I felt the book was dragging. 

After certain point in the book, once more and more strange events have occured and Eleanor starts to lose her grip in reality, I found the book got a lot more interesting and compelling, because I couldn’t be sure of what was real and what wasn’t. I was especially doubtful about the interactions between Eleanor and some of the other character where the other characters were unpleasant, I couldn’t figure out if the the characters were unpleasant or they just seemed that way because I was seeing them through Eleanor’s eye and she had sucummed to madness at that point.

About the end I’ll say that I saw it coming, but the author managed to make me believe for one second that it wasn’t gonna go as I was expecting. Even if I saw it coming, I found the ending to be fitting with the story.

Overall, I’ll say this is a eerie and spooky book that would make you feel unsettled and doubt what’s real and what isn’t. If you’re just starting to read horror books, this may be a good one to try. 

 Rating: 3,8 stars 
Have you read this book? Did you watch the movie or the Netflix show? Do you have any recommendations for classic horror books that I should read?

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Book Review: City of Ghost by Victoria Schwab

City of GhostsBook: City of Ghost

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publisher:  Scholastic

Release date: August 28th 2018

Pages: 272

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

Goodreads | Amazon 

I want to start by saying that I don’t read that much middle grade so I was a bit hesitant to read this, but I’m gald to report that I ended up loving this spooky little story.

I really liked the main character, Cassidy, with her love for Harry Potter and photography. She is independent, loyal and a little bit reckless. She is a pretty cool main character. The one thing I found odd about her is that Cassidy is able to go into the Veil, so she goes in and sees the ghosts, she has been doing it for a year, but she has never tried to find out anything about her ability, why she has it or what is she supposed to do with it. That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I liked so many things about this book that this one thing didn’t make me enjoy the story less.

Now, going back to the things I liked about this book, Cassidy’s ghost best friend, Jacob, is adorable and I’m a bit worried about where his storyline because I feel like is gonna make me sad. But we’ll have to wait and see. I loved the focus Cass and Jacob’s friendship, they tease each other but at the same time are fiercely protective and loyal. Also, I liked the secondary characters including the very serious Lara, Cassidy’s quirky parents and the friendly Findley.

The setting is another great thing about his book, the descriptions of Edinburgh make it sound like a magical and spooky city that’s the perfect stage for this ghost story. This is one of those books where the setting becomes like another character of the story and in this case it’s a completely captivating character.

The plot in this book is very straight forward, but the worldbuilding is really interesting.  The whole concept of the Veil, how each person has a different Veil depending of how they died, how there’s people called the in- betweeners that can go to the Veil without being dead and the role they have to play there,  is all pretty fascinating.

But my favorite part of the book without a doubt is that there are a lot of ghosts in this story.  Some are friendly, others evil or lonely or scared or suffering and the thing that made this story so compelling is that we get a glimps of the moment in history when these people died and how that affected what kind of ghost they were. All the history of plagues, wars and execusions helped understand the ghosts Cassidy encounters, it grounds the story in reality and it gives it a haunting, spooky feeling. It obviously doesn’t go into full details because this is a story for younger readers, but it still mentions things like people being buried alive or children being murdered.

Overall, I had so much fun reading this spooky story full of lovable characters, ghost, history and a captivating setting.

Rating: 4 stars 
Have you read this book or is it on your tbr? Do you have recommendations for spooky middle grade books? Let me know in the comments! 

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Tome Topple TBR

tome topple tbr

Hi everyone! I’m participating in a few readathons in what’s left of 2018 and today I bring you my tbr for the first one.

For years I have been meaning to participate in Tome Topples but I always end up being really busy in the dates of the Readathon, this round I can finally join in and read some of the long books on my tbr. The goal is to read books that are over 500 pages, the readathon will take place from Nov 16th to Nov 29th and it’s hosted by Sam @Thoughts on Tomes, Adriana @Perpetual Pages, Sarah-Jane @The Book Life, Sian @Readers Rambles, Caz @Little Book Owl and Sam  @ Will Read For Booze.

There’s 5 challenges:

  1. Read more than 1 tome
  2. Read a graphic novel (still over 500 pages!)
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series
  4. Buddy read a tome
  5. Read an adult novel

I won’t try to complete all 5 of them, my goal is to complete at least 2 of them, reading more than 1 tome and reading a tome that’s part of a series, and I’ll try to complete the challenge of buddy reading a tome, but I’ll have to look for someone that’s reading one of the books I chose. Anyway, without further ado, here are the two books on my tbr:

Lord of Shadow by Cassandra Clare 

In this book, the Shadowhunters from the Los Angeles institute have to deal with forbidden love, a trip to the Courts of Faerie, a spell book of terrible power, an extremist group of Shadowhunters and mounting tension between the Clave and the Downworlders. 

I have been meaning to read this book since it came out, at first, I didn’t read this because I wanted to wait until the release date for the next book was closer, and then, I didn’t read it because I was spoiled about something sad that happens, so I wasn’t as excited to read it. BUT now that the next book comes out in less than a month, it’s time to finally get to this.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 

This is a West African inspired fantasy, about a girl that it’s trying to bring magic back and fight against the monarchy.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018 and I don’t really know why I haven’t read it yet. I have heard great things about this book from most people, so I’m excited to read it even if I’m a bit worried about the romance because that seems to be the one thing that most people didn’t enjoy about this book.

 Are you participating in Tome Topple? What are you reading? If you want to buddy read any of these books, let me know! 

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bookish list · Diverse Books

6 Diverse Fantasy Books I Want to Read

diverse fantasy books.png

Hi everyone! I’m writing this post because after a long time of being in a fantasy slump, I finally feel like I’m in the mood to go back to reading fantasy again. I mean I never completely stop reading fantasy, but I went from reading 3 or 4 fantasy books a month a few years ago to reading 1 fantasy book a month or maybe 1 fantasy book every 2 months. Since fantasy has always being my favorite genre, I’m very happy to be feeling up to reading fantasy again and today I want to talk about some diverse fantasy books that I can’t wait to read.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I am so late to this party, but I still want to join in. This is a West African inspired fantasy, about a girl that it’s trying to bring magic back and fight against the monarchy. It seems like everyone has read and loved this book and I want to see if I’ll love it as much as other people.  Also, I have heard there is an amazing female friendship in this book and I’m always up for that!

The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera

This book is about an Empire under attack from demons and the two girls that are destined to save it. I have heard a lot of amazing things about this book and I was tentatibly thinking about reading it, until recently when I found out that this has an f/f romance in it and then it jumped to my ‘I NEED TO READ IT RIGHT NOW’ tbr.

Ash by Malinda Lo

This is a Cinderella retelling but with an f/f romance. I have had this book on my tbr for years and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet, but I really want to change that. Also, I’m very intrigued because I have heard that this has a very unique and different ending and I want to know how it ends.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao 

This is an East Asian inspired fantasy that tells the origin story of the Evil Queen from Snow White. I really love morally gray, unlikable female characters in fantasy, so from the moment I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. I don’t know why I never got to this, but now that the second book came out and everyone is talking about it again, I need to finally read it.

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

This is a story about a Princess on the run and a previously enslaved Seer who are looking for the Library of All Things, where it’s possible to change their fates.  As soon as I read the summary and it said that there was something called the Library of All Things, I knew I need it to give it a chance. Also, it’s inspired by indian folklore, which makes me even more excited.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan 

I have mention this book in several posts this year, because that’s how excited I am to read this. This is an Asian-inspired fantasy where a Demon King takes human girls for concubines, and it’s the story of two of the girls that fall in love and fight for their freedom and each other. Every person that I know and has read this book has loved it, so I’m hoping  I’m gonna feel the same way about it.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? Do you have  recommendations for diverse fantasy books? 

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Book Review: Daughter of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King

Book: Daughter of the Pirate King

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Publisher: Feiwel Friends

Release date: February 28th 2017

Pages: 311

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Goodreads | Amazon 

This book is a fast and lighthearted read. It’s a character driven story, where not a lot happens in terms of the plot for most of the book, but it has a good pace, so I didn’t felt like it was dragging at any point even when the beginning can be a bit repetitive.

For me, one of the strong point of this books is defenitely the main character, Alosa, she  is sassy and clever and very, very cocky. If you get annoyed when a main character seems to be good at everything, this may not be for you, but I doesn’t bother me, so I had a lot of fun following Alosa while she gets herself out of trouble and kicks everyone’s ass in the process. This book does a good job showing that sometimes she is afraid and she doesn’t know what to do, but she alwasy finds a way to save herself.

Now, the love interest, Riden, is also sassy, clever and very cocky, but he is much more conflicted about the things that he has to do as a pirate. I really liked the fact that Alosa can’t be sure of Riden’s true motives and intentions, because that made me doubt him all the time and not be sure if he was being truthful or not.

The banter and bickering between the main characters is entertaining, the dialogs between them are very well- written and it was definitely my favorite part of the book. For a YA book, this has quite a few steamy moments even if it was nothing too explicit.

In terms of the two twists in this book, one I already knew because the title of the second book is REALLY spoilery. So if you want to read this and don’t know the tittle of the sequel, DON’T LOOK IT UP! The second twist was very predictable, like I knew from the very beginning of the book. But even when the twists weren’t a surprise for me, it didn’t decrease my enjoyment of the book. 

As I said at the beginning of this review, this book is lighthearted, so if you’re looking for a pirate book that’s dark and intense, this is not it. The book does mention murder, torture, sexual assault and attempted rape, but in a very casual way.  Which in one hand I appreciated because I didn’t want to read a dark, intense book when I picked this one up, but at the same time, this are books that should be address in a more serious way and not just gloss over them.

At the end, I found Daughter of the Pirate King to be a fast and lighthearted read, full of banter, sass and clever pirates, which made for a very fun reading experience, and I can’t wait to read the sequel and see how the story ends.

Rating: 4 stars 
Have you read this book or is it on your tbr? Do you like pirate books? Do you have recommendations for good pirate books? 

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bookish list

Most Anticipated Book Releases of November 2018

Most anticipated book releases 2018

I love getting new books even when I have a tbr that threatens to take over my life, so here are some book that are coming out in November and that I’m highly anticipating!

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan 

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

I’ve been waiting for this book since the beginning of the year, I wanted to read it even before everyone started to talk about how fantastic it is. An Asian inspired fantasy book with a f/f relationship? Count me in!  I AM EXCITED!

Release Date: November 6th 2018

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty 

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be. 

I really, really liked Big Little Lies and I have been meaning to read another Liane Moriarty book ever since. Then I read the synopsis of Nine Perfect Strangers and it sounded like a modern version of an Agatha Christie novel and HOW COULD I RESIST?! I couldn’t, basically.

Release Date: November 6th 2018

Pulp by Robin Talley 

In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret, but when she discovers books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens an ambition to write and publish her own story. Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.

This book sounds amazing, BUT I’m a tiny bit nervous because I have heard some mixed things about Robin Talley books. I’m still willing to give it a chance and I’m hoping it’s as good as it sounds like it’s gonna be.

Release Date: November 13th 2018

What November book releases are you anticipating? Do you want to read any of the books I mentioned? Have you read any of them already? what did you think about them?

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