Monday, October 31, 2016

October 2016 Wrap Up

Happy Halloween! 
I'd love to say that I'm out trick-or-treating or at a Halloween party by the end of today but the truth is that I'm going to be at home watching Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, (and probably some Rob Zombie films after the little one has gone to bed) and munching on the little bit of candy we have for possible trick-or-treaters. 
October was a pretty good month for me, reading and life-wise. We had a few days of staycations where we visited the zoo, a pumpkin patch, and visited family. I ended up focusing more on reading than blogging so I'm behind on reviews and whatnot. I also spent a little over a week NOT reading so I think I did pretty good this month. 
I did spend a lot of time on my bookstagram and had a pretty dark theme that I'm thinking about continuing into November. I'm having a lot of fun with it and it has been a much needed creative outlet for me lately.

Books I Read
Pages Read: 3008

Started But Haven't Finished

Book Reviews Posted This Month
The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers 4 stars
Shadows of the Dark Crystal by J.M. Lee 5 stars
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 5 stars
The Dream (Rahtrum Chronicles) by R.K. McLay 4 stars
Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh 3.75-4 stars
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 4 stars
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 4.5 stars
My Haunted House by Angie Sage 3.75 stars
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn 3.5 stars
Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov by John Matthews 4 stars

Picture Book Reviews Posted This Month
Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi
It's Raining Bats and Frogs by Rebecca Colby

Challenge Progress

New Places Visited

(Serafina and the Twisted Staff)
Biltmore Mansion, NC

(Henry Hunter)

(The Crown's Game)
Saint Petersburg, Russia





How did you guys do on your goals this month? What was your favorite book? 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Sunday Post #43 - Happy Halloween!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you received, share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and more.

Once again, I have missed a week. Somehow, it literally feels like I'm missing a week of my life when I don't post on Sundays. Where did that time go? Everything seems muddled now.
Anyway, my husband took a few days off this past week so we took our toddler back to the zoo (now every time we leave that is where she thinks we are going!) We picked our pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch, we carved said pumpkins, visited family, and more. I love busy weeks like that but at the same time, I end up severely slacking on my blogging duties. I've had reviews galore scheduled but basically nothing else. And now I'm very behind on reviews again so look forward to a few spooky Halloweenish book reviews in November (Sorry!) 
I have been posting pretty regularly on my bookstagram but even that has taken a hit this week.

Happy Halloween to those that celebrate it! I'll be re-watching Hocus Pocus (and probably Hotel Transylvania with the toddler for the 500th time) and munching on candy because we never get any trick-or-treaters. I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend!
A photo posted by Stacy Renee (@stacyrenee09) on

What You May Have Missed
Book Reviews:
My Haunted House by Angie Sage
It's Raining Bats & Frogs by Rebecca Colby (picture book)
The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov by John Matthews

Other Posts:
Book Blast & Giveaway: The Art of Blissful Parenting by Sharon Ballantine
Top Ten Tuesday - Spooky Books I Want to Read

Coming Soon
October 2016 Wrap Up
November 2016 TBR

Book Reviews: 
The Cartographer's Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
The Pumpkin House by Chad P. Brown
Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

Books I Finished In The Past Two Weeks

What I'm Currently Reading

(physical book)
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
I just started this but I'm pretty sure I can read it within a day. I've actually been waiting a long time to read this book. I waited for years to come across it in a thrift store or book sale but never did so I finally bought it. 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I kind of wish I had re-read Six of Crows before starting this since it has been an entire year but it was a pretty memorable book and I haven't had any issues yet but I'm not very far into it. 

I hope you all have a lovely week! 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Book Review: Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov by John Matthews

I received a free copy of this book from Sky Pony Press in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

Title: Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov
Author: John Matthews
Series: Henry Hunter #1
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Supernatural, Mystery
Length: 240 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

Adolphus Pringle lived a relatively normal life before he met Henry Hunter, but being the best friend of a twelve-year-old millionaire genius certainly makes life interesting. He has accompanied Henry on adventures all over the world and encountered dozens of supernatural creatures. Henry has a penchant for paranormal mysteries, and he never fails to drag his trusty sidekick, Dolf, into adventures to track down the truth in these mystical legends. 

Henry announces one morning that he and Dolf are going to go in search of a creature more terrifying than Dracula himself: the Beast of Snagov. The pair of supernatural investigators travel from where Bram Stoker stayed in Whitby to Transylvania. Along the way they come across some strange things such as Dracula's daughter, Bella, and an organization called the Order of the Dragon that wants to sacrifice Henry Hunter to the Beast of Snagov. When Henry is taken, it's up to Dolf and Bella to team up and rescue him!

Will Henry survive this supernatural adventure? Get ready to discover the world of the supernatural through the eyes of our spooked narrator as he tags along on the first adventure in the Henry Hunter series! 

My Thoughts: 
Henry Hunter was dangling from a window ledge the first time Dolf met him. Dolf soon became Henry's sidekick in his many adventures which took them to obscure places all over the world. When Henry Hunter gets it into his head to investigate Bram Stoker's story of Dracula, they end up finding some old manuscripts that hint at the story being true, along with that of a giant beast! So off they go to Transylvania to delve deeper into the mystery. 

Henry Hunter is a very smart young man with the freedom and resources to do whatever it is he chooses to do, even if that means flying across the world in a private jet at the last minute. His intelligence makes him naturally curious and he tends to dig up adventures as often as he can. 

Dolf is an average young man who sees himself at Henry's sidekick. Watson to Sherlock Holmes. He is our narrator but at the same time, he seems to be just a supporting character to Henry. 

The idea of two young teen boys traveling the world without adults does seem completely out of the norm. Henry's parents are exploring South America and give him free reign to do as he pleases. Dolf, on the other hand, doesn't really explain how he can join Henry on his crazy adventures but it does make for a fun and interesting start to a series. We are told that this is just one of many adventures they partake in together. Dolf is chronicling them and hints at many other stories to come. (If they are anything like this one I am definitely going to be looking forward to them!)

Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov is a delightfully spooky supernatural mystery revolving around Bram Stoker's Dracula with a ton of wonderful illustrations that really add to the story. Filled with vampires, a giant beast, and an ancient secret society, this book is sure to delight readers of Araminta Spookie and Goosebumps. 

My Rating: 4 stars

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Review: The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

Title: The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Paranormal / Horror
Length: 160 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the crowded horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life with her great uncle and aunt at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, she thinks, than the grim London orphanage where she has lived since her parents' death. 

But Florence doesn't expect the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield and concocts a plan to use Florence to help her achieve her murderous goals. Will Florence be able to convince the others in the household of the imminent danger and stop Sophia before it's too late? 

My Thoughts: 
Florence Crutchfield lives in a London orphanage until the day her uncle tracks her down and invites her to come live with him at Crutchfield Hall. An orphaned cousin, James, also lives there and Florence hopes that he will be a fine playmate. She soon learns that James is sickly though and cannot leave his room, and her Aunt Eugenie has forbidden her to bother him. In fact, Aunt Eugenie doesn't seem to like her at all and keeps reminding her that she will never be equal to Sophia. But Sophia is no longer with the living. 

I particularly liked the historical fiction setting in this book. The horse-drawn carriages and the style of dress really sets the mood for a dark read, in my opinion. 

I also really enjoyed how much Florence loved reading and how she stubbornly refused to give up her favorite novels or authors just because her devout aunt disliked them. Florence seemed to be a very intelligent and strong-willed girl with a good heart. Sophia, on the other hand, was such a terrible little girl, and the aunt was abhorrent so it was easy to like the main character. 

This is an enchanting ghost story that will delight (or scare) young readers. Mary Downing Hahn has been feeding my hunger for ghost stories for years. They are definitely geared towards younger readers but I still find myself enjoying the stories. If you or your child is looking for something to read for the Halloween season, I'd definitely recommend this author!

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #92 - Spooky Horror Books I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I've been MIA lately and really needed to get back into this weekly meme.

Today's prompt is a Halloween Freebie! 

Top Ten Spooky / Horror I Really Want to Read

I really love spooky stories and always make a point to read a few every October (though I'll read them at any time of year.) This year review books have gotten in the way and I've only been able to fit in a few short stories so far. So here are a few books that I would really like to read sooner or later. 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - I'm not even sure what this one is about at this point but it's been on TBR for years. 
Hell House by Richard Matheson - I really enjoyed I Am Legend and would like to read more by him; particularly his horror novels. 

Ghost Stories

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories - I'm very interested to see how Dahl does ghost stories since everything else I've read has been so fantastically fun.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - Any time I ask for ghost recs, this book is mentioned. 
The Uninvited by Cat Winters - I really enjoyed In the Shadows of Blackbirds and I think this is her adult 'ghost story' so I'd love to try it out. 


The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston - I love a good historical fiction novel about witches and this one sounds fantastic. Plus I think it's a trilogy and that appeals to me when it comes to good witch stories.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - I doubt this one is really spooky but I loved the movie and would like to read this one some day. 
The Witches of BlackBrook by Tish Thawer - This one I've almost never seen anywhere but I did read one single review on it that sold me. 


Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker - I bought this years ago, right after reading Dracula and then never got around to reading it!
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist  - I saw the movie a few years ago and remember thinking the book probably has a lot more to it. 

And a few newer ones just because

Does anyone know of any good horror stories about werewolves? It seems like everything is romance or urban fantasy kind of stuff these days but I would love to see some good old-fashioned killer werewolves. Perhaps something a bit like Hemlock Grove.