Thursday, October 31, 2019

LazyDayLit's October 2019 Reading Wrap Up

Farewell October.
You shall be missed.

This past month has been filled with lots of arts & crafts with my Little Monster for Halloween, fun community festivals and trick-or-treating, and I even went last-minute camping twice and got to see a sunrise on the beach!
It's been a great reading month as well. I read 11 books in all. 8 of my own and 3 of my daughter's. I started my spooky TBR early this year and ended up reading so many great horror stories! Some ghosts, some witches, and some super spooky magical beings. The only one I didn't really get to was IT. I'm still not ready to bother with that no matter how many times I tell myself to read it.

The books I read and finished in September:

Chapter Books I Read to My Daughter: 

Started but haven't finished yet:
I somehow lost my copy of The October Country after reading the first two stories on a camping trip so I'll have to wait til I purchase a new copy to finish that one. The other two I am already working on.

Book Reviews I Shared This Month:
I usually share ALL of my reviews here but I didn't have time to whip up that portion of this wrap up so perhaps I will come back to it at a later date!

I hope those of you that celebrated had a wonderful and safe Halloween!
Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Dead Voices (Small Spaces #2) by Katherine Arden (MG Book Review)

Dead Voices
(Small Spaces #2)
by Katherine Arden
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons for Young Readers
on August 27, 2019
Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal, Horror
Length: 256 pages
Ages: 10 - 14 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository


Bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces.

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. With Mr. Voland's help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help--or maybe not all ghosts should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

My Thoughts:

Ollie, Coco, and Brian have been the best of friends since they survived the smiling man and his scarecrows in Small Spaces. In just a few short months, Ollie's dad and Coco's mom have become close friends as well and they decide to take a vacation together so they pack up and head out to a new ski resort they've been invited to. A snowstorm sets in and traps them all in the mostly empty lodge and strange and paranormal activity starts happening right off the bat.

In steps Mr. Vorland who claims to an expert ghosthunter and plies Ollie to contact the dead while their parents are asleep. But as soon as she does, everything changes. The three friends make a grave mistake and must use all their wits and courage to make their way out of a deadly trap.

This is a fantastic sequel and just as terrifying!
This spooky series is set to be a quartet; one book for each season, starting with Small Spaces.

I read Small Spaces a couple of months ago and thought it was perfectly spooky and even a bit terrifying for the age group!
I've been eager to read this sequel and it did not disappoint! I do think the first book was a lot stronger, with a more intricate plot and character development, but I still enjoyed this a lot and can't wait to continue the series! It gives me all the Supernatural (tv show) vibes!

Dead Voices is set in an old haunted orphanage that has been turned into a ski resort. There is paranormal activity and plenty of it right off the bat and of course they are trapped. It's almost as if Ollie, Coco, and Brian attract ghosts and it's no wonder because they are quickly swept up in a race to save their own souls once again.

This middle-grade series is perfect for thrill-seeking readers that love mystery and suspense and ghosts!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Dino-Halloween by Lisa Wheeler & Barry Gott (Picture Book Review)

(Dino-Holidays series)
Written by Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Barry Gott
Published by Carolrholda Books
 on August 6, 2019
Children's, Picture Books
32 pages
5 - 9 years

Trick or treat! Join your favorite dinosaurs as they visit a haunted house, carve pumpkins, make costumes, and more! Lisa Wheeler and Barry Gott come together again to show how these fun-loving dinos celebrate Halloween.

Our Thoughts:
Dino lovers are going to have a ton of fun with this Halloween-themed picture book!

Join along with Compy, Pachy, the Ptero twins, and more as they prepare for Halloween and pick pumpkins to carve, make their own costumes, and more. These costumed dinos visit a haunted house, a Halloween bash, and finish their night off with trick-or-treating and lots of yummy candy!

This fun picture book shows us plenty of great Halloween holiday activities all acted out by various anthropomorphic dinosaur species with appropriate names (or easily identifiable nicknames)!

This is our first Lisa Wheeler picture book but we since learned that there is a whole series of these dino books about different sports and also one about Christmas!


Friday, October 25, 2019

Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha (Young Adult Book Review)

Hocus Pocus
& The All-New Sequel
Written by A.W. Jantha
Illustrated by Matt Griffin
Published by Freeform
on July 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: 528 pages
Ages: 12 - 15 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on Earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don't quite go as planned, it's a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches' latest death-defying scheme.

My Thoughts:
This book is two novels in one; a novelization of the 1993 film and a sequel that takes place twenty-five years later.

This was an enjoyable read and perfect for Autumn and Halloween. I loved the film as a kid and always thought it was the perfect Halloween movie for kids. The novelization is short and basically an exact copy of the film. It gave me all the nostalgia.

In the sequel, Max and Allison's daughter, Poppy, disregards everything her parents taught her and is tricked into summoning the Sanderson Sisters in exchange for her own family. With the help of friends, she must stop the witches before they finish their spell and become immortal forever.

The sequel takes a fun new turn and continues the original story quite well. I loved that they kept the story in the family and in the present time. The original film was so silly and I was glad to see that continued. I also enjoyed the diversity and LGBT inclusion.

I will admit that this didn't wow me and the overall length (together) made it feel like it was dragging but I enjoyed the nostalgia and seeing a new, modern continuation of the original film. Now I'm wondering if we will see a sequel film or not.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (Children's Book Review)

The Worst Witch
by Jill Murphy
Published by Puffin Books
on October 1, 1974
Genre: Children's, Fantasy
Length: 107 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Mildred Hubble is starting her first year at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches--and making a mess of it! She can't ride her broomstick without crashing, she's always getting her spells mixed up, and worst of all, the teacher's pet, Ethel, has just become her sworn enemy. 

Our Thoughts:
Mildred Hubble is an unlucky girl that always seems to mess things up and finds herself at the center of every calamity at Miss Cackle's Academy. She's the worst at all her witch's classes and nothing seems to go her way even when she's trying her hardest to get things right. Mildred soon questions whether she belongs there at all, but then she makes a discovery that changes everything.

This is a cute little story about a young girl attending an all-witches school where everyone is given their own pet cat and has potions classes and broomstick riding lessons. Mildred has a best friend, an enemy in a fellow classmate, and a teacher that seems to have it out for her. She does typical witch things like brew potions and ride a broomstick. Overall, she's a nice girl with good intentions, but nothing seems to go right for her.

My daughter wanted me to read a Halloween chapter book that wasn't spooky so I hoped this would work and it ended up being perfect! There's magic but no monsters or scary scenes. The conflict is innocent and we mostly just feel sympathetic to Mildred and all of her mistakes. Plus this is like a really tame version of Harry Potter and it kind of gave me nostalgia for that reason.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I SPY Spooky Night by James Marzollo & Walter Wick (Picture Book Review)

I Spy Spooky Night:
A Book of Picture Riddles
Written by Jean Marzollo
Illustrated by Walter Wick
Published by Cartwheel Books
on July 30, 2019 
(first published in 1996)
Genre: Children's, Picture Books
Length: 40 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Kids of all ages will enjoy a fun and spooky exploration as a trickster skeleton beckons readers from room to room to I Spy for mice, spiders, candles, bats, jack-o'-lanterns, bones, and so much more! From its rickety gate to its cobwebbed attic, this haunted house contains 13 spooky and spectacular photographs. There is a spooky graveyard, a mysterious laboratory, a garden of ghoulies--each page has rhyming puzzles with eerie objects to find.

Our Thoughts:

'Tis the season for spooky and I SPY has given us a wonderfully creepy look-and-find to fill our dark and dreary (rainy) days.

I remember borrowing as many of these I SPY books from the library as I could as a kid. A family member and I would look over them together and marvel at all the different items on each page. I can't remember if the new and older version are the same though. This one reminded me very much of the ones from when I was a child with a similar style and very old items. Still, it was a lot of fun to come back to these old favorites!

My daughter loves look-and-find books but a lot of the ones in her age groups are way too easy so are always happy to find something that gives us a challenge. I thought this was perfect for her because there are plenty of easy to find items but enough harder ones to take our time with. The rhyming riddles were a lot of fun for her, especially since they are also the list of items to find!

There are extra riddles of items to find listed in the back along with descriptions or the rarer and lesser-known items included in the search, such as a palindrome and a rebus.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson (Picture Book Review)

Room on the Broom
Written by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Published by Puffin Books
on August 27, 2001
Genre: Children's, Picture Books
Length: 32 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | 

Literary Awards:
Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book to Read Aloud (2003)

The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch's hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?

Our Thoughts:

It's a blustery day and the witch and her cat keep losing items and having to fetch them. They meet an array of helpful friends along the way and make room on the broom for everyone to ride along. That is until disaster strikes and a dragon appears!

Room on the Broom is such a wonderful and memorable story!
It is told in a flowing rhyme and is a sweet story with themes of kindness and friendship.

 The illustrations are soft and inviting and the characters are all so friendly that it's easy to love them and this story!

This has been our most reread picture book of the month! My daughter chooses it for every storytime even though she hasn't really been interested in any of our other Halloween-themed books. She loves the animals and how they stick up for the witch and save her at the end! There's animated cartoon version of this story on Netflix right now and we've also watched that many times as well!

Here's a clip of the cartoon from youtube I most recommend the full animated story on Netflix! It's super cute! 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Sunday Post - 2019 Week 42

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
and is a chance to share news, both new and old!

Hey there, bloggers!

I hope the past two weeks have been treating you all well.
 I hauled a nice stack of books from a library sale, found a new place to hike, and took my Little to a pumpkin patch to pick out her own pumpkin this week. We will be painting and carving them up asap!
I may be taking it easy around here in the next few months because of the holidays but will still be active when I can! I'm already getting this up late if that's an indicator of how things are going! *nervous laughter*

Currently Reading:

I have to return The Photo Ark Vanishing and Beneath the Sugar Sky asap so I'll probably spend most of today finishing those up. I just started House of Salt and Sorrows on Kindle and am reading the 'not-scary' parts of the Coraline graphic novel to my daughter.

Recently Finished:

Recently posted reviews:

 I shared my review for Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee, which I was provided a copy of but think is a must-read! Here's a link to Goodreads if you're interested!
Tiger vs Nightmare by Emily Tetri is an adorable graphic novel for very young readers.

I reviewed Awesome Achievers in Technology and Awesome Achievers in Science by Alan Katz, both containing mini-biographies of lesser-known persons, which I was provided copies of.

We read Give Me Back My Bones by Kim Norman and loved it! It teaches kids the names of their bones!
Pumpkin Island by Arthur Geisert is an appropriate story for the season about a town overrun by pumpkins! 

I also shared my reviews of Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich, which was fantastically spooky, and Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire, which is the second book in the Wayward Children series and also perfect for the spooky season!

Currently Watching:
I'm still wishing I could be in full-blown horror movie marathon mode but can only fit in a movie night once or twice a week. I ended up watching Donnie Darko, Sleepy Hollow, and splurged on Rob Zombie's 3 From Hell.

Are you celebrating the spooky season in any way?
Have a great week and happy reading!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire (YA Book Review)

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

by Seanan McGuire

(Wayward Children series #2)
Published by Tor
on June 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror
Length: 187 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Literary Awards:
ALA Alex Award (2018)

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children.

 This is the story of what happened first...

Jacqueline was her mother's perfect daughter--polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it's because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father's perfect daughter--adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can't be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices

My Thoughts:
In Every Heart A Doorway, we were introduced to Eleanor West and her Home for Wayward Children which houses young people who have stepped through a magical door into another world at some point in their lives and then been spit back out into our normal world again. There we met the twin sisters, Jack and Jill, and were told they were from a dark world full of mad scientists and monsters.
In Down Among the Sticks and Bones we are immersed in Jack and Jill's story; how they were raised, how they found their door, and what happened in the world beyond it. This is a dark, gothic tale that I read just in time for autumn and the 'spooky season'.
"Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world."

When I read Every Heart A Doorway I enjoyed it but it was very short and I needed to know more of the story. I most wanted to know Jack and Jill's story so I'm glad their's was the first told in full. I love gothic tales and horror so their dark, creepy world was most intriguing. 

I also really love the representation present in this series. There's a little of everything from diverse characters to LGBT representation to mental health issues. 

This sequel in particular reads like a cautionary tale that children will be who they are despite what you might want them to be. Jack and Jill's parents want children for very shallow reasons and when they have twins, they force them into separate rolls, one a princess and the other a tomboy, which ultimately changes how they interact with each other.
"The trouble with denying children the freedom to be themselves--with forcing them into an idea of what they should be, not allowing them to choose their own paths--is that all too often, the one drawing the design knows nothing of the desires of their model. Children are not formless clay, to be shaped according to the sculptor's whim."

I loved the setup and back story for the twins but I really loved the world they traveled to. It was a dark, gothic place called the Moors that housed an ancient vampire lord, a mad scientist, werewolves, and even dangerous sea creatures. I loved that the author took the idea of magical doors like in Narnia or Wonderland and gave us a glimpse into something darker.

This ended up being the perfect read for this time of year!


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich (YA Horror Book Review)

Teeth in the Mist

by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
on June 11, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Length: 447 pages
Ages: 14 - 18 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository


Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil's Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations...
Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember--so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward--one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.

Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching...

My Thoughts:
I read And the Trees Crept In (also known as The Creeper Man) by Dawn Kurtagich last year and fell in love with it. It's a brilliant, psychological story that is like descending into madness and it actually creeped me out a little (and that never happens.) Teeth in the Mist was similarly engaging, making me feel like I was experiencing the madness right along with the characters.
Kurtagich has the amazing ability to immerse the reader into the unsettling minds of her characters which makes her books a must-read in my opinion.

I really wanted to read another one of her books this year and had The Dead House in mind but then saw that the Ladies of Horror Fiction were reading Teeth in the Mist so I borrowed a physical copy from the library. I will definitely be buying a copy for my shelves asap because I loved the spooky pages and neat formatting as well as the story! I've also heard the audiobook has lots of spooky additions to it as well!

This book has a little of everything you'd want in a spooky story. A big, creepy, isolated mansion. Ghosts. Demons. Witchcraft. A little romance and a lot of 'what the heck is going on.'

I really enjoyed the double narrative in different timelines. Roan Eddington arrives at Mill House in 1851 and Zoey arrives in the present. Zoey is looking back at the past and unraveling a little of Roan's story as she explores the house, using video and journal entries to record her findings. There's also a third perspective, shared in letter format from an earlier inhabitant of the house. We eventually see how the stories combine, creating a multi-generational story.

 This book was a little hard to get into at first with all the extra characters in different time periods but once I really got an idea of what was going on, I ended up hooked and flew through the second half of the book. I'm on the fence about whether I liked it more than And the Trees Crept In or not but it does have a more complicated plotline and I loved the historical fiction aspects of it!

The author just announced this month that this book is getting a sequel!


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Give Me Back My Bones by Kin Norman (Picture Book Review)

Give Me Back My Bones
Written by
Kim Norman

Illustrated by
Bob Kolar

Published by
Candlewick Press
on July 16, 2019
Children's, Picture Books
Length: 40 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository


A silly pirate skeleton seeks to put its bones back together in this rhyming romp beneath the waves.

Cast a spyglass 'round here

while breakers curl and pound here.
There's treasure to be found here --
I feel it in my bones!

A stormy night at sea has uncovered some long-buried secrets and surprises. Is that the mast of a shipwreck? A faded pirate hat? And what's that hiding in the sand? A mandible and a clavicle, phalanges and femurs, a tibia and a fibula -- could there be a set of bones scattered across the ocean floor? And who might they belong to? A jaunty rhyme takes readers on an underwater scavenger hunt as a comical skeleton tries to put itself back together piece by piece. Make no bones about it: this rollicking read-aloud will have young ones learning anatomy without even realizing it.

Our Thoughts:

Help this scurvy peg-legged pirate skeleton put itself back together in this fascinating and humorous picture book!

Give Me Back My Bones is both humorous and educational! The front end pages show the skeleton in many pieces with the names of the bones beside each one. Then the story begins and we plunder the bottom of the ocean for the skeleton's missing bones!

This book has fun rhymes and fantastic illustrations that made us happy to read it again and again! It's the perfect way to transition your child from 'head, shoulders, knees, and toes' and simple body parts to what lies beneath the skin!
My daughter loved this one so much she asked me to read it several times a day and now knows the names of the bones featured in this story by heart! 

This was a perfect read with Halloween coming up even though there is nothing spooky about it beyond the skeleton itself!