Fortnight of Fright: Eastern State Penitentiary by Kathleen

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Hi friends!! Today we have Kathleen chatting all about her trip to Eastern State Penitentiary!! This is a place dear to my heart, it is in Pennsylvania and I cannot tell you how many ghost tours I have read and watched that went to ESP (see below for basically every single one that they have shown, and that I have seen!) So jealous of your trip, Kathleen! Take it away, girl!

Hi my name is Kathleen, I live in Delaware, and I love all things scary, especially with a historical twist. I first visited Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) in Philadelphia when I was a freshman in college. We took a “class trip” there as part of our First Year Experience class. We went during the day and got a full tour of the first ever US penitentiary. We were shown Al Capone’s cell, death row, a regular prisoner’s cell, and everything in between.

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Outside of ESP

First I wanted to give you some background and history about this amazing place. Some very important people supported it; Ben Franklin was one. In 1787, a group of men got together and said we need get rid of the overcrowding in prisons. So they came up with the idea of a penitentiary, a place designed to create penitence. The state didn’t want to fund the building of ESP and instead built small penitentiaries. However, they were not adequate for the growing population and in 1822, construction on ESP finally started. The layout of the penitentiary was unique in that it had a central hub and then seven cellblocks that branched off of it (this grew as the years went on). There was a recreational yard, running water, flush toilet, central heating and a skylight for each cell. This was more than the White House had at the time. When it first opened, solitary was taken very seriously and inmates wore masks over their head when being transported so they couldn’t see anything but their cell. Things change drastically with the growing population and the number of cells increased from 250 to 980 with two to three men in a cell. By the 20th century, the idea of a penitentiary was left in the dust and some of the most violent offenders and those sentenced to execution were housed at ESP. The last cellblock to be built in 1959, was number 15 and that was considered death row. Continue reading

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Review: The Uninvited by Cat Winters

Title: The Uninvited

Author: Cat Winters

Publishing Information:  August 11, 2015 by William Morrow

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 343 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of historical fiction with paranormal elements, strong heroines, and those of you looking for some swoony feels

Related Reviews: Review of In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

We follow Ivy as she leaves her childhood home behind. She does her best to move on from the violence and guilt that her family brings. As Ivy leaves home, she walks by the store in which her father and brother committed a horrible act of violence and finds Daniel Schendel down on the floor, doing his best to remove the blood from his floorboards. Ivy does her best to push into Daniel’s life and provide him with some sort of solace to replace the guilt that she feels from her family’s crime. Over time, the two are able to build something beautiful despite the horror that is right outside their door.

“I know he’s in mourning and a tragic figure, which I’m sure melts your poetry-loving heart.”

This novel broke my heart in the very best way. Like other novels by Cat Winters, Ivy is living in a rather difficult time for women. Therefore the growth of her character was truly amazing to watch. Her strength shone through the terror and ugliness of the time in which she is living, I especially liked her role in driving an ambulance for the Red Cross. Daniel grows in his own way as well, and learns to trust that not everyone is as hateful and close-minded as those he had come in contact with prior to meeting Ivy. The secondary characters have their own layered and interesting personalities and I found that I really cared about each one.
Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright (4)

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Wow. We are back here for a FOURTH year for Fortnight of Fright and I can hardly believe it!! As many of you know, September – January is my very favorite time of year and Halloween is my one true love! Therefore, it is no question that Fortnight of Fright is something that I love hosting along with Brittany (The Book Addicts Guide) and Amy (Tripping Over Books)!

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (hello, and welcome!) Fortnight of Fright is a time in which we host and share different posts related to fall and Halloween! We work with you guys and some amazing authors to showcase some creepy books, interviews, movies, and SO MUCH MOAR! There is no limit on what you can post about! Do you have a signature Halloween or Autumn cocktail recipe? Pinterest board filled with DIY decorations? A book recommendation for those of us who love to be scared? We want it all!! JOIN US!!

Sign ups will be open from 9/9-9/20 and you will be notified the following week to confirm your post topic, and so on. We are going to ask that all posts get to us the week of 10/12 as we will be hosting you during the event which runs from 10/19-10/31! As always, the more the merrier, so scroll on down to our Google Doc and sign up to help us out!

Also don’t forget about All Hallow’s Read and the giving of books in lieu of candy!

Wondering what we had going on from years past? Check it out:

Fortnight of Fright: Asylum Review by Sarah (Friends with Characters)

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Heyy friends!! Carrying on with the reviews of creepy books, we have Sarah from Friends With Characters reviewing Asylum by Madeline Roux, a book that sounds like it would be right up my alley! Take it away, Sarah!

Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday. It’s so much fun dressing up and I love scary stories. I read Asylum by Madeleine Roux and it definitely is a creepy story perfect for Halloween.

Asylum (Asylum #1)

by Madeleine Roux 

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

My Review:

Dan is an extremely awkward person. He goes to the New Hampshire College Prep program to meet people with interests similar to his. At the NHCP he meets Abby, an artistic girl, and Jordan, a math genius. Dan and his new friends find some creepy pictures at their dorm rooms. The dorm room used to be an asylum for the criminally insane. It looks like the criminally insane haven’t exactly left.

Asylum was a creepy book. The scenes describing the old asylum were very realistic. I think that Madeleine Roux did her research. I bet the second book will be even better. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: The Bad Place by Dan Poblocki

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You guys may remember me reviewing The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki last year – you guys might not know that after finishing it I pretty much bought every title written by Dan and fangirled at him at the Children’s Author Carnival in May this year. To be frank, Dan Poblocki is fantastic. He is an impeccable writer, and an all around nice guy. Therefore, when I asked him to join us for Fortnight of Fright I had high hopes, and basically squealed in delight when he agreed. Read on to hear about some of Dan’s inspirations for The Book of Bad Things – which I will be reviewing during Fornight of Fright, and let us all simultaneously pray to the horror gods that he decides to write us some creepy adult novels very soon!

The Bad Place

Dan Poblocki

I once heard film-director Guillermo Del Toro say in an interview that there are three horror-story tropes that are continuously retold: stories in which our homes are being attacked, stories in which our bodies are being invaded, and stories about bad places. When I think of horror classics, they pretty much all fit. Some work in more than one category. Dracula is a perfect example – the castle in Transylvania is a bad place, and later, the vampire invades characters’ homes and infect their bodies. More typically, certain subsets within the horror genre fill the tropes in more specific ways. Slasher or serial killer tales are about home invasion. Alien, zombie, and monster myths often explore body horror. Finally, haunted house and ghost stories are perfect examples of bad places.

When I consider my own work, I find that of these ideas, the one I’ve explored the most is this last one.

What exactly is a bad place? I believe it can be anywhere that fills you with an unexplainable feeling of dread. A house, an apartment, a hotel, a forest trail, a field, a park, a room, a closet! It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a typically scary spot; maybe it’s a landscape drenched in sunshine or a room filled with toys. The thing about the archetypal bad place is that it leaves you with a feeling that you’re trespassing, that something doesn’t want you there, or maybe it does want you there but for a terrible reason. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: The Midnight Visitor (Valeria from A Touch of Book Madness)

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Hi friends! I hope that you have enjoyed the playlists, and special post from Eldritch Black (PLUS GIVEAWAY) so far and boy do I have a treat for you today! We have Valeria from A Touch of Book Madness sharing a true ghost story! I really can’t get enough of this stuff, and I know you guys are going to love it. Many thanks to Valeria, and happy reading!

Creepy house

 

The Midnight Visitor

You know how when we think of old, big or abandoned houses we tend to think of creepy ghosts lurking round? Maybe because they seem to have too much history, but whenever I encounter one of these I always get the feeling that if I stare too long at the darkened window I will see someone looking back. But in new modern places we tend to feel safe, at least from ghosts and such nightly creatures.

The problem is we forget that where those places are built used to be something else, and we could still find some things lurking around at nights. This is what happened to my friend at the beginning of the year. Continue reading

The Book of Kindly Deaths by Eldritch Black

Title: The Book of Kindly Deaths

Author: Eldritch Black

Publishing Information:  September 16th, 2014 by Spencer Hill Press

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal

Series Information: The first in a planned series* (*I believe)

Format: Paperback, 304 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher for review

Recommended For: Fans of the darker side of middle grade, fans of Neil Gaiman, and Claire Legrand.

When twelve-year-old Eliza Winter finds a secret room in her missing grandfather’s sprawling, Gothic house, her safe, sheltered life is blown apart. Inside, below a stained glass window where moonlight shines no matter the time of day, sits The Book of Kindly Deaths.

When the strange, crooked man from the book arrives on the doorstep claiming to be a rare-book collector and demanding entry into the house, Eliza’s world is turned upside down. To escape him, she must dive all the way into the spine-tingling world of The Book of Kindly Deaths to save her grandfather–and write an end to the nightmare she’s caught inside.

When my friend and fellow blogger Estelle reached out to ask me if I wanted to read and review The Book of Kindly Deaths by Eldritch Black I was a bit hesitant due to time and responsibilities and ya know, life. But when she told me that it was being geared toward fans of Neil Gaiman, my interest was immediately piqued. Then I read the synopsis and realized that the gal was right, the book was right up my alley. Many thanks to Estelle, Eldritch Black, and Spencer Hill Press for giving me a chance to read and review what turned out to be a rather perfect book for my tastes.

As you can see, this is a story about Eliza Winter and her adventures in a world unlike our own in order to save her grandfather, and others who have been affected by the monsters who frequent the streets of this parallel land. While reading, I was at first somewhat wary because The Book of Kindly Deaths read a bit like a compilation of short stories. In fact, it was very reminiscent of On The Day I Died: Stories From the Grave by Candace Fleming, which was entertaining, but not what I was looking for. Thankfully once I delved further into the story things started to come together and I really enjoyed the different tie ins from the stories within the Book of Kindly Deaths. There was one particularly interesting story filled with characters called “the wrong people.” That is, they were all together wrong. They were a group of “people” with greasy wiry hair, yellowed skin, and crooked teeth who eat mud pie filled with rotten vegetables. They lock up humans, and bring them out for show so that other residents of Grimwytch can see their abnormalities – that is, pale skin, white teeth and normal hands and toes. I loved Katherine’s story, and her escape from Grimwytch and the bittersweet ending to her story. Continue reading

Review: Jackaby By William Ritter

Title: Jackaby

Author: William Ritter

Publishing Information:  September 16th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Book one in what I believe is a planned series

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers interested in a novel with a paranormal mystery, slight macabre, cheeky and interesting main characters and yes, those of you who love Sherlock and Doctor Who.

 Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Raise your hand if you are annoyed at the way in which books are being described as “The next Game of Thrones,” or “The Hunger Games meets The X-Files,” and so on. *looks around at the plethora of raised hands* Me too. Now, raise your hand at how many of those crossovers have been successfully dubbed “The next Game of Thrones,” or “The Hunger Gams meets The X-Files.” Oh, no one? That’s what I thought. My point is that when I saw Jackaby was being described as “Sherlock meets Doctor Who” my head was screaming “NOOOOOOOO!” while my heart was screaming “PLEASE SIR, MAY I HAVE SOME MORE?!” So in an nutshell, I was wary to pick it up. Well let me tell you, I am so glad that I did, because Jackaby absolutely delivers.

Do you love the quirks of Sherlock? The way in which he finds the so called “ordinary” insanely boring, and the impeccable way in which he can tell where you have been vacationing simply by looking at some loose thread on your coat? How about the way in which The Doctor doesn’t take no for an answer, or his knack for collecting strong and witty companions you can’t help by envy? Take all of these things, add in a bit of the paranormal and you’ve got R.F. Jackaby.

Our mystery was set in New England, which I loved and the novel was narrated by a smart, spunky, and strong young lady, Abigail Rook. Abigail was a gal after my own heart, running away from home, winking at little old ladies looking down their noses at her, catching the eye of a handsome detective…yep, sounds like me! The secondary characters were also superb, though I felt as if I didn’t get enough of them. I sincerely hope that with more novels comes more backstory on Charlie, Jenny, and Douglas! Although I figured out the big twist early on in the novel, I still found it enjoyable to see how it played out and was not at all disappointed.

To give you some insight into how fantastic this character (and obviously, author) is, take a glimpse at some of our twitter chats..

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Isn’t that just the most fun? It really added to my enjoyment of the book and you guys, it shouldn’t be surprising to you that I think I have a little bit of a crush on R.F. Jackaby.

Shelf Talker: Jackaby was absolutely everything that I wanted it to be, it was fast paced, and funny, with the perfect amount of mystery and macabre. I read it in nearly one sitting and eagerly anticipate much more from this quirky character.

On the Same Page: Fairytales for Wilde Girls

Title: Fairytales for Wilde Girls

Author: Allyse Near

Publishing Information: June 3, 2013 by Random House Australia

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Gothic, Fairy Tales, Romance, Paranormal, Mental Illness

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Paperback, 432 pages

Source: Purchased for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of darker fairy tales filled with descriptive imagery, fans of Neil Gaiman, and fans of books that are much more than what they seem.

Fairytales for Wilde Girls was unlike anything I have ever read before. It was dark, and deep, and sad while simultaneously maintaining ribbons of hope and stolen moments of happiness. It was a novel of self discovery and it was the dark overtone of the novel that really assisted the snippets of light to shine through. One of the most outstanding things about Fairytales of Wilde Girls was the language and use of metaphor by the author. Allyse Near has such a gift in the way in which she conveys every moment with lyrical and descriptive language, it really heightens the novel and sets it apart from other pieces of literature. That being said, some of the quotes throughout the novel really stuck with me and I wanted to share their beauty with you guys! I made up some nifty little images to go along with a few quotes that I really loved, take a peek! Continue reading

Book Hoarders Anonymous: Best of 2013

I haven’t done a Book Hoarders post in a while so I thought to close out the year I would do a little survey like I did last year and focus on some of my favorite personal literary moments of the year! Sorry in advance..it’s link and picture heavy 🙂

Book that reminded me that I love to read: The Sandman series did this for me. The graphic novels are so different from anything that I have ever read and I found myself enamored at the inclusions of different character from history popping up into stories. It really made me think and remember what knowledge I had of these historical figures, or superheroes, etc. and that made me love it even more.

Favorite BAMF: I think Daenerys takes the cake for this one. She is so incredibly young but so fierce. I love her so much. Especially when she says things like “Dracarys!”

Favorite companion: Ravens! Though not technically “fantastical” by nature but some of the ones I read of this year were pretty amazing. Matthew, from The Sandman series and Fiacha from my (ahem 4th? 5th? re-read) of Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite companions, EVER.

Favorite debut author: For sure Cat Winters, the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds. The book was absolutely fantastic and heartwrenching. Ms. Winters was so gracious and lovely after I reached out to her upon finishing the novel, and she moved quickly to the top of my auto-buy authors.

BFF: Hands down Sybella from Dark Triumph. She was so dark and brave throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but love her. Truly, some of my closest friends describe her as my “spirit animal,” and I can’t wait to see what she and the other ladies get in to in Mortal Heart.

Most swoon-worthy lad: Okay, I am doing it, I’m cheating. I tried to look elsewhere but the title of most swoon-worthy lad goes to Captain Carswell Thorne, hands down. I can not tell you how many pictures I took of his lines and how many flailing texts were sent to my friends while reading Cress. He has made my top 5 of best swoons EVER, and that is saying A LOT.

Favorite pick found while perusing: Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde. I was handed this by a bookseller at The Book Barn because she noticed that I like Patricia C. Wrede and assured me that this title was a readalike. I was pleasantly surprised over the nostalgia, I obviously also loved the strength in the main lady and the swoons in the main dragon!

Fantastical creatures: Not sure if he counts but, Death personified! He was breathtaking in Keturah and Lord Death and I look forward to reading more novels with him in the center!

That bad boy you shouldn’t love, but…: UMM hello? THE DARKLING 4EVA. I love, love, LOVE him so very much…from his quartz like eyes to his brooding demeanor. I just picture him controlling darkness and I get all “humina humina” to MAH BONES. *swoons* Honorable mention goes to Morpheus from Splintered by A.G. Howard

Favorite male lead: KVOTHE. Ohhhh Kvothe…I spent so much time with him this year (umm..over 50 hours of audio – which reminds me, OH HAI, Nick Podehl <3) and my heart sang and broke for him at times. He is so interesting and witty and hello, he’s a ginger, how can I not love him so?!

Favorite female lead: Eleanor, from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. For the good and the bad, she reminded me of me when I was in high school.

Best summary in less than ten words: Scary vampires in an Amish setting. (Thanks, Ame!)

A return to an old favorite (title, genre, etc.): WOO! ROBIN HOOD, BABY!! I chose Robin Hood as my focus for our Classics Retold event and I am so glad that I was able to go back to the story that I love in Hood by Stephen Lawhead. I am excited to read book 2 and 3 in the series as soon as possible!

So glad I judged by it’s cover: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. The piercing gaze of the girl on the front and the ethereal being behind her, I had to have this book. I am so glad that I jumped to request this from Netgalley upon seeing it because it was one of my favorite reads of the year.

Broke my Heart: The Fables installments from this year really got to me. I have become WAY too invested in the characters and have fallen in love with the story, I love these graphic novels so much but boy did they crack my heart a little. Let’s not even get started on A Song of Ice and Fire…

Heightened by the narrator: For sure A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket narrated by Tim Curry is first in my mind when thinking of narrators who make the series for me. I started reading this series years and years ago and never finished because as I grew older I had a hard time making it through these novels in print. However, the audiobooks are absolutely stellar. The parts that I tended to read over because of annoyance or lack of interest, sprouted from my speakers and made me smile and laugh out loud.

Gave me the creeps (which I love): The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki, I sincerely hope that this author starts writing adult horror because he is FANTASTIC.

It’s in the words..: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley was so lyrical and beautiful that I found myself bookmarking every few pages. It was a simple, yet gorgeous read.

Biggest disappointment: Hmm probably Towering by Alex Flinn. I have heard a lot of good things about this author and it might have just been a wrong book, wrong time sort of thing but I did not enjoy this novel AT ALL.

Worth the hype: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. First, I was lucky enough to meet Rainbow at BEA this year and she was so fantastic, she also has great hair. Second, I am not a contemporary reader, and the sickly sweet romances are not usually my thing…HOWEVER Eleanor and Park was recommended to me by so many people that I trust and I fell so deeply in love with it, I immediately added all of Rowell’s books to my TBR. Never has hand holding been so romantic.

Newest addiction: Audiobooks!! As some of you may know, I am incredibly picky when it comes to audiobook narrators. Jim Dale is an obvious love and I fell into loving Neil Gaiman as soon as I heard his free audiobook Click, Clack, the Rattlebag but I had a hard time finding someone else to enjoy. I seem to have a problem with the jarring tone of a female narrator and and I felt sort of lost for a while until Heidi and Amy convinced me to try Nick Podehl, the narrator of The Kingkiller Chronicles. Well WOO BOY am I happy that I gave him a listen! over 50 hours of audiobook later and I am IN LOVE! I was also lucky enough to find some audiobooks narrated by Tim Curry, The Series of Unfortunate Events and a lovely version of Dracula, while perusing!

Favorite villain: Krampus wins this one, I think, though I don’t know for sure that he is considered a villain despite his “evil” ways. This novel by Brom is absolutely enthralling, I read it almost a year ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Favorite laugh out loud moment: Like last year, I have to go with a Duncan moment from the second installment of The League of Princes: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. “Oh, I disagree,” Duncan added. “It makes me think of cow-owls. And those are horrifying. MOO-WHO! MOO-WHO!” This series is honestly fantastic and I can’t wait for book three!! Honorable mention goes to the final installment of A Tale Dark and Grimm: The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz, this one had me laughing out loud as well!

The kissy bits: WOO Shadow & Bone had some yummy moments, as did Dark Triumph by LaFevers, Splintered by Howard, and Eleanor and Park had some epic hand holding (also CRESS because seriously..*faints*) Seriously, you guys…*FANS SELF*

Biggest ugly cry moment: Ya know, I didn’t really have any ugly cry moments this year..I don’t usually read those kinds of books so I somehow missed out. I did, however, tear up a few times while reading Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. They were both lovely books, though I did not love them or get as attached as other readers.

Favorite new to me genre/book: Historical fiction! Between In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and The Caged Graves, I quickly jumped on the historical fiction bandwagon and asked Hannah and April for some suggestions. Needless to say, my TBR pile grew a lot and I am excited to move into some non Tudor England historical reads!

Mind. Blown.: Man, I feel sorry that I can’t explain myself better here but…that THING that happens in A Storm of Swords (and it’s not the thing you think)..yeah, I did NOT see that coming. I am so thrilled that I read this series, I can’t even begin to explain how worth it it is to take on the epicness that is A Song of Ice and Fire.

Thank you, Netgalley!: Splintered by A.G. Howard was a titled that I found on a whim while looking through Netgalley. The cover was gorgeous and the synopsis sounded awesome – a twisted fairytale, Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton in novel form? Sign me up! The world was vivid and the swoons were aplenty.

Non-bookish THINGS that I loved in 2013:

LOKI: Now, you all know that I love the villains SO MUCH and Loki isn’t really NEW on my radar since I have read and LOVED Norse mythology for as long as I can remember, but I started working hardcore on my WIP this year and…well..there are some Loki like bits in there. That got me delving more into his character, which only made me love him more. Also look how cute my new shirt is…

Game of Thrones: Again, not so new, but some of you may know that I participated in a Song of Ice and Fire Read Along this year and though it was very time consuming…it was AWESOME. Honestly, it is totally worth it, the series is so epic and you just fall so into the world, I definitely recommend giving it a go.

Neil Gaiman: Okay, I may have mentioned him a time or…five..but I was lucky enough to see Neil Gaiman THREE TIMES this year, and I MET HIM FACE TO FACE a few months ago and it was just a once in a lifetime experience. He is so amazing and gracious, and genius. Also his wife, she is pretty fantastic as well. No words.

Literary Lushes: I started a second website with my best friend Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) which focuses on ARC tours and Twitter chats. It has been such a great experience working with someone that I love and it has really opened me up to new bloggers and experiences which makes me incredibly happy!

Going forward I would like to introduce some new fun features on the blog – (including a new review feature!) and obviously share some wonderful reviews with you all! What about you guys, what can you tell me about your favorite literary moments of the year? I look forward to seeing you all in 2014!! As always, thanks for reading!