I’m going to switch up from the standard prompts today, since I don’t have a ton of reviews yet from this month. I am trying to get better at reviewing backlist titles fully when I read them, but the last couple months have been pretty slumpy.
Since I don’t have much of a list of review posts available for this month, I thought I’d explore the different formats of reviews that I’ve seen. When I review on Goodreads, I usually do something that is conversational, though I will include things like trigger warnings if I feel they are important to anyone thinking about picking up a book. Other than that I don’t include a bunch of stats in my reviews.
Some things I have seen in reviews include a format similar to pros and cons, bullet points, specific content and trigger warnings and even buzzwords. Some people also insert gifs into their reviews to better communicate how they are feeling regarding the books they are reading.
I like to keep my reviews pretty simple and as I said, conversational, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. What do you like to see in reviews? Do you love when there are bullet points or do you like something that is more written out. What are your thoughts on content warnings? Do you feel like they are spoilers and shouldn’t be included, or important?
Everyone who loves fall probably has different reasons, but I’m sure some of them overlap. For instance the love of pumpkin spice anything (I am not a member of that camp, but know many who are). There are just certain things that come with fall that some people love, so here’s some of mine.
The change in the environment – Changing leaves and cooler weather are some of my favorite aspects of fall. It provides the perfect reading atmosphere.
Hot Drinks – I love my iced drinks, and get them year round, but along with cooler weather comes the inclination towards hot coffee and tea again. It’s soothing and energizing at the same time.
Sweater weather – Pull out the long sleeves, jackets and boots. I love the shift in wardrobe that happens this time of year and again there is an increase in comfort that goes along with it. Some days are still warm enough that you can do easily changing layers, while others call for heavier clothes.
Did I mention boots? – As much as I love my sandals, getting to pull out my boots and other cold weather shoes after most of the year not using them is always fun.
There’s something about the last quarter of the year that prompts so many changes. It’s the dusk before the dawn of a new year. People are finishing up projects that they started earlier in the year, making plans for the coming new year and perhaps thinking back on things that they would do differently or wish they’d done. It’s a wonderful time of year before the holidays and the new year.
Everyone loves a good ambiance when reading, especially if reading spooky or autumn reads. I don’t care as much about the brand of candle as I do the scent. During the spring and summer I tend to lean towards citrus scents but that changes as we head into fall and winter.
When we get to the later part of the year I am reaching for maple and cinnamon scents, apple pie and similar baking scents and more. I still reach for citrus if it has an evergreen touch to it and anything that smells like leather and the forest will also draw me in.
I do enjoy Bath and Body Works candles because you know they are quality, but any brand that has a great scent and lasts a decent time is good. I haven’t been able to try a wood wick candle yet, but I would really like to because those just sound perfect for the fall and winter time.
What are some of your favorite candles? Do you associate certain candle scents with the season, or with reading itself?
I won’t lie, most of my Bookstagram posts are pretty simple, book stacks, flat lays or books with my cat. Typically I don’t go super elaborate but sometimes I do like to use some props. When I was trying to think what I would use for something more autumn themed I came up with a few things I’ve seen used here and there that would fit my aesthetics.
Foliage – I’ve seen lots of shots in front of foliage or using autumn leaves. You don’t even have to get real leaves, you could get some silk flowers and leaves and use them year round!
Candles – Lighting a candle and turning down the lights will give your pictures that spooky look that fit this season. They give a wonderful warm glow that I think looks great in Instagram pictures, without the use of a filter.
Soft fabrics in warm colors: I think a lot of people lean towards cool colors such as whites, but warm colors such as rich jewel tones are the types of colors I reach for in the fall.
Other than that, you can get ideas by going to your local craft stores and seeing what they have available decor wise. Office supply stores my have poster board or other items that could serve as a good background. The possibilities are endless.
We’re in the home stretch now! There are about two weeks left until NaNoWriMo so if you are someone who likes to prepare, you should be compiling all your notes and readying yourself for the starting line that is November 1st.
If you’re struggling, or needing further encouragement, there are a lot of resources available to you that may help. Make sure that your profile is set up on the main NaNoWriMo page, and declare your novel. Keep in mind that they have recently re-done the main site, so if you’re a previous participant things may look a little out of sorts (for example, I declared this year’s project and my stats from the last two years disappeared. I’m hoping these hiccups get fixed, which I’ve heard they are working on).
If you are looking for a group setting to give you encouragement and keep you on track, look for buddies to add to your list and set up your region. Most areas will have groups set up that have public write-ins during the month as well as other events.
The Nano website has a ton of resources for first time participants as well as those who have done it in the past. One of the great resources they provide is Nano Prep 101 which includes a free handbook that you can download. You can go at your own pace if you want, or follow the schedule they provide.
They also have sprints on twitter and write ins all over the place, if you need motivation or tools to help you get started and continue, their website is a fount of information. Check out the forums for support and to find others that you can connect with. One of your best tools could be having people that cheer you on through the month of November.
Are you ready? What resources do you find work well for you?
I used to be such a lover of horror films, but somewhere along the lines horror became gore, and well, that wasn’t my thing. My imagination can do far more than fake limbs, blood and CGI can do. That being said some of my favorites may not be considered traditional horror.
Jaws – Ok, if you like monster movies at all, then Jaws should be at the top of your list. Is it strictly horror? No, but it’s the quintessential sea monster movie. It was something that anytime it was on my dad and I would stop what we were doing and watch it, much to the chagrin of other family members.
The Lost Boys – Oh, be still my heart, punk vampires in the 80s. Need I say more than a young Kiefer Sutherland being a bad boy vampire? Plus, you have to love the references to Peter Pan in the concept of this one. One last vote in this movie’s favor? THE SOUNDTRACK. If you do nothing else, then at least listen to the soundtrack, it is amazing.
Rose Red – I love this miniseries based on Stephen King’s take on the Winchester Mystery House. It’s not everyone’s style and does end up being really long since it was a miniseries, but it is so good. It’s one of those things I can easily put on for noise and enjoy.
Ghostbusters – Ok, ok I know Ghostbusters isn’t horror, it’s comedy at it’s root, but I always want to watch it this time of year. Something about the mythos that was created by that first movie just always draws me in. Plus, who can resist a stories high marshmallow man?
So what are some of your favorite movies to watch this time of year? Do you disagree with me on horror?
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good ghost story. When a place is supposedly haunted, I love to hear the history and story of it. I’ve always loved stories that were more creepy in nature and ghosts have been one of my favorite aspects of that genre.
Anytime someone is going on a trip and asks me if I would like anything, I often ask for them to look for books of ghost stories from the areas they are visiting. I have a good stack of ones that I’ve made my way through so I’m going to talk about some of my favorites.
Houses of Horror by Hans Holzer – Holzer is well known in the paranormal community as one of the original ghost hunters. He often visited locations with mediums and then researched anything that came through. He’s written a number of titles detailing his wide array of cases. I’ve only read two of them so far, but Houses of Horror is a good place to start. His writing can be a little dense, but the cases are intriguing and the history matching up with his mediums (or not matching) is always interesting.
Haunted Houses of California by Antoinette May – I picked this one up on a trip to the Winchester House in California. It includes a ton of information on different locations and the legends or stories associated with them. Sometimes those that are specific to certain areas are great because you get a concentrated section of stories. Tourist areas or gift shops are often a great place to find books of ghost stories, so keep a look out when traveling!
Ghost Stories of Oregon by Susan Smitten – This one isn’t so much this specific book as this is part of a much larger series of books published by Ghost House Books (the Oregon one is number 20). Whenever I see more of this series I pick them up. Again, they contain short stories that talk about the history of the location as well as the details of what people have reported happening there. Not all of them are state or location centered either, they have some such as Haunted Theaters or Haunted Highways that are more broad in area.
If you are into reading real ghost stories, you should definitely check some of these out, they were all really informative reads.
When I first heard that this book was a take on Medusa, I was instantly intrigued and wanted to check it out. Things based on mythology always pique my interest as that’s one of my buzzwords/favorite concepts. This book did not disappoint on the Medusa aspect for sure.
After the prologue (which gives us a glimpse of events in the past) we follow Milla, who is sheltered and lives a quiet life outside of the village with her parents and brother. As the story unfolds we learn about the curse that the village lives under where young girls get afflicted by a “demon” and get taken away. We then continue to follow Milla as she does everything she can to learn more and to help those she cares about.
This book opens up great conversations about the extremes that some religious beliefs can go to and what happens when people react harshly out of their fear. In some ways you could draw some parallels to stories such as those written about the events that happened during the Salem witch hunts. There’s also a lot of talk about oppressing females if they don’t act the norm or perfectly obey. I felt that these concepts were subtle enough to not be overt, but still there.
Overall I really enjoyed this read and loved how the story unfolded. I would recommend picking it up if you’re looking for something mythology based or perfect for the spooky season.
Anytime I think about autumn or fall themed book covers I don’t necessarily turn towards leaves. I tend to lean towards things that are spooky and more horror themed. Some of my favorites are actually middle grade books that have come out pretty recently, but let’s be honest – book designers have been doing a stellar job on covers as of late.
There are also some young adult covers recently that have no only intrigued me but also creeped me out just a little bit. Call me crazy, but that makes me want to read them even more. I’m not usually the biggest fan of the typical girl on the cover books, but these take that to the next level.
There are so many other covers I could show, but then my post would be nothing but graphics. Needless to say, if a book has a creepy cover with amazing detail, I will most likely be drawn to it and be more likely to at least look into it. So many of these tell a story with just their covers, which is one of those things that pull you in.
What are your favorite things to see on covers? What will make you pick up a book you’ve never heard of just by the cover alone?
Those of us who have marathon reading sessions know that you have to be prepared. Plenty of snacks and hydration within reach are required. Everyone has their preferences regarding what those are and certain rules that they may apply (such as nothing greasy so that you don’t mess up pages).
I will typically make myself a plate with an assortment of things such as some kind of fruit (apples, grapes, strawberries), cheese, crackers and more. Variety of items means that I’m not going to be searching for more snacks in the middle of my reading. I also make sure that I have water and some other kind of beverage available that contains caffeine such as Diet Coke, a chai latte or coffee.
For me the main point of getting set up with snacks and drinks is to ensure that I have everything I need for a long reading session. If you are deep into a book you are not going to want to stop and go foraging. Not everyone is going to have the same habits, but that’s what works for me.