Book Tag: Halloween Edition

Carving pumpkins: what book would you carve up and light on fire?

I really don’t have that much anger towards a book, but one that I really did dislike (and one that I’ve mentioned in a previous book tag) is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. 

Trick-or-Treat: a character who is a trick and a character who is a treat?

Trick: Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. I typically enjoy reading about villains, but Umbridge is another story. She is such a terrible person and I hate her so much!

Treat: Sara Crewe from A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I reread this book this year and loved it so much. Sara is so positive and strong and is a treat to read about.

Candy Corn: what book is always sweet?

Any of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket. His books are just so wonderful to me, and every time I read one, I feel happy.

Ghosts: what character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT! (but probably not)

I have to say Dumbledore from Harry Potter. I loved him so much and was so sad when he died. I feel like he would have so much advice and wisdom to share if he came to visit me as a ghost.

Dressing up in costume: which character would you want to be for a day?

I tend to read books about characters in un-enviable situations, so I’ll have to go with a classic answer here and say Hermione Granger from Harry Potter.

Wizards and witches: what is your favorite Harry Potter moment?

Ummm… all seven books?

Blood and gore: what book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for awhile?

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz. This book is on my To-Read Again shelf because I honestly can’t remember what exactly happened, but I do remember that I got so creeped out that I couldn’t read it at night anymore.

Source: Hannah @ A Clockwork Reader

What would your answers be for this tag? I challenge anyone who is interested to do it, too! And have a safe and happy Halloween!

Book Review: It by Stephen King

ItTitle: It
Author: Stephen King
Series: Stand-alone
Publication Date: September 1986
Genre: Fiction, Horror
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Summary

To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered, a good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, It lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each person’s deepest dread. Sometimes It reached up, seizing, tearing, killing…

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing. Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of It was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until the grown-up children were called back, once more to confront It as It stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

My Thoughts

The overall idea behind this story was a good one. A creepy clown who lives in the storm drains and sewers and terrorizes/kills children — yeah, I can get behind that. Within the first twenty pages, something creepy happens and I was excited. Ohhh, this is gonna be good, I thought. I was wrong.

First of all, let me say that the characters in this book were excellent. I really felt like I got to know the kids pretty well throughout all 1,500+ pages of this book. King did an excellent job of making their actions and thought processes very reminiscent of childhood, and I enjoyed that. He also did a good job developing the characters smoothly into adulthood.

King’s writing style is very good — I think that he has the ability to write eloquently, while still adding in colloquial elements to make it relatable and enjoyable. I’ve read a few of his other books (The Shining, Carrie, and “The Children of the Corn”), and I enjoyed all of them. I really do think that King is a good writer who has really creative ideas.

The problem with this book that I had really had nothing to do with the plot, character development, or writing style. Ultimately, the reason behind my low rating comes down to two things that go hand-in-hand: the length and the wordiness. This book could have been trimmed down to about 400 pages and it could have told the same story just as effectively — if not more so. The other issue that I had was that there was WAY too much extraneous information that didn’t need to be said (no, Stephen, I don’t need to know who that random kid passing by on his bicycle marries when he grows up, or how and at what age he dies). Oh, and then, of course, there was that one scene towards the end…

In Conclusion

I think realistically this book should have been split up into two — like the recent 2017 movie is going to be. I don’t necessarily regret reading this iconic horror novel, but I am pretty disappointed in it. However, this is the first King novel that I haven’t liked, so I will continue to read his books. After reading the book and seeing the new movie, I can honestly say that this is the first movie that was actually better than the book.

Have you read It? If so, what were your thoughts? Do you agree with my reasons behind my rating? Also, how did you think it compared to the recent movie adaption?

Book Tag: Unpopular Opinions

A popular book that you didn’t like?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer. I know everyone seems to love this book, but I just honestly couldn’t stand it! I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads, but that was probably generous. I felt like the writing was pretentious and the author tried too hard to make it more literary than it was. The letters interjected throughout the story made the flow disjointed, and I just didn’t like anything about this book!

A book that everyone else seems to hate but you love?

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.  Okay, this one isn’t super hated, but a lot of the reviews that I saw after reading this book were bad, and I can understand why after thinking about it. It’s kind of predictable and has some cliché tropes in it. But I still really enjoyed reading it!

What is a love triangle where you feel like the main character ended up with the wrong person?

I guess I don’t read a lot of books with love triangles because the only one that comes to mind is the one in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins; however, I’m totally happy with who Katniss ended up with.

What is a popular book genre that you never reach for?

Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I have read a few from both of these genres in the past, but I don’t typically reach for them.

What is a popular or beloved character that you didn’t like?

Pippi Longstocking from the book of the same name by Astrid Lindgren. I know that’s super random, but she is fairly loved by audiences of all ages. This book even has 4.11 stars on Goodreads! But I read it earlier this year and oh, my gosh, I could not stand her! Maybe I’m just too old to really enjoy the book, but I figured it was sort of a children’s classic and that I should give it a try. She was insensitive and pushy and annoying and…ugh, you get the picture.

Who is a popular author that you can’t seem to get into?

Ted Dekker. I have only read one of his books, Skin, but it was so bad that I just can’t seem to make myself read another of his books.

What is a popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing?

Even though I liked two of the books that feature this trope (Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall), I am tired of seeing the trope where a girl has a handicap of some sort, and then a boy comes into her life and all of her problems disappear. It’s just not realistic, and it’s honestly annoying. But I still highly recommend the books mentioned above, despite the frustrating trope.

A popular book/series that you have no interest in reading?

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I haven’t read any of these books and honestly, I don’t plan on it because I just don’t have any interest in the plot.

What is a screen adaptation that you liked better than the book?

Even though I haven’t quite finished the book yet, I have to say It by Stephen King. I enjoyed this book for the first maybe 300 pages and then it just started to drag on. There was WAY too much unnecessary detail about things that have no significance to the overall story, but more on that in a future review. The 2017 movie adaption of It was very well done and honestly made some of the stale parts of the book even better.

Source: Merphy Napier’s BookTube channel

What are some unpopular bookish opinions that you have? Do we share any? I really enjoyed completing this tag, and I challenge anyone who is interested to do it, too!

Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

You Caroline KepnesTitle: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #1
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
My Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Summary

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

My Thoughts

Wow, I loved this book! This story has such a unique point-of-view because it follows the “bad guy,” and the reader is privy to his inner-monologue instead of the victim’s. While Joe does things that are obviously wrong, I couldn’t help but to agree with some of his opinions and laugh at his sense of humor.

It’s clear from the very beginning that Joe has mental issues, but it becomes more obvious later on that he’s likely struggling from something along the lines of Manic Depressive Disorder, as well as many other issues. This makes him even more of a sympathetic character because we get a bit of an understanding as to why he does what he does.

We get glimpses into Joe’s past and he obviously had a troubled childhood, an unusual upbringing, and previous obsessions with women. This left me wanting to know more about what made Joe who he is, but at the same time, the fact that it was left so vague made him even more creepy.

The woman that he stalks is a flawed person and isn’t very likable, which adds another unconventional aspect to the story — we don’t pity the victim very much. In fact, none of the characters are very likable — it seems that this would make the story less enjoyable, yet I found it even more gripping.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? Do you plan on reading the sequel, Hidden Bodies?

Five of My Favorite Apps

Five of My Favorite AppsToday’s post is one that I see a lot of bloggers/YouTubers doing and it looks so fun. I am going to share with you five of my favorite apps that I have on my phone, as well as the links so that you can download them yourselves! Let me know in the comments if you have any of these apps, are going to download them, or if you have any suggestions for me!

1. Scribd (iOS/Android | Free to download; paid subscription)
This is an awesome app for readers and is commonly described as the “Netflix for books.” For $8.99 a month, you can access thousands of books, audiobooks, newspapers & magazines, and even sheet music. I use it exclusively for audiobooks because I don’t like reading on my phone. Scribd has a vast variety of audiobooks that you download for one credit. You accumulate three reading credits and one audiobook credit per month and they can accumulate. Also, audiobooks are only around $8 to purchase if you’ve used up all your credits, which is a great price. This app can definitely give Audible a run for its money.

2. iShows (iOS | Free to download & use)
This app is aaamazing. If you know me at all, you know that I am an avid TV show watcher and after a while, it has become very difficult to keep up with all my shows. Then I found this app. It allows you to add the shows that you are currently watching, and you can check off the episodes that you’ve watched already. You can also mark shows as your favorite and archive them. I like to archive the shows that I’ve finished so that I have a record of all of them, as well as the ones that I’m currently watching. This app is also super helpful if you want to find out when a show is releasing a new season.

3. Mint by Intuit (iOS/Android | Free to download & use)
When my husband and I first got married, we had no clue what we were doing with our money. We were both savers and wanted to be financially smart, but we didn’t know how to balance our income and bills so that we didn’t spend more than we made. At first, I tried budgeting with an Excel spreadsheet, but that didn’t last long. Then I tried a few different apps before I found Mint. I like it because it has a website as well, which makes setting up your budget super easy. You link Mint to your bank account and any other accounts that you have (school loans, internet provider, etc.), and then you can clearly see how much income vs. expense you have on a monthly basis. You can then edit your budget to more accurately reflect your monthly expenses and keep track of it on the app. Mint has seriously been a lifesaver in my house!

4. Walmart (iOS/Android | Free to download & use)
Along with budgeting, I also love to save money. I have several money-saving/refund apps, but one of my favorites that many people might not know about is the Walmart app. This is a refund app, and all you have to do is scan your receipt and submit it to the Savings Catcher part of the app. After a few days of processing, it will let you know if it has found any of the items that you purchased at a lower price (dollar stores, Target, etc.). If so, the app will reimburse the difference to you. Usually, this will just be a few cents, but if you’re lucky, it can be a few dollars! You can then transfer your accumulated reimbursements to a Walmart gift card to spend later. I accumulated about $30 before I cashed in my first gift card, and I used it for groceries!

5. Hiya (iOS/Android | Free to download & use)
I discovered this app after I started receiving a TON of unknown/spam phone calls nearly every day. Hiya came in very handy because you can look up unknown numbers by simply copying and pasting the number into Hiya’s search bar, and it will tell you if the number has been reported as a scam/fraud or suspected spam. This app also allows users to give others details about suspicious numbers (i.e. “This person tried to get my credit card information…”). I also like using Hiya to simply identify numbers that I haven’t saved in my phone, even if they’re not spam.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post

I am always looking for new apps to make my life easier or just to have fun with. Do you have any app recommendations that you think I’d enjoy? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to do another of these Favorite App posts in the future.

Book Review: Children of the Corn by Stephen King

Children of the CornTitle: Children of the Corn
Author: Stephen King
Series: Short story from Night Shift
Publication Date: February 1978
Genre: Horror, Short Stories
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Summary

This 1977 Stephen King classic is about a couple Burt and Vicky, who drive to California for a vacation in a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage. As they drive through the middle of Nebraska, their constant bickering is interrupted when Burt hits a child who suddenly appears out of a cornfield. Burt stops the car and examines the child, only to discover that the boy’s throat had been slit before he was hit by the car. Vicky looks in the boy’s suitcase that he had with him, and she finds a creepy crucifix made of corn. Spooked, Vicky says that they should take the boy and his belongings to the nearest large town which happens to be 70 miles away. Burt rejects this idea and says that they should go to the authorities in the nearby small town of Gatlin. The only problem is that when they arrive, it seems like they are the only ones there. Everything around them seems out-of-date as if no one had lived there for quite some time. Despite Vicky’s protests, Burt explores the town and the church — the only place that seems to have been kept up. It is in that church that Burt begins to discover some of the town’s dark secrets.

My Thoughts

“The Children of the Corn” is a short story and is a very fast-paced read at that. I typically appreciate stories that get right to the point, but this one was a bit too short, even for my taste. There was so much packed into this story that it seemed a bit rushed and really wasn’t as fleshed out as it could be. There were a lot of thematic elements of religion, sacrifice, and morality, which were quite intriguing, but were ultimately left open-ended and that gave the book a bit of a flat feeling for me. Yes, it was creepy but no, it wasn’t King’s best work.

Have you read “The Children of the Corn”? Should I read all of Night Shift?

Book Tag: Rapid Fire Q&A

E-Book or Physical Book?

Physical book, for sure. E-books are great for travel, but I really prefer holding a book when I’m reading it and being able to display it on my shelf when I’m done.

Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback. I enjoy reading them much more than hardbacks and they take up less room on the shelf. And they’re cheaper!

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

In-store. There’s just something so calming about going into a bookstore and looking around. But I’m not above shopping on Amazon for my books as well because let’s face it, they’re often so much cheaper.

Trilogies or Series?

Series. When I fall in love with characters and a world, I don’t want it to end after just three books.

Heroes or Villains?

Villains! I have always loved the bad guys in books and movies ever since I was little. I used to looove Cruella de Vil and the Grinch. The only hero that I’ve ever really loved is Harry Potter, though I still appreciate Voldemort as a villain.

A Book You Want Everyone to Read?

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier. I recently read this book for the second time in June and I absolutely loved it. Everyone should give it a try!

Recommend an Underrated Author.

Rachel Sontag. Her debut book, House Rules, was a magnificent and impactful memoir and I fell in love with her writing style. She’s only written that one book, but I really think more people should read it.

The Last Book You Finished?

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. You can read my full review here.

Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

Probably a piece of trash or a clothing tag. Not too weird, but I don’t really think outside the box when it comes to what I use for bookmarks.

Used Books: Yes or No?

Yes, but they have to be in good condition. I am very picky and in order for me to buy a used book, it can’t look too worn. I know a lot of people like books that look like they’ve been read and loved, but I really can’t stand broken spines or torn covers.

Top Three Favorite Genres?

Thrillers, contemporaries, and literary fiction.

Borrow or Buy?

Definitely buy. I enjoy collecting books way too much to borrow them.

Character or Plot?

This entirely depends on the genre, in my opinion. If it’s a thriller, I’d rather it to be more plot-driven, but if it’s any other genre, I think a character-driven story is generally better.

Long or Short Books?

I typically prefer short books (~150 pages) because I feel like I’m accomplishing something when I can finish books more quickly, but I also like longer books (~300 pages) because they allow me to get a lot more out of the story. So I guess my answer for this one would have to be that it depends on the genre, plot, and the author’s writing style.

Name the First Three Books You Think Of.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, and Pyscho by Robert Bloch.

Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

The books that make me laugh without fail are Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. These are just so witty and hilarious, while still being quick and easy reads. I recommend them for all ages.

Our World or Fictional?

Generally speaking, our world. The reason I say this is because a lot of times, fictional worlds (especially those set in a dystopian society) can be really scary. That’s not to say that our world can’t be terrifying as well, but at least it’s something that we are accustomed to. However, if we’re talking about a world like Harry Potter’s, then I’d say fictional every day.

Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes. I love audiobooks and think that they are a great way to get more books read while multitasking (driving, cleaning, crafting, etc.).

Do You Ever Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Definitely. I also judge a book by its texture and readability. I love the soft, matte covers rather than the glossy ones, and I HATE mass-markets with a burning passion. The floppy trade paperbacks that stay open on their own are life!

Book to Movie or Book to TV?

Book to TV. I prefer TV shows to movies anyway, but I also think that in the case of books, TV shows are better simply because they allow so much more time to convey the story in more detail.

A Movie or TV Show that You Preferred to the Book?

I really can’t think of one. But I really did enjoy the TV show based on A Series of Unfortunate Events that came out in January 2017. I thought they did a really good job of staying close to the books, while still embellishing to make adapt it to TV.

Series or Stand-alones?

This completely depends on the story. Some stories are best as stand-alones and shouldn’t be dragged out. But some stories have so much potential that a series is necessary.

Source: Kirsty @ The Bibliophile Girl

Do you share any answers with me?! I really enjoyed completing this tag, and I challenge anyone who is interested to do it, too!