A New Name!!

Two posts on a Monday? Well I felt like I should explain, I’ve changed my online bookish name!! For the past…however many years I’ve gone by Autumn of Pellinor on the bookternet. I’m not making any huge changes but from now I’ll be going by Abi of Pellinor! Abi is my real name and I feel like it’s just time for me to have that rather than having people calling me Autumn and me feeling awkward and also just cause… it’s me!

When I first made all my accounts I was worried about people in my “real” life finding out, but now pretty much everyone knows. In fact my brand new avatar was drawn by my best friend!! (she also did the one I had before, they’re both amazing) These accounts are all me, every weird, annoying, bookish aspect of me!

So… Hi! My name’s Abi. Nice to meet you ūüôā

Spooky Reading Recommendations!

So I’m not great with scary things. They aren’t my favourite and I don’t enjoy scaring myself, so instead my recommendations for Halloween reads are more mystery, thriller and dark, rather than pure scary. I’ll start off with children’s books and move on through to adult literature, but definitely try out all you feel comfortable with! I also have this post in video format on my YouTube channel from last year, so click here if you prefer to listen to/watch the recommendations!

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Sheets by Brenna Thummler

This cute little graphic novel is linked into Halloween with an adorable ghost who appears and wants to assist our protagonist. A nice and unspooky way to join in with the season. Find my full review here!

 

Kiss of DeathKiss of Death by Malcolm Rose

Something a little more creepy, two children pick up a coin on a school trip to a town which was previously ravaged by the plague. Taking this coin places a curse on the two and we see them struggle to come to this realisation and figure out a solution.

blood waterBlood Water by Dean Vincent Carter

There’s a “thing” in the water in this slightly scary teen read. It’s escaped from where it was being kept for research and is resulting in the gory deaths of those living nearby. Something a bit more creepy for those who want to test themselves. This isn’t a book I enjoyed personally but if the synopsis looks intriguing to you then check it out.

the black book of secretsThe Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins

Back to something not as scary again, this book (and the whole series) are very fun, creepy reads aimed at 11+ readers. This book focuses on a man who pays money to write peoples secrets in his black book, our protagonist doesn’t understand why he would pay for this. So he tries to find out.

Who Could That Be at This HourWho Could That Be at This Hour by Lemony Snicket

What creepy but not too scary book recs list would be complete without Lemony Snicket?! Obviously there is the whole Series of Unfortunate Events, however, another one of his series’ is called All The Wrong Questions and is more of a YA book. More of the Snicket we love with a more mature audience in mind.

skuldugerySkulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

One of my¬†absolute favourite¬†series’, that I’ve been following since the beginning and continue to pick up. These books are 11+ and follow a Skeleton detective and the niece of his best friend as they get into a lot of scrapes. So much fun, great Irish humour and perfect for Halloween! (Also not spooky at all, the only fear is when the characters get themselves into stupid situations haha)

the last apprenticeThe Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney 

This series goes by many names, in the UK (where I’m from!) it’s called Spooks, but in the US it is The Last Apprentice, and the first book has the same name. A little more of a creepy YA, we follow a young boy as he becomes the apprentice of the spook. A man who rounds up witches and keeps society safe from them. There are a few issues with this series, as it seems to be incredibly patriarchal with a mistrust of any female, however, I thought I would still mention it on this list as when I first read it at 15 I didn’t notice this and still really enjoyed the books. It’s up to you.

Messenger of FearMessenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Another one of my favourite books, I read this for the first time recently and couldn’t put both it and the sequel down. I’m waiting on tenderhooks for book #3!! This follows a girl who has been apprenticed to the Messenger of Fear. It’s a nasty job, but she chose to take it on, and doesn’t remember why as her memory was wiped. Lots of graphic violence and a little bit of creepiness. A lot of fun!!

cold bath streetCold Bath Street by A. J. Hartley

Not the most well heard of book, which is such a pity as this is yet another 5* read on this list! We follow a young boy names Preston when he has died, and how he copes in the world beyond. But there’s trouble, things aren’t following the route that they’re supposed to and he somehow gets himself entwined within this issue and aims to discover what is going on. Creepy (on a small scale, but more than some of the others on this list) and so engrossing!¬†Find my full review here!

aliceAlice by Christina Henry

An Alice In Wonderland retelling with a twist. This book had me absolutely ensnared for well over a week after I finished reading it! It’s dark, gritty and you should probably forget about other retellings you’ve read as this doesn’t follow that tried and tested format. I loved the skewed, humanoid versions of our well-known characters within Wonderland and how this was dragged into more of a dystopian world than a mythical land. 100% recommend and love! This isn’t a YA read though, so don’t go in with that expectation.¬†Find my full review here!

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Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

A straight thriller, a common choice for this time of year. This one messed with my mind, and it’s why I gave it 5 stars! I’ll say straight off that not everyone will enjoy this book, for example, BooksandLala really didn’t like it due to the ending which she considered to be over the top (and I can see why), so keep that in mind. But personally, I loved it and was absolutely enraptured and unable to put it down.¬†Find my full review¬†here!

the end of mr yThe End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

This book is a lot less well known than it should be, in my opinion, and I only know about it as I spotted it in a charity shop. With a creepy mystery surrounding a long-lost book, death, fantasy and weird shit are all present in this great book!

25694617His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

This isn’t your traditional Halloween read, the only real gory section is that there is a murder. Our MC is being tried for a murder he committed, and we follow the events before, during and after the murder, as well as the trial itself. This is 100% not creepy, but it will make you think. Find my full review here!

the girl in 6EThe Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre

This thriller has it all, murderous tendencies, a creep that goes rogue and so much more. This will keep you on the edge of your seat and I personally came to really love our protagonist despite her obvious and glaring flaws.

the house of silkThe House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

I had to include a traditional style mystery in here! I love reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle so whenever people add to their works and build upon their characters – I’m in! This book was brilliant and had me hooked, 100% recommend if you want to delve back into the world of Sherlock.

macbethMacbeth by William Shakespeare

Now for an original classic, this book has murder and witches and is thoroughly enjoyable! If you find play scripts difficult to read then there are many great film adaptations of the work, sometimes watching a performance before reading it can be helpful for those who don’t flow naturally into this different writing layout.

the damnedThe Damned vol 1 by Cullen Bunn, and illustrated by Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree

A dark, noir, gangster comic which definitely fits within the horror genre with its graphic panels, there are also fantasy elements within the story which allows it to break the walls of reality in an interesting manner. Check out my full review here!

ghosts of the pastGhosts of the Past by Serge LeTendre and David S. Khara, and illustrated by Frédéric Peynet

This is a mystery/crime comic which follows our protagonist as he deals with Nazi’s, both in the present day and also with what they did during WWII. Pretty dark, due to the topic that it deals with, however, there isn’t really a scare factor. Click for my review for more of my thoughts.

And that’s your lot! It’s a bit of a long list, and my video is almost 25 minutes long so I apologise for that, but hopefully, I’ve been able to provide some ideas for books to delve into this spoopy season!! If you want to see how I get along with my October reads (which have a bit of a spooky theme) then keep an eye on my channel for my October Reading Wrap Up!

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

A Small Hiatus!!

Hey guys! So there is going to be a wee bit of a gap between this and my next blog post. If you follow me on other platforms then you’ll likely know that I’m currently doing a Masters degree (in Geological and Environmental Hazards if you care) and right now is¬†crunch time. I’ve had a little backlog/schedule of posts to be going up for a while, but I review my books as I read them and I haven’t read anything since as my thesis is taking up the majority of my time.

My thesis should be finished up by mid-September and my last assignment finishes up on the 20th September, so there should hopefully be some new posts coming in by October, and maybe even some more videos!!! I’ve missed doing this so so much but this Masters is the most important thing in my life rn (seriously, my so is in hospital after breaking 4 ribs and puncturing their lung but can I go visit? Nope! Need to work :/ – well… he’s there at time of writing… I really hope he’s still not there by the time this posts…but anyways)

For those who have stayed with me I am so so grateful, knowing that I have you guys whenever things get a little too rough has been amazing. To those who have just found me/dip in and out, I hope you enjoy the increase in content in a few months and that my little backlog of posts and videos has been entertaining!

Thank you again, now it’s time to go write some more about a volcanic eruption from 1944. If you can guess which one it is comment below!!

One you need to read

I’d wanted to read this book for a while, but for some reason never picked it up full price. When I saw it in the charity shop however, I knew that I just had to get it. I ended up reading it on the hottest day on record here in the UK (that’ll date this) and I was visiting distant family at the time, so I got to sit next to their little paddling pool and become completely absorbed in this book. I gave it 5/5*.

I will say from the get go that I didn’t “enjoy” this book. And that is a compliment to Colson Whitehead. This book is covers a horrible but unavoidable section of the history of the US, the forcible capture, transportation and slavery of black Africans on plantations. This is a very real part of history, however, this book is a fictionalised version of events. These events all most likely happened, not exactly as depicted in the book but they occurred and they were and are atrocities.

I was immediately absorbed into this life, the fear that is present and the attempt at living as normal, at getting through this atrocious treatment. As a Brit, we’re not taught about this part of history in school, or at least we weren’t when I was there, but through my own reading I knew about the time. However, this book made me feel it, it specified events, it brought them to a very personal and one-to-one level, and trust me this will shake you to your core. Even if you’re American and you’ve been taught about this part of your history in school (hopefully) I still recommend picking this book up as it will make you see the events from a human perspective, rather than an impartial historian.

Possibly the worst part about all this is that events like the ones in this book still happen today, some people are still just as racist, and legal equality only happened in the 60’s (although depending on State that varies a lot and also doesn’t take into account how black American’s are still treated to this day). This isn’t long lost history. This is still happening.

And that is why you need to read this book.

Alphabetised Death

A serial killer is working his way through the alphabet, killing off not only those who’s initials fit his theme, but those with this feature who also live in a town with the same first letter. A very specific event, and to add to this predictability, letters are also sent from the murderer to Poirot before each event! What on earth is occuring?

Agatha Christie does it again, of course! This book, I knew from the title and the cover, was going to be one of my favourites. Don’t ask me how I knew, I just did! From the start Christie lets you further in to behind the scenes, similarly as to how the killer lets Poirot in more than usual. However, of course, things are not quite as simple as they seem and multiple twists and turns occur throughout with so many intertwining sections that you’ll need to focus to keep track! But don’t worry, the story is as gripping as always so you’ll have no issue with being completely immersed.

Another greatly enjoyable Christie book, although you guys knew that before even clicking on the review soooooo…. ūüėÄ

Poirot and Christie strike again with a peril and a young woman

Yes yes, another Poirot! These are just such easy reads, and while I’m in the end stages of my MSc that’s really what I need if I’m going to read at all (spoiler alert these reviews are normally quite behind my actual reading schedule and I haven’t read anything in weeks. Blimmin’ thesis taking up all my time!!!)

This one really got me riled up at the end, even after reading so many books from Christie in a row she still manages to astound me and take twists that are more than surprising! Of course I won’t spoil the twist but Poirot is helping a young girl who seems to be the target of various failed assassinations for an unknown reason. This specific Poirot novel goes through twists and turns as Christie analyses her view of the young people of her time and that makes it such an interesting read as always. Agatha Christie has such a good understanding of people and how they operate, as shown so clearly in her writing, but she also seems to be fully aware of biases which she may be victim to. This adds another layer of nuance to Poirot and Hastings’ portrayals, done in two very different ways, and I feel like this book is a beautiful example of that.

As always I recommend, I have quite a number of reviews on Agatha Christie’s work at this point so I definitely recommend going through my back-catalogue to find the right one for you!

The Mystery of the Blue Train

The Big Four

Poirot Investigates

The Monogram Murders

The Thirteen Problems

Death in the Clouds

The Mystery of Three Quarters

That Old Black Magic, a review

First of all, thank you for NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review. I grabbed this book as it was set in WWII times, no surprise there. However, I didn’t re-read the synopsis before diving into the book so this was all I knew, and lord was I confused! But, obviously, this was all my own fault and I managed to catch up to the gist of the plot by 20-odd% through.

This book engages in the mystical and the unknown, following a Scottish policeman in his work to uncover German spies. He manages to tangle himself up in a world of magic and spirits, with people supposedly speaking to the dead and transferring messages from the other side as well as being part of curious cults (for want of a better word) who terrify and control their members. Essentially this is a very odd book which mixes the occult with British 1940s/50s values and it’s incredibly entertaining.

I was invested in the plot and hooked right to the very end, I absolutely loved the mystery present within the story and how it entwined itself into the fantastical plot and the societal feelings of the times. Our Scotsman protagonist is a great viewpoint for the story, but there are also other points of view dotted about within the book which encompass the story more fully and allow for the reader to gather the gist of events and their relevance to each other.

I whole-heartedly recommend picking this book up if its synopsis intrigues you, as there are so many dimensions to this novel that something is sure to spark your interest! I definitely enjoyed the reading experience.

10 Steps to Reading More

So many of us struggle to read as much as we’d like. Whether that’s one book a year or 100, it can be intimidating to start a book and procrastination is so often the culprit! So here are 10 tips to make more time to read, and to get some more motivation so that you actually use your free time to get through the books you want to read.

Tip the first

Get. Off. Social Media! Most people don’t really want to sit there for hours and scroll through other people’s lives, but for some reason, we all end up doing it because it’s so easy to do and laziness takes over. I’m definitely guilty of this, to the point where I’ve had to just delete Facebook off my phone completely (although I’ve accidentally swapped it for Twitter… not good). I have also massively culled the people who I follow/am friends with on all accounts. This has had the biggest impact on Instagram, as my feed now has so fewer photos on it and therefore I am on there for a lot less time. This might not work so well for you, I am someone with maybe 20 close friends and 50 more that I want to keep in contact with (and family too) so I deleted people from school who I hadn’t seen in 7 years or more. I wish them all the best, but I just don’t need to know about their latest cooking endeavour. This will hopefully mean you’re on social media for less time each day! You can use this time for whatever you need, but obviously reading is the intention here.

Tip #2

Always have a book with you. Whether that is a physical book, an e-reader, or an e-book app on your mobile phone. The mobile phone app, either a generic one or a kindle app, can be a really helpful one if you’re also utilising the social media reduction tips as you can go to these apps instead when you instinctively reach for social media. Having an e-reader, physical or audiobook with you can be really good for any instance where you end up waiting and/or alone. Waiting at the doctors’ office or walking alone to do the food shop can be a great time to get a physical or audiobook and work some more reading around everyday life.

Three times a charm

As mentioned above, audiobooks can be really helpful to squeeze some more reading time in. They aren’t the quickest way for me to read books, as I can read about 100 pages in an hour (which I’ve been told is fast) and audiobooks run much slower, even with them on double speed, but as I listen to them while shopping or traveling when I can’t have a book out they utilise time which wouldn’t be able to be used for much else. I have mine on a separate iPod, as my phone has pretty much no memory, and I keep this in my coat pocket (welcome to Britain, I almost always need a coat) so that I always have it with me. I get really disappointed when I let it run out of charge without realising as I’ve really got used to listening to a story while I walk and it makes the most menial of necessary tasks much more enjoyable.

Number Four

Another really great time for reading is before bed. Some people claim it’s relaxing, however, I feel that personally depends on the book! It is, however, good for giving your eyes a break from the constant screen use we seem to have nowadays and escaping into another world. For this reason, eBooks aren’t great for this activity although I imagine a paper-like screen may help. This won’t work for some people, my dad, for example, find that books cause him to fall asleep (and he reads action books!) but I would stay up for hours as a child just to finish my book. It all depends on how it’d work for you.

Tip #5

Booktube and the bookish internet can be a godsend in terms of finding new books, however, it can lead to you adding books to your TBR (to be read) which aren’t within a genre that you enjoy or that you only want to read as you’re curious about the hype. This can be great, you can unexpectedly find new favourites this way, but when you’re struggling to read the books you have and you’re losing motivation it can be a good idea to go through your TBR list and remove any books that don’t still spark your interest, or even unhaul any physical books that you know you’re not going to get to unless there is nothing left. You can always re-add these books again at a later date, but having a smaller TBR pile can make it less intimidating and can make you less stressed about working your way through it.

Tip the sixth

Set a Goodreads goal for yourself, sometimes you just need a little accountability to encourage you to pick up that book. In case you’ve never heard of Goodreads, it is a website (with apps for most phones) which is designed for readers. You can add books that you have read, put reviews of them up and organise them into groups, as well as adding books to a “want to read” list in order to keep track of them all. You can also mark books as “currently reading” and then input the page that you’re on in the book. This will then generate the percentage and show you how far through you are. This will automatically be posted to your Goodreads account, where you can add friends or just have the account on private. There is also the ability to set posts to be shared on your social media, Twitter and Facebook being the main two. This can result in interaction with others who are interested in the book online as well as knowing that others can see when you last updated. Knowing that others can see the last time you read can give you that kick up the bum to get one with it!

7 reasons to read

Figure out why you want to read. Is it for education? If so then how much do you want to be more knowledgeable on a subject and which books are best to help? Use this knowledge to narrow down the books you are reading and remind yourself of why you want to know about this subject. Knowing that there is an end goal of learning all the facts could help you to push through and pick up a book when you want to give in and just scroll through social media.

Do you want to read purely for pleasure and the fun of it instead? Why don’t you read more then? Why is it not a priority? Find out what it is that stops you from reading, is it that you don’t want to read the books that you’ve set yourself for the month? You don’t need a rock solid plan for each month, that can take the fun out of reading for some people. Is it that you have other priorities right now such as education, childcare or a demanding job? If this is the case then you either need to look at finding ways to squeeze in reading where you can (audiobooks, treats after success or long work periods) or accept that in this busy period of your life, reading for pleasure isn’t something you can do right now. You don’t need to beat yourself up about it, and you can look forward to being immersed in a good book sometime in the future when you have the time to enjoy it.

Eighth tip

Don’t kick yourself for having a reading slump. It happens, and it can be really hard to get over. The best solution that I’ve found for myself is to not pressure myself to read at all. I might re-organise my¬†shelves, or just go through and clear out my Goodreads TBR to get rid of books I’m not so keen on. The exposure to books might make you pick up a new read, or re-read an old favourite and help you out of that slump. You really just have to give it time, which is really annoying, but maybe if you focus on a different hobby your love of reading will come back to you!

#9

Another tip which may help you to be more excited about your upcoming reads is to have a separate TBR pile for books which you want to get to soon, rather than having all your books clumped together or all your unread books staring at you in a huge group. Seeing this pile of books separate from your other unread and read books in your eye line¬†during the day will make you focus on each book individually and remember why you were so excited to read it in the first place. If they are in the same spot on your bookshelf for years you’ll find yourself not really noticing that they are there, and therefore you won’t feel excited. Moving the ones you will read soon to your bedside table, for example, will refresh them in your mind and hopefully make you feel more clear about whether you want to read them or not.

Last but not least, number ten

The most important point of them all. Don’t compare yourself to others! Accountability might help you as mentioned in #6, however, that doesn’t mean you need to feel like you have to read 30 books in one month. Read at a speed which is comfortable to you and don’t put pressure on yourself to read as much as a friend, family, or anyone you see online. It’s a pleasure activity. Keep it that way and you’re much more likely to carry on consistently! 1 book in a year or 1000, as long as you’ve enjoyed yourself it doesn’t matter.

That is the main point of this post, reading is for pleasure. You may be reading for various different reasons, but you’re doing it because you want to, not for anyone else. Don’t forget that and maybe it’ll remind you of your love of reading and encourage you to read more.

 

Cross Her Heart – get ready for a ride

This book. THIS BOOK. Damn. Where to start?

First things first, I was expecting this to be a standard thriller with the usual twists and turns. Not always a bad thing, I kept reading at the very start in hopes that the writing style would be good enough to boost the books predictable plot.

I. Was. Wrong!

This book did not head off in the direction I was expecting, and then did it again… and then did it again! When I was expecting a standard plot concept this was a massive surprise and made this so much more enjoyable. On top of this, the writing style was also really enjoyable for me personally, and I liked the way that the characters were switched between. It was a little confusing at times, but that was purely because I had an eARC from NetGalley and so the formatting of the file wasn’t 100% finished up yet. There are mini headings for each character (they were just interspersed a little randomly in the eARC) so there should be no confusion for those buying the book!

You will be chopping and changing who you believe to be “at fault”, shall we say, for the plot this book revolves around, and I promise you will probably be wrong at least 9 times. I was wrong many more than that! Every person has their own secrets and this is played up beautifully by Sarah Pinborough to keep you on your toes and guessing until the last second.

My one negative about this book is that the ending wrapped up a little quickly, but at the same time we learn all we need to and we get the closure needed for this genre. Maybe I just didn’t want the book to be over! I need more of her writing! I’ve not yet read Behind Her Eyes but it is 100% going on my tbr after this amazing thriller.

5/5 stars and one I would recommend to anyone who loves this genre! Also, the British cover is stunning so that’s a plus! (The American one not so much but hey, maybe they just know the market really well). I just wish that there would be a sequel about Simon and his past! But I think that’s a little too much to wish for ūüėČ

Thank you NetGalley for the eARC in return for an unbiased (I promise!) review, and to Sarah Pinborough for this amazing novel.

Reading around a life

I can’t be the only one who struggles with this, who was an introvert through circumstance in childhood and now has to learn how to balance reading with a social life. Actually leaving the house, or having people come over and socialising. I’m just not used to it.

My parents weren’t the type that liked to have my friends over and they also needed 2 weeks notice if I was going to a sleepover or the like. We also didn’t live close to any of my school friends, no buses and definitely not in walking distance. So I was alone a lot, hence my obsession with Animal Crossing and reading! Now that I’m an adult, and for now (whilst I’m at uni) I have my own place, I can actually have people over, go out when and where I want. It’s a little confusing in itself and I’ve still not gotten to grips with it over the three years I’ve not lived at home. But adding reading into the mix? Just makes it even harder.

I’ll be moving back into my parents place soon, as I have finished my degree and don’t have anywhere else to live while I hunt for a job, or decide generally what my future might look like. I expect that this will result in more reading time as I’m shut away in my room, passing the hours with the internet and all my books. But I can’t stay like that forever, essentially hermitted. So when I eventually get my own place again I’ll have to find that balance. Who knows where it’ll come from…

I take a book, kindle or iPod for an audiobook everywhere I go to squeeze in reading time. But often people consider it antisocial, even though I only pull out my book when everyone is sat on their phones and not talking. I know I could read on my phone but I hate to buy ecopies of physical books I already own and my phone screen isn’t huge. Most of my friends aren’t readers, we’ve bonded over other pastimes. They don’t understand the want to read and think that you can interrupt just as you would with a Facebook article or a youtube video. They mean well, they just want to chat, but all this extra socialising not only means you brought your book for no reason but it also means you’re too tired to read once you get home.

I love my friends, I really do. If I didn’t I wouldn’t spend so much time with them! But finding a way to incorporate one of my favourite pastimes whilst actually having a social life (which I am still really not used to) is unexpectedly difficult. Genuinely, if any readers have advice please tell me! I guess I’m just an introvert by circumstance and an extrovert in personality.

This has been a bit ramble-y. I’m just typing this out on my phone while I’m visiting York and it’s a lot harder to edit on here! But let me know if you have this issue too, or anything similar. Surely I can’t be alone in this!