4 Nov 2018

October Wrap-Up, Novermber TBR


October was a decent little month this year. There was lots of work to do, but I managed to finish three books (and one long poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes – that Goodreads counted as a book, yay!)

I'm glad I picked a theme for this October – witches and wichcraft – because my reading materials sort of set the atmosphere for the end of the month which we are awaiting eagerly each year (despite the fact there is no trick or treating in my country, I just love Halloween and everything to do with it).

On Halloween night we switched my chain of pumpkin lights on, lit a candle, watched Sleepy Hollow and ate Halloween chocolate. I know it's not much but it was nice (also, it was the first time I saw the Tim Burton movie, and yeah... it was definitely worth to watch).

On November 10 we are planning to go on a trip with my friend (the one who came home from England recently), I'm looking forward to that a lot. 

I really hope my reading month will be at least as good as October was, since the end of the year is coming and I still haven't finished my Goodreads challenge.


Here is a summary of October on Paradise Found:

I've finished three books:

Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal My Review

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox Bolg Tour + Review

Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein


Other posts on the blog in the month of October:

Book? Movie? Both? Books I'm planning to read because I'm excited to see their adaptations on screen

Review – The Crucible by Arthur Miller


Weekly Memes:

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 (Oct 12, Oct 19)


Plans for November:

I'd like to read the following books in November (in no particular order):

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Aaru (The Aaru Cycle #1) by David Meredith

The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho

 The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

What are you planning to read in November?

2 Nov 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #29

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.


 My read for the week of Halloween:

by Alyssa Palombo 


Synopsis:

When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase.


Book Beginning: 

Washington Irving got it wrong. I don't know what secondhand version of Katrina Van Tassel's story  he heard, but it was all wrong.

I'm curious what the twist will be compared to the original.


The Friday 56:

The vision that had come to me in the candle flame came back to torment me in its every detail. Two figures in the woods, one chasing the other. The unmistakable sounds of struggle. The whinny of a horse, and the sound of a blade – a great blade like the horseman carried – being drawn from its sheath.

 This is so atmospheric, I like it a lot!


What are you reading this week? Don't forget to share your link in a comment below!

26 Oct 2018

Review - The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox















Title: The Witch of Willow Hall

Author: Hester Fox

Publication Date: October 02, 2018

Synopsis:

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…


My Thoughts:

Let me start with stating how very lucky I feel for being part of this book tour. I wanted to receive an early copy of The Witch of Willow Hall badly because I was convinced by its synopsis it will please me to no end.

I was not a least bit wrong. This is such a deliciously dark gothic romance, I haven't read anything so powerful in the genre in ages. 

Lydia's, family – her parents and two sisters – move to the countryside from Boston to run away from a scandal that could become the ruin of all three girl's prospects. However, the house they choose as their new home is half-alive with memories and tragedies of another family, and the nights are rarely peaceful there.

When two gentlemen from the neighbourhood start to make visits to the house, Lydia finds herself in bigger animosity with her sister Catherine than ever before, which is all the worse because thanks to that neither of them foresee the calamity that would change both their lives forever.

After disaster strikes Lydia's anger and helplessness makes her realize she is somehow different form the rest of the world; she is in for a journey of self discovery.

The novel seriously had everything I enjoy: regency era, haunted house, romance done well(!), witchery, creepy ghosts, a nasty scandal, a mysterious family tree... and some other things I can't mention here because I don't want to spoil your experience.

This would be the perfect read for all Jane Austen-lovers who also enjoy thriller/horror. I swear I haven't read anything this good on the gothic side since The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and that must say something, because I LOVED The Thirteenth Tale.

Don't miss out on Hester Fox's amazing debut novel, it is quite a ride believe me.





About the Author:




Hester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the dark...so long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband. THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL is her first novel.






The blog tour was organized by:

25 Oct 2018

Review - The Crucible by Arthur Miller


Title: The Crucible


Author: Arthur Miller


Synopsis:

The place is Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, an enclave of rigid piety huddled on the edge of a wilderness. Its inhabitants believe unquestioningly in their own sanctity. But in Arthur Miller's edgy masterpiece, that very belief will have poisonous consequences when a vengeful teenager accuses a rival of witchcraft—and then when those accusations multiply to consume the entire village.



 
My Thoughts:

In Arthur Miller's play a group of teenage girls accuse women of witchcraft in 17th's century Salem, and the famous witch trials take place as the consequences of their words.

The work itself is not written in the traditional drama format, since there are pieces of texts inserted in between the dialogues, that attempt to explain what must have been the reasons behind the mass hysteria that evolved in Salem in those fateful years. Arthur Miller lays out facts for us, and like an investigative journalist tries to dig to the bottom of the case and come up with motives. I found this new form of drama-writing refreshing, this play really worked better with a little realism.

Of course originally the pointing wasn't done by teenage girls, but there is something frightning in that Mr Miller gave such power to children in this piece. In the beginning the girls just want to shift the attention from themselves and their night activities in the forest but eventually their game gorws into something bigger, they lose control over it and their self-defence will cost lives.

I liked that I couldn't exactly figure out how to feel about certain characters. I mean essentially I had a positive intuition about John Proctor and I nurtured negative feelings towards Abigail (Abigail is the leader of the girls and John Proctor is the owner of the house where she worked; their personal relationship is one of the main motivators in the play), but in the end I brought myself to think about both their situations and what happened between them before, and I realized John Proctor wasn't absolutely innocent either (it doesn't mean Abigail should have done what she did but still, I was playing around with perspectives a bit...)

The whole play is very tense, families get torn apart and there are fierce battles of words that eventually land some residents of Salem in prison. The last act is especially tough. Those who won't confess end up on the gallows. The moral questions that the idea of confession to witchcraft brought up were extremely interesting and I was struggling to decide what I would have done in the place of the accused.

I think everyone should read this play once in their life, and there isn't a better time than October to do so.



19 Oct 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #28

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.
 
 This week I'm reading a Shakespeare retelling:

by Lisa Klein


Synopsis:

Albia has grown up with no knowledge of her mother or her father, the powerful Macbeth. Instead she knows the dark lure of the Wychelm Wood and the moors, where she's been raised by three strange sisters. It's only when the ambitious Macbeth seeks out the sisters to foretell his fate that Albia's life becomes tangled with the man who leaves nothing but bloodshed in his wake. She even falls in love with Fleance, Macbeth's rival for the throne. Yet when Albia learns that she has the second sight, she must decide whether to ignore the terrible future she foresees or to change it. Will she be able to save the man she loves from her murderous father? And can she forgive her parents their wrongs, or must she destroy them to save Scotland from tyranny?
 
 
 Book Beginning:

The nameless baby lay on the cold ground, wrapped in a woolen cloth.

A very simple introduction to our protagonist. After encountering her in this helpless state it will be interesting to see how she'll turn out to be a strong woman once grown (if the cover is any indication).


The Firday 56:

Then, out of the gray murk steps a deer as white as the moon. She gazes at me with glistening black eyes that seem almost human and inclines her head as if beckoning me. My desire to follow her is like a hunger for sweetness and rest and drink all at once. I wonder if I am dreaming, but the pain stabs my belly again. I feel something wet between my legs, and looking down I see blood on my thigh.

I wonder if the deer is a wandering spirit of someone.


Happy reading!

18 Oct 2018

Book? Movie? Both - Books I'm planning to read because I'm excited to see their adaptations to screen


The Haunting of Hill House 
by Shirley Jackson



I've already ordered the book because I saw there is a new Netflix series out that is based on this spooky story. I planned to read this Shirley Jackson novel anyway (I loved We Have Always Lived in the Castle) and what would be a better time to plunge in than autumn? 

I'll try to keep away from the show until the book arrives but no promises...



My Cousin Rachel
by Daphne du Maurier



I confess I'm a bit afraid of going into My Cousin Rachel, as Rebecca was surprisingly a disappointment for me. For some time I wasn't even sure I'd like to give Daphne du Maurier another chance but the trailer of this 2017 movie caught my eye. The premise appeals to me a lot, so I'll definitely pick this up and soon. 



Mortal Engines
(The Hungry City Chronicles #1)
by Philip Reeve



Both David and me want to see the film that's coming out in December so I have to make some preparations. It looks steampunk-y, it's futuristic and I bet it's a story full of adventure.




Is there an adaptation you're eager to watch these days? 

12 Oct 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #27


Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.

This week I'm reading:

by Hester Fox


Synopsis:

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…


 
Book Beginning:

It was the Bishop boy who started it all.

Great first line. You instantaneously wonder what the boy triggered.


The Firday 56:

At home I always feel on edge, as if I were holding my breath, waiting for something to happen, and that's to say nothing of the torturous nights with their evil dreams and the footsteps and wailing. Here I can just be, and with Mr Barrett no less.

 Awww, the budding romance...


Happy reading!

 

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