31 Oct 2019

5 star books in 5 words - Halloween edition

 Happy Halloween, Lovelies!

I've seen the 5 star books in 5 words tag on Jean Bookishthoughts booktube channel first and I thought it'd be fun to do it, especially with a Halloween twist.

The tag was originally created by Matthew Sciarappa.

As the tag's name suggests, I'll have to choose 5 books I gave the best possible rating and come up with 5 words for each that somehow describe why I liked the books as much as I did.

In the post itself no further explanations will be given why I chose the words I did and some of them might only make sense if you read the books. (Of course if you're curious, I'm happy to answer any questions in the comment section :)

 I'll go for novels and a play that fit the Halloween theme, this way I can also recommend you books that are worth to read on the spookiest night of the year.


My choices are the following:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


Read my review of The Haunting of Hill House here.

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King


Dracula by Bram Stoker


The Crucible by Arthur Miller


Read my review of The Crucible here.

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox


Read my review of The Witch of Willow Hall here.

I tag:

Angela @ Musings of a literary wanderer 

Amy @ A magical world of words

Breana @ Our Thoughts Precisely

Lauren @ Always Me

Lauren @ Shooting Stars Mag

And everyone, who'd like to participate...

26 Oct 2019

Review - The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

    Title: The Widow of Pale Harbor

   Author: Hester Fox

   Publication Date: September 17, 2019


   A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of   witchcraft. Who can save  Pale Harbor from itself?

   Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt    him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Maine, taking a    position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives with a spinster maid in the eerie Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a twisted person inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbor will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

My Thoughts:

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox completely enchanted me last year. It was the perfect October read, featuring a haunted mansion and a girl who had just come into her power as a witch. I was looking forward to read the writer's second novel, which had a similar eerie promise.

It wasn't exactly a let-down, but I couldn't say The Widow of Pale Harbor lived up to its predecessor.

Gabriel a man with a well-guarded secret arrives to Pale Harbor to act as the minister of the sleepy town. He quickly becomes fascinated with the woman the whole place regards a murderess and a witch, and when strange occurrences disturb the people, he can't help standing up for the lady of his heart.

"Death had cast its sickly pall over the town, and nothing was certain any more."

Most of the readers will be drawn to this book for the reference to Edgar Allan Poe in the blurb. Indeed, the murders and other weird happenings in the novel are pulled from Poe stories and the reader even gets time to guess from which ones before it is revealed. I think it is a pretty awesome game for those who know Poe's tales intimately.

The setting and the whole atmosphere that is created are the strongest features in the book. The gothic vibes are very powerful, starting from the mansion Sophronia lives in, through the foggy streets, to the eerie cemetery and the windy cliffs – the mood is beautifully composed through the chilly descriptions.

I know, so far I've only shared good things so why wasn't I completely satisfied then? 

The romance I'm afraid blunted my excitement for yet another autumn read. It was too flowery, too sweet for a gothic book. Everything else was so dark, so raw, that I expected the passion to be a bit more down-to-earth, the love a bit less schoolgirlish. I find I don't have much patience for these kind of romances any more. It is sad, but it's the truth. 

Also, I couldn't really understand why Sophronia found Gabriel so intriguing. It turned out they didn't share that many interests after all, he wasn't one for intellectual conversations – as far as male protagonists go he fell a little flat for me.

I'd say it is worth to give The Widow of Pale Harbor a try if you're a Poe fan and like gothic tales. It helps if you're also a romance fan, because then you'll appreciate the parts I didn't, and the story can give you more than what it offered me. It is far from being a bad book, but I couldn't rate it higher because the author's debut novel undoubtedly casts a long shadow on it.

25 Oct 2019

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #35

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


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.

What I'm reading this week:

by Chalon Linton

Nineteen-year-old Lizzy and her young brother, Thomas, find themselves orphaned after a tragic accident claims the lives of their parents. Their estranged Uncle Cline arrives to claim his inheritance, and his roguish ways cast a shadow over the manor. Both the family estate and guardianship of his niece and nephew were left to him, and diabolical Uncle Cline is determined to indulge in his newfound wealth and rid himself of his charges. Desperate to save her brother from a dangerous life at sea, and herself from being married off to a detestable old gentleman, Lizzy knows there is only one choice left—they must run.
Lizzy and Thomas sneak away and find refuge in an abandoned cabin. There they remain hidden—until fate acquaints Lizzy with Mr. Barton, a charming gentleman who is immediately intrigued by the mysterious young woman. Concealing her identity, Lizzy is unaware that there is much more to this compassionate man than meets the eye. Through his kindness to herself and her brother, Lizzy begins to trust him. Soon Lizzy realizes Mr. Barton may be her best hope for a life in which she can live—and love—as she chooses . . .

Book Beginning:

Elizabeth Stafford would not quit.

A persistent lady, I love her already!

The Friday 56:

"What about you, Miss Stafford? Are you anxious to be on your way, or will you perhaps miss Everly Manor?" He held his breath and waited for her answer.

"As I've told you, we can't remain," she replied quickly. Too quickly.

"Because of your fiancé?" Miss Stafford's profile turned to stone. Barton did not mean to cause her discomfort, but he had to know. "Is Mr. Simpkin your fiancé, Miss Stafford?"

What an inconvenient situation...

Share with me what you're reading this week by leaving a link below!

24 Oct 2019

Personal update + New look

 Hi Lovelies!

I hope every last one of you is fine these days and that you're enjoying mind-blowingly amazing books in this colourful time of the year.

I thought I'd give you a little personal update, because it's been a while since I reported about what's going on in my life.

We got married with the Beau on September 14, and the day went as it had to, it was one of the happiest of my life!

We are working on the baby project at the moment and I can't wait to be a mom! 

As you can see, the blog got a new look, because I felt it was time to refresh it a bit. 

I kept the flowery theme and the colour palette too more or less, only white now dominates instead of pink and it gives it a bit more simple, yet elegant look in my opinion.

What do you think? Do you like it, yay or nay?

16 Oct 2019

WWW Wednesday #19

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words

WWW stands for three questions:

What are you currently reading?

I'm attempting to put myself in the mood for autumn and I am preparing for Halloween (it's still very warm here though, for some reason, but I can wear jumpers more and more, yay!)

The two books I'm reading right now are perfect autumn companions:

by Hester Fox

I'm not sure if I'll be part of the book tour because the organizers seem to a be bit mixed up, but either way I'll be posting a review of this novel soon.

(A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #2)
by Kirsten  Weiss

Murder at the harvest festival... Just the cozy small-town mystery I need.

Read my review of the first book in the series, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum here.

What did you recently finish reading?

by Madeline Miller

Read my review here.

What do you think you'll read next?

I think this time it will be a spur of the moment decision.

Please share a link to your WWW post below so I can see what you are up to these days! :)

12 Oct 2019

Review - Circe by Madeline Miller

Title: Circe

Author: Madeline Miller


In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe's place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe's independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

My Thoughts: 

I was looking forward to this novel immensely, given that The Song of Achilles is one of my favourite historical fictions dealing with Greek ancient history, and for the same reason I was a bit afraid before picking Crice up, because with TSOA Madeline Miller put the bar very high up, even for herself. 

Now, having read Crice I can say it was differently good than TSOA, but good none the less as far as I'm concerned, it is indisputable that Madeline Miller is one of the most talented writers of our time.

I can call myself lucky, because I read most of the book on our honeymoon in Malta, and that country provided a perfect real life background setting for the story (second best to what Greece would have offered). After all Gozo is said to have been Calypso's island (not Circe's but close enough...)

Now about the book itself: it is about us. It is about being human, it convinces the reader that life is beautiful, because it has a beginning and an end and because there are so many vivid experiences in between. It is short, but all the more precious for being so. Mortality is an interesting subject for a tale that has a goddess as it's protagonist, but once you start reading you realize that's Circe's relationship with mortals form her to what she becomes by the end of the book. It is quite a journey.

Circe is a strong feminist read as well, reintroducing some well-known, often controversial, female characters from Greek mythology and giving a certain twist to each of them. Pasiphaë, Medeia, Penelope, Scylla, we can learn something new about all of them, getting to know them in a different light.

I enjoyed learning what happened to Odysseus after he killed the suitors and reunited with Penelope and Telemachus too, since I've never read anywhere else about that. Let me just say, this novel doesn't champion Odyssesus at all, which fact gives it a unique aspect.

I definitely recommend Circe to all Greek mythology/history lovers, so sail out, but beware of the sea monsters!