The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh Review

When this was released it was marketed as “the book to bring back vampires.” I knew immediately I had to pre-order it.

In 1872, Celine Rousseau found sanctuary in New Orleans. After fleeing from Paris she takes up residence in a local convent. Her skill as a dressmaker gets her an invitation to the world of La Cour de Lions. While there a girl from Celine’s convent is found dead. Celine suspects Sebastian Saint Germain, the courts leader. Celine has to fight her attraction and her suspicion. to discover who is killing the girls in her community. All the while, she is getting pulled deeper and deeper into the underworld.

I have several thoughts on this. The first being, there are not many vampires. If I had not have read the summary and the reviews I would not have known it was a vampire story until the end of the book.

Celine was an interesting character in the beginning. Toward the end I felt like she became one-dimensional. The only thing I really know about her is she makes dresses and she is stubborn. There is very little character growth. Also, a lot of time was spent saying that she is “two sides of the same coin” but not a lot of action on Celine’s part to back that up. She is supposed to have underlying darkness but nothing really built that up. It is just said multiple times.

The mystery part of the story was the only thing that saved it for me. I would not have guessed the ending. The only problem is there was no resolution. If anything part of the story is unwound at the end. It is an interesting way to set up the next book, but I don’t think I will continue on with the series. I know I gave this three stars in my October Wrap Up, but the more I am thinking on it I have decided to drop my Goodreads score to two stars. I am just really unsatisfied and have so many unanswered questions. I did enjoy the gothic vibes the author created, but there is just so much more I want from it.

Books and Bakes Tag

This is going to be a bit of a different post. I saw this tag on Thoughts on Tomes Youtube channel and thought it was so much fun. Besides reading, another hobby of mine is cooking and baking. I have a family of good cooks, so I think I would be disowned if I didn’t enjoy it lol.

I will be given a baking related prompt and then I will choose a book that fits. I hope you enjoy!

1, Cupcakes- Name a collection of short stories, poems, or anthologies where you couldn’t read just one section and had to go back for more.

Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jefferey won by default. This is really the only book of short stories I own. I really enjoy it and it probably would be a favorite even if I owned multiple collections.

2. Lemon Pound Cake- Name a book that has 400 pages or more that you considered a comfort read and a classic.

Gone with the Wind is well over 400 pages. It will always be a classic. I will say it’s not necessarily a comfort read. It handles very hard topics, but I love it nonetheless.

3. Red Velvet Cake- Name a book that you thought was one thing, but ended up being another.

I bought Hex thinking it was going to be a spooky little town. While, that was the case it was a whole lot more militarized than I expected. I also was shocked to find out that the towns people scared me more than the witch. Check out my full review here: https://readinginthewildwood.com/2019/10/09/hex-by-thomas-olde-heuvelt-review/

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough- Name a book or book series that you can read over and over again even though you know it is bad for you.

The A Court of Thorns and Roses series is controversial. I personally loved it. I don’t really re-read books, but if I did I would want to re-read this one.

Gingerbread Cookies- Do you like your gingerbread crunchy or soft? If you like your cookies soft name a book that was squishy in the middle, but the beginning and end were really good. If you like your cookies crunchy, name a book you finished, but you wanted to throw at a wall, or snap.

I like my cookies crunchy. I wanted to throw The Missing Season at the wall multiple times. It was supposed to be about a mysterious monster that stalks a small time. Somehow, though, it spent more time focusing on the love interest than talking about the monster. I read until the end hoping something would happen, but it never really did.

Brownies- Are you a corner piece or a middle piece? If you’re a corner piece, name a book that starts of strong and then all comes apart. If you’re a middle piece, name a book that kept you in the feels the entire time.

I am a corner piece. My pick is very controversial. I did not love The Diviners. I should have. It started out promising, but it tried too hard to use the ligo from the time period and it really got on my nerves.

Birthday Cake- Name a book series or an author that you feel like keeps coming out with a book, short story, or novella every year.

Riley Sager comes out with a new mystery every summer. I have read all three so far. I will not complain. Keep them coming. I love his work.

Carrot Cake- Name a book that sounded healthy for you but ended up being unhealthy either with content, or put you in a reading slump.

Uprooted put me into a reading slump. I could not force myself to finish it, and I had to take a break from reading for a day or two.

Apple Pie a la Mode- Name a book that was really food but could have been better with a little bit of ice cream.

Sawkill Girls was great in a lot of way. However, I really didn’t like or connect with any of the characters.

So that was the Books and Bakes Tag. If you want to play along, consider yourself tagged!

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury Review

Let me start by saying I don’t feel qualified to review a classic. Especially on a book I didn’t absolutely love. I am new to the reviewing games so I am still learning.

The Halloween Tree is a quintessential Halloween story. When I asked for recommendations for books for Halloween countless people said to check out this story. This book follows eight trick-or-treaters that visit a haunted house. Their friend Pipkin is snatched away and only the man in the house can help. Mounshroud takes them back in time to unlock the history of Halloween night.

The book started off great. The descriptive images and words brought back the feeling of mystery that Halloween always brought as a kid. The moment before the night begins it feels like anything can happen.

Halfway through the book I started to lose interest. The descriptions of the past felt rushed and muddled. The history of Halloween is the main reason I wanted to pick up the book. Sadly, we only got a quick glimpse of each.

The section about Dia de Muertos saved it. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have finished it. Bradbury took more time describing this holiday. I almost felt like I was there. The ending was heartwarming and satisfying. It wrapped the story up with a moral and I discovered Mounshroud and the nights of the dead represented more than a fun Halloween romp. I won’t go too far into it because I don’t want to spoil the story.

All in all, it was a quick read. It would be perfect for kids this time of year. It was spooky and fun.

13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery Review

As I said in my October TBR. 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jefferey is a re-read for me. My middle school history teacher would read these stories to us for Halloween. It is amazing how those memories started flooding back as soon as I started reading this.

This is a collection of ghost stores that are popular in the state of Alabama.There are stories about a ghost steamboat, a hole that won’t stay filled, and a ghost that haunts his grave and is always ready to dance. My personal favorite is “The Ghost in the Courthouse Window.” I remember the picture of the ghost vividly from middle school.

Ghost from Pickens County Courthouse
https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/alabama/ghost-in-window-al/

This is a fun read if you love local folklore. I am from Alabama, so I have a connection to the story that makes it even better. I will probably pick this up and explore the tales again next Halloween.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo Review

I am writing this review a minute after finishing Ninth House. All I can say is wow. This is the first Leigh Bardugo book that I have ever read and I am hooked.

Ninth House is Bardugo’s first adult book. The main character is Galaxy “Alex” Stern. Alex can see ghosts so she numbs the experience with drugs and bad choices. She is hospitalized after she survives a homicide that left all of her friends dead. While there she is visited by the president of a Yale secret society, called Lethe. He offers her a job and a full ride to one of the most prestigious universities in America.

As Alex tries to fit into the position, she discovers it is much darker than she ever imagined. The secret societies are made up of influential people that deal with sinister, occult magic that should not be messed with.

I love dark books and this is all I could ask for. It has ghosts, necromancy, elemental magic, and so much more. It also has a good old-fashioned murder mystery. The writing is beyond compare. The first couple of chapters are confusing. You’re thrown into a world with very little description, but as you keep reading your questions are answered. As soon as that question is answered, more questions arise. It was such a great way to build the world. I couldn’t put it down because I needed to know what was happening next.

When I only had a hundred pages left, I noticed that I was stalling. I didn’t want this book to end. It ended on a cliff hanger and I am dying to know what happens. I can’t believe I have to wait so long for the next book to be published.

Why I didn’t finish The Bone Houses

I hate giving bad reviews. Naturally, though, there will be books I don’t like.I wanted to love this book. It was one of my most anticipated fall reads. Around page 200, I discovered that I didn’t care about the story. The only character I connected with was the bone goat (explained in the story).

The writing was descriptive and I could fully imagine the world. I just lost interest in what was happening. I felt like the magic system was a little rushed when it was explained, and I still don’t completely understand the origin of the bone houses. Having the point of view from a grave digger was interesting. I would have liked to seen her more involved in her trade, but that could have come later in the story. I stopped at page 205. I feel like I am going into a reading slump. I think I will give this a shot later on to see if I can get into it. Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed it. I would love to hear some feedback.

Throne of Glass Bookish Box Part 2

I was so excited for this. It is the Throne of Glass Bookish Box Part 2. I am obsessed with Throne of Glass. When they released the first box I had not discovered this series yet, but I was here for the second one. This is my first experience with Bookish Box and I hope to order more in the future. There is not one thing that I did not love.

Candle made by Say Anything Studio

The first thing I loved was this candle. It is called Training in Mistward. It smells like cypress and oak forest trees. I think it smells exactly like Christmas. It says it has shape shifting magic. I’ve only burned it a couple of times so I’m excited to see what that is.

Bangle made by the Bookish Shop

This bangle is gorgeous. It says “To whatever end,” which is my favorite quote from the series. It is obviously fandom related, but it’s subtle enough to to wear anywhere.

Mug made by the Bookish Shop
Double sided mug rug made by Sweet Sequels

I can’t wait to drink a cup of coffee out of this mug. It is perfect for the winter months ahead. I also love the little double sided coaster included with it.

Enamel Pin designed by Lapels & Spells

This pin is gorgeous. I really want to buy a denim jacket to put it on. It’s too pretty not to wear.

This shirt is the map of Erilea. It is well made and very flattering.

Both dust jackets were created by Diana Dworak

The dust jackets included in this box were breathtaking. Since I don’t own the hard covers I am going to have these framed.