The Halloween Creatures Book Tag

If your question is ‘how many book tags can she possibly do this month?’, my answer is too many. I’ve posted more reviews in the last month than I have in the rest of the year and, honestly, I haven’t read enough this month to keep up with it. Sooooo… I found another tag! The first of many spooky ones in the lead up to Halloween and definitely the one that took the most thought!

Without further ado, the Halloween Creatures tag.

Witch – A Magical Character or Book

The first book that comes to mind is Threadneedle by Cari Thomas. It’s a magical book about a magical witch, set partially in a magical version of the British Library. So… a win. (review here)


Werewolf – A Perfect Book to Read at Night

The Last Girl is an excellent book to read at night. Bonus points if you read the entire thing in one night. It’s scary and excellent. (review here)


Frankenstein – A Book that Truly Shocked You

As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson! I expected it to be flawless, which it was, but I did not expect all the twists. It’s incredible and I’m still not over it. (review here)


The Devil – A Dark, Evil Character

Hmmm, it took me a while to think of this one, but I’m going to go with the Emperor from The Bone Shard Daughter. (review here)


Grim Reaper – A Character that Should Never Have Died

I’m going to go off-brand for a minute and pick a classic. A *certain* character in A Tale of Two Cities. His death had me SOBBING at five AM and I’ll never be over it.


Zombie – A Book that Made You Hungry For More

Gilded by Marissa Meyer!! I need more!! I’m obsessed. (review here)


Gargoyle – A Character You Would Protect at All Times

Hideo Tanaka. I’m sure he could protect himself, but I’d protect him at all costs.


Vampire – A Book That Sucked the Life Out of You

I try not to insult books often but, to be thematic, Vampire Academy


Ghost – A Book That Still Haunts You

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake still haunts me. And not even because of the ghost. Mostly because this book broke my soul.


Demon – A Book That Really Scared You

There’s Someone Inside Your House! It wasn’t the best horror book I’ve ever read but it was terrifying to read home alone.


Skeleton – A Character You Have a Bone to Pick With

Taryn Duarte. I have so. many. bones to pick with Taryn Duarte from The Folk of the Air.


Mummy – A Book That You Would Preserve Through Time

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. A new favourite for me and an absolute masterpiece of a book. (review here)


Creepy Doll – A Cover Too Scary to Look At

Asylum by Madeleine Roux. This book has been on my TBR forever and I haven’t got round to it yet, but the cover perpetually haunts me.

And that’s it! If you’re looking for some spooky content to post, consider yourself tagged! 🙂

The Cosy Autumn Book Tag

I’m struggling to comprehend the fact that I’ve actually stuck to my posting-every-other-day schedule this month but, somehow, I’m still on track! And, as a result, I’ve posted a lot more reviews than normal this month. So I thought it would be nice to break these up with a seasonally appropriate tag.

I’ve seen this one going around recently and love any opportunity to talk about my favourite season so, without further ado, the Cosy Autumn Book Tag.

What book always reminds you of fall/autumn?

I don’t actually know why this was the first book to come to mind but: Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield. I read this book in Autumn last year, wrapped up in a blanket and completely freaked out by the combination of the plot, a thunderstorm and the creepy noises that my last flat made, and I will always associate it with this time of year as a result.

What is your favourite autumnal book cover?

Cemetery Boys! It doesn’t have that much Autumnal stuff on the cover, but it definitely still reminds me of the season a lot. And it’s completely beautiful. And one of my favourite books ever. Anyway…

What is your favourite autumnal drink to read with?

Hot chocolate! I used to hate hot drinks but, after getting obsessed with coffee last year, I started to like this too. Now, the second the temperature drops low enough, I love to switch from iced caramel lattes to hot chocolates and cream.

Do you prefer to read late at night or early in the morning?

Definitely late at night. I’m much more of a night owl than an early riser and love knowing that I can curl up in bed with a book at the end of the day, with no obligation to move until I’ve read as much as I want to.

Halloween is coming! What is your favourite spooky read?

I’ve been reading a lot of scary YA lately and it’s been getting me super nostalgic for Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, the YA horror anthology. I read this whole collection years ago but find myself visiting some of its stories often, especially when we’re nearing Halloween.

What is the ultimate comfort read for you?

Not autumnal in the slightest, as it’s the most summery book I can think of but… We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It’s been getting a lot of hate recently thanks to TikTok but it’s the book I’ve read most in the world and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. Although not the happiest of stories, it’s just so easy, gripping and now nostalgic.

What is your favourite autumnal reading snack?

I baked Halloween-themed brownies recently (complete with spooky ghost decorations, of course) and they made a really cute reading snack. But really, anything with chocolate is a good reading snack all year round.

What is your favourite autumnal candle to burn whilst reading?

It’s a very unpopular opinion in book world, but I don’t actually really like candles. I do love the idea of Pumpkin Spice scented candles, or Vanilla Latte ones, but I only use electric ones, oops.

When you’re not reading, what is your favourite autumnal activity?

I love autumn walks! Seeing the streets covered in leaves and being able to leave the house wrapped up in cardigans and boots rather than summer clothes makes me happy.

What is on your autumn/fall reading list?

So much! I’m mostly focusing on Halloween rather than Autumn in general this year, so anything dark is great. Only A Monster is next up, then You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen McManus and, of course, Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco.

And that’s the tag! If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged 🙂 I’d love to know what your favourite autumnal read is too, so drop a comment below if you have any great Autumn recs!

Book Review: The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

*Thank you to Titan Books for the eARC*

The Devil Makes Three is a dark-academia YA horror that follows Tess, a scholarship student and resident school librarian, and Eliot, the evil-headmaster’s privileged son, as they pair up to find grimoires and histories of dark magic to help Eliot on a personal quest and… accidentally unleash a book-bound demon. The two find themselves forced to put their differences and personal problems aside so they can work together to figure out what they seem to have set free, as Tess is all the while plagued by dreams of the devil and Eliot finds himself losing touch with the magic he has been struggling all his life to get a grasp of.

I’m mad at myself for having had an eARC of this since July and only now, in October, getting round to reading it, but I can’t deny that it fits perfectly on my scary October reading list. It’s a really dark story with a typical spooky setting and it had all of the atmosphere that I wanted from pre-Halloween reading. If you’re squeamish, it’s important to know that the author definitely doesn’t shy away from gore, but it really does help push the intensity and danger of the characters’ situations, and I do think that this was generally done well. Likewise, you should definitely look up the trigger warnings of this book before going into it as well, as there are a lot of triggering subjects such as child abuse, death and self-harm.

In terms of characters, I really liked the combination of Tess and Eliot’s perspectives. Tess was strong-willed, completely independent and unwilling to take anything from anyone, and Eliot’s quiet, inquisitive, hiding-behind-his-office-door nature made them a really fun pair to root for. It was a little strange at times that the way they described each other didn’t always completely align with the way that they actually behaved, but the use of both characters as protagonists made it much easier to understand both of them and why they might be falling for each other, despite their drastically different outlooks. It also definitely helped my enjoyment of this story that the rich-boy/scholarship-student romance trope is one that I love, and I may or may not have found rooting for them from before they even met (oops).

The story is a fairly straight-forward one, with a lot of intense moments of action and not a lot of twists. If you’re looking for a lot of surprises, this book may not be for you as it definitely relies more on atmosphere than mystery, but if you’re in the mood for a gory (for YA) page-turner, it definitely is. It’s an entertaining, not-quite-slasher-level horror with elements of dark academia, witchcraft and dark magic, and I’d absolutely recommend if you’re looking for some YA to get you into the Halloween spirit.

Rating: 4/5

OCTOBER TBR

Happy October! I had a pretty good reading month in September and I’m crossing my fingers for an even better (and scarier) reading month in October. My TBR isn’t quite as spooky as I initially planned, but there are definitely some dark YA fantasies in the mix that I’m excited to read.

Without further ado, my October TBR:

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino – if you saw this on my September TBR, pretend you didn’t… I started it last month and am loving it so far so will definitely get round to finishing it this month. And it’s a horror-y enough way to start my spooky October reading.

Steelstriker by Marie Lu– I’ve ordered two copies of this to buddy read with my fiancé and I can. not. wait. Every Marie Lu book I’ve ever read has been amazing and I really loved Skyhunter, so I’ve been anticipating this one for EVER.

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len– a dark fantasy romance about monsters is exactly what I wanted to read this month and Harper approving my request on NetGalley just in time seems like a sign that I need to read it ASAP. This seems like a pretty unique edition to a super fun genre and I’m really excited to check it out.

Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier – Having just loved Defy the Night (a story about a royal court, an apocalyptic plague and an unexpected romance), this book with all the same tropes seems pretty perfect. I’m super excited to start this one and hope that it lives up to my very high expectations.

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Herman – The Hunger Games with high magic?! This book sounds amazing and, if it lives up to its description, it stands a chance at becoming a new favourite! I’ve been approved for it on NetGalley for longer than I’d like to admit and really hope I get round to reading it this month.

After the Rain by Natalia Gomes– I’ve been trying to get into this book for a while and haven’t been able to really get into it, but it does seem like an easy, important and emotional read. I’m giving it another try this month and think it will be quite drastically different to everything else I’m planning to pick up in October.

And that’s it! Let me know your most anticipated read for October in the comments (even more appreciated if it’s a Halloween-y book that I can add to my list!) 🙂

ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Happy Halloween! My plan to spend an entire night reading has fallen through and, honestly, I think I’m going to nap my way through the rest of the evening, so I figured I’d get in the spooky spirit with a very Halloween-y review instead!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably already aware of how I feel about this book, but here’s my review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (thank you so much to James Patterson Presents for the e-ARC!)…

Emilia has been brushing off stories about the princes of Hell for her entire life, chalking her grandmother’s fear up to superstition and folk tales. She was born and raised a witch so it isn’t that she doesn’t believe; it’s just that she and her sister know that these creatures of nightmares are too stuck in hell to be any kind of a threat.

At least, that’s what she believes, until one dark night in the monastery, her twin sister is found dead, missing a heart and being observed by a beautiful stranger with a devilish aura and a golden knife.

Not long after, as her motivation to find and punish her sister’s killer devours her, Emilia finds herself face to face with enough princes of Hell to see exactly why her grandmother has been warning her all along. And what’s worse is that working alongside one of them might be the only way to find out what truly happened to her sister, and why.

Words cannot express how much I loved Emilia as a protagonist. She was the most strong-willed, fearless character I have read all year and, despite wanting to scream at her in the beginning to stop and think before running into danger, I admired her commitment and believed within a few pages that she could handle anything that was thrown at her (and there was a lot!). Her dedication to her sister never faltered and Emilia didn’t come across as weak even once on her journey to hunting down what she needed to know.

Wrapped up in this story of vengeance was a wonderfully built world of wickedness that I could read about forever. The summonings, the demons and the spellbinding magic were effortlessly written and completely believable. If anyone ever tries to tell me that it’s possible to outgrow YA fantasy, this is the book I will recommend to convince them otherwise.

This story was beautifully crafted, grippingly fast-paced and devilishly creepy, with just the right amount of ethereally beautiful princes of Hell. I ordered a hardback copy before I was even halfway through the ebook because I knew that this would be a book I needed on my shelf and I can guarantee I will be recommending this to anyone who will listen, especially if they’re looking for an wicked tale to add to their Halloween TBR.

Rating: 5/5