Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Most anticipated releases of Winter 2019 | Grabby Hands

Hello, beautiful people!

Phew, can you believe this? It's already time to get all excited about 2019 book releases and I find this astonishing. Didn't 2018 start, like, yesterday? It was a really good year in terms of new releases, and I'm sure 2019 will be just like that as well. So, like I did in 2018, I'll be talking about my most anticipated releases every three months so I don't overwhelm you all at once! Anyhoo, it's time to talk about the Winter 2019 releases I'm most anticipating (from January to March).

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2), by Holly Black
Published: January 8th 2019, by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: young adult, fantasy

I am so excited to see how The Folk of the Air trilogy will continue in this second book. I adored The Cruel Prince so much, it was so addicting and the world-building was fascinating, so I cannot wait to read about Black's cruel faeries once again. She proved once again that she was the queen of faeries and can we also scream at how stunning that cover is? Give it to me.

The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi
Published: January 15th 2019, by Wednesday Books
Genres: young adult, fantasy, historical fiction

Roshani Chokshi weren't off to a good start, because I did not finish The Star-Touched Queen a few years ago, but I've heard such good things about her writing that I am determined to try again and this one sounds really good! From what I've gathered, this book is set in 1889 Paris, at the time of the Exposition Universelle (the one the Eiffel Tower was built for!) and it's about finding a mysterious artifact for an all-powerful organization, I am so intrigued! My standards are pretty hard for books set in Paris as I'm French and live there, so I hope I'll love it! *hides*

The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2), by S.A. Chakraborty
Published: January 22nd 2019, by Harper Voyager
Genre: fantasy

The City of Brass was one of my favourite books of 2018 and one of the two books that caused my fantasy slump for most of the year, so of course I'm SO anticipating its sequel. If you haven't read the first book yet, I'll strongly urge you to, because it's an amazing fantasy novel set in 18th century Cairo, the main character, Nahri, is a con woman and she accidentally summons a dark and mysterious djinn (!!). Honestly talking about sequels makes me want to reread so many first books in series, oops.

King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo
Published: January 29th 2019, by Imprint
Genres: young adult, fantasy

Can we talk about how long we've been waiting for the Nikolai book? Can we? Okay so you might not know that, but I met Leigh Bardugo in Rotterdam in 2015 and she said that everyone was pressuring her to write a Nikolai Lantsov book and now we're actually having a duology? We have so been blessed. I can't really say much about this one because that would be spoilers for the Grisha trilogy, but I cannot wait to have Nikolai, my favourite character of the trilogy, back. I've waited long enough.

Courting Darkness, by Robin LaFevers
Published: February 5th 2019, by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres: young adult, fantasy, historical fiction

I discovered the awesomeness that is the His Fair Assassin trilogy two years ago and I couldn't get enough of it, so I was over the moon when I heard there would be a follow-up duology. The first series followed the path of three girls trained as assassins in a convent in 15th century Brittany and it was spectacular, the world was interesting, the plot full of court politics and action, the characters so fleshed-out that I still remember all of them... Those are definitely my kind of books. Courting Darkness will follow Sybella (whom we met in Dark Triumph) and a new character called Genevieve. I am beyond excited for that and it makes me want to reread the entire trilogy first, I mean, I do have an excuse now, right?

Bloodwitch (The Witchlands, #3) by Susan Dennard
Published: February 12th 2019, by Tor Teen
Genres: young adult, fantasy

Everyone can tell I'm over my fantasy slump because I'm excited for so many fantasy novels and it makes me so happy! I've loved Susan Dennard's works even since I've started reading them (please read Something Strange and Deadly, it's amazing!) and The Witchlands series is no exception. It's a very complex fantasy world, full of elemental magic, but it's really worth it once that you get everything and the characters have always intrigued me. Truly, this series has everything I love about fantasy. I really need to reread Truthwitch and Windwitch before this one though, as well as to read Sightwitch (a shorter prequel novel) to be all caught up, but I cannot wait to go back to this world, I had missed it!

The Familiars, by Stacey Halls
Published: February 19th, by Mira Books
Genres: historical fiction, paranormal

I was browsing through Netgalley (as one does) when I discovered The Familiars, which sounds like a spectacular debut! This novel is set during the Pendle Hill Witch Trials in the 17th century and it sounds so intriguing (and it's probably gonna break my heart as it's set during that time period). It follows a noblewoman who has been through several failed pregnancies, but as she's with child again, she discovers that according to the doctor, she won't survive another childbirth. By chance, she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft. It explores the rights of women in that time period, as well as the fact that witch-hunting mostly was women-hunting. I truly cannot wait to read that one and I'm super excited to have an early copy of it!

The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon
Published: February 26th 2019, by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: fantasy

THIS. This. As I was writing this, I stumbled upon Samantha Shannon's tweet on how big this book was and now I need even more. Am I living for really long fantasy books? The answer is yes, absolutely. This fantasy novel seems to be full of amazing female characters, it is set in a queendom and there are dragons? It sounds absolutely amazing and out of all the fantasy novels I've listed there, it's the one I'm most excited about. I hope I'll adore this one and that it'll motivate me to pick up The Bone Season at long last!

Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: March 5th 2019, by Hutchinson
Genre: historical fiction

Now moving on, this one is my most anticipated winter 2019 release and that's about it. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is my favourite book of the year (along with another one because I can't choose *wink wink*), so I am eagerly awaiting Taylor Jenkins Reid's next book. This book is about a fictional iconic 1970s rock band, which split up in 1979. This will be made of interviews, emails, transcripts and lyrics, which I am absolutely living for. I've been screaming quietly about how much I need it for months now and it's getting closer every day. Taylor Jenkins Reid, I'm ready for anything you're throwing at me/writing about (or not, can't wait to sob again).

Published: March 5th 2019, by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genres: young adult, fantasy

The other book that got me into my great 2018 fantasy slump was... Children of Blood and Bone. So obviously, I need Children of Virtue and Vengeance. I'm a bit worried because we still don't have a cover and it's supposed to come out next March? I hope it hasn't been pushed back? But anyway, I can't wait to see the gang again and to finally know how the book will continue (that cliffhangerrrrr). Also if you haven't read Children of Virtue and Vengeance, please do, it's one of the best YA fantasy out there!

Queen's Shadow by E.K. Johnston

Published: March 5th 2019 Disney Lucasfilm Press
Genres: science fiction

It's no secret that I am a huge Star Wars fan and this year, I've started reading the canon novels (I'm still new at it, though) and I watched the animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which was SO GOOD (I miss it, can't wait for the new episodes next year!!). So basically, I've started to realise that I actually love the Republic era, because I discovered so much about it. Now, they keep announcing Republic era novels and I need them all. This one follows Padmé when she becomes the Naboo's representative in the Galactic Senate and I am so ready for it. Give me all the books about female Star Wars characters, please and thank you.

The Bird King, by G. Willow Wilson
Published: March 12th 2019, by Grove Press
Genres: historical fiction, fantasy

I stumbled upon this one on Goodreads and the synopsis got me so intrigued. You *might* know G. Willow Wilson for the awesomeness that is Ms. Marvel (at least, that's how I know her) and I'm so curious to read one of her novels. The Bird King tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Her friend has a secret, for he can draw maps of places he has never seen and bend the shape of reality. The two of them have to escape when Hassan's gift is seen as a threat to the newly formed Spanish monarchy, helped with a clever jinn. You had me at Muslim Spain (I studied it for an entire semester) and mapmaker. That's it. I need it.

What are your most anticipated releases for this winter? Do we share any?

Lots of love,

Friday, 21 December 2018

Christmas books recommendations

Hello, beautiful people!

Wow, December definitely flew by, we're three days away from Christmas Eve and four days away from Christmas, how did that happen? I am SO LATE for Christmas shopping, you have no idea, oops. But anyway, I thought that it would be fun to recommend you four books that I've read that are set during Christmas, whether you want to get in a Christmas mood or read them at Christmas.

Genres: classics, short stories

Of course, I had to start with this classic, you know how much I love Charles Dickens. We all know A Christmas Carol, the story of the awful Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve, but it's always great to revisit it during Christmas. The Penguin Clothbound edition not only is stunning, but it includes some of his other Christmas writings, so I'd recommend you to check that out as well! I recently saw my friend Fatima talking about Neil Gaiman's reading of A Christmas Carol and I intend to listen to it this year, it must be amazing. You can find that there if you're interested.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas, by Agatha Christie

Genres: mystery

I got back into Agatha Christie's mystery novels last year and of course I had to read this one over Christmas. In Hercule Poirot's Christmas, it's Christmas Eve and the Lee family is having a reunion in their mansion for the occasion... Until it goes horribly wrong, because the tyrannical Simon Lee has been murdered and Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate. This one is a perfect cosy Christmas murder mystery (if I dare say so) and I loved that it was centered around family dynamics! As always, Agatha Christie's characterization is on point and I loved the resolution! I still have The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding to read this year and I'm excited!

The Afterlife of Holly Chase, by Cynthia Hand
Genres: young adult, paranormal, retelling

Cynthia Hand has been one of my favourite YA authors for a long time, so of course I was delighted to get to this one, for it is a retelling of A Christmas Carol. It's about Holly, who was visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve five years ago. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. Only, she didn't... and then she died. But it wasn't the end for her, because she's now stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge, as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past. Every year, they save another miserly grouch, while Holly stays frozen at seventeen and her loved ones continue living without her. But this year, everything is about to change... I adored this novel, it has a wonderful message and it got me so much. I might even reread it this year!

Mr. Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva
Genres: historical fiction

Last, but not least, I recently read this historical novel which is a reimagining of how Charles Dickens came up with A Christmas Carol. A lot of it is fictionalized of course, but reading about Charles Dickens and his struggles was wonderful to me, because I've always been curious about him and it motivated me even more to read a biography about him. It was a lovely and heartwarming read, reminding us of what's important in life and what the Christmas spirit is about. I would have loved to stay with Charles Dickens a bit longer and all the references to his works made me so happy!

So that's it for my books set during Christmas recommendations! I'd love to discover more books set during/about Christmas, so if you know any, please give me your recommendations! I also read Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien, which I liked, but didn't adore, so that's pretty much it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you'll have wonderful holidays if you have some,

Lots of love,

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Reading wrap-up + Favourites | November 2018

Hello, beautiful people!

November is finally over, which means that we have entered the very last month of 2018 and I cannot believe this. Where did this year go? I felt like November lasted forever, because as usual with each November, it was a very busy month at uni and as I have to find an internship on top of getting through uni, well... I didn't have time blog. I'm so sorry about that, I was consistent in October and so happy with my content, then I disappeared. Well, oops? Let's hope I'll do better in December and in the meantime, let's wrap up November!

W H A T  I  R E A D

Once again, I'm only managing to read my "usual" amount of books for two reasons: a) audiobooks and b) participating in a 24h readathon. Here are the books that I read:

  • Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell, 3/5 stars
  • Aime-moi, je te fuis, by Morgane Moncomble, 4/5 stars
  • Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb, 4.5/5 stars
  • Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay, by J.K. Rowling
  • Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel, by Val Emmich, 3.5/5 stars
  • The ABC Murders, by Agatha Christie, 3/5 stars
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb, 5/5 stars
  • Poirot's Early Cases, by Agatha Christie, 3/5 stars
  • Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • A Deeper Love, by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson, 3/5 stars
  • The Wicked Ones, by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Land I Lost, by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, 4.5/5 stars
  • Through Blood, Through Fire, by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman, 3.5/5 stars
November was such a great reading month, I caught up with my Agatha Christie challenge (I was one book behind), as well as with the Ghosts of the Shadow Market novellas, so I could be ready for Queen of Air and Darkness (I am so not ready). I also finally started the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb and I adore it so much, I cannot wait to finish it in December!

F A V O U R I T E S 
EVENT & MOVIE // Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

As I was mentioning in my October wrap-up, I attended the worldwide premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in November and it was probably the best night of my life. I won tickets last minute, after thinking for weeks that I wouldn't be able to attend and I had such a blast. Before the premiere, we went to the Harry Potter pop-up store so I could buy Newt's scarf, then we did the photocalls in the Galeries Lafayette and had so much fun! At the premiere, we saw the red carpet on the big screen, Eddie Redmayne spoke French and I almost fell off my seat, while my boyfriend, who had red carpet access, got my screenplay of the first Fantastic Beasts signed by J.K. Rowling and Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein)!

Now, when it comes to the movie, there are many things that I love about it: Newt Scamander still owns my whole heart, it was a wild ride and I loved seeing the French Wizarding World. Still, I know it's not perfect and I agree with everyone who has been calling out the problematic aspects of the movie, I truly do and those aspects make me so angry. I still love the franchise though, because the first movie means the world to me and watching the second one manages to calm me down, but I acknowledge those aspects.

BOOKS // The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Since the beginning of the year, I've been in a huge fantasy slump. I read some outstanding fantasy novels at the beginning of the year, such as City of Brass or Children of Blood and Bone, and then... I got disappointed by almost every fantasy sequel I was anticipating and I barely read any fantasy at all. However, a few months ago, my boyfriend started reading the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb and he loved it. Between him and my parents, who have ben talking about it for YEARS, I decided to give it a go, and became really obsessed with it as well. I am fascinated by this world, I love how fleshed out the characters are and I always want to keep reading it. It's getting me out of my fantasy slump, which is amazing, because I have four other trilogies waiting for me in this world, so I won't have to leave it for a long time. I cannot wait to get back to Assassin's Quest once I'm done with The Dark Artifices trilogy!

MUSIC // Alison Sudol's Moon

Even if you don't know her name, you probably know Alison Sudol. She plays Queenie Goldstein in the Fantastic Beasts movies, but her acting skills aren't her only talents, for she also is a musician (you might know Almost Lover from a few years back, she recorded it under the name A Fine Frenzy). Anyway, she released her new EP in November and I so fell in love with it. Alison is such a talented, inspiring and kind woman, which shows in her songs. They make me feel good, they make me feel safe and they're pretty much all I've listened to in November. There are only five of them, so it's hard to pick favourites, but I think that mine are Escape the Blade and It's Really Raining.
STUDENT LIFE // Bullet journaling

Last, but not least, I started bullet journaling again at the end of September and it's been so helpful. I kept making lists everywhere on my phone (which was ridiculous), as I was stressed with everything I had to do for uni, while maintaining my regular life habits. I've kept with it since then, it calms down my anxiety to organize myself in such a way, it also helps me to feel more productive. I'm also a bit more creative than before with it now, my bujo was in earthy tones during the Fall. Now that Christmas is approaching, it's full of red, green and blue, and I can finally use the Christmas masking tape that my boyfriend offered me last year!

L O O K I N G  A H E A D

I couldn't be happier to be in December, I have been in a Christmas mood for a while and I can now express it at its fullest! When it comes to uni, I only have two weeks left before being on holidays (I'll still have projects to turn in during the holidays, but I'll be able to breathe), so the end is in sight for the semester and I'm so happy about that. Other than that, Queen of Air and Darkness is coming out in two days, and I have movies I'm excited to finally watch, such as Mary Poppins Returns, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (that's mainly why I read the Spider-Gwen comics this summer) and Aquaman. I also have all my favourites of the year posts to write for here and I cannot wait to do that!

Lots of love,


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Reading wrap-up + Favourites | October 2018

Hello, beautiful people!

We're already eight days into November and I'm only publishing my October wrap-up now. Oops. October felt like a really long month, mainly spent studying and waiting for/taking the subway, but I'm still really enjoying what I'm studying, so it's all good! Most importantly, Fall settled in Paris and it made me so happy, I even went to Montmartre to see it in its autumnal colours, I adored it so much. While I barely can't remember what I did, I know I enjoyed every moment I had when I was outside of uni and I even got some days off at the end of the month!

W H A T  I  R E A D

I quickly realised in October that because of uni, I was getting less and less time to read... To the point that I stopped reading altogether during weekdays, until I started listening to audiobooks again! I spend so much time in the subway or walking outside to either go to uni, meet up with people or going grocery shopping, that I can easily listen to three hours of an audiobook per day, when I'm motivated. On October 30th, I also did a 24 hour Halloween readathon with my best friend, which was amazing, and that's why I managed to read the same amount of books as usual (I read five books in one day, everything is fine)! Otherwise, we'd have been lucky if I had read more than five books, oops. 

Anyhow, here are the books that I read:
  • Before the Devil Breaks You, by Libba Bray, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays, by Oscar Wilde, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Woodlanders, by Thomas Hardy, 4/5 stars
  • The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman, 3/5 stars
  • The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot, 3.5/5 stars
  • Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray, 4/5 stars
  • The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, 3.5/5 stars
  • City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab, 4/5 stars
  • Toil and Trouble: 15 Stories about Women and Witchcraft, edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe (anthology), 3/5 stars
  • Melmoth, by Sarah Perry, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 3.5/5 stars

My favourite read of the month was Before the Devil Breaks You, it was a great Halloween read and I adore the Diviners series so much, they get better and better with every instalment. I cannot wait for the fourth book to be published! I also participated in Victober this month, which is why I read so much Victorian literature. It made me so happy, for I had missed it so much! My favourite Victorian book was Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, it surprised me and Becky Sharp was so much fun to read about. The last five books I read all were perfect for Halloween and I'm glad I kept them for that time of the year!



I was on holidays for the last few days of October and I spent them with my best friend. On October 30th, we did a Halloween-themed 24h readathon, which was a lot of fun and I managed to read even more than I wanted in the first place. For Halloween, we went to the pumpkin patch and later carved our pumpkin Erik, we dressed up (me as the Phantom of the Opera, her as Luke from Gilmore Girls), we baked a lot of Halloween-themed food and I also watched some of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It was such a great day and October couldn't end on a more positive note.

TV SHOW // How I Met Your Mother

I think I deserve a round of applause, because... I finally started watching How I Met Your Mother! I had been putting it off forever because a) I know part of the ending... b) it's so loooooong. However, I like having a comedy show to watch, without really binge-watching it (so be warned: it might take me an entire year to watch the whole show). I just watch episodes here and there, when I feel a bit down, or while I'm eating breakfast, 20 minute-long episodes are perfect for that. I'm in the middle of season 2 at the moment and it's been so much fun to watch! My boyfriend is thrilled I'm watching it, as he tried to make me watch it for so long, and now I watch it in part with him.

READING // Scribd and audiobooks

After seeing Romie @ Romie We Deserve Love talk about Scribd, I was curious to give it a go and had my free trial in October. If you don't know Scribd, it's a digital library, e-book and audiobook subscription service and I adore it. As I was mentioning at the beginning of this post, I mainly read audiobooks when I'm at uni and it's all thanks to it, because I can listen to many of them each month (I listened to four audiobooks in October). I can also easily find ebooks and have everything in the same place, as I don't have an e-reader at the moment. As I've been exploring it, I've also read several articles they host, I really like this subscription service! I might write an entire blog post about it in the future, if some of you are interested.

TV SHOW // Peaky Blinders

In October, I also started yet another period drama, because everyone is always talking about it and there were signs everywhere for a week that I had to start it. So... I did and I became obsessed with it. Peaky Blinders is set in 1920s, Birmingham and follows the Peaky Blinders gang, led by the ambitious Thomas Shelby. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started it, but once I start watching an episode, I can't stop, because it's so gripping, I'm fascinated by the characters and I have to know what will happen. The episodes are an hour long, but you don't see that hour pass and as there are only six episodes per series, it's quick to watch. I'm in the middle of season 3 at the moment, I can't wait to catch up, before waiting for series 5 in anguish like everyone else.

APP // Memrise and learning Danish

In April, I travelled to Copenhagen and fell in love with the city and Denmark. Since then, I've been so curious about Denmark and its culture in general, I want to discover everything. I also really wanted to start learning Danish, because why not? In October, I finally did so with the app Memrise, which I used a few years ago for English classes (it's perfect for learning vocabulary, you can enter the words you want and it'll help you learn!). As you can of course find online courses, learning one word at a time, I tried it out and can't praise it enough. It makes you learn one word after another, then entire sentences, so you understand how the language works. It's quite good for a free online service (there is also a premium option, but I don't have that)!

FOOD // Porridge with soy milk

As I was saying in my fall bucket list, I wanted to find the perfect autumnal breakfast and... I did! For various reasons, I don't use cow milk often now and have switched to soy milk for so many things in the past two months (yoghurts, Starbucks drinks, and so on). I was curious to cook porridge with soy milk and it's the best thing ever. It gives me such a cozy feeling, it makes me feel so good, so I've been eating porridge with soy milk almost every morning in October (typing this, I just did too) and my days always start better off with it. I also always put honey in my porridge and often added bananas and walnuts for the past month.

L O O K I N G  A H E A D

It feels a bit weird to look ahead to November considering we're November 8th, but well, let's go. November usually is my least favourite month of the year, because I'm always drowning in uni work and it's quite gloomy, but I'll try to make the most of it. Like in October, I have a ton of studying to do, because I have many assignments due, but I got this! I do have some good things to look forward to, Alison Sudol just released new music, some books are coming out and most importantly... It's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald time. As you're reading this, I'll be at the Parisian premiere of it, waiting to discover what will happen next to the characters and it feels surreal. I was only sure to go last minute, but I did it! I am both excited and terrified for this movie, because the first one and its cast (minus one person......) mean so much to me, but also because of all the problematic aspects of it. Still, I'm hoping for the best and I cannot wait to see my favourite characters on the big screen again, I have missed them so much!

How did October go for you? Any exciting plans for November?

Lots of love,

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Halloween recommendations

Hello, beautiful people!

Halloween is less than a week away and I couldn't be more excited! It also means that I only have one day left before my week of holidays and I really need it. We don't celebrate Halloween that much in France, but I love it anyway and reading/watching/listening to content that remind me of this spooky and dark atmosphere during the month of October is always so much fun. Because of that, I thought that today, I would share with you some of my Halloween recommendations! Last year, I already recommended historical fantasy novels that are perfect for Halloween, so I won't mention them again in this post, it would get quite repetitive, so feel free to (re)read it. Anyhow, time for Halloween recommendations!

For great Halloween reads, I recommend...

♡ The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell - This Gothic novel is set during the Victorian era, in a crumbling country mansion, where a young widow is sent to see out her pregnancy. While her new servants as resentful and the villagers hostile, Elsie thinks she only has her husband's cousin for company... Or so she thinks, for behind a locked door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a creepy wooded figure that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. Its chilling atmosphere and the constant doubts of the characters makes it a gripping read that's perfect for the season!

♡ Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - What a shocker, I am trying to make you all read Daphne du Maurier again... Well, she's my favourite author, so it's not *entirely* my fault. Rebecca is the fascinating story of a timid girl working as a paid companion to an old lady, until she falls in love and marries the widowed Maxim de Winter. After that, she moves to his Cornish country estate, Manderley, where the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, seems to haunt the whole place. This novel is absolutely brilliant, with an intoxicating atmosphere and you'll want to keep reading, until you know the whole truth. By the way, if you've already read Rebecca, you can always give My Cousin Rachel a try, it's perfect for the season as well and I adored the 2017 movie adaptation with Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin!

♡ If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio - This mystery novel, which has been compared (with reason!) to The Secret History, follows Oliver, who has just been released from jail after ten years, and is finally ready to tell the truth about the events that led to his incarceration. Ten years ago, Oliver was one of the young Shakespearean actors at a conversatory, where roles were played on and off stage, but in their last year, the balance of power shifted, which led to violence on opening night, until the students have to face their own tragedy. Those characters are all so morally grey and reading about their passionate relationships, with a thin limit between hate and love, as well as their fascination for Shakespeare, was amazing and it's perfect for Fall in my opinion!

♡ We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - The Haunting of Hill House has been all the rage lately (I can't wait to read it for Halloween), because of the Netflix adaptation that was recently released, but Shirley Jackson's works are full of perfect Halloween reads, from what I've gathered. I have already read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which follows Merricat Blackwood, who lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. There used to be seven Blackwoods... until they all died from a fatal dose of arsenic. This one is set in a small town, has a Gothic murder mystery and you never know who to trust, which is all you need!

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell - Of course, I couldn't write this recommendation post without including some Victorian literature. I read this collection of several short stories during last year's Victober and it was perfect to get me in a Halloween mood. These chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect: you will find a story inspired by the Salem witch hunts, another with an evil doppelganger, or one with a mysterious child roaming the freezing Northumberland moors, to name a few. Those were my first Victorian spooky short stories, my personal favourites being The Poor Clare, Lois the Witch, The Old Nurse's Story and The Grey Woman. This is also your reminder to read Elizabeth Gaskell, she's a wonderful author!

 Crooked House by Agatha Christie - I've spent 2018 reading one of Agatha Christie's novels per month, so I'm starting to know her works quite well; my favourite I've read this year was Crooked House and what is better than a crime novel, surrounding a family in a big mansion, to spend Halloween with? It follows the Leonides family, that were a seemingly happy family, until the head of the household was murdered. I adore reading about imperfect families in crime novels, where everyone is suspect, when the limit between hate and love can be very thin, and Crooked House was perfect for that!

I also recommend you to watch and listen to...

♡ Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) - I don't think I really need to introduce Stranger Things to anyone now, don't I? This TV show, sets in 1983 Hawkins, Indiana, and is the story of a young boy who vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl. Even if almost everyone has watched Stranger Things, I think that Halloween would be a perfect time for a rewatch for all of us, while we're still waiting for season 3 to be released... *sigh*

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) - I have to admit that I've always been easily scared, so I don't watch a lot of spooky movies (even though I'm trying to change that) and I'm not really the best at recommending them. However, I rewatch the animated movie Corpse Bride every year, because it's a huge part of my childhood. In a fictional Victorian town, Victor and Victoria, who haven't even met yet, are set to be married, until Victor ends up putting a ring on a forest root while practicing his vows... Which happens to be the finger of a murdered woman. He then goes to the Land of the Dead, meeting Emily, said woman in a bridal gown who claims to be his wife. Ensues all kinds of mayhem, while Victor tries to go back to the surface, but also to do the right thing. I adore the songs of this movie so much and it's so aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Halloween really is the best time to rewatch Tim Burton's animated movies in general, tbh. *starts singing This is Halloween*

♡ Andrew Lloyd Weber's 
The Phantom of the Opera (1986) - I might have developed a *slight* obsession for the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera earlier this year (the book isn't that great, if you were considering reading it, though) and it's definitely a perfect Halloween musical! I mean, a mysterious phantom running around an opera in Paris? Yes, please. Can you believe that it's been created in 1986 and it's still running? That's how great it is! So please go listen to it, it's so dramatic and spooky at times! The Music of the Night is my favourite song of it all and it's giving me major Kylo Ren vibes. I so want to watch the musical live in London at some point, it must be so spectacular.

Oh, how I cannot wait for Halloween to come around. I have *finally* figured out my potential Halloween costume and I'm planning to have a little celebration with my best friend. We'll try to make Halloween-themed food and drinks like last year, and we'll watch Crimson Peak, hopefully we won't be too scared, haha.

How are you planning to celebrate Halloween?

Lots of love,

Credits: The ghosts and bats in the first picture picture were designed by Titusurya.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

My favourite characters in Victorian literature | A Victober series

Hello, beautiful people!

Today, I'm here for my third post in my Victober series, which is a weekly feature during the month of October that's all about sharing my love for Victorian literature.  I wasn't quite sure about what I wanted to write about this week, until last night, when I finished my third read for Victober. I realized how often we discuss our favourite books, but discussing our favourite characters is equally as important and I really wanted to do so, especially to introduce you Victorian heroines that made a lasting impression on me, because they were so ahead of their times. There is only one male character that makes the list, actually, because most Victorian male characters are dreadful, but anyway. Without further ado, let's discuss my favourite Victorian characters, and I hope that sharing my love for them will make you want to read the novels they're in!

♡ Bathsheba Everdene, from Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Far from the Madding Crowd is one of my top 3 favourite novels ever, so of course I have to talk about it! Its main character, Bathsheba Everdene, is at the head of a farm, defying expectations from Victorian society, because she is a woman. I admire her, because she's ambitious, independent, headstrong, determined, and free-spirited. She makes it clear, time and time again, that she doesn't want to become a man's property and that she will manage her farm by herself. How can you not love her, when it's 1874 and Thomas Hardy makes her say things such as:
“Well what I mean is that I shouldn’t mind being a bride at a wedding, if I could be one without having a husband. But since a woman can’t show off in that way by herself, I shan’t marry-at least yet.”

It's true that she makes mistakes, and sometimes acts in a very stupid way. But she is a feminist heroine, even though she's often forgotten. She knows she will have to work twice as hard as any man, to earn respect from her employees, and she does it. She is ahead of her time and isn't scared to defy expectations, which she does amazingly. Many people are mad at her for some of her romantic entanglements, but she does her best in a society dominated by men and she stays true to herself. I adore her so much.

♡ Helen Graham, from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë is my favourite Brontë sister because of this novel and because of Helen, who is such a strong heroine. She is a fierce, loyal, caring and brave character, who puts her safety and her son's first, even if it means being criticized by all. She aims to be financially independent and not to depend on men (in any case, she'll fight it as hard as she can). Most of all and that's a very famous scene in the book... she slams the door on her husband's face, protecting herself and not giving in to his abusive behaviour. She argues with him, she resists him, even though this wasn't discussed as a possibility at the time. I didn't know what to expect when I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, so reading about Helen couldn't help but amaze me, for she's one of the strongest 19th century heroines I've ever read about.

♡ Gabriel Oak, from Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Yes, I know, another character from Far from the Madding Crowd, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Gabriel Oak is the only male character in Victorian literature that ever makes it to my favourite characters post, because he's such a kind, caring and selfless man and unlike every single Victorian male character, I don't have anything to be mad at him about. I love Gabriel Oak, because he can take no for an answer, he isn't frustrated that a woman is above him in a hierarchy, he will always try to help people, even if it hurts his feelings and he is nothing, but kindness. 

♡ Lady Audley, from Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

I read Lady Audley's Secret during Victober last year and adored it, especially Lady Audley herself, who was one of the most interesting characters I've ever come across in literature. She is a brilliant and ambitious woman, who defied all social conventions, had questionable morals and the reader has doubts about her for the whole novel. I am completely in awe of her character, because while she doesn't always make the right choices, she did everything to get what she wanted in life and I can't entirely blame her for that. Besides, I love morally ambiguous characters and she's a perfect anti-heroine!

♡ Maggie Tulliver, from The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Last but not least, Maggie Tulliver actually gave me the idea for today's post and it's also all thanks to this amazing article on Literary Hub, defending Maggie, as she's often considered to be George Eliot's most underrated heroine. Maggie makes so many mistakes in her life, that's true, but many of them are due to the men around her, as well as society in general. She is the type of heroine who is too much for her time, she is considered too clever, too passionate, too impetuous and commits a grave crime in Victorian society : she occupies space that has been denied to her. I knew I'd get along splendidly with her from the moment she was reading books people would advise her not to read! I have issues with The Mill on the Floss, that's true, but Maggie was such a great character.

That's it for me today! I hope that you had a wonderful week and that everyone participating in Victober is having a great time. 

Thanks for reading,
Lots of love,