Thursday, October 15, 2020

Announcing the November WitchyReadathon: Read and Vote!

After taking a break from hosting the readathon, I will be hosting another round of WitchyReadathon in the month of November. I considered waiting until December to bring it back, but since the November election is bound to be a stressful and chaotic time, I decided reading just might be what we all need to take our minds off of things. Or, if things don't go the way you hoped, read up on how you can use witchcraft in politics and activism. 

Most of all, if you are old enough, I want you to VOTE! I decided to make voting part of the theme because of all the things you can do to change things, voting is one of the most important. Not only is it important to vote for who you want to be President, but also who you want to represent your state in Congress, as well as in state and local government. Many states have closed their registration but you can find out if you are registered to vote here.

However, you DO NOT need to be voting in the election to participate in the readathon! Nor do I care who you are voting for. Everyone can participate!

Most of all I want to stress that this is a low-pressure readathon. During the last round, many people felt they couldn't participate because they didn't have the time. IF YOU ONLY READ ONE BOOK YOU CAN PARTICIPATE! I am a single mom of five with a full-time job. I don't have the time to read as much as other people so I wanted to create a readathon where people like me can participate and not feel like we are inadequate readers. This is also why the readathon lasts the entire month. Even if it takes you one month to read a book, I say you completed the readathon!

The Theme (Optional):
This theme is entirely optional but adds a layer of fun to the readathon. Perhaps, like I mentioned earlier, you want to do this readathon to get your mind off of the election and prefer to ignore the theme or instead maybe you want use this time to dive into witchy activism and politics. Please remember the fiction books do need to have a main character that is magickal in some way. 

Here are some reading prompts for the theme:
  • Read magickal fiction or nonfiction books with red, white, or blue in the title or author's name
  • Read magickal books with red, white, or blue on the cover
  • Read books that focus on the magickal characters in some kind of competition 
  • Read books about magickal characters that fulfill some kind of role in a magickal government
  • Read nonfiction books about witchcraft and politics or activism 
You can find a list of suggested books for each prompt as well as links to more witchy suggested reading HERE.

 The Rules:
  • This seasonal challenge begins November 1, 2020 and ends November 30, 2020. 
  • You may sign up anytime during the challenge. 
  • I won't be creating different challenge levels or prompts. I've always preferred a more open flexible challenge style.
  • Read as little or as many books as you want. Even if you just read one book I want you to participate!
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.
  • Books may be nonfiction or fiction. (Here's a list of my top ten favorite nonfiction books on witchcraft and magick!) Fiction books can be any genre but they need to have a magical person as the main or supporting character. This can be any kind of magical person such as a witch, wizard, magician, shaman, pathworker, bruja/brujo, druid, shapeshifter, and so on. The story must focus on magic in some way. 
  • You may reread books. Books may count towards other reading challenges. 
  • Use the hashtag #WitchyReadathon on social media. The official Twitter for the readathon is at @witchyreadathon
  • If you could be so kind, please place the WitchyReadathon banner on your blog to help spread the word. 
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Instagram, tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.
  • Sign up below by leaving your below!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Adding Sbooktober, Vampathon, and the Hocus Pocus Readathon

There are so many good readathons this month I can't choose. So I'm going to attempt to do more of them because the book topics just overlap so easily. These are all the month-long readathons. This doesn't even include the short term ones. (See my sidebar for the full list!)

First up is Sbooktober

There are a LOT of reading prompts. I'm still going to stick with my Gothtober TBR but many of those should fit these prompts. 

Next is Vampathon

I'm already have planned on a vampire heavy TBR so I will easily be able to cover these prompts.

1. Book you want to sink your teeth into 
2. Classic vampire 
3. Non-traditional vampire 
4. Old legends (short stories, novellas, anthologies, essays, etc.)

I've decided to join Team Undead. It just seemed fitting. 

Team Undead! 
Prompts Group Book: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (15pt) 
Binx: Read a book that has to do with family (10pt) 
Billy: Read a book with a morally grey character (10pt) 
Emily: Read a book about ghosts or paranormal (10pt) 

Team Undead! 
Strength: You are now the Ghost of Emily Binx. No one can see you, you get to be stealthy. You may double up on one prompt of your choosing. 

Weakness: Unfortunately, Billy only has 24 hours until he must go back to his grave. You must have a 24-hour readathon

This one is a little trickier because I don't have a book about ghosts and will have to add the group read to my TBR, but I already wanted to read The Shining by Stephen King and that would count for my ghost book.

As for a 24 hour readathon, I don't just have one. I have two! The Spooktober 24 Hour Readathon is October 10 and the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is Oct 24.

I know all of this is a lot but I've really barely read this year and I'm trying to make up for it. Most of my books are audiobooks now that I've discovered I can listen to a book up to four hours while at work. Hopefully this will motivate me to reach my reading goals!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Quotes I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme and blog hop hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

The topic this week is ten favorite book quotes from books you love or about books in general.

1. This is my absolute favorite quote about books. 

2. This quote about reading is perfect for quarantining in 2020.

3. Any bibliophile understands this quote.

4. I've always loved this quote about death from Peter Pan. Death is probably my biggest fear and this quote gives me comfort.

5. This quote fascinates me because of how Roosevelt words it. He doesn't say books are part of him but the reverse of that. It makes me think of the relationship the author has with the reader.

6. This George R.R. Martin quote is another one of my favorites.

7. This Dr. Seuss quote says something similar to the last one. 

8. This is another quote only a bibliophile will understand.

9. Although sometimes the reason we're poor is because we keep buying books.

10. It's now sweater weather so this quote felt appropriate. 

Bonus Quote because I had to include this one.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover Audiobook Review

It may come as shock to anyone reading this, but this is the very first audiobook I have ever listened to. Technically I do own a copy of The Celestine Meditations by Salle Merrill Redfield which I have listened to many, many times over the years but I don't really count this because it's never been in a hardcopy book form. I've never listened to an actual audiobook, fiction or nonfiction.

The worst part is, I have been working at Walmart doing a stocking job and have the ability to listen to an audiobook for about 5 hours a day. Most of my hours are after the store closes and I'm able to listen while I work. I've worked at Walmart since the Monday after Thanksgiving of LAST YEAR and am just now trying out audiobooks. Do you know how many books I could have finished by now? It's embarrassing.

I also decided to get a hardcopy version of the book and compare reading it to listening to it being read. What I found was that I read passages way different than they were read by Candace Thaxton. I often read the main character as being entitled and whiny but Candace read her thoughts and dialogue very differently. I found I liked the audiobook version of the characters much more than I liked the book version of the characters. Jokes were funnier. Lucky's accent could clearly be heard which was absolutely hysterical. And things just felt more...dramatic. Candace is a talented actress, which is something I never realized contributes greatly to audiobooks. I always thought someone just read the book. I didn't realize they act out the parts like they are reading a play or script.

The book blurb from Goodreads:

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness. 

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit. 

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix. 

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

My review (may contain minor spoilers);
This story and characters was so unique. The Voss family is truly like no family you will ever meet or read about. Some of the characters were likeable and some were not. The main character, Merit, for the most part isn't likeable but this seems to be intentional by the author. Her likeablilty is actually a huge part of the plot. (You'll understand when you read the book.)

As someone who suffers from mental illness, this aspect of the story was dealt with realistically and respectfully. I'd share more details but those would be major spoilers.

Colleen Hoover also avoids overused, romantic tropes. This book absolutely is unique as a romance as well. This is incredibly hard to do in a genre that has thousands upon thousands of books. Don't let the fact that it's a young adult book fool you. It deals with adult themes at times. The book is about Merit having to deal with these themes as a teenager. (Actually, it wasn't even in the young adult section at my library so I'm not entirely sure it is a YA,)

The one thing I didn't like about the book was that there are so many subplots and backstories that often seemed even more interesting than Merit's story. I would love to read a book about Merit's mother and her life before and after the car accident (all backstory). I would love to read how Victoria and Barnaby ended up falling in love and getting married (all backstory). I would love to read about Lucky and his adventures working on cruise ships (all backstory). And I especially would love to read about Sagan's backstory which isn't even revealed until you're near the end of the book. Sagan's story is never wrapped up and actually would make an excellent sequel that I would love to read.

I also would love to see this book as a movie. Rarely do I read a book and think it would work great as a movie (maybe it had to do with it being an audiobook) but this book would. This book made me want to read more by Colleen Hoover. 

My rating was a solid  Photobucket .

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Very Ambitious Gothtober TBR List

I look forward to Halloween reading every year but this year the Gothtober Readathon has me particularly excited. The readathon prompts cover books I planned on reading (some horror classics) but have me adding books that are diverse as well. 

At first, I had some of the books counting for double prompts but I'm someone who likes to have a lot of options. If I get behind I can always have some books count double. Especially with that Grey Morality prompt. It seems a lot of these books could count for that category.

As for choosing a vampire tv show or film, I chose one that I still need to finish. Honestly, I'd like to watch the film version of many of these books in October. How many Dracula movies are there? Oh only 60 as of 2017. He also lists 56 Frankenstein movies. And 10 Dorian Gray movies. 

Here's the announcement video and prompt lists for the Gothtober Readathon. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson Book Review

The first book I finished for my WitchyReadathon was The Year of Witching by Alexis Henderson. The genre is fantasy and alternative history. I was so excited to read this book. It promised to be "The Handmaid's Tale for a new generation." That's a lot to live up to.

In my opinion, it completely failed. 

Here is the book blurb from Goodreads:

The Handmaid's Tale for a new generation . . .

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet's word is law, Immanuelle Moore's very existence is blasphemy.

The daughter of a union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement.

But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood that surrounds Bethel - a place where the first prophet once pursued and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realises the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her . . .

My review Without Spoilers:

How do I review this book without spoilers? That's next to impossible. Everything I liked about the book and disliked involves spoilers. So I'm including two reviews. One without spoilers and one with spoilers. 

What I can say about this book, without spoilers, is that you cannot call something feminist that has the climax of the book about women fighting other women because of men. The Goddess figure in the book isn't the heroine. She's the villain. Not the main villain, but a villain nonetheless. As a feminist, I was offended. As I pagan, I was indignant. If the whole point is that patriarchy makes women out to be evil when they aren't DON'T MAKE SAID WOMEN EVIL! I don't care how righteous their anger is, no feminist is so angry they are willing to kill other women and children because they're pissed at the men. That's not feminism. 

What I did like about the book is that the main character is a female of color. However, this book was a missed opportunity to write an allegory about racism and microaggressions. Instead, Immanuelle never seemed treated differently for being a girl of color, just for being a witch. That’s impossible for me to believe. I just find it impossible to believe this Puritanical community was so backwards about how it treated women and religion but was so progressive about taking in children of color and raising them like their own. 

Overall, this book just didn’t know what it wanted to be so it was trying to be everything at once. A witchcraft fantasy about warring witches? An allegory about being female, black, and lesbians in a patriarchal Puritanical society? A commentary on the war between sexes? A reimagining of the Burning Times? A satire of the Catholic religion? A reimagined mythology of the Dark Goddess? 

I’m giving the book three stars only because you can’t do half stars on Goodreads. My actual rating is two and a half stars. Photobucket

Stop Reading Now If You Don't Want Spoilers!!!

My Review With Spoilers:

I hated the first 100 pages and nearly gave up on the book. However, Emmanuelle being given her mother’s journal is what changed the story for me. It became more of a mystery and a search for answers. This part of the story I greatly enjoyed.

Some of the story seemed entirely too forced. The initial incident that unleashed the four plagues seemed so utterly contrived that it wasn’t even remotely believable. How would the Coven know that at precisely that time Emmanuelle would start her period? However, they also seemed to know when she would enter the woods to give her the journal so that seemed equally as contrived.

And what unleashed the fourth and most important plaque? Something that was supposed to do the exact opposite! What the actual hell? The worst part is the characters just seem to forget that this task was supposed to end the plagues. Vera and Emmanuelle just pretended like this didn’t even happen. Emmanuelle should have been livid at Vera! So you’re telling me the Coven somehow also knew that Emmanuelle would find out a supposed way to end it, would do that, and then once that was done then would be when they show up to unleash their revenge? If they knew that much then wouldn’t they know they were going to lose?

And the wonderful feminist aspects of this book are completely and utterly nullified by the idea that Emmanuelle has to fight Lilith the Mother in the end. If the point of the story is that patriarchy suppresses and hurts women why in Goddess name would the VILLAIN BE A GODDESS!? Why are women fighting women? Why the hell would the Coven want to kill everyone in the town and not just the men or the Prophet? You know what. Forget three stars. That final boss battle between two female witches pissed me off so much I’m tempted to downgrade my rating to two stars.

And can we talk about how some gay witches and being a girl of color had little bearing on the story whatsoever? Was Emmanuelle the only girl of color in the town? It seems so when she talks about finding her family that looks like her. Did it matter though? She never seemed treated differently for being a girl of color. That’s impossible for me to believe. I just find it impossible to believe this Puritanical community was so backwards about how it treated women and religion but was so progressive about taking in children of color and raising them like their own. As for the lesbianism, this Puritan sheltered girl just shrugs at the idea of women having sex together. Oh come on! And then in the end she lets A PEDOPHILE go because of mercy. A pedophile!!

This book just didn’t know what it wanted to be so it was trying to be everything all at once. A witchcraft fantasy about warring witches? An allegory about being female, black, and lesbians in a patriarchal Puritanical society? A commentary on the war between sexes? A reimagining of the Burning Times? A satire of the Catholic religion? A reimagined mythology of the Dark Goddess? The book was just an absolute mess. I’ll leave the third star only because you can’t do half stars on here. My actual rating is two and a half stars.