Spook Week:

I hope you've all enjoyed Spook Week! Happy Halloween!



Spook Week:
Book Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Title: Through the Woods
Author: Emily Carroll
Published: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 208
Rating: 5/5

A graphic novel containing five chilling tales.

This book is definitely spooky. At some points, it's actually rather terrifying. It contains five stories and they're all in the same illustrated style.

I absolutely loved this book. The art is amazing and I love the use of colors. I really liked how there isn't a lot of text and some of the story is just illustrations. It's simply beautiful and really easy to read. You can probably read this in about an hour.

This is probably one of the creepies books I have ever read, and a perfect book for Halloween and the darker months. I read part of this at night, and had to put it away because it was just too much.

I would highly recommend this to everyone! Definitely one of the best books I've read this year.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads

And as a bonus, just because the art is so fantastic...



Spook Week:
Top 5: Spooky Books I Want to Read

Today, I thought I would share with you some of the spookier books on my to-be-read list that I really want to read.

This book was first published in 1962 and is a classic horror story about a murderous family who lives at Blackwood house. This particular edition is also illustrated, which is always cool.

A book that I own and that I am starting in the nearest future. A book about sisters who hunts werewolves... sounds like a good idea to me.

I can't make this list without a book about vampires... and I've heard that the vampires in this book are actually bad, which I think is really good. 

This is a book I've been wanting to read for ages. Apparently, this is about a boy who becomes friends with the monster who comes to him at night. That sounds pretty scary if you ask me.

A classic science fiction novel I've never gotten around to read, but this is high on my list to read for scary, gothic books. If you're unaware, this story is about Dr. Frankenstein, a man obsessed with making dead things come alive... and in the process creates a monster.
Can't wait to get around to these!



Spook Week:
Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 312
Rating: 5/5

When a family is murdered in their house, the toddler of the family manages to escape - and wanders straight into a graveyard. To protect the child from the man who wants to kill him, the ghosts take the child in and raise him.

The boy is called Nobody, and he'd be a normal boy if he didn't live in a graveyard, was raised by ghost parents and has a guardian who's not living, nor dead. Oh, also, if he didn't have a mysterious killer after him.

This book, despite being set in a graveyard and being filled with ghosts and ghouls, is quite charming and sweet.

 I really enjoyed reading about the community of the graveyard and how it seems so normal to Nobody. I also really liked how, though he's alive, Bod can haunt and fade because the ghosts have taught him. I felt like it was easy to connect to the characters, and I like the mystery that surrounds Bod's guardian.

I was also happily surprised by the illustrations that are in this book. I thought they really raised the story. I really enjoyed the ending, which was exciting and sad, but hopeful.

This book is perfect for autumn and is a sweet, yet creepy read for Halloween and autumn. Highly recommended.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads


Spook Week:
Halloween Recommendations

Since it's Spook Week here on The Book Castle, I thought I would give you some book recommendations for Halloween! I have some horror, some mystery and some other stuff thrown into the mix.

These are all books I have read and enjoyed, so I hope you find something to your taste.

This book is, in my mind, perfect for Halloween and autumn. It's set in the 1920's, it deals with the supernatural and the occult, and the villain in this book is seriously terrifying.

Beautiful writing, fantastic characters, a fascinating story... what more could you ask for?

The King of Horror, Stephen King has created a story involving a teenage girl, a religious fanatic and supernatural powers... Quite a horrific story.

This is also quite a short book, so if you want something quick, this is perfect.

If you're not up for something supernatural, this is a really good option. This book is thrilling, exciting and it gets quite psychotic at times. 

This is the only scary classic I've ever read and I remember really enjoying it. The vampires in this are the "original vampires" which is really cool.

You know... horror isn't for everyone, so if you don't want to read that, I would highly recommend this from the Queen of Mystery herself. This is a Hercule Poirot story, and he's one of my favorite characters of all time. Very, very charming.
Happy reading!


Spook Week:
Book Review: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Title: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Published: 1886
Language: English
Pages: 75
Rating: 4/5

Torn between good and evil, this is the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll who is pushing the boundaries of human nature...

I really enjoyed this book, and I'm really happy I finally read it. I really liked the mystery of the story, and I liked that it was short and concise. It's sort of split into two parts in a way; the mystery of the murder filling most of the book, and then the personal story of Dr. Jekyll filling the ending. I thought that it suited the story well.

The theme of man being dragged between his good and evil sides is very fascinating. I really liked the part where Jekyll reflects upon this.

The thing that lowers my rating of this, and what lowered my enjoyment, was it's fame. You know what's going to happen, so there aren't really many surprises.

Definitely worth reading though.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads



It's that time of the year, the time where the days grow shorter and darker, the leaves fall from the trees, and the witches and ghouls come out to play...

So, for the entire next week, ending on Halloween on October 31st, it's going to be Spook Week here on The Book Castle. I have book reviews, recommendations, top 5 lists and some other stuff coming your way. I hope you enjoy, and that it gets you into that spooky mood!




Bookish Reflections: Ratings

Something I've been thinking about lately is rating of books. I started rating books when I first joined Goodreads, and because of Goodreads I use a five-star rating system. But even though a lot of people use it, we sometimes have different meanings behind our rating. Some hand out 5 stars easily, some only to a handful. Some use 3 stars for average, some for "I really liked it".

So, I thought I would share my thoughts around rating and how I rate.

I can't think if I've ever given a book one star, but to me, this rating means I really didn't like anything about anything in a book, which is extremely rare. It can also mean that the story evoked absolutely no feelings in me, which almost never happens. Usually, if it's that bad, I just won't finish it.

This means that I didn't like it, but didn't hate it. This is a rating I give to books I probably would not recommend unless for a very specific audience and wished I hadn't spent my time on. This is for books that were simply okay.

A book that I liked and enjoyed. This is the rating for books that I don't dislike, but that didn't make a huge impact on me. It's also a typical rating for books that are clich├ęs - not necessarily badly written, but quite average when it comes to bringing something new to the table.

4 stars is for books that I thought were really good. This is for books I enjoyed, but there was something missing that didn't make it amazing. It doesn't have to be a big thing that bothered me, sometimes it's just a feeling.

On a separate, but not unrelated note, 4 is also my lucky number.

The glorious 5 stars are reserved for books I loved. However, not all 5 stars necessarily become my favourites. Usually it's a feeling I'm left with that determines if it gets a 5. It also means it will be a book I will highly recommend to others. It's for books I will remember for a long time.

There are a couple of other things I feel also need addressing, because people view these things differently.

When I rate a book, I take the genre into consideration. I can get a little annoyed sometimes when people have read a fluffy, contemporary romance novel and give it hell because it wasn't Shakespeare. Although I sometimes expect things to be different, you gotta work with what you have and take it for what it is. Sometimes things aren't bad, they're just not for me.

Sometimes covers make a book better (or worse), and on occasion it tips the scale.

There are a lot of people who use .5 ratings such as 2.5 and 3.5. I try to shy away from it. If I ever use one, it means I really can't make up my mind.

This is a big one and probably what feels very different to everyone. Sometimes, the hype around the book can ruin it because you have really high expectations, and sometimes it's the opposite. It's hard to stay unfazed, so sometimes it affects the rating I make.



Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 358
Rating: 4/5

This is the first book in The Grisha trilogy.

The great nation of the Ravka has been torn in two, separated by a dangerous darkness filled with monsters who feast on human flesh...

Alina Starkov is a mapmaker in The Second Army, about to try to cross the Shadow Sea, and when her best friend is attacked in the middle of it, she reveals a power no one has seen in ages and that could save them all.

But when Alina is whisked away to court to live among the Grisha, nothing is as it seems...

I really enjoyed this book. I felt immediately transported into this world and this story. Straight off, this is fast-paced and exciting. Plus points for a really cool map in the beginning of the book.

It took me a little while to truly connect with some of the characters, but it grew slowly over the pages. I really ended up liking the voice of the main characters.

The only thing that bothered me was how so much of Alina's actions feel purely based on love, being torn between two guys. I wanted more independence and personal growth and reflection.

The ending surprised me, and that was a redeeming quality. It was overall a really fascinating story and I think this was a good first in a series. I'm really excited to read more!

I would recommend this to those who enjoy fantasy and romance.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads


Would You Rather

So, after an involuntary hiatus, I'm back! And I thought I would do a bookish Would You Rather.
Would you rather read only trilogies/series or stand-alones?

Hm. This is really hard because most of my favorite books are series... yet I think I would choose stand-alones. I feel like I'd get more out of it.

Would you rather read only male or female authors?

Well, when I buy a book, I don't care wether the author is man or woman, because it doesn't really matter. But since J. K. Rowling is a woman, and it would be a shame not to read Harry Potter again, I guess female. Also, girlpower and all that jazz.

Would you rather shop at Barnes&Noble or Amazon?

Since I don't live in America, I'm going to think about online shopping. For physical books, I'd definitely go for Barnes&Noble. I even have some books from there. Shipping from Amazon is ridiculous to Norway, so I never order books from there. I do, however, buy my ebooks from Amazon through my Kindle. But I'd still choose Barnes&Noble.

Would you rather all books become movies or TV-series?

TV-series. Can you imagine Game of Thrones movies? That would be horrid.

I do actually prefer watching TV-series over movies, because I feel like I can connect more with characters and watch them grow. And for the books where you don't have as much to work with, one could always make mini-series. 

Would you rather read five pages a day or five books a week?

Jeez. Five books a week is a lot, but I think I would choose that. Five pages a day is too little. I'd get really tired with five books a week though, that's 260 books a year. This blog sure would be active then!

Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

I would very much like to be an author... in about 15 years. But right now, I would choose to be a reviewer.

Would you rather read only your top 20 favorite books over and over, or only books you've never read?

I'm not much of a rereader anyway, so I would choose to read only new books. It would be sad never to reread Harry Potter and The Name of the Wind, but it would be much sadder to never read a new book. 

Would you rather be a librarian or a book seller?

Book seller. Because I love bookstores.

Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every genre but your favorite?

I would rather read every other genre. One genre is too limiting, no matter how much I like it.

Would you rather read only physical books or ebooks?

Though I enjoy my Kindle, you just can't beat physical books.
What would you choose?



Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Title: All The Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Published: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 531
Rating: 5/5

In France, a blind girl by the name of Marie Laure lives with her father, a locksmith.

In Germany, orphan boy Werner grows up, enchanted by all things mechanical, especially radios.

When World War II breaks out, these two are lead on different paths on opposite sides and eventually entwine.

This book was simply beautiful. It has great descriptions, and is written in a calm way without being boring. Short chapters keep the story moving, so it never feels slow. The setting is really well described and you feel transported into this time.

It's really interesting to get to know characters from both sides of the war: both innocents trapped by their circumstances. Switching between past and present gives the story extra depth and excitement.

I especially love that there are chapters who are only letters, and some are even censored and blacked out by the Nazis. It really makes things feel realistic.

I would highly recommend this to everyone.
You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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