Hey all! I just wanted to share some short and quick thoughts on a few of the books I read this month!
First up, Ghostland. This book was not quite what I expected, but I still liked it. It was definitely as it says in the title, more about the history than the ghost story. I found some of Dickey’s insights very interesting, especially concerning the country’s turbulent history with race, and how he feels that even impacts ghost stories. It was definitely an interesting read, although it did feel a bit long.
City of Ghosts: This middle grade book was a delight to read! It was appropriately scary for the age level, and the book itself was pretty cool, even for me. I loved the whole premise, and definitely the location. I really liked that Schwab was able to work the definitions of the British/Scottish slang or language into the story without it being obtrusive. What a great idea for kids who read this book who may not be familiar with certain terms. (adults too!) Definitely a book I would have purchased for our library collection when I was working at the library. ( I used to work/run an elementary school library)
Spellbook of the Lost and Found : I loved this book. It was a quiet book, a slow burner of a book, that works on you bit by bit. It’s not splashy. And it was so good! There were some twists and turns that I never expected, and I wanted to just keep reading to find out what the heck was going on! I thought the premise was unique as well. Overall, I really liked this read.
I didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted to this month, but life throws curve balls sometimes doesn’t it. Lol. And tomorrow is Halloween already! My favorite holiday of the year! It looks like we will be homebound, as kiddo is just getting over a fierce cold as is my husband, but I also love handing out candy. They are predicting rain though, so..it might be a pretty slow trick or treat night. Good thing I bought candy that I like….
This past week has been all about rest and recovery. My little kiddo came down with a terrible cough Monday, requiring breathing treatments, so we have been taking it easy this week. Of course, my husband and I are both sick now too, but at least it is the weekend and we can all be sickies together. The three of us have been holed up in our bedroom a lot, watching television, reading, coloring, singing, and napping. It was some nice family togetherness but I wish we had all been feeling better!
So, a pretty uneventful week around here, although I did manage to get a start on my Christmas shopping, buying some stuff online, and I also made quite a few lists of plans and ideas. Now, to just feel well enough to start on them!
I didn’t make it to the library unfortunately, to pick up my holds, so my reading material was a bit limited. Oh! And I bought the first book I have bought for myself in TWO YEARS! And of course the delivery is scheduled for sometime before the end of November. Lol. Oh well, it will be here eventually and I am excited!
Read Last Week:
I really enjoyed this book!! I loved the writing and the characters, and I thought the concept was unique as well. I plan to review some of my recent reads very shortly!
Reading This Week:
I am going to try to get to the library this week, but I am diving into my review book pile as well. I wanted to save this for after Halloween though, so this plan might change. We shall see!
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen – I love reading about the Land Girls in England during the war! I heard about them first when I watched these BBC productions on different farms during different eras which I thought was fascinating, but the WWII farm was one of my faves to watch and learn about.
Lots of YouTube, Sabrina (SO GOOD!), Reign, Curious George Halloween, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Daniel Tiger, Star Trek reruns, HGTV. Lol. It’s been quite a mix!
How about you all?
I’m hoping to read and finish both of these this week!
Posted Last Week:
Lore Season 2 on Amazon. It is so scary this season! I love it. I am also watching Reign on Netflix, and HGTV. And I can’t wait for Sabrina the reboot!! It looks so awesome! And how cool that it is part of the whole Riverdale world. I think that is why Riverdale got so dark last season, they were paving the way for Sabrina. Have you seen the trailer?
So that is it from my side of the laptop! What has been going on in your corner of the world?
Like every city out there, Detroit has its own ghost stories and weird lore. From the Nain Rouge , the little hobgoblin who appears before a disaster, to the myth of Harry Houdini haunting the Majestic Theater, to the various and sundry other ghosties out there, we have our share! Usually I don’t think about them, but of course Halloween and my current reading material has them front and center in my thoughts.
Billy and I have been trying to have more date nights lately and last night we splurged. We headed downtown to The Whitney, which is an old beautiful mansion from the lumber baron days of Michigan’s history, turned into an elegant, fancy restaurant. It was built in 1894, and was described at the time as being one of the most opulent houses in the west. It is one of the few opulent mansions left, and it is a gorgeous old lady, towering high above Woodward Avenue in Detroit.
And it is said to be haunted.
Stories are told of the elevators operating themselves, doors opening and closing and moving between floors; one staff member even saw an older gentleman disappear into thin air when asked to leave.
The third floor of The Whitney serves spirits – and people thank goodness – in its Ghostbar, and it is where we chose to go for our date night. When we got there, the bar was empty, but it was early on Wednesday night. We chose to sit in the big leather seats, all cozied up to the bar, and indulged in decadent drinks and desserts.
I ordered the yummy nutty tasting Chocolate Ugli Cake, which is a flourless cake with a chocolate ganache, and their famous martini, the Witching Hour. And it was delicious!! Made with Valentine White Blossom Vodka, Limoncello, St. George Raspberry Liqueur, and fresh lemon, it was delightfully sweet and tart, without being too much of either. I can see why it is a drink that they are known for.
Billy ordered the Kahlua cheesecake, which was exactly how you think it would taste – rich and chocolatey, a bit boozy. Yum! It was topped with a coffee infused maple cream that was delish as well. To drink, he had the Spoonful, which is made with Mansion reserve Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Luxardo maraschino, and angostura bitters. It was pretty good too, but not as good as mine! Lol.
We had a great time, enjoying our little moment. It was such a cold night midweek, and we had the place to ourselves with the just the bartender. Although, it did make me feel a little bit like I was at the bar in The Shining..just a little. And that bartender – was he real? Hmm.
I can’t say we witnessed any ghostly behavior or saw any ghosts, but it was fun to hang out there and spend time with my guy. If you are ever in Detroit and want to grab a cocktail before a show or after dinner or just because it’s a cold Wednesday night and you have a bit of free time, I suggest you step into the Ghostbar and try one of their amazing cocktails. You won’t regret it – and maybe you will see a specter!
If you are interested in more Haunted Detroit, there are many options out there! If only I had the time to do all of these, how fun would that be? Some of the events may be seasonal, or sold out but these tour groups have different tours all the time, so maybe one will open up, or something completely different will catch your fancy!
Preservation Detroit – Cemetery Tours
Detroit History Tours – they offer a Halloween in Detroit tour which is sold out, but there is a bizarre Detroit tour that still has availability
Historic Fort Wayne Tours After Dark – these are also sold out, but the Fort has many cool events coming up, including a Christmas at the Fort event. And there is always next year!
Sometimes everything just falls into place and things turn out perfectly.
This weekend was like that. The weather was gorgeous, sunny, with that bite in the air that lets you know that fall is here and summer has waved goodbye. I love the crispness, it feels so fresh and alive to me. So weather, en pointe. Add in some of my favorite people and a day of laughter and eating, and it was just the icing on the cake.
A few of my friends and I headed out western Michigan way, to Holland, MI. I don’t know much about this town, except that it does have a windmill and in the spring a tulip festival that looks amazing, full of bright colors and all things spring. There is a college there too, Hope College. And it also has a quaint little downtown, full of boutique stores and restaurants.
We had lunch at New Holland Brewery, a thing which excited a few of the husbands who were back home, who had made requests of their wives to bring them back some sort of special beer that is only made at that particular location. The food was ok, not anything terrible but nothing special either. I think here it is all about the booze. And even though time was just creeping up on noon, we had a celebratory drink to our girls day out. I ordered Full Circle, a kolsch beer. I only drink lagers if I drink beer, and it was a good one! K and J had pumpkin martinis, while C had Dragon’s Milk, which has a fantastic name right?
After we ate, we poked around shopping, in and out of stores, each of us buying what caught our fancy. I ended up taking home with me a soft, warm pair of wool gloves knit in Peru from a Fair Trade store, a t-shirt for Billy, and a cute little Halloween book for Wyatt. I bought those gloves just in time – it is freezing here this week!
After a few hours, we were pretty shopped out and were ready to head to our next destination – dinner! By this time we had worked up an appetite with all that walking around so we were ready to hit the road. We had made reservations in a nearby town at Schuler’s Restaurant, based on J’s recommendation. She had been wanting to go there, and I am so glad that we did! When we got there, we got shown to our table, which was right in front of the fire. It was so cozy and warm, on such a chill night, and the decor was very old world charming. I absolutely loved it in there. We settled in, ordered our drinks from the fall themed drinks menu, and enjoyed the cheese and crackers that were brought to us as we perused the dinner options. I ended up ordering the Roasted Beet Salad with salmon, and it was amazing. Everyone’s food looked delicious actually, but for me, it was all about dessert. I ordered the Devil’s Delight, a brownie with vanilla ic cream. This sounds so blah, but so wasn’t. Chocolately and gooey, warm and delicious with that cold ice cream to save it from being too rich. Yum!
Then Sunday, my hubs, son, and I went to the apple orchard. It was another fantastic weather day, the perfect kind for strolling around an orchard, eating apple doughnuts, and picking out pumpkins. The perfect Michigan fall day, really. The orchard we got to every year, Bennett’s Orchard, also makes hard cider and has a tasting room, so bonus! Lol. We took home a growler of Elderberry Cider, and plan on going back in a few weeks for a cinnamon version for the holidays. The owner told us to cook sweet potatoes in it for the holidays, which sounds like a fabulous idea! As were getting ready to leave, the parking lot was starting to fill up with yogis – they apparently host yoga sessions in the orchard on Sunday afternoons, which sounds like it would be a lot of fun!
Finally, later that evening we made a giant pot of chili for dinner, and watched It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. It was a great end to a wonderful weekend.
I love Halloween! One thing I love doing is hitting the library for Halloween books for the boy. Some of the ones we get are new, some of them you need a wayback machine for. These are the ones that I have made sure to grab, because they were my favorites growing up, and while they may not look as sleek and shiny and flashy, they are still great stories!
Samurai Scarecrow was a new addition to our holiday reading this year, as was Duck and Goose. I loved both, although they were very different. Samurai Scarecrow had great illustrations, while Duck and Goose was a Wyatt pick – he loves Duck and Goose. A lot. It was a long book so be warned. Lol.
Gus was a Friendly Ghost and Georgie’s Halloween are my two old favorites. I simply adore these sweet little ghosts. I also love the other Georgie books too. I know Gus has other books but I haven’t read them. I probably should!
Happy Halloween Witch’s Cat is super cool!! It is well loved here, both for the story and for the art, which is three dimensional and multi-media (I think this is the right way to describe it!) The author, Muncaster, is a miniaturist, who made tiny miniatures and then photographed them as the accompanying illustrations.
Room on the Broom and Click Clack Boo are just great reads. Simply put, Wyatt just loves sitting in my lap listening to them. Finally, A Dark, Dark Tale I picked up at a garage sale for its kind of creepy art. It doesn’t disappoint!
As for me, around Halloween I usually turn to books about witches and ghosts. These are a few of my top favorite witchy witch books and series. I am always looking for more, so please hit me with your recommendations!
How about you? Are you a seasonal reader? Any favorites? I’d love to hear them!
As I go through my week lately, I am trying to think about all the good things that happened or that I have read or just little things that have made me happy, even if it is something that seems rather small, like that latte I bought at McDonalds the other day (not even Starbucks y’all!) or something a loved one has said. Things that make me laugh or just bring a smile to my face, those count too. I hope you will join me, and share with me some things that made you happy too!
- Wolfnoote – Have you guys heard of this? My husband has been buried in work and didn’t but I have been following this story and love.it. So much that I wrote it on my calendar and plan on celebrating this year!
- This bag from Target ~ I am in loves. It is the perfect size and weight, and is soft and very affordable! I can stick a diaper and wipes in there, a book for me and a book for the boy, snacks for the road, Wyatt’s shoes and braces if he takes them off, an umbrella if the day calls for rain and best of all, even a bottle of wine, which I discovered when I was carrying in groceries ( I don’t usually just carry wine around in my bag!). Other stuff too of course, but those are the things that got me excited. Plus I have much room left over, and it has little pockets for things like my phone and keys and such too. (Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to save the photo)
- Fattest Bear Award – Congrats Beadnose 409 on your “radiant rolls”! You did a great job preparing for winter!
- New Wolves introduced to Isle Royale – I have been following the plight of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale for a while so I was excited to see that steps had been taken to revive the pack!
- I saw a hummingbird moth in my flowers! It was so cool, but so strange and weird too! It looks like a mix between a bird and a moth. My mind wasn’t sure what to do with that information. I tried to take a photo but I only had my cell phone and I was just heading out to take Wyatt to school. Here is my photo anyway. Lol. After doing some research, it turns out that I saw the White-Lined Sphinx version. It was pretty cool but also gave me the weirds.
- We painted pumpkins with my niece L. at the library. It was fun! Wyatt’s pumpkin reminds me a little bit of Sia..
7. I had a date night with my husband! It was nice to hang out with him, especially as he has been working such long hours. Then tonight we went out to dinner with Wyatt. Also, if you like hard cider, B. Nektar’s Zombie Killer is fantastic!
8. And this..
What made you smile this week?
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.
Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.
Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists—sought after as an endangered prize.
Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death.
Most people have a secret or two hidden away inside. Some big, some small, some inconsequential, others life changing. Cora Lee’s secret, tucked away, has been beating steadily away since the moment she was born, giving her life yet also threatening it.
Cora was born on the wrong side of the blanket, illegitimate – and with two hearts, a secret she must safeguard always. For this is the time of resurrectionists, when even the dead are not even safe from harm. Cadavers are in demand for scientific and medical studies, and those with “oddities” and differences can fetch a top price. Cora makes her living grave robbing, choosing to steal the bodies of the rich and well to do, feeling the poor suffer enough in life. This occupation though dangerous in itself, actually helps keep Cora safe. For the girl with two hearts is legend, The Impossible Girl, whose corpse would fetch a fortune.
I absolutely loved this book. The underworld of grave robbing, the flash language, the evolution of medicine and science, particularly for women (Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell even makes an appearance in the book!), the idea of anatomical anomalies put on display for entertainment – there was so much to read in this book, if that makes sense. So much content that set your mind imagining. I also enjoyed Kang’s drawing on the themes of duality. Cora’s hearts, her job that keeps her safe yet puts her in danger, upper class vs. lower class, as well as a few other things that I will leave unsaid, as not to give anything away.
I have read and loved Kang’s A Beautiful Poison and The November Girl, but I believe The Impossible Girl is her best to date that I have read. It was an interesting, thought provoking read, and it was a perfect start to my October.