🎃 5 Books to read on Halloween to get your spook on

Hello everyone!

Halloween is right around the corner and, of course, I’m feeling very inspired! So what are you too old for trick-or-treating? You are never too old to read a good story. And can you seriously think of a better time in the entire year to read thrillers and horror books than on Halloween?

Halloween parties are not a thing right now because of the coronavirus, so why not surrender yourself to a scary story? Think about it, you can light up some candles, grab a blanket and hot tea… doesn’t that sound amazing? 

I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you five creepy books that I think are great for this time of year! I tried to mix things up and I came up with a few different options, so in this list we have modern and classic books, fantasy and contemporaries, middle grade and adult stories… so you can probably pick at least one book from the list.

  1. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
    Of course, a Stephen King book is here. Well, to be completely fair, I think any of Stephen King’s psychological thrillers are a great option to read on Halloween, but this book is special. The author himself describes this book as the scariest book he has ever written – interesting, huh? Pet Sematary is a horror novel published in 1983 and it wins the prize for most disturbing book in this list. It’s about a family who moves to a new city and everything is perfect. Their lives, their jobs, their family… until death happens. Not enough of a synopsis? I get it, but I strongly encourage you to go into the book without knowing too much. But I’ll tell you this: if you want a very atmosferic, disturbing book, this is your winner.
  2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    Coraline is not a classic book, but I would definitely consider it a staple. This book is about Coraline, a girl who is full of life but she is bored by her daily life. Her parents are boring, the food is boring, her daily life is boring and she just wants to explore and feel excited about something for a change. One day, she opens a magical passage to another house that looks just like hers and has parents very similar to hers… but with their eyes sewed with buttons. They want her to stay with them forever, and something about them feels off…
    Please don’t judge a book by it’s cover, because Coraline may be a middle-grade book, but I promise you it will give you the chills. And that’s exactly what makes it so perfect for Halloween. If you want to read something on the lighter side but with a good story, you should definitely check it out.
  3. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
    I wouldn’t consider this a horror book, but more of a creepy book. This story is about a boy uncovering the secrets of an abandoned orphanage situated on a very mysterious island. The cool thing is it is a visual book because it has some old photographs and illustrations that will help you get into the mood of the book.
    I think it’s important for me to say that this book has a lot of mixed reviews. Some seem to love it and others hate it, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I still decided to talk about it here because I think it’s a great match to Halloween either you love it or hate it. If you are more sensitive to horror, I promise you that you can read this and still go to the bathroom at night.
  4. Thornhill by Pam Smy
    If you want to get into a spooky mood but you don’t have a lot of time, I would definitely recommend Thornhill. This is a great option if you want something easy and fast to read! This book follows Ella, who just moved into a new house, in a new town. From her room she has a great view to what once was the Thornhill Institute for Children, which is now abandoned. One day she sees a mysterious girl in the gardens of Thornhill from her window, and she is determined to befriend her. Ella goes after her and she starts to uncover the mysteries and secrets of Thornhill.
    This book is told in both diary entries and black and white art, which makes the book even more interesting. It is also a great creepy option and you can read it in a few hours!
  5. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
    This was a recent read for me and I really loved it. This story is about a journalist who can’t deal with the way her sister died twenty years ago. She was supposedly killed by her boyfriend and her body was disposed of in the grounds of a haunted boarding school for troubled girls. With her investigations, a very shocking thing is discovered near the place her sister was found that may be important for her to know. Not only that, but she finds out a lot about some interesting and mysterious things that happened in that school in the 1950’s.
    This is the most “normal” book you’ll find here. There are so many great elements in it, but what I loved the most about it is that I couldn’t put it down. The chapters are small and there is always something shocking happening at the end of each chapter. If you want something addictive, this is it!

Books are a great opportunity to let your mind wander, so why not do it with a spooky theme? I hope you liked these Halloween recommendations and if there are any books you think would be perfect to read in this season, let me know 🙂

Happy Halloween!

xoxo, Neide

My fear of big books

Hi. My name is Neide, I’m twenty five years old and I’m afraid of big books. Big books can be scary and intimidating to pick up if you are used to reading small to medium size books. Maybe you are like me and you are interested in reading some big books because you think they look cool or interesting, but when you look at them you think “well… maybe another day”. That’s how I feel, but at least I know I’m not alone in this because it’s actually a very common feeling amongst readers.

So what is my definition of a big book? Each person has their own idea of what is too much, but for me personally a big book has at least five hundred pages. So why don’t I pick books like this more often? Well, in a nutshell: they look intimidating and I get bored easily. I know some people like big books because they like the experience of spending a lot of time in a specific world, but I feel exactly the opposite. I have a hard time leaving books unfinished if I’m not enjoying them – I’m trying to fight that too, but that’s a topic for another day -, so when I get tired of reading the same book it’s difficult for me to keep myself motivated to continue reading and finish the book.

And yes, I’ve accumulated a bunch of big books that I’m actually interested in reading, but they just sit on my shelves and I never touch them. Below are some examples of big books I really want to read but never picked up – just keep in mind that I have the portuguese editions of each book so that’s why the covers and titles are different, but I’m still going to refer below the original titles.

  1. The Host (A Nómada) – Stephanie Meyer (836 pages)
  2. The Starless Sea (Um Mar Sem Estrelas)  – Erin Morgenstern (528 pages)
  3. The Good Daughter (A Boa Filha) – Karin Slaughter (701 pages)
  4. Imaginary Friend (Amigo Imaginário) – Stephen Chbosky (864 pages)
  5. Pet Sematary (Samitério de Animais) – Stephen King (464 pages)
  6. El Bosque Sabe Tu Nombre (As Filhas da Floresta) – Alaitz Leceaga (624 pages)

You have to admit these books look really good! Stephen King’s Pet Sematary doesn’t reach the five hundred pages mark, but I still decided to include it in this bunch just because it’s not far from being a big book. But the title of champion of big books goes to Stephen Chbosky’s Imaginary Friend, which has eight hundred and sixty four pages! If this is not intimidating, I don’t know what is.

So… this needs to stop. At the beginning of this year I decided to face this fear of mine and finally pick up some big books. I really want to read these until the end of the year and I will do my best to keep my word, even though I know it is going to be tough. The good news is that I usually end up happy for giving a chance to books like this because I know afterwards they were worth the effort. I’m going to practice what I preach, so I decided my goal for August is to read the champion of book pages, Imaginary Friend. I know I will probably struggle, but I will do my best to finish it – yikes, wish me luck!

If you have these first world problems like me, please know you are not alone! I hope this encourages you in any way to get out of your comfort zone. Be brave, grab that book that is waiting for you and you will (probably) not regret it.

Stay healthy and wash your hands!

xoxo, Neide

Recommendations | Audiobooks

Hello everyone! 

Today I want to recommend you 5 audiobooks that I really enjoyed. It’s one of my favorite ways of getting through books quickly and I honestly don’t think I will ever stop listening to audiobooks because of how practical they are. I usually listen while driving or doing mundane chores – like vacuuming and washing the dishes – because it saves me so much time and helps me get some reading done.

So let’s get into it, shall we? Here are 5 audiobooks I’ve enjoyed in the past!

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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We are starting off strong with a debut novel by Angie Thomas! The Hate U Give is not only an incredible book, but also an incredible audiobook. With 11 hours and 40 minutes, this book tells the story of a girl who witnesses her childhood best friend being shot and killed by a police officer. Some people call the boy a thug and a criminal, but others think he was just an unarmed kid who did nothing to make the police officer shoot him. This incredible story inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement is about racism, having a voice and defending the truth!

I personally thought the audiobook was incredible and contributed a lot to the story. The narrator did an amazing job creating an atmospheric set and made the book both emotional and fun. It’s definitely a book worth listening to!

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is one of my favorite audiobooks of all time! The first book has a duration of 10 hours and 50 minutes, but to be honest, time flew and I didn’t even notice! I’ve listened to the entire series in an audiobook version – including the prequels The Kill Order and The Fever Code – and I absolutely loved it! The reason why I recommend the audiobook version for this series is because of the incredible contribution of the narrator, Mark Deakins. He embraced every role perfectly and he did a great job creating different voices and accents for each character. You almost forget it’s a single person doing the voices for the entire cast of characters. It’s great if you decide to pick physical copies – because, let’s be honest, the books are incredible as it is – but they are extra special in the audiobook format!

3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

In only 4 hours and 50 minutes, Marie Kondo teaches you how to keep your home clutter-free and to organize your belongings, in order to live a simpler life! I personally prefer to listen to self-development books instead of reading physical copies, just because it is easier to interiorize the concepts if it feels like you are having a conversation. And this book is no exception! The audiobook version is short and easy to follow through, giving you the opportunity to listen to it while decluttering. Very practical and useful!

4. Becoming by Michelle Obama

There is no better way of knowing about someone’s life than having themselves to tell you all about it. In Becoming, Michelle Obama tells us about her life from the time she was a child, to meeting Barak, to living in the White House, to what she is up to in the present day. The cool thing about the audiobook version is that Michelle herself is narrating it! It’s by far the biggest audiobook I went through – with a duration of 19 hours and 3 minutes – but it’s completely worth it. One of the best memoirs I have ever put my hands on!

5. Radio Silence by Alice Osman

The last book I want to mention is not only a personal recommendation. Not surprisingly, most people who’ve read and listened to the book, recommend the audiobook version! Radio Silence by Alice Osman is a book you should listen to instead of grabbing a physical copy. This story with a duration of 10 hours and 23 minutes, is partially told in a podcast format – which, to be fair, usually goes well with audiobooks. Not only that, but the narrator did an amazing job with the story! I was pulled into the story instantly and I truly believe that in this case the audio version adds something to the reader experience. If you are new to audiobooks, I would recommend a book like this for you to get started.

So what do you think about these audiobooks? Are you interested in any of them? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

xoxo, Neide

Best books I’ve read in 2019

I had such an amazing reading year last year! I’ve reached my goal of reading 100 books by reading 102 books – which is crazy compared to what I used to read! So with all the reading I did last year, I’ve found a lot of great books that I would like to recommend and share with you! In no particular order, here are the top 10 best books I’ve read in 2019.

1. Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

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This book is incredible and I’m surprised no one talks about it! You may think this is about a cutesy fairytale: a prince fights a dragon and rescues the sleeping damsel. But surprise surprise, there is nothing enchanted about this story. After being rescued, the damsel begins to realize that things are not what they seem. Why was she saved if she was not in danger? Why doesn’t she have a say on whatever is happening? And why does the prince think she is his property? Damsel is a feminist, dark retelling of your typical fairytale.

Why is this book so good? Because of how refreshing it was! It was super original and creative. There is something so great about taking a simple story and giving it a new different meaning. Definitely one of my favorite books I read last year!

2. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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I know, I know… There is nothing new about this series. But I finally picked it up and I fell in love! In case you live under a rock don’t know, The Hunger Games is a very well known young adult dystopian series. The main character Katniss Everdeen volunteers to participate in the annual Hunger Games to protect her sister from participating. But why? In these games invented by the Capitol to keep districts in line, two teenagers from each district are put in an arena to fight to death. Whoever is the one last standing wins the games, gets wealthy and becomes a tutor for the next tributes. So Katniss is sent to the arena and she tries to keep herself alive, using her survival skills!

Why is this book so good? There is a reason why so many people love this book. One word: concept! The book is so original and full of detail, it is impossible not to love this book. I’m also a fan of survival stories, and this is a great one! It is such a good dystopian trilogy, probably one of my favorites!

3. Sadie by Courtney Summers

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Sadie was definitely my favorite audiobook of 2019! This mystery book is about a girl named Sadie, whose sister was found dead. She disappears and no one knows where she is or if anything happened to her. Enters radio host, West McCray. He finds out about Sadie’s story at a gas station and he decides to start his own podcast to find out what happened to her. Through some investigation he soon discovers Sadie raised her sister and didn’t have an easy life like most kids. What he doesn’t know is that Sadie herself was on a quest to find her sister’s killer.

Why is this book so good? The audiobook gives life to this book! I know a paperback/ebook version of this book would not have the same impact as the audio version. The story is told in two different timelines through podcast episodes and Sadie’s POV in alternate chapters. The story is great, the atmosphere is eerie and mysterious, the audio matches the story perfectly… I can’t recommend this enough!

4. Circe by Madelline Miller

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If mythology is your jam, you should pick up Circe! Here we follow the witch Circe, daughter of the nymph Perses and the god Helios. It was obvious that since she was an infant, Circe was not a child like the others. She was rejected by everyone for being weird, not as beautiful as her mother and for possessing the ability to transform other creatures. She is quickly seen as a threat and she is banished by her father to live alone on an deserted island. On that island she discovers how powerful she really is by practicing witchcraft on a daily basis, and she finally starts to accept herself.

Why is this book so good? Because I learned so much about mythology in just one book! The story doesn’t mention only Circe, there are so many crosses with other famous figures. The good thing is that you don’t need to be an expert on mythology to understand the story, the author keeps it simple and contextualizes everything you need to know. If you think mythology is interesting, give this one a go and I promise you won’t regret it!

5. Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson

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If I had to pick a favorite book from this list, this was probably my first choice! I read the first two books in this trilogy last year – Truly Devious (#1) and The Staircase (#2) – and I fell in love with them! In this story we follow Stevie, a girl that was accepted to the prestigious Ellingham Academy for her detective skills. Stevie has a personal mission to discover what happened to the school founder’s daughter and wife who were kidnaped. The only clue known for this cold case is a riddle left behind, signed by the one and only, Truly Devious. But something unexpected happens: Truly Devious is back and students are getting killed! Stevie is now determined to find out who the murderer is.

Why is this book so good? I love that there are two different investigations, one regarding the founder’s wife and daughter, and another one for the students that are living on campus in the present day. Besides, everything seems so eerie and creepy and that adds to the mysterious setting – especially those riddles! In my opinion it is a very interesting book that you won’t want to put down! The last book in this series, The Hand on the Wall (#3), is going to be released in January and I can’t wait to finally pick it up!

6. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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If you are a fan of retellings or the classic Alice in Wonderland, this is the perfect book for you! Heartless is a retelling of the story of the Queen of Hearts, from Alice in Wonderland. According to Marissa Meyer’s story, Catherine – who later became the Queen of Hearts – was not always cold and mean like everyone thinks. She was a sweet girl that loved to bake, until she met the king’s new court jester. Then her life changed forever.

Why is this book so good? The story is so complex and creative, it will inspire you! The atmosphere and the descriptions made me travel to the land of Hearts – I swear I can smell the lemon tarts! This beautiful story will break your heart, make you laugh and make you cry. It’s dark and heartbreaking, but completely worth it.

7. Confess by Colleen Hoover

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Colleen Hoover is such a talented writer, I swear no one writes dramatic romance like her! In my opinion, it is best if you don’t know much about the story when you first dive in, so I’ll give you the gist of what you should know: the story follows a girl named Auburn that meets and later falls in love with Owen, an artist, at a point where she is trying to rebuild her life and heal her broken heart. Pretty simple plot, right? Wrong. There are so many twists, secrets and other things going on, that you won’t put this book down until you finish it.

Why is this book so good? If I had to narrow it down I would definitely pinpoint the originality, the crazy plot twist halfway through the book and the confessions. The most unique aspect of this book for me is how Owen used confessions from people in his town for art inspiration. The cool thing about this is that these were in reality actual confessions that Colleen’s readers sent her for her book. There was something so personal about reading real confessions from real people that gave me chills. Not only that, but Colleen’s writing is so good, you will be hooked from the start!

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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Looking for a good coming of age story? Say no more. I now present you The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky! Well, I know this is not a new book and I’m about 20 years late reading it, but I finally did it! It was first published in 1999 but since then it was considered a must read for people of every age. In this book, Charlie – you guessed it, the wallflower – sends letters to a friend sharing very personal thoughts and feelings about his life and his friends since he started high school.

Why is this book so good? It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. It’s impossible to read this book and not feel the youth and all the troubles and dilemmas that come with growing up. Also, unless you already know the story, you don’t see the ending coming. Of course the author hints here and there about what may have happened, but when you finally know for sure, you feel like you were hit by a truck.

9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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This is by far one of my favorite murder mysteries of all time. In this story, ten strangers were invited to stay on a private island for the weekend by an unknown host. As time goes by, they start to die mysteriously one by one after knowing their accusations! The atmosphere is tense and the strangers now suspect one another. Who is the killer and why is he or she doing this?

Why is this book so good? Because it is such a smart, well-written book! While I was reading it, I kept trying to figure out who was the killer and never in a million years I know find out what was really going on. It’s an AMAZING murder mystery! I would recommend this to everyone, Agatha Christie’s novels are timeless.

10. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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If you are into rock and roll and you find bands from the eighties interesting, this is the book for you! This fiction book follows the band Daisy Jones and the Six. It’s written with two timelines, one where you follow the band’s daily life and what they did in the eighties, and another one in the present where they are giving interviews about the old times and the reason behind the group’s split.

Why is this book so good? Because it is so realistic you almost forget the band never existed! I also recommend you get the audiobook version of this. The book is narrated by a full cast in an interview format, so it seems like you are hearing real interviews from real band members. It is an unforgettable book.

Have you read one of these books? What were the best books you read last year? Let me know what you think! 🙂

xoxo, Neide