The humid summer weather is finally letting up here, bringing a welcome rush of cool air. There’s nothing quite like opening the windows and having that fresh, crisp air breeze through the house. Of course with the cooler weather comes back to school followed by all things Halloween. I was surprised to see Halloween décor hitting shelves in August, but now that we’re a couple of weeks from October, I don’t mind it so much. I really enjoyed the displays of scary stories I saw at the bookstore this week. There was something for everyone, from Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute, to middle grade scary stories and even Halloween and monster themed picture and board books for kiddos. Today I’ll be reviewing two new children’s picture books that have released just in time for scary story season.
“Does the phrase ‘the shining’ mean anything to you?” – Stephen King’s The Shining
In the spirit of October, Halloween, and all things scary, I decided it was a good time to read my second Stephen King novel, The Shining. This might surprise some of you, but I’ve never seen the movie version. I have seen clips of it over the years and can easily recognize Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. I’ve been curious about the story for a long time but just recently added it to my TBR pile when I made it part of my 2018 book bucket list lineup. I read my first Stephen King book last year and decided October would be a good time to pick up another one.
I wanted something scary for Halloween…boy did I get my wish!
“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…”
I don’t often post reviews back to back, but today is the release day of Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, and I just couldn’t wait to share my thoughts. This is going to be one of those posts where I date myself. I remember seeing Hocus Pocus in the theater when it released in July 1993 ~ 25 years ago! I saw it with my sister, brother, and friends. I was still a preteen, and I remember loving the movie. I laughed, I got nervous when Max lit the black flame candle, I screamed when Sarah Sanderson was found hiding in Dani’s bed, and I, like all other preteen girls, developed a tiny crush on Thackery Binx. For years, Disney fans have been begging for a sequel, but only if it includes the original cast, and I agree!
When I heard about the new book re-telling the original story with a new sequel included, I was excited yet a little hesitant, hoping that it wouldn’t ruin the original story and that the sequel would live up to my expectations. Well, the book releases today, and here is my review.
“I suppose you could say that nightmares and dreams help you clean out your brain. Every day you pack it full of thoughts and fears and hopes. At night, your dreams help you sort through the mess. Even when they don’t seem to make any sense, dreams and nightmares are helping you figure things out. That’s why the Waking World always seems so much brighter in the morning.” – Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic
The Sleepwalker Tonic is book two in the Nightmares! series by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. I read the first book for last Halloween, so it seemed appropriate to pick up book two for this Halloween. I loved this book! I read it in two days. Yes, it’s a book for young readers and most older readers like myself will be able to get through it quickly. But I finished it so quickly because I just couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed the first Nightmares! book because of the underlying message to kids about the importance of facing their fears. Well, book two offered up a new lesson. The importance of dreams.
“There were no witches in Salem in 1692, but they thrive here in great numbers now.”
– The Fifth Petal
I was intrigued by this book when I read a description of it online. I was searching for more seasonal/ witchy reads for October and came across this new paperback release. One of the most appealing things was the fact that Brunonia Barry lives in Salem herself. Who better to write about Salem than a woman who lives in Salem and is familiar with its history? I was hoping for a good murder mystery/ detective type story with a magical undertone. I wasn’t disappointed!
This was my first novel by Ms. Barry, and my understanding is that this is one in a series of novels set in Salem, Massachusetts. But this book can be read as a stand-alone novel. Although there was obviously a lot of history between some characters, I had no trouble following the plot. Barry explains any relationships and past events that are needed to follow this mystery.
“…be who you are, every part of you, the good and the bad, the sorrowful and the joyous. You can never run away. There is nowhere to run to.” – The Rules of Magic
I have been so excited to read this prequel to Hoffman’s Practical Magic! I saw the Practical Magic movie before I read the book. I was surprised at how different the movie and book were from each other. It was like they were two different stories. But I actually loved them both. It is rare for me to like a book and the movie version of the book and usually only happens in cases like this, when I saw the movie first.
With the popularity of the movie, I wasn’t sure if Hoffman’s prequel, in which she tells the story of the Aunts (Jet and Frannie), was going to lean more toward the movie version or stay true to the book version. But the thing is, the Aunts didn’t play as big of a role in the book as they did in the movie. So Hoffman really could have done just about anything she wanted with their early characters. What she chose to do was take readers back to New York City in the ‘60s as the Owens siblings – Jet, Frannie, and their brother Vincent – discovered that they weren’t quite ordinary.
I’ve been hoping to do a review of a children’s book for some time and I thought Halloween might be a fun time to start! I paid a little visit to the bookstore the other night and had fun browsing the kids section. It’s always fun to pop over there around a holiday because there are so many fun books on display. The bookstore did not disappoint (does it ever?), and to my delight, I found a beautiful display filled with spooky stories for little ones. I will share here two new stories (new to me at least!) which caught my eye and one classic that I think every kid should experience while they are young and enjoying the fun of Halloween. Keep on Reading!