The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs ๐Ÿ“š

I read a paperback edition of The House With a Clock in Its Walls. This is the first book in the Lewis Barnavelt series.

Genre:ย Children’s fiction, middle grade fiction, fantasy.

Illustrator: Nathan Collins

Publisher:ย Templar, Picadilly Press

Originally published:ย 1973

Pages:ย 192 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 4 hrs and 33 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

TICK TOCK,
A DEADLY CLOCK…

When orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan, he is amazed to find out there is a wizard in his family!

Lewis experiments with Uncle Jonathan’s spells and uncovers the mystery behind the ticking that he can hear throughout the house, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It’s an evil clock and it could destroy humankind.

My thoughts:

I had never heard of this book or the movie adaption of it before the trailer popped up on our Netflix feed. Immediately after having watched it, I thought “This sounds like it must’ve been adapted from a book!”, so I did a bit of a Google search and found the Lewis Barnavelt series where this was the first book.

The movie trailer looked absolutely magical and dark, so just up my alley, and I had to read the book before we watched it. I also have somewhat of a soft spot for Jack Black when it comes to movies because he’s such a wonderful actor and he’s perfect for quirky and mysterious roles in my opinion.

I loved the magic and darkness in this story. It’s one of my favorite things when authors dare to be a bit more on the darker side in their children’s books. I remember loving that as a kid myself.
We get to experience some of the grief that Lewis experiences after having lost his parents, and also the struggle of trying to find your place and to fit in. This book also touches on the subject of bullying and the challenges of finding out who your true friends are.
And the banter between Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann was hilarious!

But even though there were a lot of things in this book that I really liked and enjoyed, there were a few things that I didn’t like as much.
I think one of the biggest drawbacks for me as a reader was the amount of buildup to the big climax, and then having it resolved so quickly. It felt somewhat anticlimactic, and as if a chunk of the story was just left out altogether.
I also felt like I had quite a few questions that went unanswered, but knowing that this is the first book in a twelve book series makes me think that I’ll get more answers further down the line.

But all in all, I did enjoy The House With a Clock in Its Walls, but I did not love it. It’s one of those very rare instances where I actually liked the movie more than the book. That doesn’t happen too often.
Even so, I will continue on with this series, and I will let you know what I think of the other books as well.

It is creepy, dark, quirky, and funny, but I just had a bit higher expectations for it that it failed to meet. But if you have kids who like Goosebumps and other slightly dark and creepy children’s books, then I would recommend giving this book a chance.

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I canโ€™t turn it off…

These are challenging times filled with lots of emotions. I just had to share some๐ŸŒธ

Do you know what I miss? I miss the time when I could pick up a book, disappear into it, and leave the troubles of the real world behind for a little while.

And before I say anything else, I am very aware of the privilege it is to allow oneself to escape. A lot of people in the world don’t have the luxury of doing so. And the trouble that a lot of people face every day is a lot worse than what I’m writing about here. But I just want to share my thoughts today because I feel like my brain is boiling over soon.

For the last four days, I’ve been feeling anxious, worried, stressed, and sad. My energy levels are just extremely low and my body is making it hard to do anything but to stay put. And while I know that there’s a perfectly good reason for the physical limitations I’m going through right now, it feels like it is just making everything else escalate and get worse in my own thinking box.

I’ve been trying to read for the last few days, but my mind wanders to all the news and worries that are popping up. It’s like a horrible Jack in the Box that constantly keeps popping up, but instead of some weird clown, it’s showing me all the things that are going on at the moment in the world that we are living in and it scares me. To be honest, I would rather have the clown popping up any day!

I read about and see people who just blatantly disregard the regulations and recommendations to try to get control over a global pandemic. People are mourning close friends and/or family taken away from them because of a virus, injustice, or both. Leaders of certain countries are allowed to keep on leading even though they outright lie and disrespect the people that they are supposed to protect. People who treat other people or animals like theyโ€™re not worth anything. Women and men fearing to be honest about who they are or what they feel.

There’s so much sadness, madness, and injustice in this world. Usually, I’m able to reroute my focus over to the beautiful, wonderful, and positive things in this world, but in the last few days, I’ve really been struggling to do so.

It feels like my mind is filled with noise and dark imagery and I can’t turn it off!

I know that I’m very lucky to have so much love and so many wonderful souls in my life, I don’t think I would be able to cope with all this without them. And I know that I will get through this dark fog and come out on the other side to find the sun shining on all the good things once again.

But for now, I’m just trying my best to take the time needed, to not feel guilty about all the things I don’t have the energy or headspace to get around to, and to not be afraid of reaching out to the loved ones around me.

These are challenging times for all of us, and we don’t have to act strong all the time, even though it’s hard.

I love you guys for taking the time to read and watch what it is that I create and put out there๐Ÿ’› It truly means the world to me, and it makes the rough days so much easier to get through.

You are beautiful! You matter! And it’s okay to not be okay๐ŸŒป

Look at That Face ๐ŸŒป Weekly Vlog Wednesday

Bullet journaling, nerves, a trip to the hospital, and we got to see our baby’s face for the first time ๐Ÿ˜

Bullet journaling, nerves, a trip to the hospital, and we got to see our baby’s face for the first time ๐Ÿ˜

Links to the books mentioned (Free worldwide shipping with Bookdepository):

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

Overwhelmed!

Just one of those days, and that’s okay๐ŸŒป

Overwhelmed is the word of the day!

As we are getting closer to our due date, sleeping through the night is getting harder and harder. To be honest, I can’t really remember how long it has been since I last had a night where I slept all the way through. I read somewhere that scientists believe that the reason why pregnant women wake up to go to the bathroom so many times at the end of their pregnancy is to prepare the body for irregular sleep patterns after the baby has been born. I thought that was kind of interesting.

Some nights I will wake up just a couple of times, and then there are other nights (like last night) where I had to get up four or five times. So, after that kind of night, my mind and my body were already a bit tired, and not in the best place possible when Mikael got up to go to work this morning. Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of getting up and starting my day when he goes to work, but today I just had to sleep in a little bit. I was so tired.

When I eventually did get up, I had a slow breakfast, showered, and made myself ready for the day. I had big plans to film a couple of videos and get some Instagram photos ready, but as soon as I was done getting ready it was very obvious to me that I had used the little bit of spare energy that I had left.

It started there. I started feeling down and overwhelmed by the thought of the things I had planned but didn’t feel like I would be able to do. And then my mind started to race everywhere. It went into full-on nesting mode again too, where I was starting to get stressed about everything I need to get done and ready for this baby’s arrival. And then I started thinking of all the things I worry about when it comes to delivery. And then I started to worry about delivering a baby in the middle of a pandemic. And then I started to worry about the pandemic. And so the spiral went, down, down, down, until I felt completely drained and even more overwhelmed than I had at the start of it all.

That’s when my mind went “Ahhhh! You’re doing that thing again where you don’t listen to your own body and you make everything worse for yourself. Allow yourself to have a human moment. Rest.”

So, that was the moment where I just let everything go and mentally removed all my plans for the day. I made myself a coconut latte and I started to write down what I was feeling instead, just to get it all off my chest. I definitely needed that.

The world is a scary and weird place to live in right now, and it is easy to get overwhelmed by that alone these days. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, for whatever reason, I just want you to know that those feelings are so valid and important to listen to and process.
Take the time to rest, recharge, and have those human moments.
We all need them from time to time๐Ÿ’›

And now I’m going to curl up on the couch with a good book, a snack, and just let today be what it is. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a little more productive and a little less overwhelming๐ŸŒป

It’s not just a party when it’s in the middle of a pandemic!

The world is struggling enough as it is at the moment, don’t make it worse by pretending everything is okay๐Ÿ˜”

I get that the time that we are living in now is uncertain and scary.

I get that sometimes you don’t know how to feel about it or what to do.

I get that you can feel helpless.

I get that you want to forget.

I get that you’re tired.

I get it.

I feel the same way.

๐Ÿ’›

What I don’t get is the utter lack of consideration, understanding, and perspective.
You not knowing how to handle this pandemic does not give you the right to just ignore all the advice, throw huge parties, and risk people’s lives.

Now, let me be clear, the people that make me write this in total frustration and anger are not the few friends who meet up and have a good time while practicing social distancing. It’s those people (famous or not) who during a global pandemic decides to throw big parties and then have the audacity to brag about it on social media like it’s no big deal. Sharing pictures and videos of lots of people who are in no way socially distancing and partying like they don’t live in the same world as us where there’s a global pandemic going on!

I don’t get how some people can just ignore all the statistics. How some people seem like they think they are above all others. How they either don’t care or naively believe that they won’t get infected.
This virus can infect anyone, and most people are asymptomatic, so you might not be able to get an indicator of who has it or if you are carrying it around yourself.

There are families who haven’t been able to see one another for months, fathers/mothers who can’t be by their partner’s side while they are sick or are giving birth, people who are immunocompromised that have been isolated for months, partners separated by borders, and thousands of people dying every day!

What gives some ignorant people the right to just ignore that? I can’t even wrap my head around how they do it!

I know it feels like our lives have been somewhat put on hold for now, and if you feel sad, frustrated, overwhelmed, and/or unsure about everything right now, those feelings are completely valid. Blatantly ignoring regulations and advice to protect your own and everyone elseโ€™s health however is not!

Just another night in your life could mean the end of someone else’s life! Please remember that the next time you get invited to a big party!

Let the health workers, scientists, and politicians do their job. Save the partying for a later and safer time!

I’ll raise my glass in cheer when we can do so safely! Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and don’t act like a Covidiot!

July 2020 ๐Ÿ“š Wrap Up

Talking about the books I read in the month of July ๐Ÿ“š

Links to all the books (Bookdepository with free worldwide shipping):

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewel

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

The Shining by Stephen King

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Luke Christodoulou (Amazon – could only find this one as a Kindle edition)

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

Almost fainted… Again! ๐ŸŒป Weekly Vlog Wednesday

Some snippets of what went down in week 31, 2020 ๐ŸŒป

Some snippets of what went down in week 31, 2020 ๐ŸŒป

Books mentioned in this vlog (Bookdepository with free worldwide shipping):

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams ๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW

My review of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams ๐Ÿ“š

I read a hardback edition of Queenie.

Genre:ย Contemporary fiction, romance.

Publisher:ย Trapeze

Originally published:ย March 19th, 2019

Pages:ย 400 (hardback)

Audiobook length: 9 hrs and 45 mins.

Synopsis by the publisher:

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where sheโ€™s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong placesโ€ฆincluding several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, โ€œWhat are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?โ€โ€”all of the questions todayโ€™s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

My thoughts:

When I shared pictures of me reading Queenie on Instagram, I got a couple of DM’s from people asking me if it was true that Queenie was a lot like Bridget Jones’s Diary. I wasn’t aware that the two were being compared before that, but when I finished reading it, I saw that mentioned more and more.
I have to say (even though I think Bridget Jones is good fun and all that) that to compare the two is incredibly unfair to Queenie and to Candice Carty-Williams. Why? Because the two characters are so different! And the two stories are so different! Just because both books are about single women in London, doesn’t make them the same kind of stories.

Queenie is such a complex character and what she’s going through in this book when it comes to mental health and racism goes far deeper than the struggles Bridget Jones was facing in the fear of becoming an old spinster. I’m not saying that loneliness isn’t a subject that can be complicated and emotional, but Bridget Jones is not a book about mental health, at least not in my opinion.
And the big difference between the two is also that in Queenie we have a story that goes to some quite dark places, and that was something that I really appreciated with this story.

Dating in this modern age, with people walking around with all their own kind of bagage and own sets of issues, it can be difficult, challenging, hearbreaking and just downright frustrating and (at times) impossible to wrap your head around.
I’ve been there, and I know a lot of people have, and that’s why I think so many fall in love with Queenie and relates to her character so much. Even though you haven’t gone through the exact same experiences as she has, it is still easy to fing emotions and frustrations to relate to.

Queenie and her friends will make you frustrated at times when you read about the choices that they make (like having lots of unprotected sex and choosing dating partners that clearly isn’t a good match), but that is also what makes these characters feel more real. They make mistakes, they are imperfect, and they are trying so hard to navigate through a complicated and weird time in this world and their lives.

Queenie is a book with lots of humor, cringe worthy moments, diversity, exploration of mental health, friendships, love, and relationships for good and for bad.
It explores darkness and brightness and is also extremely entertaining! You can’t help but root for Queenie!

I would highly recommend Queenie to those readers out there who likes more complex and complicated contemporary/romance fiction. But it is not for the faint of heart! It was quite sexually graphic, and as I mentioned, it does go some pretty dark places, so that’s something to be aware of when going into this story.

๐Ÿ’›If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission ๐Ÿ’›