7 Horrors of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House”

The Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Four strangers come together to spend a summer at Hill House. Hoping to observe paranormal occurrences, they may have gotten more than they bargained for. Rooms covered in blood, personal messages written on the walls, the house appears to have a mind of its own.

7 Horrors of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Quick Read

All in all, The Haunting of Hill House is a quick read and I’m extremely grateful for this as I do not think my anxiety could deal with a full-length horror novel.

2. Horror

The Haunting of Hill House is an effective horror story and is really quite disturbing to read; makes the reader think and question if they have ever experienced a house that might have been sentient.

3. Description

Nothing can drag a story and bore the reader than too much description. However, Jackson uses description effectively. While description could be heavy throughout The Haunting of Hill House it did not appear to be drawn out past what was necessary for the reader to know and understand the scene.

4. Characters

There are a few rather vile and hated characters in The Haunting of Hill House and Jackson writes them well! Character development is no easy feat in a short story as there is less interaction with the characters overall but Jackson does an amazing job with her unfavorable characters. Just thinking about Dudley makes me cringe.

5. Build Up

One of the reasons The Haunting of Hill House is an effective horror story is because Jackson is a masterful writer in that she builds the intensity. At first Hill House is strange, then there is some unease that eventually grows into feeling like there is an actual sinister presence which leads to all out fear.

6. Eleanor Vance

Another extremely effective piece of The Haunting of Hill House is that readers are left questioning whether Eleanor’s demise was because of an evil presence that is Hill House or her own psychological break.

7. The Beginning is the End

The book begins and ends in exactly the same way and it is quite unsettling:

“Hill House itself, not sane, stood against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, its walls continued upright, bricks met nearly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

(p. 3 & 235)

What were your favorite things about The Haunting of Hill House?


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8 Worthwhile Things about Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights”

Wuthering Heights

By Emily Brontë

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Growing up together, Heathcliff and Catherine fall deeply in love, believing that one could not survive without the other. But Heathcliff has no title, no land, no occupation and Catherine must be provided for. After losing Catherine forever, Heathcliff torments the next generation as he is haunted by Catherine and what could have been.

8 Worthwhile Things about Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Romanticism

“Wuthering Heights” like “Jane Eyre” is a prime example of Romanticism. With its Gothic themes of ghosts and elements of the Byronic hero seen in Heathcliff, “Wuthering Heights” is truly inspired by the Romantic era.

2. Perspective

The perspective of “Wuthering Heights” is not told through one of the main characters of the story but rather an outsider who is not an intimate of the family and who seems to be unreliable as well. This leaves the reader in an interesting predicament of being further removed from the actual main characters and knowing that we are not seeing the whole story.

3. Speech

Emily Brontë kept her characters authentic by writing phonetically for those of the lower class who had a very different pattern of speech.

4. Love Story

While Heathcliff’s obsession is a bit stalkerish/creepy and Catherine is truly a spoiled brat, their love is still romantic on many levels. One cannot help but wish that they had ended up together and feel how tragic it is that they didn’t.

5. Heathcliff

Healthcliff is a dynamic character. While he appears to be quite a brute with questionable morals, there is an element of softness about him. A tortured soul who only wants to be with his true love. A Bryonic hero indeed!

6. Parallels

There are many parallels in “Wuthering Heights” between the first and second generations. One such parallel is that between Heathcliff and Hareton. Being the son of his bitter enemy, Heathcliff treats Hareton accordingly. Heathcliff actually raises Hareton similar to how he was raised, treating Hareton like a servant and denying him an education. And yet we see this goodness in Heathcliff through him saving Hareton’s life as a baby and treating him better than Hareton’s real father ever does.

7. Hareton and catherine

The love that eventually develops between Catherine and Hareton is quite beautiful and provides an ending to “Wuthering Heights” that is positive and hopeful especially after the heartbreak of Heathcliff and Catherine.

8. Beautifully Written

Written eloquently with beautiful descriptives, interesting characters, and a tragic, heartbreaking love-story, “Wuthering Heights” is an enchanting novel that will remain a timeless classic for years to come.

What are your favorite things about “Wuthering Heights”?


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4 Heroic Things about Kira Brady’s “Hearts of Chaos”


Hearts of Chaos

Deadglass Book 3

by Kira Brady

Nikki’s Rating: 4 out of 10

Summary:  While Emory rules with an iron-fist and expects a dutiful, compliant, dainty wife, his betrothed Lucia is defiant, outspoken, and challenges Emory at every turn. Destined to save their world and the Kivati, a race of shapeshifters, Emory and Lucia must find a way to each other’s hearts and destroy the ancient goddess Tiamet before its too late.

4 Heroic Things about Kira Brady’s “Hearts of Chaos”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Babylonian Myths

The Deadglass series features a lot of lore from the religion of ancient Babylon and in “Hearts of Chaos” we finally get to see the Babylonian Goddess of Primordial Chaos, Tiamet. She has an interesting backstory and learning about unfamiliar lore, myths, and religion of other cultures is always fascinating.

2. Adventures

“Hearts of Chaos” follows Lucia and Emory through the Land of the Dead. Like a tale of old, they must complete tasks set by the gods to test different strengths. It was most intriguing to find out what the trials were and see how the characters overcame them.

3. Lucia and Emory

The best part of “Hearts of Chaos” was watching Lucia and Emory find respect, friendship, and then eventually love with one another. While some of their traits were drastically different, they were able to find common ground in their values, and realize that they really weren’t that different.

4. Happy Ending

“Heart of Chaos” concludes Kira Brady’s Deadglass series and thankfully while the world at large experienced drastic changes and all were affected by loss throughout the novels, there is a happy ending and hope for the future.

What are your favorite things about “Hearts of Chaos”?


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8 Fun Things about J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

by J.K. Rowling

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Updated and now available to Muggles, Newt Scamander’s compendium of magical creatures, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is a must-read! Listed alphabetically, Newt Scamander gives important information on all sorts of magical creatures from the dangerous dragons, and their types, to the beautiful elusive unicorn.

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8 Fun Things about J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The World

The Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling is absolutely brilliant and imaginative. “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” is just another glimpse into that wonderful Wizarding World.

2. Immerse Yourself

With a Foreword by New Scamander and the Introduction, which includes a history of magical beasts and Muggle awareness and Ministry of Magic beast classifications, “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” really immerses us into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

3. Enjoyable

While not quite a story, “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” is a fun, enjoyable quick read.

4. Drawings

My only complaint is that “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” isn’t filled with drawings of all the magical creatures! The drawings that are featured are adorbs and make me want these beasts even with dangerous M.O.M. classifications.

5. Animals

“Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” is all about animals and while they are fictional it is interesting to see how J.K. Rowling imagined them.

6. Comic Relief

Comic Relief, a charity with a vision of a just world, free from poverty, gets a donation with each sale of “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.”

7. Lumos

With each sale of “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them,” donations also go to Lumos, a nonprofit set on ending the institutionalization of children.

8. Quidditch Through the Ages

For further reading into the Wizarding World, besides the Harry Potter series, check out “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”

What are your favorite things about “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”?


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4 Hopeful Things about Kira Brady’s “Hearts of Shadow”

Hearts of Shadow

Deadglass Book 2

by Kira Brady

Nikki’s Rating: 4 out of 10

Summary:  Grace Mercer must fight wraiths every day now that the world has plummeted into chaos due to the Unraveling. Caught in the middle of the war between the Kivati shapeshifters and the Drekar, dragon shifters, Grace is simply trying to survive like all other humans but Leif Asgard is convinced she is more than that. As Leif and Grace hunt for answers to save the world, something ancient begins to hunt them and the only way to save each other is to embrace the love they’ve been desperately denying.

4 Hopeful Things about Kira Brady’s “Hearts of Shadow”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Grace Mercer

Grace reminds me so much of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium series. Both women are abrasive and downright rude but love deeply and are extremely loyal. Like Lisbeth, Grace kicks some major ass and takes shit from nobody.

2. The Lore

While novels featuring supernaturals are nothing new, I appreciate Kira Brandy bringing different elements into her universe. In “Hearts of Shadow,” the incorporation of runes to protect and actually use in battle was very interesting. And the Deadglass series features dragon-shifters, which is totally awesome!

3. Sweltering

Things heat up in “Hearts of Shadow” as Grace and Leif give in to their desires.

4. Hearts of Chaos

While Grace and Leif got their happily-ever-after, their world is in deep shit, Tiamat has awoken. The Deadglass series continues in Kira Brady’s “Hearts of Chaos.”

What are your favorite things about “Hearts of Shadow”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

8 Triumphant Things about J.K. Rowling’s “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

by J.K. Rowling

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: The Tales of Beedle the Bard features five classic fairy tales beloved by wizards for years and can now be enjoyed by Muggles everywhere. Translated from the Ancient Runes by Hermione Granger and commentary provided by Albus Dumbledore, these tales of love and adventure will bring you much joy and delight.

8 Triumphant Things about J.K. Rowling’s “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Wizarding World

Beginning with the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World is utterly fantastic and any chance to spend even a few minutes there is time well spent.

2. Immersion

“Tales of Beedle the Bard” does an excellent job of immersing us into the Wizarding World with commentary by Albus Dumbledore and an Introduction and footnotes provided by J.K. Rowling to help clarify things for Muggle readers.

3. Fairy Tales

Common in all cultures, fairy tales are always enchanting and “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” are no different. With an emphasis on good overcoming evil, these folktales encourage young wizards to do what is right and to help them understand that having magic doesn’t make your problems go away.

4. Fun

As with other collections of fairy tales, “Tales of Beedle the Bard” is a quick and fun read and utterly amusing with the wit of Albus Dumbledore.

5. Beautiful

As a hardback, light blue book decorated with silver stars, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is a visually stunning book. But the beauty doesn’t end there. Inside, many pages feature simple elegant drawings and each page is decorated with roses.

6. The Fountain of Fair Fortune

My favorite of the tales, “The Fountain of Fair Fortune’ features 3 witches who take their fate into their own hands, graciously work together and solve their problems without magical intervention.

7. Lumos

With every sale of “Tales of Beedle the Bard,” Scholastic donates to Lumos, an international nonprofit organization that is working to end the institutionalization of children.

8. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

If you need another book outside the Harry Potter series to get your Wizarding World fix, try “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” or “Quidditch Through the Ages.”

What are your favorite things about “Tales of Beedle the Bard”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

8 Quick-witted Things about J.K. Rowling’s “Quidditch Through the Ages”

Quidditch Through the Ages

by J.K. Rowling

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Kennilworthy Whisp takes us through the interesting and sometimes violent history of Quidditch. With an introduction by Albus Dumbledore, this book gives a thorough look at ancient broom games and how they have evolved into the beloved wizarding sport we all love today, Quidditch!

8 Quick-witted Things about J.K. Rowling’s “Quidditch Through the Ages”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World

The Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling is so imaginative and impressive that it is no surprise that millions of us wish we lived there! “Quidditch Through the Ages” is a quick read but any small glimpse into this Wizarding World is well worth it.

2. The Immersion

J.K. Rowling made this book so immersive with its introduction by Dumbledore, “Hogwarts Library” stamp, and about the author, Kennilworthy Whisp. “Quidditch Through the Ages” truly seems to have come straight from the Wizarding World and into our Muggle hands.

3. Entertaining

“Quidditch Through the Ages” is truly entertaining with its whimsical witty humor and absurdities that will delight children and adults alike.

4. Quidditch

While sports have never been all that exciting to me, Quidditch is most intriguing perhaps because it is a Wizarding game. It was enjoyable to get the backstory that Rowling imagined for her fictional sport.

5. The Golden Snidget

Perhaps the best part of “Quidditch Through the Ages” is the small drawing of the adorable chubby Golden Snidget, I now want one!

6. Comic Relief Fund

Sales of “Quidditch Through the Ages” goes to the Comic Relief Fund, which provides help to at-risk children and young people in the UK and internationally.

7. Lumos Fund

Revenue from “Quidditch Through the Ages” also goes to Lumos, a charity focused on ending the institutionalization of children.

8. The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Thankfully there are other books to immerse ourselves into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, other than the Harry Potter series, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” and “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.”

What are your favorite things about “Quidditch Through the Ages”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

10 Greatest Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Millennium Book 3

by Stieg Larsson

NIKKI’S RATING: 10 OUT OF 10

Summary: Shot in the head and fighting for her life, Lisbeth Salander must now prepare for the trial of her life. Facing charges for 3 murders, Mikhael Blomkvist is desperate to prove Lisbeth’s innocence. But now it is not just Lisbeth’s father they will expose, but the Swedish government. The clock is ticking as government agents move to silence Mikhael and Lisbeth forever.

10 Greatest Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. the writing

As with the other books in the Millennium series, “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” was a thrilling masterpiece. Hard to put down, this novel was a rollercoaster of emotions and anticipation.

2. Lisbeth Salander

An unforgettable heroine who continues to push on with strength and determination regardless of being the victim of traumatic abuse at the hands of so many men in her life.

3. Sexuality

Throughout the Millennium series, Lisbeth’s character never conforms to a label on her sexuality and openly opposes the idea of giving herself a label. She consistently displays a healthy acceptance of herself and her fluid sexuality without judgment.

4. Polyamorous

The Millenium series also includes a portrayal of a healthy polyamorous relationship that is presented in a nonjudgemental manner with the characters being mature and respectful of each other.

5. Sexism

Larsson uses his characters and their stories to portray the sexism that many women experience every day in real life. From questions about their sexuality and other sexual comments to believing that their work is less than simply because they are a woman; sexism leads to violence against women.

6. Violence Against Women

Larsson’s most important theme throughout the Millennium series is that of violence against women. Larsson includes examples of rape, assault, stalking, and harassment of women in the series.

7. The Characters

The whole Millennium series includes characters readers become invested in and truly care about. Characters with depth, with both irritating and endearing qualities; readers fall in love with them, regardless of their faults.

8. Corruption

“The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” accurately portrays how easy it is for a group of people, especially in the government, to be seduced by the idea of their own power and importance. Without proper oversight and transparency, corruption is easy and can have devasting effects for many.

9. Sweden

While by no means a detailed account of Sweden, it was enjoyable and interesting to read a book that was placed in modern-day Sweden.

10. The Ending

Happy to report that while Larsson intended for the Millennium series to continue and then unexpectedly died after completed the transcripts for the first 3 novels, “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” concludes satisfyingly and has an overall happy ending with no cliffhangers to drive readers mad.

What are your favorite things about “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

The Girl who Played with Fire

Millennium Book 2

by Stieg Larsson

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: Working on a story about sex trafficking, famous reporter and publisher Mikhael Blomkvist, stumbles on sensitive information that gets a colleague killed. Lisbeth Salander’s past catches up to her and she is framed for the murder of a Swedish couple. Now Mikhael and Lisbeth must use all their skills of espionage, blackmail, hacking, and researching to solve the murders before one of them is the next victim.


10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth is a badass. This genius hacker takes no bullshit from anyone and although small, can hold her own in a fight. While rough around the edges and abrasive, she cares for those around her fiercely and loyally.  Lisbeth is one of my favorite heroines with her sarcasm, brutal honesty, and devilish thinking.

2. Sex Trafficking

Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire” centers around the issue of sex trafficking, having this be the topic main character Mikhael Blomkvist is researching and reporting on. In the real world, there are about 25 million victims of sex trafficking globally and it is the fastest growing crime.

3. Violence Against Women

Another important theme seen in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series is that of violence against women. Having witnessed a young girl being gang-raped at the age of 15, Stieg Larsson was a feminist and used his books to portray the abhorrent violence many women are subjected to.

4. The Characters

Stieg Larsson creates characters that are so in-depth, realistic, and relatable. Even the main characters are seen with positive qualities and some pretty major faults.

5. System Failure

Stieg Larsson also touches upon the issue of system failure, especially that in the mental health field. Lisbeth’s backstory includes her being placed in a mental health facility and instead of treatment she received more abuse and trauma at the hands of professionals.

6. Thrilling

While the mystery/thriller genre is not a favorite of mine, putting “The Girl who Played with Fire” down was nearly impossible. Very well written, Stieg Larsson provided an intriguing and complex murder-mystery with an unforgettable heroine.

7. Zala

An interesting and realistic power-hungry villain with the twist of being Lisbeth’s sadistic father.

8. Friends

While lacking in a love story, “The Girl who Played with Fire” features so much love amongst friends. Touching and inspirational, characters consistently provided limitless love and support to their friends throughout the story, even when it caused a danger to themselves.

9. No Romance

While a huge romance genre fan and a sucker for love stories, it was refreshing and surprising that the main male and female characters were not starcrossed lovers trying to achieve their happily-ever-after. Continues with the feminist ideals that a woman is strong and worthy on her own, no man needed.

10. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Thankfully this is not the last of Lisbeth Salander and there is Millennium Book 3: “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

What are your favorite things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.