Revisiting Old Favourites: 3 Scary Books Reread

I never used to be a rereader of books, but when I started reading more and more earlier this year, I had the urge to do a LOT of rereading.

When the spooky season rolled around, I wanted to reread all of the books I remembered finding scary in the past – as in, books that really and truly creeped me out. Would they still scare me now?

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Reread #1: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The first book I reread was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I first read this long before the Netflix adaptation was released, and I remember it being creepy but also not so creepy. It was almost like you knew something scary was there, but it was just on the edge of your peripheral vision, so you never caught it clearly. This book is fantastic and worth many, many rereads. Since this was my first time rereading the story since watching the Netflix adaptation (which I had watched at least 3 times – it really is fantastic), I went into it wanting to look for similarities. What parts from the book made it into the show? And were any of the characters the same?

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12 Swoon-Worthy Romances You Need to Read Before the End of the Year

The end of the year is upon us, and with that, for many people, comes the stress of the holidays. The best way to relieve that stress is with a good book. Below is a list of swoon-worthy romances you need to read before the end of the year, with books full of romance, will they/won’t they, travel, secret relationships, friends to lovers, and so much more! Romance books are full of tropes people either love to love or love to hate, and the best part is getting to read all the romance to find the best of the best.

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swoon-worthy romances #1-4

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Delilah Green, who is quite happy with her life in New York, far away from her hometown of Bright Falls, is called back to her old life when her sister asks her to photograph her wedding. While there, she meets Claire and wonders if her life with a different woman every night back in New York is really what matters. Will this clash of Delilah, who lives a life of surprise, and Claire, who prefers life with no surprises, collide? Or will sparks fly?

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Amplify Your Reading With a Touch of Hygge – 5 Simple Ways To Cozy Up Your Reading

Amplify Your Reading With a Touch of Hygge

Hygge might be a Danish concept and seem foreign to you, but it’s easier to incorporate into your daily life than you might think. Reading and hygge go together like milk and cookies or peanut butter and chocolate, and when you amplify your reading with a touch of hygge, bringing coziness into your reading, you’ll have an even better reading experience.

Reading is one of those things I would love to say I can accomplish anywhere: standing in line at the grocery store, getting an oil change, sitting next to my husband as he watches hockey, or maybe even while I’m cooking dinner.

However, in the past couple of years, I lost my focus when it came to reading. This meant that any time I could previously find myself reading — such as those listed above — wasn’t happening anymore.

It. Was. Tragic.

Now, two years later, I find myself gravitating toward reading again, and I have to set the right stage when I sit down with a book. Gone are the days when I could read a page here or there; I need to sit down for at least twenty minutes to actually get a good dose of reading in (hopefully more, but with kids, it can be hard!).

Setting the stage, for me, involves a little bit of coziness or hygge.

Years ago, I remember hygge being all the rage, but the concept has been around forever — especially for an introvert like myself.

hygge (noun): a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable

hygge (adverb): invoking or fostering a sense of coziness, contentment, and well-being


Coziness and contentment — and maybe a coffee.

The Elements of Hygge That Make for a Hygge Reading Experience

  1. A cozy place to read
  2. A blanket or a cozy sweater
  3. Proper lighting
  4. A hot cup of something
  5. A calm mind

A Cozy Place to Read

A cat and a bookcase
Reading next to my bookshelves, with my cat, is probably one of the most cozy hygge experiences ever.

Maybe it’s your bed, or the couch, or on your porch, but nothing is cozier than a place you don’t want to get up from. For me, this is either the couch in the front room of my house that overlooks the apple blossom tree and gets lots of light, or it’s the couch in my room on a stormy night, listening to the rainfall and smelling that succulent mix of rain and fresh-cut grass through my open window. For the latter, I get less light, but the rain adds that extra element of cozy.

What isn’t hygge is sitting in an uncomfortable chair, trying to read. For me, it’s like trying to have a meaningful conversation with people on an uncomfortable chair — it’s just not possible. Similar to wearing something too tight, too short, or just not comfortable, I move more, more focused on the discomfort rather than the conversation. Or, in this case, on my book.

A Blanket or Cozy Sweater

Amplify Your Reading With a Touch of Hygge

If you’re already finding it hard to sit and focus on your book, nothing makes it worse than feeling cold. Getting a nice wool sweater or blanket, throwing on a pair of fuzzy socks or cozy slippers, or even sitting next to a roaring fire wearing all of the above is the epitome of cozy.

Bonus points if you have a roaring fire, cozy blankets, AND an open window with a thunderstorm outside to accompany your book. I get chills just thinking about that!

As a knitter, I also love to wear hand-knit fingerless gloves while I read. They keep my hands toasty!

Proper Lighting

When I read a book, I love being completely immersed in the story. Do you know what sucks just a bit of that immersion out? Fluorescent lighting. Or, having to squint to read my book because it’s a wee bit too dark.

A nice, warm glow from a lamp, or a fire, is perfection. But sometimes we just don’t have access to a roaring fire, so sitting next to a window, or outside as the sun comes up or goes down, is also nice.

I also really like to read at night, in bed, by the light of my Himalayan salt lamp that sits by my bed. It’s not the brightest, but something about that orange glow just soothes me. And it’s the perfect amount of light at night. You might also find me reading until I just can’t see my book anymore while reading in the evenings. Don’t get me wrong, I love lamps, but I also love the organic feel of reading by sunlight and moonlight.

Just make sure to sit by a cozy lamp that you can turn on when it gets too dark so you don’t strain your eyes.

A Hot Cup of Something

Stephen King book, a cup of tea, and some fall decor
A hot cup of tea and a horror book = perfection.

Of course, there’s a time and a place for a book and a beer. Think, reading on the porch on a summer afternoon as the sun warms you up … having a beer with that is its own type of cozy.

But, when you’re sitting cozy on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, with the window open and a cool breeze flowing through, a hot cup of tea or coffee is perfection. Something to warm your body.

A Calm Mind

Lastly, to focus and get lost in your book, you need to have a calm mind. If your mind is racing with thoughts of what you need to accomplish the next day, or it’s thinking about a conversation you had earlier, you will not be able to focus on your book.

I struggle with this sometimes, especially at night. I’ll try to lie in bed and read my book, cozy with my heated blanket and the light from my Himilayan salt lamp … but my head won’t stop going over the long to-do list I have the next day. I then find myself reading sentences repeatedly, not really taking in what I’m reading.

How can you fix this? Write things down!

You could have a journal to write your thoughts in or write your to-do list down on a piece of paper or in your daily planner for the next day. Get those thoughts out! Don’t let them jumble up your brain.

You should also put your phone away in another room or turn it silent, so you’re not constantly reacting to a ping or alert. If you’re like me, the phone might be a distraction, so it’s best to keep it in another room. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

I hope these tips help you to amplify your reading with a touch of hygge. Reading is one of the coziest things you can do, and amplifying that experience with a few steps will make you enjoy it even more.

Would you like some book recommendations with your hygge? Check these out!

How do you make reading a cozy and enjoyable activity? Are you able to read anywhere you go? In the comments below, let others know how you amplify your reading with a touch of hygge. I’d love to know!

#ReadWithMarenAndShelby Readathon Wrap-up

On Friday, the #ReadWithMarenAndShelby Readathon, hosted by @marensreads and @allthebooksalltheways started! I hadn’t participated in a readathon for a very long time, so I was very happy to join! 

Over the course of the four days, I focused on getting my reading pile down — I’d love to say it was a collection of new books, but it was a pile of books that I had already started and hadn’t yet finished. When I realized I was reading too many books at once, I knew I had to take action, and a readathon was the perfect way to help! 

I ended up finishing FOUR books during this readathon, none were started fresh, but that’s completely okay because they had to get finished. 

Forever Birchwood by Danielle Daniel was a great read. It’s a middle-grade read about Wolf and her friends who grow up in a small mining town. They have a secret place in their town, surrounded by Birch trees they love to visit that they’ve called Birchwood. Wolf had just learned her great-grandfather was a tree-talker, and she’s interested in exploring her Indigenous roots, but her mom doesn’t want anything to do with it. When Wolf and her friends find evidence that a new subdivision will get built exactly where all the beautiful birch trees are, they take action to try and preserve the heritage and hopefully stop the worst from happening. I loved this book, especially the journey of Wolf’s mother. As a mom myself, I find it easy to lose track of where I came from growing up, but I know that I want to explore that side of life with my kids. I want to fall in love with nature with them and not always look for the next new thing. Whether you love middle-grade books or maybe you have a child in that age range, I would highly recommend reading this book. It was endearing, and understated, and the call to action to protect nature and wildlife is very effective.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was a reread for me. Whenever the spooky season rolls around, I have a selection of spooky classics I always want to either read or reread. While I absolutely LOVE the Netflix adaptation of this book, the story is a completely different beast from the show. If you want scares and jumps and love searching for ghosts as I do, the show is wonderful. But if you want a subtle dive into horror, where it almost feels like the horror isn’t there, but then you realize it’s just on the peripheries of your vision, the book is amazing. I really enjoyed going through this book again and seeing what similarities were used in the show, and it was a lot of fun to visit Hill House again. Shirley Jackson is an amazing writer where you find a sense of comfort in reading her stories, but then they take this weird and unexpected turn (The Lottery, anyone?). I do have a few more books by Jackson on my shelf that I’ve yet to read, and I can’t wait to get to them. 

Rise of the Balloon Goons (The Notebook of Doom #1) by Troy Cummings was a book I had bought for my oldest child to read. He’s an avid reader, and so when I went to pick up some books for him from the bookstore that were parts of series he already loves, I thought I’d pick up a couple that were beginnings of series. Unfortunately, my son was not impressed by this book when he read the title, not being a lover of scary books in any way, shape, or form, and he ended up HIDING the book in his room so we couldn’t read it. I found it and read it with my daughter, who loves books like this and I’m happy we did! It’s a fun read about Alexander, who moves to a new town with his dad. He keeps finding these balloon “monsters” around town, but no one believes him when he tries to get help. Eventually, he finds a notebook with the word “DOOM” on it, which contains information about other monsters. Alexander is still navigating his way through being the new kid, but now he has to find a way to fight these monsters. It was a fun read, though I could see why my oldest didn’t want to read it as there is some scary stuff happening, but it is all offset by so much humour (especially with Alexander’s dad) that it ended up being a favourite. I would definitely check out more books in this series to see what other monsters occur in this small town!

Persuasion by Jane Austen is, of course, a classic, and I actually started reading this MONTHS ago, but then other books kept appearing in my reading pile and it kind of fell by the wayside. I’m so glad I picked it back up again to finish and ended up reading the last 150 pages in 2 days. I’ve now read 3 of Jane Austen’s books, and while I do enjoy her books, I wouldn’t say she’s an absolute favourite writer of mine, but I do appreciate her books. I had originally picked this one up so I could finally watch the new Netflix adaptation, and I did thoroughly enjoy it. Honestly, the ending of the story was probably the best. Anne Elliot is a wonderful character, and I did enjoy Captain Wentworth, though we don’t see a lot of him. Ultimately, this isn’t my favourite Austen, but it was a good read, nonetheless. 


Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy is a classic I’ve been reading for the past THREE MONTHS and have finally finished. I decided to switch to the audiobook yesterday to listen to while I worked and it helped a great deal. This was my very first Thomas Hardy book after being introduced to him via Lucy The Reader on YouTube. I absolutely loved this book. Thomas Hardy is such a great writer and within the first few pages I knew he would be a favourite. The way he writes is very conversational, with humour thrown in and characters who aren’t perfect. I loved the journey of Bathsheba and her suitors. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone wanting to read it, but I strongly disliked one suitor and very much loved another. All of her suitors were so different, and Bathsheba is a very headstrong, proud, and sometimes stubborn character. This also reads like a serial, so I never felt like I didn’t want to read this. It was really nice to pick up and read a chapter here and a chapter there and delve more into Bathsheba’s life. Hardy is also so descriptive in his writing and I could just picture the surroundings and scenery as I read. Highly recommended if you love to read classics!

This was a great weekend of reading, and I look forward to participating in more readathons in the future! It is definitely nice to be surrounded by other people who also enjoy reading. 

Do you participate in readathons? What readathon do you look forward to every year?

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