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Kendare Blake & my haunted house

Three Dark Crowns review, my craziest ghost story, and some recent favorites 

Here it is! The first ghost story to be shared on The Book Witch! I have such an enduring love/ hate relationship with the paranormal; Amity Horror documentary and chill? Hell yeah! Am I going to have to watch Tangled to rid myself of visions of Jodie the Demon-Pig? You betcha! I’ve had a fascination with the occult for as long as I can recall being interested in a particular subject. My general expertise of knowledge is can be summed up in Harry Potter trivia, urban legends, paranormal knowledge, fun facts about birth charts, and every book that made me cry (it’s a long list). I am a dabbler in modern magic (hence, The Book Witch) and a student of the more eerie side of humanity. I am also one of the lucky few who always sees ghosts. Ironically, I am not much of a believer of the “other side” but I am hopeful that my loved ones are drinking margaritas with my long-gone fur-babies on some mystical, post-purgatory beach. I went to Catholic school for twelve years and I went down the path of “You hit me with a ruler and I don’t want to do this anymore.”

In addition to being easily scared, I also cry whenever I see a ghost. I think someone down my line of ancestry went “We should make crying a natural reaction to most stimulus in our family” and here I am! I can not handle it. I do not enjoy seeing dead things and I kind of wish they’d keep their distance but, you know, this is fine.

So, here’s the backstory of my house: it was built by my Great-Grandparents (we’ll call them GG because typing Great-Grandparents every time I need to mention them is kind of a bitch) in the 1980’s – it’s not a terribly old house and there’s no previous residents. Coincidentally, they actually died here, in the guest house, and their presence lingered for several years after their deaths (which were two days apart). My GG’s were super rad. They were terribly kind and loving, extremely warm-hearted and generous individuals. My great-grandma used to brush my hair for me when I was little and she continued to play with it even after she passed. The very unique aroma of my Papa’s pipe smoke used to greet us after a long, tough day – a reminder that we were loved even though he couldn’t speak to us anymore.  My mom and I moved into the guest house shortly after my parents’ divorce; I would have been about five or six years old so I’ve been having paranormal experiences for over thirteen years in this house.

The initial problem was “the little girl”. It was a very stereotypical, horror movie-style, dark haired young girl in a white dress. I saw her about every six months. That wouldn’t have been a problem if she hadn’t been murdered in a different fashion every time I’ve come in contact with her. I’ve seen this poor kid drowned, hanged, shot, burned, stabbed and strangled. Oddly enough, my mom never saw her but she did pick up the scent of bubblegum whenever the little girl was around. My sister saw her one night and that was pretty traumatizing because I had been hoping the little girl was just a product of my imagination. Alas, my dreams were crushed.

When I was about fifteen years old, shit hit the fan. My house became a scene straight out of Paranormal Activity IIXX. I joke about it now but it was a a nightmare at the time. My little ranch-house had a constant sense of everyone being on edge. We always felt like we were being watched. One of us, my mom or I, could have won the lottery, lost twenty pounds, scored a role in the upcoming Harry Potter film and we would still be angry and sour as soon as we walked in the door. There’s that saying “black cloud hanging over us” and let me tell you, I LIVED THAT SHIT. IT WAS NOT A GOOD TIME. Frames would turn themselves over. Lights would go on and off without any warning. Our dog would bark at the dining room table – you’ve seen the movies.

It got violent the summer before I turned sixteen. My dog had just gotten surgery to repair a hip displacement so my mom and I had to be home a lot to help her go outside and make sure she didn’t trip and die or some shit. It was a July afternoon, probably no later than 3 pm – my mom and my two best friends and I were sitting on the couch watching Adventure Time and talking crap. My dog, who was still very much crippled at this point, stood up – ON LEGS SHE DIDN’T HAVE CONTROL OF – and hobbled to my bedroom door. My door was shut, a valiant effort to keep the cold air located in the living room. Lucky, my sweet broken fur-baby, had her pit-bull haunches up raised and was going bananas at my bedroom door. Barking, snarling, very scary teeth gnashing. So we thought “Oh shit, someone got in through the window”. My mom stands up, goes to grab her hand-gun, and my pit-bull yelps, drops down on her butt, and scoots away from the door. My mom wasn’t even able to reach her gun before it went down. The sounds of wood splintering, plastic breaking, and glass shattering all came – condensed – from my room. It was like there had been a massive earthquake – that only affected those parameters. I was terrified – what if someone really had gotten in and was ransacking my space? My mom rushed over, opened the door, and stood there – totally baffled. It looked like someone, or something, had furiously taken their arms and pushed everything off every surface in my room. My desk, my hope chest, bookshelves, and trophy shelves had all been cleared. Everything aside, this could be written off as a freak wind storm or a poorly done robbery – except the window was still locked from the inside and there was a thirty pound printer that had been thrown two feet away. It was a deeply upsetting experience and I didn’t sleep in that room for the next two years, until we got our house cleansed by a Paiute shaman.

Interestingly enough, the little girl and my GG’s hadn’t been around since the start of whatever that was… When we had the house cleansed, I started seeing the little girl again. I think my GG’s “moved on” once my Mimi, their daughter, passed away almost three years ago.

If anyone has any ideas or theories as to what happened during the ten months we lived in a very active home – PLEASE let me know. I’ve been trying to come up with an explanation for years but I’ve come up with a thousand possibilities and no concrete reasons.

The Book Witch’s Three Dark Crowns Review

3-dark-crowns

I’ll start this off by saying that my reviews don’t contain spoilers. The point of me talking about a book is to encourage others to read. I post highlights to help fellow readers find something new and lowlights to help everyone steer away from books they might avoid on principle. If you aren’t familiar with Kendare Blake, I suggest you go get a copy of Anna Dressed in Blood, right now. It’s one of my favorite YA Horror Books. I would describe it as Supernatural meets Warm Bodies. She also wrote Anti-Goddess, which I unfortunately haven’t read but its on my To-Read List.

Three Dark Crowns is about triplet girls born with mystical gifts, who must spend a lifetime in training and a year isolated together – so that one can kill the other two and become queen. Usually that queen will give birth to another set of triplets and then retire her queenly duties. In this generation, there’s Arisnoe, the naturalist, Katharine, the poisoner, and Mirabella, the elemental. The story follows each individual queenling as they train, under supervision, to kill her sister.

Highlights – These characters are beautiful. Their personality traits are layered in a way that I thought they wer puzzle pieces of one incredibly complex person. The supplemental characters are written in that amazingly layered way, as well. A lot of the story actually focuses on the friends and backstories of the queens’ guardians and the entire story is a wonderful political web. The story is dark and the plot is very unique. I have honestly never read another novel like it. In addition, Blake crafts some beautiful alternate realities. I can really appreciate a well-written universe. I tried to read Six of Crows and had to put him aside based on the fact that I couldn’t sufficiently put myself into the world of Ketterdam. The romance in TDC broke my freaking heart. There’s so many romantic elements in this story but they all connect and criss-cross in the most devious ways. They’re truly devastating. This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. I felt a vast array of emotions which, in my opinion, is the mark of a damn good story.

Low-lights – THE ENDING. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The ending was perfect but it was such a cliff hanger. NOW I HAVE TO WAIT FOR WHO KNOWS HOW LONG. The torment is unimaginable.

Recent Favorites

bellatrix

My fiance took me to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I cannot get over how much I adore that movie. I recommend that film like I recommend air. It was gorgeous – AND JOHNNY DEPP WAS THERE, TOO! IT WAS A MASSIVE LOVE CHILD OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. I cried when “Hedwig’s Theme” came on – my poor Jason hasn’t ever seen me on the premier of anything Potter related and I knew he had some idea of what he signed up for, but maybe not to the extent of how intense it was. Honestly, I cried from start to finish. Newt and Credence are sweet, cinnamon rolls who must be protected. Protect them. Jason and I have a theory about the four main characters being the archetypes of the Hogwart’s houses. I even bought a shirt and am currently trying to find a fellow nerd to go see it with me again. 

Another little Potter-themed thing I’ve been loving is my 2017 Planner from ArabellaFigg. I saw Bellatrix on the cover and my Black triad obsessed heart skipped a beat. It was love at first sight. It’s the perfect size, too. Small enough to carry everywhere and pretend that I’m Andromeda – big enough to fit all my daily duties.

I’ve also been obsessed with Podcasts; I recently discovered the Podcast section on my Spotify menu and I’m totally hooked. Here are some I’ve been listening to all day every day:

Paranormal / Urban Legend

Spirits ; Just A Story ; Paranormal Podcast

Bookish

Dear Book Nerd ; What Should I Read Next

Hope everyone has a great week! Leave a comment if you have a haunting tale, a favorite podcast you’d like to share, or let me know if my next purchase should be Coleen Hoover or Paula Brackston

Love,

The Book Witch

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