Books · Reviews

Halloween Mini Reviews – Coraline / The Cats of Ulthar (Spoiler-Free)

halloweenreviews

Hey guys! πŸ™‚

So I’ve been feeling quite Halloween-y this October (which is no surprise for those who know me) and that means my reading habits have been reflecting that mood. Thus, I decided to create this new segment in my blog called Halloween Reviews where I post about all the scary/paranormal/eerie books I’ve been reading. I hope you enjoy it!

These first two are super short so I decided to cram them both in a single post. Expect more Halloween reviews soon! (And yes, this comes a week too late but oh well)

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate world that closely mirrors her own…

Gaiman is an excellent writer/narrator and it was such a pleasant experience to listen to him. He gave such unique voices to each unique character that I truly forgot I was listening to a single person at times. His intonations were perfect and he knew exactly when to slow down or speed up, depending on which mood he intended to channel the reader.

He captured Coraline’s thoughts and actions perfectly and made me feel like I’d known this little girl all my life. Her parents were also very refreshing, realistic and human. All the other characters also had this dimensional quality to them that I rarely see in middle grade literature. The dialogues were also incredibly organic.

I really enjoyed Coraline’s tale. It was moving and relatable and full of joy and despair, all at once. However, I feel like had I read this at a younger age, I would have loved it even more. There were things that I, as an adult, couldn’t enjoy properly and even though the magic was there, I couldn’t fully grasp it.

But don’t be fooled. It was creepy enough to make your skin crawl at times and there were several instances where I felt this could really have given kids some intense nightmares. I loved the little details Gaiman added that only the most attentive of readers would think to notice, too.

Overall, Coraline was whimsical, passionate and full of innocent wonder (and also a bit scary). I give it four candy corns out of five!

2 candy corns 4

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The Cats of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft

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In the tale, an unnamed narrator relates the story of how a law forbidding the killing of cats came to be in a town called Ulthar.

This short story was one of Lovecraft’s favorites, due to his love for cats, and even though I’m a cat lover myself, I feel like it didn’t quite hit the mark. I enjoyed it, for sure, but felt it was too brief for me to feel any sort of attachment or fondness for the characters or the story itself.

Nevertheless, Lovecraft is certainly a talented writer and his ideas are exceedingly progressive. I like his writing style immensely and felt the narrative included just the right amount of unsettling details to keep the reader entertained. However, I could sort of guess the ending from the very beginning and so it didn’t feel very suspenseful to me.

Thus, only three candy corns.

2 candy corns 3

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Thank you so much for reading and until next time!

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I hope you enjoyed this new Halloween segment! Have you read any of these books? Please let me know your thoughts below q^β€Ώ^ q

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62 thoughts on “Halloween Mini Reviews – Coraline / The Cats of Ulthar (Spoiler-Free)

  1. This was a terrific post. I loved everything about it including the wonderful layout in Halloween style. Great stuff. Ofcourse, it should not come as a big surprise to you that I haven’t read, and in the case of the first one heard these books, but they both sound amazing. Thanks for sharing these, and of course for making my to read list grow again lol πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaww you spoil me way too much hahaha Thank you! I’m so glad you like it 😊
      I feel like these books are the perfect Halloween companions and would very much recommend Coraline to anyone. The other one was fine but nothing special. Lovecraft has many other stories that are much better. And seeing as you’re a horror fan, I think you would love them 😊
      Hahaha so sorry! I feel both terrible and very happy to be contributing to your ever growing TBR πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  2. Coraline is my favourite story from Neil Gaiman! Everything you said about it, I feel the same way! As for The Cats of Ulthar, I haven’t heard it until now, but if I ever see it around, I’ll give it a read πŸ™‚
    Also, I’m loving your blog layout. It gets me in the mood for Halloween! πŸ‘»πŸŽƒπŸ•·οΈ
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read anything else by him, except Good Omens, which was really good too. But I feel like I prefer Coraline 😊
      Lovecraft has some really good short stories, but this one wasn’t all that special. It’s very short, though, so even if you end up not liking it, it won’t waste too much of your time.
      Thank you so much! ❀️❀️ Halloween is possibly my favorite season so I had to dress the blog up in kind hahaha
      I’m glad you like it 😊 Thank you yet again! πŸ’•

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    1. Oh nooo! My blog must be really hard for you to look at then πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Sorry about that, Meggy, but I really can’t help it, it’s my favorite season!
      Thank you very much, though ❀️ I’m glad you like the feature despite everything hahaha

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    1. I haven’t watched the movie yet, as I wanted to read the book first.
      I thought the audiobook was amazing and a much better experience than just reading the book (although I didn’t actually try to read it on my own, it’s just a guess). I knew Gaiman was talented but I never thought he could surprise me this much!

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  3. Coralline is definitely a child’s wonderment book, I didn’t quite get it either when I read it as an adult but it still stands as totally inventive and creepy! I’m sure the audiobook is incredible! I’m not a fan of short stories because there doesn’t seem to be a point to grow attached to a character who will only be around a short time! Maybe Lovecrsft thought that too?! Hahhhhhaha β™₯️ Love the Halloween reviews Sophie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to see someone relates to the experience! Still, it was a great read so I can only imagine how it would be to read it as a kid πŸ™‚ I feel a bit sad I can no longer taste the wonderment but at the same time, it’s interesting to read this from an adult perspective.
      I do like short stories and I don’t think the length has much to do with attachment because I’ve grown to care for tons of characters from short stories… It really depends on the author’s talent and whether they are able to make the best out of those few pages. Lovecraft, unfortunately, didn’t accomplish that with this one (and indeed, I don’t think he meant for us to like any of the human characters, at least. He wanted to spotlight the cats). I think he might have with others, though. I’ll have to read a couple more! Have you read anything by him?
      Thank you so much, Dani! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah I see! Well, that’s alright πŸ™‚ I had a big reading phase when I was younger, then kind of lost interest in my teens, then got back to it a few years ago… But I’m the same now πŸ™‚ Love any kind of age group and also like to dabble in different genres!

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  4. Coraline is such a good book! I read it when I was younger and it really creeped me out. I definitely need to reread it some time soon, as it’s been too long since I read it. Plus it’s not very long, so I should get through it pretty fast! πŸ˜€
    Lovecraft stories are really good! I have read most of them and enjoyed them quiet a bit. He has such amazing ideas for horror and monsters!
    Great reviews! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure is! Oh you were one of the lucky ones, then πŸ™‚ That’s awesome! I hope you love it just as much when you read it a second time now, and that you find something even lovelier about it ^^ It was a very short read for me!
      I agree! I haven’t read that many from him… Which is a shame and I really want to delve deeper into his world. What are some of your favorites? I’d love to get some recs!
      Thanks so much, Anna ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha, I don’t know if lucky is the right term, after all that book did scare the crap out of me and I remember always feeling paranoid that the things in the book would happen to me as well. At least it was a memorable book, if nothing else! πŸ˜€
        My two favourite stories from Lovecraft are The Call of Cthulhu and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, so I would definitely recommend you to check them out! πŸ˜€

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        1. Well, lucky that you were able to be scared out of your wits! hahaha
          And a memorable book is a memorable book πŸ˜‰ Although I agree that paranoia is never fun ^^’
          Ah I see. The first one is a must-read, of course, and I will definitely keep the other one in mind too! Thank you for the recs ❀

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I love this idea of reviewing spooky kind of books for the season πŸ™‚ I have read Coraline a little while ago and remember enjoying it, it was quite strange and creepy at times, but I really loved it! πŸ™‚
    Lovely reviews, Sophie πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh I think this is a great idea for a series/feature in the run up to Halloween Sophie! πŸ˜€ I’m not normally a fan of it (didn’t really celebrate Halloween or go trick-or-treating as a child so kind of don’t get the buzz now) but it’s great your feeling Halloween-y. πŸ˜€
    Coraline is one of the books I really need to read. Granted I’m never normally a fan of spooky stories but I think I’ll be all right with this one, and I’ve loved all of Neil Gaiman’s other books I’ve picked up so really I have to read this one too. πŸ™‚
    Great reviews, and I can’t wait to see what spooky books you review next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Beth! And that’s alright, many people don’t like it and I understand πŸ™‚ I just love it to bits! πŸ˜€
      I think you will absolutely love Coraline, especially if you’ve enjoyed other books by Gaiman. There’s this sweet, innocent quality to it, mixed in with some super creepy elements, that make for the perfect scary read without it being too scary, if that makes sense. I don’t do horror stories all that much either, but I always try to read some in October. It’s like tradition hahaha
      Thank you so much! ❀ I really hope you enjoy my next ones. I think it'll be Stalking Jack the Ripper and another short story πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! πŸ˜€ Oh I can see why plenty of people love it, and I think it’s great you do as well. Personally I just get more excited for Fireworks Night and Christmas! πŸ™‚
        I really do love his work, and I’ve heard good things about Coraline as well so I just need to get around to it one day. Hopefully one day soon at the very least. πŸ™‚ I get what you mean about tradition, I dunno maybe I should see if I have any horror stories I can pick up just because of the month! πŸ˜€

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  7. Yay to Halloween reviews and Halloween graphics! Looks great! I like the background too. Thanks for recommending another of Neil Gailman’s books. I still have yet to read any of his writings. I’m glad you enjoyed this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jasmine! ❀️ I’m glad you like it hahaha
      You’re very welcome! I’m slowly getting into his books and really enjoying them. I think you and your son might like them too πŸ™‚ Give it a try if you’d like, I’d love to know what you think of them!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is so so cool! I always get really excited reading posts like this – I actually read Coraline this year and was pleasantly surprised. Its creative and honestly so unique haven’t read a book like it in a while. Great post by the way! Would love to see more of them πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Coraline is still on my list! Although, I watch the film like every other month haha. Sucker for Burton films and Gaiman’s story telling πŸ˜‰ I pass on Lovercraft. I appreciate his impac on writing, but ran into a few stories that seem to have a bit of a racist undertone (lacking f=good words there). So for now, I am a tad turned. I may explore him more in the future. Love the mini reviews. I may have to do some soon to catch up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I haven’t watched the movie yet! I wanted to read the book first so now it’s fair game πŸ™‚
      Not a big fan of Burton, though I do enjoy his aesthetic quite a bit. It’s funny that you mention racism (I was unaware of this side of Lovecraft, so thanks for pointing it out), though, considering Burton has been accused of it lately too. His movies are usually all-white (with the exception of his latest, I think, which featured Samuel L. Jackson). I think it’s a fairly debatable subject, seeing as it’s part of his aesthetic and anyway, his movies all take place at a time where there was still a social division, unfortunately. So historically speaking, his movies are simply accurate.
      I think the same goes for Lovecraft. I think most men at the time they were living were pretty racist. Some simply chose not to show it in their work, and thankfully so.
      I know that’s no excuse and respect those who do not wish to read his work because of it, but I’ll try to remain unbiased for now and still give it a chance. It’s always a bit conflicting to think whether I’d be able to enjoy someone’s work if I knew beforehand they had twisted morals. It’s not as problematic if I go in clueless but yeah, otherwise it feels a bit wrong.
      What are your thoughts on this?
      On a lighter note, thank you so much! ❀️❀️ I’m glad you enjoyed this and I agree, mini reviews are the best way to catch up!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No you make totally valid points here! I try so hard to remain open when reading dated work as I know that I will encounter terms and opinions that are definitely conflicting with today’s standards and my own views. I am certain I will explaore Lovecraft again at some point with a more open eye as there is no denying the impact of his presence in writing and horror πŸ˜‰ I actually had to check myself with my current read a few times because the dated belief and religious system posed some frustrations haha.

        Thanks again for everything ❀

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        1. Yeah I get you 100%. It’s especially hard for me to connect with characters when their views and beliefs clash with mine. But I think it’s important to retain that dated quality, otherwise you risk getting overly modern characters and the story won’t feel as authentic. Sometimes racism, etc. needs to occur. The only thing that I think is imperative is to have other characters challenge those ideals and have the story present an overall message of “this is wrong, but there are people in the world who think like this and we have to acknowledge it, for ignoring it will only perpetuate the hate”.
          Still, I hope you enjoy Lovecraft when you read some of his other stories πŸ˜‰ I surely hope to find some good ones, too!
          You’re very welcome ❀️❀️

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Love these mini reviews! Totally totally agree about Coraline- I bet I’d have been even more freaked out if I’d read it as a child too!! (I was already pretty scared as an adult!) Ah fair enough about Lovecraft- I’ve not read his work yet, but feel like this time of year’s probably a good time to start πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yay, glad to hear it! πŸ˜„ Thank you!
      I wasn’t sure about this format but I was in need of something new to spice things up, you know?
      Yeah Coraline was lovely but there’s just something about being a kid and reading a scary story that I’ll never be able to replicate now… Oh well.
      I think Lovecraft is one of those authors you either connect with or you don’t. I’m slowly getting into his work and so far, so good. We’ll see!
      If you do end up reading it, I’d love to hear your opinion! So make sure to do a post about it hahaha Pretty please?

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      1. You’re welcome! Totally get what you mean and I really liked the format! Very true! That makes a lot of sense- his fans always seem to be really in his corner, but then there’s loads of people who just don’t seem to get into it. Awesome! I hope you enjoy it and end up loving it!
        Thank you hehehe!! Of course πŸ˜‰

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  11. I’ve heard a lot about Coraline so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! I’ve been hoping to get to it soon but I’m not sure whether that will happen or not.
    It’s too bad you didn’t like the other one as much. You win some, you lose some, right? πŸ™‚ Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have yet to read Coraline but I did see the animated movie! I can only imagine how whimsical the writing style has to be. After all, it is Neil Gaiman! His imagination is boundless! And wow at how different the 2nd book is from Coraline hahahah I did not expect to see Lovecraft alongside Gaiman’s Coraline! πŸ˜› I’ve been meaning to try Lovecraft’s stories for a long time, but man.. just his collected works alone is a HUGE book! Wonderful mini reviews though! Have I mentioned that your graphics are awesome???? Teach me!! πŸ˜€

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    1. I haven’t watched it on purpose, because I really wanted to read the book first πŸ˜› I will have to, now, though!
      Yes, Neil Gaiman for president!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      And well, you should know by now that I am by no means a constant person and will be forever random, for instance, placing Lovecraft and Gaiman in the same post LOL
      I know!! I really want to try his most famous works, though, as The Cats was clearly more of a personal thing than anything spectacular. Really not impressed at all hahaha
      Thank you so much! 😊 Well now you have hahaha
      You know that dog meme? The “I have no idea what I’m doing” one? That’s me with Photoshop πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ But on occasion I’ll end up with something remotely nice. So thank you for thinking that!! ❀

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  13. I’ve only seen the Coraline movie (which I absolutely adore)! I actually never knew that it was originally a book, much less a book written by Neil Gaiman, until earlier this year. I’ve been meaning to read it but I keep getting the feeling that I might not appreciate it as much as I would have when I was younger. But if you managed to enjoy it, then I probably will too! Lovely review! Now I have to get to reading it sometime soon πŸ˜€

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    1. I need to watch it! I was just waiting to read the book first and now have no excuse hahaha
      I think that might happen, yeah, but it will still be very good! I managed to love it nonetheless ^^ Though I still prefer An Ocean at the End of the Lane.
      Thank you so much, Azia! I hope it’s an amazing experience ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I hope you love the film! For me, it was a perfect mix of whimsy and gothic elements πŸ˜€ I’ll definitely try to get around to AOATEOTL if you love it so much! πŸ˜€ And thank you! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

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