Horror October Fortnight: Read-Along Wrap-Up

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It’s Halloween, which means it’s the final day of Horror October Fortnight and the read-along for Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  Since I was unable to do Thursday’s Quotables yesterday, I won’t be doing a review.  Instead, this wrap-up will be about all the wonderful quotes I came across.

Something Wicked

Out in the world, not much happened.  But here in the special night, a land bricked with paper and leather, anything might happen, always did.

This line made me think that somehow the carnival would be let loose from some, possibly evil and most definitely mysterious, book.  I’m glad it didn’t, however, since I think that might have ruined libraries for many readers.

Still most comfortable in the library nights, in out of the rain of people.

I love this line not just because it’s about Mr. Halloway’s love of libraries, but because of the beautiful truth of libraries being a place to get away from “the rain of people.”

By the pricking of my thumbs,/ Something wicked this way comes.

I love the cleverness of using a line, spoken by the 2nd Witch, in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” for the title of the book.  If you’re curious to know where exactly in the play this line is, it’s Act 4, Scene 1, Page 2, Line 44.  The beauty of it was destroyed in the modern text, so please, stick to the original version.

Death doesn’t exist.  It never did, it never will.  But we’ve drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we’ve got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy.  All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness.  Nothing.  And the carnival wisely knows we’re more afraid of Nothing than we are of Something.  You can fight Something.  But…Nothing?  Where do you hit it?

This sums up the entire story, and is exactly why this book is so scary.  There are so many more amazing lines throughout the book, but they require a lot of context, and are wonderful more for the choice of highly descriptive words and the modern style in which they’re written than what is being said.

Happy Halloween!

Review: The Nightingale Bones

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Nightingale

  • Author: Ariel Swan
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
  • ISBN: 9781611944990
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller

This is a haunted house story that also involves witches, so it was a perfect choice for October.  Alice has a strong sense of smell.  The trouble is that when she smells something, it brings about the memories of whatever spirits are lingering wherever she happens to be.  She sees this ability as a curse, despite her mother’s insistence that it’s a gift.  After separating from her husband, Alice finds herself house sitting in a home that has a lot of horrific memories involving the deaths of a child and a woman.  In an attempt to give the woman peace, Alice begins digging into the history of the house and the small town it’s in to figure out exactly who the woman was, and what happened to her and her child.

The first half of this book scared the bejeezus out of me.  I took a short break from reading because I was afraid to read it at night, and that was the only time I had the chance to sit down long enough to read anything last week.  After I picked it back up, though, the story became a bit predictable, and no longer scary.  Also, a slightly implausible romance was introduced, and I started to lose interest.  What kept me reading was the wonderfully detailed descriptiveness of everything, the believable small town characters, and wanting to know, without a doubt, how the mystery was solved.  The only thing I didn’t like about the level of description was the brand name product mentions.  They felt too much like the advertisements that are in the backgrounds of movies, and they didn’t add anything that was necessary to the story.  I didn’t need to know the brand of stereo Alice was using to listen to Billie Holiday, or the brand of cigarettes Kyrie was smoking.

Also unnecessary was the scene in which Alice and her mother, Josephine, do a tarot card reading.  It didn’t carry the story forward, and it didn’t have the spooky element of any cards having one meaning for the characters, but another meaning from the perspective of the reader.  If that was the author’s intention, it missed the mark.

Overall, I have to say that I would have enjoyed this book much more when I was in my 20’s.  It’s not a bad book.  I’m just no longer into stories in which the primary goal is to end with two characters falling into a “Happily Ever After” kind of love.  At least it passes the Bechdal Test.

Tuesday’s Tunes and Things #1

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I’ve decided to start this new feature called “Tuesday’s Tunes and Things”.  It will be a collection of literary links I’ve come across and a playlist of music I listen to while reading.  I’m thinking it will be a bimonthly or monthly post, instead of weekly.  Since it’s Horror October Fortnight, this one is Halloween themed.

While I’ve been reading Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes for the read-along, I’ve been listening to this playlist.  Be warned: this book and music combo might keep you awake for fear of nightmares about Mr. Dark and the Dust Witch.  For whatever idiotic reason, the album “Carnival of Lost Souls” by Nox Arcana isn’t on Spotify, so it’s not on my playlist, but you can find it here.


The 50 Scariest Short Stories of All Time (Flavorwire) – I’ve read several of these, and judging from that, I can say this is a great list.  What I love about it is the links to the stories so you have quick access to scaring yourself silly.

Literary Witches Quiz –  Test your knowledge of witches in literature.

9 Creepy Books to Read Just in Time for Halloween – Unfortunately I won’t have time to read any of these this October, since I’m trying to finish the three books I’m already reading by Halloween.  I’m adding a few of these to my list of books to read next October though.

5 Great Halloween Reads for Kids (Nerdist) – These are also great for those who prefer to keep their Halloween more fun than freaky.

21 Literary-Inspired Pumpkins Every Bookworm will Adore and 18 Literary Pumpkins for a Bookish Halloween – Sadly, I don’t have any artistic ability when it comes to carving pumpkins.  Otherwise, I would definitely make several of these.

3 Ghostly Good Reads – Kim, over at Bookmark to Blog, has convinced me to add Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and The Diviners by Libba Bray to my TBR for next year.

Nightmare Magazine – I learned about this Horror and Dark Fantasy magazine from a review over at Book Punks.

What I’m Reading Monday #9

Currently Reading: The Nightingale Bones by Ariel Swan, a review book; Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, for the read-along; and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, because it’s October and I love vampires.

Nightingale Something Wicked Historian

Finished: Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood.

Bliss

Total pages read for the week: 256.  This past week was extremely busy, so I wasn’t surprised when I tallied up my pages.

Total number of books for the year: 50.  I’ve met my goal.  Depending on how many more books I finish, I’ll be adjusting it for next year.  I’m hoping to be able to raise it to 75.  This week will be about wrapping up my current reads so that I can get started on my November TBR pile.

Review: Chimera Books One, Two, and Three

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Chimera1 Chimera2 Chimera3

  • Author: Phil Gomm
  • Publisher: Troubador
  • ISBN: 9781784628116, 9781784628123, 9781784628130

Though the Chimera books are Fantasy, there’s enough creepy and sinister characters and events to put them in the Children’s Horror category as well, which is why I’m reviewing them for Horror October Fortnight, hosted by Oh, The Books!

Kyp Finnegan, finds himself in Chimera, where all lost things end up, including children.  If you’re looking for a comparison, it’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland as a nightmare.  Everything is out to steal his Elsewhere Light (what will allow him to get back home), or kill him out of hatred for all “blood and bones”, and he never knows who he can trust (mostly no one).  His primary quest is to return home, but that becomes his last goal as he comes across other lost children and finds out exactly what Madame Chartreuse is up to.  Each book ends with a cliff hanger, but at approximately 100 pages each, you could easily go directly on to the next book to satisfy your need to know what happens next.  Let me tell you, it’s a roller coaster ride with very short breathers between the mishaps and scrapes Kyp finds himself running into.  One thing is for sure, I will never look at dolls the same way again *shivers*.

I highly recommend these books for all ages, especially for lovers of Dark Fantasy, and those who prefer “Cosy Horror”.  I can’t wait for the next book(s) in the series, which will have Kyp starting a new quest.

 

Review: The Red Magician

Magician

  • Author: Lisa Goldstein
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Published: Oct. 21st, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781497673595
  • Genre: Fantasy

This is the story of Kicsi, an Eastern European Jew, and Vörös, a magician trying to save her village from the Nazis.  I’ve had a heavy interest in Holocaust stories ever since I read The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school.  I accidentally bought two copies of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because the blurb on the back made me want to start reading immediately.  So, when I read the synopsis for The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein, on Netgalley, I requested it right away.

Unfortunately, I can only give this book four stars.  Everything about it is great, but it didn’t grab me emotionally.  I never shed a tear for any of the characters.  I even questioned if perhaps I’d become desensitized to these types of stories, though I know I haven’t.  I still don’t know what is missing from this book to explain why I didn’t ugly cry the way I did over The Book Thief, as well as so many other stories that take place during WWII.

I still recommend reading this book, though.  As I’ve already said, it’s a great book.  The plot, pacing, and quality of writing are all excellent.  It would be a good choice to couple with The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school English classes.

 

What I’m Reading Monday #8

Currently Reading: The Nightingale Bones by Ariel Swan, a review book; Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, for the read-along; The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, because it’s October and I love vampires, and Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood, what I read when I’m out and about.

Nightingale     Something Wicked

Historian      Bliss

Finished: Chimera: Book Two and Chimera: Book Three by Phil Gomm, and The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein, all of which I’ll be reviewing before the end of the month.

Chimera2     Chimera3     Magician

Total pages read for the week: 606

Total number of books for the year: 49.  I’m just 1 book away from my goal, and I’m sure I’ll reach it by the end of the week.  Depending on how many more books I finish by the end of the year, I’ll be adjusting my goal for next year.  I’m hoping to be able to raise it to 75.

Horror October Fortnight!

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I just found out about Horror October Fortnight from Oh, The Books!  I’m a day late, but since I love October so much, I’ll be participating.  I’m also participating in the Something Wicked This Way Comes read-along, so I’m going to combine the two by doing a post about the playlist I’m listening to while I read.  I’ll be doing another playlist post containing my favorite Halloween tunes, and I’ll be doing a review of The Nightingale Bones by Ariel Swan, which I started reading during the read-a-thon.  I may also dedicate a post to the horror movies I watch every year.  In addition to my own posts, I’ll be wandering around the other participants’ blogs and joining in on some of their activities.

For today, I give you my Top 5 Fave Horror/Paranormal Books:

  • It by Stephen King – This book scared me so much, I had to put it down for a month before I could continue.
  • Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton – The first in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series.  This is my Horror/Paranormal brain candy.  Hamilton has yet to end the series, and I’m nowhere near caught up.  I look forward to having more Anita Blake books to read for a very long time.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker – An essential read for anyone who loves vampires.
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – Another essential read for vampire lovers.  I was depressed after I finished the last of the Vampire Chronicles.  I’m planning on re-reading them all soon.
  • The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe – There’s nothing I love more than to read Poe during October.  There’s no way I could possibly name a favorite story of his.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: End of Event

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  • Which hour was most daunting for you? 4:00 am
  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? The Nightingale Bones by Ariel Swan
  • How many books did you read? 2
  • What were the names of the books you read? Chimera: Book Three by Phil Gomm and The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein
  • Which book did you enjoy most? Out of the 2 I finished, Chimera: Book Three, but overall, The Nightingale Bones.
  • Which did you enjoy least? The Red Magician, but it was still really good.
  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  I’ll definitely be participating again, as a Reader.

Total Pages Read: 317

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Update 6

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The Nightingale Bones by Ariel Swan is the perfect book to keep me awake!  It’s scared me into sleeplessness.  I tried listening to some appropriately scary music, but it was too much.  Unfortunately, my Nook died, but I was really looking forward to reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostovowhich I have a physical copy of.  My next update will be the wrap up at 7:00 am.

Books Finished: 2

Total Pages Read: 302