Tag: horror

Reading List: October 2019

Hello spooky friends! It’s time to share this month’s reading list – and it’s a bumper one! I am going on holiday with my lovely sister a little later this month and I’m crossing my fingers for lovely sunshine and some R&R – reading and relaxation time!

A combination of blog tours and a few reads of my own choice to check off the list make for a busy month. In order to keep up with this list, I am looking at having to read an average of 59 pages a day. Combine this with taking part in Blogtober, and you’ll see that I don’t like to make my life easy!

It’s a good job I like a challenge right? Are you ready to check out the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles – Paul Twivy

 

This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.

Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space.  They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.

Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?

 

My blog tour post isn’t until the end of the month, but I am prioritising reading these books first.

The synopsis is both unusual and intriguing for this book; it’s what drew my attention to it. The blog tour has been extended too, so it has grabbed a lot of bloggers attention. The book also has some sci-fi elements to it, so I can’t wait to see how this ties into the book!

 

To Snare a Witch: Book 1 – Bell, Book and Candle – Jay Raven

Goodreads – To Snare a Witch

A chilling historical tale of lust, sorcery and devastating revenge.

No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.

But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty, intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe. What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust at any cost and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.

And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…

 

I am reading this novella for a blog tour as well, one day after Hallowed Ground. The end of the month is packed with reviews – four in four days!

At 85 pages, this one is comparatively short so I can probably read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed reading Game of Crones, also by Jay Raven earlier this year. The writing style of Game of Crones suited me really well and I devoured it quickly. I trust I will be able to read To Snare a Witch in good time too.

 

The Haunting of Paradise House – Killian Wolf

Goodreads – The Haunting at Paradise House

If you were given the chance to become a powerful sorceress, would you leave behind everything you thought you knew?

When Addison is offered the position of her dreams through a mysterious phone call, she rises to the occasion and moves to the Florida Keys to a mansion called Paradise House.

Footsteps from playful ghosts, a room of killer dolls, and an all too intelligent owl lead her to the mysteries that lie within the walls, to reveal the true reason behind her invitation. When dark forces get a hold of her and her patient, Addison is left with no choice but to take extreme measures to protect the ones she loves.

Will Addison be able to acquire the necessary skills fast enough in order to protect her patient, and defeat the evil entities that thrive in the mansion?

 

I have the pleasure of reviewing this mystical, arcane novel on none other than Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa here). It feels very appropriate to be reading books with spooky and sinister goings-on this month. How could I refuse this blog tour spot?

 

After Whorl: Bran Reborn – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – After Whorl: Bran Reborn

RAVAGED BY WAR …AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.

 

If I want a rest after Blogtober then I have to go a few days longer before I can get it! After Whorl Bran Reborn is my last blog tour read of the month, with a tour date of 1st November. I recently read the first book in the series, The Beltane Choice. I enjoyed reading about a completely new period in British history. This book picks up after the events of the first book and I cannot wait to see how the story progresses.

 

Circe – Madeline Miller

Goodreads – Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

 

I first took an interest in Greek Mythology earlier this year, reading Mythos by Stephen Fry. There are a lot of good reviews of Circe, and it won a Goodreads Choice award last year. I bought a physical copy of the book earlier this year and I am taking this on holiday with me. Given the choice, I like a mix of e-books and physical ones – it’s not so large that it’ll compromise my luggage space.

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

 

I bought my copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the same time as Circe. Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology was absolutely fantastic! I wouldn’t describe myself as a champion of YA literature; I don’t read all that much of it, but I adored these! Based on my love of those, it was a no-brainer decision to try her other books. This also isn’t too large, so it’s coming away with me!

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads – Imaginary Friend

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

 

I won a Netgalley download of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. Given the nature of the book, it’s appropriate to wrap up with this book for Hop Tu Naa. Doesn’t it sound really creepy?! It reminds me a little of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary with the whole small town and sinister forest vibe. I loved that book. I wonder how it will compare.

So, seven books… I think that’s got to be one of the longest reading lists I have set for myself. Have you read any of these books? What spooky reads are you reading this autumn?

 

 

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Shelf Control #5 – 23/08/2019

Welcome back to my regular feature post, Shelf Contol! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves! Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Regular readers will know that I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

It’s week five, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR!

 

The Talisman – Stephen King

On a brisk autumn day, a twelve-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America–and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother’s life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin. . . .

 

My Thoughts…

The Talisman isn’t going to be the first fantasy novel I’ll read by Stephen King. I am already really enjoying The Dark Tower series! I have read the first two books, with the third sat on my bookshelf ready and waiting.

Although fantasy is my most-read genre, my first read of King’s wasn’t one of his fantasy books – it was The Green Mile. I confess that I have only picked up his books in the last couple of years; I wish I had sooner!

Regardless of genre, there is something compelling about his narratives that keeps you flipping the pages. I have listened to/read six of his novels so far, with more on my shelf to read in future.

Have you read any of Stephen King’s novels? What are your favourites?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Scouse Gothic – Ian McKinney

Good morning everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely day. I am really excited to be taking part in the blog tour by reviewing Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney! The tour has been organised by the lovely Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.

As always, my reviews are completely honest and the views expressed within are entirely my own.

Once you have checked out my review, don’t forget to check out the details of a UK only giveaway being run by the author!

 

Scouse Gothic (Book 1) ‘The Pool of Life..and Death’

Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.

Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hitman’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, and , meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.

Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each other’s secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.

But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The contemporary setting of Scouse Gothic isn’t the sort of thing I would typically pick up; however, I really enjoyed the book because it made a change to my usual reading habits. Liverpool is a common haunt for us Manxies escaping the rock for a day or two. It’s a fabulous city to explore, whether you are looking for shopping or cultural history. In Scouse Gothic, we get to explore plenty of the latter.

Melville, a vampire currently living in Liverpool gives us a lot of insight into the city’s earlier days though reminiscing on his earlier life. Throughout the book, he frequently compares and contrasts the city’s developments throughout time, particularly since the bombing blitz in World War II.

There are a number of different characters in Scouse Gothic; the contrasts between them add a lot of humour to the tale. Melville is quite a serious character, at least in terms of himself. Sheryl couldn’t be more different. Made up as any Liverpool bird could be, she is as large as life and full of personality. Not what you would expect of a vampire at all. The clash of expectation vs reality… the fact that she doesn’t truly fit in with the gothic style of the novel makes her a standout and highly amusing character.

The narrative touches on a number of people’s individual stories, seemingly unlinked at first. A degree of each of their back story is introduced to us in conjunction with the main storyline, so as not to overwhelm the reader. Gradually, as events unfold, they each find themselves pulled together to an epic, high tension conclusion.

 

Author Bio

Ian was born and bred in Liverpool but left for university in the 1980’s when the city appeared to be in a terminal decline. After qualifying he worked in London and Essex before finally settling in Shropshire with his wife and daughter.

However a set of circumstances meant that he returned to live in the city once more. What he found was a modern vibrant city. The derelict buildings from his youth had been restored and repurposed. A dock was now a tourist attraction, a church was now a night club, a gaol now a hotel.

It was then that he had the idea for Melville a vampire who had known the city in its prime and had now returned to it. Initially the story of Melville was written as a short story, but the more Ian explored the city the more he realised there were many more tales to tell than just Melville’s. That was when the idea for Scouse Gothic was born.

The first book ‘A Pool of Life ..and Death’, was very well received and has now been followed by a further two books. Ian continues to spend his time between Liverpool and Shropshire and is currently working on two further projects.

Social Media Links

Twitter: Ian McKinney @scousegothic

Facebook: Ian McKinney @scousegothic

 

 

Giveaway to Win 2 x Scouse Gothic Mugs (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494256/

 

Best of luck!

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 14th July 2019

The last time I managed to write five blog posts in one week, I swore it would be a long time before I took on such a busy schedule again. That was only five weeks ago – but here we are! To recap for anyone that hasn’t seen those posts yet, here is a summary of my week:-

As it’s the second week of July, I thought it would be a great opportunity to reflect on the last six months with a Mid Year Book Freak Out tag on Monday. It was loads of fun to write. As well as looking back to the beginning of the year, there are also a couple of questions geared around my reading goals for the latter half of 2019.

On Tuesday I published my review for a YA fantasy novel I loved recently. Empress of All Seasons was kindly sent to me for review by Gollancz. Even though I wouldn’t identify as a YA reader, this book was enjoyable for a number of reasons. One such I touch upon in my review is that I really enjoyed the Japanese culture throughout the book – a huge change from the medieval European setting many fantasy worlds are built upon.

I didn’t even announce Thursday’s post. I took part in a cover reveal for Jo Baxter’s Viola Pumpernickel and the Emerald Lady. It’s a middle-grade children’s book that I think I would have really enjoyed when I was growing up, so I was glad to take part and lend my support by sharing the new cover.

Lastly, I published my second Shelf Control post on Friday. I this week’s edition, I look back at my decisions for adding Steven Erikson’s fantasy novel Gardens of the Moon to my reading list.

 

Books Read

This week has felt rewarding. Not only have I managed to churn out an unnatural number of posts, I’ve also finished a couple of really good books!

I have been reading The War Within for a few weeks now. At around 570 pages, this is no mean feat. The War Within is so much more than its predecessor Seventh Decimate. Events are on a far grander scale, and the novel follows on a number of years after those in the first book. The narrative had a lot of ground to cover to bridge the gap between the two books. As a result, it wasn’t as easy to read for that. I still really enjoyed the book, but the intensity of the first half made it very time consuming to pick up and digest before continuing.

I don’t like taking so long to read books like that. It’s silly – I shouldn’t put such pressure on myself. I am way ahead of my reading goal, but I like to get through books in days, not weeks. I get a little frustrated if reading a book takes more time than I think it should. I’m daft, I know, but it’s the honest truth.

My reading picked up significantly afterwards though, as I picked up and read Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney in less than two days. Yes, you read that right! It’s only quite a short book by comparison (around 200 pages). Picking up a contemporary novel laced with humour helped relieve my frustration.

My current read is another fantasy novel. I have quite a few on the list this month, so I am interspersing other genres in between them. I started reading Birth of the Mortokai yesterday. Even though I haven’t made any progress on it today (I spend every Sunday afternoon with my family), I’m still a third of the way through the book. I’m hoping to get to around half-way by the end of the night and wrap this up in the next couple of days. I feel like I have some time to make up, as I have a few longer books to read later in the month.

 

Books Discovered

I have been REALLY good this week! Not only did I swerve every bookshop, but I also haven’t even added anything to the TBR! I’m quite surprised with myself actually!

 

Coming Up…

Next week is definitely not going to be as manic! I deserve a break – haha!

There’s no rest for the wicked though! I have a few book reviews stacking up, so I’d like to tackle one of those. This week, I would like to share my thoughts on A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. Prepare for a long and gushy review… I think you all know my love for George R. R. Martin’s books by now.

My regular Friday feature flips back to First Lines Friday later next week, so I’ll be sharing the first few lines of a book on my TBR. Let’s see if you can guess what it is!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

I hope it is apparent from the list below that I have spent a lot more time blog hopping this week. I’ve been cursing this flaw I have for quite some time, so I’m making a conscious effort to do more about it. I’ve checked out a few blogs before work, during my lunch hour and before bed – any spare minute I’ve had really. I hope the effort shows. It’s paid off for me as I’ve discovered a few new bloggers to follow.

Here are some of the posts I have loved reading this week: –

CescaLizzieReads – Blogtour Book Review The Whisper Man

Not Another Book Blogger – Mini-Review: The Taking of Annie Thorne

Dees Reading Tree – 20 Questions Book Tag

Literature and Sunshine – Thank You, Next Book Tag

Kristin Kraves Books – Book Bucket List Tag

The Book Dutchesses – Bookish Item – 2019 Reading Goals Update Part 2

Bookidote – Book Review Crowfall

So, what have you been reading or writing this week? Feel free to drop me a comment below!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Book Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The thing I enjoy the most about blogging and reading blogs is book recommendations. Whether giving them myself or getting them by reading reviews online, it’s fun. I’m always looking to increase my reading repertoire. I hadn’t ventured into reading horror books until I started my blog and up until that point, I have missed out on enjoying a wide range of authors!

Today I am taking the opportunity to give YOU some book recommendations, but if you have any for me based on my list, then I would love to hear some of your recommendations in the comments!

I’m going to keep this list short and snappy so you can scan through if you want. Where I have reviewed a book on the list, I’ll provide a link to my review in the title. That way you can choose whether you wish to read it or not. I mean OBVIOUSLY, you do… but hey, I want all the views I can get haha!

 

My Top Ten Book Recommendations

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

I would only recommend this for fans of fantasy who aren’t intimidated by larger books and complex plot lines. Isn’t that a given? I think the largest books I read are typically part of the fantasy genre. There are a couple of notable exceptions though. It’s worth the time though – this is by far my favourite series of all time and I will recommend this book again and again until I am blue in the face.

 

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

This was the first horror I read of Stephen King’s. It wasn’t the first of his books I read – that accolade goes to The Green Mile. This was the first in the horror genre though. Since then I have gone on to read IT and listen to The Stand and add many other books to the list.

 

The Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett

What is great about the Discworld series is that it doesn’t matter how many of these you read. You could read them all if you want to, (a feat I am slowly creeping towards), or you could just pick up one to enjoy. The stories are all largely independent of each other and so you’re not committed to a mass reading expedition trying these. They have characters, places and comical themes in common, but they stand alone too. I have read too many of these books to link here, and some before my blogging days. Please search on my blog if you’re interested.

 

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) – Brandon Sanderson

As with A Game of Thrones, this is another epic read worth the investment. I have only read the first book so far, but the fact that I am willing to recommend the series based on that should say it all…

 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

If this book doesn’t make you ball your eyes out … ahem, upset, then you are not human. I was introduced to the film many years ago but due to the nature of the topics concerned, I hadn’t really watched it in full. The book is even more profound than the film and it is one I will re-visit again and again.

 

The Last Kingdom (series) – Bernard Cornwell

This is a recommendation for anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction. Again, it’s tricky to link the reviews. I love the characters and the narrative is so well written… these books are easy to get lost in. I have read the first three books of the series so far in addition to having watched the first two seasons of the TV adaptation. Muppet here has only JUST realised that Season 3 was released in November last year, but only on Netflix. I’ll have to buy the DVD for it. Next month…

 

Raven’s Mark series – Ed McDonald

Another fantasy series I know, but wow! I love Ryhalt and his sassiness; I relate to his sarcastic outlook, I really do. Ryhalt is almost a bit of an anti-hero – the kind of guy that does what he does to save his own skin MOST of the time. There is a glimmer of humanity in there somewhere though. We need to see more of these characters in books. Let’s face it, not many people are as altruistic as book heroes are!

 

An Almond for a Parrot – Wray Delaney

This book makes it to the list for the comedy factor. It has a blend of fantasy in there too, but my favourite part by far is how it handled the, erm… saucy bits. As a general rule, I don’t like books that go into that much detail in THAT regard. I find it cringe-worthy. So was this one in its own way, but that somehow made it funnier? I couldn’t have “read” this in the traditional way. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a fabulous job. It made the story.

 

Strange the Dreamer (series) – Laini Taylor

I recommend this duology for anyone who enjoys magic, YA style. I’m not a huge reader of YA on the whole, but I really enjoyed these. Sometimes I can find the characters immature, but the storyline behind them “finding themselves” after their world is turned upside down both makes sense and drives the plot nicely. There’s a little bit of a romance which is kind of cute. Again, I’m not really a HUGE fan generally but it isn’t overplayed.

 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

I want to recommend this historical fiction book to anyone who loves this genre because I did NOT see the plot twist in this one coming. Not only is the character engaging, but we are able to sympathise with her predicament. The level of detail is fantastic and I was blown away by the ending!

 

I’ve tried to vary up my recommendations based on different genres, although Fantasy does prevail a little here! Have you read any of these books?

Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

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Book Review: Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

The first time I read Frankenstein, I absolutely hated it.

Reading the book was part of the school curriculum for my class, and my fourteen-year-old-self did not appreciate it at all.

In hindsight, I attribute that to the particular teacher I had. Teachers, you do a fabulous, grueling and hard-working job. Most of you are very good at what you do and I wouldn’t be the same person if not for your influence. This one though… she has to be the most unpleasant teacher I have ever had.

Anyway, no need for more of that negativity here. It is a regular occurrence though; all the books I read for school, I didn’t like…. almost. I think the only exceptions are Stone Cold by Robert Swindells (there’s a story for THAT teacher too) and Of Mice and Men – eventually. I didn’t take to it straightaway, but came to love it by the time we had finished studying it.

Books should be read and appreciated without being analysed to death, okay? If ANYONE thinks that’s fun, they need their head read.

Source: Giphy

Their heads READ… get it?!

Alright – I won’t give up my day job just yet…

 

Frankenstein

Goodreads – Frankenstein

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

 

My Thoughts…

I was inspired to pick this book up again after watching an event held during the Manx Litfest. A re-telling of Frankenstein was performed by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones – and an excellent performance it was! So much so, I picked up the book as soon as I got home.

Regardless of how much you read into the story – it is an enjoyable one. That everyone knows of Frankenstein’s monster and the basic story speaks volumes about the success of this book. I enjoyed reading it this time around, unlike my first experience with this book. If you haven’t read the book before, then I really must insist you do! If there is a bucket list of books, this ought to be on it!

Some of the ideas brought to the table are philosophically sophisticated, which is astounding considering Mary Shelley was so young when she wrote this book! I can’t say I walked away from the book debating the nature of life and science, but hey, you can if you want to. I guess this is what makes the book a favourite for school curriculum’s… if not students!

I’ll admit attending the re-telling made the book more approachable. Ban Haggarty narrated the story in a way that everyone can understand. The book itself, due to its age and (the style of literature at the time), is grammatically more complex than modern text. I did struggle with this a little at times, particularly once I had been reading for a while. Frequent breaks helped me get over this though, so it isn’t a huge stumbling block.

I definitely appreciate the book now I am older and reading it for my own enjoyment. Studying books is just soul crushing… okay? Why do we force kids to do it?! Whether I enjoyed studying the **** out of this book or not, there is plenty of food for thought.

 

Manx LitFest – Re-telling of Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones

A couple of weeks ago now I attended a fantastic event – a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones.

 

About the Book

We all know the story. Frankenstein, in his fascination for creating “perfect life” through his love of science, accidentally creates a monster. Horrified, he shuns the monster which flees and goes into hiding.

Frankenstein’s monster gradually evolves from a base-instinct creature to something more human by learning from them secretly. But humans don’t accept him; they reject him for his horrifying appearance. Therefore, his loneliness and rage for the contempt shown make him a bitter, twisted creature. Frankenstein comes to rue the day of the monster’s creation.

 

 

Organisers

The event was held as part of the Manx LitFest in September. The first Manx LitFest took place in September 2012. So, this year was the seventh such festival.

In addition, as this year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, organisers approached Ben Haggarty for the event. Ben is the leader of the Crick Crack Club, a successful performance storytelling group in the UK. He has performed at the Manx LitFest in previous years and they appealed to him (not for the first time) to perform Frankenstein. This year, he agreed.

 

Location

The Gaiety Theatre was the ideal location. Constructed at the end of the Victorian era and opened to the public in July 1900, it is an old theatre. Historically, it has undergone extensive restoration work to preserve the building as close to the original design as possible. As a result, the ornate Victorian architecture of the building itself truly set the tone before the performance even began.

Fun fact: The Gaiety Theatre is one of the few remaining theatres in the world to have a functioning Corsican Trap.

I also had the benefit of a central seat in the third row… and I confess I turned up quite early. So, I spent a while admiring the place whilst I waited. It’s not that I have never been before; I have never been on my own before. You notice quite a lot of things when there aren’t distractions to keep you from them!

 

My Thoughts…

Ben Haggarty (as the primary storyteller) and Sianed Jones (multi-instrumental and vocal accompaniment) performed Frankenstein very well. The musical pieces performed by Sianed are the perfect counterpart to Ben’s narration. At times the music helps to build the atmosphere and tension. In others, it serves to break up the narration and keeps the performance flowing. As a result, it added the right atmosphere to an already haunting tale.

The storytelling itself was excellent. Ben has a real talent for conducting himself on stage and consequently keeping the audience engaged. No word was left unpolished and no gesture unplanned. Consequently, he portrayed each of the characters clearly and perfectly. Naturally, Ben has to embody a number of roles at any given time and he switches between them effortlessly! The dialogue in which Frankenstein and the monster confront each other is intense and very well executed.

The fact that I rushed home and picked up the book straightaway is a testament to how much I enjoyed this performance. This was the first time that I attended an event like this… and I am glad I did!

I sincerely hope it isn’t the last.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 7th October 2018

I’m writing my Sunday Summary. That means another weekend is over. Seriously… they go WAY TOO FAST!!

Not to rub it in… Okay, I am totally rubbing it in, but I have some long overdue time off coming up! So, next week is a really short one for me work-wise. Hopefully my next Sunday Summary will be chock-a-block with progress. I’m going to stay optimistic on that point, okay? We’ll see!

So, back to this week – what has happened? Well, I shared this month’s reading list with you all! I have some exciting books on the list, so if you haven’t taken a look yet, please do! On Friday I took part in a much-anticipated blog tour for A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. This is the second book of the Caitlin series. In a few weeks time, I’ll be reviewing the next book – Another Kind of Magic. I received my copy on Monday and I cannot wait to read it at last! A Stain on the Soul leaves us on quite a cliffhanger; I cannot imagine how things are going to pick up.

There is also a little something that didn’t happen – sorry guys! I promised a post about the recent re-telling of Frankenstein on Friday. I’m going to make that up to you next week. If I am entirely honest, I had planned that for Friday, forgetting that was my blog tour date. Next week, I promise!

Now, onto a more positive note: what books have I been reading this week?

 

Books Read

It is hardly surprising that after re-kindling my love for the tale of Frankenstein, I picked up the book. Is it on my reading list? Nope. Oh well, the heart wants what the heart wants. I cannot and will not deny myself. I finished the second half of the book this week, with a little less fire and enthusiasm I’ll admit, but I am glad I read it. It isn’t the easiest book to read, but not having to analyse it to death like I did when I was fourteen is a huge help!

School really knows how to be a killjoy when it comes to reading.

This weekend, I moved on to Muse of Nightmares! I picked this book up on Tuesday after work. I practically ran… but only PRACTICALLY. I don’t run. I was fast walking at a push, really.

 

But anyway, I got it, and I started reading this on Friday and have pretty much been flying through it since! Even though I have been out a lot of the day today, I am still 75% through it. I’ll be highly surprised if I haven’t finished it by this time tomorrow night. I know what I am like, after all…

 

Books Discovered

Technically I acquired my copy of Muse of Nightmares this week, after a long wait, so I’ll include it here. As I’ve already talked about that above, I won’t linger on it here!

I also purchased a copy of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories. Not only is this appropriate for the time of year, but it also features stories from authors I like. George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King are just three of the contributors. I’ll look forward to reading these!

 

Coming Up…

So, what posts can you expect to come up next week?

Well, as promised, I’ll be writing a post about the recent event I attended, a re-telling of the story of Frankenstein. It was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I am also determined to finish the Mystery Blogger post I started several weeks ago! Now, I’ll have the time to mull it over, so I am going to finish it… even if it kills me. Overdramatic much!

I am also using my free time to do some work in the background. Most of it probably won’t even be noticed, but I have some tidying up to do. I experienced some gremlins when I migrated by blog a few months ago, so I’ll be batting them over the head with a stick, figuratively speaking of course. I am also hoping to make a slight change to the appearance of my blog, but fixing the problems are priority… and there’s a few of them.

Fingers crossed I’ll have it all fixed soon!

What books are you reading?

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Authors

Any reader will tell you that over time, you will discover favourite authors.

Whether entrusting them to guide you through a lesser favoured genre, or you love their writing style, every author and their novels are different experiences for each of us.

I have been reading for many years, branching out more recently to try new books, authors and genres. Based on that, here are my Top Ten Favourite Authors:-

 

Stephen King

The Green Mile was the first book I picked up by Stephen King… and it kindled a real love for his writing. I have since gone on to read Pet Sematary, IT, The Gunslinger (book 1) and listen to The Stand as an audiobook. I have loved each and every one. Obviously The Green Mile is a little different to the majority of his writing. If anything, introducing myself to this author with this book made it easier for me to step into reading horror. It’s a genre I never thought I would like, but I have been proven wrong.

 

 

 

JK Rowling

It would have been criminal not to include J K Rowling on this list. I grew up with the Harry Potter books. They will forever be cemented as a part of my childhood/teen years. I read the last book of the series on holiday as a teenager – I think it was the last year I took physical books on holiday. I must have had four or five books in the suitcase (at least two were hardback; the weight must have been half books). This was the last book I was reading, and it was so good, I physically couldn’t put it down to pack the case to go home.

These will definitely need a re-read in the future!

 

 

Brandon Sanderson

Having read and LOVED the first Mistborn trilogy, I went on to read The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives). I thought it would be difficult for Sanderson to best those books, but he did. It is taking all my efforts not to binge read the other two books that begin the series. Otherwise, I will be in for a VERY LONG WAIT for the remaining seven.

I am at the point now where I have added more of his books, just because they are his. I don’t know too much about them, but I am willing to give them a try regardless.

 

 

Laini Taylor

I have only read one of Laini Taylor’s books so far. I think it speaks volumes that I read the book outside of my TBR… and very quickly. I’ve also pre-ordered Muse of Nightmares ready for its release in October. Her writing is beautiful, her characters adorable and I just want more! I’ve also added Daughter of Smoke and Bone to the reading list because I loved Strange the Dreamer so much. This book also seems to have a lot of love, so I can’t wait to read this!

 

 

 

Terry Pratchett

I have become a Discworld nerd… that’s for sure. One of my friends in particular had read Pratchett’s work and raved about him a lot. I didn’t really get into the idea… but I think that is because she usually talked about it to one of her other friends. Let’s just say the friendship isn’t mutual and leave it there.

It’s bad that I let that reason put me off trying the books. I regret it now… but better late to the party than never, yes?

 

 

Terry Goodkind

I began reading the Sword of Truth series as a teenager, thanks to stumbling across Wizard’s First Rule in the school library. I’ll admit, since leaving school I haven’t really made much further progress with these books. That doesn’t mean I don’t intend to though! I love the characters and the world-building, but most importantly, the writing style. I think I am part way through book 5 of the series. I’ll have to give myself a re-cap and start that one again probably.

 

 

 

Bernard Cornwell

It is one of the rare occasions in which I had watched The Last Kingdom before I discovered it was based on a book series. When unveiling this “grand revelation” to a colleague who I knew had also watched the series… it turned out not to be a revelation to her at all. My disappointment at her knowing this already was short-lived, however, as she loaned me a copy of the book.

The rest, as they say, is history. Excuse the pun.

I have only read the first four books of the series so far, but Bernard Cornwell has plenty of other works. Irrespective of whether I have an established interest in the historical period they are based in already, I’ll read them anyway.

 

J. R. R. Tolkien

I don’t think I need to go into any particular detail when telling you which books this author is famous for. If you don’t know, then I wonder which rock you have lived under all your life.

I have read the most famous books of his, with the exception of The Silmarillion. There are an ample number of books that are based about the characters and history of the main series though. I hope to go on to read some of those. Unlike the other authors, his work is a little less diverse, but that is no criticism. It must have taken a lot of time and effort to develop Middle Earth to be the fantastical realm it is today.

 

George R R Martin

George R. R. Martin has written many works in his time. Most notably is he known for the Song of Ice & Fire series, (aka A Game of Thrones to those not familiar), he developed a lot of his writing skill in producing short stories.

I read A Game of Thrones first, before I realised many of his short stories were in anthologies and other publications. I went on to read those based on my love of this series. All I knew was that he wrote science-fiction, and not much else. I love some of those stories though – the first that comes to mind is Sand Kings.

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I will read pretty much anything this God of literature sees fit to put on paper. Whether my genre or not, I’ve enjoyed reading his works so far. Long may it continue!

 

Patrick Rothfuss

I cannot tell you how much I love this man’s series, The Kingkiller Chronicles. The narrative is beautiful. He is a master storyteller through and through.

I haven’t yet read anything else other than the above series… but the principle is the same. Patrick Rothfuss is basically an “auto buy” author. It doesn’t matter what he writes, I want it.

I’m quite intrigued by The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle series. These are in the format of children’s books… but are NOT children’s books. I am lead to believe they are quite dark, which I am curious to see. I must be a not-so-secret sadistic person!

 

 

Whose books do you love? Are there any authors you auto purchase books for? Let me know in the comments!

Top Summer Reads

Rebecca’s Top Summer Reads

How do you even go about choosing your top summer reads when there are just SO MANY books out there?! It’s a tough one to call! In order to tackle the problem, I’ve decided to split this column into two main sections, with a final section including the books I hope to read during the sunny season.

Everyone has different tastes as well, so the books I choose are probably different from yours. I hope to cover as many genres as I can so that something appeals to you, dear reader – so without further adieu, let’s get started!

Light / Humorous Books

The Queen & I – Sue TownsendThe Queen & I - Sue Townsend

My mum recommended this book to me years and years ago – and I actually have it downloaded on my kindle. I started reading the first few chapters all those aeons ago, but I haven’t finished the book. I used to be very selective about the books I read, (once upon a time) and I found it difficult to read anything that wasn’t Fantasy. Were I to re-visit this now, I think I would appreciate it a lot more! There’s just something about the idea of the Queen being forced to live on a council estate that spells humorous disaster!

 

 

 

The Rag Nymph - Catherine CooksonThe Rag Nymph – Catherine Cookson

I have included this book here because the narrative is easy to read. I have Yorkshire influence in my family too, so “Raggie Aggie” reminds me of mum when I was growing up. The fond memories I have and the familiarity of her character must play its part in my choosing this book. Set in 1854, this book will appeal to fans of historical fiction. This novel does have mature themes, however; if you are looking for something lighthearted I would point you in another direction.

 

 

 

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Allison PearsonI Don't Know How She Does It - Allison Pearson

Please don’t think I am discriminating here guys – but in this section, I’m giving a nod to a book categorised as “chick lit”. That’s not to say you can’t read this book – for the most part, I wouldn’t describe this as my genre either.

This entry is another in which I have read part of the book, but not finished. Again, it was years ago I first found myself laughing at Allison’s take on the trials and tribulations of “the working mum”. Whilst the expectations of a mother may be a little out of date now, the book is laugh-out-loud funny. Allison made a rip-roaring return to the series by publishing How Hard Can It Be? last year, proving that there is still the demand to laugh at (and relate to) Kate Reddy’s parenthood troubles.

 

 

Epic/Long Reads

 

 

The Last Kingdom - Bernard CornwellThe Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

Maybe you prefer to sit down with a heavier book – perhaps you want to be transported to another world/universe entirely. Let the sun, sea and sand melt away and the riotous clash of swords fade in. Going abroad was never a peaceful affair in times past. If you’d like to reminisce on those English shores many moons ago, then The Last Kingdom (aka The Saxon Chronicles) may be your cup of tea.

 

 

 

IT – Stephen KingIT - Stephen King

Looking for a challenge? Are you happy to dedicate your soul to one book? Do you like horror? Then I challenge you to read IT by Stephen King. I read this book back in October last year – in time for Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa locally). The book was unnerving rather than scary, in my opinion, so I wouldn’t say it was unapproachable for anyone. That is, unless you are intimidated by clowns or the page count. At approximately 1,370 pages, it will keep you occupied for some time… or hiding under the covers.

 

 

The Way of Kings - Brandon SandersonThe Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

If a series based with its own established Universe, complete with a unique magic system appeals to you, then The Way of Kings is my recommendation for you.

The depth of history and world-building in this epic series will have you in awe, my friends. If it weren’t for the fact that Brandon Sanderson has only published the third book of the series just recently, I would have binge-read the entire thing by now! I am forcibly restraining myself – trust me.

 

 

Empire of Silence – Christopher RuocchioEmpire of Silence - Christopher Ruocchio

Here is one for fans of science-fiction.

I was floored by this when I read it… and soon you can too! With a publishing date of the 5th July, I have high hopes that this book will soar in popularity this summer. Whether you are a veteran sci-fi fan or a relative newbie, this can be enjoyed by all.

If you want to decide if this is for you or not, you can find my recent review of the book here.

 

 

 

My Summer Reads

So, which books am I planning on reading this summer? There are lots to choose from and an inevitably never-ending TBR list! It’s taken some time to narrow it down, but here are three of my much-anticipated summer reads:-

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

I loved Strange the Dreamer… and I cannot wait until October until the release of Muse of Nightmares!

I’m serious – I cannot wait… and so this is why I have decided to pick up the first book of this series! I love Laini Taylor’s writing style – so much so that genres or themes I would normally not show a preference for can basically get away with murder.

 

 

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeThe Curious Incidenct of the Dog in the Night-time

I have wanted to read this book for such a long time… and now it is well overdue.

Not long ago I read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and really enjoyed reading a narrative written from a child’s perspective. The added bonus with this is hopefully learning how people on the autistic spectrum perceive the world (or at least one interpretation of, anyway).

 

 

 

A Darker Shade of Magic - V E SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic – V.E Schwab

Considering I was supposed to read this in February this year… I have absolutely no excuse to put off A Darker Shade of Magic anymore. This is a hugely popular book and I have yet to see whether I love it as much as the hype would indicate I should.

I’ll admit I always take things like that with a pinch of salt, becuase we all have different opinions and tastes in books. I would be lying though if I said I wasn’t curious.

 

 

 

So – have any of the above books made your list? Perhaps you have read them already! Either way, I would love if you could drop me a like or a comment about what you are doing this summer.

Your devoted blogger,