Tag: horror

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?

 

Book Review Banner

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,

Sunday Summary June 2018

Sunday Summary – 10th June 2018

Even the Sunday Summary post is late this week. Fabulous.

This week has been really topsy-turvy, and I feel like I’m apologising all the time for late posts. I’m probably the only person that notices. So yeah, sorry (again) for the late post. You can blame Windows updates on my laptop for this one – only after all the time and effort, it failed! That’s technology for you eh?

Anywho, here we are. Have you had a good reading week?

 

Books Read

I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this week. Again, I’ve been plagued with IT issues in getting my blog set up on a self-hosted site. Don’t get me wrong, the upgrade is certainly worth it and I’d do it all again, but I still have a number of broken links (250…ish) to fix, and that’s all after a very impatient wait to get my site transferred in the first place!

So, has the hard work paid off? What do you think of the new site?

In the moments I haven’t been inches away from throwing my laptop out of the nearest window, I been buried in one book or another. I’ve been making further progress in reading The Irrationalist by Andrew Pessin – if you want to know a little more of the story you can either check out my comments in last week’s Sunday Summary post or alternatively via OpenBooks. I would have liked to make a bit more progress on this one, but I am aiming to finish this by next Sunday’s post.

I have a Blog Tour coming up for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected, so I have also been reading the first couple of stories (out of the four within). That post is actually coming up next week, so finishing this short book is a priority for the next day or two. So far I am finding these reads really easy to either pick up as a break from heavy material or even in the few minutes before starting work. I don’t think it will take long to read the remainder of the book.

Lastly, Nevernight. Again, this is a book I am listening to and chipping away at in the mornings. I love the tone and humour in it – it really does brighten up my day! I’ll be needing the lift when the alarm goes off at 6:40 tomorrow morning, believe me.

 

Books Discovered

I have seen this book around for a while, but I confess I hadn’t read much about it or the reviews for it until last week. It has been displayed in my local *large chain bookshop* – so I decided I’d see what it was all about.

Aside from the vodka at weekends, this is just me. Routine 9-5 job, run-of-the-mill weekends… week in and week out. I think I will relate to this so much; I only wish I had looked at this sooner.

 

Coming Up…

This week, I think I am going to treat you to a Top Ten Tuesday post! We have had some absolutely fabulous weather over here – it must be a record for the longest dry-spell we have had. With that in mind, I am going to put together my Top Ten Summer reads. Maybe we’ll have some books in common!

 

 

 

So guys, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll be partaking in a Blog Tour this week for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected by Ann Girdharry. I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about this collection of short stories, so please tune in on Thursday.

 

 

 

And last, but not least, I’ll be wrapping up the week with my usual Sunday Summary post. I have actually quite enjoyed writing this post a little later in the day (writing a weekly wrap up and posting for midday on day seven seems a little strange, thinking about it). I’ve also found it a bit easier to write as I am not so time-pressured. Basically, I’m saying I am going to try this again next week.

 

I hope the wait has been worthwhile and I look forward to seeing you around! If you have a minute to drop me a line, your comments are always appreciated!

Reading List – June 2018

It is that time of the month again folks – a new month and a fresh reading list!

With it being beginning of June, it’s time to bring out the summer reading list! What are you going to be reading this month? Do you spend a summer holiday indulging in a lighter read, or hit the books hard? I personally like to indulge in the latter – with a lot of time to fill and some sun to soak up, I would absolutely read something… heavier.

Having the time to take in all the details and give a trickier book all of my attention, with no distractions, is certainly my cup of tea. Alas, I have no relaxing holidays planned yet, so I will have to content myself dreaming about it.

And I feel like I need a holiday after the past couple of days! I apologise to anyone who has tried to access my site, as you may have been unable to. Remember I promised you some news in my Sunday Summary post? Well, I can finally share it – I am officially self-hosting my blog! I’ve nearly thrown my laptop at the wall in frustration (impatience, basically)… but I got there! So, with a new behind the scenes set up and a new look to boot, I hope the wait was worth it for you! There are some niggles to work out still, like missing images on old posts, but please bear with me! I’ll be working my way through fixes shortly!

So, diversions aside, shall I get on with my reading list now?

 

The Irrationalist – Andrew Pessin

So this is a carryover from last month and I have already made decent progress. Whilst I did start this last month, I had no way of finishing it on time. Sounds like the story of my life at the moment! No matter, I am already around 40% through this historical-themed murder mystery… and I cannot wait for the plot to unfold even further!

 

A Conversation With A Cat – Stephen Spotte

A Conversation With A Cat is the next book on my list for this month. OpenBooks very kindly provided me with a copy in exchange for a review. I have to say I am definitely intrigued by the unique perspective in this book… a tale of history from the eyes of (many) cats! It really isn’t every day you get to say that – that’s for sure!

 

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – Ann Girdharry

The next book on my list is for a blog tour I am taking part in shortly. Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is a collection of four short stories… and I’ll confess I have already whet my appetite and read the first tale this weekend gone. These are only short and I think will make great material if I want to snatch a quick read in my lunch hour, or even for a break between other books. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on the 12th June, so I do hope you can join me then!

 

The London Murder Mysteries #1 & #2 – Alice Castle

The next two books on my list are also ARC’s because I am reviewing BOTH for another tour next month. Basically, I didn’t want to leave myself short of time to read these (I know what I am like). I’m not taking part in this tour until the 14th July, so I have no excuses! Again, going for the murder mystery theme – I must be going through a phase – haha!

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

The last book on my list is not an ARC.

Shock horror, right? Actually, I added this book to the list because it has been on my TBR a shamefully long time. Three and a half years, in fact. I know.

I added this first book of a long and established series after a friend of mine completely devoured them in the last years of school. I think so far I have tried a sample of the first chapter, but I always get distracted by other books. I have also tried a sample of the audiobook for it, but frankly, I don’t like the way in which it is narrated. I would much rather read the book myself. So I will. I am putting my foot down, and finally reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Have you read any of the books on my reading list for this month? I would love to hear from you, as always!

Audiobook Review: The Stand – Stephen King

Getting into an audiobook was a huge change for me.
I had tried some free ones before as a means to experiment with whether I liked them or not. I was still hugely undecided, but after much insistence from a very good friend who loves them, I signed up to a free trial on Audible.
When you sign up, you get a free credit to spend on any book you would like. I thought that was pretty reasonable – even the bestsellers are available! I half expected you to only be able to choose from a limited library, but I am glad I was wrong.
I deliberated long and hard about what to download for a while. I wanted my credit to be worthwhile, so I purposely chose a long book.
 
The Stand

Goodreads – The Stand

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.

By the time I had downloaded and began to listen to this, I had read a few of Stephen King’s books: The Green Mile, Pet Sematary, IT and the first book of The Dark Tower series. I love how King’s interpretation of the horror genre is very much based around the psychology of fear. I have to say it has almost become something of a fascination in me. Not being a lover of horror otherwise, the realisation came to be a pleasant surprise.

Do not get me started on budget horror films, unless you want to take an unconventional exit from the spotlight, (unlike all the highly stereotyped characters typically involved), by being bored to death by my incessant ramblings. I really could go on about it all day *sigh*

My point is this – King has contradicted every stereotype and shown me that not all horror is just a cheap shot at giving you an adrenaline rush. There is far more sophistication to his writing… and his in-depth understanding of people and the way they think is a scary thing in itself! It is almost as if King can see into your soul and just know your every thought, feeling and fear just by looking at you.
You must have gathered just how high he has risen in my expectations by now. I love his writing and the characters he creates. Although all of his stories are wildly different, they are all enjoyable in their own ways. The Stand explores how society rebuilds after a catastrophic event and the struggles it experiences with the forces of Good and Evil, embodied by Mother Abigail and The Walking Dude. All the while trouble stirs the pot from within, and things blow up in quite spectacular fashion.
This audiobook was an astounding 47hrs and 47mins long. The narrator, Grover Gardener was brilliantly consistent throughout. From the first minute to the last, there was no compromise in the narration or how well he brought each of the characters to life.
If I wasn’t sure about audiobooks before, I can assure you there is no doubt now. I am choosy about what I download and thankfully the sample option allows you to be. The next two books I have downloaded are ones that I was unsure as to whether I would actually pick up the physical book. Some stories are best told I think.
This however is definitely an exception, and I feel sure the next time I read this book, it will be a physical copy.
Rebecca mono

Review: IT – Stephen King

How does anyone even go about reviewing such a mammoth book as this? It is something I have been thinking about for a few days now. After much deliberation, I decided that much like George Denborough, I was just going to get dragged into it somehow…

IT clown
I won’t give up my day job, I promise. I’ll just crack on with the review, shall I…?

IT
GoodReads – IT

It was the children who saw – and feel – what made the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.

Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as it stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

 

The year is 1985. The residents of Derry have lived in peace for the last 27 years. When IT awakes once more, the town slips into quiet unease. IT feeds off fear. Lurking in the shadows and manifesting as the beholders worst nightmare, it manipulates the wild imaginations of children, using it to terrorise and murder them.

After the death of his brother George in late 1957, Bill Denborough and his friends Beverly, Ben, Eddie, Mike, Stan and Richie unite against the monster in the sewers and somehow make it out alive. 27 years later, Mike Hanlon watches the death toll begin to rise once again and tries to reason against the truth. Eventually, he makes good his promise made all those years before: if IT came back, then he and his friends had to go back and kill IT for good.

If there is anyone out there who doesn’t know, this book is incredibly long. The edition I read was precisely 1,376 pages. Not only is this the longest book I have read ever, but I also managed to read it in just about two weeks! I was quite impressed I will admit. The next longest book I have read is War & Peace (which I also read this year). This is a few hundred pages shorter but still tops over a thousand. This also took me two weeks to read. Not bad going, in my book.

IT’s length is probably a turn-off for a lot of people, but I genuinely think that the length is necessary. I’d like to explain why.

A person’s way of thinking, their experience, history and relationship with fear is very personal. In order for the reader to get under the skin of each of the seven characters of this story, we had to learn an awful lot about them.

I absolutely agree that there is a lot of description and back story before we get to any real point of hair-raising action and from what I have read, some people aren’t so fond of that. I don’t think I could truly have invested into the characters without it.

That’s not to say I loved each and every one of the characters all the time; there were moments I liked and disliked them.

I loved Beverly when she fought and left her abusive husband to go to Derry and make good on her promise. That isn’t to say I understand why she would have tolerated that in the first place, exactly. Well, I do; she says as much herself that she married her father (not literally, but her father was violent towards her  child-self). I’m saying, having blessedly not grown up with that, I don’t understand because I would never tolerate that behaviour towards me. Just a word of warning, lads.

“You pay for what you get, you own what you pay for… and sooner or later whatever you own comes back home to you.”

IT – Stephen King

I cannot praise this book highly enough for the way it was written. King really does know how to draw you in as a reader. It is his realistic portrayal of characters that I love best about his writing.The perspective of the book frequently changes between time periods, especially so at the end, but manages to achieve this seamlessly.

Naturally, each of the characters has changed dramatically during a quarter of a century, but the consistency of the character’s mindset and attitudes to the respective timeframe (and to their background) is spot on.

The timeline of events for each “period” is also frequently discussed and this also seemingly consistent.
I have already mentioned the manner in which the book splits between the time periods of 1958 and 1985. One of the effective techniques King uses to maintain suspense is by slowly unveiling the events of the first encounter in 1958 by having trigger events in 1985 prompt each character to recover memories of IT.

It is entirely possible, when an individual experiences a traumatic event, for the mind to repress these memories as a coping strategy.

Therefore, not only does each of these small revelations keep the reader engaged with the story, but it also has a psychological foundation.

As events unfold in 1985 we simultaneously re-live the first encounter with IT. Whilst we have glimpses of the end of their troubles in 1958, we only learn the detail of their duel with the devil at the same time as when they go back that second (and hopefully last) time. The last few hundred pages flew for me. I also have no nails left. Literally.

I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t find the book “scary”. Of course, it is unpleasant to read about children being murdered and vulnerable people being manipulated into committing heinous acts. What I am saying is this, I didn’t lose any sleep from reading it. The majority of fears experienced and again re-lived as adults are the fears of children – the dark, clowns, werewolves and the school bully, for instance. Whilst the book absolutely lives up to the genre of horror, I wasn’t uncomfortable reading it.

Despite the genre of the book, I found it had some lovely, positive notes that could be taken away from it; for example, the power of friendship. Here is one of my favourite quotes by way of an example:-

“Maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends – maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that’s what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.”

IT – Stephen King

 

Emotions like fear, anguish, anger and despair are what makes us human. But what also make us human is our ability to hope, to dream and to believe.

Would you rather live having never experienced emotion?

I say give me the good, the bad and the ugly – after all, they say that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
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