Tag: horror

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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Sunday Summary – 22 October 2017

Aren’t the weeks just flying by?! I cannot believe it is Sunday already… AGAIN!
It really will be Christmas before we know it!! (Don’t hurt me for pointing out the unequivocal truth – honestly, it’s sneaking up on me too!)
To get away from that slightly depressing thought, let’s talk about books instead!
 

Books Read

IT
This week has once again been dedicated to making my way through IT by Stephen King. When I prepared my Sunday Summary post last week I set myself the challenge of trying to get the book read by today. This week has presented a few interruptions to my usual reading time, so had you asked me yesterday if I was going to achieve my target, I would have said no.
I managed to catch up yesterday though (I read over 200 pages as well as all the housework, washing and other Saturday jobs) so now I have about 155 pages left to read until the end. It’s a new day and I’m going to push myself to get it finished. It’ll be a relief not to have to carry it around anymore! Plus the paperback cover has suffered a little having been carried around, but I knew it was going to happen. I just have to remind myself it shows the book is well loved every time I start crying on the inside.
 

Books Discovered

I have been very good this week – for me! Yes, I still bought a book.
A Plague of Giants
I saw a pre-release review for this book and I knew instantly I wanted it, so I bought it on release date, 19th October. I mentioned in my Sunday Summary on the 8th October that I had added it to the list – but now I can officially celebrate owning a copy!!
That is literally it for this section this week. It feels like a ghost town. I’ve been so absorbed in reading I think to even look for anything new. Not that I need to exactly, my TBR well and truly testifies that.
 

Coming Up…

Normally I would post a review on Tuesday. Whilst I am on track to get IT finished by then, I think my review would be rushed if I dived in straight away. Therefore I am changing up my schedule a bit! I feel like I am always talking about books I love, so on Tuesday, I am going to be publishing a “Top Ten” post featuring books I was disappointed with. My review of IT is going to be published on Friday – I haven’t even finished the book yet and I am already looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it!
My review of IT is going to be published on Friday – I haven’t even finished the book yet and I am already looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it!
As always I’ll be rounding up the week on Sunday – and hopefully, I’ll have a bit more to talk about next week!
What have you been reading?
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Review: Pet Sematary – Stephen King

I don’t wish to tempt fate and speak too early on the matter – but with this book I think Stephen King has made a fantastic introduction of the horror genre to me.

I realise I was wrong to exclude the genre from my reading preferences. Truth be told – I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I have mentioned on several occasions now how I dislike poorly made horror films made with an awful plot just to get you to jump out of your skin and hide behind the sofa. My dislike of these films is not because they scare me… in fact the problem is just the opposite. They are so predictable it’s not even funny.

If I ever watch anything remotely in the genre of horror, I prefer a psychological thriller with sophisticated plot twists. As it happens I don’t really watch much TV at the moment anyway – much less films.

I should have known I would be getting better than the equivalent of a budget blockbuster with Stephen King. I openly apologise now and admit I was wrong – this book was fantastic!

Pet Sematary

GoodReads – Pet Sematary

When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son-and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly car. But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth-more terrifying than death itself-and hideously more powerful. The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.

 

My Thoughts…

Death is always going to be a difficult topic to discuss – yet inevitably a fact of life is that one day it comes to an end. As to when that day is, I pray I never have to know when my time is up. I have had my fair share of experience with grief. I am only young, yet in my lifetime I have watched five family members make their final journey. Almost all of those were premature. At the age of 22 I have no living grandparents – the first of which died when I was 8. I barely had anytime to get to know her. Equally, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 99 and didn’t want to make it to her 100th birthday. How different we all are.

When the Creed’s moved to Maine, little did they know what lay in the woods nearby. After welcoming them to the town their neighbour Jud leads them up the tended path to the cemetery. Little did the Creed’s realise the power it had.

On his first day at work as a physician at the local university, Louis loses his first patient within minutes…but that’s not the last he sees of Victor, however. The cemetery and Victor haunt his dreams with a foreboding warning – never to go beyond the deadfall.

During the Christmas period whilst Rachel, Ellie and Gage are away visiting family, the family cat has an unfortunate accident. Knowing how devastated Ellie would be, Louis ignores Victor’s warning received months before and follows Jud beyond the “Pet Sematary” tended by the generations of children of Ludlow and Winston Churchill, or Church for short, is buried in the darkness of night.

The next day and much to the surprise of Louis, Church comes back… though not quite the same as before. Cats can be creepy anyway, but imagine having an undead cat stalking around your house like it owns the place…

As it happens, the cat turns out to be the last of the Creed’s worries.

As the plot begins to unfold with the book, you realise what is going to happen. I cannot dispute that as much as this is my pet peeve with some other exhibits within the horror genre, this was written exceedingly well and very delicately. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who has neither read the book or seen the film adaptation made, but what was more important was how events were going to play out. The pace of the book throughout suited the narration. As the plot unravels the suspension builds to the end yet doesn’t drag beyond necessary. It could be very easy to make a reader impatient waiting for the big moment, the make or break; the do or die.

Louis’ perspective was remarkably believable. It was easy to slip into his shoes and see the world from his point of view. Even though he is an unreliable narrator, his perspective is relevant to his circumstances. It is easy to justify his actions, almost to the point of reason. Almost. Equally chilling to me is Ellie’s awareness of what is going on. She dreams of Church’s death the night it happens. Victor also visits Ellie’s nightmares when his warning is ignored and Louis is on the path to destruction. The poor child can do nothing about it. They say that children are more perceptive and some can see ghosts. That thought currently isn’t making me feel any better.

I think Stephen King handled the theme very well. Is death easier to cope with if you knew that things would never be the same? Would it be worth the risk? Having read this I certainly wouldn’t meddle with it – even if coping with such a loss is heartbreaking, it is better to keep your memories sacrosanct and untarnished.