Horror October: This Week in Books 04.10.17 #TWIB #HO17

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Wow, the first TWIB of Horror October is here already!

Throughout October, I’ll be doing the short version of this post where I will simply share what I’m reading now, then and next. Because quite frankly, there’s enough going on around here.

I’m afraid to say that my answers are the same as last week because I was too busy trying to launch #HO17 (and drinking gin with my mum) to get much reading done. I have caught up now though, so I’m ready to get stuck right in to some horror reads!

If you haven’t already, pleeeeeeeease take just a second to vote for your favourite horror story prompt for my second Flash Fiction Battle, below.

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Now: The Silent Companions ~ Laura Purcell // Norse Mythology ~ Neil Gaiman

I’m enjoying The Silent Companions but it is a bit slow-going. I hope it picks up a bit.

I haven’t got any further with Norse Mythology (which I’m keeping at work to read in those elusive lunch breaks), so nothing to report there.

Then:  Misery ~ Stephen King

Misery was great, as expected! My review will be up on Monday!

Next: ??? It’ll be I Am Behind You:

A supernatural superthriller from the author of Let the Right One In

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming.

Vote Now! Four writers will write a short story based on the winning prompt.

Up Next on Horror October:

30 Days of Horror – what will day 4 bring us?

30 Days of Horror #3: Under the Dome #HO17 #30daysofhorror

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Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book for each day until we reach Halloween!

For obvious reasons, everyone is talking about IT at the moment, so because I’m like a petulant child who has to be different I’ve chosen Under the Dome for today’s 30DOH pick.

I’ve read this book twice, and if you’ve seen the size of it that should speak for itself. I thought it was great. Don’t even think about watching the TV series. That did not do it justice. I’d go as far as to say let’s just forget that ever happened…

Available in all formats, 1074 pages

Published November 10th 2009 by Scribner 

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.

 

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids.

Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry.

But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

 

Goodreads // My Review //

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Have you read it? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

This Week in Books.

Also don’t forget to vote for your favourite horror story prompt HERE.

Horror October: Revisiting Self-Made Man by Poppy Brite #HO17

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It has become somewhat of a tradition to kick off the Horror October proceedings by reblogging my favourite read from the previous year.

Back in 2014, Horror October #2 saw me reblog The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, followed by Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory in year three. And last year I took another look at An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman.

To be honest, I struggled to decide this time. Although last year’s Horror October was a brilliant month, none of the books I read for it truly stood out. I enjoyed nearly all of them, but I wasn’t completely blown away by any single book.

I have however decided to reblog my review of Poppy Brite’s short story collection, Self-Made Man. Out of all the books, this is the one that has stayed with me the longest.

 

Self-Made Man ~ Poppy Z. Brite

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Format: Paperback, 180 pages
Publication Details: July 22nd 1999 by Orion
Genre(s): Horror; Short Stories
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it.

Goodreads

This collection of 12 short stories from Poppy Brite contains collaborations with Christa Faust and David Ferguson and an introduction from Peter Straub.

The collection also includes America, which features Steve and Ghost, the central characters in Lost Souls.

Review

For Horror October, I decided to read Self-Made Man, a book of short fiction by Brite that I’d never got round to buying. My friend Dora found it in a charity shop and lent it to me. I was dubious after not really loving Love in Vein, another story collection of his.

Short stories just don’t seem to be my thing, even by authors that I love.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by Self-Made Man. It begins with a very short story written from the perspective of a maggot in a slaughter-house which is basically a showcase for Brite’s ability to make disgusting, putrid things sensual.

Arise, is a story about Cobb, a reclusive ex-pop star who faked his own death, who hears that his old band-mate has died. He then gets a mysterious letter saying that he has left his secluded house to him. Did he know all along that Cobb was alive? And why would he leave his house to him? I really liked this story. It had twists and turns and lots of intrigue.

The titular story, Self-Made Man was a hit too. It’s very much in the same breath of novel, Exquisite Corpse, based on cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Vine of the Soul was a winner too, which reunites us with two characters from Drawing Blood. 

The rest of the stories I could take or leave, but my favourite part of this book was the author’s notes on each story. Fascinating, as ever.

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This short review was posted as part of a spotlight on the author, written especially for Horror October 2016, which you can find here.

 

30 Days of Horror #2: The Dark Net #30daysofhorror

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Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book for each day until we reach Halloween!

My second pick is a book I’ve had my eye on since it came out but still haven’t bought. I love the sound of an ancient darkness emerging in a modern world.

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Available in paperback, hardback & digital
272 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Hell on earth is only one click of a mouse away…

The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now an ancient darkness is gathering there as well. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew:

Twelve-year-old Hannah — who has been fitted with the Mirage, a high-tech visual prosthetic to combat her blindness– wonders why she sees shadows surrounding some people.

Lela, a technophobic journalist, has stumbled upon a story nobody wants her to uncover.

Mike Juniper, a one-time child evangelist who suffers from personal and literal demons, has an arsenal of weapons stored in the basement of the homeless shelter he runs.

And Derek, a hacker with a cause, believes himself a soldier of the Internet, part of a cyber army akin to Anonymous.

They have no idea what the Dark Net really contains.

Set in present-day Portland, The Dark Net is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we already live in, a timely and wildly imaginative techno-thriller about the evil that lurks in real and virtual spaces, and the power of a united few to fight back.

Goodreads // Not My Review // Amazon //

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Have you read this? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

Revisiting Self-made Man by Poppy Z. Brite

Horror October: Flash Fiction Battle 2017 #VoteNow #FFB17

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Welcome to the second annual flash fiction battle in which four brilliant independent horror authors will battle it out to be crowned the King or Queen of Horror, (well, Horror October at least). 

You guys, yes you guys, can vote for your favourite story prompt and then the authors – who incidentally are all of the male variety this year (it wasn’t intentional before I start getting ‘girls write horror too’ hatemail) – will write their guts out to produce their best horror story in 1000 words or under.

Voting ends on Friday 6th October at midnight (GMT), so what are you waiting for…

 

I’ll be introducing the writers later in the week, but for a sneak peak you can check out their Amazon author pages below:

Justin Bienvenue

Gabino Iglesias

Stephen Kozeniewski

Sean Seebach

Follow the fight on Twitter @Lipsyy

Huge thanks to all four writers, especially Stephen for helping to coordinate. Now get voting!

30 Days of Horror #1: The Last Days of Jack Sparks #30daysofhorror

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Join me for 3o Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book for each day until we reach Halloween!

I thought I would kick off proceedings with my favourite horror read from 2016, the brilliant The Last Days of Jack Sparks. It was such a fun, fast-paced read and so perfectly darkly comic.

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Paperback, 336 pages

Published March 3rd 2016 by Orbit

Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.

Goodreads // Review // Guest Post by Jason Arnopp

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Up Next on Horror Oct:

Flash Fiction Battle: Vote for your favourite horror story prompt

 

 

Welcome to Horror October 2017 #HO17

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Prepare yourselves, Horror October is back!

Autumn is the best time of year to read all of those books you’ve been too scared to open and to curl up on the sofa to watch your favourite scary movie, so once again I’m dedicating a whole month to doing just that. Horror October #5 is here!

If you’re not a huge fan of horror, do not fret. As ever, I’m using the term quite loosely and hope there will be something to suit everyone.

Last year I hosted the inaugural Flash Fiction Battle which turned out to be a huge success so I will be doing the same again this year with a bunch of new, brilliant writers to battle it out for the accolade of King or Queen of Horror (October).

The success of last year’s event was totally down to you guys getting involved and voting en masse, so I hope you’ll join me in making this year’s competition even bigger and better. Look out for the first FFB post tomorrow!

So, without further ado, here’s what’s coming up for Horror October 2017:

The Books

I probably won’t get through all of these within the month but I’m going to give it a bloody good try. Click the links to visit their Goodreads pages.

New & Upcoming Releases

 

I am Behind You ~ John Ajvide Lindqvist, Marlaine Delargy (Translator)

iambehindA supernatural superthriller from the author of Let the Right One In

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming.

This gripping conceptual horror takes you deep into one of the most macabre and unique imaginations writing in the genre. On family, on children, Lindqvist writes in a way that tears the heart and twists the soul. I Am Behind You turns the world upside down and, disturbing, terrifying and shattering by turns, it will suck you in.

Published: September 7th 2017 by Riverrun

The Silent Companions ~ Laura Purcell

ThesilentcompanionInspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…


Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself..

Expected publication: October 5th 2017 by Raven Books

Alone ~ Cyn Balog

aloneWhen her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school.

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

Expected publication: November 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

 

The Passion of Cleopatra (Ramses the Damned #2) ~ Anne Rice

ramsesFrom the iconic and bestselling author of The Mummy and The Vampire Chronicles, a mesmerizing, glamorous new tale of ancient feuds and modern passions.

Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra.

Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life.

She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe

Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Anchor

 

From the TBR Shelves:

Misery ~ Stephen King

miseryPaul Sheldon.

He’s a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan.

Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader – she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident.

But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.

Published: 1988 by New English Library

 

Killing the Dead ~ Marcus Sedgwick

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Set in a girls’ boarding school in Massachusetts a haunting and sinister story YA story for World Book Day from prize-winning author Marcus Sedgwick.

1963. Foxgrove School near Stockbridge, Massachusetts. One of the oldest and finest academies in the country – but what really goes on behind closed doors? Nathaniel Drake, the new young English teacher, Isobel Milewski, the quiet girl who loved to draw spirals, her fingers stained with green ink, Jack Lewis, who lent Isobel books – just words, just ink on paper, Margot Leya, the girl with those eyes – who are they, what part have they played in killing the dead?

Follow the dark, dark path
Into the dark, dark woods
To the dark, dark bridge
By the dark, dark water.
Linger.
Let the ghosts of heaven tell their story.

A stylish and creepy story for World Book Day from prize-winning author Marcus Sedgwick

Published: March 5th 2015 by Indigo

Under My Skin ~ James Dawson

undermyskin Meet Molly Sue. Once she’s under your skin there’s no getting rid of her…

Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’.

Published: March 5th 2015 by Hot Key Books

 

The Flash Fiction Battle

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As I mentioned earlier, the main event this year will once again be a flash fiction battle.

Four fabulous authors will fight it out for your votes on the best short story based on a theme chosen by you! More information will follow in my next post when votes will open!

 

30 Days of Horror Challenge

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I will attempt to showcase one horror book each day until Halloween. They will be a mix of books I love, and ones I am yet to try. Join me? #30daysofhorror

 

Other Frightening Features & Gruesome Guest Posts

This Year in Horror so far

Round-up of the horror books I’ve read so far this year

The Ultimate Halloween Sleepover Party

Planning a Halloween party? Well here’s everything you need for a successfully scary night in!

Frightening Film Reviews

I swap the page for the screen and review some of the recently released horror films out there.

Bloody Books

A showcase of the horror pulp fiction covers of yesteryear.

 

How to Get Involved

– Are you planning on reading or posting anything ghoulish or gruesome this month? If so let me know and I’ll link to your posts on my weekly round-up

– Want to be a Horror October guest? I’m still open for guest posts, reviews, and spotlights. You’ll be fully credited and can still post on your own blog too so it’s a good opportunity to reach more people. Email me for more info.

– It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway…comment away! I’ll also be tweeting using #HO17, #30daysofhorror & #ffb17. And don’t forget to vote!

-Use my Horror October or Flash Fiction image on your sidebar to show your support.