Here’s Danny! Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

horroroct3

16130549

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

I don’t know where to start with this book as it gave me a bit of a book hangover! Ideally, I need some time to digest and reflect…but I have too many books and reviews to get through this month so you’ll just have to bear with me.

I don’t know how Stephen King does it. He somehow makes you care about every single word he writes, which is quite a feat considering the length of some of his novels. This one is pretty short for him, coming in at around 500 pages depending on the edition.

I was glued from the off. He made me care about every character -even the minor ones- in one way or another (and there’s quite a lot of them). I instantly fell in love with Dan Torrence, now all grown up and in a bad way, alcoholic Dan is lost in life. The ghosts from the Overlook have continued to follow him around as well as some new ones and he moves from place to place, trying to find somewhere he can call home.

It’s when he arrives in Frazer that things change, especially his introduction to Abra. Abra was such a wonderful, in-depth character too. Her powers are crazy-good and a lot of weird shit happens to her from the age of 2 but she just kind of gets on with it. She’s not scared of it and when she grows up a bit, she sets her mind on using her Shining to help people. Little does she know, that she will end up having to save herself the most.

Abra was totally the star of the show for me.

I also love that this book wasn’t just about cheap scares (then again, when is anything Stephen King does about that!?), it was essentially about Dan’s redemption. I thought the link with The Overlook was done excellently, too.

The only reason this wasn’t a 5/5 book for me was that it didn’t scare me at all. It took me a while to appreciate what was going on with The True Knot (the big bad) but once I understood what they were supposed to be I did enjoy the creepiness of them; there were some great touches in there. The Cycling for one!

Overall, I’m so glad I got to have some kind of closure on Daniel Torrence. As a sequel, or a stand alone book, I certainly recommend it.

Oh, and I definitely almost cried in two places.

Disclosure: None, I bought it!
Details: Hardcover, 531 pages. Published September 24th 2013 by Scribner
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Unicorns
If you liked this try: Phantoms by Dean Koontz

Horror October: A Mortal’s Guide to Vampires

vampmonkey

Here is my guide to some of the best (questionable) Vampires in literature and celluloid. Happy Slaying!

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Details: Published in 1897. Stoker was the first to define the modern form of the vampire as we see it today, spawning numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
What’s the story? Vampire Count Dracula attempts to move from Transylvania to England, which ignites a battle between Dracula and a small group led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
USP: By feeding his victims his own blood Dracula can communicate telepathically with them and control them.
Best Vamp: Dracula, obviously

Once again…welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring”

The Immortal Kiss: Traditional: Vampire bites human, human drinks vampire blood, human dies and awakes as one of the Undead.
Hotness: Hmm jury’s still out on this one. But he proves pretty hard to resist: 6
Evilness: You’re pretty much a goner if he takes a shine to you. And he definitely has some anger issues but he hides beneath the mask of a gentleman. Pretty deadly: 8

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
Interview_with_the_vampire

Details: Published in 1975, the first book in the series Interview With the Vampire was Anne Rice’s debut and based on a short story she wrote a few years earlier. The film was released in 1994.
What’s the Story? A vampire named Louis tells his life story to reporter. Starting in 1791, Louis is a young indigo plantation owner living south of New Orleans. Distraught by the death of his brother, he seeks death in any way possible and is approached by a vampire named Lestat who makes him his immortal companion.
USP: These Vamps cannot be harmed by garlic or crosses. But they can’t walk in the sunlight and they sleep in coffins. Stakes through the heart merely set them back and they have extra gifts such as mind control. The longer they have been vampires, the stronger they are. They have superhuman strength, speed, senses, and agility and can heal themselves.
Best Vamp: Lestat de Lioncourt
The Immortal Kiss: Traditional
Hotness: They are beautiful and deadly:10
Evilness: As Louis proves, they do have consciences. But the yearning for human blood is often too strong. Their strength and abilities render them pretty damn dangerous. And they’re hot. Ultimate deadly combo. But they can feed without killing: 9
Interview-with-a-vampire-vampires-34299005-500-256

Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite
380234

Details: Published in 1992, Lost Souls was Poppy Z. Brite’s first horror novel. It is the only novel-length adventure of Steve and Ghost, popularized in numerous short stories. The novel is an extended version of “The Seed of Lost Souls”.
What’s the Story? Best friends and almost lovers Ghost and Steve are drawn into the pleasure-seeking, depraved world of three vampires Zillah, Molochai and Twig. The androgynous trio are fuelled by sexual frenzy and human blood, and Steve and Ghost try to save Nothing from them, a teenage vampire raised by humans.

Those who know enough to drink Chartreuse at Mardi Gras are lucky, because the distilled essence of the town burns in their bellies. Chartreuse glows in the dark, and if you drink enough of it, your eyes will turn bright green.”

USP: These are the most ‘unique’ vamps I’ve read. Punk Rock androgyny with insatiable thirsts… Hot. The vampires are a separate species who are born vampires. Most feed on blood but some find alternative sustenance such as love and beauty. The older vampires have naturally sharp teeth, are sensitive to sunlight, and cannot eat or drink. But younger ones have normal human teeth that must be filed, are OK in sunlight and can both eat and drink (as demonstrated by their liking for chartreuse.
Best Vamp: Zillah
The Immortal Kiss: N/A
Hotness: Homoerotic, bi-sexual, drunk and insane…yep, pretty hot: 10
Evilness: You will want to party with them even knowing they will kill you (let’s face it, the sex will be probably be worth it). They can be killed if the heart or brain is destroyed and female vamps can also be killed by childbirth because vampiric infants kill their mothers in the womb: 8

The Lost Boys
lstby

Details: 1987 American teen horror film starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, and Alex Winter. The title is a reference to the Lost Boys in J. M. Barrie’s stories about Peter Pan and Neverland.
What’s the Story? Two Arizona brothers move to California and end up fighting a gang of teenage vampires led by David.
USP: These vamps looks pretty normal but they sleep upside-down during the day and drink human blood at night. They can also fly.
Best Vamp: David (Kiefer Sutherland)
The Immortal Kiss: Not a kiss as such. Michael drinks blood masked as wine and shortly after displays signs of becoming a vampire. He must then drink blood from a human until death to complete the transformation.
Hotness: They have motorcycles working for them, and dubious dangly earrings, but they do have a certain charm. And they seem pretty fun-loving: 7
Evilness: A stake to the heart and they’re dust. Plus, kill the head vamp and all the half-vamps are cured: 5

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
buffycast2

Details: Film (1992) starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland and Luke Perry, and TV show starring Sarah Michelle Geller, Antony Head, David Borenaz and Alyson Hannigan (1997 – 2003) created by Joss Whedon (AKA God!)
What’s the Story? Buffy Summers is the one and only Vampire Slayer, chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Buffy has the help of her loyal friends the ‘Scooby Gang’, her watcher and a vampire with a soul. Amazingness ensues.
USP: The vampires in BTVS have superstrength, bumpy foreheads when they get angry, and have no humanity (unless they’ve been cursed by Romanian Gypsies, of course!)
Best Vamp: Most would probably say Angel, but I say Spike. Hands down.
4d5e13357da755ba2eeae8a4ee5d2662
The Immortal Kiss: Traditional

To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It’s like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they’re just gonna kill you.”

Hotness: Lots of hotness to choose from, whether you like your vamps cuddly or evil: 10
Evilness: Vampires are just one of many creatures Buffy has to worry about, they are generally pretty dangerous, but also oddly amusing. Plus, Buffy kicks their asses on a daily basis: 6

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Twilightbook

Details: The first book in this 4 book series was published in 2005 and have subsequently been turned into 5 films. You may have heard of them.
What’s the Story? Teenager Bella Swan, moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen. They make out and stuff.
USP: OMG they sparkle yo!
Best Vamp: Edward…I guess.
The Immortal Kiss: One sided: A bite from a vampire spreads venom through the body, after 3 days the heart stops and you wake as a vampire.
Hotness: Edward is supposed to be the hottest thing ever. Which is why I try really hard not to picture that Robert Pattinson fella, who looks like Lurch: 8
Evilness: Let’s face it, they are pretty lame. They sparkle for god’s sake (I still love them though, obvs: 1

I could continue (Carmilla, Sunshine, Sookie Stackhouse, The Vampire Diaries, The Morganville Vampires, The Hunger, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown…) but I have to go and watch Buffy now.

New Find for Horror October: The Seance by Tricia Drammeh (free on Kindle this weekend!)

This has been a weekend of giveaways and free books for me. WIN! So I thought I’d share the joy. I love the sound of this.

18216403

Ninth grade can be a nightmare when you don’t fit in at school, your crush chooses someone else, and your parents tell you they’re having a new baby. Abby was prepared for normal high school problems. She wasn’t prepared for the demon.

Abby has always been fascinated by the paranormal, but after an ill-fated séance, she discovers not all Spirits are benign. A dark entity unleashed during the summoning sets out to destroy Abby, and within days, she loses her best friend, incurs the wrath of her parents, and becomes a prisoner in her own home. With time quickly running out, she assembles an unlikely group of helpers: the most hated guy in school, a retired psychic, and the cute clerk from her favorite bookstore. Unless the demon is defeated, Abby and her new baby brother won’t stand a chance.

What people are saying about The Séance

As an avid horror fan, I tend to approach a new book with a ‘bring it on – scare me!’ attitude. The Seance did not disappoint.

Mandy White – Goodreads

I absolutely loved this book! Although this book is for young adults this old adult enjoyed the heck out of it. I couldn’t put it down.

Diana – Goodreads

Get your free copy this weekend here.

Favourites Friday #14 (Horror October Edition): My Favourite Poe

The Raven is without a doubt my favourite Poe.

What I can’t decide on, is my favourite reading of it. For years it has been the Vincent Price one, despite the bad quality of the video. But there’s a lot to be said about Christopher Lee’s eerie reading too.

So treat yourself to a pre-halloween midnight visit from the mysterious raven. Close the curtains, light a candle and enjoy one of these videos, or even both.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe was first published in January 1845.

I found this 1987 collection of Poe’s short stories in a charity shop many moons ago. It introduced me to a few stories that I’d never read before such as The Fall of the House of Usher and Landor’s Cottage.

Sept13 014

Sept13 012

What’s your favourite Poe?

Sinister (check) & Seductive (check): The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

horroroct3

12813630 Thank the Unicorns, a new Vampire novel that does not suck! Finally!

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

I think I speak for many when I say that the vampire genre has been somewhat lacking since a certain series, let’s call it Smylight emerged.

Now, I’m not a Twilight hater by any means, quite the opposite, but it has opened up a whole world of shit and lameness when we come to YA Paranormal Romance and of course, vampire lit. I miss the good old days when vampires were actually supposed to be scary (sexy too of course, but scary first and foremost!), and pretty far from ‘normal’.

I miss the days of the more traditional vampire in fiction: Dracula, Carmilla, Lestat. I miss the fucked up worlds of Poppy Brite’s Lost Souls and Robin McKinley’s Sunshine…and here we have it. In The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black has taken these sinister and seductive vampires of legend and bought them into a modern, urban world. Yes!

Tana is a great protagonist. Prone to inappropriate giggling fits, but other than that pretty awesome. She had it tough when her mum went ‘cold’ which is Black’s take on the vampire infection that has spread from city to city. Once you have been bitten by a vampire, the infection sets in and you begin to crave blood and nothing else. If you can survive without feeding for 88 days the infection passes but y’know, easier said than done.

That’s where the Coldtowns come in. Each city has one, a walled prison in which to quarantine the infected and house the already turned vampires. In Black’s world, the Coldtowns and certain vampires within them have become famous and alluring and they even have live feeds broadcast on TV so everyone can see into the lives of those inside.

Tana wasn’t one of those who dreamed of partying with the beautiful creatures she’d seen on TV, or of living forever but when she finds her best friend infected and chained up with a crazy, weak-looking vampire she knows there is only one place she can go.

Gavriel, the said vampire, is rather messed up which is totally hot. Oh how I’ve missed an insane, unpredictable and brutal vampire character. I’d like to see him and Edward Cullen go at it.

I loved that Holly Black managed to create this dystopian world in the internet age yet hang on to the feel of the traditional vampire. This is is the first novel by her that I’ve read (if you don’t count The Spiderwick Chronicles) and I was deffo impressed.

You can tell that she’s a fan of the genre, and for me, she has done it justice. Hurrah!

Details: Paperback, 432 pages. Published September 17th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Unicorn Rating: 5/5
Is it a keeper? YES! I would like to read it again, right now.
If you like this try: Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite.

Halloween Movie Marathon- Tomorrow (05/10/2013)!

halloweenparty490

I’m sooooooooooo excited about getting into the Halloween spirit by attending this at my favorite cinema tomorrow. The theme, if you couldn’t guess, is old skool Slashers Vs Vampires! Crappy remakes need not apply.

If you’re in London and you’ve never been to The Prince Charles Cinema you are missing out! Click the image to visit their website and take a look at all the AWESOME events they put on.

I’m going to attempt to live tweet throughout this (in the intervals of course – no one likes a mid-movie tweeter) if I don’t get too drunk and/or fall asleep!

So tell me, what’s your favourite scary movie??

[That wasn’t just a cute way of slipping in a Scream quote, I really want to know]

Favourites Friday #13 (Horror October Edition): The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom

6017367

It was expecting them.

Conrad and Joanna Harrison, a young couple from Los Angeles, attempt to save their marriage by leaving the pressures of the city to start anew in a quiet, rural setting. They buy a Victorian mansion that once served as a haven for unwed mothers, called a birthing house. One day when Joanna is away, the previous owner visits Conrad to bequeath a vital piece of the house’s historic heritage, a photo album that he claims “belongs to the house.” Thumbing through the old, sepia-colored photographs of midwives and fearful, unhappily pregnant girls in their starched, nineteenth-century dresses, Conrad is suddenly chilled to the bone: staring back at him with a countenance of hatred and rage is the image of his own wife….

Thus begins a story of possession, sexual obsession, and, ultimately, murder, as a centuries-old crime is reenacted in the present, turning Conrad and Joanna’s American dream into a relentless nightmare.

An extraordinary marriage of supernatural thrills and exquisite psychological suspense, The Birthing House marks the debut of a writer whose first novel is a terrifying tour de force.

OK, so I’ve only just seen what a bad average rating this book has on Goodreads and I haven’t read it since it came out in 2009 but I’ve wanted to read it again ever since. I think the main thing I liked about this book was that it pays homage to the great haunted house/ posession films that I grew up on like The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist and added a better back story.

Despite being a bit of a tool, I liked Conrad as the protagonist and when the shit starts to hit the fan I felt sorry for him, knowing that there was no way he was gonna get out that house unscathed. Nadia, the seductive and down-right odd teenager next door, the crying babies at night and the proper weird stick-doll thing which may or may not be a figment of Conrad’s fucked up imagination, all worked for me.

It was a little bit horror-by-numbers, but for a debut novel I thought Ransom did a good job. The Birthing House was a quick, atmospheric read with just enough creep-factor to satisfy my creepiness.

Horror October: Spotlight & Review – Darren Shan

horroroct3

It’s pretty hard being a Darren Shan fan. His career may have been shorter by some years, but he gives Stephen King a run for his money in the amount of books he churns out. ‘Master of Horror,’ Shan has released over 30 books since 2002 (from 2 – 6 books a year). Woah.

I first noticed Shan in the midst of his break-out vampire series for children, The Saga of Darren Shan. Being a huge fan of the Vampire genre and studying Children’s Literature at the time led me to check it out, and I realised then that Shan had actually gone to same university as me which gave me hope for my own chances of making it as a writer. (Still working on that one!)

Even though The Saga of Darren Shan was clearly aimed at 12 year old boys, I really enjoyed it. He’s not afraid to use violence and gore and most of all they were a new, fun take on the Vampire myth.

But I didn’t completely fall in love until I read Procession of the Dead, Shan first book -and the first in the City Trilogy – aimed at adults.

3040004
Procession of the Dead is a dark and twisted, gritty urban fantasy and one of my favourite books of all time. (Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the other two quite as much – still worth a read though!)

Young, quick-witted, and cocksure, Capac Raimi arrives in the City determined to make his mark in a world of sweet, sinister sin. He finds the City is a place of exotic dangers: a legendary assassin with snakes tattooed on his face who moves like smoke, blind Incan priests whom no one seems to see, a kingpin who plays with puppets, and friends who mysteriously disappear as though they never existed. Then Capac crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever.
The Cardinal is the City, and the City is The Cardinal. They are joined at the soul. Nothing moves on the streets, or below them, without The Cardinal’s knowledge. His rule is absolute.
When Capac discovers how deeply The Cardinal has influenced his life, he is faced with hard choices that conflict with his soaring ambition. To find his way, Capac must know himself and what he is capable of. But how can you trust yourself when you can’t remember your past?

Since then, Shan has released one other adult book, Lady of the Shades (which I loved) but has mainly returned to his Kids’ series.

His latest offering is the 12 book series Zom-B, about a Zombie outbreak in Ireland where B Smith is learning to deal with a racist dad as well as a whole lot of zombies. The fifth installment, Zom-B Baby has just been released, only a year after the first book was.

I’ve just finished Zom-B Underground (Zom-B #2). Can’t keep up, yeah.

15716836

Waking up in a military complex, months after zombies attacked school, B has no memory of the last few months. Life in the UK has turned tough since the outbreak, and B is woven into life- and battle- in the new military regime quickly. But as B learns more about the zombies held in the complex and the scientists keeping them captive, unease settles in. Why exactly was B saved? And is there anyone left in the world to trust?

I’m sure I would have loved these books if I’d read them when I was 13, as opposed to 30 (almost- ahhhh!) but they just don’t have enough substance to them to keep me wanting more these days. I liked the end of Zom-B #1 as it had a pretty good twist which is why I picked this one up too, but I don’t think I’ll be carrying on with the series.

There are definitely things to like here such as good action/violence which I’m sure will be a hit with younger audiences, and the turmoil B faces in trying to peel away the racist traits that have seeped into her from her father. But they are just too short. I feel like this whole series of 12 books should actually just be a trilogy or something, instead of these little snippets of stories.

So I think I’ll leave these to the kids and wait patiently for another adult offering from Darren Shan, Master of Horror.

Stalk Darren:
Website
Twitter

The Eagle has Landed! Shiny New Reads

Got the BEST post a few days ago. Just having trouble finding a home for them! More shelves needed!

Sept 2013 008

Sept 2013 010

Most of these are for Horror October, can’t wait!

HORROROCT2

Doctor Sleep – Stephen King

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Horror October 2013!

HORROROCT2

Next month will be dedicated (of course) to the spooky, the creepy, the gory and the downright terrifying! I have quite a few books lined up so depending on how much I get through it may even spill over to November. I do love a good horror!*

Coming Up:

PicMonkey CollageUPDATED

Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) – Stephen King
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black
The Wolves of Midwinter (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #2) – Anne Rice
The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick
Human Remains – Elizabeth Haynes
Zom-B Underground (Zom-b #2) – Darren Shan
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

* They are not exactly all ‘Horrors’

I’ll also be spotlighting my Favourite Freaky Reads and Films, discussing the weird and wonderful things I love (and probably hate) about the horror genre, and maybe even visiting some Graveyards. So watch this space.

Are you a Horror Fan? Get Involved: What to you think I should read first? Do you have a favourite on the list above? Want to discuss or rant about something Horror/Halloween related? I’m always up for guests posts. Get in touch!

xxLipsyxx