This Week in Books 07.11.18 #TWIB

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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.

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

I got struck down with The Lurgh last week and had to have a day & 1/2 off work. Still feeling a bit ropey but on the mend. On the plus side, I got through quite a few books. Hurrah!

Here’s what I’ve been reading…

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NOW:  So I’ve been on a bit of a books about books kick lately as you can see. They are all books that were mentioned in The Diary of a Bookseller, so I reserved them from the library. Obviously, they all came in at the same time.

The one I’m reading right now is The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell. I’m about 60 pages in and already have a list of about 20 bookshops I need to visit before I die. Most of them are in Scotland. What a chore that will be…

THEN: The last one I finished was the culprit: The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. I loved it. It’s a great insight into running a bookshop, the trials and tribulations of working with the often strange general public, and all told with Bythell’s grumpy dark humour. I need to visit Wigtown right now!

The next one that came in was Jen Campbell’s Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops which is a super quick read of short anecdotes (I read it in about 20 mins). It was fun, and I can definitely relate from working in libraries (‘I’m looking for a book I saw the other day, but I can’t remember the title, or who it’s by. But it was green. Do you have it?). 

I need to stop reading these books because I’m becoming more and more obsessed with the idea of opening a bookshop. I have no money to open a bookshop. 

NEXT:  I really need to take a break from bookshop books. Maybe I’ll try Painless again which I didn’t really give a chance to last week

 

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below, or why not join in and publish a TWIB post of your own. Leave the link to your post and I’ll come take a look.

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Top Films to Watch on Netflix UK This Halloween: Part 2. #HorrorOctober

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If you missed part one of this post, you can check it out here

5. Malevolent (2018)

I watched this last night and was very pleasantly surprised. It was great! I didn’t expect it to be British either.

Florence Pugh in Malevolent (2018)Siblings Jackson and Angela run a profitable ghostbusting racket; swindling the bereaved with fake detection equipment and Angela’s paranormal ‘visions’. Hired to investigate a haunted old foster home, the team uncover its terrifying past: young girls brutally slaughtered, mouths stitched shut; silenced by a sadistic killer. And Angela’s on the edge – sleepless, strung out and losing her mind, no longer certain what’s actually real; convinced she hears the girls crying out to her from the darkness… But supernatural terrors are the least of their problems when they discover the very real evil lurking in the isolated house.

 

Director:  Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (as Olaf De Fleur)
Writers: Ben Ketai (screenplay by), Eva Konstantopoulos (screenplay by)
Stars: Florence Pugh, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Scott Chambers

6. Family Blood (2018)

Family Blood is an interesting film as far as modern vampire movies go. They’ve sort of fallen out of fashion haven’t they!? I wouldn’t say this is an amazing film, but I enjoyed it. It’s a good one to watch if you’re not big on being scared but want to get in the Halloween mood.

Vinessa Shaw in Family Blood (2018)

Ellie, a recovering drug addict, has just moved to a new city with her two teenage children. She has struggled to stay sober in the past and is determined to make it work this time, finding a stable job and regularly attending her meetings. Unfortunately, new friends, a new job, and the chance of a new life, can’t keep Ellie from slipping once again. Her life changes when she meets Christopher – a different kind of addict – which forces her daughter and son to accept a new version of Ellie.

 

Director: Sonny Mallhi
Writers:
Nick Savvides, Sonny Mallhi
Stars:
Vinessa Shaw, James Ransone, Colin Ford

7. Cabin in the Woods (2012)

OK, so this probably featured on my list last year too, but it’s just so good!

The Cabin in the Woods Poster

Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

 
Director: Drew Goddard

Writers: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard

Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison

8. From Beyond (1986)

80s movies are a guilty pleasure of mine. This is a bit of a cheat though because I don’t think I’ve actually seen it. It’s bound to be an all-out gore/laughter-fest though, right!?

From Beyond PosterA group of scientists have developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. But when the experiment succeeds, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms.

 
Director: Stuart Gordon

Writers: H.P. Lovecraft (short story), Brian Yuzna (adaptation)

Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ted Sore

9. Hostel (2005)

Hostel got quite a poor reception when it came out (at least here in the UK) but I loved it. Gore, organised crime, and lots and lots of torture. What’s not to like? I wouldn’t bother with the sequels though, if I were you. SAVE YOURSELVES.

Hostel PosterThree backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.

 
Director: Eli Roth
Writer: Eli Roth
Stars: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson

 

10. Carrie (1976)

An oldie but a goody! If you only watch one horror film this Halloween, then it may as well be a classic. I didn’t actually mind the remake either, but the original always wins out.

Carrie Poster

Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

 

 
Director: Brian De Palma
Writers: Stephen King (novel), Lawrence D. Cohen (screenplay)
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving

Happy Halloween Blog Friends!

This Week in Books- Horror October Edition #TWIB

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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.

Happy Wednesday, Everyone, and perhaps more importantly, happy Halloween!

As you may have noticed, Horror October this year has been a tad sparse – soz. But I have read a few good books over the month.

Here’s what I got up to last week…

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NOW: I’ve just started Painless by Marty Thornley so not much to report there. I’m also dipping in and out of a new collection of Frankenstein stories. Bit miss and miss so far. 

THEN: I finished Hark! the Herald Angels Screams a collection of Christmas themed, horror short stories, which I loved. 5 stars from me. My review is here. Before that I finished Kill Creek, and The Life we Bury, which wasn’t technically a horror, but certainly had dark elements. I’m yet to review that one. 

NEXT: After Painless, and the Frankenstein collection I’ll probably have a break and read something “nice”. 🙂

 

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below, or why not join in and publish a TWIB post of your own. Leave the link to your post and I’ll come take a look.

Horror October: Hark! The Herald Angels Scream #BookReview #ShortStoryAnthology

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Hark! The Herald Angels Scream // Christopher Golden (Editor) // October 23rd 2018 // Anchor Books // Goodreads

A collection of Christmas-themed horror stories!? What could be better! It’s like ordering two desserts. You know it’s in no way good for you, but you just want to do it anyway. 

You could be forgiven for dismissing this book based on the cover. It screams cheap and nasty, doesn’t it? But rest assured, the contents of this book are total class. There’s a mix of established horror/paranormal writers and some new names (well, to me anyway), and I was pleasantly surprised by every single one of them.

There’s a terrifying home invasion story to kick us off, a very, very, weird babysitter, a potty-mouthed robot dog and a haunted hotel room to name but a few story-lines, and they’re all fun and creepy in very different ways. 

The one that stood out the most to me was Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski – a writer that was new to me. It’s a creepy-ass tale about a desperate man who plans to rob an old pawn/antiques shop. When he breaks in, the lady who owns it and lives above, catches him in the act and invites him upstairs. Now, this isn’t quite the tale of revenge it seems to be. Without ruining it too much for you, it involves a stuffed toy, with teeth, who just wants to be loved. So wrong, but so good!

Usually when reading anthologies, I end up skipping some of the stories, and I fully expected to do that here too, but there honestly wasn’t a dud story amongst them, and each one made me want to finish it from the off. Golden has done a great job in selecting these. If you like horror, and you like (or hate, actually) Christmas, then this is the book for you!

I feel well and truly in the spirit now. I’m just not sure if it’s for Halloween or Christmas! Oh let’s face it, it’s both!!!

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Horror October: Kill Creek by Scott Thomas #BookReview #HalloweenReads

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Kill Creek // Scott Thomas // October 2017 // Inkshares // Goodreads

Kill Creek has been on my Horror October TBR list for two years running so I’m glad to have finally gotten round to it. I thought it would be a classic haunted house story, and in a way it was, but it was also so different to what I was expecting.

In this perfect-for-Halloween read, four famous horror writers are invited to an infamous haunted house for an unconventional all-night interview  with controversial online journalist Wainwright, in what seems to be an homage to the classic film House on a Haunted Hill. But really, that’s where the similarities end.

After a lot of bickering, some ruffled feathers, and classic haunted house hi-jinks, the writers survive the night and go home. The End. Not reeeeeally. I mean they do head home, but the story is far from over.

I felt like this major twist on the classic haunted house tropes was a double-edged sword. On one hand I thought it was genius as it was the last thing I was expecting, but on the other, I felt deflated. I wanted the predictable people Vs the house story. It had been set us as such and I felt cheated.

However, that’s just me being petulant. What followed was a story in itself, one that felt new and while it held my interest, I did think it could have been condensed slightly.

Overall, Kill Creek was a surprising take on the genre, one that is certainly in need of a bit of a shake up, so I applaud Thomas for that. It’s a perfect read for All Hallow’s Eve.   

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Horror October: Spine Chillers & The Birds #Review #RadioPlays

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Welcome to Horror October 2018!

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I only recently started listening to audio-books.  I find their success very dependent on the narrator, but on the whole I like the medium as it enables me to get through some ‘reading’ whilst doing other things, which is pretty much necessary these days.

I was looking for some Horror-October suitable audios on my app when I came across two which caught my eye, and weirdly they are both turned out to be BBC radio plays, something I haven’t really listened to before either. 

The first one I listened to was Spine Chillers, a collection of ghost stories by M.R James.

spinechillers

I’ve read some of James’ ghost stories before and quite enjoyed them so I thought this would be a great thing to listen to on an Autumn afternoon walk in the woods.

Unfortunately, because I was walking, I don’t think I was able to give it my full attention, and to be honest I found it quite difficult to figure out where one story ended and another began. 

What I did really enjoy was the actual  radio dramatisation aspect. The sound effects were great; there’s a lovely nostalgia in hearing the wind howl, and a window smash and picturing someone in a sound studio surrounded by props. 

It might be obvious to some, but I was surprised at just how different to an audio-book it was. 

“In ‘Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’, Professor Parkins embarks on a terrifying journey of discovery after he removes a curious artefact from the ruins of a Templar preceptory; while ‘The Tractate Middoth’ sees diligent curator David Garrett caught up in the machinations of the mysterious Dr Rant when he’s sent to retrieve an obscure manuscript from the library stacks. ‘Lost Hearts’ tells of a young boy haunted by two ghostly children, and in ‘The Rose Garden’, terrifying forces are unleashed when the Goodmans tear down their old summer house. Finally, ‘Number 13’ takes us to the Danish town of Viborg, where Dr Anderson puts himself in terrible danger as he investigates why the hotel he’s staying at does not contain a room 13.” – Goodreads

The Tractate Middoth was my favourite of the stories, unsurprisingly as it’s about a library LOL, but not particularly spooky. The Rose Garden did provide some welcome creepy moments however. 

All of these tales are family-friendly, and would make a really nice alternative to watching a spooky film on Halloween. Gather around a fire with a hot drink and enjoy a ghost story or two, but don’t expect to be scared…unless you have a very low horror threshold.

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The second one I picked was a dramatisation of Daphne Du Maurier’s The Birds.

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I’m most familiar with the Hitchcock film – an absolute classic – but I did know a bit about the original story too, although I’ve never read it.

This was a different experience than the James collection altogether. The Birds gripped me from the get-go, and although one of the actors had a really piercing, irritating voice (sorry, but ow! My ears.!) it was great!

The tension builds very slowly, and is helped by the fact that the father is a bird-lover and at first reluctant to believe that the birds are dangerous, but of course, we know that they’re deadly.

The sound effects in this were great too, it added to the suspense and terror perfectly. A great listen for Halloween.

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Ten Films to Watch on Netflix UK This Halloween: Part 1 #HO18

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1. The Boy (2016)

theboy

An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.

 

The Boy might have a ridiculous premise, but if you’re anything like me and hate dolls, you’ll find this gloriously creepy, and it’s a really well done, if not silly, horror.

Scare Factor: 4     Creep Factor: 10

 

2. The Open House (2018)

openhouse

A teenager and his mother find themselves besieged by threatening forces when they move into a temporary house which is actually for sale and has open Sundays.

DirectorsMatt AngelSuzanne Coote

Writers: Matt AngelSuzanne Coote

This was actually much better than I was expecting. There’s definitely something creepy about having strangers in your house, especially when you suspect that they may not have actually left…

Scare Factor: 6                        Creep Factor: 5

 

3. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

autopsy

A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harbouring dark secrets.

StarsBrian CoxEmile HirschOphelia Lovibond

Autopsy is a hidden gem. I feel like it definitely deserves more exposure than it’s been given.

 

Scare Factor: 7           Creep Factor: 7

 

4. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

ispitA writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.

Director: Steven R. Monroe

Writers: Adam Rockoff (screenplay) (as Stuart Morse), Meir Zarchi (based on the film by)

If you haven’t seen the original, then watch that instead, but it’s sadly not on Netflix. This remake isn’t half bad though and gives you a good taster of one of the most classic stories of revenge ever told on screen.

Scare factor: 8                             Creep Factor: 4

5. The Awakening (2011)

awakening

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves.

DirectorNick Murphy

Writers: Stephen Volk (screenplay), Nick Murphy (screenplay)

Stars: Rebecca HallDominic WestImelda Staunton 

It’s been a while since I saw this but I remember it being much better than I was expecting. Some genuine scares and many potential jump scares.

Scare Factor: 7            Creep Factor: 7

While we’re talking about Netflix, has anyone watched The Haunting on Hill House yet? Thoughts? I watched the first episode and didn’t enjoy it at all. Do I need to give it a chance?