Horror October 2017: Week 1 Wrap-Up #HO17

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Well, that’s week 1 of my horror-themed month over and done with. It was a great week!
If you missed anything, do not fret, here is a handy summary.

Horror October Week 1

 

Welcome to Horror October 2017 (coming up)

Flash Fiction Battle:

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Vote now!

Story Prompt Revealed

 

30 Days of Horror:

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Day #1: The Last Days of Jack Sparks

Day #2: The Dark Net

Day #3: Under the Dome

Day #4: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

Day #5: A Head Full of Ghosts

Day #6: The Crow Girl

 

Revisiting Self-made Man by Poppy Z. Brite

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This Week in Books 04.10.17

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Mother! Film Review

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Posts from around the blogosphere

Zombie Books Giveaway & Interview with Author: TD Ricketts – Dab of Darkness

Ghosts: A Short Story – Marie McWilliams.com

Blog Tour: Black Bird of the Gallows – Between the Pages

Halloween Read-A-Thon – Wonderless Reviews

October Fright: Seven Scary Fun TV Shows – A Kernel of nonsense

Mother! What the Hell was that all about? #FilmReview #Movies #HO17

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I don’t usually feel the urge to write movie reviews, even though I go to the cinema about once  week. After seeing this film, however, I really felt like I had to write down my thoughts because I couldn’t figure out what my thoughts were! It was one strange film.

Did I enjoy it? Not sure. Did I understand it? Probably not!

I went into this film not knowing anything about it other than seeing the trailer, and at the time of writing this, I had not read anything about it either…so were my theories correct? Read on…

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Summary: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. [Certificate 18, 2 hr 1 min running time]
Genres: Mystery; Horror; Drama

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Darren Aronofsky

When I was working in pubs and first started getting manager shifts I started having these awful stress-dreams where people simply refused to leave at the end of the night (turns out this is a common thing in the trade). I’d go around the pub telling each group of customers that drinking time was up and they had to leave, but no one would move. I’d lock one door but more people would come through a side door and I couldn’t stop them. They would be crowding around the bar shouting for drinks and start trashing the place. AND NEVER LEAVE.

That’s exactly what watching this film was like. It was exhausting, claustrophobic, and stressful (especially for someone like me who finds people tiring at the best of times – not least when they show up uninvited and then won’t leave).

Being an Aronofsky film (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), I knew mother! would be a bit doo-lally, but woah. I didn’t expect that amount of craziness. On the surface it seems like a confused, badly-written film, but surely there’s more to it!?

At first glance it’s a home invasion story where these bizarre, audacious people keep turning up at the house Jennifer Lawrence’s character (yep none of the characters have proper names, just to add to the pretension of it all)  has built from scratch.  And when they finally outstay their welcome, they refuse to leave. This gives way to the marital breakdown part of the story where the young wife (still Lawrence) will always love the older husband (Javier Bardem’s ‘Him’) more than he loves her, no matter how hard she tries. And then there’s the real horror element which is a sort of creepy living house vibe, where stains grow by themselves and walls have heartbeats. Weird.

As the film surpassed the half-way mark, it got pretty disturbingly bizarre and increasingly fantastical. It’s one of those films that you hope has a point that you’re not quite grasping, because without a point, it seems pretty terrible.

But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t look away, even though I wanted to. A lot.

As I said at the beginning, I’ve not read any of the reviews of interviews, so I only have my own thoughts to go on, and for what it’s worth, I came up with the following theories:

1. Aronofsky is trying to represent the hormonal, emotional and physical turmoil of pregnancy. Was the whole thing a metaphor for JL’s pregnancy-induced paranoia of never being good enough?

2. Or, it is a representation of the ego of mankind. Those who feed off the goodness of others, whom take everything and give nothing. I think I like this theory the most.

(On a side note, it could also be a dig at celebrity culture – those who crave constant attention and out-pourings of love and admiration?)

3. It is a political/ecological lesson about overpopulation, inhumanity, and environmental destruction.

It’s possible the writer/director was trying to say all of these things and that’s why it was so mad. No doubt everyone who sees it will have their own theories as well, so I think the film was a success on that level. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the need to actively find the meaning behind a film or story. And the more I think about what it could all mean, the less ridiculous the film seems. Taken at face value though, it is just that – ridiculous.

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***Update: I have since read some reviews and interviews about what the hell was going on here and it turns out my theories weren’t quite what Aronofsky had in mind. But I don’t think I was that far off! This Telegraph article explains all (and has ALL THE SPOILERS FYI)

Did you see Mother! ? What did you make of it?

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.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Back to the Movies #TTT #90sMovies

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is… All about the movies. 

There was quite a few suggestions for the movie theme this week and one of them was 90s movies. I was an 80s baby and a 90s t(w)een so naturally 90s movies are full of childhood nostalgia for me.

So without further ado, here are my top ten 90s movies (that everyone should watch)! In no particular order…

  • The Craft
  • Clueless
  • Scream
  • Home Alone
  • An Interview with a Vampire
  • Speed
  • Pretty Woman
  • 10 Things I Hate about You
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Terminator 2

 

Bonus Round: Not quite the 90s…

These were staples of my childhood, and I still love to watch them now! Let’s face it, 80s films were also pretty awesome. I’ll have to do a separate post for them at the some point.

  • E.T
  • The Goonies
  • Labyrinth
  • The Karate Kid

What would have made your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Horror Duos I’d LOVE To See Collaborate

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together.

I will of course, be doing a Horror October twist on this week’s theme and will be pairing duos from the horror genre, be it authors, screen-writers or directors.

I find the horror genre quite unique in that horror writers often have their own, distinctive style, and horror directors are often auteurs, more so than in other genres I think. And so the idea of pairing two together is really interesting to me. Some of these combos would blow my mind!

What if Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson wrote a book together?

screamWes Craven (RIP) was an innovator of horror. He wrote and directed iconic films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, and is perhaps less well known as the author of one novel (Fountain Society) and a series of comics (Coming of Rage).

Kevin Williamson worked with Craven for the first time on Scream. Craven directed, and Williamson wrote the screenplay, it was a match made in heaven. Wes gave us a new, outrageous villian(s) and Williamson brought his teen realness to the party…now imagine that in a YA horror novel! WANT.

What if Edgar Allan Poe and Marcus Sedgwick wrote a detective story together?

autumn1-poeSedgwick has turned his hand to Gothic horror, science fiction, and contemporary YA to name but a few, but never a detective story (to my knowledge). I think his style would really suit a dark, strange mystery in the style of Edgar Allan Poe. I would love to read a collaboration between the two – not that than can happen. 😦

What if Stephen King and Dean Koontz joined forces?

Two of the most prolific horror writers collaborating? Now that is something I’d like to read!

What if Darren Shan met Valkyrie Cain?

valkyrieDarren Shan’s The Saga of Darren Shan, and Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant are two of my favourite series for older children. I think Darren Shan (the character) would fit into Valkyrie and Skulduggery’s lives quite well. It would make for an interesting adventure…and maybe some romance…?

What if Neil Jordan adapted all the great Vampire books into movies?

Now, I’m famously not a fan of my favourite books being turned into movies, but Neil Jordan has a good track record. I love his take on vampires.

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Jordan directed Anne Rice’s dark and delicious Interview with a Vampire, a nigh on perfect adaptation I’d say. And then there was 2012’s Byzantium, a completely overlooked, blinder of a film.

I would love to see Jordan adapt the Vampire Academy books, because quite frankly, the first attempt was just diabolical. Or how about Robin McKinley’s Sunshine? Now there is a book that would work beautifully in Jordan’s style.

What if Joss Whedon and Clive Barker worked together?

I have no idea what they would produce but Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, co-writer of The Cabin in the Woods, and director of Marvel’s Avengers, and Clive Barker, creator of Hellraiser and Nightbreed could make for a very interesting, completely batshit collaboration, non? I can live in hope.

That’s all I’ve got this week. I want to go and watch all my favourite horror films now. All at once.

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #9

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

So, what’s been going on this past fortnight…

Good TV: It’s almost that time of year again when the days get shorter, (and colder) and we all start to hibernate a little bit. But do not fret, it’s also the time of year where TV gets good. I have my eyes on a few new shows which I’ll be posting about soon. YES! I love Autumn & Winter.

Sober September: I’m over the half-way mark and still going strong. But to say I’d like a large glass of wine right now would be the understatement of the year.

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Taasky: Like making to do lists? I do! Last week, I found this great app which manages all your to do lists and it is a REVELATION. I love it. Before, I was just using the standard notes and calendar iPhone apps to do all that stuff, but this is easier and more satisfying. Geek Love!

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How? (Part 1): Last week Keanu Reeves was 50. FIFTY. How is that even possible (Insert ‘I feel so old’ wails here). Not that his age actually matters because he’s clearly Immortal.

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Work Woes: I got some pretty bad news at work which has led me to look for a new job. After just two evenings of job hunting I want to dip my head in acid. I’m already feeling the strain of trying to fit in looking for a job and writing this blog, but I’ll do my best to maintain it. Anyone want to hire me? I’m really great, honest!?

How? (Part 2): Does it put you off blogs when they claim to read 25 books a month? Because it does me. I don’t see how anyone can read 25 books in a month, even YA books. Do they skim read (the idea of that makes me sad)? Even if I wasn’t working…no, even if I was bed-ridden with no visitors I don’t think I’d read close to that many. It really makes me wonder about the quality of their reviews too. If you’re one of these people, please don’t be offended…but do tell me how you do it…

Under the Dome: I started watching the second series and I’m not enjoying it at all. I mean, granted it’s been a while since I read the book so I can’t remember all the ins and outs, but who are all the new characters they’ve introduced? Have they just completely made them up? Did they do the entire book in the first series?…I can’t remember how it ended to be fair.

The Guest: I went to see The Guest last week and it was not what I expected at all, but really good. It took me a while to figure out the guy is that one off’of Downton Abbey – man, us Brits gets around a lot these days don’t we!? But yeah, it was good. I loved the 80’s prom slasher-film vibe towards the end.

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I guess this week it was mainly not so bookish thoughts, but there you go!

What about you guys?

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #6

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts so there should be lots to talk about but….

1. Why is it that every time I come to write this post I completely forget about all the things I wanted say? It’s like a curse. I even leave links to things I wanted to mention in a draft post, but by the time I come to write it, I’ve forgotten what I had to say about it. Must try harder.

2. Does anyone remember Jim Henson’s The Storyteller? I loved it so much. My memory of it was jogged because it’s being made into a graphic novel and it looks stunning. I’m kind of on a graphic novel kick since Comic Con a few weekends back. But more on that later.

Archaia, the official publisher of Jim Henson comics and graphic novels, is launching a new comics miniseries based on one of Henson’s franchises. The Storyteller: Witches will focus on different folk tales just like the television series from the late ’80s. The Storyteller featured a narrator sitting in a cozy chair by the fireplace; he told viewers about magical creatures and happenings. As the Storyteller wove his tales, you watched them come to life before your eyes.

More info and photos here!

3. How have I only just discovered Gay of Thrones?????. It’s brilliant.


 
4. I was thinking about publisher websites the other day. I rarely go on them and wonder if maybe I should? I know some publishers have their own reading groups and forums, and some seem to have their own reading services for bloggers. I only really use NetGalley, but now I’m starting to think maybe I’m missing out..Am I…AM I?

5. Two really good things (and one potentially bad thing) came out of my weekend spent at the first YA Lit Convention (YALC) which took place at London Comic Con a couple of weeks ago:

5.1 It definitely seemed to start a buzz about YA in this country and hopefully the genre will continue to go from strength to strength and maybe even gain some credibility – stranger things have happened.

In the News:
The Guardian – Why You Should YA

The Telegraph – YALC Review

Grown-Ups: You can read YA!

5.2. It inspired me to dust off my unfinished YA manuscript which I’ve been ‘working’ on for YEARS. I hadn’t even looked at it for about 18 months, and it was pretty much as bad as I feared, but I’m enjoying the puzzle that is a complete rewrite. For now!

5.3. My slight obsession over Peter Petrelli Milo ventimiglia has come back with a vengeance after seeing him in all his bearded glory at Comic Con. My friend Dora and I had a film night at the weekend consisting of the classic that is Pathology (hot) and this HILARIOUSLY bad Hammer Horror-esque vampire porn. Hello.


 
My review of YALC and LFCC can be found here: Part 1 / Part 2

6. I went to see Begin Again, the new Kiera Knightley film and I actually quite liked it (the trailer looked pretty awful). There’s just something I love about films about musicians. Maybe it’s because I wish I was musical, but I’m so far from it – I barely know what an instrument is. I quite like music-based books too and found this list of YA Music-Based Books on MTV.com the other day. Oh look, my wishlist just expanded.

7. I’ve been back on a healthy eating & more exercise mission the last few weeks. It’s going pretty well. I made THE best tuna burgers the other day. Seriously, THE BEST!

8. I’m kinda over the summer already. I want it to be Winter. I love Winter! I want cosy nights in, hot chocolate, mulled wine and fairy lights, and I want it now. I’m sick of getting sunburnt, I’m sick of hayfever and my constantly itchy face and I got biten all over my legs the other weekend so I’ve had to cover them up. It’s too hot for that. Roll on Christmas.

9. I can’t shake the idea of moving somewhere new. I’ve been wanting to do it for ages but it’s hard to know where to start. I think I need a new adventure.

10. I’ve been using Pinterest for a while and I really like it. It took me a while to figure out what the point of it was, but I think I have now. I’ve started using it to post about my blog too, not many seem to do it, and I wonder why…

Well, that’s what’s been on my mind lately. You should join the fun and tell us what’s on yours!