This Week in Books 02.11.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Greetings! Well, it’s back to business as usual after another hectic but wonderful Horror October. I still have a couple of reviews to post, but I’m taking it easy this week. I need a little resty….Here’s what I’ve been reading anyhoo…

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Now:  Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky ~ Holly Martin // The Enchanted ~ Rene Denfeld

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky is the perfect light and fluffy read I needed after all that horror. I’m enjoying it a lot, and very happy that I chose it as my first festive read. I started The Enchanted before Horror October but had to put it away for a while so I’ll start on that one again too. It’s about a guy on death row who sees his world in a very interesting way. 

Then:  Hunter of the Dead ~ Stephen Kozeniewski // Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs

I really enjoyed vampire novel Hunter of the Dead and my review will be up ASAP. Miss Peregrine was just OK. I’ll probably do a ‘Lazy Saturday’ review for it, but like I said, I’m taking it easy this week. 

Next: ??? 

It’s back to regular old ARCs. I have quite a few to catch up on but i think I’ll choose either The Witches of New York by Ami McKay, or Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick.

 

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

It was the cover that first drew me to this, but it sounds great too. I always meant to watch the TV show The Pinkertons but missed it. I’m sure this book will better anyway 😉 

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For the first female Pinkerton detective, respect is hard to come by. Danger, however, is not.

In the tumultuous years of the Civil War, the streets of Chicago offer a woman mostly danger and ruin-unless that woman is Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective and a desperate widow with a knack for manipulation.

Descending into undercover operations, Kate is able to infiltrate the seedy side of the city in ways her fellow detectives can’t. She’s a seductress, an exotic foreign medium, or a rich train passenger, all depending on the day and the robber, thief, or murderer she’s been assigned to nab.

Inspired by the real story of Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective’s rise during one of the nation’s greatest times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.

Expected publication: March 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Landmark

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

Bought: I finally got round to buying Six Of Crows. I haven’t read the last book in the Grisha trilogy yet though so I’m not sure if I should wait to read that first…!?

sixofcrowsKetterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Borrowed: 

My friend Dora lent me The Rest of us Just Live Here. We  love Patrick Ness and I’m told this is another good one from him! Looking forward to finally reading it.

therestofusWhat if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

 

Horror October: Week 4 #WeeklyRoundUp #HorrorOctober

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The last full week of Horror October has come to an end, and what a week it’s been! Here’s a handy summary in case you missed anything. Wouldn’t want that would we!? (Titles link to the posts)

Horror October Week 4 (22nd – 29th)

 

Poppy Z Brite Spotlight & Review

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Top Ten Tuesday: Spooky Picture Books

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This Week in Books 26.10.16

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Review: The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill

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10 Films on Netflix UK to Watch This Halloween Weekend

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Flash Fiction Battle: I Now Crown You…(Results)

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Posts from around the blogosphere

 

Halloween Picks! – This Kid Reviews Books

Movie Review: The Ring – Vinnieh

Review: The Haunting of Hill House – SFF Book Reviews

Review: The Creeper Man – Wonderless Reviews

10 of the Best Gothic Poems for Halloween – Interesting Literature

Samhain, Feast of the Dead – Fabulous Realms

Still to come… Horror October: The Finale – The Top 5 of Everything Horror with Jason Arnopp

#HorrorOctober Week 3 Round-Up

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It’s been another busy week of bloody blogging – only 1 week to go! – so here’s a handy summary in case you missed anything. Wouldn’t want that would we!? (Titles link to the posts)

Horror October Week 3 (15th – 21st)

 

Review: Reckless ~ Cornelia Funke

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Flash Fiction Battle:

Entry #1: The Secret of the Basement

Entry #2: Come in Here

Entry #3: The Quiet Life

Entry #4: Wake Up Mommy

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This Week in Books 19.10.16

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Spotlight: In the Service of the Boyar by Jason Graff

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Posts from around the blogosphere

Short Story Review: Getting it Wrong by Ramsey Campbell – Bibliobeth

How to Survive a Horror Story – A Kernel of Nonsense

Halloween Book Recommendations – The Book Addicts Guide

Review: Goosebumps Series – Aussie Owned and Read

How Horror Fiction Can Make us Better Writers – Warrior Writers

Spooky Mint Mint Millionaires Shortbread Recipe – Claire Huston

Flash Fiction Battle: The Quiet Life by Stephen Kozeniewski #HorrorOctober

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Welcome to to Horror October 2016’s main event: The Flash Fiction Battle

At the beginning of the month, you voted in your masses for your favourite horror story prompt, and the time has come for the participating horror writers (see above) to battle it out for the title of King or Queen of Horror (October)!  The winning prompt was ‘3 AM. Full Dark. One Sound’, and the only rule was a 1000 word limit.

You will be able to vote for your favourite story, but not until all the entries have been published (by the end of this week). 

The Quiet Life

Author: Stephen Kozeniewski
Word Count: 926
Blurb:  What could possess a couple to cut out their own tongues?

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My tongue sits in a Mason jar on my nightstand, suspended in denatured alcohol.

Do you think that makes me morbid? Grotesque?

Perhaps. I prefer to think it makes me sentimental. After all, he was an unwilling victim of circumstance.

I couldn’t keep him. The human voice is irresistible to them. Like a pheromone. It draws them. The creatures are strangely reliant on the sense of hearing, even to the detriment of all other senses. I’ve often seen them prowling the grounds at night. But they never try to come in the house. To them, the door may as well be an impassable mountain.

When they hear human speech, though, my God, it’s like they’re miniature tornadoes, destroying everything in their paths. It happened to the Martins across the street. This was after we’d all learned to stay silent. But the stillness must have been driving Ted Martin out of his wits. He made the mistake of playing a song.

It was Elvis singing, not Ted, but that didn’t matter to the invaders. As soon as the King’s voice was on the wind the creatures couldn’t flood the Martin household fast enough. They burrowed through brick, wood, and glass with equal vigor, a chitinous tide rolling in.

So we must do without music or television. Even a single errant noise, crying out after hitting your hand with a hammer and they’ll come.

Watching what happened to the Martins was what finally made me walk downstairs, take the scissors from the sewing nook, and hack out my own tongue. It seemed to take hours, longer because I had to suppress my cries of pain. Just scissoring and scissoring away, choking back the blood as it filled my mouth.

After a while I saw Grace had been watching me. She was sitting in the corner, her head hung like a schoolgirl’s. She’s a large girl. Obese, I guess you might say. I don’t find her especially attractive, but we’ve been sleeping together quite a bit. Mostly just to stave off the boredom.

I’d never even seen her before when this all began nine months ago. That was back when there was still panic in the streets and no one understood what drove the creatures. She turned up on my doorstep seeking refuge. Not really knowing what else to do I’d let her in. She’d been the one to suggest that we try not talking.

She has a terrible stutter and rarely opens her mouth out of fear of embarrassment. She had taken note that her habitual silence had made her all but invisible to the creatures. She’d shared the secret with me full days before the news had suggested it. But by then, of course, most everyone was already gone and of those who remained few of us had the discipline to sit silently in our homes for the rest of our lives.

Then the Martins died, and I cut my tongue out. I was standing there with the bloody scissors and Grace just stuck her out her own tongue and closed her eyes, waiting for me to do it for her. Even with her stutter she didn’t trust herself never to utter another sound.

So now we sit. Day after day. Occasionally reading. Often fucking. We’ve taken to exercising a bit, too, not unlike prison lifting to pass the time. We have conversations on the whiteboard, but neither of us have very much to say. Christ said the meek would inherit the earth. I doubt this is what He meant.

It’s late now. Nearly three o’clock in the morning. With nothing to occupy my mind during the day I’ve become a habitual insomniac. The power went out ages ago and there’s no moon or stars out tonight. I can hear them, chittering away at each other in their own strange language.

In the darkness I’m haunted by memories.

Grace is thumping around in the next room. I wonder if she’s exercising. Perhaps she’s just masturbating. Either way I consider joining her. At least it would take my mind off those damned things.

They start out like black insects, about the size of a fist. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are extraterrestrial, but sometimes I think it’s more likely they originated right here on Earth. How could space bugs have evolved to love the human voice so much?

When they hear you they swarm into your mouth. You can crush one, maybe five. But you can’t escape all of them. The “winner” devours your tongue. I suppose when they finally get me they’ll be denied that little treat, at least. Then it latches onto the stem, turning itself into a nasty little prosthetic tongue.

They must tug on your nerves or else secrete some kind of venom, because once one’s gotten in your mouth you stop acting normal. You just walk around, arms and legs wildly flailing, as though the little bugs are student drivers attempting to drive your body.

I’ve looked into the eyes of people possessed like that. You can see them suffering, unable to control their own bodies or even close their mouths over the invader. A fully conscious meat puppet. If I had more guts I would try to kill them when I see them wandering around the streets below. But I don’t want to draw any attention.

A noise pierces the darkness. How is that possible? Grace is fat enough to hide it, but didn’t she know? Damn. I should have used protection. My newborn baby is crying in the next room.

[Image: http://davescupboard.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/pickled-lambs-tongues.html]

 

About the Author

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Stephen Kozeniewski lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.

Check out the other entries: The Secret of the Basement & Come in Here. Voting begins soon!

What’s your favourite so far? Let’s discuss – leave a comment.

UP NEXT ON HORROR OCTOBER: The final Flash Fic entry

This Week in Books 19.10.2016 #TWIB #HorrorOctober

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Greetings blog friends. It’s been another busy old week in the land of Horror October; Here’s what I’ve been reading…

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Now:  Hunter of the Dead ~ Stephen Kozeniewski // Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs

Hunter of the Dead has started off well, I love Kozeniewski’s comedy-horror b-movie style writing. I also picked up Miss Peregrine as my lunch-time/bus read. I’m struggling to get into it to be honest. 

Then:  The Travelling Bag and other Ghostly Stories ~ Susan Hill

I enjoyed this collection. Review will be up soon. 

Next: ??? 

You know, I don’t even know what I have left on my Horror October list…must check….

OK, short but sweet week. I’m not taking part in Waiting on Wednesday during October because… well, there’s enough going on around here!
 
 

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

UP NEXT ON HORROR OCTOBER: The 2nd entry in the Flash Fiction Battle. Read entry #1 here.

Flash Fiction Battle: The Secret of the Basement by Lily Luchesi #HorrorOctober

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Welcome to to Horror October 2016’s main event: The Flash Fiction Battle

At the beginning of the month, you voted in your masses for your favourite horror story prompt, and the time has come for the participating horror writers (see above) to battle it out for the title of King or Queen of Horror (October)!  The winning prompt was ‘3 AM. Full Dark. One Sound’, and the only rule was a 1000 word limit.

You will be able to vote for your favourite story, but not until all the entries have been published (by the end of this week). 

The Secret Of The Basement

Author: Lily Luchesi
Word Count: 999
Blurb: A deep-seated fear of the basement might not be simple childish mind games one stormy Chicago night…

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When I was a kid, I hated my house’s basement. No matter how many times my father said I was being ridiculous, my mother said I was getting too old for such childishness, and my older brother called me an assortment of cruel names, I never ever went down there. I always said it would take a life or death situation to get me to go down there of my own accord.

Yes, it was a stupid thing for an adult with a high-class scholarship to one of the best schools in the US to think that the boogeyman was living in their basement, but there you have it. Some childhood fears stick with you forever.

I only returned to the house because my mother left it to me in her will, with very specific instructions that I had to stay there until it sold. With a few expletives in my mind, I did my very best to negotiate with her lawyer. I was pre-law, I knew the drill, and I knew there were always loopholes in every contract, even a will.

Not this time. If I didn’t do as she asked, it would go to the state. When I asked why the house wouldn’t go to my brother, the lawyer replied that he had refused it: he’d claimed a vow of poverty and couldn’t accept the house or the land. Sanctimonious bastard.

I sold it, losing out on a hundred grand. That’s how badly I didn’t want it. However, I still had to stay there and take care of everything inside. I figured I’d hold an estate sale and whatever didn’t sell, I’d toss.

Being back home brought back unpleasant memories of my workaholic dad, my alcoholic mom, and my abusive brother. I hated it.

It took me over a week to price everything–most of which was junk–and then I realized, I couldn’t give the city this house without seeing what was in the basement. What if there was something combustible down there? Or valuable?

My fear of the place was still there, buried deep down but there nonetheless. I felt like an imbecile. I went three times all day today, trying to open the doors and get it over with. Each time shaking limbs and a pained stomach stopped me.

I spent the rest of the day and evening berating myself as I watched the sky darken and the usual autumnal thunderstorm roll in, drinking what was left of my mom’s liquor cabinet. I passed out on the living room sofa, only to be woken by a loud crash of thunder. I flew off the couch, frightened, as the power flickered a few times and then went out just in time for me to see the clock read 3AM. I let my cell illuminate the room, not that it did a great job. Looking out the back doors, I saw that the lightning hit a tree in the neighbor’s yard that had fallen partly into my yard.

Sighing, I threw on my hoodie and went outside to be sure there was no damage to the house. Rounding the side, I was relieved when all I saw was a branch sticking into the doors to the basement. Shielding my eyes from the driving rain, I removed the branch, which came apart with a wet crack, taking with it the old, rusted padlock on the doors.

Despite the fear in my gut and the hangover pounding in my head, I figured the Hell with it and threw open the doors, smelling the wet, moldy stench all places like that have after being closed up for years. And there was something else, something cinnamony.

I began my descent, cell phone before me to cast some kind of light into the inky darkness that seemed to be seeping into my bones just like the cold rain was. The stench got worse, a thick wet smell that made me want to gag.

As I went further down, the doors slammed shut behind me and I jumped. Damn wind. Now it was not only pitch dark except for a foot of smartphone light, it was silent like the grave and I shivered.

Take a look around and get the Hell out, I thought as I finished my descent, breathing through my mouth. I fumbled my cell, trying to get the light to stay steady in my trembling hand. Shouldn’t I at least be able to hear the storm?

The silence and darkness combined was too much. I just wanted out. Finally I got my hand to steady and waved my phone from side to side to get a panorama. What I saw made me collapse on the steps behind me.

Corpses. At least a dozen. Men, women, and children, all in various stages of decay, many so old they were mummified, creating that cinnamon stench. Gaping, rotted mouths seemed to smile at me, and empty, rotted eye sockets stared at me, the intruder in the domain of the dead. Flesh was sloughing off the bones of the most recent ones, and I saw a family of maggots in one man’s eyehole.

I wondered how they all got here, many of them were so old they had to have died in the twenties at least. Fear holding me prisoner, I finally had the sense to turn around and scramble up the steps, only to slip on the rainwater.

I felt backwards and barely felt my leg break. Too much adrenaline in my veins. Grabbing my phone, I checked for a signal to dial 911. Nothing. The storm had hit the cell towers.

I tried calling 911 twenty minutes ago, and I’ve been writing this ever since in my Notes app. I’m never getting out of here, but maybe one day they’ll find my body with the others. Why do I say I’m never getting out? Because the heavy silence was broken by one thing just now: the subtle, papery sound of a body shifting.

About the Author

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Lily Luchesi is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series. She grew up in Chicago and now resides in Los Angeles, where she writes horror and erotica stories in between going to concerts and comic book signings.
She loves vampires, classic horror, metal and rock music, anime, the TV show Supernatural, and the color black.
She has also written short stories in the anthologies Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words, Death Love Lust, and Lurking In The Shadows.

You can find her at the following links:

http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi
http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi
http://twitter.com/LilyLuchesi
http://facebook.com/LilyLuchesi
http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi

[Basement Image credit: https://goo.gl/images/4xrvGQ]

 What did you think? Will Lily’s story win your vote?

Leave a comment and start the discussion! 

UP NEXT ON HORROR OCTOBER: This Week in Books followed by entry #2 of the #FlashFictionBattle

The Merciless II by Danielle Vega #HorrorOctober #BookReview

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a6Title: The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores
Author: Danielle Vega
Series: The Merciless #2
Format: Hardback, 320 pages
Publication Details: July 5th 2016 by Razorbill
Genre(s): Horror; YA
Disclosure? Nope I bought it! 

Goodreads 

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Sofia is still processing the horrific truth of what happened when she and three friends performed an exorcism that spiraled horribly out of control. Ever since that night, Sofia has been haunted by bloody and demonic visions. Her therapist says they’re all in her head, but to Sofia they feel chillingly real. She just wants to get out of town, start fresh someplace else . . . until her mother dies suddenly, and Sofia gets her wish.
 
Sofia is sent to St. Mary’s, a creepy Catholic boarding school in Mississippi. There, seemingly everyone is doing penance for something, most of all the mysterious Jude, for whom Sofia can’t help feeling an unshakeable attraction. But when Sofia and Jude confide in each other about their pasts, something flips in him. He becomes convinced that Sofia is possessed by the devil. . . . Is an exorcism the only way to save her eternal soul?

Review

!!Spoilers of book one lie head!!

I have to start this review by referring to the Beautiful-with-a-capital-B cover. The first book was amazing too, with its bright pink, leather-look hardcover and gilt pentagram, but I think I prefer this shiny gold beauty. They really speak to my 15 year-old goth and ‘ooh pretty sparkles’ split personality! 

This sequel begins not long after the horrific events of the first book in which Sofia’s school friends tortured bad girl Brooklyn in an attempt to exorcise the demon out of her, but ended up getting themselves killed in the process. Sofia was the only survivor, and we discover that she is now in therapy to come to terms with that fact there was no demon, just troubled teenagers who made bad choices.

Sofia is still struggling with this and feeling haunted by the past -in particular by Brooklyn who she sees and hears when no one else does – when her mother is killed in a car accident. Cue being sent to a creepy (although I wanted creepier) Catholic Boarding School.

Here Sofia hopes to start afresh. She has seemingly nice dorm-mates, an altar boy to crush over and Sister Lauren to look out for her. But Sofia doesn’t feel herself. She gets jealous of her friends, goes after the out-of-bounds guy and finds her roomies’ clandestine rabbit repulsive when everyone else thinks he’s cute. So naturally, she starts to worry that she’s evil. And unfortunately for her, she’s not the only one who has noticed…

As I’m writing this I’m realising how stupid this book was. The plot was pretty terrible and could have been so much better, and the characters were completely underdeveloped (as they were in the first book), but I can’t deny that I’m entertained by Vega’s stories.

Is it trashy and riddled with clichés? Yes.
Do you care about any of the characters? No.
Was there a great twist? No.
Are you going to remember this book? Doubtful.
But was it thoroughly enjoyable? Yes.

Bizarre, I know. But i still really liked this book. I wanted more from it, but it was such an easy-to-read, infuriatingly enjoyable read in which the pages just flew by. I’m not quite sure how she does it!

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