This Week in Books 06.12.17 #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. 

Hi Everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your December. I’m sorry I’ve not been interacting much of late, I’m finding it a bit hard to get back into the swing of things after having November off and I’m trying not to force myself to do it, you know!? I’m sure the motivation will come back eventually, but at the moment I’m just enjoying reading lots and spending time with friends.

I only have a week and a half left at work THIS YEAR (squeeeeeal), so I’m looking forward to having some time off, and hopefully I’ll feel like catching up on reviews and things then. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading…

Now

 

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The Polar Bear’s Explorer Club ~ Alex Bell

I’ve barely started this so not much to report so far. I’m very excited about it though!

Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .

When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?

Then

 

Carnivalesque ~ Neil Jordan

Norse Mythology ~ Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed both of these, but the Neil Jordan book slightly less so.

Next???

 

I still might give Little Women a go, and I also have Artemis by Andy Weir. But Renegades (see below) also arrived and ahhh need to read nowww!

New on the Shelves

There’s too many to mention since the last time I did this feature (which was back in September!) so I’ll just share what arrived this week, and do a separate post for the others at some point.

I’m so excited about this new Marissa Meyer book. I hope it’s better than Heartless was. Eeeeek.

renegades

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments or leave your link.

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This Week in Books 29.11.17 #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. 

I’ve finally got back into reading after enjoying some time off and lots of TV bingeing. I also missed last week’s post, so I have more books than usual to share, which is nice!

Now:

Carnivalesque ~ Neil Jordan

Norse Mythology ~ Neil Gaiman

Then:

Heir of Locksley ~ N.B Dixon

The Santa Thief ~ Alane Adams

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky ~ Holly Martin

Yuletide Homicide ~ Jennifer David Hesse

I loved Heir Of Locksley and look forward to the next book, The Santa Thief was a cute little picture book set in the 1920s, Christmas Under a Starlit Sky was nice enough, but not as good as I was expecting (or the first book), and Yuletide Homicide was a fun, unique little mystery.

I better get working on some reviews ASAP.

Next???

 

I’m tempted to read Little Women which I’ve actually bought for my Nan for Christmas. Shhhhhh! I’ve never been huge on classics, and tried to read it when I was a kid but didn’t stick it out. Maybe I should give it another go? I also have Artemis by Andy Weir to read but I have a feeling I’ll be in the mood for more Christmassy reads…

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments or leave your link.

 

 

This Week in Books 15.11.17 #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. 

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

Now: Heir of Locksley ~ N.B Dixon

I’m still reading this LGBT Robin Hood retelling, but I’m almost done. I’m enjoying it a lot, I’ve just been in more of a TV mood lately.

Then: Alone ~ Cyn Balog

The last book I finished was really great. My review (which is part of the blog tour) will be up tomorrow.

Next: ???

I’m still not sure, but probably something Christmassy as I’m getting into the spirit already.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments or leave your link.

Apart from this weekly post and any outstanding reviews, I’m taking the rest of the month off. Happy reading, Everyone!

 

30 Days of Horror: #29 & #30 #30daysofhorror

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

Wow, I made it. I had a few set backs and had to double-up on posts a few times (like today), but I made it! I have spotlighted 30 books, for 30 days of horror.

My first pick for today (day 29) is a book that isn’t out until February. I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

pitchdark

Available in hardback & digital, 384 pages

Published February 20th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends

 

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.

Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.

Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.

Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.

In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you’ll hear.

 

Goodreads // Not My Review

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Will you be adding this one to your TBR too?

My second, and final choice for day 30 is one of my favourite books (that I own). And I can’t think of a better way to end this challenge. It is of course, The King of Gothic Horror himself, Edgar Allan Poe! I really need to review this book, I’ve only just realised that I didn’t! Good excuse to pick it up again if you ask me.

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Available in Hardcove,  208 pages

Published November 15th 2014 by Rockport Publishers

Rockport Books revisit the classics in a new series lushly illustrated by some of today’s most endearing and sought-after artists. These aren’t your typical classics–our artists reinterpret these stories and create a stunning presentation unlike any you’ve ever seen. Book enthusiasts and artisans will want to collect the entire series.

Renowned artist David Plunkert takes readers on a dark journey into the gothic stories of Edgar Allan Poe, through his luscious imagery. These stories take on a whole new meaning when accompanied by Plunkert’s mystical, and sometimes spooky interpretations.

With this edition of the Classics Reimagined series, you’ll think classics boring, nevermore!

 Goodreads // Not My Review

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Well that’s a wrap on my 30 days of horror. I hope you’ve discovered some new books, and perhaps been reminded of some creepy classics.

Horror October: I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist #BookReview #HO17

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Title: I Am Behind You
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Series: Platserna #1
Format: Digital ARC, 416 pages
Publication Details: September 7th 2017 by riverrun
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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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.

Review

 

I’ve had a hit and miss (but mostly miss), relationship with Lindqvist so far to be honest, but I loved the sound of this book. And I’m pleased to report that this has been my favourite of his so far!

I Am Behind You, is hands down one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read, and thus a perfect read for a dark October evening.

It’s about a myriad of different families who wake up in their holiday caravans to find that the caravan park is gone. They’ve been moved, or have they? There is nothing around, and when they drive, they don’t get anywhere. The ground is strange and smells like blood.

Not only that, but there are these white human-like creatures stalking around. Before long, the families realise that they all see these creatures as different things; a tiger, a salesman, John Wayne characters… what does it all mean?

And then it starts to rain acid.

Out of all of the Lindqvist books I’ve read, I Am Behind You was definitely the most readable. I don’t know whether the translation was just better this time, but the pages flew by. I was totally submerged in this strange, creepy place and had to keep reading to get to the bottom of it.

But here lies the problem. We don’t get to the bottom of it, of anything really. Which was really frustrating. There’s only so many crazy things that can happen without even an iota of an explanation before you stop caring. But read on I did!

Apparently this is the first in a series, so maybe it will be addressed in the next book, but I wish he would have given us something more concrete as to what the hell was going on, you know!?

The star of the show were the characters for me. Each of the families bring something different, and alarming to the story. A few of them are loveable, but mainly they’re all troubled in some way, especially Molly, the token creepy child who was once left in a tunnel and has never been the same since.

I hate to liken every horror writer to Stephen King, but parts of this really did remind me of him and his great characterisation. If you liked Under the Dome, I think you’d enjoy this too.

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Don’t forget to vote in the Flash Fiction Battle!

Voting ends at 19:00 tonight.

30 Days of Horror #25: The Hollow Girl #HO17

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

My choice for day 25 is a book I’ve only just come across, and mannnn it looks pretty creepy. Want!

thehollowgirl

Available in hardback and ebook, 272 pages

Published October 10th 2017 by Delacorte Press

Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.

One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.

She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.

 

Goodreads // NOT My Review

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Already read it? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

Flash Fiction Battle: The vote opens!

 

Horror October: This Week in Books 25.10.17 #TWIB #HO17

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

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

I’m afraid my answers are the same this week as I got no reading time at all this week. But I’m hoping for a quiet weekend so fingers crossed I can get the last Horror October book read and catch up on reviews and things!

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

Now: Alone ~ Cyn Balog

I’ve barely started this, so nothing to report yet.

When 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…

Then: I Am Behind You  ~ John Ajvide Lindqvist

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It was so creepy and weird! My review will be up ASAP.

Next: ??? The Passion of Cleopatra ~ Anne Rice.

It’s the last of my Horror October ARCs. Whoop!

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.

Up Next on Horror October:

Flash Fiction Battle: Entry #4 and how to vote!

Horror October: Week 3 Wrap-up #HO17

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Well, that was another busy week! I took a few days off over the weekend so need to catch-up this week. Anyway, in case you missed anything last week, here is a handy summary of all the goings-on.

Horror October Week 3

 

Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

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30 Days of Horror:

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Day #14: Cruel Summer

Day #15: Department Zero

Day #16: The Merciless

Day #17: The Haunting

Day #18: Redder Than Blood

Day #19: Phantoms

Day #21: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day & Day #22: Ghostland

 

This Week in Books 18.10.17

 

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Flash Fiction Battle

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Entry #1: Holding On by Sean Seebach

Entry #2: Master of Cemeteries by Justin Bienvenue

Still to Come:

The last two entries for the Flash Fiction Battle and the vote will open shortly!

This Week in Books 18.10.17 #TWIB #HO17

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

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

Wow, we’re over half way through Horror October already! Time flies..

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

Now: Alone ~ Cyn Balog

I’m just about to start this, so nothing to report yet.

When 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…

Then: I Am Behind You  ~ John Ajvide Lindqvist

I wasn’t sure about this one as I’ve seen very mixed reviews, and I didn’t enjoy a few of his book that I picked up in the past. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was so creepy and weird! My review will be up on Monday.

Next: ??? Probably The Passion of Cleopatra by Anne Rice, which is the last of my Horror October ARCs. Whoop!

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.

Up Next on Horror October:

Flash Fiction Battle: Entry #2

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?