Horror October 2013!

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

Coming Up:

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

* They are not exactly all ‘Horrors’

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

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

xxLipsyxx

Coming Soon!

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Title: Let the Games Begin
Author:Niccolò Ammaniti
Details: Translated
Expected Publication: 1st August 2013 by Canongate Books

In Let the Games Begin, internationally best-selling author Niccolò Ammaniti, winner of the prestigious Strega Prize, fuses a riotous dose of anarchic absurdity with a clear-eyed critique of contemporary society caught in a narcissistic spiral of longing and striving.

It begins on the night of the most decadent party of the century. A rags-to-riches real estate magnate has planned an over-the-top weekend safari for the who’s-who of celebrities at his sprawling residence in Villa Ada—once a public park, now the largest private home in Rome. Starlets, politicians, soccer stars, and intellectuals all turn up to rub elbows. Among them is a neurotically charming author struggling to write his next literary tome and pining for renewed recognition. In an unexpected turn of events, he crosses paths with The Wilde Beasts of Abaddon, a satanic sect planning to ruin the evening’s festivities in order to go down in history as a world-famous cult. What was intended as the most spectacular fête of the year quickly descends into apocalyptic chaos. In this satirical tragicomedy, Ammaniti reveals a side of modern culture riddled with superficiality and vulgarity that nourishes our deepest dreams and insecurities.

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Title: The Wolves of Midwinter (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #2)
Author: Anne Rice
Details: Hardback
Expected Publication: November 7th 2013 by Random House UK, Vintage Publishing

It is the beginning of December and it is cold and grey outside. In the stately flickering hearths of the grand mansion of Nideck Point, oak fires are burning. The Morphenkinder are busy getting ready for the ancient pagan feast of midwinter. Everyone is invited, including some of their own who do not wish them well…

Reuben Golding, the newest of the Morphenkinder, is struggling with his new existence as a Man Wolf, struggling to learn to control his desires and bloodthirsty urges. His pure, luminous girlfriend Laura seems all set to join him in this new way of life, but Reuben is not at all certain he will love her if she becomes as he is. Beyond the mansion, the forest echoes with howling winds, which carry with them tales of a strange nether world, and of spirits – centuries old – who possess their own fantastical ancient histories and taunt with their dark, magical powers.

As preparations for the feast gather pace, destiny continues to hound Reuben, not least in the form of a strange, tormented ghost who appears at the window, unable to speak. But he is not alone: before the festivities are over, choices must be made – choices which will decide the fate of the Morphenkinder for ever.

I’m really excited about both of these!

Bloody Good Fun (pun intended): The Eye of the Moon (Bourbon Kid #2) by Anonymous – A Mini-Review.

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Following a massive rampage that left the streets of Santa Mondega soaked with blood, the elusive supernatural serial killer known only as the Bourbon Kid is now himself being haunted. Hot on his heels are several vampire gangs, the Secret Service, a couple of werewolves, corrupt cops, and the Dark Lord himself, and none will rest until he is dead. But the Kid has a vengeance of his own to wreak, and young lovers Dante and Kacy, hapless bartender Sanchez, Peto the Hubal monk, and the mysterious Jessica will each be drawn into the escalating vortex of violence.

Let me start by saying that this book is not for everyone.

  • If gory, mindless violence offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.
  • If colourful, constant swearing offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.
  • If laughing at religion and sexism offends you, you shouldn’t read this book.

And most importantly, if you only like your vampires to be the sparkly kind, you really shouldn’t read this book.

However….

If the idea of Elvis as a Hitman, a vampire clan of corrupt cops called the Filthy Pigs, a useless rap-star werewolf and a cowardly bartender who serves his own piss instead of whisky sounds like your idea of a party, then you are going to LOVE this series.

If you’ve seen any of the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse films or trailers, imagine the most ridiculous and gory one, convert it to a novel and BAM – there it is. If you have no idea what I’m referring to then this quote from the back of the book also sums it up pretty well:

Possibly drug-induced lunacy of a book – 4 stars” [Zoo Magazine]

With all of these ridiculous, mainly evil characters trying to get their hands on the Eye of the Moon and avoid The Bourbon Kid at all costs, this sequel to The Book With No Name is a fast-paced blackest-of-black comedy that is a whole lot of fun. I felt that the plot wasn’t quite as strong as the first book but I enjoyed finding out more about The Bourbon Kid and where he came from and I hope I can get my hands on the next one in series soon.

Details: Paperback, 384 pages. Published April 1st 2009 by Michael O’Mara (first published 2008)
Unicorn Rating: 4/5
Is it a keeper? Yes!
Start With: The Book With No Name.

Top Ten Tuesday #4: Top ten books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the theme is Top Ten Books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn.

These aren’t all necessarily new books, but they are the ones I have lined up that I am most exited to read in the next few months.

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Feel free to leave a comment with the link to your TTT post so I can check them out!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare: A reread review plus film rant!

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When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

When I first read this last year I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, or as much as other people expected me to. I didn’t dislike it, but I just wasn’t completely captivated by it. I enjoyed it enough to read the second book but I got distracted by a million other books after that and didn’t continue the series.

This time round however, I enjoyed it more. I forgot how funny Jace was (I found myself having a LOL frequently) and Clary didn’t annoy me as much, although it does still piss me off that she goes on and on about how much she loves Simon (as a friend of course) but always seems to forget he even exists or care how much danger she’s gotten him into.

I was impressed that Cassandra Clare’s story is based in our normal world but she’s created a whole new world within that, rich and complex and with its own history and by the end of the book we have one foot firmly in each side just like Clary does.

I also liked how religion and sexuality were portrayed in a ‘real’ and frank way. Clary questions Jace’s beliefs suggesting that if he believes in demons then he must believe in God.

“I’ve been killing demons for a third of my life. I must have sent five hundred of them back to whatever hellish dimension they crawled out of. And in all that time I’ve never seen an angel. Never even heard of anyone who has.”

My father believed in a righteous God…And when I saw him lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn’t stopped believing in God. I’d just stopped believing God cared. There might be a God Clary, and there might not, but I don’t think it matters. Either way, we’re on our own”

It’s clear to Clary that Alec is in love with Jace and I liked the fact that no one has an issue with it but they worry about the reaction from ‘the elders’ which definitely reflects our society at the moment. Naturally, the Jace/Alec bromance/unrequited attraction was hot!

Howwwwwever, the chapters dragged for me and seemed way too long than was necessary. I think it could have done with another edit to cut out some of the filler. And what is it with YA novels where the female protagonists are just so dumb when it comes to romance??? It’s like writers are scared of having a character who can admit to themselves that someone fancies them, as if we’ll think they’re vain or arrogant or something. They’re all like, ohmygod, why is he looking at me like that, he must hate me. Or, ohmygod he couldn’t possibly like me even though everything he has ever said or done has proved that he does.

None of it had been real anyway. Jace might be an exceptional kisser but he didn’t care about her at all. He’d said as much.”

Arrgh.

But other than that, I’m glad I gave this another go and will hopefully continue with the series at some point.

AND NOW FOR THE INEVITABLE FILM RANT ***MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD – 1ST BOOK ONLY****

Oh, where to start.

1. Never before have 3 hot men been made to look so unattractive. Whyyyyy? Jonathan Rhys Meyers is hot. Jamie Campbell Bower is hot. Robert Sheehan is hot. In City of Bones they look like this:
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Not very hot.

2. The whole Simon not being turned into a rat thing: Isabelle was supposed to be much more of a bitch than she was in the film and was supposed to let Simon drink the blue drink that turns him into a rat. I don’t have an issue about him not becoming a rat, but why include the drink in that case? In this version someone spikes Simon’s drink and Isabelle tries to stop him drinking it. She fails…but it doesn’t do anything to him anyway. Pointless.

3. The vampire fight scene in the hotel was awesome but why does Simon say they kidnapped him to get the cup…why do they want the cup??? They were just trying to get revenge for them ruining their vampire motorbikes…which don’t exist in this version. Tenuous.

4. Magnus Bane…really? I was picturing a flamboyant, hot version of Elton John but we get this:
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5. Jace’s quips and sarcasm just didn’t translate. I’m assured that Jamie Campbell Bowers .. is a good actor but he was just wooden and flat.

6. The whole last 40 minutes or so just went batshit. Did they lose the script? What was Hodge doing? Why are we told that Valentine is just going to lie about Jace being his son – we’re all supposed to think it’s the truth the whole time- and why would Jace even believe him? He gave him no reason to. Plus how/why has Clary ended up with the Mortal Cup…Valentine is supposed to have it…therefore I have no idea what they’ll do for the next film….oh there’s not going to be a next film because this one did so badly. RAGE.

7. The kiss was pretty hot.

8. There was no homoerotic bromance going on between Alec & Jace. Which made me sad.

I’m sure I could go on but I won’t. I didn’t hate it, which is a feat. The action was good but it was way too long and lost its way towards the end. It provided me and Dora (Hi Dora – please add your additions below!) with many laughs however. All for the wrong reasons of course.

Here Endeth the Rant.

A Confused Werewolf in Pennsylvania: Hemlock Grove by Brian Mcgreevy

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An exhilarating reinvention of the gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares.

The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

I feel like Hemlock Grove desperately wants to be Dracula (but y’know with Werewolves) when in fact it’s just one big mess. I finished reading this over a week ago and this whole time I’ve just been thinking what the hell WAS that!?’ I honestly didn’t know whether to rate it 1 or 5, it was that baffling.

Initially I appreciated the style, Mcgreevy was clearly trying to mimic the old school gothic lit of the past and give it a fresh going over, but it just didn’t work….I don’t think. The more I read the more I realised that his writing is so over the top and so laden with unnecessary symbolism that I had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t stop. It was like watching a car crash.

For some reason I was interested in the story. The murders were brutal and gory (to my liking) and I enjoyed the ‘whodunnit’ element. Peter goes around telling everyone he’s a werewolf so obviously he’s prime suspect number one, even though no one really seems that bothered that he’s a werewolf, and I don’t really understand why they believe him in the first place because we don’t actually see any Werewolf action for most of the book. Or did I miss that? I honestly have no idea.

The other suspect is Roman. who’s a bit of a dick. That’s pretty much all I have to say about him, but I did like the dynamic between the two who then team up to discover the real truth about what’s going on. They definitely had some kind of homoerotic bromance going on, which kept me reading, obviously.

Shelley is a character who provides some Gothic Horror GOLD. She’s practically a giant with blocks on her feet, who is mute, glows demonically and is clearly supposed to be the Frankenstein’s Monster of the story. I think Shelley did work in that she pertains to the gothic atmosphere and provokes the questions ‘what/when/how/who’ but I don’t really understand how she fits into the ‘normal’ small town without people batting an eyelid. Odd.

I did really enjoy the setting though. The mystery and creepiness of the Biotech facility -which you can’t help but suspect is behind Shelley and the deaths – created an industrial, gothic feel to it which is new. Industrial Gothic…now there’s a genre we’ve been waiting for, no? The White Tower at least made the story plausible in that you can pretty much explain everything on scientific experiments, right?

I think that if McGreevy wasn’t concentrating so hard on nailing the Gothic Horror genre, and concentrated on just telling a good story that Hemlock Grove could be 100% better. But as it is it just seems a bit pretentious. The terrible grammar and inconsistencies made each sentence a chore. A CHORE. And the dialogue was just laughable.

Some of my favourite baffling lines:

She pulled Peter into a hug and kissed his cheek and gave his ponytail an annoyed jerk and harangued him didn’t he have a girlfriend to cut his hair.

So many things wrong with that sentence. WTF?

He pronounced ‘this’ in the phonetically correct fashion, but somehow it still rhymed with ‘us’.

???

‘Her Heart was a flicked mold of gelatin’ – What the hell does that mean???

A quality of thereness was missing from his face, his green eyes were windows to nothing. He was mercurial.

“Of course, minute as its impact may be in our physical universe, the fact of quantum entanglement is this: If one logically inexplicable thing is known to exist, then this permits the existence of all logically inexplicable things. A thing may be of deeper impossibility than another, in the sense that you can be more deeply underwater–but whether you are five feet or five fathoms from the surface you are still all wet.” You what now?”

Not to mention chapter titles such as ‘God doesn’t want you to be happy, he wants you to be strong’, Peter’s hierarchy of shit he can live without’ and ‘The most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off’. Brilliant.

So yeah, Hemlock Grove is entertaining in a way but so overwritten it’s hard to get to the actual story. I hope they did a better job with the TV series.

Details: Paperback, 319 pages. Published March 27th 2012 by FSG Originals. Thanks to Di for lending me this(I think)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Unicorns (I think)
Is it a keeper? It’s not mine, but err no.
If you liked this try: Dracula

WWW Wednesday!

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading: Once again I am blaming my friends’ wedding for my lack of reading time (the wedding was awesome and beautiful and epic btw) so I’m still reading Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll. No reflection on the book, I am really loving it now I’ve had time to sit down and read it. Will get a review posted in the next few days. I also picked up City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments) again as I want to reread it before I go and see the film (which looks pretty rubbish).

Recently Finished: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy I finished this last week and it was one of those books that I didn’t know whether to give 1 Unicorn or 5, so I settled for 3. I’ll try to formulate a review in the next few days.

Up Next: I honestly have no idea…I have so many to choose from.

Leave a comment with the link to your post!