Past Features

Turning Off The TV #9: True Blood

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: True Blood.

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Telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse encounters a strange new supernatural world when she meets the mysterious Bill, a southern Louisiana gentleman and vampire.

I am unashamedly a big fan of this wonderfully cheesy series. I’ve read all the books (written by Charlaine Harris), and finally caught up with the TV show last year. Although the series is VERY different to the books – the only season that follows the book plotline is season one and partly two – they’re both gory, silly and very, very fun. So apart from the obvious: read the books by Charlaine Harris – here’s some other books you might enjoy if you’re a fan of True Blood.

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

One of the masters of fantasy wrote a vampire novel in his early days, and it is seriously underrated. Set in nineteenth century Louisiana, it follows a riverboat captain called Abner Marsh who is approached by a strange businessman called Joshua York, and offered a very good deal. However, York is not quite as he seems, and Marsh may have gotten himself into something deadly… It has all the traditions of a vampire story, with a more unusual setting. Yes, it’s Louisiana and Mississippi, like much of True Blood (and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles), but it’s on a steamboat! Vampires! On a steamboat! Plus you can’t go wrong with GRRM’s writing (or maybe I’m a bit of a fangirl…).

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

I reviewed this one a while ago, and it really impressed me. A retelling of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula, from the point of view of one of Dracula’s transformed victims, Incarnation is a wonderfully written book. The tone really captures the writing style of the period in which it is set, and the author’s descriptions of the Yorkshire moors and dark London streets are very eerie. I was so happy that I requested it from Edelweiss, as it was really nothing like I was expecting. My review was also chosen to be featured on Edelweiss, which was exciting.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Less of a traditional vampire novel than the other two, but still a brilliant tale. It’s a huge book, with a wide cast of characters. In The Passage, vampires are created through a virus, similar to that of I Am Legend. The story follows a group of survivors, as well as a young girl who is central to the whole thing – but they’re not quite sure how. The sequel, The Twelve came out last year and I still need to get round to that one.

Are you a fan of True Blood? Do you have any recommendations to add?

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Top Lists

Horror October: My Top Ten Horror Books

For this week’s Horror October post, I’m sharing my top ten horror books with my lovely readers! Have you read any of these?
 


1. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – more eerie and creepy than outright horrifying, this is not something you want to read at night. I haven’t yet watched the film – it doesn’t look like it’s completely captured the spirit of the book to me. Susan Hill is a master of suspense.

2. The Shining by Stephen King – obviously. A tale of a man’s spiral into madness… or is it? This book is shocking, horrifying and downright scary, making it a perfect Halloween read. The film makes some big changes, so definitely give it a read even if you think you don’t need to after seeing the film!


3. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris – or rather, the whole series for this one. Not particularly plain ol’ horror, it’s about vampires, werewolves, fairies and other mystical creatures, but has a fair amount of horrific moments and gory shocks. I discussed the series a couple of months ago.


4. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – this book isn’t just scary because of the vampires/zombies. It’s the effect that isolation has on Neville, and how his human instincts react to that isolation. (my review)


5. Incarnation by Emma Cornwall – a semi-retelling of Dracula told from the point of view of one of his victims, this is a wonderfully written book and one of my hidden gems from last year. (my review)


6. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin – GRRM, a master of epic fantasy, has also written a pretty awesome vampire novel, set on the Mississippi. Typical of the author, it’s a very dark book.



 
 
7. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – this one seems to have such mixed reviews and ratings on Goodreads, but I personally loved it. It follows the story of a young woman chasing her family’s past and the evil that is connected.
 
8. The Passage by Justin Cronin – another vampire novel, but so, so well done, especially because, like with I Am Legend, the vampirism is a disease and the results are believable. Books like this are always much scarier when they could actually happen to you. I’m still hoping to read the sequel, The Twelve, which came out last year.
 
9. Carrie by Stephen King – another one from the master of horror, Carrie follows the story of a young high school girl who is relentlessly teased at school. One day it just gets too much…
 
10. Ring by Koji Suzuki – I never want to see the film of this one – the book was creepy enough. I’m sure you’re familiar with the story, the film was really big when it came out  seven or eight years ago (I think). If you watch a certain video tape, you get a phone call – and are killed seven days later by a mysterious force. Shame that the tape has become infamous with the local teenagers, who are casually passing it around…
 

This post is part of Horror October, hosted by Leanne at Literary Excursion.

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Horror October: Introduction Post

Horror October

Horror October is here! An event organised by Leanne at Literary Excursion, you can read more about the event on her blog, or read my announcement post.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 22, from the UK and currently working as a medical receptionist. I’m working to save for my Masters degree, so I can go on and become a museum curator – however I really enjoy my current job too, which is a bonus! I studied ancient history and archaeology for my undergraduate degree, and graduated last summer.

 
Apart from reading I also love discovering all sorts of things about ancient cultures and archaeology, listening to music 24/7 (you can sample my tastes here), playing video games/talking out loud to video game characters/obsessing over Alistair with Paola, wasting far too much time on the internet and catching up with a million and one TV shows I still need to finish (here’s looking at you, Supernatural). I also volunteer at a local museum, where I record finds (I love finds!) on the database, and create handouts for the exhibits.

2. Why did you decide to join Horror October?

Leanne is part of Sci-Fi Month, which is how I got to know her, and I saw a few weeks ago that she was organising a similar event. I organised Sci-Fi Month to spread the love of the genre, but also to meet fellow like-minded bloggers, so I’d love to be able to do the same with this event. I was originally only going to maybe do one post, but then Leanne mentioned that she was also including supernatural and paranormal fiction, as well as traditional horror, meaning I had more to speak about.

3. What horror books have you read and loved?

The Shining by Stephen King, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (review) come to mind when I think of more traditional horror. In terms of supernatural/paranormal fiction, I loved Incarnation by Emma Cornwall (review), Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin and the Sookie Stackhouse novels (discussion about the series). I also absolutely loved the Goosebumps series as a child!

4. What are your plans for Horror October?
  • 1st October: introduction post
  • 8th October: giveaway
  • 15th October: a guide to True Blood/The Sookie Stackhouse Novels
  • 22nd October: my top ten horror books
  • 29th October: post exploring the different representations of vampires in media

Eric will be back in two weeks!
Top Lists

Top Ten Tuesday #1: Books To Get Into The Halloween Spirit

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I’m joining in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books To Get Into The Halloween Spirit

1. The Shining by Stephen King
Most likely a very popular choice on this Top Ten! I don’t think I need to explain this one. I love the book but I just can’t bring myself to watch the film…

2. Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist
One of the few books that has actually made me feel physically sick. It is graphic and shocking, and definitely not for the weak-hearted. I know my Goodreads rating of this one is quite low, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book – it was just not particularly to my taste (as I’m squeamish…). However, it most definitely fits this top ten!

3. Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris
Not scary, but all about the paranormal. I love this series, although sadly the last couple of books have been quite a let down – it feels almost as though Charlaine Harris is writing to fulfil the quota of thirteen in the series, rather than because she wants to or has much to say about Sookie (Sookehhh) and co. They are good fun though.

4. The Passage by Justin Cronin
A fantastic vampire dystopian novel that feels more like a character study. A hefty volume, but definitely worth the read! The sequel, The Twelve, is released on 25th October 2012.

5. Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
If you’re a fan of A Song and Ice and Fire, then get on it and read some of GRRM’s other work – especially this one! A fantastic vampire novel set along the nineteenth century Mississippi river, and based around steamboats. I love the Louisiana accent so I had fun imagining this one in my head…

6. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Not quite as action packed as the film adaptation makes it out to be. But a great read, and very harrowing. And I’m sorry for having so many vampire novels on this list!

7. Carrie by Stephen King
Here we go, a non-vampire novel! If you want to read some of King’s shorter works, this is a good one to start with. A tale of a social outcast with telekinetic powers, who is pushed too far…

8. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Not scary, as much as eerie. The stage production is terrifying, however. A friend of mine borrowed this from me and said she almost felt the need to keep it in the fridge when it got too scary, a la Joey from Friends 😉

9. The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman
This one is on my list because I figure it’s probably not on many others. A good, scary YA novel by the fantastic author Malorie Blackman (who wrote the Noughts & Crosses trilogy. Note to Victoria Foyt: that is how you tackle racism.)

10. Fever (Flu #2) by Wayne Simmons
A good old-fashioned, action-packed zombie breakout novel. I won this from Goodreads, so I have a copy dedicated to me by Wayne himself. If anyone reading is from the Gloucestershire area, Wayne will be at the Cheltenham Waterstones store on 31st October, as part of a Halloween event.
So that’s my Top Ten Tuesday! I will probably participate in TTT every so often, depending on the topic and how much time I have.

What would your top ten books be? Have you read any of the ones on my list?

Past Features

Weekly Roundup #1

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I’m going to do a feature every Monday, where I’ll list this week’s book purchases/gifts etc. I will also list e-books, but not this week as I’ve gained about 30… I tend to buy my books second-hand, because I’m trying to save for a Masters degree (some would argue that I shouldn’t buy books then, but no).

  • Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris – the second book in the Harper Connelly series, I also have the third one but not the first… bought from the charity shop for 50p.
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – the plot drew me in, it’s practically brand new and it’s also signed! Had to get it of course, it was only 50p from the charity shop.
  • What I Was by Meg Rosoff – I have another of her books, and I’ve read some others and really enjoyed them. This one also looks brand new, and was 50p from the charity shop.
  • Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson – I’d never heard of this, but the cover looked lovely and it sounds like an interesting mystery. Apparently it’s the third book in the Crowther and Westerman series. Once again, it’s practically brand new and was 50p from the charity shop.
  • And finally, Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin – I wish I’d found this in the charity shop too… I ordered it from the library and picked it up this morning. GRRM and vampires! Exciting!

Well that’s it for the past week, apart from a ridiculous amount of e-books. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into…