Past Features

Turning Off The TV #26: Horror October Special Edition

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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. This is a special Horror October edition of the feature, with lots more recommendations under a general theme. Obviously, the theme is horror (surprise, surprise!), but I’ve separated the books out by the main element of the story and suggested a film for each one. Each cover leads to the Goodreads page for the book.

Haunted houses e.g. Poltergeist

The Haunting of Hill House Amityville Horror The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

Experimentation e.g. Splice

The Madman's Daughter Broken The Heavens Rise

Ghosts e.g. Paranormal Activity

Anna Dressed In Blood The Turn Of The Screw The Graveyard Book

Werewolves e.g. The Howling

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy Shiver Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar

Terrifying beasts e.g. Trollhunter

The Terror The Ruins Snowblind

Vampires e.g. Nosferatu

Carmilla Interview with the Vampire The Historian

Do you have any recommendations to add? What are some of your favourite elements or tropes of the horror genre?

Misc.

A to Z Bookish Survey

 
When I saw this great bookish survey created by Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner, I knew I had to join in. Credit also goes to Jamie for the image above.
 
Author you’ve read the most books from:
Natsuki Takaya, due to reading all of the Fruits Basket manga – after that it’s Jacqueline Wilson. I loved her when I was younger. But if we’re talking about authors I still read, then it’s Terry Pratchett.
 
Best sequel ever:
I’m going to cheat and say sequels, with the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series. I really can’t decide which of the books is my favourite, they’re all amazing and build perfectly upon each other.
 
Currently reading:
The Returned by Jason Mott (for a blog tour) and The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett. The latter is taking me far too long to read since I don’t tend to like reading on the Kindle too much. But I better get used to it…

Drink of choice while reading:
Tea. Duh. Though I have been known to indulge in the occasional Southern Comfort and lemonade. Often whilst reading The Southern Vampire Mysteries.
 
E-reader or physical book:
I guess I already answered this one. Definitely a physical book, but I really need to get used to using an e-reader. I’m planning on going to university abroad for my Masters, and I can’t really take my books with me…
 
Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
Errmmm. Maybe not in high school/secondary school… but I’d quite like me a bit of Eric Northman, thank you please.
 
 
Glad you gave this book a chance:
Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. Quite unexpected!
 
Hidden gem book:
Incarnation by Emma Cornwall. I’m afraid that this might get lumped in with all the other YA vampire stuff, when in actual fact it’s a wonderfully written semi-retelling of Dracula, from the point of view of one of his victims. 
 
Important moment in your reading life:
The same as Jamie, and probably many other bloggers: discovering Goodreads. It made it so much easier to keep track of what I was reading/had read, find new books, work out what to read next, and most importantly of all: find fellow-minded book lovers!
 
Just finished:
Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries #4) by Charlaine Harris. For the third time. I recently discussed the series after reading the twelfth and penultimate book, bought the entire five seasons on DVD and started re-reading the series again. As if I don’t have enough to read already without re-reading!
 
Kinds of books you won’t read:
Erotica, pure romance (it’s okay mixed with another genre, and as a minor part of the book, but otherwise I just find it pretty dull), paranormal romance (or rather, I’m more selective), overly graphic books (squeamish), any sort of fiction that pushes religious views on the reader. I’m also not a massive fan of poetry (unless it’s Ovid. Ovid is awesome).
 
Longest book you’ve read:
Hmm… if you count The Lord of the Rings as one volume, then that maybe? One book I’m currently reading – but currently have on hold – is Shogun by James Clavell, which clocks in at around 1200 pages. But most recently, I think it was probably IQ84 Books 1 & 2 by Haruki Murakami, which was amazing and very, very odd – true to his style. Oh, and I can’t be forgetting A Song of Ice and Fire – each book is at least 500 pages long. I’ve read plenty of thick, door-stop books: it comes with being a fan of the fantasy and science fiction genres.
 
Major book hangover because of:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I received a free copy a while ago, but was preparing myself for it because of all the reviews I’d read, people saying they bawled and bawled. Well I finally got round to reading it a few months ago, and I started off like this:
 
 
“Oh I’m so happy to be reading this book, I’ve heard such great things about it from everyone; it’s easy to read and actually quite funny – I was not expecting that. And yeah, it’s quite sad but there’s a lot of humour injected into it, why were people bawling their eyes out?”
 
Then, about three quarters through, just one tiny little moment did this to me:
 
 
“Oh. That’s why.”
 
And from there on out, I was sobbing and bawling until the end of the book, and after. Thanks, John Green. Thanks. (but seriously though, it was amazing)
 
Number of book cases you own:
I myself own two, plus a big shelf for archaeology/ancient history related books, and now the books are escaping onto the mantelpiece… but as for my family – well… look here.
 
One book you have read multiple times:
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. I’ve read it at least once every year since I was eleven (apart from last year actually…). So around ten times, I think.
 
Preferred place to read:
 
Quote that inspires you:

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

This is something that Jojen Reed says in A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. 

Reading regret:

Not reading much at all during the first two years of university. I felt kind of guilty for reading non-archaeology related books. But I had so much free time! Think of all the books I could have crossed off my ‘to read’ list

Series you’ve started and need to finish (all books are published):

The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons and The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. I just need to read the last book for each of them!

Three of your all-time favourite books:

Ah, this is a hard one! Okay… I’ll pick each from different genres. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (fantasy), Hyperion by Dan Simmons (sci-fi) and The Secret History by Donna Tartt (thriller/mystery). There’s so many more I wish I could add to that.

Unapologetic fangirl for:

J.R.R Tolkien and anything to do with Middle-earth. My first foray into website creation was at the age of 13, and I owned several Lord of the Rings related fansites from that age until I was about 17 or 18. I would quite happily live in the Shire.

Very excited for this release more than others:

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding, because of the wonderful feelings the first two books give me. I hope it lives up to the hype!

Worst bookish habit:

Reading several books at once because I want to hurry up and review them, and thinking that reading several at once will help that. But it doesn’t. Because I flit between them constantly and often pick up another book.

X marks the spot: go to the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

Your latest book purchase:

Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks.

ZZZ-snatcher: book that kept you up WAY too late:

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. I read it for my book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, and we pretty much all loved it. I kept thinking ‘one more chapter…’ but it has really short chapters, so I felt cheated and would read one more… then rinse, and repeat.

Review

Review: Lonely Werewolf Girl (Kalix MacRinnalch #1) by Martin Millar

 

Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar

5 out of 5 stars

Wow. Whatever I was expecting when I picked this book up, it was not this.

 

From first glance, I thought it looked like a typical YA paranormal novel, admittedly I didn’t really read the blurb properly. What it actually is, however, is a witty, paranormal YA novel filled with black humour and pop culture references, that cleverly and effectively weaves the supernatural into our world. I mean, what’s not to like about the idea of a family of aristocratic Scottish werewolves sat around in a draughty castle in Scotland, having family meetings in drawing rooms in their werewolf forms? Whilst nursing glasses of fine whiskey, I hasten to add.

 

The McRinnalchs are a beautifully dysfunctional family. Kalix has been exiled for attacking her father, the Thane, her sister owns a fashion house in London and designs for the queen of  the fire elementals, one brother is hell bent on revenge and becoming the next Thane, and the other harbours a secret desire to dress in women’s clothing. Their mother schemes and seems to care little for her children. You would think this would make them a rather despicable family, but no. There was also a rather interesting section on the background of the family’s history.

 

I especially thought I would dislike Kalix. She is a very troubled character, who relies on laudanum, alcohol and self-harm to get her through the day. She mopes and sulks, but I just couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. The more you read, the more you realise that Kalix is so innocent (despite, you know, the whole werewolf attacking people thing…) and shy, and is practically still a child, despite being on the edge of adulthood. She was never taught how to read properly, and when she learns – through a computer program designed for children, that involves rescuing animals – I honestly just found it so cute. The way she was written, I could immediately sense how empty and lonely her life was, which immediately made me warm to her.

 

Millar really got some humourous moments in, including Thrix, the fashion designer werewolf, contemplating on how awkward it is to type with werewolf paws. For me however, the best character and frequent comic relief, was Malveria, the queen of the fire elementals. I actually can’t describe how much I loved her! One sentence states how proud she is after mastering the art of ringing the doorbell – because of course she is unused to human ways – and like Kalix, she is another childish character, but in a different way. Instead of innocence, she has inquisitiveness. She constantly appears in Thrix’s office, insulting her and saying that Thrix has ruined her, but is easily distracted by shiny new dresses or accessories, like a little puppy. She also develops a love for pop-tarts. Moonglow and Daniel, the two students who become entwined in the lives of the McRinnalch clan (or more accurately, the other way round), also add comic relief, and a touch of reality to the story. They are perhaps a little too over-stereotyped, the goth and the metalhead, but are pretty genuine characters all the same.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the book so much more than expected, it was a real surprise. Millar has created a rich collection of characters, who despite their ‘typical’ YA character traits (in some cases) are surprisingly refreshing. It was also nice to read a werewolf story with no vampires involved (although there are also fire elementals and fairies). I did notice a couple of typos in the final printed version, but there weren’t too many, nor were they too major. I do also think this particular cover might put a lot of people off the book, which is a shame.

 

I would recommend this to any fan of paranormal fiction, be it YA or adult – the paranormal themes and dark humour make a fantastic mix that should appeal to many. Apparently book two was published in 2010, which makes me wonder if that’s it or if there’ll be any more – I will be looking out for the second one!

 

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