Misc.

Horror October: Horror Books Read This Year

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For today’s Horror October post, I wanted to share the books I’ve read this year that fit the theme – some are horror, others more thrillers, others just plain creepy!

Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep is definitely one of my highlights of the year! I’d been anticipating this sequel to The Shining ever since I first read about it, before the cover was even released. Hodder sent me a review copy earlier in the year, and it was definitely worth the wait. If you’ve already read The Shining then hurry up and read this!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is not so much a traditional horror, it is really a thriller, but it shows just how horrific humans can be to each other. It’s hard to say much about this book without giving anything away, so I won’t! I’m looking forward to seeing the film of this one too.

  • My rating for Gone Girl: [simple-rating stars=”four-stars”]

The Three by Sarah Lotz

The Three by Sarah Lotz

The Three by Sarah Lotz was an interesting read. It was told entirely from interviews, newspaper articles and other sources of media. Unfortunately its format meant I had no connection whatsoever to any of the characters, and the ending was just incredibly frustrating.

The Quick (The Quick #1) by Lauren Owen

The Quick by Lauren Owen

The Quick was also another unique novel: wonderfully Gothic and rather slow paced. I took a while to read this one for various reasons so I think it might need a re-read at some point, but I enjoyed it a lot. I also had the privilege of meeting the author, Lauren Owen, in April, and definitely made a fool of myself. Oops.

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy had me super excited – it was a werewolf novel with a twist and had such wonderful reviews. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t agree with them. The writing was wonderful but the story just felt… lacking. Also it promised me a good scare and just didn’t deliver!

Midnight Crossroad (Midnight #1) by Charlaine Harris

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris was another disappointment. I really love her Southern Vampire Mysteries series (or the True Blood books if you prefer), even if the last few just felt like a chance to make some easy money. So I was hoping a new series would be a new start, and whilst Midnight Crossroad wasn’t bad, there was nothing special about it.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black is another one that’s had great reviews, but I just didn’t get along with. Too many vampires and falling for the bad boy, ugh… The concept of the Coldtowns was original, but vampires? So overdone right now… It does have one of the most horrific opening scenes I’ve ever read though.

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey is hard to explain in terms of the horror genre without giving away some big plot points. I definitely wasn’t expecting the horror element when I started reading it, and it’s definitely a memorable part… I read it with my Goodreads book group and it was pretty well received!

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1) by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1) by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud is one of my stand-out books of the year. I wasn’t expecting to love it so much, but it pulled me right in. It may be aimed at younger readers but it is SO amazing. Think a mix of Sherlock and Supernatural, with teenage protaganists.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Do you have any horror recommendations based on what you’ve read this year?

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: September 2014

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

September 2014

Last month I read a total of five books: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) by Stephen King, Archaeological Theory by Matthew Johnson (ugh yes I read the whole thing voluntarily), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas and The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen.

It was certainly a slow month for reading. I haven’t been making the time to read as much since I started uni – I’ve been spending my spare time socialising (*gasp*), reading for lectures or starting to think about my thesis. I kind of feel like I have to fill up my spare time with uni-orientated stuff, which is frustrating, and is exactly how I felt during the three years of my undergrad. However, I found that once I picked up an actual physical book rather than using my Kindle, I was more interested in reading again! Doctor Sleep definitely lived up to its reputation and was well worth the wait – if you enjoyed The Shining, I urge you to pick up the sequel! And Heir of Fire… well, my review will be up soon, but let’s just say AMAZING AND UGH WHY.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read three books towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge. October’s villain is the Green Goblin, which is pretty perfect for Halloween!
  • I have currently read one hundred and nine books towards my Goodreads goal of one hundred and twenty. This is the fourth time I’ve raised it this year, so I’m not too bothered if I don’t hit the final goal but hopefully I will!

 

Currently reading:

The Martian by Andy Weir

How was September for you?

Review

Review: Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) by Stephen King

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5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Ever since I heard that Stephen King was writing a sequel to The Shining, I knew I would have to get my hands on a copy somehow. And then, lo and behold, the wonderful Hodder sent me a copy to review! I apologise for how long it took for me to finally get around to reading and reviewing it, but it was most definitely worth the wait.

If you’re not familiar with The Shining, I would definitely advise reading it before moving on to Doctor Sleep. Whilst it’s not necessary to have read it and I think you would have no issues following the story, it adds so much more depth. Echoes of moments in The Shining, similar scenes and lines come back to haunt the reader. Despite there being over thirty years between the events of the first book, and the final events of Doctor Sleep, the two books felt so interconnected in many ways.

This is definitely one of those books that’s difficult to review, in that you don’t want to stop and make notes – you want to just keep on reading. One of my best friends mentioned that it was one of those books she just couldn’t stop reading and there wasn’t a dull moment – when someone says something like that you know you have to check for yourself, and she was definitely right. Although I didn’t find it as creepy as The Shining (it was the topiary that got me last time), there was a constant eerie undertone and real sense of danger, to both Abra and Dan.

Speaking of Abra, she could have been a precocious and annoying little kid, with these strange talents to show off, but instead she was witty and mature, if a little naive at times. But that was good, it kept her grounded and reminded the reader that she was just a child. And as for Dan, I felt the book was a really interesting exploration into a character who was created over thirty years ago and not necessarily intended to have a sequel.

Considering that I haven’t been making much time for reading lately, this was definitely the right book to get me back into the swing of things. With a highly original concept, creepy undertones and some great characters, it definitely deserves five stars in my book – but could we expect anything less from Mr. Stephen King?

Giveaway, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: Publisher Profile (Hodderscape) + Giveaway

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Today I want to discuss a science fiction and fantasy publisher, who have also been kind enough to send some goodies for Sci-Fi Month: HodderscapeDon’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
 
 
Hodderscape is the science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint of the well-known publishing house, Hodder & Stoughton. They publish a wide range of authors, including Stephen King, Laini Taylor, Frank Herbert, Benjamin Percy and Jasper Fforde. You can view a full list of their authors here.
 
They have published books that range from Frank Herbert’s Dune, the science fiction classic, to Susan Ee’s Angelfall, an originally self-published sensation.
 

Here is a selection of Hodderscape’s book covers:

 
 
           

What’s so great about Hodderscape?

The number one thing to me is that they interact with their readers. The team has a big online presence and makes great use of social media to stay in touch with book lovers, answer any questions and offer up some great giveaways and competitions. They also have a blog where they feature weekly articles by author Adam Baker, Friday Favourites, Wednesday Wonders and Classic Covers, amongst other things. They’re more than happy to indulge in discussion with fellow fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

If you’d like to keep up to date with Hodderscape, you can visit their website, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks to the lovely people at Hodderscape, I have some books to give away. The winner can choose between a signed copy of Red Moon by Benjamin Percy, or an ARC of She Who Waits by Daniel Polansky, and I’ll throw in some of the bookmarks that Hodderscape sent me along with the books. The giveaway is UK only, because of postage costs, but I’ll add another small international giveaway for some of the bookmarks in case anyone is interested.
 

 

Giveaway removed after migration to WordPress

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.

Misc.

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

toptentuesday

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?