Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday

spooky_forest_background_by_indigodeepSpooky Saturday is an original weekly meme to spotlight a spooky book!

I haven’t been reading many spooky books lately because I’m trying to save all the ones I currently have for my September/October “Spook-A-Book-A-Thon” (what an awful name… I’m working on that, though!). So, for today’s post I am dipping into the archives of my goodreads to pull a fantastic spooky read that I enjoyed in 2015.

ssTHE REPLACEMENT by Brenna Yovanoff is a delightfully spooky book that still retains its humor along the way.

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Before I picked up this book, I had heard pretty awful reviews about it. People insisted the author’s earlier works were much better but I was new to this author and I’ve always been intrigued by the premise of changelings, so this book felt like it was right up my alley. And I was totally right.

I think what I liked most about this book is how Yovanoff paints the Monsters of this book. In most horror novels, the monsters are bad and do horrible things to unsuspecting humans. However, Yovanoff does a fantastic job of reminding the reader that monsters exist outside of human morality and what feels right and wrong for us isn’t the same for them because we live in two literal different worlds. Sometimes the monsters do bad things and sometimes they do good things but regardless of any of that, they exist on their own plane and aren’t concerned with what human morality thinks of them. It was interesting to see monsters in varying shades of “good” and “bad” rather than just the plain evil we’re accustomed to in horror novels.

While the romance in the book was a little odd to me, what really sold me on this story was the relationship between Mackie and his older sister, Emma, and Mackie and his best friend, Roswell. I am such a sucker for sibling dynamics that kind of tear my heart out and best friends that are loyal through everything. Since it’s not a spoiler (because it’s stated in the synopsis), Emma watched her biological brother being taken away and replaced by the changeling that grew up to be Mackie… and she still loved him fiercely anyway. And when Mackie reveals what he is to Roswell by telling him that he is just like the monsters invading the town, Roswell says “Don’t be a jackass. There’s no one like you.” SWOON SWOON BEST FRIEND SWOON.

This book is so atmospheric. Yovanoff creates this gloomy little town full of secrets that makes you just want to unravel them from every corner possible. So many horror novels lack that good atmosphere that sets a story up for the Ultimate Spook and I was very impressed with how kept up the rain theme throughout the story.

And the secondary characters! Rotting girls and a tattooed princess and A Big Evil lurking around. I don’t care what anyone says, this book pulled off some great side characters.

I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a little YA spook!

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Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday

spooky_forest_background_by_indigodeep

Spooky Saturday is an original weekly meme to spotlight a spooky, scary, or just plain creepy book!

Damn, Weezie! Back at it again with the Stephen King.

When I decided to bring Spooky Saturday back, Brit asked “Why don’t you just call it Stephen King Saturday. You know you want to.”

And I kind of do.

BUT.

Stephen King isn’t the only spooky author I read (although, my posts don’t prove that). However, I am back with another Stephen King book: PET SEMATARY.

832795I’ve talked before about how I wasn’t allowed to watch TV growing up with the exception of when I was at my Grandma’s house. While Grandma never really let me watch anything scarier than Mama’s Family, my older cousins delighted in scaring the crap out of me while movies that they knew probably weren’t suitable for a fragile 5 year old’s mind.

PET SEMATARY was one of those movies. The thing that scared me most in the movie was Victor and his rotten face and Gage in his fancy little suit. I had nightmares about hat fancy little suit. Years later I watched the movie again and it was much less scary and definitely more cheesy than my small 5 year old self had remembered.

However, the book is not cheesy. It’s not. It’s scary… like I-didn’t-go-outside-at-night-for-two-weeks-after-reading-it scary.

I’ve said this before but King is absolutely brilliant when it comes to setting the mood for his stories. There are things I’ve forgotten about the book in the time since I last read it and now but I can honestly still recall how creeped out I was when Jud and Louis took that walk past the ‘Pet Sematary’ and continued on a terrifying journey to the “real cemetery”. I kept having to put the book down because the setting was so vivid and real that it felt like I was right there with them.

Maybe the most disturbing scene of the book was when Louis digs his dead son back up in order to transport him to the burial ground that had brought the family cat back to life. The entire time I was reading it, I just kept whispering “Oh no. No, no, no, no, no.” because it is SO hard to imagine someone doing something so vile and disgusting as digging up a deceased loved one.

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Don’t tell me this wouldn’t give you nightmares.

A little fact about this book: King never actually intended to publish it. When he completed the manuscript, he set it aside believing that no one would ever want to read it because of how twisted and dark it is. He only submitted it to fulfill a contract. King was incredibly shocked at the reception the book received since the book is basically just one dark spiral- there is nothing happy about this book.

 

Despite it probably being the darkest novel he’s ever written, PET SEMATARY is probably my favorite King book and I can’t wait to read it (and be scared) all over again!

Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday (May 27)

CaptureSpooky Saturday is an original weekly post where I talk about books that will thrill and chill!

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Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

This book gave me all sorts of chills and thrills when I read it in 2015. Anna definitely isn’t some timid, beautiful ghost- she’s got a grudge to settle. This is a classic spooky story- a haunted house, a curse, and some imagery that will get right under your skin.

I loved Cas. He’s what I imagine Dean Winchester would have been as a teenager… if he had a cool parent and a less annoying little brother. The romance between Cas and, uh, a certain other character was a little weird for me but who am I too judge what spirit, er, person a young man falls for.

I did read the sequel to this and while it has a lot of terrifying moments (think haunted forest), it didn’t quite capture that initial ‘scare the socks off me’ appeal.

Not as scary as King but it still holds its own.

Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday (May 20)

CaptureSpooky Saturday is an original weekly meme to spotlight spooky books I’ve read or am currently reading.

I swear this isn’t a weekly Stephen King post. It just… looks that way.

 

10614My Grandma is a huge Kathy Bates fan. Even though I wasn’t supposed to watch TV (my parents were devout UPC for the first half of my childhood), whenever I would go to Grandma’s we would watch a movie and it usually was something with Kathy Bates. Misery was one of two movies that really stuck with me (the other was Dolores Claiborne, another King masterpiece).

I ended up reading MISERY for the first time in 2016 and while it’s not my absolute favorite King novel, it definitely ranks in the top 5. I think what’s so terrifying about MISERY is that Annie Wilkes isn’t some supernatural creature… she’s just a woman. There’s nothing mysterious or overtly powerful about her. She’s not a demon, she’s not possessed- she’s just pure human evil.

However terrifying the movie was… the book is worse. I understand why they changed the movie so much but man, what a hell of a movie that would have been if they hadn’t.

Right off the bat, Annie is terrifying. Her moods flit between 1950s Sitcom Mom (“Oh, Paul!”) and severely unstable murderess. And the most terrifying thing is that Paul never knows what will set her off, what she will regard as him being “spoiled” and what she will regard as him “being against her”. She’s convinced herself that she’s doing this for his own good, that she’s doing God’s work by forcing him to burn the manuscript for a book he was actually proud of and making him write another book for the Misery series (making him bring back the title character of a series he had ended because he hated the character and wanted to move past it).

I think the most terrifying part of Misery is that in the back of our minds, we all know one person we could see kidnapping their favorite celebrity and putting them through the ringer under the guise of being their number one fan.

For me, the best part of the book was just Paul’s sheer will to survive and live… even if that’s just long enough to kill Annie.

If you want something spooky without a supernatural element, this is definitely the book for you.

Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday (May 13)

CaptureSpooky Saturday is an original weekly meme to spotlight spooky books I’ve read or am currently reading.

Two Spooky Saturdays ago, I talked about how I was biting the bullet and reading IT by Stephen King… despite the fact that it’s 1200 pages… and I’m terrified of clowns. I thought I’d give you an update on how that’s going!

C99O54SUMAAxzp9When I started this book, my goal was to read 100 pages of it every day so that I’m not spending months trying to get through this book.

That didn’t happen.

Summertime is here, the godkids have t-ball, baseball, and softball games, and I spend a good chunk of my time on the river when I’m not at work. So this has become a weekend project. I’ll be reading it Friday and Saturday nights and hopefully will have it finished before Pride season gets in full swing.

The last update I posted here, I was about 200 pages in. After this past weekend, I am now almost 600 pages in and more terrified than ever!

Taken from my review of the first 200 pages: The first two hundred pages sets up the back story for the book. The story starts of with the death of Georgie Denbrough in 1957 at the hands of IT, a seemingly demonic force that manifests as a clown and lives in the sewers. Skipping forward to 1985, we witness another murder and another manifestation of IT. From there, we met the adult characters of the book and learn a snip of each of their lives after they get a call to come back to Derry, Maine… because as children they made an oath to return if IT ever did… and IT has come back.

Picking up from there, King delves into the past. We’re transported back to the summer of 1958 and see where each child meets IT for the first time. It was interesting to see that every character saw IT just a little different- a clown, a mummy, a werewolf, a giant bird, a leper, as a voice in the drain. King also shows us little snippets of other children’s disappearances and how that contributed to the curfew. It’s curious to me how the adults react to the disappearances. They are, of course, scared for their children and want them to come home well before dark. But it’s almost as if they have accepted that IT is as much a part of Derry as any other citizen.

I liked that King is still involving “real life” problems with the supernatural. The book talks about Ben being bullied, Bev’s abusive father, the change in Bill’s parents after Georgie’s death, and it touches on the fact that Eddie maybe isn’t a sick as his mother wants him to be.

After the children all have their stories told, we’re thrust back into 1985 and see all of the children, now adults, heading back to Derry in hopes of defeating Pennywise yet again. The curious thing is that none of them can quite remember what happened that day or much of that entire summer. The longer they are in Derry, the more memories they recover.

The Loser Gang reunites at a restaurant in Derry and fall back into easy friendship. They discuss IT, their lack of memories, and how the town has changed. At the end of the meal, they all get a grisly surprise in their fortune cookies. It makes me wonder just how much IT actually touched them… none of the other adults seem to see what’s going on… so why do they?

What has IT got in store for them this time?

Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday (May 6)

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Spooky Saturday is an original weekly book meme that will feature spooky reads and mysteries!

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THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire Legrand is a middle grade book about two friends, Victoria and Lawrence. Victoria is prim and proper and hates mess. Lawrence, on the other hand, is her exact opposite. He’s a lazy dreamer with untucked shirt and an obsession with playing the piano. When Lawrence goes missing, Victoria realizes something is off about the Cavendish Home. Kids go in and come home different… if they come home at all. Will Victoria be able to save Lawrence? Or will the Home claim another dreamy kid?

If you’re looking for something spooky and fantastical and altogether gross, stomach churning, triumphant, and just plain BEAUTIFUL, then this book is for you.

I originally bought this because the cover is intensely gorgeous. I didn’t know much about the plot other than there was a missing boy and a spooky orphanage that took children who weren’t orphans- they were just considered different or peculiar. The plot is so much deeper than that, more sinister and complex and it really makes you pause and think about what people will turn a blind eye to in order to maintain status quo. There are obviously trigger warnings on this for child abuse and some generally disgusting moments. You will also hate Victoria in the beginning but there is so much character growth throughout this book that you’ll forget you hated her by the end.

The best description I can give for this book is a more complex and better put together version of Coraline.

 

Spooky Saturday

#SpookySaturday (April 29)

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This week’s Spooky Saturday is brought to you by the letter H. As in, HOLY HELL.

I first read 127 HOURS ON THE MOON by Johan Harstad at the first of 2016. I had seen a few reviews on it that said the book was just ok until the last 50 or so pages and then it was terrifying. I generally will not read a book that has to be nearly finished to be good, but on the insistence of a friend, I read it.

It’s not a lie that the first 75% of the book is kind of lacking. There are huge info dumps that make everything drag and the plot feels flimsy. But when the action in the book starts rolling, holy hell, is it terrifying.

Me, myself, and I love aliens and space and all the wonderings that come along with both. However, this book scared the space loving right out of me for a while. It was bad enough that for several nights, if something was out in my car that I needed, well, it was just there until morning (I live in the country. It’s dark.). It made me think a lot about if I actually wanted there to be aliens (spoiler alert: I do) and what kind of things our first space explorers might have seen but aren’t allowed to talk about. And then I came across this picture.

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The face of a man who has seen some space shit.

 

And I’m convinced that maybe Johan Harstad’s novel isn’t that far off base. I mean, if you were any alien, would you want a bunch of people traipsing through your backyard? I think not.

Spooky Saturday

#SpookySaturday

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Welcome to my very first Spooky Saturday!

I have been a fan of horror and mystery novels since I first started reading even though they scare the hell out of me. I remember being a little kid and being allowed to check out Goosebumps book from the “big kid” section of the school library because I was an accelerated reader. Although my parents protested me reading them (they knew I was a big chicken), I devoured all that I could during the school year… and promptly had nightmares every night. Not much has changed. I still love scary stories and I still have nightmares about them! (Fear is healthy… I think)

This week I started reading the infamous IT by Stephen King which is a massive undertaking for me for two reasons: IT is a literal giant at 1200 pages and Pennywise the Clown has haunted me since I was a child. I’m pretty sure my fear of clowns actually stem from Pennywise. Now that I’m older, I feel like I can tackle this book with (hopefully) little emotional scarring.

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I’ve read about 200 pages so far and my goal is to read 100 per day so that I’m not making this novel last for months. In the book up to the point, I’ve seen Georgie’s death, the murder of Adrian Mellon, and met all of the main characters as adults. King does have a gift for info dumping without it dragging down the pace or the plot, so I always give him kudos for that.

However, this is a King novel. King is, well, the King of my problematic favorites. Read all of his books with extreme caution and remember that the bulk of his work were written in a time where white male writers were not questioned when they used slurs. In typical King fashion, most of his characters are introduced while they are either naked or having sex and there is an almost pornographic quality to the way King introduces them by their genitals. Prepare yourself to read way too much about pointy breasts and exclamation mark penises. Ugh.

I don’t remember much about the original IT except the fact that John-Boy Walton and Seth Green was it and I had a huge crush on both Bev and Ben. Everything in this story will be pretty new to me and I’m avoiding spoilers as much as possible.

The first two hundred pages sets up the back story for the book. The story starts of with the death of Georgie Denbrough in 1957 at the hands of IT, a seemingly demonic force that manifests as a clown and lives in the sewers. Skipping forward to 1985, we witness another murder and another manifestation of IT. From there, we met the adult characters of the book and learn a snip of each of their lives after they get a call to come back to Derry, Maine… because as children they made an oath to return if IT ever did… and IT has come back.

In the first two hundred pages, I love how King has blended the supernatural with the evils of the human spirit. Would IT have gotten Adrian Mellon if it weren’t for those 3 men? There’s also the supernatural and psychological element that all the adults literally forgot what happened to them as kids, forgot Derry, and in Bill’s case, forgot his younger brother Georgie, until they receive the call to come home. I’m interested to see if this is a supernatural element or if this is a psychological response to whatever terror IT reigned on them.

Have you read any spooky books lately? Have an recommendations? Let me know!

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200 pages in and 1 nightmare later… this is going to take a while…