Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday-- Favorite Horror Books

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

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Happy Halloween! This week is a Halloween freebie so I'm going to list my favorite horror books. I'm also including children's books. In no particular order.

1. The Night Gardener by Jonathon Auxier

2. Scariest Stories You've Ever Heard (various authors) (I, II, and III).

3. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

4. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

5. The Ritual by Adam Nevill

6. Hell House by Richard Matheson

7. Dracula by Bram Stoker

8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

9. Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

10. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week-in-Review-- Fall Break Vacay!

I'm finally recovering from our Fall Break vacation to northern California! We had so much fun visiting the Redwoods, Great Cats Wild Life Preserve, Oregon National Caves, and even the beach! This week was a lot of catch up and recovery. And yay to Halloween on Tuesday!

Books Finished:

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I was hoping to get through one more but I didn't quite make it with how the week turned out.

Currently Reading:

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss,  The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (reading aloud with my son), and We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Listening To:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders on Audible and Spooked.


The Mindhunter and Stranger Things.


Lots of Halloween-themed cocktails this month for my movie nights! They've all been a success! I will also be cooking like crazy Monday and Tuesday for Halloween!

Looking forward to:

Halloween! I'll be making chili and chicken tortellini, corn bread, apple cider, and Halloween-themed jelly shots! Devoted son is going as a black kitty cat and I'll be a witch and he will be my familiar.

Vacay Pics!

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Burney Falls

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Pebble beach, Oregon Vortex, Oregon National Caves

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Trees of Mystery

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Virginia City, NV (Old Saloon Town)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Goodreads Summary

Certain Dark Things combines elements of Latin American mythology with a literary voice that leads readers on an exhilarating and fast-paced journey.
Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Here in the city, heavily policed to keep the creatures of the night at bay, Domingo is another trash-picking street kid, just hoping to make enough to survive. Then he meets Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers. Domingo is smitten. He clings to her like a barnacle until Atl relents and decides to let him stick around.
But Atl's problems, Nick and Rodrigo, have come to find her. When they start to raise the body count in the city, it attracts the attention of police officers, local crime bosses, and the vampire community. Atl has to get out before Mexico City is upended, and her with it.
What I liked:

Moreno-Garcia sets up a fascinating world where vampires exist as other evolved hominids. It's truly fascinating.

What I didn't like:

I felt like this was a very short introduction into her vampire-filled world. The first half of the book was really slow. And it's a very short book.

Terrible things happen to our characters without a lot of time to process it. We care but she won't let us care too much.

Her two protagonists had zero chemistry. That's weird, right? She made them both up. But I didn't feel it; it felt very forced.

I liked it but I wanted to love it. I hope she delves back into this strange world with a better plot and character development.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cat Thursday-- October 26, 2017

Welcome to the weekly meme (hosted by True Book Addict) that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s)

Here we have Timmy the cat who likes to steal tiger plush toys! It's adorable. He even has his own Facebook page.

Next up is Maru, the famous Japanese cat that can get almost into any box or container and sit there!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

Goodreads Summary:

Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks - the controversial pop culture journalist - died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He'd already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed - until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack's final hours.

What I liked:

  • This was very creepy and I had at least one bad dream. Once again I read this mostly at night in a hotel room with only a headlamp...so that could have something to do with it!
  • I liked the take on demon possession. It was way creepier than the Exorcist.
  • Also funny. Jack was a horrible person but he made me laugh.
  • I enjoyed the style of the book. The book is put together after his death by his brother and he adds in emails and transcripts and letter from other characters so we get two different takes--Jack Sparks' and what really happened.
  • He's an unreliable narrator. Is he telling the truth? Has he gone mad
What I didn't like:

  • The skeptical part of Jack's character was highly cliched. He wasn't believable.
  • But once again he's an unreliable narrator so maybe that's the point?
Overall this was a fun book to read. It's different from anything I've read before and it was super creepy. I look forward to more from him.

I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Goodreads Summary:

In this terrifying tale, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house in a remote, totally isolated location. But they soon realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the shocking truth becomes horribly clear.
In the vein of Stephen King and John Ajvide Lindqvist, this horrifying thriller, partly based on a true story, is the scariest novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, who has captivated the attention of readers around the world with her mystery series featuring attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir. Now, Yrsa will stun readers once again with this out-of-this-world ghost story that will leave you shivering.

What I liked:

  • It was scary. I read most of the book at night in a hotel room with only a small headlamp while my son and my hubby slept. I was creeped out.
  • I loved how the two stories come together in the end.
  • It's also a really sad tale of two lost boys.
  • The scene was superb. Everything was cold and icy and lonely. It set the perfect mood for the whole story.
What I didn't like:

  • The ending was rushed.
  • The two different stories were a bit distracting at first.
  • There were some editing errors.
  • I think some ideas were lost in translation.
Overall it was a fantastic ghost story and I did enjoy the contemplation on grief and loss.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Troop by Nick Cutter

Goodreads summary:
Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected...and one another.

I wanted to love this one so much. I'd heard it was horrifying. It was boring at first and more gross and disgusting rather than terrifying.

It's an interesting premise. What do you when a Scout troop loses its Scoutmaster and a viral agent takes over? That alone would've been great. But Cutter had make all his boys stereotypes and tropes. I knew who would die and who would live.

But it is disgusting. Just think genetically-modified tape worms that are highly contagious and are set loose....there is some low-hanging fruit here. Cutter went more low than high but his descriptions of the worms were pretty terrifying. Those scenes alone were probably worth the read.

Friday the 13th


Where did this fear come from? Why is Friday the 13th such a superstition? While it's not exactly known many theories say that it hails back to Christianity's stories...Judas betraying Jesus on a Friday. Jesus being crucified on a Friday, which is also known as hangman's day.

Some suggest that 12 is a whole unit and can be broken down well and then you add in one more for 13 and it becomes spooky.

Other cultures don't seem to have the same phobia of Friday the 13th like we do. In Italy it's Friday the 17th...The Roman number XVII can be rearranged into the Latin VIXI which means "my life is over."

How do you spend Friday the 13th? I'm excited it's in October this year. I'm having my son's friends over for a little Halloween/Friday the 13th party.

Knock on wood, be nice to black cats, and maybe throw some salt over your shoulder...you know, just in case!

Source: National Geographic article

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cat Thursday--October 12, 2017

Welcome to the weekly meme (hosted by True Book Addict) that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s)

More Halloween cats for your viewing pleasure!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Horror Wednesday--Gerald's Game and A Dark Song


I love horror movies! I watch a lot of them just for fun all year long. I even a horror-movie-night every week with a few friends. I thought it would be a good idea to write down a few thoughts about some of these horror movies I watch, all the good, bad, and in between. I'm not an expert or anything. Die-hard horror movie buffs will love quite a few that I'm not all that fond of....But I'll just throw a few thoughts out every week for fun and see what sticks!

Gerald's Game (2017) (Netflix):
While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.
Another great Stephen King adaptation. Mike Flanagan headed this one up after doing Hush, which was also phenomenal.

How does one survive the unsurvivable? Jessie must make quick work of her situation before she dies of thirst while handcuffed to a bed. Is she slowly losing her mind? She starts to break down as her dead husband starts to talk to her and another version of herself. Throw in the Moonlight Man and her abusive father and you have quite a horror movie.

Jessie must work through her abuse and face her demons in order to get out alive!

A Dark Song (2016) (Netflix):
A determined young woman and a damaged occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want.
I love movies about grief and how we as humans deal with it, good and bad and in between. Where will our grief take us? A Dark Song explores this beautifully.

Sophia hires Joseph to perform a dark ritual that will allow her to see the spirit of her murdered son. They whole themselves up in an old big house in the British countryside in order to cleanse themselves and perform the ritual. But maybe her reason to perform the ritual isn't exactly what she claims...as the time wears on things become more dangerous until Sophia is forced to face her demons and either get what she came for or die trying.

This is a slow burn and it's worth every minute.

Another great horror movie on grief is Dig Two Graves.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

It by Stephen King

Goodreads Summary:

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

My Thoughts:

This was my first Stephen King horror. I've tried others like "The Stand," "Firestarter," and "The Tommyknockers," but I couldn't get more than a hundred pages in any of them. I did read "The Green Mile" and really enjoyed it but it was also very short compared to King's other books.

I pushed through and I finished! Woot! It is cause for celebration. I didn't think I'd finish it back in July when I started it. But with the new movie and a read-a-long and all the Halloween horror reading I was planning on doing, I knew I needed to keep chipping away at it. Spoilers ahead....FYI

What I liked:
  • The world-building. King is obviously known for this. I've heard most of his books take place in the same world. He's fantastic with the seedy-side of Derry.
  • The Loser's Club kids. Only King can make a great coming-of-age novel inside a horror story.
  • It was creepy. The parts I loved best were when the kids were being haunted by It. I kept the lights on.
  • How the past and present start combing toward the end. We had a back and forth during the first part of the book and then the suspense picks up and we are taken quickly in and out of the past and present almost where you don't quite know which time we're in....
  • The new movie! Was awesome. It took the best parts of kids coming together and facing awful stuff and made it better than its source (in my opinion, which I know many will not agree).
  • I liked the old mini-series, especially the kid focused first part, but the adult half was awful and the special effects did not hold up.
What I didn't like:
  • His tropes. One girl who's beautiful, surrounded by 6 dopey and awkward kids....seven dwarves trope.
  • The ending got too weird...turtles, and tunnels, and spiders oh my! 
  • Kid orgies? um...nope. Did not need to go there at all.
  • He needed a lot more editing. Did we really need to know about Patrick's awful sociopathic activities? Nope.
  • What happened to Tom? It's like King forgot he was there and threw some vague dialogue in at the end to try and wrap it up...didn't work.
I'm glad I read it but I really don't think I'll read any more of King. His storie's are great. I think I'll just stick to his movies and TV adaptations...He's just not my style.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week-in-Review--October 9

It got cold this week! Brrr! But we did get a very nice day on Saturday and enjoyed playing outside with G and throwing the frisbie around. G had his first cooking class and he really enjoyed it! Yellow pepper Jack-o-lantern with spaghetti brains and a mummy pumpkin tart for dessert!

Books Finished: Black-eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. It by Stephen King. I did it! 3 months and 1 week later!

Currently Reading: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Troop by Nick Cutter, and The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem by Stacy Schiff, Dracula by Bram Stoker on Audible, and I Remember You by  

Listening To: Dracula on Audible, and more podcasts like Spooked.

Watching: American Vandal on Netflix, The Orville, and Top of the Lake: China Girl.

Looking Forward To: We're heading out to the Redwoods for Fall Break. It'll be nice to get away and I've never seen the beautiful Redwoods.

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Making: I've committed to making a new Halloween cocktail each horror movie nite with my friends. Last week was Witch's Brew and a zombie brain shot. This week will probably entail a pumpkin pie shot and maybe a candy corn cocktail!

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Black-eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Goodreads Summary:

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.  
Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.  
What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

What I liked:

The book springs back and forth between Tessa at present day as she's trying to figure out how to help Terrell get a new hearing so he doesn't get executed for the crime she's sure he didn't commit, and the Tessa (Tessie) a year after she was found and how the trial went that convicted Terrell in the first place.

The book builds the suspense as we get closer and closer to the end. The breaks between past and present are shorter and quicker. It was an interesting way to build.

What I didn't like:

The back and forth was a little incomplete overall. We only got tidbits of her best friend Lydia who was there for the young Tessie. We know something happened between them but we aren't sure what. So I didn't quite get to know Tessie or Tessa. And therefore it was harder to care about her much.

The author also adds a little epilogue that keeps up some of the suspense. But I felt it didn't work for how the story was built and finished. It was unnecessary.

Overall, it was a quick mystery read. I did like her thoughts on trauma and how we deal with it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cat Thursday-- October 5, 2017

Welcome to the weekly meme (hosted by True Book Addict) that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s)

*All pics taken from Bored Panda.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Horror Movie Wednesday--Cult of Chucky, Dark Signal, and Holidays


I love horror movies! I watch a lot of them just for fun all year long. I even a horror-movie-night every week with a few friends. I thought it would be a good idea to write down a few thoughts about some of these horror movies I watch, all the good, bad, and in between. I'm not an expert or anything. Die-hard horror movie buffs will love quite a few that I'm not all that fond of....But I'll just throw a few thoughts out every week for fun and see what sticks!

I watched quite a few this last week. I've been recovering from a bout of illness and watching horror movies seemed like the best way to beat it!

Cult of Chucky (2017): I watched this one for my weekly horror movie night. Let's just say if you're a fan of the other Chucky's, you'll be a fan of this one. I am not. This was my first and last introduction to the series. The only good thing these movies have going for them are the witty one-liners always coming out of the evil possessed doll.

Dark Signal (2016)(Netflix): This was a nice little British horror movie surprise. A radio station crew is putting on their last show where a haunting voice warns them of danger. It also cuts between the production assistant's girlfriend and her friend Nick. Nick is robbing an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and needs her help. The stories all come together in the end for a pretty sweet ending.

The only drawbacks were the acting...pretty cheesy.

Holidays (2016)(Netflix): Horror anthologies can be a great way to tell some fantastic horror stories. This one didn't quite cut it. The only fantastic story is the first one based on Valentine's Day. After that the stories build really great and then crash at the end for a cheap trick. Though, the Christmas and New Year's stories were pretty good too. Check this one out for a fun Seth Green appearance! But watch the Valentine's Day story no matter what. Amazing!


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