Sunday, October 3, 2021

It's Fall!!!

Where did September go? Is it really Fall already? And is it October 1st on Friday? Wait...what? 

I actually made some yummy soup and soda bread for our Fall Equinox celebration but I totally forgot to take pics. But everyone was filled and the bread, soup, and cider all turned out wonderfully.

But before fall hit us DH had to make a mad dash down to Texas to see his father. He's back in the hospital and he didn't know if his dad would survive the weekend. Thankfully, he did and DH is back and happy he got to see his father again.

We made it to a local Fall Festival and picked out some fun pumpkins to decorate and carve next month! And we even went on a hike last weekend with friends. And yesterday we hit a beautiful fall leaves hike with all the views and great friends too.'s been a very sad and difficult weekend. DH's father passed away on Friday so he his heading back down to Texas tomorrow for his funeral. I'd like to update more but I just don't have the energy so I'm putting up pics and hopefully I can get a separate post for September R.I.P. books and movies.

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Joining up with Deb from Readerbuzz and her Sunday Salon.

Monday, September 27, 2021

R.I.P. Book Reviews: My Heart Is a Chainsaw...

I am loving all things horror this month and onto next month! 5 horror books with a possible 6th one done before October hits. We shall see...

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Published: August 31st, 2021 by Gallery/Saga Press
Genre: Horror
Format: Audiobook, 12 hours and 25 minutes, Scribd
Five Stars

Publisher's Summary:

In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges… a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body.

My Thoughts:

Jones knows how to just gut your heart! I loved this book. I need to read is earlier work as well. Jade! What a character! So many layers to her and her town and the people in it. It's a homage to all things slasher as well. So many references I didn't get but it didn't matter. The story carries you a long and you are wondering who and what the whole time. Loved the twist as well. It was a great way to start off my R.I.P. challenge this year.

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup
Published: June 6th, 2018 by Harper (in U.S.)
Genre: Crime fiction
Format: Paperback, 519 Pages, Own
3 Stars

Publisher's Summary:

The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene. Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

My Thoughts:

I loved the American version of The Killing. Sveistrup is the writer and creator of the original Danish version of The Killing. So I had high hopes. Chestnut Man is his first novel. And it shows. Great plot, overall, but it definitely played out like a TV series. How everything was setup and how the characters are introduced and used within the story. I'm actually excited to see the Netflix series since I feel it will fill in the details missing from his book. But it's still a very creepy and disturbing story.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Published: October 10, 1983 (this edition by Vintage)
Genre: Gothic horror
Format: Paperback, 164 Pages, Library
4 Stars

Publisher's Summary:

‘I did not believe in ghosts’

Few attend Mrs Alice Drablow’s funeral, and not one blood relative amongst them. There are undertakers with shovels, of course, a local official who would rather be anywhere else, and one Mr Arthur Kipps, solicitor from London. He is to spend the night in Eel Marsh House, the place where the old recluse died amidst a sinking swamp, a blinding fog and a baleful mystery about which the townsfolk refuse to speak.

Young Mr Kipps expects a boring evening alone sorting out paperwork and searching for Mrs Drablow’s will. But when the high tide pens him in, what he finds – or rather what finds him – is something else entirely.

My Thoughts:

I watched the movie back in 2012 and thought it was so creepy. So I'm glad I finally sat down and read the book it was based on. Susan Hill uses a lot of wonderful gothic ghost devices to keep you constantly creeped out. It's short and sweet and it is so effective at leaving you unnerved long after you've finished. It's a modern classic for a reason!

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Published: July 13, 2021 by Berkley Books
Genre: Horror
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages, Own
4 Stars

Publisher's Summary:

A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who's left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she's not alone. For more than a decade she's been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette's worst fears are realized--someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

My Thoughts:

You've got to live in his world where slasher killers are real and they leave behind actual final girls and these actual final girls have a support group! Wild. It got off to a rocky start but by the middle and I'm wondering who, what, and how and I have to keep going to find out how it all ends. And I just love Hendrix. He's got a heart of gold and he never disappoints with his characters. They get what they deserve and I love that!

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Published: March 20, 2018 by Berkley Books
Genre: Horror
Format: Kindle, 409 Pages, Own
4 Stars

Publisher's Summary:

A journalist uncovers the dark secrets of an abandoned boarding school in this chilling suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel.

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the ones too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall, and local legend says the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears....

Vermont, 2014. Twenty years ago, journalist Fiona Sheridan's elder sister's body was found in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And although her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of the murder, Fiona can't stop revisiting the events, unable to shake the feeling that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during renovations links the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced....

My Thoughts:

I first read her most recent book The Sun Down Motel, which I really enjoyed. Her format for that book was very similar for this one. There are two times we are following and they meet up at the end and all is revealed. I actually enjoy how she does it. And there is always an element or two of supernatural awesomeness that is very creepy. I did feel like there was a bit too much going on with the plot, especially at the end but overall I highly enjoyed it. I look forward to more of her writing! 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Cat Thursday--Happy Fall, Ya'll


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

Welcome to Fall! My favorite time of the year. So without further adieu...

Monday, September 13, 2021


We have survived the first few weeks of school. G got sick the week before Labor Day weekend and boy oh boy was I nervous. I got him tested and he came back negative but the kid hasn't been sick in almost 18 months! And he's been great at wearing his mask at school but ultimately we can only protect so much when so many won't wear masks indoors...he's OK and recovered quickly. But it was a very nerve-wracking start to September.

Thankfully, we were able to get away for a little camping trip this last weekend! It nice to sit back and relax and enjoy Nature and each other. We had a great time. We only got mildly rained on! OK, it rained a lot Saturday and it was pretty chilly but we made the best of it!





Since my last update:
Reading Life:

The Memory Thief and the Secrets Behind How We Remember by Lauren Aguirre. I listened to My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham-Jones. Sooooo good. He can write no wrong. Meta-horror fiction with only a twist Graham-Jones can write. The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup, a Nordic noir that's been made into a Netflix series coming out this month. Looking forward to it!

Currently Reading: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo for my 1001 Books to Read Before You Die Challenge, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (RIP challenge), The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (RIP challenge), The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (philosophy challenge and classics challenge), The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (all my scary challenges!), and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Watching Life:

TV: I've been watching Slasher season 4 out on Shudder. Gross and dumb just what I need right now! G and I are watching the final weeks of Lego Masters! I also started Evil. Just so weird and campy and I can't say I like it all that much but I still keep watching! Why?! And the DH and I just started The Boys on Amazon Prime. Wow. That is messed up but we love it! White Lotus on HBO is really good too, but not quite binge-worthy so I'm taking my time.

Movies: I'm watching all the horror right now. I get started in September and never look back. I got a Shudder subscription last year and now I'm hooked and I can get all the horror all year round!

Attack the Block--Aliens attack the wrong neighborhood in England! Kandisha--a vengeful spirit attacks men (I really liked this one!) Candyman--loved the original from the 90s. This remake/sequel was still good but I was hoping for more. Martyrs Lane--a really great ghost story and it has a lot to say about grief. Superhost--This was just silly but fun. Malignant--not great at all. Don't bother.

Making: I made up a pumpkin pie pumpkin for puree! I baked up some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin pancakes this last week. We've been trying to get as much grilling as we can in. I know the season will end too soon.

Looking forward to: Fall. I love summer but once Labor Day is done I am too. I'm all about chillier weather and pumpkin and leaves and scary! 

Talk Like a Pirate Day is on Sunday and I thought we'd celebrate with some fun decor and activities!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Cat Thursday-- School's Back in Session!


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

School is back and the kitties are telling it like it is...

Friday, September 3, 2021

Book Review: The Memory Thief and the Secrets Behind How We Remember by Lauren Aguirre

The Memory Thief and the Secrets Behind How We Remember by Lauren Aguirre
Published: June 1st, 2021 by Pegasus Books
Genre: Nonfiction, Science
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages, library
Rating: 4 stars

Publisher's Summary:

The remarkable true story of a team of doctors who – through years of scientific sleuthing and observant care—discover a surprising connection between opioids and memory, one that holds promise and peril for any one of us.

How could you lose your memory overnight, and what would it mean? The day neurologist Jed Barash sees the baffling brain scan of a young patient with devastating amnesia marks the beginning of a quest to answer those questions. First detected in a cluster of stigmatized opioid overdose victims in Massachusetts with severe damage to the hippocampusthe brain’s memory centerthis rare syndrome reveals how the tragic plight of the unfortunate few can open the door to advances in medical science.

After overcoming initial skepticism that investigating the syndrome is worth the effort—and that fentanyl is the likely culpritBarash and a growing team of dedicated doctors explore the threat that people who take opioids chronically as prescribed to treat severe pain may gradually put their memories at risk. At the same time, they begin to grasp the potential for this syndrome to shed light on the most elusive memory thief of allAlzheimer’s disease.

Through the prism of this fascinating story, Aguirre goes on to examine how researchers tease out the fundamental nature of memory and the many mysteries still to be solved. Where do memories live? Why do we forget most of what happens in a day but remember some events with stunning clarity years later? How real are our memories? And what purpose do they actually serve?

Perhaps the greatest mystery in The Memory Thief is why Alzheimer’s has evaded capture for a century even though it afflicts tens of millions around the world and lies in wait for millions more. Aguirre deftly explores this question and reveals promising new strategies and developments that may finally break the long stalemate in the fight against this dreaded disease.

But at its core, Aguirre’s genre-bending and deeply-reported book is about paying attention to the things that initially don’t make sense—like the amnestic syndrome—and how these mysteries can move science closer to an ever-evolving version of the truth.

My Thoughts:

Lauren Aguirre weaves the story of how a group of doctors look into a connection between opioid use and abuse and memory loss. We follow along with each and every doctor who saw something wasn't right and started to make connections and reach out. We also follow along with Owen, a man who'd life has been completely upended because of his amnesia.

It's also a crash course into how how brain makes memories and what happens when our brains don't do that anymore...the tale takes us to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia and the possible genetic predispositions they may be there. And why are some brains more susceptible to hippocampus damage on opioids and not others?

To me it's also a story on the ingenuity of science, our brains, and scientists and doctors who keep it all going.

I really enjoyed following along with each doctor as they came to new insights and shared it with others. The science behind what they're doing and where it still needs to go. Also, Owen. Man. I cannot even imagine what he has to deal with every minute of every day. We get to see what he does to function without a brain able to hold onto memories!

Aguirre, even provides a few tips from the doctors to keep our brains healthy...sleep, consistent exercise, and eternal optimism and gratitude for the little things. I mean, we know this but it's backed by science! Science is good. Science is wise. Follow science.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Readers Imbibing Peril: RIP XVI

 Yes, it's that time of year again! RIP has moved onto Instagram and Twitter only. But they have a ton of fun new features this year...check it out @perilreaders

Anything goes for this challenge! Mystery, horror, thriller, classics, gothic, true crimes, nonfiction on horror movies, or haunted places, etc.

There's also a listening challenge, a movie and or TV show challenge. There is a bingo challenge, photo challenge over the next two months!

And a read-a-long to The Sundial by Shirley Jackson. So if any of this sounds even remotely amazing go check them out either on Instagram or Twitter.

I've already started! I watched "Candyman" last night with a friend. I'm listening to Stephen Graham Jones' new book My Heart Is a Chainsaw.

Other books on my list:

  • The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
  • The Halloween Moon by Joseph Fink
  • Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
  • The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
  • The Good House by Tananarive Due
  • Billy Summers by Stephen King
Too many to count but I'll do my best!

  • Slasher season 4 on Shudder
  • American Horror Story Season 10 on Hulu
  • Nine Perfect Strangers on Hulu
  • Last Night in Soho
  • Malignant
  • Halloween Kills (new one with Jamie Lee Curtis!!!!)
I may go through some older classics I haven't seen for awhile

There are also a ton of podcasts that share scary stories, true crime, dramatized mysteries and horror. Skies the limit! 

Cat Thursday: Featuring Horatio and His Costumes


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

This Cat Thursday features Horatio, who works for the Centre County Library in Pennsylvania! Bored Panda reached out to his owner Lisa to find out all about Horatio and the costumes he wears to promote the local library. Lisa makes or repurposes all of his costumes. He's the only cat out of seven that enjoys posing and wearing said costumes. I can't get enough of how adorable he is! Check out all of the costumes over at Bored Panda. Here are a few to tide you over...

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Book Review: Dare to Know by James Kennedy

Dare to Know by James Kennedy
Published (expected): September 14, 2021 by Quirk Books
Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller
Format: ARC paperback, 304 Pages

I received an ARC copy for free from Quirk Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Science has evolved enough to find thanatons or death particles. The rich pay millions to find out when they'll die. Sapere Aude is formed and big bucks are to be had and our protagonist Willy is at the top of his game...well, until he isn't. Pretty soon the middle class can afford to know they'll die and eventually does anyone really, I mean really wanna know?

The algorithm to predict one's death involves a lot of training at first but soon even Willy's job is doable by the grunts. He's soon out of a job. He's still in love with his long ago ex-girlfriend. And his marriage is over and his two boys want nothing to do with him. He's not supposed to predict his own death...that is until a freak accident convinces him to do it. What ensues forces Willy to rethink everything he's ever known and he's running out of time to save himself and quite possibly the world.

I absolutely love the premise of this sci-fi thriller. Big philosophical questions explored through science fiction. I feel like he was trying to be Blake Crouch and unfortunately, he is not. His characters and world-building really fall flat. I honestly had a hard time caring about Willy and the two-dimensional humans he interacted with. It felt like a short story that was bloated for a full-length novel. It had some serious promise but it just wasn't executed well in the end.

I hope his next book has a little more girth to his characters and world. I love his ideas and I loved how he used philosophy and physics to build his story. I'll keep my eye out.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

School Again!

 Consistent blogging this summer has been an enormous chore for me, unfortunately. I just haven't been able to find the time to do it as much as I'd like. Hopefully with a new schedule I can finally find a consistent time to do it. Fingers are crossed but also it's OK if it remains a bit inconsistent! Such is life right now.

G started 7th grade last Tuesday! I cannot believe he is a middle schooler. It's the same school he has been going to since 1st grade so I feel like middle school will be a better experience for him than it was for me! A big worry for me was the Delta variant and what school would look like in a state that refuses to listen to science and has made it illegal for the local health departments to issue mask mandates. It just floors me. So we discussed. The only reason I allowed him to go back to school was because he is vaccinated and me and his dad. He is fully masked up and doing his best to stay safe at school. I'd say about 10% of the school population is masking and that might be high...It's a smaller school so I hope overall, he can stay safe and thus keep us safe. But I'm not going to lie; it's been a very anxious week over here! But he enjoyed his first week back and is excited about his classes and seeing his friends again in person. So I'm just trying to keep the optimism going!

I did send him to a very safe day summer camp for the first week of August! He got to learn about the animals at the local aquarium and play games and interact with in-person human children again! I think it was a great transition for him before school started.



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Butterfly puzzle!

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G's first day of 7th grade!

Posts since my last update:

Reading Life:

I finished up The Searcher by Tana French--I'm officially done with her books til she writes a new one! G and I finished up The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. I also finished Survive the Night by Danielle Vega--a young adult horror that was quick and fun, though nothing to write home about--God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney--an interesting coming-of-age story about two sisters raised in an Evangelical church coming to terms with their pastor-father's affair--and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor--this one has been on my list since it debuted back in 2012! I really enjoyed it!

Currently Reading: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (second book in series). The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty. The Lord of Opium (Matteo Alacran #2) by Nancy Farmer with G for the sequel to The House of the Scorpion. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo for my 1001 Books to Read Before You Die the French. The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis--It's tragic but such a necessary read. I'm almost done and plan on finishing it this week. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir for my philosophy book club. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for my classics reading. And I've been in and out with some of my other books for various reading challenges. I'm not going to say I'm currently reading them when I haven't picked them up in weeks! I'm hoping to get back into a better schedule soon...we shall see. But Fall and Halloween is almost here and I dive back into horror and mysteries usually this time of year so yeah we shall see where my reading moods take me!

Watching Life:

G and I have been watching final weeks of the Lego Masters on FOX. It's getting intense! I'm already ready for Halloween so my mood has gone to horror the last couple of weeks. Shudder bought the Slasher series from Netflix and just started releasing the fourth season weekly. And Hulu released the spin-off series of American Horror Story-- American Horror Stories! Each episode was one story and I liked that a whole lot better. Nine Perfect Strangers was just released on Hulu. Really fun so far. Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy! Gold.

DH and I just watched The Suicide Squad on HBO Max and really enjoyed it. So much fun. Humor and action and characters to care about. Dead Calm was a fun discovery. It came out in 1989 with Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, and Billy Zane! Great cast and a great boat/sea thriller.

Making: I've been making lots of grilled corn, potato salad, salsas galore! Lots of brats and salads and fish tacos too. We've been eating great this summer with our CSA pickups. Fresh fruits and veggies yum.

Looking forward to: Labor Day weekend. Nothing extra special but I'll probably grill up some kebabs and it'll be nice to have an extra day off to rest up from all the crazy the last couple of weeks.

Joining in with Deb from Readerbuzz's Sunday Salon

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Cat Thursday: Summer with teh Kitties!

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

We still have another month of summer but the cats have been enjoying being lazy so I'd thought I'd share a few photos of their cuteness...

They have gotten into so much craziness! Puzzle boxes, camping chair boxes, climbing trees. Shadow hates thunder so the summer is the worst. I've had to make special little cubbies of blankets for her so she can relax and not be so scared. Lots of fun summer times with these two!

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