review

The Book Of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

“Life is not a box of chocolates, it’s a weathered old paperback, and you never know what you’re going to find in it.”- Christopher Fowler

20171114_133334.jpg

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead. 
So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from shelves.”

My Review

I enjoyed this book, I don’t read much non-fiction and I struggle to finish books when I do but this was an engaging read full of interesting information. Sometimes it feels like you’re having a conversation with the author about books, especially in the chapter about Polly Hope whom the author visits. The authors themselves are colourful characters whose life stories are as interesting as their fiction.

Did you know that most Disney movies are based on books that nobody has ever heard of? 

I’ve learnt so much from this book and need to read it again to absorb all the information, I’ve found some authors that I want to read and rediscovered some I’ve read previously.

*

Authors I’ve read:

  • Virginia Andrews- I enjoyed her book Flowers In The Attic (despite the incest) but couldn’t finish the sequel, the sister was just too promiscuous for my liking!

Did you know that Andrew Neiderman (the author of Devils Advocate adapted into a film starring Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino) was a ghost writer for Virginia Andrews books after her death?

  • Dennis Wheatley- I’ve read one book by Dennis Wheatley and sadly although the characters were interesting and it had the potential to be a good adventure novel it did waffle on and the outdated ideas of witchcraft were grating. Wheatley doesn’t age well, although his books have been released on Kindle (which is how I got a copy).

*

 

This book is full of interesting information: I learnt the origin of “Billy Liar” and “Billy Bunter” I’ve heard relatives use these terms before and never knew where they came from, until I read this book.

Did you know that Jean Plaidy (historical writer) was the pseudonym for Elizabeth Hibbet?

It’s a shame that some of these authors are out of print or forgotten it’s only thanks to the author of this book Christopher Fowler that they will be rediscovered and remembered again.

Did you know that Frank Baker wrote the book The Birds that Hitchcock based his classic film on? He was Daphne De Maurier’s cousin!

Thank you to the publishers: River run and bookbridgr for this advanced reading proof copy, I can’t recommend this book enough to fellow bookworms. But be warned out of print books are expensive and this will not help your to be read pile/list! 🙂

This book is a must-read I can’t praise the style and content enough!

Advertisements
Uncategorized

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for a chance to read this book!

Due to be released Feb 8th.

Description from Netgalley:

‘We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort 
because we ARE the bad sort . . .’

‘This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type’ – The Morning HeraldTuesday 13 September 1831

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . .

My Review

It seemed a slow start to this story but it’s a good one!

Although I say a slow start I enjoyed reading about old London and I liked Hester, it felt like I was reading a classic novel not a historical one about a young woman who wants to improve her place in society. Hester’s chances improve when she enters the Brock household and meets Rebekah. I never really knew what to think, this book constantly keeps you guessing. It is around this time that the pace changes and the mystery escalates with tension and suspense!

There’s many dark twists and turns along the way as secrets are revealed and horrors exposed(it was more shocking than I expected). I could not stop reading  until I reached the last page I was completely drawn into this world and loved a mystery involving female characters.

I can’t wait to read the next book by Laura Carlin.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Vampires: Back in Time to the First Darkness - The Original Stories

For Halloween I started to read some stories from this book. I only managed to finish two one of which was:

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

I’ve been meaning to read this for some time and I shouldn’t have waited so long.

I was engaged with this story until the end, in fact I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed reading a classic novel until I started to read this story. It’s similar to Dracula in some aspects but then has some interesting ideas of it’s own. It does predate Dracula and doesn’t follow the same story. Although I knew  why people in the story were strangely ill, I still found it full of suspense and was intrigued to find out what would happen next.

I would recommend this to any vampire fan, especially if you have read Dracula and love classic novels. It’s a novella and doesn’t take too long to read.

Wake Not The Dead by Johann Ludwig Tieck

This short story was published around 1800 and is one of the earliest vampire stories ever published. Despite it’s age it has some good ideas and seems a lot like a story of folklore as well as a horror story. The gist of the story is that Walter’s wife dies and he misses her so much that he wants to being her back. The repeated warning in this book: “Wake not the dead,” I can’t help but imagine in Christopher Lee’s voice. This story is intriguing and the ending does not disappoint.

*

I recommend this book Vampires to any vampire fan as there’s some real gems in there. There’s one by Arthur Conan Doyle I’m tempted to read but I’m trying not to think how long I’ve had some ARCs for that desperately need to be finished.

I don’t plan to read anymore from this book at the moment because I’m hoping to finish some books in November. That means not rereading two books I really want to and trying not to be overly concerned that the reading challenge I started may not be finished.

 

 

Uncategorized

Ninja Book Swap

 

This year was my first Ninja Book Swap. I signed up for the Trick or Treat, so I would receive one book I would love and one that I would not usually read.

I loved choosing and buying items to send off and was so excited to receive my own parcel. I’d forgotten that I had put Tom Hanks’ book on my wishlist and I was so happy when I ripped open the wrapping paper to discover it. My Ninja Swap Partner pointed out that it’s not something I’d usually read but I like Tom Hanks.

The treat was a YA book which I don’t usually read. I’ve been put off by the immature characters and read some I didn’t like that put me off the genre (some!). However I am excited to read this book as it’s a mix of mythical tales and I enjoy fantasy. The book itself is gorgeous, the illustrations inside are amazing, I love pretty books!

Also included in the parcel was a gift: a dragon glass arrow head necklace, if you’re not a Games of Thrones fan (why not!?) dragon glass is a very important weapon (I’m being wary of spoilers). I have been looking at arrow head necklaces in the past year because a character in my favourite trilogy: The All Souls Trilogy, also has an arrow head necklace and I loved the idea.

20171104_123535.jpg

Thanks again Arielle! I am so happy with my Ninja Swap 🙂

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Happy Halloween

 

It’s finally here! For me Halloween is about watching horror movies and eating lots of junk (just don’t tell my dentist my appointment’s tomorrow and that’s enough to scare anyone). I’ve been watching Hocus Pocus every year since I was child.

So much has changed since then, they don’t put Halloween films on like they used to. Have you noticed? Some channels put a few on- do I want to watch Scream for the hundredth time? Hmmm…- but there’s not much anymore.

I used to buy new films every Halloween.  There’s been a few in the cinema (new Saw film, Mother) not much out to buy. I’ve seen a lot of horror films  when you watch horror films all your life, you can work out what’s going to happen next. Some films just don’t seem to even try!

These are my films to watch for Halloween, either scary or just favourites:

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsMama [DVD]

The old Evil Dead films are good, their effects really work, it’s not scary but it’s a must see. There’s now a tv series Ash VS Evil Dead it’s so funny. Wacky, horror.

Candyman is a favourite, Hide and Seek is a good thriller not a horror film but good! Ring films: I like the story. Jeepers Creepers- actually used to scare me but I was young, then I realised how funny it is. Nightbreed is very different. I feel like I’m missing something! I’ll remember another film later no doubt, my brain is fogged by a cold!

Sean of the dead!

Vampire films:

  • The Lost Boys
  • John Carpenter’s Vampires
  • The Wisdom of Crocodiles
  • Blade series
  • Daybreakers
  • Interview with the vampire

Anything by Guillermo de Toro is a must

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

And if you want weird but not scary,Tim Burton, of course

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

There are so many films that I’ve enjoyed and I have to apologise I had so much to say but my cold addled brain is not thinking today! I hope whatever you do you have a good Halloween, even if you only have time to watch one film. I did start reading the Vampires story anthology I mentioned in a previous post and am enjoying reading Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu.

What films do you recommend? Nightmare before Christmas: Christmas film or Halloween? For me it’s Christmas.

The only film that’s ever really scared me and I watched it twice as there’s a few films with that name is:

Product DetailsIt’s the creature in it! Maybe it’s because of what he does, maybe it wouldn’t scare me if I watched it again. That happens sometimes.

What film scared you?

 

Uncategorized

Horror Shorts

Short stories are handy for the lunch break or when you don’t have much time to read, they’re often cheap to buy as an ebook too. I don’t hear much about short stories on blogs, people mention the novels they love but  not many seem to talk about the wealth of short story anthologies that are out there (just take a look on Kickstarter).

There’s some scary stuff out there and these in no particular order my favourites:

Slightly Spooky Stories I by [Collins, Patsy]

I haven’t read this yet, so many books, but I have read other anthologies by Patsy Collins and her horror stories are chilling and stay with you. My favourite from another anthology was ‘Don’t touch the water’. You can find this book and more in both ebook and a physical book format on amazon

Minor Discord by [Laycock, Helen]

Helen Laycock’s stories are the type that give you that shock to the system with a lovely image in your head at the end “Forty-three days he had sat like this. For forty-three days he had floated in the vacuous space inside his skull.” Amazing! This anthology is a mix of short stories and flash fiction and it does not disappoint. You can find this book and more on amazon

Dark Tales is a quarterly magazine that publishes only the best in horror and speculative fiction. I stumbled upon this when I was looking for fiction markets and these are the two books that I own. Each story is so original you wonder how they could think of such horrors. You can buy them in paperback or as  ebook (very cheap) or subscribe. The paperbacks cost £2.99 and feature illustrations! You can buy from their website or amazon.

If you’re a writer you can enter their monthly competition for a chance to be published!

*

I’ve just got a horror story anthology which is Christmas themed! But more later, Halloween is first. If you do buy any of these please review on amazon to support these writers, all listed are independent authors and we should support them. 🙂

 

Do you read short fiction? Any recommendations?

Uncategorized

Unique Vampire Books

I love vampire books but when you’ve read so many vampire books you can get bored of the same vampires and same ideas and try to find something new, something unique.

What’s unique? Vampire romance books were around before the Twilight craze and who wants another Dracula style vampire who spends his days in a coffin? (Unless you name’s Lestat!) So anything that stands out, a different type of vampire, a different fantastical world. A novel where vampires are monsters again.

Here’s a list of vampire books that are unique in someway and that have stood out for me. (It’s been a while since I read some of these so where there are gaps in my memory I resorted to internet descriptions to help, I read so many books it’s hard to remember them all!)

Product Details

 “When struggling riverboat captain Abner Marsh receives an offer of partnership from a wealthy aristocrat, he suspects something’s amiss. But when he meets the hauntingly pale, steely-eyed Joshua York, he is certain. For York doesn’t care that the icy winter of 1857 has wiped out all but one of Marsh’s dilapidated fleet. Nor does he care that he won’t earn back his investment in a decade. York has his own reasons for wanting to traverse the powerful Mississippi. “

Fevre Dream is set on a steam boat! This in itself is enough to grab my attention. It’s been a while since I read this book but I really enjoyed it and the vampires were very different.

20171009_115027-1.jpg“Meet the Radleys

Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in a typical suburban English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But, as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret.

In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family. The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.”

This book is different because it’s  funny and brings vampires into the modern day family world.  I really need to reread it one day, it’s a great read.

 

Product DetailsThis is my favourite book, the story is narrated at first by a young woman discovering an odd book in her father’s study. Then we are told her father’s story of how he got this book and how he ended up hunting for Dracula. It’s a story that spans countries and decades, a riveting novel that I often reread. It’s different because of the history and although it’s Dracula it’s not ‘Count Dracula’ but Vlad the Impaler, the Prince of Wallachia,  a real historical figure, who is a vampire but it’s so good!

 

Product Details

I recently read this book and more recently discovered that I’d already read it in my teens! It is a YA book but it’s a brilliant read about a girl in a boarding school. Her relationship with her best friend changes when a new girl arrives, a girl she is sure is different. There’s something not right about her. It’s different because it’s psychological rather than an explicit vampire novel. 

“And at the centre of the diary is the question that haunts all who read it: Is Ernessa really a vampire? Or is the narrator trapped in her own fevered imagination?”

 

Product Details

If you’re after a book with vampires that are monsters then I am Legend is for you. Robert Neville is the last man on earth and every night he has to barricade himself in because the vampires come for him. It’s different because vampires are monsters again and there’s just this one man and how long can he survive?

Let the Right One In by [Lindqvist, John Ajvide]

 “It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night….”

I enjoyed this book, it’s different because of where it’s set, because it’s a horror novel and gory. Also because of the relationship between Oskar and the strange girl. A must read for horror fans.

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches: Soon to be a major TV series (All Souls 1) (All Souls Trilogy) by [Harkness, Deborah]

A Discovery Of Witches is book one of my favourite trilogy. Diana is a witch but for years she’s not used her powers and lives a normal life, she doesn’t want anything to do with magic. Everything changes when she calls an alchemy manuscript from the Bodleian library. This is different because the fantasy world is so unique, vampires, witches and daimons. There’s history and science and the characters are ones you will care about well after you’ve closed the book. I’ve currently reading this for the third time and again I am blown away by the language and the characters. There is a romantic story but there is so much more than that.

Product Details

“In the French Quarter of New Orleans the Mardi Gras celebrations conceal a different group of pleasure-seekers. For Zillah, Molochai and Twig, the party has been going on for centuries, fuelled by sexual frenzy, green Chartreuse and innocent blood. Born in horror and brought up in suburban Maryland, Nothing has always suspected he’s different from other teenagers and when he has his first taste of human blood, he knows he is right. Ghost is the singer of the band Lost Souls?. When Nothing is drawn into Zillah’s fatal circle, Ghost has to decide whether to save the boy  or abandon him to his bloody birthright. Lost Souls is a dark, decadent and delicious work of fantasy from the mistress of modern horror.”

I remember that this book was different from anything I’d been reading at the time. and I enjoyed it, the atmosphere and the characters. It’s reminding me now of The Lost Boys; there are sexually explicit scenes.

Product Details

I want to assume that this book needs no introduction, and yes I apologise for repeating myself but Interview With The Vampire is different. The entire Vampire Chronicles are different because it must’ve been one of the first to be in the viewpoint of the vampires. Louis tells us his story of how he became a vampire in this novel.

Product Details

But it’s Lestat’s viewpoint that I love. Our very own “Brat Prince” he loves being a vampire and doesn’t care who knows it but yes he does have a venerable side. The Vampire Lestat tells us the story behind the villain in Interview With the Vampire, how Lestat became a vampire and what he was like as a human. It’s unique because there’s only one Lestat! If you haven’t read these books then you can’t really call yourself a vampire fan. 🙂

So those are my picks, I’m sure there’s more out there to discover. Have you read any of these? Which unique vampire reads do you recommend and why are they unique?