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:

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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

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

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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?



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?


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!)

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 “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!


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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?”


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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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?




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This may be the first vampire book I started reading: The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. I finished it in 1999, I remember it’s about a lonely teenage girl whose mother is ill and she finds friendship with a strange boy who is a vampire. It’s a love story really and this is what started me reading The Vampire Dairies Books:


I loved these books and The Night World series by the same author L.J.Smith. After the success of the Twilight series they made The Vampire Diaires into a tv series which pulled it into the 21st century. And they republished  The Night World Series, having three novels in one book.  I bought them this year to reread and read the ones I never got around to reading. I remember my favourite was Witchlight. There was another book series I never got around to finishing:

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The Last Vampire Series was about an age old vampire called Alisa Perne “the now-forgottten Sita” I never read it from the beginning, I don’t know why, but I enjoyed them.

After all these vampire novels I started finding great films to watch (I was already watching Buffy) John Carpenter’s Vampires, The Wisdom Of Crocodiles (a must-see Jude Law is in it and it’s an interesting take on the vampire idea). This may have led me to possibly the first adult novel I read in 2001: Interview With The Vampire. And so my obsession with vampires had begun and I discovered my favourite literary character: Lestat de Lioncourt!




I still love this character and when Prince Lestat came out it was like, as the librarian who handed it to me said, ‘putting on a pair of comfy old slippers’. I got an ARC of Prince Lestat and The Realms of Atlantis this year, you can find my review here 

So this is how my interest in vampires started, I have to admit it started with the teen romance novels that were around in the 90s way before Edward Cullen came to be. When the Twilight books became popular I remmeber thinking “where were all these vampire fans when I was reading vampires books” I enjoyed the Twilight series, how could I not? I would have devoured them jsut as eagerly if not more so in my teens (and would’ve loved having people to talk about vampires books with)

There are so many vampire books around now and it’s a struggle to find any that do something different. But I have found some that stand out as unique reads-more in my next post

Are you a vampire fan? Which vampire novels are your favourite?


By Horror Haunted

I haven’t read much horror this year, something I didn’t realise until I was writing my last blog post and looking back to see what I’d read. I’m shocked, I started reading scary books when I was a child (amongst others of course) and that continued on into my teens. In honour of the season I thought I’d share my story.

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The first scary books I remember reading where the Goosebumps books. Today they have seen something of a revival. I loved the ‘give yourself goosebumps’ books, a sort of choose your own adventure book, you start reading and are asked what you would do and turn to the relevant page.

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I started reading the Point Horror books next, I can still remember how much I enjoyed reading them and how creepy some of them were. Then I just read whatever teen horror books I could get from my local library:

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I can’t really remember what all these books were about but I kept a little notebook with the books I’d read written down. Around this time I also started reading vampire books, I’ve a lot to say about these so this will be in a later post.


I discovered Stephen king reading Carrie and then various other novels until in a book sale one day I overheard someone talking about James Herbert. Before this I read anything I could get my hands on  in the library. When I started reading James Herbert I didn’t stop, now I’ve read all of his novels. He is a master storyteller and an undervalued horror writer.

Sometime inbetween I read books by Richard Laymon, but haven’t been able to get back into his stories.

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I loved horror, I love being scared (by media!) and I still enjoy them to this day. I’ve read so many that it’s impossible for me to remember which ones I’ve read. I wish I’d kept a record of all the books I read but I only kept a note of the ones that left an impression in my pre-teens.

Have you read any of these books? What were your favourites as a pre-teen/teen?




Horror Novel Review: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

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Description from Goodreads:

“If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney – that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest.

It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents. No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is.

I suppose I always knew that what happened there wouldn’t stay hidden for ever, no matter how much I wanted it to. No matter how hard I tried to forget….”

I bought this book from a discount book store, having previously decided to get it from the library, I couldn’t resist especially when I had a voucher on my loyalty card so it didn’t cost much. I keep hearing about this book, someone I know read it and said it was good, then strangers in the book shop were recommending it to me so I had to read it.

Here’s My Review:

The Loney is an engaging read, I relished the style and language, each sentence perfectly constructed to grip you and settle terror in the pit of your stomach. It’s a novel of taunting suspense, the subtle nuances of horror dripping from the pages. I loved the eerie setting of the Loney, the tide that grabs everything and releases corpses onto the sands, a perfect horror novel setting. It’s a clever horror novel, with moments of breath-holding terror but also leaves you chilled by the atmosphere of the novel and the things unsaid. I do prefer horror stories that show you more, rather than hint, but these type of novels seem more frequent now and the atmosphere, the sense of discomfort, stays with you well after you’ve turned the last page.

Although I did enjoy this book the ending left me feeling deflated or disappointed, it didn’t deliver. Unless I’ve missed something. I read some explanations from other readers online, an unreliable narrator being one. Interesting, how even after you read this book it’s still making you think!

I would still recommend this book, it’s a good horror story and it did what the author intended.

I’m now going to read Andrew Michael Hurleys’ next book: Devil’s Day, an advanced reader’s copy, which will be released 19th October so look out for that.

Have you read this book? What did you think of the ending?


Halloween/Horror Reads

Currently reading: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley and enjoying it!



Everyone will mention Frankenstein and Dracula as two classic gothic horror novels to read for Halloween. With classic novels you can either love them or hate them, they don’t usually live up to the hype but only because the style is so different to our modern fiction. Others to try: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.

Don’t like scary books?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte are also considered gothic novels. They are not horror novels but they have gothic elements, as does Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

Stephen King


You can’t really talk about horror novels without mentioning the master of horror Stephen King, especially with the recent release of the I.T. remake. The Shining is one of my favourites and the film is a must-see. I have a mixed opinion of King’s books, some I’ve loved and some I’ve hated. Carrie- his debut novel- is a good place to start and it’s a fairly short novel so great if you don’t have much time to read or have too many books on the go-like me.

James Herbert


James Herbert is the UK’s master horror writer. Rats was his debut novel, a gory story set in his hometown of London. A lot of people recommend The Magic Cottage as one of his best. My favourites are: Others and Nobody True. Nobody True is about a man who can astral project out of his body, it’s chilling because someone goes into his body! Others unnerved me because when you turn to the last page Herbert states that it’s all based on a true story! His debut Rats is a good place to start, a short read too. His last book is the third about psychic investigator David Ash, entitled: Ash, I can’t praise James Herbert’s books enough.

Contemporary recommendations I’ve read:

  • Susan Hill: you may know her as the writer of The Woman In Black, her books are set in the past. I would recommend The Small Hand and The Woman In Black as examples of creepy gothic novels. They are not gory.
  • Florence and Giles by John Harding, this is another gothic tale creepy story  it reminded me of The Turn Of The Screw.
  • John Ajvide Lindqvist: author of Let The Right One In, this is another writer who knows how to tell a good horror! Handling The Undead a novel about people coming back from the day was an unnerving read. 

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  • Books I haven’t read but people have recommended:

  • Joe Hill: writer of Heart Shaped Box and Horns.
  • The Ghost Writer by John Harwood, my mother keeps telling me to read this book, she doesn’t read much horror but she likes Susan Hill.
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – a story of an abandoned house and secrets to be discovered. Sounds good.
  • Shirley Jackson: the writer of The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived In The Castle, considered a classic horror writer.
  • Clive Barker: author of The Hellbound Heart and the genuis behind Hellrasier. I heard about his books after watching the film Nightbreed (amazing!) and have still not got around to reading his books and book the film is adapted from Cabal.


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I have probably forgotten a lot of amazing books. I have deliberately not mentioned the vampires books that’s to come.

What horror books do you recommend?