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My Halloween

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Happy Halloween 

I’m in work all day today but wrote this ahead of time. 

I’ve always loved Halloween, probably because I’ve always loved horror films and books, the supernatural and the unknown. I love gothic fashion, though I can’t say I’m brave enough to wear some of it.

When I was a child Halloween was different: we made our own costumes, usually a witch’s costume out of black rubbish bags. We loved it. A neighbour made a hunchback costume, it was amazing! I remember a horrible smelling witch’s nose (I don’t think I ever wore) and vampire fangs -you couldn’t talk when they were in.  I remember wearing a black dress from my sister’s wardrobe, maybe the last time I dressed up for Halloween. We didn’t buy our whole costume but put it together ourselves.

One year my Dad made us a broom! I wish I had a photo but we didn’t even have mobile phones back then and the camera wasn’t out all the time. He made it out of straw I think or maybe hay and an old brush handle. It was great.

We used to go around the houses, we called it ‘Halloweening’ and sung a song my Auntie (who still loves all the holidays) made up. She would host Halloween parties too but I can’t remember if that was regular or just a one off.

I loved watching all the Halloween films, it started off with just things like Casper (Sabrina the teenage witch films) until I was old enough to watch the proper horror films (probably before then, a video recorder was very handy). Back then there were Halloween films on tv and there’d be a Halloween episode of Buffy 🙂 I miss that, now there’s Christmas films in October and if you want to watch a horror you have to pay for a premium movie channel, which shows you old horror films you probably have on dvd.

When I got older and didn’t go around the houses anymore I’d buy junk food and watch films. I used to buy new horror/supernatural films every year to watch on Halloween. But times have changed and you can’t even buy that many dvds on the high street anymore. And horror movies haven’t changed, you get a few good ones and then the same old story, the same old jumpy scenes that just don’t scare you when you’ve been watching horror films most of your life. I think I’ve become immune.

I miss Halloween. It’s not as big anymore. I used to work in a Card Shop about 7 yrs ago and they made a huge deal of Halloween. I loved the music, Monster Mash! and we did have to dress up though I never liked that because you couldn’t wear what you wanted only what was in the shop! Or maybe I just wasn’t brave enough.

Now Christmas items are in the shops before Halloween and Christmas movies are on. I have to wear Christmas uniform already!!!! Such a huge deal for one day! And Halloween is gone, just a small blip on the calendar not what it used to be. Maybe it’s just me.Or maybe it’s just called being an adult.

This year: Like I said I’m working all day but I’ll be watching Hocus Pocus as usual when I get home, it’s become my tradition now I loved that film since I was a child. I’ve been reading some good Halloween themed books too. And watched a few films. There have been some films on, the Scream films which I never get tired of watching.

I don’t get the fuss over Christmas and then people don’t get my enthusiasm for Halloween.

Halloween needs a come back.

 

 

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Halloween Reads Review: Heart Shaped Box By Joe Hill

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I used to read so much horror but I read a few I hated and then stopped, or rather gave up with trying to find one I liked. I seen this book in the library years ago and didn’t even try it because I didn’t want to read another book I wouldn’t enjoy. 😦 I did find other amazing books to read though from other genres: Classics, literary fiction and urban fantasy (which isn’t too far from horror with witches and vampires), which is good because I think most of the books I read growing up were horror and supernatural books. I am more well read now, I love reading something different. It’s silly really I’ve read books from other genres I haven’t enjoyed!

I shouldn’t have waited so long to read this book.

 

My Review

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Description from GoodReads

“Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it. 

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.”

When Jules package with the suit arrives, things start to get strange, right from the beginning we have spooky moments that hint that the worst is yet to come. I knew right then that I was in for an amazing read. And when the first scare came I was elated. Reading this book was like coming home, I love horror and this book did not disappoint. I It made me have faith in the genre again,  the scary scenes are not like every other film or book. I love that Joe Hill has shown us something freaky in the beginning unlike horror films where they tease you with mild shocks and then there’s that grand finale which can disappoint. When the scares happen in this book you think can it get worse than that? And it does, there’s plenty of shockers throughout.

The other thing I loved about this book: when you watch a film the character always does something stupid, something we say we wouldn’t do. In this book the characters do what we would do when we’re afraid. They don’t just stand there screaming.

There’s more to a good horror novel than just the atmosphere and the shocks, the characters need to be real too that’s what makes an novel amazing. And the characters in Heart Shaped Box feel like real people. I liked Jules, didn’t necessarily agree with his life choices but I found his story interesting and I cared about him and Marybeth/Georgia. I didn’t want anything bad to happen to them.

This book is riveting, you’ll start reading it and look up and hours have passed. It’s a perfect horror story for me, it has everything I love: atmosphere, shocks, characters and some original ideas.

This is Joe Hill’s debut novel and it was published in 2007, if this was his first his newest must be incredible!  I loved this book, it’s great to be reading a horror novel which is as good as my favourite horror writer: James Herbert. I gave up on the horror genre after James Herbert died, I couldn’t find any other writer that did horror as good. I GAVE UP TOO EASILY! (I do like Stephen King! But I read a few of his I didn’t like, he is still the master of horror though, his book On Writing is amazing. I will read more. Sorry tangent over). I regret not reading this sooner. I have an entire back catalogue to read now, which I am looking forward to so much. It can only be scarier 😉

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any Joe Hill books, which one should I read next?

Post coming up…. My Halloween 

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Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

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Time’s Convert is a story from the World of All Souls. The story begins with book one of the trilogy ‘A Discovery of Witches’ So if you haven’t read the amazing All Souls Trilogy yet it’s probably best to read it first to avoid spoilers. There are spoilers in this review for that series too but not Time’s Convert. Time’s Convert follows on from the trilogy, it’s a “prequelly-sequel” 🙂

Time’s Convert tells us Marcus’ history, his life before he was a vampire and the circumstances of him becoming one. I loved learning more about Marcus and of course about the history of the time. It’s also the story of Phoebe’s tranformation, and for the first time we are given an insight into what it really means to become a vampire and what it’s like. Deb always has such a unique take on fantasy elements like magic and her vampires are no different. I love it when authors take us somewhere new with our old favourites of vampires and witches.

And we get to spend some time with the other Clairmonts! 🙂 There’s chapters that follow on Diana and Matthew’s story.

I didn’t want to finish this book! I couldn’t stop reading but at the same time I wanted it to last. I finished this wanting so much more. I love the characters, reading these books is like meeting up with old friends and I am eagerly (and patiently! Deborah Harkness is a very busy lady) looking forward to the next book in this wonderful fantasy world.

I am currently enjoying the new tv series ‘A Discovery of Witches’ love it! And soon I will finish my reread of the trilogy with Book Of Life.

Update….

I’m reading my Halloween books at the moment, I’m reading a really spooky horror and I can’t wait to review it and tell you about it. Wow!

 

 

review

The Mysterious Affair At Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1)

“Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary–from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case. The key to the success of this style of detective novel, writes Elizabeth George in her Introduction, lies in how the author deals with both the clues and the red herrings, and it has to be said that no one bettered Agatha Christie at this game. ” – From Goodreads

This is my first Agatha Christie read and for me it didn’t live up to the hype. In the books defence I was reading it at a time when I was a scatter brain and your mood can affect your enjoyment of a book I’ve found. I enjoyed the mystery and figuring out whodunnit but there were a few twists at the end that got me into a tangle.

It reminded me a bit of Sherlock Homes, with the narrator being a friend of Poirot and telling the events of the story. He also didn’t seem  to have a clue, like Watson in Sherlock Holmes, the author makes him appear very dense!

I will read another Agatha Christie one day but I think I prefer Sherlock Holmes and feel it’s a shame that there is a similarity as Holmes is better :)
Sorry if you don’t agree. My mother likes Marple so maybe I should give her a go one day.

Do you like Agatha Christie? Disagree with me please 🙂

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My Halloween Reads 2018

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I love this time of year, Autumn and Halloween. This year I’m prepared and have a list of books to read:

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  • Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill- I’ve been meaning to read this book for a few years, I’m finally getting around to giving it a try and seeing if it is scary or as good as I hope.
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman- I think I may have read this before but I’m not sure. This was given to be me by a book fairy 🙂 I love the film, Tim Burton fan, and haven’t read enough by Neil Gaiman. This is a dark fantasy.
  • Dracula: this is a reread. (I have a physical copy in one of my boxes) I was thinking of reading it again, it’s been a while and on readitswapit book forum it’s one of the buddy/read- a -long books so that was enough of an incentive to read it.

There’s so many books I want to read. And I’m sure there’s more on my to- be- read list but my books are all still in boxes right now. I have a lot of books!

I keep meaning to read a Clive Barker book (I love the film Nightbreed based on his book Cabal) and The Ghost Writer by John Harwood was recommended to me last year and I still haven’t read it. (I’ve stopped buying books again because I keep buying them on impulse when I have so many already waiting to be read and on my wishlist!)

I have these books I could read too: img_20181010_125748129-2.jpg

The Damned was on my Amazon wishlist and then I won signed books from the author on twitter! :0 So I have to read this at some point. The other book is book two from the Kickstarter I pledged support to: The Eden Book Society, I should start with the first one but I couldn’t find it to take the picture. It’s only a small book so I’ll have to read one, I keep meaning to read them and talk about them on here.

Currently Reading:

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Technically Time’s Convert is a Halloween read, it’s about witches and vampires after all. I love this book, I love all the books and the new series A Discovery of Witches but you’ve probably read me raving about it somewhere so…

I’m finally getting to the last Song Of Ice and Fire book, it’s been a while since I read the previous book in the series so sometimes I do get a bit lost remembering whos who and the series is not following the books anymore so.

What are you reading for Halloween? Have you read these books?

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The Autumn List 2018

I was inspired to do this by a ‘summer bucket list’ post on ‘Shooting Stars Mag’ I loved the idea, it’s exactly what I was looking for, little things you can do each season, you could call it self care or just fun things to do or look forward to. Life can pass us by and making a list of things you want to do (and not putting pressure on yourself to do them too!) is one way to stop and appreciate it.

I meant to do this on the Autumn Equinox 🙃

Do you have a seasonal bucket list of anything similar? Share in the comments below 🙂

review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Description from GoodReads:

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival—literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.”

My thoughts

What can you say about a book based on someone’s experience whilst at Auschwitz? Written simply with no inapproriate flowery language Heather Morris tells us Lale’s story from boarding a train with no idea where he was going, to the end.

At times I had to stop reading and take a break, the horrors were too much. I know about the Holocaust, who doesn’t? But this is different, reading an account of life inside the camp is more intimate than watching a film like Schindler’s List.

I kept reading in the hope that the people who Lale befriends would survive, knowing of course the outcome, knowing the history. I did dread what the ending would tell me and wondered at times if I should stop and just not pick the book up again. But if people can survive this then it would be disrespectful if I could not read it. It’s important to know what happened, to know the story of these innocent people even though it’s so hard to read about.

I wish this wasn’t a true story!