Monday, 29 October 2018

Blogoween - Creepy Comics for Chilly Nights

5 graphic novels archie, clean room, ice cream man, outcast and locke and key

I've previously mentioned my love of graphic novels on the blog before so I thought it would be nice to share some of the more creepy ones that would make perfect Halloween reads, although they are great year round! Here are five for now, although if there is interest I can definitely extend the list in the future!

a page from the clean room volume 1

1. Clean Room Vol 1: Immaculate Conception

Chloe Pierce is a journalist who's fiancée has just committed suicide after reading a self help book by a so called guru, Astrid Mueller and Chloe is convinced there is something in the book that caused her fiancée to kill himself.
Because of this Chloe tries to infiltrate Astrid's organisation and also investigate the rumours of the so called 'Clean Room' where your deepest fears and worst moments are revealed.
Clean Room is super super weird. It's also full of very gorey and creepy moments so you have been warned. A lot of the times I was reading this I was very shocked, but in a good way. I think people will either love this or hate this and I personally loved the shock factor of this and can't wait to pick up the second volume to find out what happens next. This is a total WTF read.

a page from the Locke and Key volume 1

I'm on a total Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King) kick at the moment and have been binge reading his books so when I saw he did a graphic novel, especially one with the word Lovecraft in the title I knew I had to pick it up.
A mum and three kids are sent to Lockehouse, a mansion in New England that belonged to their husband/father who has sadly been murdered. Lockehouse itself is pretty much a haunted mansion and the family quickly discover this as weird and horrible stuff happens to them.
Honestly the story is so fantastic, I think this is a great one for people who are new to graphic novels as it really shows how incredible stories pair so well with great art work.

a page from the Afterlife with Archie volume 1

Archie is actually the first comic book I ever read. I was about 7 years old and my nan bought me back some issues from America, along with Betty and Veronica and Jughead too so I'm super excited to see all of the reboot stuff going on and the success of Riverdale on Netflix.
Not only does this comic has Archie in it, but also the rebooted Sabrina too, another one of my absolute faves! Jugheads dog Hotdog has been killed and Sabrina steps in to bring him back to life, but of course things aren't as simple as that and her spell has some terrible consequences.
I'm totally biased but I loved this one, and the colour palette in the pages I've shown here is kept throughout the whole of the story which adds to the intrigue as well.

a page from graphic novel ice cream man

I love the cover of this one so much, I think it looks gorgeous especially considering the content inside is pretty evil, creates a great contrast.
The Ice Cream Man is almost like the story teller, and his tales are pretty evil. Rather than this being one long story, it is like a comic anthology made up of short stories. Some are definitely better than others but most are very enjoyable and there should be something in here to cater for all tastes.

a page from outcast volume one

Outcast is from the mastermind behind The Walking Dead graphic novel so you know off the bat it is going to be good.
This is a supernatural horror (my fave type) about Kyle whose family has been involved in demonic possession all his life. As an adult he tries to uncover what lies behind the supernatural manifestations and why he seems to be so special. It's good, and gorey, stuff.

So there you have it, five graphic novels to keep you up at night! Let me know if you have any recommendations for me or if you have read any in the series!


Friday, 26 October 2018

Blogoween - Book Review | The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

the haunting of hill house book reviewMy Rating: 8/10 
Published: 1959 
Pages: 182 
Genre: Horror
Amazon | Goodreads 

'First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.'

After binge watching the Netflix TV show I knew straight away I wanted to check out the book. The Haunting of Hill House (THoHH for short) has actually been on my to read list for quite some time as many people hail it as the perfect haunted house story which is my kind of book.

I thought THoHH was incredibly clever and well written. It is one that I am still thinking about today. Although there are no super terrifying moments, there is lots of creepy bits that did end up giving me nightmares one night. 

The main protagonist is Eleanor, and she is not actually the most reliable of narrators, it's hard to go into too much detail without spoiling the book but the way Eleanor is portrayed and how the writing style compliments that is very interesting.

Although this is quite an easy quick read I do have to comment about the language. This book was written in the 60s and at times I actually found the language difficult to deal with, it was almost like I could get the surface meaning, but there is definitely something else there that I'm not quite picking up on. It would make for a great book club pick to discuss everyones different theories. 

For those that enjoyed the TV series, the plot of the book is quite different but the TV series has many shared details with the book which it does in a very clever way, for example the characters in both share the same names and the TV series has some direct quotes from the book, it's very enjoyable  comparing the two.

I think this is a must for anyone who loves a bit of classic paranormal horror or enjoys a good haunted house story, and those who have seen the TV show will also enjoy this too.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Blogoween - Author Focus, Ryū Murakami

a photo showing three books in the miso soup audition piercing

As part of my blogoween series I thought it would be great to feautre an author who writes a lot of fantastic horror. Ryū Murakami is a Japaense author who was first published in 1976 and has since written many stories and short story collections, quite a few of which have been translated into English and one, Audition, has even been made into a film.

Today I wanted to talk about three books in particular, In the Miso Soup, Piercing and Audition. Let me start off by saying these are definitely not for the faint hearted or weak stomached as they are pretty gorey. All three books I would say are definitely more along the lines of a thriller/suspence type of horror and for Westerners it shows a darker side of Japan then what they may be used to or aware of:

  • In the Miso Soup (1997) - Kenji is a Tokyo tour guide, although he specialises in the seedier side of Tokyo and makes his living off of western tourists who want to see hostess bars and soap lands. Frank is an unusual looking American who hires Kenji to be his guide for three nights in a row. Franks behaviour is very weird, so weird in fact that Kenji starts to suspect that he is a serial killer....
  • Piercing (1994) - This is one I wouldn't recommend for new mother! Kawasjima Masayuki is a new dad living in Tokyo. Everything may seem fine and dandy but every night Kawashima sneaks into his daughters nursery and stands above her cot with an ice-pick in his hand....
  • Audition (1997) - Aoyama is a documentary maker who hasn't dated anyone since his wife died seven years ago. His teenage son Shige encourages his to start dating again so Aoyama and his best friend come up with a plan to find Aoyama a new wife by holding auditions for a film that is never going to be made. 
As you can see from the book descriptions they are all very dark. Each one is around 200 pages long so they are quick reads, but that is a good thing because these are INTENSE. 

Let me know if you decide to pick up any Ryū Murakami, or have read any of his previous books! Next on my list of his titles to read is Coin Operated Locker Babies.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Blogoween - Book Review | Bird Box by Josh Malerman

My Rating: 7/10 
Published: May 13th 2014 
Pages: 305 
Genre: Horror, Thriller 
Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it's time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat--blindfolded--with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Bird Box is a very interesting story, and one that I continue to think about long after finishing the book. It is set in what is essentially a post apocalyptic America and there is something that is causing people to go mad and kill others and themselves, not much is known about how it works or what causes it, other than that people go mad after seeing something.

The story is not told chronologically, it alternates between building up to the events of the current day and explaining how things got to a desperate state, and the current day where Malorie and her two children are trying to escape from where they have been hiding for five years and find a better place. 

The parts where Malorie is trying to escape with her children are all written without Malorie being able to see anything, relying heavily on sound to guide her and using scents to also help describe the scene. This makes for a very interesting reading experience and definitely adds to the chill factor because there is the sense that Malorie is not alone in her journey.  This also makes a great contrast to the other parts of the story as the fear not only comes from the unknown, but also trying to adapt to the situation of living with survivors and how they can fend for themselves when they can't see.

As a horror book I really enjoyed this. It was tense and the horror builds slowly and steadily as there are more and more unknowns and potential dangers being revealed. Do not go in expecting many jump scares or stand out scenes though, I think part of the reason I enjoyed Bird Box so much is that it is happy to build suspense and leave questions unanswered it's slightly frustrating as you read it but it makes the story feel more real.

I would recommend this book to someone who is new to horror and doesn't want anything too scary or gory, or to fans of the horror genre who are looking for an interesting suspenseful read.


Friday, 12 October 2018

Blogoween - October Reading in Heels Unboxing

Reading in Heels subscription box

So today's blog post is bit of a cheat for blogoween because it is not in any way spooky, but when I found out about the Reading in Heels subscription box I knew I had to share with my fellow basic bitches, so we will just have to deviate from blogoween, just for today! 

Reading in Heels is a monthly subscription service which delivers a handpicked contemporary book, access to the online bookclub to discuss the book as well as 3 - 4 beauty and lifestyle treats. I first saw this advertised on a Guardian article and when I saw the contents I knew that this was right up my alley. I have had book subscription boxes in the past but I ended up not using the book related trinkets that come with it, whereas I know I will use beauty and lifestyle products.

October's Reading in Heels box is the first I have received so here is what I got in it:

the contents of what is in the October Reading in heels box

  • Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic - This is the book that was included  in the box. It follows Alice, a 23 year old who has moved to New York and becomes fixated on Mizuko Himura, a Japanese writer who Alice is convinced is her internet twin. Described as a tale of obsession, doubling, blood ties and our tormentented efforts to connect in the digital age it does sound very intriguing! Sadly it doesn't haev the best reviews on Goodreads, but I'm still excited to give it a try.
  • Aromatherapy Associates Oil in De-Stress - I have used Aromatherapy Associates oils in the past and I LOVE them so it was a very happy surprise to see this one in the box. You can either use them in the bath or shower and I know of a few people who rub the oil on their temples too. De-Stress is fragranced with rosemary, black pepper, lavender and ginger. Lush.  
  • Heath & Heather tea - Two different flavours were included, green tea with coconut which sounds super interesting and blackcurrant blends. I'm not a huge tea drinker, I'm more about the soy lattes but I will try these out as the green tea and coconut one sounds like it could be delicious.
  • Spacemask - This is an eye mask that is lightly scented with jasmine which is marketed as 'a self-heated eye mask which will transport you to another dimension'. I've actually used heated eye masks many times, they are a staple that I always pick up when I go to Japan. It seems like an odd concept but I love these masks for when I am flying long haul or am in need of a good nap. The heat is super soothing and having an eye mask always helps me doze off. I'm interested to see how this compares to ones I have used in the past.
  • Wally & Whiz Gourmet Gummies - When I saw these in the box I was originally dissapointed because as a vegetarian I thought I wouldn't be able to eat these, but when I read that these are vegan I was so happy! It's hard to find really good sweets suitable for vegetarians but I can happily say these are delicious, they lasted all of 3 minutes though.... 
I am very happy with this box and can't wait to see what is in next months. If you are interested in checking out the Running in Heels box, here is the website:


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Blogoween - Spooky Short Story Podcasts

I have spoken about loving audio dramas plenty in the past. especially the serialised kind that you can binge on in a few days but there are also loads of podcasts which showcase short stories which are also a lot of fun. Here is my top selection for ones to check out:

a picture of a horror podcast logo1. The NoSleep Podcast
Probably my favourite of the bunch, the NoSleep podcast normally features around four short stories an episode that are all amazingly well narrated and vary in topics from the supernatural. to the more gruesome and grotesque.
One of my favourite tales is one of an abandoned theme park visited by a group of friends in the middle of the night. They discover the ride they enjoyed the most had a track B so decide to give it a go with horrifying results. I originally heard this story over 3 years ago and it's still stuck with me, it was fantastic.
The stories read on the podcast are actually user submitted stories which is pretty awesome too!

a picture of a horror podcast logo2. PseudoPod
Pseudopod has been going for over a decade (!!!) and tends to do a story an episode. This podcast is a great way to be introduced to different authors as the stories told are all by published writers. Each episode also comes with a short analysis at the end, which you can easily skip if that isn't your sort of thing but it is quite interesting to listen to!
With a lot of content to choose from it can be daunting for new listeners so on the website they actually have a list of recommended episodes to help give you a kick start and feel of the flavor.

a picture of a horror podcast logo3. Creepy
Creepy turns the best of Creepypasta into a super chilling podcast. For those of you who haven't stumbled across the creepypasta webpage before, it is a site that takes horror related legends that have been copied and pasted around the internet and collates them all in one place.
The narrator has quite a monotone voice, which will lull you into a false sense of security because the stories being told are pretty horrific. With one story being told per podcast, the episodes vary in length and quality, but the good ones are exceptionally good. Check out the haunted Disney ones if you are a fan of the darker side of Disney!

There are plenty more horror podcasts out there, including ones that aren't fictional so maybe I will have to write about them next! Let me know if you decide to check out any of these podcasts.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Blogoween - My 5 fave horror books, of all time!

Welcome to my first official blogoween post! As the title says, today I am going to be talking about my five favourite horror books, a bold statement I know. I've said before that I am very into paranormal horror, and I think this is pretty evident by this list so if that is your sort of thing too, you should definitely check these books out.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp1. The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
The Last Days of Jack Sparks follows Jack Sparks, a pop culture journalist as he is researching his latest book, which to everyone's surprise is on the occult.
Told through found notes after Jacks Spark's dies, this definitely has a feeling of Paranormal Activity around it.
This is probably my favourite horror book ever. Not only is it chilling, but it's also incredibly funny as Jack Sparks is actually bit of a cocky arse.
Thoroughly modern, this book features creepy videos on YouTube as well as social media use (where Jack Sparks took to mock an exorcism he witnessed in Italy) it definitely appeals to all the things I look for in a horror book. 
Check out my full review here.

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell2. Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
Frozen Charlotte is a perfect introduction to those new to horror as it is a young adult book, meaning it is ever so slightly less graphic, but still thourougly chilling.
Charlotte dolls are tiny antique dolls, the size of fingernails with plain faces. China dolls always look creepy and Charlotte dolls are exceptionally creepy.
The story takes place in a converted girls school that is set upon a cliff. Sophie, the main protagonist is visiting her family who live there and something doesn't quite seem right....
Creepy dolls, eerie setting, I'll let you put the pieces together!

the secret of crickley hall by james herbert

3. The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert
This is actually the book that got me into horror in the first place, I remember reading this in the bath and being convinced that the bath water had turned cold and there was something in the room with me.
Filled with many classic haunted house tropes, a family down on its luck, a house that seems to good to be true for the price and a dog that is scarred to be around the house, you would think this would be a tired and predictable story but it is still fresh and spooky.
The plot has some nice twists to it and the character are well fleshed out. I may be biased as I'm a huge James Herbert fan but this is definitely one of my favourites by him.

hex by thomas4. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Hex is so clever and different to a lot of horror I've read. Set in a small picturesque town called Black Springs, everything seems great from the outside, but for people living inside the village, they all help to hide a dark secret and once you are in Black Springs there is no hopes of moving away.
The thing I liked about Hex is that you are introduced to the Black Rock Witch straight away. Described as a woman from the 17th century who has had her eyes and mouth shut and wonders around the town appearing in peoples homes seems freaky enough. The elders of Black Spring have set up a surveillance system and have put together a team called HEX who monitor the Witch and her whereabouts to make sure people from outside Black Springs will never discover her.
The Black Rock Witch seems pretty terrifying even if she hasn't caused any disturbance to the residents, but when some teenagers who are frustrated at the way the town is run decide to play some pranks, things take a horrifying turn.

the silent companions by laura purcell5. The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
The newest one on my list, The Silent Companions is a Victorian ghost story that is super unsettling and very eerie.
Elsie is recently widowed, and as part of having to deal with the death of her husband she goes to visit her husbands dilapidated country estate. Her serving staff are resentful of her (they think she is a gold digger) and the local villagers are pretty much hostile towards her. If that wasn't bad enough she finds behind a locked door a silent companion that looks a lot like her who's eyes seem to follow her around. Silent companions are essentially cardboard cut outs of people, but made of wood, pretty much just as creepy as porcelain dolls if you ask me.
I loved this book, it was certainly different in terms of content and follows two timelines. It's well written and super scary.

In the words of My Favourite Murder, 'go buy!'. Let me know if you have read and enjoyed any of these, or if you have any recommendations of something similar for me.


Monday, 1 October 2018

Happy Blogoween!

As a self proclaimed horror aficionado, or course I love the month of October! I've talked at length about enjoying curling up in the dark with a good book and a pumpkin spice latte during the autumn and Halloween is just such a fun holiday, I wish we put more emphasis on it here in the UK like they do in the USA. Because of this, I've decided to take part in blogoween.

Many bloggers will blog every day during the month of October, but I do not have the time or creativity to do that so I will continue to be blogging every 4 or so days, but during October my posts are all going to be horror book themed.

I've been obsessed with horror from a young age, I'm pretty sure it started with the Nickelodeon programme, Are You Afraid of the Dark, which was incredible, and my first taste of literary horror was Goosebumps. Definitely outing myself as a 90s child now!

When it comes to horror books my preference is definitely paranormal, give me ghosts, exorcisms or Ouija boards and I am sold, so this will definitely have a influence on what I talk about, with gore being my least fave type of horror, if you can count that as a genre. Oh, and zombies, not so keen on them either! 

Let me know if there are any posts you would specifically like to see, or if you have any horror book recommendations I always love to hear them! Now excuse me whilst I go to Tiger and buy all of the Halloween decorations to use as props....

Blogger Template by pipdig