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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Horror, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 251
26. Rooms

If ghosts are real, they are probably like these: cantankerous, prone to snits, and deeply curious about the warm bodies living in "their" rooms. Oliver's dysfunctional family reunites in a lost-and-found whirlwind of mystery and secrets, with the housebound spirits as unexpected guests. Books mentioned in this post Rooms Lauren Oliver Used Hardcover $17.95

0 Comments on Rooms as of 9/19/2014 8:32:00 PM
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27. My Cousin Rachel (1951)

My Cousin Rachel. Daphne du Maurier. 1951. 374 pages. [Source: Library]

Years ago I read and enjoyed Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I've been meaning to read more of her books ever since. My Cousin Rachel is the second of hers that I've read. I enjoyed it. I'm not sure I enjoyed it more than Rebecca. But I think it is safe to say that if you enjoyed Rebecca you will also (most likely) enjoy My Cousin Rachel.

My Cousin Rachel is narrated by Philip Ashley. He is the heir to his cousin Ambrose's estate. Ambrose took him in and raised him essentially. These two are close as can be. Daphne du Maurier knows how to do foreshadowing. In both Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel, she uses it generously giving readers time to prepare for tough times ahead. In this case, the foreshadowing is about Ambrose's trip abroad and his surprise wedding to a young woman, coincidentally a distant cousin, named Rachel. Rachel is a widow he meets in Italy. Instead of returning home to England, these two settle down in Italy--Florence, I believe. Philip is angsty to say the least. How dare my cousin do this to me! How dare he marry someone he barely knows! Philip spends months imagining Rachel's character and personality. She has to have an agenda! She has to be manipulative and scheming. She has to be TROUBLE. Now Philip doesn't voice his concerns to everyone he meets. He is more guarded, almost aware that it's silly of him to have this strong a reaction to someone he's never met. But Ambrose's happily ever after is short-lived. And not just because he dies. Ambrose wrote mysterious letters to Philip over several months. In these letters, Philip sees that all is not well. That there is something to his prejudice against Rachel. It seems that Ambrose has regrets, big regrets, about Rachel. The moodiest of all these letters reaches Philip after Ambrose's death.

So. What will Philip think of Rachel once he actually meets her? What will she think of him? Will they be friends or enemies? Will they trust one another? Should they trust one another? Whose story is based in reality? Is Rachel's accounting of Ambrose's last months true? Or was Ambrose right to mistrust Rachel? Will Philip be wise enough and objective enough to know what is going on?

The author certainly gives readers plenty to think about. Readers get almost all their information filtered through Philip's perspective. But I suppose the dialogue in the book might provide more. If one can trust Philip's recollection of it.

I think My Cousin Rachel is a character-driven horror novel. Though I'm not sure if horror is the right description. It is certainly creepy and weird. Not all horror novels star vampires and werewolves and ghosts and zombies.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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28. Mortal Danger, by Ann Aguirre | Book Review

When unpopular, ugly Edie steps out on the ledge, the last person she expects to stop her from jumping is the most beautiful guy she's ever seen.

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29. How a YA Author Pays Homage to Famous American Authors

Washington Irving, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and now Edgar Allan Poe. Paying homage to famous American authors has sort of become what I do.

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30. Of Monsters and Madness, by Jessica Verday | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Of Monsters and Madness, by Jessica Verday. Giveaway begins September 13, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 12, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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31. Interview: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack on ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’

Afterlife with Archie has proven to be one of the biggest successes in recent years for the 1/3 eponymous publisher, with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s take on a zombie-infested Riverdale proving to be a surprisingly reflective take on the characters – putting them in a different genre of story in a mature, smart, and darkly comic manner. Following the critical and commercial success of the book it’s no surprise, then, to hear that the company are going to continue pushing the boundaries for a new take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ sees Aguirre-Sacasa once more penning a spooky take on the sorceress, but this time in a very different genre of horror – dropping the zombies for a more psychological horror as he’s joined by Robert Hack for a re-imagining of her origin story. Gone is the Lovecraftian-styled horror and in its place stands a story more influenced by Rosemary’s Baby and The Amityville Horror.

As styled by Hack, this is a really invigorating take on Sabrina as a character – thematically resonant, artistically off-kilter, and with a real sense of menace within each page. I’ve been new to Archie as a publisher, but what’s quickly emerged over the last year for me is how carefully they’re able to reinvent themselves and their characters – it wouldn’t have seemed likely that the characters could stand within a mature-only storyline, and yet here we are! So to find out more about what we can expect from this creepy new take on Sabrina, I spoke to both Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack about the book! Read on!



Steve: When did the idea of doing these horror-themed takes on Archie come to life… to excuse the pun?

Roberto-Aguirre-Sacasa: “Afterlife” came first, inspired by the variant cover Francesco did for an issue of “Life with Archie.” Jon Goldwater, his son Jesse, and I were having breakfast, talking about the cover, and then we were all like, “This has to be a series!” A lightning-in-a-bottle a kind of thing.

Steve: At what point following Afterlife with Archie did the concept of a Sabrina series come about? Was that always something you had in mind once AwA started?

Roberto: “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” came up after the first or second issue of “Afterlife,” we were chatting about a potential spin-off or companion book, and Sabrina made such an impact in Issue One of “Afterlife,” but I knew she wasn’t going to be the lead, so that seemed like a no-brainer. She’s also such a comic book character, it felt crazy that she was only occasionally guest-starring in other people’s books.

Steve: Do the two books interlink in any ways, or are these separate worlds, separate takes on the character?

Roberto: At this point, they’re separate universes, separate takes on the same character. But, ever since the three witches in “Macbeth,” witches have come in three, so who’s to say there might not be a third incarnation of Sabrina, waiting in the wings—and that we might not see them all together? The “Afterlife” Sabrina, who is Cthulhu’s Bride now, remember; the “Chilling Adventures” Sabrina, who is a student of the occult; and the mainstream, bubblegum pop Sabrina…that would be a FASCINATING crossover, don’t you think?


Steve: What tonally is your goal for Sabrina? Stories about witches have been done so often – in comics alone, you have occult stuff going on in several books, like Coffin Hill and Wytches – was it important to find a new approach for this series?

Roberto:  Witch stories are some of the oldest stories, so there is a concern, “Have we seen all this before?” And witches are absolutely having a moment, with those comic book series you mentioned—not to mention the last season of “American Horror Story: Coven,” but to me, it’s all about the characters and the journey they’re on. If that’s compelling and fresh and emotional, then I’m onboard.

As for tone, it’s a bit more of a slow-burn that “Afterlife.” I keep referencing certain movies like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane,” but more recently, Ti West did a great horror movie called “House of the Devil,” that really captures the creepiness and dread—as well as the sly humor—of what we’re going for with “Sabrina.”

Steve: Has the series required you both to do a lot of research on the occult? Has there been anything cropping up in the research which you’ve become particularly interested in bringing to the book?

Roberto: Yes, there’s been a lot of research. A few years ago, I wrote a play about the Abigail Williams character from “The Crucible,” and the Salem Witch Trials, so I did a ton of research for that, which has fed, directly, into “Sabrina.” And I’ve been watching tons of witch movies, reading tons of witch stories, and really just letting my imagination ramble a bit, through this dark history of American occultism, in all its manifestations…

Robert Hack: I already have a library and head full of otherwise useless arcane information, it’s nice to have a respectable outlet for it.  I’ve been making notes of interesting visuals from old books and films.

Steve: The tone may be suggested in the script, but it’s in the art that it really hits readers. What was it about Robert’s art that made him the best fit for the project?

Roberto: Francesco (Francavilla) introduced me to Robert’s art, which I immediately loved. We became Facebook friends, and I started to see more and more of his work. Covers, pin-ups, he did a great variant for “Life with Archie” that was in the style of an old movie poster—“Riverdale Confidential.” (He also did this insanely intricate drawing based on the “Quartermass” movies, which I became obsessed with.)

When I started thinking that “Sabrina” was going to be a retro-book, set in the 1960’s, Robert was the first artist I thought of for it.


Steve: Robert, how did you come aboard, yourself? You’d already contributed a variant cover to AwA, right?

Robert: Yeah, I’d done a variant cover for Afterlife #1 and a few other covers at Archie last year.  I was starting to get informal questions from friends at Archie about my schedule and if I would ever want to work on a monthly book.  It was when I congratulated Roberto on his appointment as CCO that he told me about the new Sabrina book and I jumped at it.

Steve: What’s been your approach to the series, as artist? Are there any influences on your storytelling from film, literature, anywhere else? The preview I’ve seen suggests a sort of realistic horror aesthetic, like something similar to Rosemary’s Baby?

Robert: There’s quite a bit of that.  Rosemary’s Baby and The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane were the first things Roberto used to describe the tone and I picked up on that right away.  There’s a definite 60′s-70′s horror film vibe running through here.  It was a great time for boundary pushing in film and that actually feels a bit what it’s like within Archie’s new approach.

Steve: On that, actually – there’s also a sense that the series is going to be an exploration of womanhood, like in the Polanski film; as the preview makes it very clear that Sabrina’s father is the one with power here, and has been wielding it since before she was born. Is it fair to suggest that this is a theme in the series?

Robert: Yeah, that’s fair.  I think you have to, or you’re leaving a massive chunk of the human experience on the cutting room floor.


Steve: In AwA, Sabrina damns herself by taking on forces she can’t control – a classic Lovecraftian horror. In contrast, what kinds of horror are the influences on this series?

Roberto: Witch-horror, psychological horror, themes of revenge, themes of blood, themes of family… “The Amityville Horror,” that kind of thing. And the betrayal between Guy and Rosemary—the scariest thing in “Rosemary’s Baby”—that’s a huge influence on “Sabrina,” what happens between Sabrina’s mother and father, there will be hell to pay…

Steve: What do you both think moves your take on Sabrina away from other versions of her we’ve seen before? What defines her as a character?

Roberto: Well, this is fully a horror story, for starters. And it’s really epic. It starts when Sabrina’s a baby and just keeps going, so the canvas is bigger. Sabrina is the most powerful character in the Archie universe—as powerful as Dr. Strange, let’s say, or the Scarlet Witch—so let’s really explore that power—and how difficult it would be for someone to control it while they’re coming-of-age, hormones raging…

Robert: Yeah, the tone of this version is so vastly different.  The characters are completely recognizable, but it’s a dramatic shift from the comics, or the sitcom.  There is real, palpable terror here.

Steve: Robert, how did you go about designing her look? She’s got to pull away from the iconic ‘Archie’ look, but also remain distinctive. Was it difficult to find a new approach to her, or did you find it actually rather easy to find a new direction for the character’s look?

Robert:  I started with something very traditional, very classic Sabrina.  My first sketches had the big, iconic Sabrina hairdo, and we pulled back from that.  It would have worked if the series was set in the early 60′s, but seemed out of date by the late 60′s we’re in.  Or as Roberto put it- “It’s a little too John Waters.”.  Despite my love of John Waters, I gotta admit that Roberto was right; it’s all about the tone of the series, and it just wouldn’t have worked.  Once we slightly deflated the hair, it really came together.

Steve: You’re colouring the series as well, so you have a complete hold over how it looks and the mood it sets. What are your immediate goals as colourist, to set the tone and mood of this book?

Robert: ​We’re taking an interesting approach to the colors here.  Roberto and everyone at Archie were keen to bring some of what I’d done elsewhere to the interiors.  A unique, limited palate thing that feels a bit vintage and yet new. – and within that, keeping it suspenseful and terrifying.


Steve: How’ve you found working together so far? I know that on AwA, Francesco Francavilla’s interest in Lovecraft found a way into the series – have you both found any shared interests which might filter into Sabrina down the line?

Roberto: RAS: It’s still early days, but the way “Afterlife” is Francesco’s book, I want “Sabrina” to be Robert’s book. He knows—or should know—(and will know, after this interview)—that if there’s a story he wants to tell, or something we wants to draw, it’s a total free-flowing collaboration. He sends me images, I send him references, it’s been great and exciting, finding the exact right tone…

Robert: It’s been great, and the ideas I’ve brought have been met with genuine enthusiasm.  And have been dovetailing with Roberto’s vision.  And editors and everyone at Archie have been great about that to, totally behind us creatively and eager for us to push the limits of horror.  Which is pretty much the weirdest, best thing ever.

Steve: The immediate storyline for Sabrina seems focused on her ancestry and history – but what else awaits her in the series? What do you hope readers take away from the book?

Roberto: The first arc is Sabrina’s dark origin story, from when she was a little girl to her sixteenth birthday, when she finds herself at a crossroads. After that, there will be high school stories, stand-alone stories, we’re going to explore all of her supporting cast in a deep way—Salem’s going to get his own issue, detailing how and why he was turned into the cat—the aunties are going to get the spotlight, we’re going see them as young women…

We’ll see rival covens, we’re going to tell a big possession story, it’s going to be a bit more free-ranging than “Afterlife,” I think, the tapestry’s going to be a bit more unexpected and weird…


Thanks to Roberto and Robert for their time! Thanks also to Archie for helping to set up the interview. ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ #1 is out next month…

4 Comments on Interview: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack on ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’, last added: 9/8/2014
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32. The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten

The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten. Harrison Geillor. 2011. Night Shade Books. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Is it a horror novel or comedy? Readers will be the final judge in the end.

I do not like horror novels. There are a few slight exceptions now and then that I've discovered by accident. But. For the most part, I don't seek out horror novels. So, if I don't seek out horror novels, why would I read The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten? For one reason, primarily. The book pokes fun at Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. It asks a big 'what if?' What if the heroine is not good, clumsy, and naive? What if the heroine is evil and manipulative? What if she wears a mask in every relationship? Being who she needs to be--in that moment--to get what she ultimately wants?

Bonnie Grayduck is the heroine who appears to fall madly and deeply in love with Edwin Scullen, a vampire. And she is one of the monsters in this horror novel. The events loosely fit into the Twilight books, so, one could definitely see the book as being a parody. But this parody isn't a ha-ha parody.

Bonnie is a dark person. She doesn't think nice, happy thoughts. She wants what she wants when she wants it. It is all about power and control and desire. And she has adult desires. Don't expect the "innocent" tension or chemistry from Twilight. This book is for more mature readers, I'd say.
So Edwin had taken a sudden trip to Canada. Interesting. It was insane to think he'd left town because of me...but in my experience, most things in the world do seem to resolve around me. And if they don't start out that way, they get there eventually. (50, ARC)
"Ike's great," I said, because if I told her I thought he was podgy and dull she'd get offended, "but I like Edwin."
She looked at me, now. "Really? Scullen? You don't like Ike?"
"I like him, what's not to like, but, not that way."
"I don't understand you," J said, voice heavy with mistrust. "Ike is so sweet and good and kind, and Edwin...he's so cold and condescending and superior."
I gave a great sigh. "I know. I've always been attracted to boys like that." (80, ARC)
I'm not much of a reader, but if I was, apparently I'd have a hard time reading any novel written in the last fifty years that didn't have a brooding sexy conflicted vampire in it--the shelves were just full of the stuff. (91, ARC)
"You are a brave, wonderful, suicidally stupid, diplomatic-incident-causing, amazing woman," Edwin said, kissing my face all over. We were in my bed, two nights after Gretchen's very timely demise. He'd only been back for about ten minutes, and he'd already called me names, clutched me to his bosom, sobbed a bit, brooded a fair amount, and proclaimed his love in a fairly operatic fashion. He'd finally settled down to snuggling me in bed which was rather less exhausting. (196, ARC)
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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33. Review: Islands of Rage & Hope by John Ringo

May Contain Spoilers


Once again, I succumb to the zombies’ siren call.  I was looking forward to spending more time with Faith and Sophia as they struggle to survive the zombie apocalypse, but I was disappointed with the pacing of the first half of Islands of Rage & Hope.  There weren’t enough zombies to keep me entertained, and the military aspects of the story bog things down for me.  I like the zombie battles, and even though they get repetitive, the zombie clearance missions.  There’s nothing quite like imagining a bad-ass 13 year old girl leading a squad of Marines into the thick of a zombie battle and showing her troops how to get the job done.  Faith’s efficient dispatch of the infected is something I look forward to with each new installment of the Black Tide Rising series.

The Wolf Squadron, in need of medical facilities to produce vaccine against the virus that has wiped out most of the population, leaving those that don’t die outright mindless, savage beasts with an endless hunger for flesh, have taken back Gitmo from the hordes of zombies that have taken up residence on the base.  In order to free the submarine crews from their vessels, the Wolf Squadron needs the vaccine.  They need the expertise of the personnel trapped on the subs.  One of the sad results of losing so many to the plague is a void of skilled scientists and engineers to help rebuild civilization.  The key to taking back the world from the infected lies with the submarine crews, and Steve Smith, leader of the Wolf Squadron, will do whatever it takes to get them vaccinated against the flu and back in active service with his troops.  He’ll even put his daughters, Faith and Sophia, at risk obtaining the materials necessary to manufacture the vaccine.

After securing Gitmo, the story stalled for me.  Faith has to learn how to get along with her new Gitmo Marine troops, and things just aren’t going well for her.  People she trusted have been promoted to other units to help prepare for missions against the zombies, and she’s struggling with her new duties and her new Staff Sergeant.  Military protocols are as much a mystery to me as they were to Faith, and the lack of action made me put the book now down for a while.  I just wasn’t in the mood for the personnel struggles;  I wanted more zombie killing action and less procedural training for Faith.  Who really cares whether she can write up a report when the world is overrun with zombies?

I picked up the book again and gave it another go while torturing myself on the treadmill.  Once Faith was given the mission to clear some islands, the plot picked up and I couldn’t put my Kindle down.  I even walked longer on the treadmill than I intended, because I didn’t want to stop reading, not even to relocate to a chair.  Back in her element, slaughtering plague victims, Faith proves her worth as a Marine.  Her skeptical new squad members see first hand that she’s a zombie killing machine, and her confidence is restored.  Report writing, meetings, and parade drills don’t mean much to Faith.  Killing zombies, though – now that makes all the sense in the world.

Islands of Rage & Hope ends on a high note, and I was sorry to hit the last page.  The Wolf Squadron now have most of the tools they need to begin restoring some sort of civilization to a world gone mad.  I am really looking forward to the next book, but I’m sad that it will be the last.  I don’t normally like reading series, but Black Tide Rising has been a fun ride, so I’ll be sad when it’s over.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:


With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive—he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.

The next step: produce a vaccine. But for do that, Wolf Squadron forces led by Smith’s terrifyingly precocious daughters Sophia and Faith must venture into a sea of the infected to obtain and secure the needed materials. And if some of the rescued survivors turn out to be more than they seem, Smith just might be able to pull off his plan.

Once more, exhausted and redlining Wolf Squadron forces must throw themselves into battle, scouring the islands of the Atlantic for civilization’s last hope.

The post Review: Islands of Rage & Hope by John Ringo appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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34. Amity, by Micol Ostow | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy Amity, by Micol Ostow. Giveaway begins August 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 23, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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35. Top Ten Horror Novels

Micol Ostow has written dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens, but Amity is her first foray into horror.

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36. The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier

Molly and Kip are trying to find the Windsors, their new home of employment, but the locals are not making it easy for them.  Every time Molly asks, they speak of the sour woods and tell Molly that she should stay away.  But it's not like Molly has a choice - she and her brother are far from home and without parents.  When they encounter Hester Kettle on the road, they seem to have found a piece of luck.  She is willing to tell the children how to get to the Windsors for a promise of future stories. Molly agrees and they are soon on their way.

Molly's introduction to the family is a far cry from welcoming.  Hired by the Windsor's solicitor, Constance has no idea Molly is coming and is less than pleased to find her telling stories to her young daughter Penny in the dusty foyer of the house.  Constance and her son Alistair want Molly and Kip to leave immediately, but Molly is able to use her gift of the gab to convince them that they would much rather live in a well tended house, and that she and Kip can provide it for them.

She will soon live to regret this move, as the family and the house seem to be harboring dark secrets.  While she is able to throw herself into the ample work of cleaning up the household during the day, it is at night when Molly is most afraid.  Every night since she's been sleeping in the house, she has been having terrible nightmares.  And it turns out the darkness isn't just in her mind.  She wakes to find her door open, leaves in her hair and mud on the floor.

As it turns out, the Night Gardener Miss Polly has mentioned is real.  He wanders the house and the grounds at night and has his hand in the nightmares of the household.

And he is not the only dark element at the Windsors' place.  The tree, growing much too close to the house, is more than it seems as well, and will soon ensnare Molly as it has the Windsors.

This is a deliciously scary story that will have readers up into the night to finish. Jonathan Auxier is one of those writers who seems like he's been around forever.  Not because there are a plethora of his books lining the shelves, but because he is a craftsman.  His books have a timeless quality to them and are made of the stuff with staying power.  The Windsor's legacy is slowly revealed piece by piece which helps bring the suspense level to that of a slow burn.  He explores the themes of human weakness and greed, family and loyalty with aplomb.  The setting is expertly laid out and even now as I close my eyes I can see the grounds, the stables and the green door.

Fans of dark fantasy, Victorians, and well crafted stories will be left shivering with delight.

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37. Review: Amity

Amity by Micol OstowEgmont USA. Reviewed from ARC; publication date August 2014. My Teaser from April.

The Plot: Two families, years apart, move into the same house.

A house called Amity. A house in the middle of nowhere. A house with secrets, dark and deadly.

The Good: Amity is about a haunted house; a house that is both haunted and that haunts its unfortunate inhabitants. It is told by two seventeen year olds, Connor and Gwen. Both have just moved into a new house. It is the same house, ten years apart. And both see what those around them cannot, or will not: that there is something terribly wrong with the house. Something supernaturally wrong.

As I said in the teaser, this scared the hell out of me. The title, Amity, refers to another story about a haunted house, The Amityville Horror. I read that original book at age thirteen, believing every word. Specific details have changed: the location of the house. The time period. The families. You don't have to read that book to "get" this one. That one book lead to several movies, several versions of the story, but all about a haunted house.

"Here is a house of ruin and rage, of death and deliverance, seated atop countless nameless unspoken souls." Connor's story is the earlier story, when he and his siblings move into the empty house. Connor's family is one that looks so pretty on the outside (mom, dad, twins, little boy), much like the house they move into: "Probably from the outside it looked like we were doing better than we really were. That was Dad's thing -- make sure we looked like we were doing better, doing well." What scared me about Connor's story was not so much his realizations that something was wrong with his house, but that he welcomed that darkness -- that Connor came to Amity with something already missing from his soul.

The present-day Gwen has a different set of problems than Connor, but part of those problems means that when she begins to see that something is wrong at Amity, people don't believe her. For Connor, the reader wonders how far he'll go; for Gwen, it's wondering whether she'll be able to stop history from repeating itself. And if she can, what will the cost be?

I love how the stories went back and forth between Connor and Gwen. I loved the various references to the original story. I loved how isolated and strange Amity was, further isolating Connor and Gwen's families. And I loved as both madness and haunting settled into both timeframes, those times began to merge.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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38. The Powell’s Playlist: Graham Joyce

The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit is set on the English coast in the hot summer of 1976, so the music in this playlist is pretty much all from the '70s. The songs follow David's journey of innocence to experience, and on the way he solves a terrifying personal mystery. 1. "In the Summertime" [...]

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39. Motherless Child by Glen Hirshberg

For Strange Horizons, I reviewed Glen Hirshberg's Motherless Child.
Motherless Child is a vampire novel that isn't much interested in vampires. Instead, as its title suggests, more than anything else it is a novel about motherhood. Most of the main characters are mothers, the primary themes are ones of parenthood and responsibility, and the basic storyline sends vampirized mothers running away from their children and then fighting against the urge to return, fearing that they will no longer see their kids as offspring but as prey.
First published by Earthling Publications in 2012, Motherless Child has now been reprinted by Tor. Glen Hirshberg has won a number of awards for his horror short stories (collected in The Two Sams [2003], American Morons [2006], and The Janus Tree [2012]), and Tor may see Motherless Child as a breakout book for him, one that will bring a wider audience for his fiction. It clearly displays some of the hallmarks of a tale that could be embraced by a wide audience, certainly more than his often subtle, enigmatic short stories do. Whether this is to its benefit as a novel depends entirely on what you want your novels to do, both in the prose itself and in the story that prose tells.
Continue reading at Strange Horizons.

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40. The Powell’s Playlist: Josh Malerman

I can't imagine writing a novel without some sound. When you're facing a few hundred blank pages, silence can be cold. Thing is, I love lyrics so much that rock 'n' roll can be a distraction (though maybe I should try it again). Instead, I go for horror movie soundtracks. So many moods, so many [...]

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41. {Review My Books Review} WHITE SPACE by Ilsa J Bick

Review by Ryann Dannelly WHITE SPACE Series: Dark Passages (Book 1) by Ilsa J. Bick Hardcover: 560 pages Publisher: EgmontUSA (February 11, 2014) Mark on Goodreads Buy on Amazon In the tradition of Memento and Inception comes a thrilling and scary young adult novel about blurred reality where characters in a story find that a deadly and horrifying world exists in the space between the

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42. Catching Up with Blogging

peggy sue diner

We ain’t afraid of no dinosaur!

I realized that I have not posted in a while. With all the shows I have been traveling to, I barely had time to keep up with my blog. Since I have posted, I was writing about the Wild West Fest at the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California. All around it was a fun show; we stayed with my in-laws at a nice hotel in Barstow for the weekend of the show. It was also my birthday so we all went out to eat the legendary Peggy Sue’s Diner on Sunday night.

Then it was off to Seattle again for Emerald City Comicon.  It was an amazing show, with wonderful people. I have to give a big thank you to Sarah for the help at my booth (allowing me a few moments of rest to stretch my legs). The atmosphere was electric and everyone has my gratitude for making me feel so welcome up there. One of these days I will get Shawn up there so that I can leave him at the booth and go explore the city hehehe.

But that will only happen if the infamous Monsterpalooza does not fall on the same weekend as ECCC, like it did this year. Here is Shawn to tell you more. Shawn here and I have three words: It… was… awesome! I had a great time, though I wished Diana was there so that I could have walked around to check out more things. Oh well, there is always next year. All the fans were amazing and thank you to everyone for supporting Diana. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Beware the Gotham Bunnies

Beware the Gotham Bunnies

Thank you Shawn, so following those two shows was Wondercon. Oh how I love this show and it is one of my favorites. Not only did I get to see all my regular fans from SoCal, but Shawn being there allowed me to leave my booth from time to time to browse the artist alley. I got to catch up with some friends and meet some amazing artist for the first time. This was also the debut of my latest in the Terrible Trio series… the Gotham Bunnies, so cute, yet so evil.

Then I had a rare weekend off, and then it was time to get ready for Texas Frightmare Weekend. I was excited as I had never been to Dallas-Fort Worth, so this was a great opportunity to reach a new fan base. After a less than sterling start of the day (looking at you American Airlines) I made it to the show with only a half hour to set up. But after that it was one of the best weekends I have ever had at a show. It was intense, amazing, overwhelming at times and I can’t wait to go back next year. I may even bring Shawn along for this trip, I think he would enjoy the show very much.

Back to Southern California the following week for the Bat’s Day in the Park Black Market. This is always a fun show to do where I tend to pick up some great little pieces. It is only a one day show, so a bit more laid back and relaxing compared to the multi-day shows. Though being so close to Disney makes me want to go buy a ticket and go on some rides.

Finally last but not least was another trip up to Seattle (seriously, maybe I need to rent a room out there) for Crypticon. This was a great little horror convention with some pretty cool guests. I am starting to recognize a few people that have seen me at some of the area shows and meet some new fans. Thanks once again to Tamara of The Mystical Apothecary for being my traveling buddy once again.

Whoa, I was a bit more behind on this blog than I realized. Mid year resolution, I shall be better about updating my blog in a more timely manner. I have four more shows to do before I take some time off to do some more art and work on some upcoming projects, one of which is a book.

Keep on creating and have fun–


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43. The Stumps of Flattop Hill Story Now Available for Free

Over a year ago, I worked and finished a whimsical macabre children’s story called The Stumps of Flattop Hill. While my ultimate hope of publishing this into a book format hasn’t materialized yet, I decided to simply put it online for the world to enjoy.

So check it out and I hope you like it. Maybe one day we’ll still see The Stumps printed on a nice shiny hard bound.




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44. The Other Vampire

It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches — a hideous creature with long fingernails and eyes that shine like polished tin. The girl wakes up, but is too terrified to flee as the vampire breaks the [...]

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45. Novel Wisdom (23)

This post is part of a series on the blog where I share some of the nuggets of wisdom and inspiration — related to writing and/or life — that I find steeped in the pages of novels that I’ve read.

I seem to have an obsession with horror. Particularly zombies. Why I want to read something that gives me nightmares is beyond me. This started early as a kid — like 11 or 12. Maybe it’s being able to live through an apocalypse and see what how it fares out. At least my zombie survival skills are on point. I think I would be able to make it.

I’m actually reading a zombie book now, The Girl with All the Gifts but one of my most favorite zombie books is by Courtney Summers and I found out recently that there will be a sequel next year. So the first book may be on my summer re-read list. I originally read this book while on vacation in Italy. Lucky for me Rome was so beautiful and consuming that I didn’t have any nightmares.

How can a zombie novel give a nugget of wisdom? Basically you’re in survival mode so you have to stay in the present. You have to be aware of everything in the moment. Stay out of the past. That is something that we can transfer into our own lives.

From Cary to Sloane, the narrator of the novel This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

“Maybe but you need to bury it,” Cary tells me. “All of that’s over. You have to be here now.”

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46. Happy endings not (always) required - Cavan Scott

"Oooh, that's a bit bleak..."

I'd just told a friend of mine the plot of a short story I am about to pitch to a reluctant reader publisher. And he was right. The ending isn't just a bit bleak - it's abysmally bleak. A real kick you in the stomach-type affair.

But I don't think I could tell it any other way. The story needs to ends with a sucker punch. If everything turns out fine and dandy, it would lose all of its meaning.

It has made me think though. This week, I received copies of my latest reluctant readers from Badger Learning - Billy Button and Pest Control. Both of them end with the protagonist in deep water. Come to think of it, my last two books for Badger were pretty bleak too.

It's probably because they've been conjured up from the same part of my brain that used to enjoy late-night Amicus portmanteau movies such as Vault of Horror and From Beyond the Grave. In fact, what am I saying - I still enjoy them today. Horrible things happening to horrible people - and even sometimes nice people as well. The 70s and 80s were full of horrid little morality tales like these, from the wonderfully macabre Tales of the Unexpected to excesses of Hammer House of Horror.

I guess my recent run of reluctant reader books have come from the same stable. Stories to unsettle and to chill.

And why not? Children like to be scared. It stimulates a different part of their imagination and teaches them valuable lessons - that darkness is just as much a part of life as light. And where better than to experience these emotions than safely curled up reading a book.

Indeed, according to Kevin Brooks, recently crowned winner of the Carnegie medal, books should actively show children that life doesn't always include happy endings. He wasn't talking about the cheap scares of 70s horror movies of course, but novels that deal with the harsher sides of life, subject matter that is sometimes difficult to write about, let alone to read.

Quoted in the Telegraph, Brooks says:

“There is a school of thought that no matter how dark or difficult a novel is, it should contain at least an element of hope.
"As readers, children – and teens in particular – don’t need to be cossetted with artificial hope that there will always be a happy ending. They want to be immersed in all aspects of life, not just the easy stuff. They’re not babies, they don’t need to be told not to worry, that everything will be all right in the end, because they’re perfectly aware that in real life things aren’t always all right in the end."

He concludes by saying:

“To be patronizing, condescending towards the reader is, to me, the worst thing a Young Adult fiction author can do.”

I found myself applauding as I read Brooks' words. It's not to say that I never write happy endings - hey, I can do heartwarming as well as bleak - but being over-cautious will just kill your writing dead. And children will see through it anyway. They know all too well what real life is like. 


Cavan Scott is the author of over 60 books and audio dramas including the Sunday Times Bestseller, Who-ology: The Official Doctor Who Miscellany, co-written with Mark Wright.

He's written for Doctor WhoSkylandersJudge Dredd, Angry Birds and Warhammer 40,000 among others. He also writes Roger the Dodger and Bananaman for The Beano as well as books for reluctant readers of all ages.

Cavan's website
Cavan's facebook fanpage
Cavan's twitterings

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47. Times are a changing (along with the name)…

I am there honestly, right behind the tower of mini prints.

Hiding behind the tower of mini prints.

This has been on my mind for awhile and on the long road trip I had more time to think about it. The business has grown so much in the past couple of years and the direction I want to take it has altered slightly too. The upcoming year there will be some changes, expanding products offered, a book in the works (Shawn get back to writing!), plus some creative, weird stuff from Shawn (I said get back to writing!), along with first and foremost a change in the name of the business.

There are many reasons for the name change, some minor, but  the major one has been growth. I use to share a six foot table with my friend Koko Candles and now I can barely contain everything on an eight foot table, much less a six foot table (which is why I am exploring having booths at certain cons next year). This rapid rate of growth could not have happened without someone very special in my life, Shawn. He has been supportive of me through all of this; he has given me creative ideas, does a lot of grunt work for me, and as he says his official title is, Lifter of Heavy Things. He is very much my partner in this business and I am appreciative of his contributions to the growth of it.

Shawn thinks he is in the new Mad Max movie.

Shawn thinks he is in the new Mad Max movie.

So on a long trip through the desert night of Arizona, Shawn and I started kicking around different names… some good, some hilariously bad. During the banter we had going back and forth it got me thinking; I love the darker side of things and Shawn loves horror (he always disappears from the booth during horror cons to spend money), and we always seem to be on the road lately. The name crystallized in my mind and it just seemed so appropriate. Without further ado I present the new name of the business…

Gypsy Ghouls

This will not be an immediate transition, so Diana Levin Art will still exist. I will still be creating new art and jewelry to have at the shows as these will be the cornerstone of the business as it expands.

More dark things to come...

More dark things to come…

And finally lest I forget to thank the people who also have made this growth possible, the fans of my art. Thank you so much for your support and love, I could not do it without all of you.

Keep dreaming and creating…


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48. DEAR KILLER by Katherine Ewell

"Review My Books" review by Caroline @ The Attic DEAR KILLERby Katherine Ewell Hardcover: 368 pagesPublisher: Katherine Tegen Books (April 1, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Full of "can't look away" moments, Dear Killer is a psychological thriller perfect for fans of gritty realistic fiction such as Dan Wells's I Am Not a Serial Killer and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why, as well as television's

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49. Some new shows coming up soon…

Looks like I am not taking off as much time as I thought. I have signed up for two small one day shows in the coming weeks; I go a bit nuts if I stay in my studio for too long.

carnival noir

The first show I am doing is Carnival Noir in downtown Los Angeles this weekend on July 12th. This is a wild event at the Club Monte Cristo; there will be DJs, dancing, magic, burlesque, and plenty of vendors there. This is a 21 and over event only with drink specials and good times for all. Tickets are on sale here.

4 hour film festival

The following week I will be at the Egyptian Theater for the 4 Hour Film Festival Double Feature and Carnival Masquerade on July 19th. The films being shown are the two classics Freaks and Nosferatu, both amazing and creepy films to chill you to the bone. There will be the Cirque Berzerk along with other live performances. This is also a 21 and over event and tickets are available here.

Have fun and keep creating…


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50. From the Family Bookshelf – July



We’re still on vacation right now, but that means we’ve had a chance to get some reading done. Both girls signed up for the library’s summer reading program. The Lil’ Diva has already surpassed her goal. The Lil’ Princess is making her way to her goal.

Since our arrival, the Lil’ Diva has read Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, and Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick. The Lil’ Princess brought Half Upon a Time by James Riley with her from home, but she’s been tied up reading the recently released Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell. We bought it this week at Downtown Books in Manteo.

Dad has actually gotten some reading in too. He’s still slowly reading Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King. He’s also reading The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.

As for me, I’ve been trying to catch up on my massive TBR pile. Before we left, I had read Four Corners or A Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple by Cary Smith and Breath of Spring by Charlotte Hubbard. Since we got here, I’ve managed to read A Nation Under Judgment by Richard Capriola and Corrie ten Boom by Kaylena Radcliff, part of the Torchlighters Series. I’m in the middle of Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

That’s it for this issue of From the Family Bookshelf. Hope you’re enjoying your week.

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