I will be booktalking this one as soon as we go back to school! Add a Comment
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Hannah Moskowitz’s new book, A History of Glitter and Blood. It is a really weird book, you all, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It was not entirely to my liking and I still can’t stop thinking about it? Books about fairies are not my thing, and thinking about unreliable narrators reminds me of how much I disliked We Were Liars, but hey, I picked this one up because the cover was pretty and Moskowitz writes queer-centric fiction. If you like weird books and fairies and unreliable narrators and thinking about how history’s written, you’ll probably like this, though. I suspect it’ll be a polarizing read. Why is it weird? Well. There are fairies. Who are covered in glitter. And gnomes who eat fairies, despite disliking the taste of glitter. (And most fairies are missing some body parts as a result.... Read more »Add a Comment
Well, this book was one deliciously creepy treat. It’s the sort of book that wholly transports from the first pages and ensnares the reader into its darkly magical web. At its best, the gothic aspects of this story reminded me of Strange Sweet Song and its dark fairy tale feel brought to mind Cuckoo Song. Those are two of my favorite books of 2014 and I do not make the comparison lightly! Sterling Saucier (what a tremendous name, btw) is dealing with loss on several fronts. Immediately, her brother has disappeared into the town’s mystical swamp. Years earlier her alcoholic and abusive father left their family. Of course, his departure was not without significant scarring itself for both Sterling and Phineas. And the repercussions of that departure echo throughout the story. I was quite struck, actually, by how this was both a paranormal novel and a contemporary “issue”... Read more »Add a Comment
I’m torn on this one, you guys. There were many things I liked about Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us: the prose style is gorgeous, and I was much more interested than I expected to be in a story about killer ballerinas. On the other hand, I saw the twists coming from a mile away (rare for me!), but dammit, I was still so interested in this book up until the last twenty-five pages or so. The basic premise of The Walls Around Us: Amber’s in a juvenile detention center, Violet’s off to Julliard. These are our novel’s two narrators. Both their stories are bound together by their relationship to Ori – a promising young ballerina who is sent to the same juvenile detention center after allegedly murdering two rival ballerinas. As readers, we never get Ori’s story directly, but are asked to piece it together from Amber and Violet’s accounts. (This... Read more »Add a Comment
Director Rodrigo Blaas offers up Alma, a perfect little animated short that is equal parts Pixar and The Twilight Zone. Sadly, the short’s official site notes that it is only available for viewing online for a limited time. I don’t know how long that will be, but do enjoy it while you can.
Watch it in full screen.
Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria.
Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.
But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?How I found out about this book: Grabbed the galley online thanks to Simon & Schuster and Publisher's Weekly
Here's a first, I'm reviewing another author's book. Normally, I am working hard to get a reviewer to read my books. Then there's the whole "raising four kids" thing. Rarely do I have time for leisure reading. I literally have a stack of books waiting for me.
So my oldest daughter came home from school (yes, several months ago) carrying a book with the most intriguing cover. It was Dan Poblocki's The Stone Child. She read the thing in two days flat. She said it was the creepiest book she'd ever read and this is coming from an Official Member of the American Chillers Fan Club. After she finished, that cover kept calling to me. Mostly black with a hint of blue light surrounding the statue of a child. She holds out a book, beckoning the reader to peak inside. It wasn't until after I had a few chapters down that I noticed the creatures wrapped around her feet.
This cover pulled me in, much the same as the pendant pulls in the two different authors in the story. For a writer, I am one of the slowest readers you will meet. It took me more like two weeks to finish the book, as opposed to my daughter's two days.
Don't take that the wrong way though. I completely enjoyed The Stone Child. Basic plot: the outsider, Edgar Fennicks, moves to Gatesweed, an unfamiliar world. We get to know Eddie over the first couple chapters as he is set up to be the classic underdog. We get several hints that things are not right in this town and Eddie discovers an unusual book, hand-written in code, by his favorite author, who also happens to have vanished from this very town. The story begins moving once Eddie meets Harris, the son of the quaint, local bookstore owner. Eddie and Harris embark on a quest to unravel the code and hopefully find the missing author. With the help of another outsider, the quirky Maggie, the three junior detectives encounter a menagerie of creative monsters.The Woman in Black is the most effective as her vagaries torment both Eddie and the missing author whether they are awake or falling through a nightmare.
Things that worked for me: The suspense; The monsters; The Lilith mythology; The setting came alive and I could feel Poblocki's passion for the North Eastern countryside, especially when they went to pick apples; And a genui
The Creepy Peeper.Add a Comment
The creepy beauty of The Hanging Monastery statues part 1.
The Hanging Monastery in Datong, China is a completely incredible building in every way. A temple that hangs from the side of a cliff and is traversed by rickety walkways and steep stairs, with only waist high railings to keep you from plunging hundreds of feet, would be fascinating and worth a visit even if empty inside. But it wasn’t empty, it held ghosts.
Ghosts in the form of the strangest statues I’ve yet to see in China (or anywhere). These were statues that stared vacant eyed across the ages with ghoulish expressions of the living dead. I might be making it sound like thought of these statues as grotesque horrors, but that is not true at all. I found them beautiful. Some of the most beautiful and unique statues I’ve yet to see in a temple. They are not beautiful in the shining gold-leaf smiling Buddha way, but in a completely unique way that gouged out eyes and missing hands cannot detract from (in many ways it actually enhances their appearance). Standing in the little rooms they live in, mostly alone with them, I felt in awe in a way the giant Buddhas don’t make me feel.
I spent a lot of time taking pictures of these Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian emissaries from centuries past, and I am going to put most of them on here in two parts.
Becky wrote about the temple itself here.Add a Comment
The creepy beauty of The Hanging Monastery statues part 2
Becky wrote about the temple itself hereAdd a Comment
We begin with a murder. A triple murder, in fact. The man Jack was trying for a fourth, but the little baby had a habit of wandering, and he had left his crib, bumped down the stairs, and gone out into the night.
Jack wasn't worried, however. He knew that his keen sense of smell would lead him to the child. He ends up at the graveyard, and he knows that the child is there. What he doesn't know is that after a visit from his newly dead mother, the baby has been taken in by some "residents" of the graveyard, and that he is being protected by a "man" named Silas. Jack is sent off.
The child, named Nobody Owens, exists in the graveyard with ghostly teachers and friends, exploring and learning while knowing that Jack is out there, and is still out for him.
Gaiman has brought a wonderful story in the vein of Coraline. Superbly creepy, outright scary, yet sweet and filled with melancholy. I simply cannot wait to see Dave McKean's art added to the mix for the final copy. Also head on over here for additional information and some incredible illustrations.
Here’s one of my favourite animated shorts, the delightfully unsettling Breakfast from the great surrealist Czech animator Jan Svankmajer. The piece is one third of a trilogy, also including Lunch, and the not-so-safe-for-work Dinner.
I’ve loved Svankmajer’s work since accidentally stumbling upon his creepy version of Alice in Wonderland on TV as a child. The ensuing nightmares made sure I remembered his work well into adulthood.Display Comments Add a Comment
What could be better than an amusement park? (Well, lots of things if you tend to watch horror movies!). A bunch of kids run happily through the amusement park and are excited to get on the roller coaster. It's a bit scary, but it seems fun enough until the track splits and one car carrying two boys ends up landing in a boiler room of sorts. The boys are pursued by a fat bald man, who chains them to the innards of the rides and sets them to work.
While this was happening, a jack-o-lantern finds life once more and convinces a ne'er-do-well clown that he can help the children. A denture flying fight ensues and then the real trippy nature of the book takes over. The park in essence comes alive, and evil meets its match.
Not technically a Halloween story, this wordless ode to steam punk will have teen readers delighting over the imagery within. Super creepy to this clown-fearin' librarian, fans of Gris Grimly and Burton should approve.
Here are a few more:Display Comments Add a Comment
I can’t remember when I first stumbled upon CW Wells’s work on Flickr, who posts her work under the name Snailbooty, but seeing some new images pop up today, I thought it’s a good a time as any to share her work here. I was first drawn to her photographs of toys and dolls that walk that beautiful line between unsettling and playful, but her collage work is similarly exciting.Display Comments Add a Comment
If the denizens of Richard Scarry’s Busy Town had children, and those children grew up and moved to Tokyo and dropped E at a Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re concert and woke up the next morning pregnant and decided to keep the babies, and those babies grew up and had a huge fight with their parents and jumped on a freighter bound for Colombia and ended up in a squat in Bogota, they might look something like the hilarious, angry, stressed-out, manic critters that populate the imaginary world of Laura Osorno.
Also they are very cute.
Also, sometimes they are zombies. But still very cute.
Laura Osorno was born in Bogota, Colombia. She has been illustrating since her last years of school. She studied graphic design in Bogota and has been based there ever since.
I absolutely love Laura’s character designs. She marries a raw, uncultured punk sensibility to a sophisticated understanding of design and execution to create delightfully ugly creatures you just can’t resist. They’re like little strung out hoboes you stumbled over while walking past the methadone clinic – but the cutest little darling hoboes! You just want to take ‘em home and tuck them into your bed and cuddle them!
With Hallowe’en just around the corner, Laura Osorno draws her coolest, cutest, creepiest creations on the window of a Bogota restaurant.
… including zombies!
There’s tons more to see at Laura Osorno’s website
This is great news indeed. Just in time for Halloween, cartoonists Bob Flynn, Chris Houghton, and David Degrand present Heeby Jeeby Comix — bizarre, offbeat, and nonsensical comics for kids (of all ages).
New kids are used to hearing stories about the places they move into from the local kids. Almost immediately upon driving up to their place, Logan meets the kid next door, Arthur. It doesn’t take long for Arthur to tell Logan that he was surprised anyone bought the place, considering what happened there. It’s not called the murder house for nothing.
Logan cannot believe that his mom and dad bought their new house knowing that someone was killed there. Logan’s folks think that Arthur is exaggerating, and while they agree that Mrs. Donaldson did die in the house, they doubt she was murdered.
Ever helpful Arthur takes Logan to the local library to check out the old newspapers from the time of Mrs. Donaldson’s death. Turns out that there is a lot more to the situation with Logan’s house than he even heard about from Arthur. There is missing money from Mrs. Donaldson’s job at a now abandoned theme park, and tremendous amounts of family drama, including the fact that Mrs. Donaldson’s son-in-law might have somehow been involved in this whole situation.
Now Arthur is the kind of kid who marches to his own drummer, and really doesn’t care what other kids think. Logan is fine with that although he is a little worried about what might happen once school starts. But they do have a long summer ahead of them, with unscripted days. Arthur is soon leading the charge for him and Logan to solve this old mystery. Logan’s a bit unsure about the whole thing, since it includes lots of bike riding up many hills and skulking around a creepy abandoned theme park.
Mary Downing Hahn has written an atmospheric and just creepy enough story. Don’t be fooled, there are issues of spousal abuse that make this a read for the older tween, but all of the details are appropriate to the story. Arthur, while unlikable, is believable and his story gives insight into the way that many children live. It’s a powerful thing to see a character shunned from his own mother, to the other kids at school, just keep moving on and be strong enough to believe in himself. The juxtaposition of Arthur and Logan’s families will definitely give readers something to think about.