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text 2018-11-02 09:00
Wicked Reads 'Horror Movie Listicle' aka ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’
There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins

 

When someone recently asked ‘Katherine, can I send you some candy and a book?’, what on earth do you think I possibly replied? 

 

There was a teeny catch - well, actually a few (and yes, luckily I knew the sender); there were some rules to this 'Wicked Reads' Halloween campaign...

 

 

THE RULES
 
1.    BEWARE, AND ONLY ENTER, IF YOU DARE.
 
2.    CHOOSE A PIECE OF CANDY AND A SPECIFIC DATE – Each piece of candy is tangled with a specific book. 
 
3.    WAIT FOR YOUR BOOK TO ARRIVE – I will mail your package to you. Optional: Brew potions, howl at the moon, do the monster mash, and practice your maniacal laughter.
 
4.    OPEN YOUR PACKAGE– Carefully open your package, explore the haunted contents, and dissect your Eerie-sistible read. 
 
5.    TIME’S UP– Make sure to grin like the Grim Reaper before posting your scheduled ghoulish content and send me a spooky link.
 
 

 

I won't tell you the books but I WILL tell you the candies: they were TWIZZLERS, SOUR PATCH KIDS, SNICKERS, JOLLY RANCHERS, & SWEDISH FISH.

 

Which would have you have chosen?

 

I was hoping for a gory, bloody read, and my guessing wasn't too bad (I nearly matched the book to the candy I wanted!). I did get one of the books I hoped for though - 'There's Someone Inside Your House', by Stephanie Perkins - because  I wanted to write a creative post about my favorite slasher/horror movies.

 

'There's Someone Inside Your House' is a YA thriller-horror of the slasher variety; someone is killing teens at the high school, so naturally the list is where my head went to...

 

WHY??

I used to work in film production (I have a BA in film) and I had the devilish delight of working on a whole slew of 'highly-rated' and so-much-fun-to-make horror movies during my illustrious film-making career.

This is my favorite movie-watching season so this just had to be done!

 

 

*MY ULTIMATE MUST-SEE HORROR-SLASHER MOVIE LIST*

 

*I do give some details about the movies away but not too much; you may know some of these, yes?! Click on the titles to take you to the movie links on IMDb after you have read my blurbs: 

 

HALLOWEEN (1978) - This really is the penultimate classic teen slasher movie, and it stars The Scream Queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. Michael Myers has escaped a mental institution and is on the loose in Haddonfield on Halloween night. Jamie Lee plays Laurie, and this movie made her a star. You won't forget that ominous soundtrack, and you won't get that masked face out of your mind.

*Subsequent 'Halloween' movies (not talking about the recent installment) weren't quite as good, but do watch the second one right after the first for full effect.

 

 

FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) - This started yet another horror movie franchise (and again didn't expect to), but this time the star wasn't even in the original/first installment. Everyone seems to know about Jason Voorhees terrorizing the campers who come to Camp Crystal Lake, but this 'campy' debut in the series is one to watch because of how it's a little different from the ones that follow. The deaths are gory, there's lots of blood, and you will probably recognize only Kevin Bacon as one of the actors who went on to anything after this.

*Again, the second installment is alright too, as is the third; the Jason character has a metamorphosis in the films, but after that, the killings get to the point where they are laughable or gratuitous. The actor who plays Jason believes he has the highest body count of any horror actor, and takes great pride in doing his role.

 

 

SCREAM (1996) - A movie that turned the entire horror genre on its head, coming from the horror-movie making legend Wes Craven (of 'A Nightmare of Elm Street' fame), 'Scream' has its costumed killer targeting a group of teens by using the 'rules' of horror movies as his 'code'. Like Hitchcock's 'Psycho', when its star is killed off very early on, Drew Barrymore is the first to go, which totally threw the audience through a loop. This movie really is genius, and because it comes from one of the horror masters, there are gems in here (humor, pacing, the script, references to other movies), that would otherwise fall flat with another filmmaker.

*Inspired one of the most recognizable Halloween costumes (the 'Scream' mask) I can think of.

 

PROM NIGHT (1980) - Hot off her 'Halloween' success, Jamie Lee Curtis decided to take on another horror, shedding the veneer of being the vulnerable screamer. This time she's prom queen, and one of a small group of teens who covered up the accidental death of a friend six years ago. Naturally it's the night of the high school senior prom and what better occasion than this for a masked killer to knock off these teenagers who need to pay for what they allowed to happen to their friend all those years ago.

*Features some excellent disco tracks, rad dance moves and fashion.

 

THE SHINING (1980) - This film upped the ante when it came to horror because of all the perfect ingredients. First of all, its A-list director, Stanley Kubrick, was a master filmmaker, and he employed a brilliant cast, including Jack Nicholson in one of his most unforgettable roles. Based on the haunting book by one of the most profilic horror writers of our time, Stephen King, ‘Jack Torrance’, his wife and child, head to the deserted Overlook Hotel (could there ever be a more memorable movie setting too?!) to be ‘caretakers’ in the off-season and so Jack can write. But his descent into madness, played so well by Nicholson, directed perfectly by Kubrick, is captured on film and it’s movie perfection. 

 

*Stephen King wasn’t too impressed with the adaptation, despite this being regarded as one of the best movies of all time, and one of the best of his book adaptations.

**Considered a ‘slasher’ movie because of the famous axe swinging (that axe lives here in Seattle at the ‘MoPop’ at the Horror Exhibit).

 

 

SHREDDER (2001) - Last but not least, I thought I’d include this straight-to-DVD slasher-horror movie that I worked on, quite a few moons ago now. It’s not great, it’s actually funny in parts, and it’s aimed at a teen audience, but I would have to say it was one of the craziest movie-making experiences I ever had. We filmed it up at Silver Mountain, Idaho, and the majority of it was filmed at night; standing in the snow for hours in the middle of the night making movies is a cold business (and we made a bloody mess wherever we went). I took the gig because I had friends working on it, and I wanted the challenge of working on a movie in the snow and on a mountain, and I was pretty stoked at myself. 

Movie-making is fun, but it’s HARD! I worked on movies for about 10+ years.

*There’s nothing quite as funny as taking breaks with actors with ice picks in their backs...

 

I hope you enjoyed my list; are any of these new to you? What’s your favorite?

 

 

I’ll be finishing off my book right now; thank you to Penguin and the Wicked Reads campaign for the goodies and my signed copy of the pretty book you see below! 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/15797848-there-s-someone-inside-your-house
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-04 17:20
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas by Jules Verne
The Extraordinary Journeys: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Oxford World's Classics) - Jules Verne

TITLE: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas

 

AUTHOR: Jules Verne

 

TRANSLATOR: William Butcher

 

EDITION: Oxford World's Classics

 

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2009 (reissue)

 

FORMAT: Paperback

 

ISBN-13: 9780199539277

______________________________

Description:

"French naturalist Dr Aronnax embarks on an expedition to hunt down a sea monster, only to discover instead the Nautilus, a remarkable submarine built by the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Together Nemo and Aronnax explore the underwater marvels, undergo a transcendent experience amongst the ruins of Atlantis, and plant a black flag at the South Pole. But Nemo's mission is one of revenge—and his methods coldly efficient.

This new and unabridged translation by the father of Verne studies brilliantly conveys the novel's varying tones and range. This edition also presents important manuscript discoveries, together with previously unpublished information on Verne's artistic and scientific reference.
"

______________________________

Review:

 

When a giant sea creatures starts sinking ships, Dr Aronnax (a marine biologist), his unflappable manservant Conceil, and hot tempered harpooner Ned Land, are invited to join the hunting parting in an attempt to catch it.  Well, things don't go as planned and they end up as the unwilling (sort of) guests of Captain Nemo. Thus commences the fascinating, fast paced, exciting, and at at times, terrifying adventures under the seas (with the occassional land expedition interrupted by cannibals) inside the Nautilus (which is in itself absolutely fascinating).  I love that Verne included such things as an underwater passage between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, Atlantis, pearl fishing, shark hunting, a journey to the South Pole, giant squid and a host of other wierd and wonderful experiences. The relationship between Captain Nemo and Dr Aronnax is particularly fascinating, as is the development of the relationships between the unwilling guests.  Conceil is at times amusing, even though he doesn't intend to be.  Dr Aronnax is a marine biologist so every organism he comes across gets mentioned and classified, along with an encyclopedia worth of facts.  This might annoy some readers, but they can just be skimmed over those bits, though they will miss out on the ocean panarama described.  

 

This is another Jules Verne novel that got butchered and abridged in translation.  This new unabridged translation by William Butcher aims to be faithful to the original French novel and makes use of both manuscripts Verne produced while working on this novel.  I found this translation to be well done, with the narrative flowing smoothly.  The book includes relevant notes, which are of great help when Verne refers to scholars, ships captains, local politics and other goodies.  This edition also has in interesting introduction which discusses certain aspects of the book, what Verne intended with this novel from letters to his publisher, the bits his publisher insisted he change (he was worried about offending the Russians), amongst others.  The extra information adds additional depth to the story and I'm pleased it was included.

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-08-22 20:15
The Centrality of Honour: "The Iliad" by Homer
The Iliad (Penguin Classics) - Homer


First a disclaimer: I don’t have ancient Greek (or any other kind), so please correct or chastise me if I misunderstand any passages for that reason. Equally, my analysis involves some assumptions about what was common, idiomatic English in Pope’s day: if I’ve got it wrong, please set me right!

I think the overarching drama played out between the vigorous, up-and-coming Greeks and the more cultured, slightly decadent Trojans is one that we profoundly recognise. In western societies, we are of course at the Trojan stage, but most western societies can look back at an earlier, less sophisticated, more vigorous founding generation or generations. And even where the parallels are not nearly exact, I think there’s a sense of recognition. In fact, I think most readers have a sneaking regard for the simple, thuggish side of the Achaeans. This is maybe reinforced by the fact that we know that these Greeks eventually produced the Classical Greece society and invented democracy. In a sense, we are the Achaeans and the Trojans at the same time. I’ll leave the question to one side as to whether Homer and the Greeks stamped this archetype on our minds or whether it is a universal of human nature (or to stay in this corner of the Med, a Platonic ideal). This drama is also played out at the family level, and people still love stories of rough, determined self-made people who carved out a successful living and founded a dynasty. We don’t expect these founders to be morally impeccable or culturally sophisticated: they allow subsequent generations to be that.

Why is “The Iliad” modern?

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-17 17:42
The Complete Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) - Truman Capote

These stories show a great capacity for capturing time, place and character. Highly evocative. On the whole I think I prefered the Depression era Alabama childhood stories to the more recently set ones, but the one set in a cemetary was great. This volume has made me take a wider interest in Capote's work.

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review 2018-08-09 20:18
Review: Give The Dark My Love
Give the Dark My Love - Beth Revis

Review - Give The Dark My Love

 

I received a copy from Penguin's First to Read.

 

Initially I had mixed feelings about this book, mainly as the beginning was rather boring and seemed to have some fantasy tropes that are starting to seem rather overdone.  However the latter half of the book took a darker turn and the end was pretty damn good and unexpected. 

 

It starts off with the story's heroine Nedra is leaving her twin sister and her parents to head off to a posh academy she has earned a scholarship to to study alchemy. She comes from a poor village, and despite her reservations about leaving her family they all tell her it's the right thing to do and of course she's destined for greatness. 

 

We learn there is a terrible plague sickness sweeping through the lands and there appears to be no cure, once the symptoms are spotted the sufferer is doomed. There are quarantine hospitals for the sick, the disease spreading mostly through the poor people. 

 

Nedra didn't seem to have much of a personality at all really. She was nice enough, ready and willing to learn, and of course all the fancy rich students who attend the school look down their noses at her. Right away she manages to make a friend with a very rich handsome boy, Greggori And gains the attention of one of the most difficult professors to please. 

 

It's just a tad bit eye rolling. And of course before long it's abundantly clear Nedra is far more talented than anyone initially thought she would. Much to the chagrin of some of the students. The plot is interesting enough as Nedra learns more about the plague and how alchemy can help the victims. The way the alchemy works a little stomach churning. But it seems to be the only thing doing some good. 

 

There's a subplot going on along the lines of some of the wealthy rich men (including Greggori's father and his best friend and their family) don't like the fact that the island they live on is under rule by one Emperor who governs countless lands and empires. They want the island to be free so they can make their own laws. Doesn't help that the emperor is only a teenager. Nor do they like the new governor he has appointed to rule their island is a woman. (This comes into play much more later on the novel).

 

Nedra finds herself caught up in a search to find the cause of the plague which is becoming worse by the moment, and not just affecting poor people throwing everyone's theories on the origin out the window. This is becoming the sole focus of the plot. Along with Nedra's relationship with Greggori is of course growing into something more than friendship. Greggori is slowly starting to realise there's more to Nedra. And his own views on the side plot are changing. 

 

The Governor makes a few appearances in the novel helping the sick at the hospital Nedra is working in and appears to be nowhere near as bad as the press and everyone else is making her out to be. 

 

Biggest problem for me was Nedra is just so dull as a main character. Both she and Greggori are so wooden and uninteresting. I had no interest in their barely there slow burn romance (which is usually one of my favourite romance tropes) Nedra becomes almost dangerously obsessed with stopping the plague. 

 

She finds herself using darker and more forbidden forms of alchemy - necromancy. This was where the plot really started picking up and I just didn't want to put the book down. I needed to know. Nedra becomes much more interesting and so meticulous and careful about her planning. Faced with a personal tragedy  that seems to define a turning point for her. 

 

I can't say I particularly liked her any more as a character but I could certainly empathise with her and completely understood her determination to find a cure, no matter where it took her. Though there is a fine line between using alchemy to help a greater cause but then finding something darker that works to a personal gain. There's definitely an interesting grey area that all logic seems to vanish over once things become more dangerous and intense. 

 

There were some pretty epic twists towards the end that I did not see coming at all. And left at one hell of a cliffhanger. At one point I wasn't even sure I was going to bother finishing this book, but now I have to know what happens next!

 

A bit of a slow start but definitely worth sticking with. 

 

 

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