September 24, 2016

Happy Fall! Halloween Events and Playlists



Happy Autumn, everybody!

Once I loved all 4 seasons equally.  For the decade since I got fibromyalgia, I prefer the warmer months simply because I feel better during warmer weather. Cold weather makes my muscles seize up.  HOWEVER, I still love wrapping up in blankets with hot tea or cocoa and a good book.  I love watching the leaves changing to all the beautiful shades of green, orange, red, and yellow.  I even love pumpkin spice candles like some basic white girl. :D  I might feel better physically during the warmer months, but I still mentally and emotionally love so many things about the autumn.

This year I have decided to take part in some spooky reading events, too.

Hosted by Michelle of True Book Addict/Seasons of Reading/Castle Macabre:


 

Gothic September and Season of the Witch Events

FrightFall Readathon


R.I.P. hosted by Carl @ Stainless Steel Droppings
If you don't know, Carl includes several different options for this event (which I am TOTALLY late joining in for because it is all of September and October).  Since I am reading for Michelle's events, I am going to do the Peril the Screen option for RIP and make myself watch some creepy movies!




Right now I have been reading Dracula by Bram Stoker since Gothic September started.  I am not sure what else I am going to add on.  Dracula is pretty long.  I am reading Lamp Black, Grey Wolf by Paula Brackston, too, but it is more of a paranormal ghost/magic and Merlin re-telling than it is horror or gothic, but I do think there is a witch aspect to it. I need to read further and make sure for Michelle's October event.

For the screen challenge, I know I want to watch The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, re-watch Sleepy Hollow the Johnny Depp version, and maybe a re-watch of a couple of the films I watched last year for this challenge like Stonehearst Asylum or Lost Boys or The Awakening. I usually watch The Others around this time of year, as well.  It's my favorite movie of this type, it really is.

And as you may or may not know, my seriously terrible A.D.D. has led me to create playlists on Spotify of instrumental music to help me concentrate on reading (counterproductive it may seem, but it totally works) and now I have created a Halloween Background Music playlist to listen to whilst reading Dracula and any other books I pick up for these events.  Then I created a Halloween-ish playlist with words, too, to listen to in the car or while cleaning the house. I have not always dived into Halloween without reluctance - I was once very, embarrassingly easily scared. Last year (or maybe year before?) I slowly got back into it. Now as long as I avoid hard core gore I can handle most things. It has opened up a lot more movies, tv shows, and books for me. Huzzah!  That is always to be celebrated!

ANYway, I thought I'd share the playlists with you in case you wanted to pilfer the songs you like for your own playlists or follow it or maybe it will give you the idea to create your own on your own music platform you enjoy.  So here are the links to each and I included a sampling of songs included in case you can't see the lists because you don't have Spotify (you should totally get it, it is awesome, but I digress) because I am not sure if you can still see them or not.


Halloween Instrumental Background Music

Over 6 hours of music. Some songs include:

Music to be Murdered By by Alfred Hitchcock and Jeff Alexander
Whale & Wasp by Alice in Chains
Tubular Bells by Mary Ayers (from "The Exorcist")
Bad Things (from "True Blood")
Room 1408 by Gabriel Yared (from "1408")
Ghost Song by Max Ablitzer
Creepy Crawl by Necro
Psycho - Suite for Strings by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Night of the Vampire by The Moontrekkers
Theme from Friday the 13th
White Walkers by Ramin Djawadi (from "Game of Thrones") 
Bad Moon Rising (instrumental version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song)
Sympathy for the Devil (inst. version of the Rolling Stones song)
Hungry Face by Mogwai (you might recognize this as theme song from France's The Returned tv show)



Psycho Killer - Halloween-ish Playlist

3 hours of music. Some songs included:

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads
Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Nightmare by Avenge Sevenfold
Elegy by Carina Round
If I Had a Heart by Fever Ray (you may remember this song from Vikings or The Following)
Hotel California by The Eagles
The Devil in Miss Jones by Mike Ness
Horror Hotel by The Misfits
Gods & Monsters by Lana Del Rey
The Watcher by Midnight Syndicate
Voodoo by Godsmack
Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains
Trigger Happy Jack by Poe
Black Magic by Magic Wands
Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann (Theme from Lost Boys)
Devil in Me by 22-20s
Thriller by Michael Jackson  


What are you reading this fall/autumn/Halloween?  Gothic stories?  Horror?  Psychological scary or gory scary?  Are you participating in any of the above events?  Share in the comments!!

September 6, 2016

A Thousand Salt Kisses: Why to Skip It

 


I couldn't even read half of this book. The writing is, unfortunately, pretty awful. I love a good mermaid story, so I kept reading thinking it had to get better at some point, but no. No, it doesn't. I've read stories written by young teenagers that far exceed this writing. It was just truly terrible. Here is why:

1. The descriptions of people and places are laundry lists of adjectives - every adjective she could find. Kill me now.


2. The main character constantly contradicts herself and I'm not sure the author settled on a personality for her. She is one way, then the complete opposite 2 pages later, then she changes back, and it goes on like this continuously.


3. Everything is a stereotype or a cliche, from what Crystal acts like to what the bad guy of the story is like. The only originality I saw was in the character's personality disorder. (which I don't believe was on purpose.)


4. I wouldn't find Crystal relatable even if I was still a teenager. Probably because I still have no idea who she is. But also probably because she is supposedly really smart but is written as an obnoxious and naive twit of a girl who couldn't find her way out of a paper bag (how is that for cliches, Demuth?)


5. Insta-love. I HATE insta-love. Not only that, but it wasn't even done well. The guy was cliche in looks, and boring as drywall in personality. 



I am not usually so harsh on a book I did not like because I know the author tried. But I don't think this one tried at all. There is no way.

I seriously wanted to throw this book at a wall several times, but it was on my Kindle, so I just pressed delete extra, extra hard.

P.S. If you want to read a GOOD story about mermaids, try Nichole Chase's Flukes and Tera Lynn Child's Forgive My Fins.

August 30, 2016

Book Review: We Were Kings by Thomas O' Malley



We Were Kings, about the IRA in 1950s Boston, sounded super promising, but in the end I was underwhelmed. :(

1. First, it should have been explained on Net Galley that while this is not a series, that a previous book featuring these characters had been previously released. It wasn't on Goodreads I think the author does a pretty good job not making the reader feel left out if they had not read the other one, but still it got in the way.  There were characters that came in from left field and I didn't understand why they were there. 

2. I really enjoyed the thoughtful and creative murder and murder scene.  It wasn't just a regular mob hit.  The tar thing is creepy and crazy and you don't see that in every other mystery/crime novel.  Loved that.

3. The descriptions of 1950s Irish-heavy Boston area was somehow both underwhelming and too much.  Mostly because it was told in info dumps and with a heavy amount of sorrowful pity from some leftover situation in the previous book that I had no idea about and so had no sympathy for.  You should have really let people know there had been another book.

4. The mystery was WAY too obvious. I could have written that plot line in my sleep.  Next you'll tell me you are writing a book where the big reveal is that people are smuggling drugs into the country in their colons.  Did he spend all his creativity and fresh ideas on the tar murder and had nothing leftover for the climax of the book?  Yikes.

5. The depiction of the IRA and its members was either extremely violent, gruesome, and horrible, or it was boring and predictable. I didn't mind the graphic nature, but the downtime left me so bored.  The characters had so much potential but in the end they were basically exactly who you would expect them to be. They weren't surprising enough to be interesting.

Bottom line?  If you haven't read the first book, or aren't someone who reads everything mystery/crime, I'd skip this one.

August 23, 2016

BOUT OF BOOKS READ-A-THON UPDATES - 8/22 to 8/28

 

I am participating in the Bout of Books Readathon. I will be posting daily updates on my reading here.  Friday I have outpatient surgery (nothing serious at all) so that day and Saturday might be a total wash, but the rest of the week I hope to be reading! 

I am a multi-book reader and I decided that instead of a fresh stack of books for the week I will keep working on the ones I am in the middle of and start a couple more just for fun.

MONDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 4
Total Pages Read: 102

The Fireman by Joe Hill (31 pages)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini (38 pages)
Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (33 pages)

 TUESDAY
  Total Hours Spent Reading: 4.75 hours
Total Pages Read: 187

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (27 pages)
The Heretic Daughter by Kathleen Kent (43 pages)
Somewhere South of Tuscany by Diana Armstrong (30 pages)
The Fireman by Joe Hill (57 pages)
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon (30 pages)

WEDNESDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 0
Total Pages Read: 0

Unfortunately, I didn't get anything read yesterday. Technically, I read 30 pages of Dragonfly in Amber early early in the morning, but I counted it for Tuesday.  I've already started reading for today.  How are you doing with the read-a-thon so far?

THURSDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 2
Total Pages Read: 48

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (48 pages)

 FRIDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 0
Total Pages Read: 0

I had outpatient surgery this morning and was out cold the rest of the day and night. I knew this was going to be a day I couldn't read, though.

 SATURDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 6
Total Pages Read: 188 pages

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (19 pages)
Selling Scarlett (Love Inc #1) by Ella James (51 pages)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini (25 pages)
The Hidden Ones (Legacy of the Watchers #1) by Nancy Madore (93 pages)

SUNDAY 
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 2
Total Pages Read: 30

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (30 pages)



FOR THE WEEK TOTAL
Hours Spent Reading: 18.75 - close to what I hoped, but still under.

Total # of Pages Read: 555
That is equivalent with about 2 books, so that is pretty darn good for me, especially considering I wasn't able to read a couple of the days.  I consider this Bout of Books a success!

 
Did you participate in Bout of Books this go-round?
What did you read?  How did you like it?

 

August 3, 2016

The Fictional 100 GIVEAWAY


The Fictional 100 is a great nonfiction collection all about the 100 most influential fictional characters in literature and legend - Don Juan, Sherlock Holmes, Cinderella, Madame Bovary, Hamlet, Draupadi, Perceval, Jean Valjean, Adam & Eve, Anna Karenina, Scrooge, Golem.  The guest list is star-packed.

Lucy really did her research. This book is a gold mine of information, collected in a thoughtful and easy-to-digest manner. I have added dozens of books to my TBR list thanks to The Fictional 100. I've never really been interested in Pilgrim's Promise, for instance, but Lucy convinced me I needed to re-think that decision and now I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

She reminded me I never finished The Tale of Genji seven years ago and now I am (albeit slowly) working on finishing the monster chunkster thanks to her.

She reminded me why I absolutely loved Toni Morrison's book Beloved and Jane Austen's Emma, and why Holden Caulfield, while very influential to the world, is totally overrated in my humble opinion, thankyouverymuch.

I really enjoyed learning more about these characters and their inspiration over subsequent works.  In fact, I liked it so much that I asked Lucy if we could do a giveaway so more people could get their hands on this great book about books.  Not only did she agree, but she said we could give away THREE copies.  Huzzah!!

If you'd like to enter the giveaway, fill out the form below.  I will draw winners on Wednesday, August 10th!! I will notify you by e-mail if you have won.  Good luck!!!