The Resurrectionists by Kim Wilkins

In three words:

Spooky, gothic, graveyard

 

What I thought:

I first heard about this book last year when I was doing my Dare You Read It? series over the Halloween period. It was recommended by Helen at She Reads Novels as a spooky / scary book and as I tend to enjoy the a lot of the same books as Helen I decided to hunt down a copy. I managed to find a second hand copy as the book had actually gone out of print, but it is now available on Kindle via Amazon for anyone who wants to give this a read.

This gothic horror starts with Maisie, an Australian musician with a successful career and loving boyfriend, who is disillusioned with life and decides to go to England to see her maternal Grandmother, Sybil, whom she has never met, who lives in a remote cottage in Yorkshire by the coast. Maisie’s mother is dead set against her going and then confesses that her Grandmother actually died 3 months ago which makes Maisie even more determined to go, to find out about where Sybil lived and what she was like.

When she arrives in Solgreve, Yorkshire in the winter, Maisie soon discovers that not only was her Grandmother not at all liked but that, apparently, neither is she. A wall of silence and unfriendlyness greets Maisie in the little village (including a very cold introduction from the village Vicar) so Maisie sets about trying to clear Sybils cottage and discover what she can about her past. The only person that is remotely nice to her is a young man called Sasha (who is part gypsy and used to help Sybil in her garden) whom she meets when he brings Sybils old cat back round.

It’s not long before things begin to go bump in the night in this remote little cottage. Maisie is unnerved by the cat who takes up the same post on top of the washing machine every night to stare out, unblinking into the night, but not so much as when she sees a shadowy figure by the trees at the back of the cottage that is staring straight back at her.

Maisie soon discovers a diary dating back to 1793 that, upon reading it, starts to give her clues to what is going on and what makes the inhabitants of the village of Solgreve behave the way they do.

This book is choc full of chills, thrills and surprises. There was one particular point when Maisie and a friend are alone in the cottage one night when things take a horrifying turn, that literally had me on the edge of my seat. Yes, there were parts of the book where I really had to suspend my disbelief (but then this is horror fiction) but overall it was a great October read and perfect for the RIP challenge.

Verdict: Fans of gothic, horror and suspense are sure to like this book. Don’t expect a literary masterpiece but if it’s thrills and chills you’re after then look no further.

 

I read this book as part of the RIP Challenge

Advertisements

Day 19 – A book that scared me

Boo!

As a teenager I loved scary books and films etc. Then I turned into a wimp.

Now I am on a quest to find the ultimate scary read again (especially now the nights are drawing in and it’s getting colder – the perfect time to snuggle up on the sofa with a book that creeps and chills). Last year I did a “Dare You Read It?” series in an attempt to find that special spine-tingling book and, while I did read some great books, none of them scared me to death. And that is because…..

I already know which book will do that as I attempted to read it about 2/3 years ago and it scare the bejeesus out of me so much that I had to put it down less than half way through. That book is The Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. If you’re not aware of Joe Hill, he is the son of Stephen King (let’s face it, if you grow up with King for your Dad then you’re gonna know how to tell a spooky yarn!). The Heart Shaped Box starts with a man – Jude – who likes to collect macabre things and when he spots an add on ebay from a woman selling the ghost of her step-father, he presses “buy now”. By the time Jude has taken receipt of the suit that the old man used to wear (that comes complete with said ghost), things start to get really chilling. His dogs start barking and going mental and he sees the old man sitting on a chair outside his bedroom and tries to sneak past. I think that’s pretty much where I left it…

Now, since then I have read Hill’s other book Horns which isn’t scary in the same way at all. I have also met the man himself at a book signing of Horns in Waterstones in Leeds and he was very nice, but The Heart Shaped Box still remains firmly shut and at the back of my shelf!

As it’s Autumn and as I am also doing the RIP Challenge again this year, I am contemplating giving it another go. However, I am too chicken to try it on my own (just incase that man is still sat on the chair where I last left him!) so are there any volunteers to read along with me?

                            

 

What is the scariest book you have ever read and why?

Day 10 – A book that gave me the creeps

Don’t stop for the blond lady in glasses…

It’s about 5 or so months since I read this book and it still freaks me out when I think about it. Under the Skin by Michael Faber is a very strange story of a woman who drives up and down the A9 in Scotland looking for men hitchikers. She doesn’t just stop for any old man though – he has to be big and beefy and alone.

I can’t tell you any more than that for fear of ruining the book for anyone still brave enough to read it but it’s sufice to say that it completely freaked me out and made me feel sick. For me, the book was just weird and didn’t make sense. I know there are plenty who have loved this book though so don’t just take my word for it, but as far as I’m concerned this book totally creeped me out…

 

  Any others I should be avoiding? 😉

 

RIP VI is here!

Autumn must be here…

OK, to be fair, we haven’t really even had a summer in the UK but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. Autumn is my favourite season and alsways has been. I used to love going back to school after the long holidays (yep, must be a geek!) and it was my birthday, halloween and bonfire night. I love the crisp days and darker evenings when you have to put the fire on a curl up (with a book, naturally) and cup of hot chocolate or glass of red wine. Autumn is a time for classics, gothic reads and spooky tales hence my excitement for this challenge again.

I have successfully managed to avoid all challenges this year so far but this is one that I cannot igone! The Peril Challenge is right up my street and I loved taking part last year t00.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, Supernatural.

As you know, I am likely to change my mind on a whim (I’m incredibly fickle when it comes to shiny new books attracting my attention) and side-tracking me from the best laid plans. However, here are some of the books that are on my list (for the moment):

Pet Sematary by Stephen King (currently reading)

The Retribution by Val McDermid (currently reading)

Suffer the Children by John Saul (read this as a teenager and want to read it again as I remember nothing about it except it spooked me)

Florence and Giles by John Harding (I hadn’t heard of this until Helen of She Reads Novels added it to her list and I looked it up – only 99p on my Kindle too…bargain!)

Cuckoo by Julia Couch (sent to me for review and looks like a great pyschological thriller)

Needful Things by Stephen King (after reading Carrie recently and now on to Pet Sematary I am on a bit of a SK kick)

The Remains by Vincent Zandri (recommended by a fellow blogger taking part in Thrill Week and again only 86p on my Kindle!)

Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheriden le Fanu (has been on my shelf for a few years and is supposed to be Victorian gothic at its creepiest – delicious!!!)

Blood Harvest by S J Bolton (the only one of her 4 books I haven’t read yet and it’s a sort of crime ghost story so should be perfect!)

The Resurrectionists by Julia Wilkins (another one recommended as really creepy by Helen at She Reads Novels last year during my Dare You Read It? series in October and I have since  found a second hand copy)

 

I think that little lot should keep me going for a while, but like I say, by the time I have finished the challenge it is probably unlikely to resemble the above list at all (oh the perils of shiny, new things……)

 

I will be doing the Peril the First challenge which is to read at least 4 books from the above categories (shouldn’t be too hard as they are my favourite genre at the moment).

 

Have you got any plans to join in? If so, what will you be reading?

 

A Spooktacular October and an Indulgent November

 Mwahahaaaaa!

What a spooktacular month October was….I embarked on my mission to read only spooky or scary books in honour of Halloween.

My mission was to find something that scared the pants off me. Did I find it? 

Read in October:

 

 

Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe 

The Phantom Coach by Amelia B Edwards

Comes the Blind Fury by John Saul

Classic Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories by Various – review coming shortly

Halloween Party by Agatha Christie

Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver

Dracula by Bram Stoker – review coming shortly

Books reviewed (but not read) as part of the Dare you read it? series:

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Her fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

 

So what are my spooky recommendations?

 

Disappointingly, I didn’t find any book that scared the wits out of me, which really surprised me as I am an absolute wimp when it comes to scary films. That said, I really enjoyed every single book I read this month and although I didn’t find anything to freak me out, some of the books were really well written with regards to creating errie atmosphere and here are my top two:

 

 

My indulgent November

 

 

And now on to this month…

I am planning a month of pure indulgent reading. Whatever I fancy: no rules, no must-reads, no specific genres, authors, publishers……nada!

I will read what I want when I want – bliss! I already have a few books in mind, but I may change my mind on a whim:

On my possible list are:

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Twisted Wing by Ruth Newman

A Mary Higgins Clark (dunno which one)

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

Changeless by Gail Carriger

 

Or maybe not…..

 

What are your reading plans for this month?

 

Dare you read it? Halloween Party by Agatha Christie

 The Blurb:

At a Hallowe’en party a lying-thirteen-year-old brags that she had once seen a murder. Only one person, the murderer, believes her and when she bobs for apples she doesn’t come up. Hercule Poirot must reach into a past in which a number of seemingly separate crimes – a knifing, a forgery, a disappearance – become interrelated. Miss Christie even winds up on the wilder shores of mythology in this one and her Hallowe’en Party is a predictably spooky business.”

(source: Amazon.com)

 

What I thought:

This is about the fourth time I have read this book and I still love it. It was one of the first Agatha Christie’s I read as a teenager when I went through a phase of devouring everything I could get my hands on.

I picked it up again this week because of the title. What a perfect book to read in Halloween week, I thought: even thought I have read it so many times now, it has never lost its appeal to me. Spooky? No, not at all. Fun? Yes, absolutely!

The story starts with a famous author, Ariadne   Oliver, who is attending a childrens halloween party in a pretty little English village. She is recognised by some of the children who start to quiz her about her books and complain that there isn’t enough murder in them. One of the group, a rahter unpoular 13-year-old called Joyce, then pipes up “I saw a murder once” before being shouted down and laughed at by those around her. Trying to explain herself she then adds “but I didn’t realise that it was a murder at the time.” The party gets into full swing but before the night is out, Joyce has been found murdered face down in a bucket of bobbing apples…

Aridne sets off to see her old friend Hercule Poirot for help as she has become convinced that someone who overheard Joyce’s claim to have seen a murder had wanted to shut her up. Poirot then sets about busy-bodying his way around the village, in true Poirot style, asking questions to anyone and everyone about what Joyce may have seen. And as in true Christie style, expect the unexpected!

I’m so glad I read this book again – picking up an Agatha Christie is like meeting up with an old friend; it’s a real tonic.

I was also delighted to discover that ITV did an adaptation of this very book this week on TV. I thought it was so well done, with a brilliant cast and they made it so spooky and atmospheric. If you didn’t see it or you don’t live in the UK, you can still see it here online for the time being – give yourself a halloween treat and watch it.

 

Spooky rating:

A great mystery book set at halloween. Will it scare you? Not a chance. Will you love it? Absolutely!

 

 

 

Dare you read it? Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver

 

The Blurb:

“‘What is it? What does it want? Why is it angry with me?’ January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he’s offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken. But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return – when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark.”

(source: Amazon.com)

  What I thought:

I just had to have this book as soon as I saw it nominated by Sarah from BookRabbit on my What’s Spooking the Publishers? post. Since seeing that, I have also seen lots more hype about this book on the web. I grabbed up a copy for myself last weekend and read it this week for a spooky treat.

The book is written in the form of a journal by Jack Miller, a London misfit with a dead-end job and no friends who joins an expedition to the Arctic Circle in the 1937. Jack is desperate to go and has looked forward to this adventure for six months before setting off so his spirits are high as soon as he steps onto the boat to take them to the bay of Gruhuken in nothern Norway.

However, Jack’s joy soon takes a downward turn as one by one, members of the expidition drop like flies and he is left alone, with just a pack of huskies and a self-built hut in one of the remotest parts of the world. Not only that, but Jack begins to see and hear things that aren’t really there. Or are they?

I found this book incredibly well written and what I found was that the way the isolation and deprivation were played out over the pages was far more spooky than the ghost that was inhabiting the bay with Jack. The sense of fear as Jack slowly began to lose his mind imagining things that had moved or appeared was palpable and made for very chilly reading.

Jack’s relationship with one of the dogs, Isaak, was the only warming part of this icy tale but it was a welcome relief in such a desolate text.

Although I enjoyed this book immensly and would recommend it as a great read, I am disappointed to report that it didn’t scare me in the least (and I am a complete wimp when it comes to scary things).

Spooky rating:

Definitely eerie and atmospheric and a great ending to the book, but alas it did not scare me 😦

Those of a nervous disposition may want to avoid or read with the light on though.