Waiting for Wednesday: Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill

Book Synopsis:

“In this chilling stand-alone novel by the acclaimed David Macinnis Gill, sixteen-year-old Willow Jane discovers she has the ability to stop time, and witnesses an ancient evil infiltrating her Boston neighborhood and hunting her friends and family. This original and sinister spin on gothic tradition will appeal to fans of Asylum, American Horror Story: Coven, and The Walking Dead.

You cannot wake the Shadowless when she sleeps within my bed. Kiss the lips of the Shadowless and the morning finds you dead.

When a bolt of lightning causes a Boston-wide blackout on her sixteenth birthday, Willow Jane doesn’t think anything of it—until she begins stopping time, until she comes face-to-face with her menacing familiar, until her sister disappears. But these aren’t the only strange and horrifying things to come out of the storm. An ancient witch named the Shadowless has awoken and escaped from her crypt, and she’s looking for revenge on Willow Jane’s family.” 

Why I need it:

Personally I don’t think there is enough YA horror out there so when I see a new release in that genre that looks promising it goes straight on my to read list.

Honestly this book had me when the synopsis said it was for “fans of Asylum, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead” because I love 2 out of those 3 things. I am probably the only person in the world who hasn’t seen an episode of Walking Dead. When it comes to American Horror Story though I am a bit of a junkie.

The summary of this book that reminds of the Mara Dyer series. Another dark book where a teenage girl finds herself having sudden unexplained powers with a horror element. The Mara Dyer series might have had a disappointing ending but I will still always love the first and second books of the trilogy.

That cover is also seriously pretty. It is simple and impactful. And as someone who works in design that font made up of tiny twigs is just eye candy for me.

An interesting idea wrapped in a genre I want to read more from, Uncanny is one release I am looking forward to finally getting my hands on.

Uncanny is scheduled for release on the 5th of September 2017

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

What is your favourite YA Horror novel? Maybe I will read and review it.

TBR Spotlight: Japanese Horror & Thriller

I have been on a bit of a quest lately to find more diverse horror novels from around the world and this seemed like a perfect excuse to add lots of books to my to-read list from my favourite subgenre of horror and thriller: J-horror. I generally read A LOT of Japanese literature and I find that their darker novels can be atmospheric, creepy and chilling in ways you would never see in Western fiction. I might write a list of my favourite Japanese novels on a later date but for now, these are some of the ones I have recently added to my to-read pile.

Another by Yukito Ayatsuji

About:
“In the spring of 1998, Kouichi Sakakibara transfers to Yomiyama North Middle School. In class, he develops a sense of unease as he notices that the people around him act like they’re walking on eggshells, and students and teachers alike seem frightened. As a chain of horrific deaths begin to unfold around him, he comes to discover that he has been placed in the cursed Class 3 in which the student body head count is always one more than expected. Class 3 is haunted by a vengeful spirit responsible for gruesome deaths in an effort to satisfy its spite. To stop the vicious cycle gripping his new school, Kouichi decides to get to the bottom of the curse, but is he prepared for the horror that lies ahead…?”

Another is a horror manga series rather than a novel. I didn’t hear of it until a week ago and I have been interested in reading more horror manga lately so it automatically ended up on my GoodReads to-read list. I will probably start this one once I am finished reading Tokyo Ghoul.

(If you don’t know what manga are, they are simply Japanese graphic novels.)

Goth by Otsuichi

About:
“Someone had taken apart her body in the forest. Her eyes, tongue, ears, thumbs, organs–each was nailed to a tree.

One tree had, from top to bottom: the left big toe, the upper lip, the nose, and the stomach. Another had other bits of her arranged like Christmas tree decorations.

The murder was soon the talk of the nation…

Psychologically twisted and emotionally wrenching, this compelling story takes Japan’s horror tradition to a whole new level of fear.”

I saw this novel on a few lists of diverse horror reads and was drawn to both the title and the dramatic cover. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but this one is so monochrome you can’t help but look at it. The blurb of this novel sounds very grim and disturbing but I tend to look for that in books, especially Japanese ones. I would say that I am weird and apologise, but you are reading my horror blog, you should expect this sort of book taste by now.

Auto Fiction by Hitomi Kanehara

About:

“Rin is flying back from her honeymoon. She’s madly in love with her husband, Shin, and the future looks rosy. Then Shin disappears to the bathroom while he thinks Rin is sleeping and she starts to imagine that he has gone to seduce the flight attendant. As her thoughts spiral out of control the phrase ‘madly in love’ takes on a more sinister meaning.

Prizewinning author Hitomi Kanehara’s sensational novel, Autofiction, follows Rin’s life backwards through time from this moment so that we see her when she is eighteen, sixteen and finally fifteen, and a picture of the dark heart and violent past of this disturbed young woman gradually develops.”

This is more of a thriller novel than a horror novel. I discovered this book when it appeared in my GoodReads recommendation list after I read Battle Royale recently. Battle Royale was so good that I naturally added books suggested because of it to my to read pile. Also I love books about stalkers and I haven’t read one about a “madly in love” woman before.

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

About:

“Six Four. The nightmare no parent could endure. The case no detective could solve. The twist no listener could predict.

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

For the 14 years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as Six Four. They would never forgive the authorities their failure. For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case.

He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.”

A best selling thriller novel that is starting to pick up popularity all over the world. Usually I have to buy Japanese novels online but I have seen this one for sale in shops here in Ireland. I plan to snatch it up soon and get reading. I haven’t read a book about a missing child in a long time so I am excited for it.

The Summer of the Ubume by Natsuhiko Kyogoku

About:

“The Summer of Ubume is the first of Japan’s hugely popular Kyogokudo series, which has 9 titles and 4 spin-offs thus far.

Akihiko “Kyogokudo” Chuzenji, the title’s hero, is an exorcist with a twist: he doesn’t believe in ghosts. To circumnavigate his clients’ inability to come to grips with a problem being their own, he creates fake supernatural explanations–ghosts–that he the “exorcises” by way of staged rituals. His patients’ belief that he has vanquished the ghost creating their problems cures them.

In this first adventure, Kyogokudo, must unravel the mystery of a woman who has been pregnant for 20 months and find her husband, who disappeared two months into the pregnancy. And unravel he does, in the book’s final disturbing scene.”

An Umbume is the ghost of a woman who died while while pregnant they normally appear holding their dead baby or care for living children they find. They are one of my favourite ghosts from Japanese folklore so naturally I wanted to read this book once I saw the title. I also badly need to know what the “final disturbing scene” is that is mentioned in the blurb.

Have you read any of the books mentioned above? If so let me know what you thought of them. Or suggest a diverse and dark book to help me with my quest. They don’t have to be horror or thriller, they can just be on the dark side.

Waiting for Wednesday: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Book Synopsis:

Mapping the Interior is a horrifying, inward-looking novella from Stephen Graham Jones that Paul Tremblay calls “emotionally raw, disturbing, creepy, and brilliant.”

Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.

The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you’d rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save them . . . at terrible cost.”

Why I need it:

Firstly: This book probably has the prettiest cover I have seen on a new horror novel this year. (And I look at a lot of horror novel covers)

Secondly: Diversity is hard to find in horror fiction. When I read the premise I was interested. It reminded me of Coraline with all of the talk of doors, and I love Coraline, but when I found out it is written by a Native American and contains Native American characters it automatically went into my to-read list. I have never read a novel written by a Native American or containing Native American characters. (Unless you count Piper in the Rick Riordan books)

The problem with mainly reviewing horror and thriller novels is that you dont get to see a lot of diversity. Modern horror novels tend to focus on straight, suburban or small town, white Americans. I am normally not social justice preachy on here but I am not American or straight and I like reading varied narrations. The usual American stuff gets very same-y. This book seems like it might be different. Not only does the story sound decently creepy (because I hate the idea of undiscovered doors in my house) but also it adds some variety in a genre that is usually very set in its ways.

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

Do you know any diverse dark books? Feel free to leave any suggestions because I am always looking to expand my to-read list.

Rereading Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House

To kick off my reread of the Goosebumps series I decided to start at the very beginning with Welcome to Dead House. I can’t guarantee that I will be reading these books in order but the very first Goosebumps book seemed like a perfect beginning. These books are easy to sum up but I can’t do better than the original blurbs:

“Amanda and Josh think the old house they have just moved into is weird. Spooky. Possibly haunted. And the town of Dark Falls is pretty strange, too. — But their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends. — So Amanda and Josh do. But these creepy new friends are not exactly what their parents had in mind.

Because they want to be friends…

…Forever.”

I actually remember Welcome to Dead House from my childhood. I don’t remember every Goosebumps book I read back then but I remember this one because I didn’t read it. That’s right, I intentionally skipped this book. When I was a kid in the 90s the Goosebumps craze was in full swing and everyone in my school was reading the books. We would all take turns in borrowing the different books from the library, usually seeking out ones that our friends recommended. This was the craze before Harry Potter hit big. With Welcome to Dead House though people fell into two camps, those who braved reading it and told others of their sleepless nights afterward, and those who heard those tales and decided they didn’t want to be frightened and liked getting a good nights sleep. I fell into the latter camp. I was too chicken to read Welcome to Dead House. It was hyped up to be the scariest of all the Goosebumps books by everyone I knew who read it. Kids would dare each other to read it because it was so scary. This was the source of nightmares for my class for a year.

Was it as scary as promised?

As an adult it is hard for me to say. It was certainly creepy and if I was a kid I could see myself finding it a little scary. It had its spooky moments and on a few occasions it even tried to create literary jump scares, which were fun. I think my favourite thing about this book was the depiction of the characters. Everyone was realistic. The kids acted like real kids and the adults acted like normal adults. There was none of the Series of Unfortunate Events “adults are dumb and kids are smart” writing. It makes this work brilliantly as a horror novel because it makes it realistic. A kid could read this and see themselves in the story very easily. That is probably what makes it good horror. Good horror makes you believe that it could happen to you. I get the feeling that this will be something I will find throughout the Goosebumps series. RL Stine knows how to see things from a kid’s point of view and uses that perfectly. And there is no use of 90s slang or pop culture references so this novel has aged very well. It could still be scary today.

Plot wise it wasn’t ridiculous. I have actually read and seen adult horror novels and films with a very similar premise. It isn’t too silly and doesn’t dumb things down for the child audience. The only issue I found with it was that the villains were probably a bit too simple. I would have liked a little more depth, but I am an adult reader. A child is not going to care about the backstory of every ghost in a novel.

If you have a kid who wants something scary to read I would recommend giving them this book. Even if it did cause half of my school to have nightmares kids like being scared. It is part of growing up and you get a rush out of it. There is nothing offensive in it, just some well placed ghosts and a mystery that needs to be solved. And if you are an adult who wants to relive some of their 90s favourites, maybe pick this one up for yourself.

Did you read the Goosebumps series when you were a child? Tell me about it. Which book gave you sleepless nights?

 

My Dark Reads of the Month: April

I have always said that this is a wrap up free blog and it still is. I have been running this series on Goth Amino since January so I decided to finally bring it to my main blog. I will pick out three of the best dark reads I have read during the month and showcase them for you. I read a lot of classics and short stories that I will never give proper reviews to so this is a perfect way for me to tell you about them.

So onto the dark books I read this month:

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill


This book is a series of short horror themed stories from the writer of Horns and Heart Shaped Box. I was surprised by this book.  I was expecting straight up horror but instead I had my feelings trampled on quite a bit. My favourite story in the collection was the title story 20th Century Ghost which is about a haunted cinema. I have so many feelings about that story. It was probably one of the best short stories I have read, which is saying a lot.

Red Room by HG Wells


This is a short story I picked up out of curiosity. HG Wells is typically a science fiction writer so when I found a horror story written by him it perked my interest. Wells is usually into science and fact (and aliens) how would he write a ghost story? I can say that it is exactly what I expected and an interesting view on the ghost horror genre of the 19th century. It is probably more like a satire than a ghost story. I can’t say any more without spoilers, just read it for yourself.

Red by Jack Ketchum


I only discovered the writer Jack Ketchum this month so you will probably see a few more of his horror novels in future lists because I loved Red so much that I want to read more of his work. This is a thriller novel about an old man whose dog is killed in front him by a group of teenagers. He then sets out for revenge.

I was expecting this book to be more violent than it actually was, which is saying something since some parts are really violent, but I wasn’t disappointed. It actually made the situation a lot more realistic and you end up feeling for the main character a lot.  If you are an animal lover I think this would be a thriller for you. It takes you through the ups and downs of an old man trying to get justice for his only friend.  It also isn’t a very long novel so you could get through it in a day or two. To read my full review click here. 

REVIEW: Red by Jack Ketchum

Summary:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

“The old man hears them before he sees them, the three boys coming over the hill, disturbing the peace by the river where he’s fishing. He smells gun oil too, too much oil on a brand-new shotgun. These aren’t hunters, they’re rich kids who don’t care about the river and the fish and the old man.

Or his dog. Red is the name of the old man’s dog, his best friend in the world. And when the boys shoot the dog — for nothing, for simple spite — he sees red, like a mist before his eyes. And before the whole thing is done there’ll be more red. Red for blood…”

Review:

How often do you see a revenge story focused on a dog? Never. That is why this book caught my attention during one bored evening of GoodReads browsing. I am sure there are plenty of stories like this in the contemporary section but a book with this sort of story marked as horror and thriller is a bit different. Safe to say, it caught my attention.

When I first read the blurb of this book it made it sound like it was a gory revenge story, like Old Man Logan meets Old Yeller. The focus on the colour red and the old man’s anger in the summery made it sound extremely violent. Did I get that? Yes and no.

The book was violent, yes, but was it the old man’s doing? Not so much. This is one of those horror novels where people are the monsters. It is one old man’s struggle to get justice for his dog but everything stands in his way. It isn’t until everything fails and things take a turn for the violent and horrible that it becomes what the summary promised.

As someone who reviews horror and thriller novels I see a lot of supernatural things in stories but I will always hold a soft spot for those novels where people are the monsters. Humanity and its corruption are the problem, not a ghost or other other supernatural force. Human based horror might not have the creep factor the likes of IT or The Ring have but it is scary in its own way. Events in human based horror can actually happen and THAT is what makes them scary. People are corrupt, people kill other people, people shoot dogs for so reason other an their own entertainment. It works.

I have never read a Jack Ketchum novel before this but thanks to Red I will be looking into more of his novels.

Warnings:

Strong language. Implied sex scenes. Mild gore. Animal cruelty.

Rating:

I gave this book 4 0ut of 5 stars on GoodReads.com. It is a short and sweet read. It might not be the most scary, detailed or gory book in the world but if you are an animal lover you will find yourself rooting for the main character and hating the villains. Also if horror isn’t generally your cup of tea this might be a book for you. It isn’t overly horrific, has its sweet moments and focuses strongly on character struggles.


As always feel free to follow me on GoodReads and if you have read Red tell me your thoughts on it or just suggest your favourite horror or thriller novel, the bigger my to-read pile the better.

A Stephen King Hater Reads Stephen King: Carrie

Do I really need to explain the plot of Carrie?
A bullied and abused teenage girl with telekinesis gets invited to prom. Chaos ensues. End of plot summary.

I went easy on myself for the first book of my “I hate Stephen King” reread blog series, because I actually enjoy Carrie. I have read it before and I enjoyed it then just as much as I enjoyed it now. Carrie is King’s first book, so this is written before his tropes started becoming ridiculous and he started adding pointless scenes. It even has more than one nice character which is odd for a King book. Carrie is short and sweet, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. So you will sadly have to wait until next month for a review of a King book that actually annoyed me.

I think what I enjoyed the most about it was the writing style. Carrie isn’t your typical third or first person narration, it is made up of several sources that are reflecting back on the events during and leading up to the prom, such as interviews, biographies and scientific studies. I also found Carrie the character very relatable. I was bullied horribly as a teen, I even lived through my own version of the shower incident, so I understood her rage a little. I think anyone who is being bullied or has been bullied might understand her a little.

The only real issue I had with this book was at the end. Don’t get me wrong, the ending was amazing, but the plot starts jumping around in time as it changes perspective. It will cut back and forth between 9pm, 11pm and 1am while the events of the prom are happening. It has a brilliant effect on the story but it gets a little confusing when you are trying to keep track of where the characters are. I suppose it adds to the madness that is going on though.

If you haven’t read Carrie yet go read it. You are missing out.

Which King novel should I read next?