New Series: Frightful Fridays


Have you ever wondered about the real life horror stories that inspired popular horror fiction? The folklore, the haunted houses, crimes, urban legends and ghost stories that triggered the writer’s creativity. Well, this is what my new series will be about.

If you didn’t know already, I run multiple blogs outside of Spine Cracker. One of which is a very popular paranormal and folklore blog. I have been tempted for a long time to combine the two in some small way. After all, I usually review horror and dark books and the writers had to get their ideas from somewhere. And the inspiration behind some horror and thriller novels can be just as chilling as the works of fiction.

So this has lead to the creation of Frightful Fridays. Every Friday (or at least every Friday possible) I will choose a book and share some of the real life horror stories that inspired it. Maybe I will throw some historical true crime in there while I am at it.

A Disclaimer:

I am not going to claim to be the expert in everything and I am going to try to keep things as factual as possible. I don’t want to trivialise anyone else’s culture. I know I hate it when people do it with my own. Americans are usually guilty of annoying me with this constantly.

I will cite sources, be open to critique and additional information on anything. It will be fun to start a discussion and maybe you will add more interesting information to Frightful Fridays. Or hell, write your own Frightful Friday and link back. It would be awesome to read other spooky stories that inspired spooky novels because I don’t know everything.

So what do you think of this idea? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

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.

The Mid Year Freak Out – Book Tag!

Question 1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2017

It will be hard for any book I read this year to knock Battle Royale off the top spot. I ADORED this book. It is probably one of my new all time favourite novels. Gory, gritty and an emotional rollercoaster. If you haven’t read it you really need to…as long as you have a high tolerance for violence that is. You can read my full review of it here.

Question 2 – Your favorite sequel of the year

I havent read many sequels this year, but I will always buy the new Rick Riordan books when they come out and they will always be labelled my favourite sequels because his books are always gold.

Question 3 – A new release that you haven’t read but really want to

This is a non-fiction book that came out at the start of this year. Sadly due to being in the process of house buying I wasn’t able to buy it earlier in the year and I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere since. Typical.

Victorian’s Undone is a non-fiction book containing various odd facts about different famous Victorian bodies. I have a passion for anatomy, medical history and all things Victorian so this book sounds right up my street. I need it!

Question 4 – Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

This was one of my Waiting for Wednesday choices a few weeks ago and I am still infatuated with the idea of it. Meddling Kids is out in July and I plan to snatch it up the moment it hits the shelves.

You can read more about Meddling Kids here.

Question 5 – Your biggest disappointment

I had a few choices for this question but in the end I went for Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I have read worse books than this one this year but this book was so hyped up by other bloggers that it made the disappointment of reading it even greater. I had been looking forward to reading this book for over a year and when I finally did it was just boring and not scary at all. It had a few creative gory scenes but that is it. Nothing was explained, the characters were a bit flat and nothing was really solved in the end. An open ending works for some books but it didn’t work in this case.

Question 6 – Biggest surprise of the year

To be honest I only read this book on a whim. I needed something short to read and I found The Birds in the library, so I gave it a chance. Long story short I was blown away. I had seen the film previously and wasn’t the biggest fan so I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. It reminded me of War of the Worlds as the characters were all normal and doomed. War of the Worlds is one of my favourite novels so if a book has a similar tone I will enjoy it if it is done well.

Question 7 – Favourite new to you or debut author

Jack Ketchum! I have read two books by him this year: The Girl Next Door and Red. I have added most of his bibliography to my to-read list on GoodReads and I plan on working my way through them this year. I love his style of realistic human based horror. His books are a bit upsetting but that just means they are written well enough to hurt you, A Lot.

You can read my review of Red here and my review of The Girl Next Door here.

Question 8 – Your new fictional crush

I don’t have one. I don’t get crushes on real life people let alone fictional ones. I am strange.

Question 9 – New favourite character

Apollo from the Trials of Apollo series. I know this series is on its second book and Apollo was also in the first one but I enjoyed him more this year with the second book. I think he got a lot more development in the second novel. Also to add to it, my boyfriend said Apollo reminds him of me personality wise and I am a bit of an egotist so….NEW FAVOURITE CHARACTER FOR ME because of course any character that reminds other people of me must be cool.

Question 10 – A book that made you cry

I dont cry over books or films. I am made of stone. But if you want the most upsetting book I have read this year The Girl Next Door takes that award. I have read a lot of books about people being tortured but this is probably the worst one so far.

Question 11 – A comic book that made you happy

This question is tricky because I read so many comics. I think my favourite series right now would be the current run of Spiderman and Deadpool. It is coming to an end for now and I will miss it because it has brought me so much joy. It is just fun and even though it is a silly series when it hits you with emotional moments it really hits you. I have also been reading this series with my boyfriend because I am a hardcore follower of the Spiderman comics and he is a hardcore follower of Deadpool comics, so this team up was the perfect series to read together. We enjoyed it so much that we are cosplaying the characters at a convention next week.

Question 12 – Your favourite book to movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year

This is a tv show but it still counts. I have been loving the television adaption of the American Gods novel. I am HUGE Gaiman fan and have read almost all of his books. I remember reading American Gods and thinking that it would make a great film but it was too long, it would be impossible to make a film adaption and keep everything in, so they would have to make a tv show. And then they did! I am also the only person I know in real life who has read the book so I have been enjoying watching my friends reactions to things and hearing their theories on what is going on.

Question 13 – Favourite book post you’ve done this year

For this one I pick So, I bought a library I mentioned it previously but my biggest achievement this year is that I bought my own house. Not only am I now a home owner now but it is a very large house with gardens and A LIBRARY. The post I made earlier in the year celebrating that fact should be in my top spot.

Question 14 – The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year

I received this book as a Christmas present but it still counts as a book I received this year because it was delayed in the post so my mother couldn’t give it to me until January. It is a beautiful leather bound copy of Oscar Wilde’s works. I have mentioned it many times on this blog but Wilde is one of my favourite writers. I already own several collections of his works but my mother likes to buy be pretty copies of classics I love even if I already own 5 copies of the book already.

Question 15 – What are some books you need to read by the end of the year

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 childhood reads

Two things made up my childhood: Animals and books. There were dozens of other things but those two are the most consistent and defined. I started learning to read when I was three years old. My mother was a stay at home parent who grew bored and decided to make teaching her toddler to read a pet project. We couldn’t afford books so we would walk to the library once a week to pick out things we wanted to read. It was a grand Victorian building that still stands to this day, though now it has been rebuilt since parts of it were blown up during my childhood. Good old, Northern Irish Troubles, not even libraries were immune on bad days. The library was split in two, adults to the left and the children’s section to the right, so when my mother and I walked through the doors we would part ways. I would find her again when I found the three books I wanted to borrow, because 3 year old me had her own library card. I was like Matilda, except I had a mother who loved me. Maybe I will revisit that library and write about it some day. I have always wanted to.

Starting school brought along more books and bigger words. Due to my head start in reading my teachers had to bring in books from the classrooms of older students to keep me entertained. Nothing in the classroom library was challenging enough so my mother complained to the school and that started the importing in of books from the years above to keep me happy. I didn’t have many friends in primary school, and the few I had were dyslexic and spent their lunch times in special extra lessons. So I spent my lunch time play times sitting on a wall with my back against a cherry blossom tree reading while the rest of my small school played around me. I was never lonely or bored, I had fictional characters for company.

So these are my top 5 childhood reads.

All Dr Suess Books

The beginning is always a good place to start. My mother taught me to read using Dr Seuss. I still remember walking into the children’s section of the library and seeing the shelf with every Dr Suess book lined up on it. They had a magnificent collection. I would always lift one and gradually I read my way through the entire series by the time I was five. Of course I dont remember the first book I ever read, but according to my mother it was Fox in Socks. Green Eggs and Ham is always one of my favourites though, and I quote it quite often.

 

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

This was one of the first two novels I ever read, and the reason why I picked out this one over the first novel is that I enjoyed this book more. I read Fantastic Mr Fox DOZENS of times. I read it so often that I could fly through it in a single bedtime sitting. I adored the main character and his cleverness, how disgusting the villains were and the morbidness of Mr Fox getting his tail shot off. This book made my childhood and it was one of the few books I actually owned. I used to keep it under my pillow for regular nightly rereads, at least until my parents bought me Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to give me something new to read.

Tailypo by Joanna Galdone

I lost a month’s worth of sleep because this book. A source of nightmares isn’t something you expect from someones Top Childhood Books, but this book marked my childhood so much that I just had to put it on this list. This book was so scary that children in my school were daring each other to read it. You might remember me mentioning a similar thing about Welcome to Dead House but I actually read this one at the time. I have reread this picture book since and I didn’t loose any sleep over it but it still creeped me out, though that could be my inner child telling me to burn the bloody thing and throw the ashes into the sea. For a month I just kept picturing the Tailypo monster sitting at the foot of my bed waiting to rip my insides out.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My first Sherlock Holmes novel. I first read this book when I was 9. I found a battered old copy of it in a charity shop and begged my mother to buy it for me. Before I got my hands on the book I was OBSESSED with Basil of Baker Street and the Granada series of Sherlock Holmes. (Look up Jeremy Brett if you want a brilliant adaptation to watch) Do you know how small children make their parents watch the Little Mermaid or Frozen over and over until everyone hates it? Well, for little me that was Basil of Baker Street. I was odd. Screw princesses I wanted to be a Sherlockian mouse. It started a lifetime Sherlock Holmes addiction and naturally once I was old enough to read at that level I picked up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I still have my original copy of this book and it is even more battered than it was when I first bought it due to its many trips in my school bag. It even has childish scribbles inside where I ticked off the stories I had read as I progressed through the book multiple times. This is one of those books you can look back on and say formed who you are as a person.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban by JK Rowling

I think Harry Potter is going to be on most people’s lists.

I read this book after all of the books listed above. The Prisoner of Askaban was the first Harry Potter book I read. The series wasn’t popular yet and I didn’t know that the other books existed, or that I had to read them in order. I still remember the day it was bought for me. My grandmother decided I had earned a treat and told me to go into a nearby bookshop and pick out anything I wanted. I stood in children’s novel section reading the backs of various books. This one had wizards and murderers in it and a big scary dog on the back, I was sold. I flew through it multiple times before finally getting my hands on the first and second books. The fourth didn’t exist yet and I had to wait a year or two before it did.

I dont think I can say that Harry Potter was my childhood like some people claim because I already had other books that did that job before Harry showed up in my life. I can say that it has formed my social life though because all of my friends now and my partner are Harry Potter fans. We all know our Hogwarts houses, wizarding careers (since we are all too old for Hogwarts), buy each other wands as gifts and even travelled to America together to visit Harry Potter Universal Studios. It has given me so many memories and lifetime experiences.

And to answer any house and career questions: I am a Slytherin, and I work for the Mystery of Magic dealing with abused and illegally traded magical creatures.

This was a bit of a rambling post but I hope you enjoyed it. What were your favourite childhood reads? Or even better, what would your Harry Potter wizarding career be?

Top 5 Tuesdays are hosted by Bionic Book Worm

The Ultimate Book Tag

I saw this tag floating around the book blogging world and decided that it looked like fun. I won’t be tagging anyone specific in it so feel free to do it yourself if you fancy it.

1. Do you get sick while reading in a car?
No! I read daily on public transport and it has never bothered me. I normally don’t read in regular cars because I am busy pointing out random dogs in passing to my partner. I might be a bit of an annoying passenger.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
I am going to pick my favourite author of all time for this one: Neil Gaiman. His writing style is so fun. It is clever, witty and doesn’t take itself too seriously while also being dark at times.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Harry Potter. I dont think I could limit my reasons for hating Twilight to 3 points. It is a waste of paper, always has been and always will be.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?
Always. I usually carry a book on me at all times, especially for work on weekdays. I also carry: My makeup bag, phone, a note book, my keys, iPod, fountain pens (because I refuse to write with any other type of pen), and wipes and tissues for emergencies.

5. Do you smell your books?
Openly and often. I even wear perfume that smells like an old book.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?
Both. I love proper novels but I am also a HUGE graphic novel fan. Bring on the comics!

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
Anything by Cassandra Clare. Some people will hate me for this but I dont care. She stole all of the ideas for her work and now keeps writing the same thing over and over, probably because she hasn’t found another writer to steal from.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
Tons of them because I am a bit of an idiot.

When I was in primary school I carried around a very heavy hardback classics collection, Sherlock Holmes and a ghost stories collection at the same time in my bag. I tripped and the weight of my bag made me topple over so I landed face down on the street. …Long story short, one of my front teeth is fake because I carried around too many heavy books.

9. What is the tiniest book on your shelf?
Green Eggs and Ham.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?
I have no idea. Probably a non fiction book because I have a lot of encyclopedias.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I am a published short story writer and journalist. So maybe some day. I think I just need a big enough idea to make a full novel of rather than a short story.

12. When did you get into reading?
I started learning to read when I was 3 years old, and I haven’t stopped since.

13. What is your favourite classic book?
The entire Sherlock Holmes series.

14. In school what was your best subject?
Biology. I liked taking things apart. Also history and English literature.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?
I would put it on “The Borrow Shelf”. It is a shelf in my library where I keep copies of books that I have doubles of or dont care much about. I loan those to people rather than risking lending my pretty copies to people.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
No idea. This is a dumb question.

17. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?
Lowkey blogging at work on my breaks, or getting distracted.

18. What is your favorite word?
Hodgepodge. It means a messy mixture of things. It is fun to say.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
Nerd. I read comics, cosplay, work in technology and love science fiction. So I am definitely a nerd.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
FAIRIES! I am Irish! Never mess with Fairies.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Shapeshifters. Angles are a bit boring.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
Spirits. I love ghost stories. I haven’t read a werewolf story that wasnt some sort of romantic Twi-shite inspired nonsense.

23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?
Vampires. Zombies dont have personalities, but I suppose that is their point.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
None of the above.

25. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Action! I hate romance novels. They are usually unhealthy, boring and very unrealistic. I would rather have explosions.

The Get to Know Me Tag!

I have been really enjoying getting back into book blogging lately, and as much fun as books are it is nice to get to know the person behind the blog a little. I first saw this tag over at Bionic Bookworm’s blog so go give her post a read too.

VITAL STATS

NAME: Bernadette

NICKNAMES: None. Sadly my friends are not very creative. 

BIRTHDAY: The 8th of September.

STAR SIGN: Virgo.

OCCUPATION: Digital Designer. I manage all social media, web design and graphic design for a big car company.

LIVING IN: Belfast, Northern Ireland. I am a city girl, and I live with my partner in a large house that we only bought a few months ago.

APPEARANCE

HAIR COLOUR: Jet black

HAIR LENGTH: Just past shoulder length. It used to be butt length until I chopped it off last year. I am growing it back.

EYE COLOUR: Bright green but sometimes they are pale green.

BEST FEATURE: My eyes. I get a lot of compliments on them because they are quite big.

BRACES: A long time ago. I wore braces for 4 years of secondary school. It was awful.

PIERCINGS: 5 ear piercings. 2 in my right ear and 3 in my left.

TATTOOS: None, but I am getting a half sleeve designed for my 30th birthday next year. I put it off so I could spend tons of money on a custom sleeve.

RIGHT OR LEFT: Left

Have some selfies because why not!

FIRSTS

REAL HOLIDAY: My first holiday outside of Ireland and the UK wasn’t really a holiday. I went to France and Belgium when I was 17 to visit World War 1 battle locations. I learned so much and ate tons of delicious food.

BEST FRIEND: A plastic skeleton named Dead Fred. …Oh you mean real people? My first best friend was called Nicola. We bonded over our love of vampires and being odd.

AWARD: My primary school actually invented their science award specifically for me. We had been learning about bugs that year and I kept bringing spiders into class because I thought it would help. The teacher thought it was brilliant, the students, not so much.

SPORT: Karate. I studied it for 7 years before discovering Jiu Jitsu.

CONCERT: My Chemical Romance. A silly emo band but I never say no to free tickets.

FAVOURITES

TV SHOWS: American Horror Story, Criminal Minds, Penny Dreadful and some anime.

COLOUR: Red

SONGS: Lovecats by The Cure, Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie, Happy House by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Nancy Boy by Placebo and lately I have been addicted to the song Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division. .

RESTAURANT: A place in town called Sticks and Stones. It is an expensive steak restaurant that lets you cook your own steak on rocks. Also AM:PM which is a fine dining Cabaret restaurant, and I eat a lot of Korean BBQ.

SHOPS: My local used bookshop, obviously. It is called Keats and Chapman. For clothes I mostly shop in a place in Belfast called Vintage and Retro. I browse that place regularly to hunt for band shirts and vintage pieces.

BOOKS: Anything by Neil Gaiman or HG Wells are my favourites. Also the Sherlock Holmes series and The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

SHOES: I am a boots kind of girl. If the shoes look like I could kick a man to death while wearing them I will probably like them. Right now my favourite pair of shoes are a pair of pointed toe ankle boots that are covered in buckles.

BOOK GENRES: Horror, thriller, science fiction and fantasy.

CURRENTLY

FEELING: Relaxed – It is Friday night and I am just finished my weekly pampering session.

SINGLE OR TAKEN: Taken. I have been with my partner for almost 5 years.

EATING: Nothing but considering getting up and getting some hummus from the fridge.

THINKING ABOUT: Should I get hummus? Should I put my laptop away and read more of the new Rick Riordan book? Will I ever finish painting my nails? Find out next week on…!

WATCHING: My partner playing Breath of the Wild and giving occasional sarcastic commentary.

WEARING: Alice in Wonderland pajamas that my mum bought me for Christmas. 

DO YOU…..

HAVE KIDS: Nope, but I would like some one day. I am very much a career girl so I would like to have only one kid, two at the most. I already have names picked out. Victor for a boy and Matilda for a girl.

WANT TO TRAVEL: Hell yeah! My partner and I are going to London (again) next year to visit the West End. We also plan on visiting Japan, New York and I want to go back to France and Belgium. I miss them, even though I have been to France 3 times.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: Yes I do. I am generally Little Miss Confidence most of the time. I have bad days like everyone else, but generally I believe I can do anything if I put my mind to it. If I have a bad day I just remind myself of everything I accomplished on my own and it makes me feel better.

I am not going to tag anyone in this, but I have one request: Do this tag and share a link to it with me. I would love to get to know some other bloggers on here.

The Christmas Cracker Book Tag

I have been feeling festive lately so I thought that I would have a go at The Christmas Cracker Book Tag that has been created by Lucy at The Bumbling Bibliophile and Queen of Contemporary.  I will link any of the books mentioned to their GoodReads pages if you want to check them out.

Pick a book with a wintry cover
shiverThe book I was going to pick for this question is my answer to another question later so I went for the second most wintery looking book on my shelf and that is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This book is about werewolves and it is set during the winter. Personally I enjoyed this book enough to finish it but not enough to finish the series, even though I have a copy of the second book, Linger.

 

 

 

Pick a book you’re likely buy as a present
9781408859643I have bought so many books this year as presents. I bought the Hunger Games trilogy for a friend who wanted to read it, but the prettiest literary present I have bought this year is The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman. It is a gorgeous fairy tale with badass ladies, dwarves and beautiful artwork all the way through. I have also bought Who the Feck is Who in Irish History and the Lunar Chronicles as gifts.

(Read my review of Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles here)

 

Pick a festive themed book

18I am going to be rather old fashioned with this one and pick a classic. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is probably my favourite festive book. I have read it a few times and it never fails to make me feel Christmassy, also watching the Muppet version afterward is a bonus.

 

 

 

 

Pick a book you can curl up with by the fireplace

adventures_sherlock_holmes1I have a long standing tradition of curling up over Christmas and rereading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, especially The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, which is set during Christmas. There is just something about Victorian literature that just feels so festive to me.

 

 

 

 

 

Pick a book you want to read over the festive period

Night-Circus-UK-coverThis year I am rereading the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is another book with a festive cover. This is another novel set in the Victorian era. It isn’t about anything particularly festive but it is still a beautiful book to read during winter so I would highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

Pick a book that’s so good it gives you chills

tbcIt is hard to just pick one book for this but if I had to pick one right now it would be The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare and various other authors because I have just finished it and it was brilliant. It is a collection of short stories about the life of Magnus Bane, a character who appears in both The Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series’. Even though I have just finished it I will definitely be rereading some of the stories over Christmas. If you are a fan of the Shadowhunter Chronicles I would definitely give this a go.

I will have a review for it on here some time soon.

 

Pick a book going on your Christmas wishlist

Most of the books I want for Christmas this year are graphic novels, but the one novel that I really want is a hardback copy of Cress by Marissa Meyer, the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I received copies of Cinder and Scarlet for my birthday earlier in the year so I would love a copy of the third book to go with them. They look so lonely on my shelf without Cress.