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Book Reviews

Orson Scott Card – Homebody Book Review

I bought a house recently and never would I have thought that an audiobook of a novel written in 1998 about a house haunting would strike so true.

I didn’t read anything about the book prior to its purchase and as I went along, the story unfolded as a sweet, sometimes uplifting, sometimes saddening, tale of becoming.

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Book Reviews

Shirley Jackson – The Haunting Of Hill House Book Review

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

Thus begins one of the scariest novels written by Shirley Jackson in 1959, describing a doomed mansion and leaving the reading with an ominous warning: “whatever walked there, walked alone”.  Shirley Jackson was a writer who understood that good scares come to those who wait, but she also knew how to get to the point.

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Book Reviews

David Mitchell * Slade House Book Review

Death’s life’s only guarantee, yes? We all know it, yet we’re hardwired to dread it. That dread’s our survival instinct and it serves us well enough when we’re young, but it’s a curse when you’re older.”

I picked up this book only due to the fact that it was written by Cloud Atlas’ David Mitchell and I wanted to see what else he can write. I was purely amazed by the concept until I found out it’s connected to another one of his books that I now have to read to be able to make a whole picture.

So far, the book appeared to be a collection of stories about disappearing people who had the misfortune to become victims of two vampyric twins (brother and sister) who were using a new technique called an orison. Every story in the book is told from the victim’s POV and they all happen nine years apart and they all have one connection to another (with the exception of the house and the twins).

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Book Reviews

The Devil Crept In * Ania Ahlborn

He held his breath, straining to hear over Terry’s stupid game—muffled but still audible through the open front windows. Aunt Mandy’s doorbell ding-donged, soft murmurs drifting up into the almost-darkened sky. And then, the muffled beauty of the evening was shattered by a wail. A soul being torn from a body. Tragedy shaped into sound waves. The cry was so all-encompassing that it seemed to blast in from every direction, as though an angel had stuck her head through a cloud and screamed down from the sky, her cry wrapping around the world like a choking veil. But it was a familiar voice, Aunt Mandy shouting as if those officers were fileting her still-beating heart.

The book was recommended in a top 10 list of good horror reads (along with The Haunting of Ashburn House and The Walking. I’ve left it out of my reading list for quite a while but while being stuck in an airport for 6h, decided to pick it up. I absolutely got dragged in head first into this horrific tale that had at its center a disappearing, two children and a monstrous being.

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Book Reviews

Bentley Little * Houses Book Review

I’ve read Bentley Little * The Walking and I was enthralled by the prospect of another good horror novel, so I bought loads of Bentley Little novels, thinking I’m going to pick one up as the desire to read something grim and scary appears on my horizon. And it did. Pretty soon, I found myself looking at a cover of a haunted house and an evil-looking child on it. Yes. That would do.
The Japanese knew what they were doing when they started casting children as the object of terror in movies (The Ring, Grudge) and Stephen King did it too (Pet Semetary, The Shining, Children of Corn).
There is something scary about the idea that a pure representation of a child, all innocent, with no knowledge of the world, can be pure evil. Bentley Little went a bit further and created the corrupted idea of Donielle (also known as Dawn) – a girl of ten wearing a dirty shift dress, bare footed and with an innocent face. This girl is the creepy factor in the book as she appears unannounced in doorways, rooms, alleyways, lifting up her skirt and asking people to look at her genitals and perform crude sexual acts with her.

The creepy/murderous child trope goes back to The Bad Seed, from the most kid-centric decade, the 1950s.

Children are “innocents.” So the more they stray from that, the more frightening it is for all of us. For an innocent energy to be “taken over” is the gravest of abominations the world can reap upon us. Adults are expected to be corrupt and evil, in a way. Children are the last hope for good.
Dee Wallace, Actress, The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, Cujo, The Frighteners

Donielle is mean-spirited, cruel and a pure psychopath in the clinical sense. Besides being malevolent, she is dangerous when crossed and she kills a few. The book should have been called “The Girl” or “Dolls”. It was truly scary.

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Book Reviews Stephen King

The Black House * Stephen King And Peter Straub

“Mental dysfunction, neurotic and psychotic behaviour – takes time to develop and there are usually signs”

Let me tell you why I love this book and I hate it at the same time. I love it because it’s a sequel of my favourite book ever (The Talisman), it’s got Jack Sawyer, Travellin’ Jack, in it and there are Gunslingers, and there’s the Territories, and there’s Twinners and so much more. Black House looks back at the twelve year old Jack Sawyer and his quest across America, while creating a whole new chapter in the process. 

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Book Reviews Stephen King

Christine * Stephen King Book Review

Oh, how I hated this book. You have probably seen the movie adaptation in the 80’s or if not, have seen the book in passing and know in general what it’s about.

Come on, big guy. Let’s go for a ride. Let’s cruise.

Feel like this book sorta goes off the rails once the ghost of the previous owner starts popping up. It’s so powerful in the beginning, when it’s a book about this loser kid finally connecting with something for the first time (this car he finds and begins to rebuild). When the focus is on how that newfound focus starts to change him, it feels real and true and both exhilarating and scary. But once the ghost of the old guy enters the picture, it stops being about the kid and the car, and becomes about something else… about some grumpy old dead guy who may or may not have been a changeling demon, or something, I don’t know. Wish the focus would’ve stayed on the car: a kid who’s haunted by a car.

Not a car that’s haunted by a dead guy.

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Book Reviews Stephen King

The Shining * Stephen King Book Review

Because it’s the month of gruesome tales and amazing hauntings, why not discuss the mad and absolutely amazing “Shining” book by horror master, Stephen King. This is the story of Jack Torrence (played wonderfully by Jake Nicholson) who decides to take a job as a hotel overseer during the winter months when the hotel was empty.  He takes his family with him and as they prepare to tackle the long, hard, winter coming along, they will have to deal with another problem. Jack goes mad. He starts seeing ghosts and he develops a strong urge to kill his family (just like in Amitiville horror). But was he mad? Or was he driven mad by the specters present in the house?

The whole place was empty.
But it wasn’t really empty. Because here in the Overlook things just went on and on. Here in the Overlook all times were one

In a way, the story reminded me of the place out of time described by Dean Koontz in 77 Shadow street * Dean Koontz Book Review  and in Odd Apocalypse. This is a place who has seen some tragedy – but this fact is only briefly discussed when they move in and is only mentioned in passing by the current overseer.

“Any big hotels have got scandals,” he said. “Just like every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go. Sometimes one of em will pop off in his room, heart attack or stroke or something like that. Hotels are superstitious places. No thirteenth floor or room thirteen, no mirrors on the back of the door you come in through, stuff like that.

So the questions stays: was Jack mad before he moved in or did the ghosts tip the balance by constantly whispering in his ear?

This inhuman place makes human monsters.

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Book Reviews

The Haunting of Ashburn House * Darcy Coates * Book review

I really liked this book and I’ll tell you why! There is nothing better than a gothic-style house, a newcomer that finds there is a gruesome secret behind it and the moment they find out it’s haunted and they’re in mortal danger. There were several pieces of literature lying about my house concerning haunted houses (do you remember the one that was made into several horror movies (Amitiville Horror), or The Shining from Stephen King). This one was good because the mystery surrounding the previous owner was hearsay mostly and you discover along with the character what really happened.

The story revolves around Adrienne – a poor ghost writer ($20 in her hand to last her until the next paycheck), her fluffy cute coon-mix cat Wolfgang (from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) and her inheritance. Even though her mother insisted they had no living relatives, a great aunt called Edith leaves a mansion for Adrienne to come and live in. Having little to no choice, she moves in and finds that the house has electricity only on the first floor, the second floor hallway is filled with portraits of the same people and there are messages inscribed in wood in several locations of the house.

“No mirrors”

“Is it Friday? Light the candle”

“Remember your secrets”

“They are still dead”

This sounds like a good beginning for any horror book.

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Places

Poltergeist Activity Explained?

When you have the urge to dig into the world of the dead, tread carefully as you may find yourself haunted for the rest of your life.