Birthday and whatnot…..

It’s been a quiet week because it’s been my birthday as well as reflexology week. I’m studying at level 5 reflexology so it means I spend a full weekend in Lincoln every month (about an hour drive from where I live). This month was a practical exam but I passed so all is right with the world, not to say I have a mountain of work to get through to catch up. My tutor bought me a lovely gift just because of the mental health battles I’ve been going through ❤

My birthday was lovely and quiet. I received lots of lovely horror based and unicorn based presents. I did want to see the new Halloween for my birthday but typically the showings had finished the day of my birthday. My sister bought me Circus of Horror tickets, which I am very much looking forward too. My husband bought me a MeanGirls/Hocus Pocus crossover T.Shirt. We went for a delicious afternoon tea and the boy cooked steak for us for supper. I even received a dragon cake!

My Fright Crate turned up in time for my birthday (the October crate). If you’ve ever had Loot Crate you’ll know it can be hit and miss with what you get. This crate was a hit all round. I got a Trick R Treat Sam T.Shirt….I love it! I got an Evil Dead Ash figurine, love it!!!! A Nightbreed graphic novel!

We’ve finished the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and thoroughly enjoyed it. Michelle Gomez is amazing as always. I love Richard Coyle and Miranda Otto. It was just dark enough to cast the saccharine old Sabrina away.

We also finished The Purge series. I enjoyed the first Purge movie but not so much the sequels/prequels. The series was something we watched when nothing else was on. I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it. You’re always going to have unlikable characters in such a series. But there’s just so many of them! I suppose it’s about morals and how easy it is to be corrupted when the choice is there, consequence free. I think the problem is with the original Purge movie there was a genuine claustrophobia that made you fear the for the characters and feel yourself in their position. I suppose a few episodes from the edge there was a twist I didn’t see coming and I thought that was pretty good but it lost it’s edge very quickly.

I’m currently reading The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz, struggling with this one but I’ll review it once I get to the end.

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Book Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

I read Little Darlings in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. I love dark fairy tales, brought up on a diet of Grimm and W.B Yeats, later moving onto Graham Joyce and Juliet Marillier. The chilling ideas of changelings, stalking and mental health kept me gripped. You ask yourself throughout, what is real and what is in the main characters head.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding is set in Sheffield following the story of new mother, Lauren who has just given birth to twins after a traumatic birth. At first she finds it hard to bond with her twin boys but after a strange and frightening encounter in the maternity ward, which was very real to her but not to anybody around her she falls in love with her boys and wants to protect them with all she has. She is convinced a strange, ragged woman is stalking her and after her children. Everyone around her thinks she’s struggling, possibly suffering from postnatal depression and encourages her to leave the safety of her own home. One day she meets up with friends at a local park and after weeks of not sleeping, sits on a bench and drifts off. When her eyes open, her twins are gone. Not long after they are found and the mystery seems to be solved, except Lauren does not believe these are her children….

I bonded with Lauren from the start. I don’t know if the author has children but I imagine she does from her ability to describe the days after birth, the feelings of a new mother and the struggles of the weeks after when everybody expects you to hold it together. It reminded me very much of when my first son was born and what the maternity ward was like. It’s true that you can tell your child from anybody else’s even though they look alike. When they took my boy away for blood tests, I could follow his cries. I knew his voice. I found the first few weeks hard to manage, constantly in a state of breast feeding, terrified I was getting it wrong in some way. And who would believe you, a new mother, over emotional, over tired, when your children look exactly the same as they always did. It’s a frightening concept.

Loved it and compelled to read it all. Some supernatural, some folklore and real life mystery. This title is due to be released in Spring 2019.  5/5.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for this eArc in exchange for an honest review.

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This week 30/11/2018….

sahbre

Ghost Crumpets

 

Well Halloween and Samhain are over again for another year. We had a small tea party for the children to celebrate and I completed my rituals earlier in the day. I gave myself my first tarot reading in a long time and it was spot on. There was only 4 extra children and 6 adults but it seemed too much for my youngest with autism and the next day he struggled, so we kept him off school.

calebspumpkin

Caleb’s Pumpkin

This week he’s been behaving much better and hasn’t hit anybody so I didn’t want to set him back. The oldest is suffering with anxiety so badly he’d couldn’t face school for the week, Monday morning he was shaking, his eyes were red and me and his dad have agreed his mental health comes become academics. I wish somebody had made that choice for me at his age. So we had a tea party, which was crazy and lovely. Next year though I think it’ll just be us.

Me and the boy watched the original Halloween after the party had finished. It not be the most popular view but I LOVE Rob Zombies Halloweens. I LOVE Rob Zombie full stop. However, I bow down to the John Carpenter greatness for the original Halloween. Except…this might make me unpopular but there are certain parts that I can see why Rob Zombie changed because watching the original for the first time in a long time they seemed faintly ridiculous. First point, Michael Myers driving. The idea that someone that had been in a mental institution since they’d been a child could drive is ridiculous. The sight of Michael Myers cruising down the road made me cry with laughter. Second point, the face when his mask came off…why? It looked wrong the way it was done. It’s something I don’t remember from watching it (multiple) times before. I haven’t seen the new Halloween yet but I know John Carpenter has erased any backstory that has built up over the versions. I liked the backstory Rob Zombie created. I think because I have sympathy for the villain. That makes it more interesting to me. Has anybody watched the new Halloween? Tell me what you think…I would have liked to have gone next week for my birthday but I have no babysitter (sad face).

We’ve been watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. We haven’t binged watched it but watched a few. My husband and I enjoy it, the boy…I can’t tell. I felt quite smug that my husband didn’t know what long pig was and I did (because usually he knows everything!). It’s great to see some awesome British actors in it.

Last night we watched American Horror Story and it was liked meeting old friends, as it was the episode set in the murder house, back to series one. Jessica Lange was back….how I’ve missed her. I was intrigued by her fourth child, a little girl we haven’t seen before. I wonder how Anton LaVey from the Church of Satan feels (from his afterlife) about being referenced! Apparently not very amused from what I read on the Church of Satan’s website as he had turned down such parts before as he didn’t want to encourage people to associate Christianity with their churches beliefs. Aside from this, it was a good nostalgic episode, revealing more about Michael and what happened with the ghosts from the murder house while we’ve been absconding to Roanoke and staying at Hotel Cortez.

I decided this year to try National Novel Writing Month. It hasn’t been going too well so far. I’ve struggled to get past the first sentence, it’s been so long that I’ve written any fiction. I’ve had poems and short stories published before. I know it’s in me but at the minute it’s hiding and I’m already behind with my word count!!!

I’m currently reading, “Little Darlings” by Melanie Golding. I am so looking forward to this one. I adore dark fairy tales and folklore, so far I think this book is going tick my boxes.

So off I go, it’s my 41st birthday this week (eeek). I’ve booked for an autumn afternoon tea for the day. My sister is taking me for lunch the day after.

 

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Book Review: Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge

Sugar Spells is the second in this young adult series featuring Anise Wise, a young witch, who bakes her magic. Anise previously moved to live with her aunt, to help her learn how to control her magic and fulfill her dream of working within a magical bakery. In the first book she had a run in with a warlock. In this second installment, Anise’s magic has been tainted with death magic, the last thing you’d want in your cookies. Anise is banned from baking until she decides to bake her magic out in the form of deadly macaroons. Mix in some chemistry developing between her and her shield, Wynn. She finds she can use the death magic baked goodies to sell to make money to help Wynn out of his contract. Yet nothing is as easy as it seems.

Anise is still a disaster magnet but she is starting to hold her ground now and less the helpless damsel she has started to make her own decisions and fight her own battles. I’m surprised she doesn’t have diabetes the amount of sweet food she consumes!  It was good to learn some more of Wynn’s backstory. I liked the idea that the undead would enjoy death magic baked goods that would kill other people. Anise meets her familiar, who just sounds adorable and sassy…it’ll be interesting to see how this character deals with Agatha’s temperamental familiar.  It is a well written young adult book that would appeal to 12 years old plus, nothing too explicit but with teen appeal. The series is developing nicely and I genuinely would to see how Anise develops as a character. 3.5/5.

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Book Review: The Toy Thief by D.W Gillespie

Thank you for this eArc copy of The Toy Thief by D.W Gillespie and Flame Tree Press in exchange for an honest review.

I am glad that I didn’t read any reviews for this book before trying it myself, because I am quite surprised by the number of people who didn’t like it. I actually loved it.

The book is written from Jacks perspective, telling her story from when she was young and occasionally going back to the present day to the adult she became. She lived with her older brother, Andy and her dad as her mother died in childbirth when giving birth to Jack. They are loved but not your traditional family as her father struggles to provide them with a traditional upbringing as he is on is own and quite probably still grieving. Andy is a quiet but angry young boy, who misses his mother, loves but resents his sister and shows some unsettling qualities. You know from the beginning that Andy ends up in prison but not why. Jack is a tomboy and even though she has so many barriers up and an inner anger that continues into adulthood, I can’t help but like her. Maybe I see some of myself in the character, just little snippets but I do feel some empathy with her. Not all of us find it easy to show emotion appropriately.

Anyway, when Jacks friend leaves her beloved doll at her house, jack witnesses a horrific creature that comes and takes it. Tall, dark, rat like and intelligent , I found the creature both imaginative and unsettling. Maybe because I’m a big kid myself and also being a parent, the idea that something is creeping in the dark hours taking those things that mean the most to you/your child, taking their joy and innocence disturbs me. This isn’t the last she sees of the creature as it then senses two things she holds dear and wants them for itself.

It is a dark fairy tale like coming of age story and I really enjoyed the journey it took me on. There were parts that reminded me of some of my favourite coming of age type horrors. There was plenty to think about after the book was finished and definitely a good October read for me.

4/5 I would read more by this author.

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Weekly Update

It’s half term in the UK and so far we have just done the pumpkin patch trip. My youngest son has autism as I’ve mentioned before and can’t deal with too many outside activities. He’s becoming slightly more social which is good. I am also reach burnout fast with “family” events and activities so we work well together.

I binge watched “Haunted”, a new true life series on Netflix. It has a kind of Paranormal Witness format, which I sometimes like. I say sometimes because they can be terrible. This one was in the middle. It’s format is strange. One person tells their story to a group of friends and relatives in a room, with flashes back to re-creations of the events. The first one felt very awkward. It felt like an intervention. All the friends and family looking at him with these stern unbelieving faces, like they were going to drag him off to a mental institution as soon as filming finished. That was “The Woman in White” episode. I think the most horrific part of the stories is how many of them came from abusive backgrounds. He was genuinely distressed by the story. “The Slaughterhouse” took it to a new level and was difficult to believe as a real life story. They lived with serial killer parents! Yet no one reported these murders. You’ve kept this under wraps for most of your life but will tell Netflix…will there be an investigation now? The ghosts are the least of their worries. The boy wandered off half way through and was laughing at me that I watched the whole series. I wouldn’t recommend this series particularly, except if there’s nothing else on and you want to be amused.

In comparison, I watched a British version on Channel 4 called “True Horror”. I enjoyed this much more. The Hellfire Farm episode was very creepy, as was “Terror in the Woods”…the theme of the tall, dark man seems to appear in both these and a completely unrelated true story book I’ve recently read which I found quite interesting. The middle one I had a hard time believing, “Ghost in the Wall”. Googling it today to refresh myself, I found the site of the mum in the story as a “psychic medium”, I feel this episode promoted her business and the idea of the little girl being trapped in the wall…felt so unbelievable. Such tangible evidence of the supernatural and we only have the families say so.

Last night, the boy insisted we try an episode of Riverdale….what did I watch? Are American teens all like this, full make up and witty one liners? Teenagers here in the UK, draw on their eyebrows and barely string a sentence together. Putting the two together, our teenagers would like a bizarre caricature. What’s with the ginger kids? Is it like a ginger version of “Village of the Damned”? Or some very indiscreet reference to them all being related? Is it worth watching? I was actually horrified that The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a spin off….I was actually looking forward to watching that! Please tell me it’s not going to all spell casting mean girls and jocks and token gay characters (Gay? Let’s be best friends) *dying a little inside. riverdale-sce-is-cheerleading-still-a-thing-is-being-the-gay-27955853

I’m currently reading, “The Toy Thief” by D.W Gillespie, which I am enjoying immensely and hoping it continues being as good all the way to the end. I look forward to writing a review on it. It’s like a dark coming of age fairy tale.

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Pumpkin Patch Photography

 

The last photo is of Thornton Abbey, located in North Lincolnshire it is a surviving example of an Augustinian abbey built in 1140. Thomas de Gretham, the 14th Abbot of Thornton is said to haunt the grounds after being bricked into the walls as a punishment for practicing the black arts.

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Book Review: The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson

The Forgotten Child is a creepy offering as a debut novel by Melissa Erin Jackson. Thank you to NetGalley and Ringtail Press for this eArc in exchange for an honest review.

It was well written story with an essentially a good framework. It was a suitably spooky feel for October.

Riley is a reluctant medium and none of her friendship group know about it. However, they convince to come with them to a haunted weekend at a ranch where Orin, a serial killer worked his grisly trade from. Although Riley meets a love interest there, Michael (who I was hoping would be a serial killer/serial killers son etc but unfortunately wasn’t)..she also comes across the ghost of Pete and Orin himself. Pete was a victim that hadn’t been recovered, possibly one of the first. He follows Riley home and then she knows she has to solve this mystery for both him and herself to get her privacy back. There are many twists and turns along the way. I kind of enjoyed the book but I started to wish it would get to the point quicker. The relationship between Riley and Michael happened all too quickly and was too mushy for me. It added extra bloat to the book which wasn’t needed. This is my problem…I personally don’t like too much in the way of love stories and sexual content, unless it’s done really well and deftly.

I felt at times it could be a YA book and yet some of the content was distinctly adult. It couldn’t make it’s mind up.  The girlishness of the friends annoyed me. It went from a well written creepy chapter concerning the serial killer, Orin to Barbie goes ghost hunting in Chapter two. I was much happier when the friends left the scene. I thought it was strange how Riley goes from virtual recluse to intrepid medium amateur sleuth. This jarred with me.

I think Melissa Erin Jackson will be an author to watch out for once she finds her niche and groove but The Forgotten Child just missed the mark for me so I’m giving it a 3/5. 

 

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Review: The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

I’ve been quiet this week as the mini boy has been having trouble at school, the last day included taking out 3 teachers and 1 TA. This is the struggle with autism, you don’t know what is coming next.

However…digressing….I haven’t been watching many horror movies this week because I’ve been binge watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. It’s a series that I think you need to watch on its own merit and not compare with the book or previous movies. It needs to stand alone.

The premise of the series is a family moves into Hill House with the intention of flipping it, doing it up and selling it on so they can have the funds to buy their forever house. They have five children. There are the twins, Luke and Nell, who are adorable and completely open to the supernatural side to the house. The older siblings, Steve and Shirley, who really don’t experience much and think the twins are crazy. There is also Theo is the middle, she has her own psychic abilities but keeps it locked in. The story switches between the past and the present. We know something terrible happened to their beloved mother in house and that each them as adults are broken in their own way.

Each episode focuses of a different sibling and some of their backstory, until towards the end when it all starts to come together centering on the house. The stories told are as much about a family broken by tragedy and the effects of that on their lives as it is about ghosts and horror. The ghosts often represent their own personal fears and tragedies. It also addresses family relationships and secrets.

The first two episodes I was underwhelmed but I pushed on. I think I was struggling to figure out the characters as to me they looked like (the women that is) and switching between the past and the present was confusing to my ASD brain. However, by the third episode I was officially sucked in. Some episodes were better than others but the strong ones were fantastic. I started to care about most of the characters, Steve was a douche and Shirley was a grumpy bitch but the rest I wanted to see develop. I thought the Luke and Nell episodes were amazing and gut wrenching. Oh my God, Nell and the bent neck lady….arghhhhh! There are just enough plot twists to keep you wanting to watch the next episode.

Horror wise, there are plenty of ghosts within the house to keep horror fiends happy. There is the horrific bent necked lady, the floating man in the bowler hat, the zombie in the basement, the old lady, Poppy the crazy lady, the tall man, and many more.

The boy had to revise (so he tells me) so I watched on without him but I will be watching again to try and spot the hidden ghosts that are apparently spooky Easter eggs throughout.

It was a really strong series with just a few blips so I can’t give it 10/10 but definitely a solid 9/10. The point lost was on the melodramatic ending, which felt rushed considering the slow burn build up and there was so much more to the story that needs to be told. Second season please???

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Movie Review: Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary has been well hyped and I was worried like Veronica it was going to be a disappointment. I went in not knowing anything about it and I think this is important for the movie and I’ll try not to give any spoilers away.

The movie takes places after Annie’s (played by Toni Collette) mother has passed away. She has two child, Charlie and Peter and is married to Steve. She sneaks out to attend a grief counselling session and it transpires she had a very complicated relationship with her mother, who had mental health issues and a brother, who killed himself after also having mental health issues. This lines up the idea of how much of what Annie is experiencing may be mental health issues due to her family circumstances. The movie is a slow burning one but contains excellent story telling. When the shocks happen, they really get you (I ended up spilling something all over the sofa in shock and there was a shout of Oh My God from both me and the boy). The boy says it’s definitely one of the best horrors we have seen this year. It gives me that 70’s horror vibe, folk horror (my favourite!), I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned one of my favourite movies is The Wicker Man (the proper one not the Nicholas Cage mess!). There is so much symbolism and story telling throughout, you certainly could watch it again as nothing is too obvious. Most horror films these days are dumbed down, and this movie takes it back to llowing us to make our minds up. Looking at some of the reviews, it’s like marmite, you love it or hate it. I loved it, even the dodgy CGI moment near the end. The end really ramps up the pace and shocks come thick and fast. Toni Collette acts her heart out. Some moments really crawl into your brain and stay with you. Charlie makes a funny little click sound throughout and I’ve found myself doing it…creepy.

9/10. One of the best horrors I’ve seen for a long while.

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