Fortnight of Fright: Review of The Dead House from Jaime of The Best Books Ever

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Hey monsters! Today we have Jaime bringing you a solid review of a creepy read, The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich! I have to tell you guys that this one was on my TBR for this month and I just don’t think that I am going to fit it into the schedule, which makes me so sad, especially after reading Jaime’s review! Take it away, Jaime!

The Dead House

Dawn Kurtagich

September 15th, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

I LOVE a good horror story, any time of the year, but especially around this time of the year. When it is starting to get cold outside, the leaves are changing and it gets dark earlier. Fantastic background for getting the crap scared out of you. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too scared reading The Dead House. Fortunately, I loved it anyway!

Dawn knows how to write a creepy story, no doubt about it. And the fact that she writes it in the form of diary entries, newspaper articles and police reports is truly impressive. Like I said, I never really got scared, but the creep factor was high. Kaitlyn Johnson is a very unique character. She is definitely the darker half of the Carly/Kaitlyn duo. Her descriptions of living the night are right on target with an angsty, scared and lonely teen girl. She wasn’t the most relatable or likeable character ever, but I loved her anyway. Being in her head was downright disturbing! The other characters in the story take a backseat to Kaitlyn, but they were very well written characters. There wasn’t a character involved in the story that didn’t have a place in it, or didn’t add something to it. Even the most minor ones. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Dionaea House & Other Scary Stories by Lindsey of A Bookish Sinister Kid

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Hello dears! Lindsey is here to chat all about Dionaea house and other creepy places! Lindsey always has the best stuff, she is the one who found me some of the ONLY stories that have ever scared me (thank you, Reddit) and I can always count on her to send me the creepiest and most perfect things that only a select few cool (okay, maybe weird) peeps would enjoy. Also, she is totally traveling to CT to see a LORE show (which she hooked me on) with me this month!! Anywho, take it away, Linz!

You can pretty much find anything on the Internet these days, which means there’s no shortage of creepy stories, websites dedicated to spreading the scariness around!

I religiously go to a livejournal that dishes the best celeb gossip called Oh No They Didn’t. Besides celeb gossip, they cover all sorts of entertainment news as well as current events once in a while. Every now and then there’s a tag that pops up with a post that’s called: “creepy post” usually associated with the horror genre releasing something. One of the reasons I love this livejournal so much is for the comments section! I live for their comment section–I’ve read new books because of them, looked up items mentioned, watched various films, and listened to great new artists because the comment section has a ripple effect.

During a creepy post a few years ago, close to Halloween, someone posted about this website called the Dionaea House. The comments I had been reading mentioned that it was “supposedly” an abandoned film project that created a website to hype up the movie before release. With it being like 1130pm and my parents downstairs I decide, eh, why not–I like being scared, let’s start reading…which was so foolish because OMG I WAS SO FREAKED and panicked to go to sleep. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: A “Must” List for October by Morgan of Gone With the Words

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Hello my dears!! Welcome to the first day of Fortnight of Fright!! Today I am lucky enough to have Morgan from Gone With the Words on the blog and she is chatting all about the awesomeness of Autumn, October, and Halloween!! As you guys know these are my favorite things too, so I can’t wait to hear what Morgan has to say! Take it away, girl!

My October MUST List

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I am definitely a fall kind of girl. As much as I love summer (the beach! my birthday! bonfires and hot dogs!), fall has always been my favorite. I love how cozy it is, the rich colors, the cool weather (in theory. Oy.), and most of all Halloween! I’m not big on gore or being truly scared but I love all the cute/creepy aspects of the holiday. And the candy. Here is my must list for the month of October, in no particular order.
mini pumpkins: one of the first things I look for when October hits! They are so cute and I love putting them around my house and on my desk at work. I incorporated gold pumpkins into my October beach wedding decor too.
mini pumpkins
apple orchards/pumpkin patch: I have yet to find a good orchard close to me which is sad because I want to go apple picking!!! Yeah yeah, basic white girl, whatever. I LOVE APPLES. And it’s soooo fall. Plus fresh apple cider, hot or cold, is basically the best thing ever. Also apple pie. And apple cider donuts. So if you can find an orchard or farm or pumpkin patch near you, you should go!
colored leaves: I grew up in a really leafy, green part of New Jersey which meant that every fall it burst into a riot of beautiful fall colors. Luckily where I live now in California has a surprising amount of fall, which makes me happy! I love watching the trees turn red and gold and orange. I also spend way too much time looking at pictures of leaves and pumpkins and cups of cocoa and sweaters on tumblr. So there’s a way to get your fill whether you live somewhere with seasons or not.
fall tree
fall vines
football and tv: I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday night! And football season in general, I loooove football! This year I’m in a fantasy football league with 11 other bloggers so it’s been even more fun. And if you’re not a sports fan, there’s always new episodes of your favorite tv shows to look forward to! I’m behind on almost everything but back in the day I used to count down to the season premieres of my faves. Especially CW faves. I’ve heard Sleepy Hollow is getting better again so I want to hop back on that train- what could be more perfect for Halloween?!

Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright (4)

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Wow. We are back here for a FOURTH year for Fortnight of Fright and I can hardly believe it!! As many of you know, September – January is my very favorite time of year and Halloween is my one true love! Therefore, it is no question that Fortnight of Fright is something that I love hosting along with Brittany (The Book Addicts Guide) and Amy (Tripping Over Books)!

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (hello, and welcome!) Fortnight of Fright is a time in which we host and share different posts related to fall and Halloween! We work with you guys and some amazing authors to showcase some creepy books, interviews, movies, and SO MUCH MOAR! There is no limit on what you can post about! Do you have a signature Halloween or Autumn cocktail recipe? Pinterest board filled with DIY decorations? A book recommendation for those of us who love to be scared? We want it all!! JOIN US!!

Sign ups will be open from 9/9-9/20 and you will be notified the following week to confirm your post topic, and so on. We are going to ask that all posts get to us the week of 10/12 as we will be hosting you during the event which runs from 10/19-10/31! As always, the more the merrier, so scroll on down to our Google Doc and sign up to help us out!

Also don’t forget about All Hallow’s Read and the giving of books in lieu of candy!

Wondering what we had going on from years past? Check it out:

On the Same Page: Howl’s Moving Castle

Title: Howl’s Moving Castle

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Publishing Information:  April 22nd 2008 by Greenwillow Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Magic, Adventure

Series Information: Book one in the Howl’s Moving Castle Trilogy

Format: Paperback, 429 pages

Source: Borrowed from my public library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a fun and quick read that will bring them back to their childhood.

Related Reviews: Check out Amy’s post and Brittany’s post

Hi friends! Here again for our On the Same Page post! This month we read a classic that we had all neglected to read while growing up! Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those books that I have always regretted not reading, not to mention the fact that people keep telling me that I absolutely needed to see the movie – and we all know that I can’t watch it before reading! So that is just what I did, I set out to read Howl’s Moving Castle and I devoured it in a day! I loved this book so much, it reminded me of growing up reading The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which I think is my go to highest compliment! Okay so let’s get into the comparison…

castle

The first thing that I should tell you is that I am finding that those who watched the movie prior to reading the book enjoy the movie a lot more, and vice versa. Actually, multiple people have told me that they were unable to even finish the book because they were not enjoying it as much as the movie! I read the book first and found that I enjoyed the book so much more than the movie. I don’t really see how I can write this post without ruining some of the plot so, spoilers ahead! Continue reading

The Secret Sister Project (3)

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Okay, the moment you all have been waiting for…#OTSPSecretSister sign-ups for round 3 are here! YAY!

Let’s first get some housekeeping things out of the way…

BEFORE scrolling down to the questions, and BEFORE signing up to be a part of this project please THOROUGHLY read our FAQ and Rules post. Just to cover all of our bases let me reiterate a few things, but please keep in mind that this is just a basic glossing over of these rules, we go more in detail and clarify everything in the main post that we are asking you to reference.

First, please remember that this is a commitment. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND/OR gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” you sign up for. IN ADDITION to this, you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication. Many people asked for their to be an emphasis on the pen pal aspects of this project and we have been working hard to remind everyone that it’s not about the gifts, and this seems like the perfect way to do so. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receive anything themselves!

Last thing, sign-ups run from July 12 – midnight on July 25!

The Rules:

  • You must “know” one of the hosts in order to join!
  • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project
  • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project.
  • If we have to reach out to you more than twice to ask if you why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US.
  • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately.
  • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (Twitter and/or email address) of a “buddy” close to you who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. *Stop stressing out about this. This person will be available to ask you questions from your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Additionally, do not bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!
  • Below, you will be asked to provide a Goodreads (or Amazon) wish list with 20 or more books including newer and older titles that is specific to The Secret Sister Project, start working on this now!
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough. We will absolutely be sending emails back to you that we deem “incomplete.”
  • Keep in mind that this round will have more emphasis on the pen pal aspect. Meaning that if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letter here or there to your sister.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag.

I cannot say this enough times, read and re-read our FAQ and Rules post. If you do not abide by the rules, you will no longer be allowed to participate.

Okay, now we can move on to the fun stuff!

So how do I sign up?

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Beyond Books: 2015 Mid Year Check-In OR “The One With All the Recaps”

Heyyy there friends!

Lots of great things have been happening in my life so I thought that I would check in with you all! I work very hard to keep this blog a hobby that makes me happy and never something that I “must” do, which means when I am out there enjoying life, the blog stays pretty quiet. So with that in mind, I thought it would be fun to catch you all up on what I have been doing/reading/listening to for the first half of the year!

#amlistening

Lore Podcast

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You guys, I can’t say enough great things about this podcast! Knowing my adoration for the macabre, Lindsey nudged me to give it a try and I am so happy that I did! So what is it? Lore is a bi-weekly (sigh, I know) podcast about true life scary stories. Each episode of Lore delves into a scary tale and uncovers the truth behind it! That’s right, we get a nice supernatural history lesson with each podcast! I was so enthralled by Lore that I actually went back and re-listened to some episodes! Now, I know most of you are thinking that this must be terrifying in order to hold my macabre interest! But you know what, it really isn’t! Some of the stories managed to get near my incredibly high threshold, but I played some episodes for my (incredibly sensitive and ahem..scaredy cat) boyfriend and he enjoyed them as well. So what I am trying to tell you is that this podcast is great for all types of listeners, those of you who love the macabre, and those of you who are in the mood for the kind of story you should listen to on a chilly October evening. Also check out Lore’s Twitter because Aaron is very fun and seems to really appreciate his fans. Also, we (ahem, I) am trying to come up with a name for our fandom…Loreates? Loreites? What say you fellow fandom dwellers?

For fans of: all things supernatural, the x-files, Welcome to Nightvale, Rick Yancy, Neil Gaiman, Mythology, folktales, chilly autum evenings…

#amwatching

Penny dreadful

Penny Dreadful is still going strong, if you like gothic literature then head over and binge this show because it is gloriously macabre and wonderful. Gotham started off slow but then I fell fast and hard for it. Batman villains, I was already in love before it even started. Outlander, though I am only half way through the season, I binged that entire half and can’t wait to devour more! The book wasn’t my favorite, but the show is stellar. All things Avengers are also my (and everyone’s) current obsession. Ant Man comes out next week and I can’t wait. Continue reading

The Secret Sister Project: FAQs and Rules

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Hey there, friends! We have been absolutely blown away by the generosity and positivity shown during round two of our Secret Sister Project! Thank you all so much for your kind words to those of us who host, and for being there to provide cheer for one another. It is really something to go through the hashtag and see you all lifting each other up despite only being matched to one “sister.” Your generosity shines through and it is heartwarming to be part of a group filled with strong, uplifting women!

Most of you can imagine how much work goes into a project like this. The three of us are expected to always be available to answer questions, keep on top of people who are not abiding by the standards we set, promote the project and so on. It’s tough and frustrating at times, and we are doing everything we can to make it easier on everyone for next round. That being said, this post is going to be LONG and DETAILED and should provide you with all of the information that you need if you want to sign up for the next round.

We ask that you read this post thoroughly, and refer back to it PRIOR to reaching out to us with questions during the project. In addition, keep in mind that the hashtag #otspsecretsister is ALWAYS a fantastic resource for information needed, odds are that someone participating knows the answer to your inquiry!

The Basics:

The What:

The Secret Sister project is essentially a cheer club. Think Secret Santa but all year round (in 6 month intervals) with less emphasis on big presents, and more thoughtful notes, cards, small somethings sent just to let your secret sister know that you are thinking about her!

The When:

  • Sign-ups will run January 13 – January 27
  • You will be paired up with your secret sister by January 29
  • This session will run from February 1 – July 31 (this means that your last something will be sent in July)

The Who:

You guys! But there are some conditions that must be met prior to signing up, we are going to outline those below under “The Rules.” Continue reading

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Amy from Tripping Over Books

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Hi friends! Today is our last day of Bard on the Blogs which means I am going to remind you one last time to go forth and enter a Rafflecopter giveaway because we want to give you a Shakespeare retelling, my friends!! Also don’t forget to head over to Alexa’s blog to see what amazing posts she has to offer!!! My very dear friend Amy from Tripping Over Books is gracing us with her lovely presence today and she even made a MAP! WE LOVE MAPS OVER HERE, FOLKS!! Take it away, Ame!

First of all, I want to thank Alyssa and Alexa for hosting this wonderful event! I’ve always enjoyed Shakespeare, so it’s fun to be able to talk about him and his work in all kinds of new and fun ways.

Second of all, I had a great time making my World of Shakespeare map! Even knowing his works in limited detail like I do, it’s clear that very few of Shakespeare’s plays take place in his own country, especially in his own time. This map isn’t about chronology, though. Just straightforward geography. It doesn’t include any of his histories, either.
A few notes: If a play takes place in more than one country, I only used one on my map. That’s simply logistical; I didn’t have enough room. This map is also of Western Europe, but some of Shakespeare’s plays don’t take place there. So, alas, some locations and works are only mere notes on the side. There are also a few plays that don’t have any specific location within a country, so I just made one note for those as well. For places–basically Italy–that had SO MANY PLAYS, I put pushpins in the actual locations, but grouped the notes into bigger groups. You’ll see.
So, without further ado, A MAP!

World of Shakespeare

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post – Review: The Merry Wives of Windsor by Erika of Rickus Bookshelf

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Today we have a great post by Erika from Rickus Bookshelf! Erika has reviewed one of the lesser known plays by William Shakespeare. The Merry Wives of Windsor! Don’t forget to head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Picture from http://publishingperspectives.com/2012/09/will-the-real-john-falstaff-please-stand-up/

When speaking of Shakespeare, one mostly thinks of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet. But in all honesty, Shakespeare is so much more.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is one of Shakespeare’s comedies and one of the underrated ones. It also happens to be my favourite. It is believed to have been written in the late 1500s or the early 1600s, apparently this cannot be completely certified. It isn’t really important for this review anyway.

The play is built like a farce. It relies heavily on physical gags and several linguistic jokes (although this is not uncommon with Shakespeare), which gives life to the comical theme of the play. It is probably the play of Shakespeare’s that is the most fun to watch due to the way it is staged. The intrigue in Merry Wives is never too dramatic as it is in some of his other comedies, instead the tone is jovial throughout and never deviates from this joviality. The characters are of course what makes the play, and the mix of personalities only enhance the comical air of the play.

Characters (There are many more than those below, but these are the important ones)

Mistresses Ford and Page are the wives of Windsor. They are both married, Ford to a jealous man and Page to a very trusting man. They both receive a letter from Falstaff, wherein he tries to seduce them. Both are very affronted by this and swears revenge. Not in an evil vindictive way, but in a manner that will teach him a lesson (well, possibly also ruin him). Mistress Page is also battling her husband over who their daughter should marry: both of them supporting different suitors.

Falstaff is a knight and a character that can be found in several of Shakespeare’s plays. He believes himself to be God’s gift to women and tries to seduce most of them. He tries to seduce Mistresses Ford and Page in order to get his hands on their husbands’ cash.

MWoW2

Picture from http://londonist.com/2010/08/theatre_review_merry_wives_of_winds.php

Master Ford is the extremely jealous husband of Mistress Ford. He believes that his wife cannot be trusted, and creates his own plot to catch her in the act of cheating. He creates a persona, Master Brooke and intends to get Falstaff to aid him in catching his wife cheating. However, he finds that his wife has already sent a letter to Falstaff, asking him to come to her house.

The main plot is centred around the wives clever plotting, Falstaff hubris and Ford’s jealousy. However, there is also a subplot, which focuses on the  fair Anne Page (Master Page and Mistress Page’s daughter) and who she will choose to marry. Both her parents wants her to marry different men, neither in which Anne is interested. She has her eye set on a third suitor.

An honourable mention goes out to Mistress Quickly. She is a servant to the town’s French doctor and acts as everyone’s messenger. She creates her own little plots and is the one who actually listens to Anne and helps her get the man she want’s. Mistress Quickly has a knack for misunderstanding and mishearing conversations, hearing sexual innuendos where there are none (well, it’s Shakespeare. There are always sexual innuendos).

So, why should you read/watch this amazing play? Because it is one of the few of Shakespeare’s plays that will not upset anyone (apart from maybe the French or the Welsh). “What?” I hear you say. What I mean by that is that the women are strong without being mean or cruel, the men who are flawed (like jealous Master Ford) are redeemed at the end of the play and see the error of their way. Love and reason conquer all. Exactly what you want from a comedy. The only “mean” jokes are made when speaking of the French doctor or the Welsh clergyman.

The female characters in this play are just fabulous. They are strong-willed, yet loving. They get to be clever and demand revenge for a slight on their person, without being labelled cruel or demonic. Female friendship is also celebrated and the friendship between the two women is an equal one, wherein they both support and help each other. The male characters (well, mostly Ford) are redeemed and learn the importance of trust and love. Falstaff is publically shamed for his behaviour at the end of the play, and shown that one should not mess with another man’s wife. The Page’s realises that they should have listened to their daughter and respected her wishes. Everybody gets a happy ending. Like any good comedy that is.

The final question is: should you read it or watch it? As we all know, Shakespeare can be quite tricky to read due to the language. This is one of those plays that you kind of need to watch to fully appreciate it. Since a lot of it is dependent on physical gags, reading it fails to bring out all the finer points of the play. It can actually get boring when you read it, but this is never the case when watching it. I totally recommend you to get a hold of Shakespeare’s Globes official DVD recording of the play, it is brilliant.