Finding Fright in Books: Interview with Rebecca James

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Happy Halloween everyone! How has everyone been? Since I am in Australia, I thought it would be nice to introduce the rest of the world to an Aussie YA thriller author who I've heard numerous of great things about. Welcome Rebecca James, author is Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage!
 


 

Hey Rebecca! It's so exciting to have an Aussie author on Finding Fright in Books. Welcome!


Thanks very much for having me, Melanie!

You have written two books so far, Beautiful Malice--who was a female protagonist and Sweet Damage--which was narrated by a male voice. Which one was easier to write in and why?


I found Sweet Damage much harder to write. It was partly the male perspective (I had to work hard to keep my middle-aged woman's voice out of it) and partly the pressure of having a publishing deal. Initially I tried to write the book far too quickly which didn't help. In the end I just had to take a deep breath and calm down!

Are the names of the characters in your novels important to you? Or were they just randomly chosen?


I think I just choose names that I like. They're mainly all pretty classic, old-fashioned names--Katherine, Time, Anna--nothing too out there. But who knows, one day I might call a character Banana or Apricot just for laughs!

The first time I heard about your books, I found the titles eye-catching. How did you come up with such titles? After all, how can malice be beautiful and damage be sweet?


I'm glad you like my titles - thank you. And if they stand out and grab your attention then that’s fantastic because that’s exactly what they’re supposed to do. Naming a book is a collaboration between the author and publisher, though the publisher usually has final say. Most often the title an author is using while writing the book is not the title that will be printed on the front cover. Things like author branding and name recognition (and other mysterious marketing type considerations) have to be taken into account and authors aren’t often very good at such things...

Us Aussies don’t celebrate Halloween much, but I have had children come to our door Trick or Treating—do you celebrate Halloween?


I don’t really but my kids are often invited to go trick or treating with friends. Last year they came home with a hideously huge bag of lollies so obviously there are a few people out there who stock up for Halloween.

How did you come up with the idea for Sweet Damage? What was your inspiration?

I was thinking of anxiety and how, for some people, it can develop into agoraphobia and become very debilitating. I imagined a girl trapped in a large house. Trapped, not by any physical means, but by her own mind. That’s how I came up with Anna and her beautiful rambling old house, Fairview.

Are you planning any more novels in the near future that you can tell us about?

I'm working on another book now. It revisits some of the big themes I explored in Sweet Damage and Beautiful Malice: friendship, love, murder, grief, betrayal -- all the juicy melodrama that I so love writing about.

The female characters in both Sweet Damage and Beautiful Malice seem awfully mysterious. We have Anna who is hostile and unfriendly and Alice, from what I gather from the synopsis is really dark and has a few secrets. Was it intentional to create mysterious female characters?

I guess so. I definitely wanted Anna from Sweet Damage to be mysterious. A great deal of the suspense hinges on not knowing what she is really like, or what is really going on in her mind. In Beautiful Malice, Alice is less mysterious than blatantly toxic, I guess. But, having said that, her motives remain a mystery until the end... I guess the point is that I’m interested in writing about all sorts of complex, interesting and three-dimensional females. Sometimes this means my female character will be a villain, sometimes she will be a heroine, sometimes she will be a contradictory mix of both...

Do you have any recommendations of some Aussie YA horror or thriller?

Some recent Australian releases that have me intrigued include The Last Girl by Michael Adams and Pretty Girl by JC Burke. They both seem to fit the bill if you’re into scary, thrilling reads. I haven’t read either of them yet but they’re both sitting on my bedside table waiting for me. They will be my treat when I finish my third book. I can’t wait.

Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca! You can also find Sarah on her website, her blog, and on twitter!

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Coming Attractions: White Space by Ilsa J. Bick

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Coming Attractions is inspired by The Perpetual Page Turner's Save The Date. Coming Attractions showcases a book that is not released for a while that I've read, and gives you a sneak peek (like a pre-review, if you will) as to what I thought about the book, since I can't post the review until closer to the release date.

White Space
Ilsa J. Bick
Series: Dark Passages, #1
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Egmont USA
Rating: 3.5 stars
Word Rating: Crazy crazy crazy
Full review to come: February
Reviewed by: Mel

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Ilsa Bick’s WHITE SPACE, pitched as The Matrix meets Inkheart, about a seventeen-year-old girl who jumps between the lines of books and into the white space where realities are created and destroyed – but who may herself be nothing more than a character written into being from an alternative universe, to Greg Ferguson at Egmont, in a two-book deal, by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (NA).


I feel like I should point out that this book will have many many mixed ratings. I for one, have already seen a bucketload of DNFs and another handful of people who gave this 4-5 stars. White Space, is one of those books that start off really crappy and end so amazing you just need to sit down and stare into oblivion for a while.

What didn't work for me:


THE CHANGING OF POVS: We start off with Lizzie, a girl who has some really odd parents. Her family moved into the middle of nowhere after the incident in London. Basically, Lizzie's father can reach into a mirror and pull out characters and put them into his novels. After these really odd few chapters in Lizzie's POV, we change into Emma's. Emma has been having 'blinks' where her world fades out and she can see through the eye's of someone else, a someone like Lizzie. After a back and forth change between these two character's POV, it was pretty good. The entire book was written in third person which made the changing manageable. That's until we start gettting random POVs of characters, they're so random, we even had new POVs coming in at 50% in of the book. Not only were there more POVs than the number of fingers on my hand, but also they were short. Once I was actually getting into the story, the POV would switch and I would get completely agitated and detatched from the novel once more.

THE PACING: Another factor that contributed into why I was not a fan of this book was the pace of this novel. I see that people are going to DNF this novel, not only because of the changing and number of points of views however also because the pace is painful. It is not to say that I was bored out of my brains but I needed answers. I was so damn confused for majority of the novel it made me want to rip all the hairs out of my head. However, some people are going to love the feel of a heavy blanked draped over their heads. To be honest, I enjoyed the feeling too but after some time, I started to wonder what the point of this book was. Nevertheless, the end redeemed this book. In a way.

What did work for me:


BASICALLY EVERYTHING ELSE: The world Ilsa J. Bick creates is truly crazy madness. It's a lot to stomach however as the story goes on and changes--you get used to it. I love the concept and the way it was executed was close to perfection. Maybe a few more answers to entertain the readers, though. White Space is obviously a plot orientated book despite the quantity of points of views. Surprisingly, White Space is a thought-provoking read. You start to ponder the given facts of life more and more, the further we go into the book. Such as; what is reality? Are we actually characters from a book? What would it feel like to be a character from a book anyway?

This one is going to be loved and hated.





 


Full review to come on the blog in February.

Finding Fright in Books: Melissa Walker's Perfect Halloween

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Hi, everyone! Today on the blog we have Melissa Walker, author of the upcoming Ashes to Ashes, who is sharing both her perfect Halloween, and the perfect Halloween for her main character's best friend in Ashes to Ashes! Check out Melissa's video response to the topic below, and make sure to tell us what your perfect Halloween is! 

 


video

Thanks for stopping by, Melissa! You can also find Melissa on her website, her blog, and on twitter!


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Some Horror (or just Halloween-ish) Movies I Recommend

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It's the end of October, aka one of my favorite times of the year. And that's not just because Halloween is in FIVE DAYS, but for the past week, there have been horror movie marathons on practically every channel imaginable. This time of the year is absolutely perfect for burrowing yourself in a little blanket, turning off the lights, and streaming one of your favorite Halloween movies; so, to celebrate, I'll be sharing some of my favorite horror/Halloween movies with you all (and in some cases, not my favorites, but ones I recommend), and I hope you find something to spend your October nights with! (Though I may proceed with caution, because some of the pictures included may be seen as spoilers, depending on how you define spoilers.)

 

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - This horror entire franchise is one of, if not my absolute favorite. The originals are all kinds of gruesome horror, and Freddy Krueger is the wittiest villain ever, and truly original and awesome deaths. To think that there are people who still haven't seen this classic upsets me, so if you're one of those people, remedy that immediately, this Halloween! 
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) - This is, without a doubt, my favorite horror movie remake ever. Maybe even my favorite remake, period (although I think I am in a vast minority for this). I don't know what it is about this, but it just really...captures the essence of the original, which is really all you can ask for in a remake, no? (And I'm going to say that I think the remake is much creepier than the original. And more suspenseful.) 
*screeching noise*

 

  • The Cabin in the Woods - This is horror for people who don't like horror, and I mean that in the best way possible. For starters, this is directed by Joss Whedon. That should be enough to have this ready to stream on your computer. But, if that doesn't mean much to you, you should know that The Cabin in the Woods is awesome, witty, and is just an all around fun movie to watch, Halloween or not. But it's especially perfect for Halloween. And there's a unicorn in it, so...
It's just so majestic...
  • Insidious - This is also one of my favorite Halloween movies. Sure, it has its flaws, but it's really fun, really creepy, and has an awesome plot. Recommended in particular to those who are scared most by jump scares, because this movie has MANY. It's, like, 80% jump scare. And then, like, 20% screeching violin. 100% awesome. 
Insidious and its creepiness.

 
  • Hocus Pocus - This is just a must for every single person on the planet come October. If you've never seen Hocus Pocus, I don't believe you. But if you're telling the truth, I feel bad for you. And you need to watch this movie. Immediately. Like, right now. You know what, even if you have seen Hocus Pocus before, you should still watch it right now. Never pass up an opportunity to watch Hocus Pocus. 



  • Devil - This seems to be a hit or miss with most people, but for me, it's most certainly a hit. I don't know if I'd consider Devil a horror favorite, but it is definitely a movie I find myself continually recommending to those looking for a quick, suspenseful, and creepy way to spend an October night. And the climax is fantastic. But, it is an M. Night Shyamalan movie so just...keep that in mind? 
  

  • Sinister - This movie is HORRIFYING. Simple as that. It's just horrifying. I saw it opening night, and it's still lingered with me. THAT LAWNMOWER SCENE? Yeah, no. No no no no no. Highly, highly recommended for Halloween.
  • Paranormal Activity 3 - Although this franchise has essentially turned to shit, it's still my ultimate guilt pleasure. And I put Paranormal Activity 3 on here as opposed to 1, or 2 (not 4, because 4 is shit and that's that) because, for starters, it's my favorite of the franchise, and it's also first in the franchise chronologically. But you can still definitely watch the franchise in order (you know, like 1, 2, 3, and not 4 because again, 4 is shit). But this is definitely the one I would recommend most. That blanket scene still gives me chills. 
I CAN'T.

  

  • Funny Games (2007) - THIS. IS NOT. FOR. THE FAINT OF HEART. I repeat, NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. Never, never for the faint of heart. Ever. What you need to know about this movie is that it is highly disturbing (one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen) and horrifyingly appalling. And that it's not for the faint of heart. But you already knew that. And I promise you will never forget this movie. (You'll find out why.) 
  • The Shining - Um, obviously. If you haven't seen this yet, I'm disappointed in you. But let's be honest, who hasn't seen The Shining? Perfect movie for Halloween. Or winter. Definitely winter, too. In a hotel. With your family. It's also really fun to start laughing maniacally and smiling creepily at your husband in said hotel during winter. I know this from experience. 
Forever and everrrrrrr.

There are a lot more awesome horror/Halloween movies I would recommend, but since these are the ones that came to my mind first, I think they deserve a spot on the list most. (There's also The Exorcist and Halloween, but of course those are self explanatory. As is A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Shining, but those were movies I just had to include. And then there's Halloweentown, which is just a given for Halloween movies you must watch if you want to feel good and nostalgic.)

What are some of your favorite horror/Halloween movies? Are you planning on watching any of the above this Halloween? If not, let me know what you are planning on watching! 

Finding Fright in Books: Interview with Sarah Alderson

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Hey bibliophiles! It's Mel here! Today, I am with an interview with Sarah Alderson. She is the author of many novels, including the Lila series, Fated series and most recently, The Sound (which is out in the US in May next year). They are all Halloween-time worthy reads, so while it's October, go and grab a copy of one of these thriller-y romance-y novels! We also have an international giveaway at the end of this post.



 

Hi Sarah! Welcome to the blog! Your latest novel, The Sound is rather different to your previous books which are all paranormal. What helped/made you decide to write a YA contemporary thriller?


The publisher told me to. That’s the short story. I love writing paranormal and dystopia but they felt that that was on a down cycle. Whatever I write though all my books are thrillers to some extent. I love writing action and I love writing romance. I don’t really mind what genre that’s in. A story is a story.

Who would be your favourite character in The Sound? Describe them, Twitter style! (140 characters or less)


Jesse: Plays guitar, gives books as gifts, brooding, smart, great with his hands, loyal, protective, self-less, sexy as hell and a phenomenal kisser.

Ren: English nanny, music blogger, wannabe journalist, feminist, asthmatic, book-lover, in the sights of a serial killer.

Which character, out of all the books you’ve ever written shares similar traits/personalities to you? 


I think all my characters have some elements of me within them, obviously, seeing how they came from my head. I’m probably most like Lila though, or I was when I was younger; a little impulsive, led by my emotions, loyal to a fault, a little too obsessed when it comes to love. I also share a sense of humour with her. That dry British humour is something I miss very much living abroad and it’s one of the main reasons I like to make my main characters at least part-British.

You’ve written quite a number of novels; does it get easier each time? Any writing habits?


Writing definitely gets easier with practice, like most things. I don’t have any habits other than I sit down and write every single day and treat it like a job. I write my books within a month to three months and that takes hard work and dedication. You show up. You put words on the page, you live the story until that final page. I’m lucky that my job is also my passion so showing up isn’t hard to do.

It’s Halloween! Tell us about your scariest experience!


I won’t go into details but it involves possession (or what some people call entity attachment). Up until then I hadn’t believed fully but after this experience my mind was much more open. I live in Bali. Black magic and spirits are very much an accepted part of the culture and if you come here not believing then within a few years you’ll most likely change your mind. I’ve seen stuff and heard stuff that would definitely give you goosebumps.

This or that:


Reading or writing?

Oh both, I don’t think you can be a good writer if you don’t read.

Paranormal fantasy or contemporary thriller?

Totally depends on the writer.

Coffee or tea?

COFFEE!

Thanks for stopping by, Sarah! You can also find Sarah on her website, her blog, and on twitter!

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Discussion Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Sheperd

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COMMENTS

Her Dark Curiosity
Megan Sheperd
Series: Madman's Daughter, #2
Released: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Ratings: 2 and 2.5 stars
Fright Scale: 2.5 out of 10
Reviewed by: Blythe and Mel

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To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.


The Beginner's Guide To Horror (sorted by scariness/gore)

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Hey guys! Today's post is basically a Halloween book guide we've put together with some help from your nominations for Who Is The Fairest of Them All? We'd like to give thanks to everyone who sent us their nominations, as well as those who helped us on Twitter to provide a more valid reading analyzation. We changed up what we were actually going to do, which was a poll. Instead, like I mentioned above, this post includes your nominations of Halloween books, as well as books we've gather on our own, placed into categories. Those categories are: mild, intermediate and ultimate in levels of horror/scariness, respectively (based on our opinions, and our readers'). Also, huge thanks to all the lovely ladies that helped us with this Horror guide; we didn't read all these books, so this post couldn't have been finished (easily) without you all.


MILD HORROR

  • Insomnia by J.R. Johansson - I can barely remember this one; there wasn't anything too remarkable. The main character was a crazy stalker (even though we know why he does stalk). The premise is basically about a guy who hasn't slept for fours years: an insomniac. Everything was just pretty illogical and the creep factor was non-existent basically due to the poor writing and annoying characters. This was a DNF for me, so I took a look at other people's reviews and on average, see nothing creepy-scary being noted. Moreover, the culprit was not much of surprise and what was meant to be a psychological thriller felt more like a book about a stalker that never sleeps. Some enjoyed this, but for me, several things made it unenjoyable and rather dull. 
    • Fright Scale: 1 out of 10.
    • Recommended for: readers who aren't well-versed in horror and get scared very easily. There wasn't anything too suspenseful here. If you're home alone an October night and scare easily, this may just be the perfect read for you. Key word: may. 
  • Extremities: Stories of Death, Murder, and Revenge by David Lubar - Extremities is a pretty dark anthology; I'm not denying this book of that. But, with that having been said, I didn't find it to be particularly scary, or even creepy, for that matter. As well as that, I thought there were only a few interesting stories. However, this one may be a good kickstart to your Halloween reading. Maybe you can start off with something mild and gradually move onto scarier things? 
    • Fright Scale: 2 out of 10
    • Recommended for: those who want a very quick read, with short stories that, while not particularly creepy, contain a dark-enough subject matter to be at least somewhat suitable for an October night in.
  • The Murmurings by Carly Anne West - It may be worth noting that I initially put this one under intermediate, but after some thinking, moved it down to mild, because honestly, this is just about as mild as horror gets. Don't let that creepy cover or synopsis fool you--The Murmurings is, for the first half, a contemporary novel with psychological undertones, and for the second half, a tame paranormal/supernatural with some admittedly interesting lore and scenes. 
    • Fright Scale: 3 out of 10.
    • Recommended for: readers looking for something that will not excessively scare them, but that will likely send them a few good chills every now and then. 

  • The End Games by T. Michael Martin - I wouldn't say that as a whole this one is creepy, but the Bellows (aptly named, since they bellow back everything you say creepily in a sloooooow waaaaaaaay liiiiiike thiiiiiiis) are pretty chilling creatures, and are as a whole really cool. 
    • Fright Scale: 4 out of 10
    • Recommended for: do you like creepy zombies with an original twist? Then odds are you'll like The End Games, so long as you go in with the mindset that the zombies will likely be the only things to even remotely creep you out. But this one is a fun post-apoc read to picture yourself in, if you really want to add a scare-factor to make this an even better Halloween read.
  • Asylum by Madeleine Roux - I cannot stress enough on how much potential this book had to be a downright scary novel. Unfortunately, the writing wasn't effective enough and I actually fell asleep reading this in the middle of the day. The mystery was interesting enough to actually enable me to finish it but it wasn't awfully thriller-esque. 
    • Fright Scale: 2 out of 10
    • Recommended for: I honestly don't think I can recommend this highly to any type of horror reader. But, there is little creepiness in this one, so maybe for those readers who scare very easily, this could be a last resort.
  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard - I love this book. I do. It's such fun, and the main characters are fun and sassy and just awesome. BUT, if you're looking for something with mild scares, Something Strange and Deadly is for you. 
    • Fright Scale: 2.5 out of 10
    • Recommended for: readers who want a zombie novel unlike The End Games (see above), where the focus is more on characters and romance than on flat-out creepiness. 


  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - This wasn't necessarily creepy the entire time, but there were quite a few times where I was utterly creeped out. And Kendare Blake's descriptiveness is just downright chilling. Nevertheless, a fantastic read and a great male lead character. 
    • Fright Scale: 5 out of 10 (upper mild)
    • Recommended for: readers who want a nice balance of fun and sassy characters, and some genuinely creepy moments and wonderfully described gore.
  • Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake - The sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, with more gruesomeness, especially near the end. 
    • Fright Scale: 5 out of 10 (upper mild)
    • Recommended for: fans of Anna Dressed in Blood (obviously), and those who like descriptive and gruesome writing over outright horror.
  • Unbreakable by Kami Garcia - Unlike the romance-dominant Beautiful Creatures, which Kami Garcia co-wrote, Unbreakable deals with ghosts and paranormal elements. I began reading this at 1 in the morning (don't worry, I don't always sleep that late) and felt rather spooked within a few pages. 
    • Fright Scale: 5 out of 10 (upper mild)
    • Recommended for: readers who love when their books get right to it, with suspense starting from the beginning with fun and creepy paranormal elements and great action.


INTERMEDIATE HORROR 

  • Velveteen by Daniel Marks - Since neither of us have read Velveteen, we've got some help from our bloggy friend, Christina at Reader of Fictions, who was a fan of this creepy read that has some very original (and nasty) ways of torture. (Just so you know, the guy likes to slowly torture his victims (teenage girls) by abrading them with a nutmeg grater. Then he starts cutting them. All the while keeping them hostage for a week with no food, almost no water, and no bathroom breaks. At all. Yeah.)
    • Fright Scale: 7 out of 10
    • Recommended for: horror readers who appreciate/enjoy laughing while gross/horror stuff is happening. For example, those who enjoy stuff like Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods, though not quite so scary.
  • Ten by Gretchen McNeil - Whenever I get the opportunity, I recommend this book to people. Why, you ask? For starters, it's just the right amount of creepy and awesome. Gretchen McNeil has NAILED the ominous atmosphere of a secluded island with ten teens and one killer, and when I say nailed, I mean nailed. The uncertainty, the storm...everything. Nailed. Not to mention, the reveal of the killer surprised even me. And that's saying something. 
    • Fright Scale: 6.5 out of 10.
    • Recommended for: readers who want a very atmospheric and creepy whodunnit that will surely place you amongst one of the ten characters on Henry Island. 
  • In the After by Demitria Lunetta - Once the dystopian society in In the After is introduced, the creepiness kind of takes a break, but the first quarter or so is so suspenseful, Demitria Lunetta's use of silence in the world is freaking eerie as all hell.
    • Fright Scale: 5.5 out of 10
    • Recommended for: although I personally think the real suspense and horror in this is prominent in the first quarter, I would recommend this to those who like a more subtle take on post-apoc that will have you panicking, because you know you would totally die if placed in the MC's situation. I just wouldn't read this going in with the intention of being scared.


  • Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff - This one gives off all the creepy vibes. We have a girl who can talk to ghosts (her dead best friend), as well as a murder mystery going on. Paper Valentine is a tense read, and it's one that will probably make you feel rather withdrawn/sad at the end. Also, Paper Valentine touches upon topics such as abuse and illnesses, which, while not horror, may not be for the faint hearted.
    • Fright Scale: 5.5 out of 10
    • Recommended for: readers who like their ghosts creepy, but still have a strong contemporary feel to it. With that having been said, the mood also passes on to the reader in a way, and you'll probably feel a little withdrawn and spooked and the end.
  • Parasite by Mira Grant - It's rather rare for me to read adult novels, but I surprisingly enjoyed this one. YA readers looking for some good old horror should definitely give this one a go; we have tapeworms in bodies, sleepwalkers that kill, and a top secret that could potentially be harming every living being on earth. All the yummy horror and gruesomeness is right here. It's also a dystopian horror, which is rather new, I think.
    • Fright Scale: 6 out of 10
    • Recommended for: any reader from YA, NA and Adult--even though this has been labelled as adult. There are people who kill in their sleep and tapeworms seeming to have minds of their own. Dystopian and horror readers will love this.

ULTIMATE HORROR


  • Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn - Whether it's gore that gets you most in regards to horror, or genuinely chilling scenes that will freak you out continuously, trust me when I say that Another Little Piece has it all. With each speck of absolute horror in Another Little Piece, there is a thin layer of unyielding beauty to confuse that shocked and terrified look on your face even further.
    • Fright Scale: 8 out of 10
    • Recommended for: any reader who is not faint of heart, can stomach gore, and loves being truly horrified. Because trust me, there's a lot to shock and horrify readers with in Another Little Piece, and it makes for a perfect Halloween read.
  • 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad - This may be a bit biased, considering the mere thought of space in and of itself makes me squirm in my seat (I hate space), but 172 Hours on the Moon is pretty damn frightening. It also requires a good deal of patience. If you're reading this one because you want to be scared, my recommendation would be to read the first half during the day, and save the second half for night. The second half is horrifying, creepy, viscerally written, and will likely scare the crap out of you. Honestly, at a few points in the novel I had to put the book down for a few minutes and turn on the light; I was so scared and unnerved.
    • Fright Scale: 8.5 out of 10
    • Recommended for: readers who like their horror stories with bearings to reality, readers who are open to conspiracy theories, and those who like being kept in the dark about the big baddie, à la The Blair Witch Project. In order to be truly scared by this one, go into it with the second half waiting for you at night, suspension of disbelief and all, and prepare to be scared. 
  • Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough - I plan on reading this one soon, but since I haven't yet, I've got some help from the awesome Erin Bowman, author of Taken, who has read Long Lankin
      • "This is a very slow, atmospheric read. This won’t be for everyone, but horror fans, and those willing to immerse themselves in a slower read, should pick this up. The last hundred pages pack quite the punch."
    • Fright Scale: 8 out of 10
    • Recommended for: readers who aren't afraid of things that go bump in the night and prefer eerie, atmospheric tales that steadily build (as opposed to blood-soaked action). This novel is more hair-raising than gory, but it's fable-like quality makes it that much more disturbing. Fans of ghost stories and demonic haunting will enjoy!

  • The Diviners by Libbra Bray - This one is so much fun, but DAMN it's a creepy, creepy, creepy read. "Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells 'em off for a coupla stones." If you enjoy being scared, save this one for a night where you're home alone and in the mood to be creeped out heavily. I promise you, this won't fail.
    • Fright Scale: 7.5 out of 10
    • Recommended for: simply put, if you looking for a sure-fire way to get creeped out, then we recommend The Diviners to you. Because this serial killer, Naughty John? The epitome of creepy. EPITOME. But on the other hand, it's still such a fun read, and the characters are witty and fabulous, so there's a nice balance of quirkiness and horror.
  • The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman - Another one that neither Mel nor myself have read (yet, as we plan to soon), so we've got our awesome friend Jessie at Ageless Pages Reviews to give us her thoughts on The Waking Dark!
      • "The Waking Dark has its moments of pure horror (that beginning is memorable to say the least), but the creepily yet weirdly possible scenario shown plays out with a quietly insidious atmosphere. The novel, about the descent of a small town from a normal place to a hell on earth, is a smart and scary read. Wasserman sells her story with enveloping suspense and desperate characters. There are surprising moments, but for the most part, The Waking Dark is more a quietly but sinister story than an outright horrifying novel."
    • Fright Scale: 7 out of 10
    • Recommended for: fans of intense but not too gory psychological horror.
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick - We have not yet read this but we got some help from Wendy at The Midnight Garden.
      • "If you're the type of reader who prefers goth over gore, mood over mayhem, or disquiet over digust, this is exactly the kind of horror story that will appeal to you--one that is odd and beautifully strange, and one written with passion, but also with great restraint. Unapologetically bold, horrifying, and desperately doomed, Midwinterblood is not a book any reader could easily forget." [From Wendy's review of Midwinterblood.]
    • Fright Scale: 7 out of 10
    • Recommended for: as long as you are the sort of reader I refer to in that quote above. It's really a dark, poetic horror story, but not the sort of jump-out-of-your-skin horror type like Anna Dressed in Blood.

It's giveaway time!


This giveaway will have two winners. What these two winners will win are three of the above books, of their choice, from each of the categories of horror. That means, one winner will choose a book from mild horror, intermediate horror, and ultimate horror. However, if you win and none of the books in one particular category interests you, you may choose, say, two books in intermediate, one in ultimate, none in mild. Sound good? Good! Let's get to the giveaway. (Also, you may notice that Mel and I have taken away the option of commenting to gain points, as we feel that our readers leave comments of more substance when 'leave a comment' is not a giveaway entry option. Hope you all understand!) 


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Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

5
COMMENTS

127 Hours on the Moon
Johan Harstad
Series: None
Released: September 15th, 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Rating: 3.5 stars
Fright Scale: 8.5 out of 10
Reviewed by: Blythe

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It's been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of an unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space--and change their lives forever. 

Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band's ticket to fame and fortune. Midori believes it's her way out of her restrained life in Japan. Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space... no one is coming to save them.

In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.


Review: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

12
COMMENTS

The Sound
Sarah Alderson
Series: None
Released: August 1st, 2013 (U.S. is May 13th, 2014)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: 1 star
Fright Scale: 1 out of 10
Reviewed by: Mel

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When aspiring music journalist Ren Kingston takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, playground for Boston's elite, she's hoping for a low-key summer reading books and blogging about bands. Boys are firmly off the agenda.

What she doesn't count on is falling in with a bunch of party-loving private school kids who are hiding some dark secrets, falling (possibly) in love with the local bad boy, and falling out with a dangerous serial killer...

The gripping new stand-alone novel from the author of Hunting Lila. Out August 2013