Shadow Weaver by Marcykate Connolly #BookReview

Title: Shadow Weaver | Series: Shadow Weaver #1 | Author: MarcyKate Connolly | Publisher:  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | Pub. Date: 2018-1-1 | Pages: 320 | ISBN13: 9781492649953 | Genre: Middle-Grade Dark Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration

Shadow Weaver

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.

Book cover for Shadow Weaver

Shadow Weaver Review

Shadow Weaver is an atmospheric, haunting story that immediately ensnares the reader. This may be written for a middle grade audience, but it begs for adult readership as well. MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale that keeps you trapped in her world until the very end.

Emmeline is a child that’s easy to like and want to protect. Also, like most children she’s also easy to manipulate and scare. Throughout the story I continually wanted to step into the pages and mother her. To whisper in her ear the truths that she needed to hear. To watch her story unfold, knowing that she had to discover things for herself, was almost painful. But her Shadow Weaver journey was exquisitely told.

Shadow Weaver is a book that will draw me back to it for more than one read. And when the second book comes out (for this is part one of a duology), I’ll be reading it as well. Emmeline and Lucas could be extremely powerful together and seeing these two kids take on the evil introduced in this first book will be well worth the wait.

One of the other things I liked about Shadow Weaver (not that there was anything I didn’t like) was the resolution with Dar. I’m not going to say what it was, but the author handled it very nicely. She could have went a few typical routes but she didn’t. And while I’m almost positive the solution will come back and bite them in the butt, I’m still happy things ended the way they did.

Well-written, with believable dialogue, nicely paced action, and fantasy kept on a level easy for middle-grade readers to understand, Shadow Weaver is an exquisite example of how to write darker fantasy for kids. MarcyKate Connolly did a phenomenal job, and I will be shocked if Shadow Weaver doesn’t make it onto the best seller lists for middle grade fiction. I loved it!


The Gatehouse #MovieReview and Interview

Movie cover for The GatehouseThe Gatehouse Synopsis: Eternity (aged 10) lives in a haunted gatehouse at the edge of an ancient forest. She likes to dig for buried treasure in the woods, but one day she digs up something she shouldn’t and the forest want it back.

Starring: Scarlett Rayner, Simeon Willis, Linal Haft

Release Date: 10/01/2016 (UK), 12/05/2017 (VOD, USA)

Runtime: 1h 37 min , Coolthulhus Earned: 5 out of 5





The Gatehouse Review

I can’t even begin to say how much I loved this movie. It was beautifully shot, lighting was perfect and the effects were breathtaking. The cinematography was gorgeous. Even if I didn’t like the story I would have loved to look at it. Fortunately the story was amazing. It was very different than what I was expecting. I didn’t know it had won awards because, quite honestly, I don’t pay attention. I know, horrible to do as a reviewer that’s trying to be professional but awards don’t always indicate the quality of a movie. I am happy it did, though, if only to get it some recognition and push toward the public eye.

The acting was superb and spot-on. I haven’t seen any of the actors before but I was so impressed. Simeon Willis was excellent in his role as the somewhat frazzled dad. The real stand-out however, is Scarlett Rayner. In my opinion this was a tricky role to play well, especially as a younger actress. It would have been very easy to have the character of Eternity slip into a bratty ten-year old if played not as well as Scarlett Rayner pulls it off. She was funny, interesting, at times infuriating and all around awesome. As far as her character is written it’s an excellent mix. she’s basically a kid. Smarter than most and I’m so glad they didn’t go for the “Smart Kids Must Be Emotionless Robots” trope. Also, the character of Daisy (played by Vanessa Mayfield) turned out to be a solidly likable character, which kind of surprised me.

I really hope it doesn’t get hit with the Crimson Peak effect. People went in expecting a ghostly horror story but weren’t expecting a dramatic ghost story (which really shouldn’t come as a surprise when you look at del Toro’s other movies). This is labeled as horror/adventure/drama/fantasy and a bit of a mystery as well for a while but it does not fall into any of those categories easily and yet fulfills all of them. So, keep an open mind going in because if you go in expecting it to fall firmly into one of those genres you will be surprised. The relationship between the father and daughter is one of the better ones that I’ve seen portrayed in movies in a long time and it’s very refreshing. Some might quibble with that because of one scene but, honestly (and Cthulhu knows I’ll probably get some comments for this) but I don’t know if I would have reacted much differently. The story establishes their relationship quite well.

There were some truly surprising twists to it and things that are fore-shadowed are done very subtly and don’t clobber you over the head with them. There was one part that actually surprised an out loud (very loud) laugh from me because it was so funny and unexpected. Trust me. You’ll know it when you see it. That is another thing I loved about it. There was humour in it, as well. Mainly more quiet humour but (and I never use this word) it was charming and fit the tone of the movie so well. There is also one very unexpected brutal moment that truly surprised me because the movie keeps you so off-balance for a while (in a good way) that it’s unexpected and you’re not really sure what’s going on, what’s real, what’s not.

My only two quibbles with it are pretty minor. There’s one scene that, in regards to the end, doesn’t really make sense. The other is the scoring. In some places I didn’t think that it really went with the scene or the feeling that it seemed like the scene was trying to convey. There was one moment though where it was a perfect synchronicity of music, scene and everything and used so effectively for humour that it was perfect. And I can actually mention the scene (yay!) it was a “horror movie music” note complete with a lightning strike and asylum = perfect.

So please, please watch this movie, give it a chance, don’t go in with preconceived genre expectations.

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Interview with Director Martin Gooch

Sci-Fi and Scary: The story in The Gatehouse is very rich in mythology. Did you have to do a lot of research on the background of the lore you used?

Martin Gooch: Growing up in England I think mythology and history is all around – you learn some of it by osmosis. My dad is really into history and there were lots of books in the house so I would avidly read those books as a kid. I’ve always loved a bit of ancient history and lore. I didn’t do much actual research for the film as I had already done 30 years of research thinking about it…

Sci-Fi and Scary: Where did you get the idea for the story in The Gatehouse?

Martin Gooch: I just made it up. It didn’t really come from anywhere. It’s two stories , really. The story of Jack the dad and Eternity, the daughter. Both are on a sort of a quest and the film has a classic three act structure so once I had the story in my head I plotted it out to fit the structure. There was a subplot which we actually filmed but it didn’t really add to the pacing of the movie, s it went in the edit, I hope it’ll be on the DVD extras.

Sci-Fi and Scary: The Gatehouse is a superb blending of several genres. Was it a conscious effort to make it cross genres the way it did or was it just the natural result of the story?

Martin Gooch: Thank you. Yes – I didn’t want to do a straight horror as there are so many horror films with no individual voice so I wrote a Gothic Horror – or fantasy. My original pitch was “it’s like Pan’s Labyrinth, only without the Labyriinth…or Pan”. I feel it is closer to Time Bandits by Terry Gilliam than it is to a straight horror film.

Sci-Fi and Scary: The effects and creations in the movie were very creative and unique. How closely did you work with the effects technicians to create them?

Martin Gooch: Extremely closely. I had a strong idea of what the Horned God looked like based on legends of Herne the Hunter who used to live in ancient forests (and maybe still does). I imagined him just standing there in a clearing in the woods watching you – a silhouette with his horns making him over 7 feet tall. Quite a sight! And this is the image we have in the film when they meet the Horned God in the middle of the forest at the end of the movie. I drew some pictures and found a lot of reference images to show our art department. We were lucky to have the immensely talented Inma Cooke and Charlotte Ball as our monster makers and they just worked incredibly hard and made us a monster!

Sci-Fi and Scary: You had originally interviewed Scarlett Rayner for your film The Search for Simon. When you were writing The Gatehouse, did you have her in mind from the beginning for the role of Eternity?

Martin Gooch: Yes. I totally wrote The Gatehouse with Scarlett in mind – we never interviewed any other actresses for the role. It was written for her and a lot of the dialogue was because I had listened to how Scarlett spoke and used that as a template for how Eternity would speak. I also went through the script with Scarlett and got her to make the dialogue fit how she would actually speak. For example: In the scene where she meets the police woman (Sarine Sofair) in the forest and waves her stick at her – Eternity says, “I’m not alone, I’ve got this stick which, FyI could have your eyeball out!” That was one of Scarlett’s lines.

Sci-Fi and Scary: Speaking again of Scarlett, she was nominated two times (and won once) for Best Child Actress for her role as Eternity. Her screen presence is quite potent considering how new she is to film. Do you think there was any specific scene that won over the judges or just her performance in general?

Martin Gooch: I think she is a very natural actress and she has just ‘got it’. She learnt the whole script back to front and inside out. For the whole shoot I never actually saw her looking at the scripts, she had learnt it so well (a lot of actors could take a lesson here) and this gave her the confidence to work n the performance and not be worried about remembering the lines. She knew the script so well she could even help the other actors when they stumbled over a line or two…

Sci-Fi and Scary: What were your main influences for The Gatehouse?

Martin Gooch: I read a lot and I find that images are the greatest influence rather than stealing from other films. My influences include 20000AD the comic, and stories like Summer Magic and Pat Mills fantasy stories. It’s also loosely based on the Herne the Hunter legends and Gothic literature. The films it is closest to are, as I said, Time Bandits, but also The Watcher in the Woods and things like that.

Sci-Fi and Scary: You’ve also served as writer/director for The Search for Simon, After Death, and quite a few shorts, not to mention your upcoming sci-fi Black Flowers. Beyond more involvement in the beginning with the script, obviously, does the process change much for you as opposed to when you are just serving as director or producer?

Martin Gooch: The main difference is that when you’re ‘just a director’ you don’t have much control over the script on set, if something isn’t working or an actor wants to change something, you can’t just do that, you have to use what is written on the page, even if it doesn’t work. so, it can be frustrating, but on the other side of the coin, you just have to get on with directing and if the script is bad then you just have to work extra-hard to bring that script up through camera and performance and then the scriptwriter will jut think they wee brilliant and they did all the work! But if the script is good it’s always just a pleasure to be directing it regardless of who wrote it.

Sci-Fi and Scary: The Gatehouse received four awards and five nominations across several film festivals including, Best Film (Iowa Independent) and Best Sci-Fi/Horror Feature (London Independent). Is there one in particular that you’re most proud of?

Martin Gooch: It’s always fantastic to win any award and I’m grateful to the festival not only for selecting our movie but also realizing its worth and honoring the work with an award! It was particularly exciting to win at the London Independent Film Festival as we had no idea if we were even in with a chance and it was the first film festival we were in competition with so it was particularly magical to win. Actors Simeon Willis and Vanessa Mayfield were with me so all three of us could go and collec he award. It was a great event.

Sci-Fi and Scary: Has there been any particular reactions from the audiences at various screenings that impacted you?

Martin Gooch: We had a screening at Sci-Fi London Film Festival And afterwards a young lady came up to me with tears in her eyes and told me it was the most beautiful film and she absolutely loved it. She asked me lots of questions and was very excited to meet some of the cast and crew. I felt that she had really “got it” and connected with the movie, which was a wonderful thing. I’m glad I could make someone so happy.

Sci-Fi and Scary: What was the best experience you had in the creation of The Gatehouse?

Martin Gooch: It was a great shoot on the whole. We had a really wonderful crew – particularly Mark Hammond the DOP who I have been working with off and on for twenty years since we were both camera assistants together at Shepparton Studios, England. One of the best days was shooting the night scenes with the two girls (Vanessa Mayfield and Samantha White) being attacked by the Horned God on the path through the woods at night. There was just a great atmosphere on set and I think the Horned God (played by Tom Green) looked particularly good that night, thanks to our awesome art department and brilliant lighting from Mark. It was one of the last days of filming and we were excited to bring the film to a close.

I enjoyed shooting the opening scene on the Quantock Hills in Somerset. That was real fog, nothing to do with a smoke machine and as Dad and Eternity appear out of the fog that’s actually how it was, we didn’t do anything. It was very weird as we were on top of a hill, inside a cloud and all the water in the air absorbs the sound so it all sounded like we were inside a big ball of cotton wool. No one could hear anyone shout directions! But it was good fun and we were blessed by perfect weather. It was a good day.

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We want to thank Martin Gooch again for taking the time to answer our questions and giving us such a great interview! As always, thanks to October Coast for setting us up with such an amazing movie and opportunity!

The Dark Tower Film Review

Movie cover for The Dark TowerThe Dark Tower Synopsis: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

Tagline: There are other worlds than these.

Starring: Idris ElbaMatthew McConaugheyTom Taylor

Release Date: Aug 24th, 2017 | Runtime: 1 hr 35 min | Coolthulhus Earned: 5



The Dark Tower Review

I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed The Dark Tower. I should have remembered that I normally love film adaptations of Stephen King’s works. I think I let the fact that I’ve been paying a bit more attention to movie reviews and stuff lately lower my expectations unfairly. The Dark Tower was a fun movie that I really enjoyed.

To clarify the lens through which I viewed the movie: I read the first (and only the first) The Dark Tower book. I remembered ‘gunslinger’ ‘man in black’ and a moderate amount of trippiness. I remember thinking that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, given that it’s a Stephen King book. There might have been a mental note to try to pick up the second one in the series at some point as well. But, that’s it. So, when I watched the movie, I wasn’t comparing it against the book so I could do mental screams about what they changed and whatnot.

The casting for The Dark Tower was on point. I was happy to hear that they cast an African American to play Roland. It was an easy changeup (at least I think Roland was white in the book??) that made absolutely no difference to the story line. Yet, what it does do is give young African American men a positive example of an on-screen presence that doesn’t feed into stereotypes. I’d be saying something completely different if they’d cast an African American male to play The Man in Black. So, good choice!

Idris Elba, the aforementioned actor, who I can’t really say offhand has starred in anything I was a big fan of, had me rooting for him almost instantly. The man pulls off The Gunslinger very, very well in The Dark Tower. He was cool, calm, tortured, and good. The fight scene in the village where he’s, er, not at his best was believable through nothing more than his acting I believe. One of my favorite scenes involving him is where he just smiles, though. He smiles at one of the other characters and communicates so much goodness and happiness with that smile that you can’t help but smile back at him.

I’m not a huge Matthew McConaughey fan (his voice drives me nuts), but I laughed the moment he appeared on screen in this movie. He plays a taller version of Christopher Walken. The haircut, the outfit, etc. It was like he was channeling Walken in all aspects. That, combined with the unrelenting evil of a man named Walter, made his presence actually enjoyable for once.

Tom Taylor, who plays Jake, was the least memorable, but his acting was solid nonetheless. Give him a few years and we might be very surprised.

The sets, cinematography, etc, were all decent. It was definitely the characters that took center stage (as it should be). There was a little bit of cheese in the dialogue with Roland and Jake, but they didn’t go as overboard as they could have, so I’m willing to let it slide.

The Dark Tower hooked me almost immediately. I was practically sitting on my hands to keep from swiping at the air at parts.  It’s a fun popcorn flick. However, that’s really all it is. Unlike other King adaptations that have a strong rewatchability factor, The Dark Tower feels like a one time show. Not that I’m not interested in checking out the potential television series, mind you. I just can’t see buying this one to watch again in the future.

Twice Upon An Apocalypse (Anthology)

Title: Twice Upon an Apocalypse – Lovecraftian Fairy Tales | Edited by Don D’Ammassa and Rachel Kenley | Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing | Pub. Date: 05/30/2017 | Pages: 284 | ISBN13: 9781640074750 | Genre: Horror/Dark Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: Cannibalism/Child Death (one story) | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received from the publisher for review consideration

Twice Upon an Apocalypse – Lovecraftian Fairy Tales

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales.

Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

Twice Upon an Apocalypse Review

I don’t generally read mash-ups. Every once in a while they can be cleverly done but, as Gary Braunbek states in the Introduction, they tend to work better as short stories rather than novels. The subtitle of ‘Lovecraftian Fairy Tales’ soon caught my eye and I eagerly ofered myself…ok, I may have begged a bit.

I can’t say that I was disappointed at all. The stories are generally good and range from deadly serious to tongue firmly in cheek. There were a few stand-outs but none that made me roll my eyes in disbelief or bored me to tears. Each story, despite having common themes, was it’s own creation and unique. I also enjoyed the fact that along with the more well-known fairy tales some were used which are rarely seen. I have to admit that I fully expected to see many stories by the Brothers Grimm. The Grimm Brothers are amply represented but so also is Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Anderson. There are also a couple well-known stories, even if the authors are not widely known. Even though I partly expected to see at least ‘The Little Mermaid’ show up in an Innsmouth story, indeed how could she not?  I was also pleased to see a few of the lesser known tales. I’m slightly biased towards Hans Christian Anderson’s tales, I’ll admit that right now.

The stories are well-written but with such a narrow framework to write a story within (Lovecraftian fairy tales leading up to an apocalypse) constrains the creativity to a degree. You know pretty much how things will end (or begin) so the only mystery is how it’s going to get there or be described. Some of the better stories made very good use of atmosphere. I’m also unsure of the submission process for the stories but with the wealth of both fairy tale and Lovecraft mythos there seems to be quite a bit of repetition in view. For instance, there are two separate stories about ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.They each go in their own directions but there should really be no need for two of the same story in the anthology. Also, with the amount of different locations mentioned in Lovecraft and the fairy tales themselves seem to limit themselves to fairly confined areas. Innsmouth and Dunwich are particular favorites.

Since there are too many stories to go into them as deeply as I’d like I will sort them from best to least liked.

Madness-Inducing (Best):

The Pied Piper of Providence – William Meikle
The Three Billy Goats Sothoth – Peter N. Dudar
In the Shade of the Juniper Tree – J.P. Hutshell
The Most Incredible Thing – Bracken MacLeod
Let Me Come In! – Simon Yee
The Fishman and His Wife – Inanna Arthen
The Gumdrop Apocalypse – Pete Rawlik
Curiosity – Winifred Burniston
Sweet Dreams in the Witch House – Sean Logan
The Legend of Creepy Hollow – DonD’Ammassa

Mind-bending Angles (Good):

The Horror at Hatchet Point – Zach Shephard
Follow the Yellow Glyph Road – Scott T. Goudsward
The Ice Queen – Mae Empson
Once Upon a Dream – Matthew Baugh
Donkeyskin – K.H. Vaughn
The Great Old One and the Beanstalk – Armand Rosamilia

Slightly Skewed (Meh):

Little Maiden of the Sea – David Barnard
The Little Match Mi-Go – Michael Kamp
Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather – C.T. Phipps
Fee Fie Old One – Thom Brannan
The King of the Golden Mountain – Morgan Sylvia

Even the stories that didn’t thrill me were still pretty good. Oddly, I just noticed that despite my love for Hans Christian Anderson, those seem to be the ones that I rated lowest. Perhaps I couldn’t separate the originals from the mixture. Because they were mixed well, I just couldn’t get into them. Others may like them more so I would not discourage anyone from reading them. For those interested in Lovecraft or fairy tale mash-ups there is a lot to be liked here. So kick back and get ready for some familiar and comfortable cosmic horror. Although that may be an oxymoron.

4 Skulls Out of 5


Footsteps in the Dark (Dark Fantasy)

Title: Footsteps in the Dark | Author: Carlo Armenise | Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc. | Pub. Date: 05/16/2017 | Pages: 132  | ASIN: B072J2MVCF | Genre: Dark Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration

Footsteps in the Dark

“Footsteps in the Dark” is a collection of eight short stories, with a Twilight Zone flavor, that highlight the eternal struggle between good and evil, brought on by the human condition and the lengths we go to satisfy our desires. In addition to predominately supernatural themes, each of the stories present an intricate character study that identifies the flaws, frailties and weaknesses of a host of interesting characters, and the outcomes of the actions they take to get what they want. “Footsteps in the Dark” is written in an extremely engaging and intriguing story telling style that will get and keep your attention as you take each of the “Footsteps in the Dark”

Footsteps in the Dark Review

I really liked this collection although I found it to be a pretty good mix of Tales from the Darkside and Twilight Zone. That’s not a dismissal or put down at all, I love Tales from the Darkside. I liked the way it was set up, with each story being another step into the dark. I also liked the pictures in it, they fit well with the stories.

A Conversation with Death is definitely at the top of the list for me. It was creepy, touching and I loved The Diner. I thought it was a very cool idea and the end surprised me. A lot.

The Potion had a very ‘Death Becomes Her’ feel to it but with a much better ending to it.

Deadly Dream was a bit…middling for me. It seemed very repetitive for such a short story and the ending was a little easy to predict.

Best-Laid Plans was one that really brought the Twilight Zone feel to it. It had that level of irony and gotcha! to it. It was a story I liked very much.

The Not So Wise Guy was hilarious and I loved it. It had a great twist at the end that was also worthy of the Twilight zone.  In fact, Frank reminds me of a character in the Twilight Zone I just watched.

The Set-Up was a good story. The ending was a bit easy to see coming but it was very satisfying when it did.

Deadly Diagnosis was a great story and would probably come in second to A Conversation with Death. It’s also a bit more realistic that he does serve a bit of time before the actual legal finding happens. It also gets to a more emotional depth than some of the other stories.

The Collector was another ok one. It seemed a bit of a rush to the end when it actually could have done with a bit more of a led up to the actual plot point.

All in all, I would recommend it. Even for people who don’t typically like short stories these stories are very short and conclude satisfactorily. Which is a common complaint with some short stories. They either leave too much undone or conclude so fast it barely feels like you’ve read an actual story. These are somewhere in the middle of that and they are good. I’d like to see what the author has in store for future stories.

4 out of 5 Skulls


Something Wicked This Way Comes Review (Dark Fantasy)

Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes |Series: Green Town #2 | Author: Ray Bradbury | Pub. Date: 09/26/2006 (Originally Published: 1962) | Pages: 293 | ISBN13: 9780380729401 | Genre: Dark Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Self Purchased

Something Wicked This Way Comes

A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare. – Goodreads

Something Wicked This Way Comes 

“By the pricking of my thumbs something”…boring this way comes. The first time I read anything by Ray Bradbury it was The Playground. And I hated it. So I was a bit leery on Something Wicked This Way Comes. Then I watched the movie for it and liked that so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The one thing I can definitively say about Bradbury (at least my experience with him), is that he likes words with his words and then more words with those. Rather than just a straight, somewhat descriptive sentence the sentences get so twisty-turny confusing that once or twice I actually had to re-read a sentence and I normally don’t have to do that.

There are some really great and exciting passages that kept Something Wicked This Way Comes from totally tanking with me though. The descriptions of the carnival and the side-show were great, When the descriptions are on point they are great, like the description of the train whistle.The two main villains of the book are Mr. Dark and Mr. Cooger. Mr. Cooger, however, is side-lined fairly early and not much of a threat in the book and not very scary. Mr. Dark, on the other hand, was a great villain who was scary but also debonair with awesome tattoos. Maybe a bit of a stereotype but really the book is a basic Good vs. Evil tale so I’m pretty ok with that.

The main fault I had with Something Wicked This Way Comes was the dialogue and the pacing. For a book that’s so short some parts just seemed to drag out forever. Some interesting things that were brought up were dropped. Like The Theater. It sounds interesting and sinister. The more so because it didn’t come with the carnival but already seemed to be in the town itself. My thoughts were that maybe it was a brothel of some sort but either way it doesn’t matter because it’s dropped and never mentioned again. The dialogue seemed unnatural. The boys sometimes spoke like twelve year old kids would but when the author wanted to make a point or a deep observation then all of a sudden they spoke like they were older adults. The effect was a bit uneven.

The climax is written well. Once it starts it doesn’t slacken until the end and is very engrossing and thought out well. I loved the confrontation between Mr. Halloway and Mr. Dark in the library. In my humble opinion it was one of the best parts of the book.

All in all it’s an okay read that I probably will tuck away and not really read again. At least for quite a while. I see that it’s part of a series but I don’t think I’m going to search out the rest of them. Maybe his science-fiction is better?

3 out of  5 Skulls


Ten Creepy Kids Books I’ve Added to My TBR Lately

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.For this Tuesday’s Top Ten List, we’re going to be looking at ten creepy kids books that I’ve added to my TBR lately. These books aren’t necessarily ones you would find in the kids horror section, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an unsettling look or feel to them! (I feel it only fair to state that I’ve read or am in the proces of reading at least half of these, but technically I *did* just recently add them to my TBR, so it counts! – LG)

As usual, Top Ten Tuesday prompts are brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

Covers link to Goodreads.



Ten Creepy Kids Books I’ve Added to My TBR Lately

Book cover for Shadow Weaver

Shadow Weaver – MarcyKate Connolly – Jan 2, 2018 – Purchase on Amazon

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.

Book cover for The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street – LIndsay Currie – October 10th, 2017 – Purchase on Amazon

A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!

Book cover for GhostlightGhostlight – Sonia Gensler – August 4th, 2015 – Purchase on Amazon

Avery is looking forward to another summer at Grandma’s farm, at least until her brother says he’s too old for “Kingdom,” the imaginary world they’d spent years creating. Lucky for her, there’s a new kid staying in the cottage down the road: a city boy with a famous dad, Julian’s more than a little full of himself, but he’s also a storyteller like Avery. So when he announces his plan to film a ghost story, Avery is eager to join in.

Unfortunately, Julian wants to film at Hilliard House, a looming, empty mansion that Grandma has absolutely forbidden her to enter. As terrified as Avery is of Grandma’s wrath, the allure of filmmaking is impossible to resist.

As the kids explore the secrets of Hilliard house, eerie things begin to happen, and the “imaginary” dangers in their movie threaten to become very real. Have Avery and Julian awakened a menacing presence? Can they turn back before they go too far?


Book cover for Ghost KnightGhost Knight – Cornelia Funke – May 1st, 2012 Purchase on Amazon

Eleven-year-old Jon Whitcroft never expected to enjoy boarding school. Then again, he never expected to be confronted by a pack of vengeful ghosts, either. And then he meets Ella, a quirky new friend with a taste for adventure…

Together, Jon and Ella must work to uncover the secrets of a centuries-old murder while being haunted by terrifying spirits, their bloodless faces set on revenge. So when Jon summons the ghost of the late knight Longspee for his protection, there’s just one question: Can Longspee truly be trusted?




Book cover for Time of Blood Time of Blood – Robin Jarvis – July 25th, 2017

Whitby has never been a more sinister and dangerous place to be, and the murdered dead refuse to rest in peace…

Trapped in Whitby’s Victorian past, with no hope of getting home, Lil and Verne must seek a way to destroy the invincible Whitby has never been a more sinister and dangerous place to be, and the murdered dead refuse to rest in peace. Mister Dark, whose malignant presence threatens everyone’s future. Fortunately the two young friends make surprising allies; Nannie Burden – the Whitby witch of the time, Brodribb – a mysterious man of many disguises, the secretive aufwaders beneath the cliff and a holidaying theatre manager called Abraham.



Book cover for Thornhill

Thornhill  – Pam Smy – August 29, 2017 – Purchase on Amazon

Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as Ella unravels the mystery of the girl next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2016: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.


Book cover for The Dead Boys

The Dead Boys – Royce Buckingham – September 10th, 2010 Purchase on Amazon

There’s a dark side to Teddy’s new town…

When Teddy Mathews moves to Richland, his main concern is making new friends. But something is not right about this quiet desert town: All the boys he meets seem to vanish before his eyes, while the imposing shadows of the giant tree outside his house appear to be hiding more than darkness.

With the branches of the massive sycamore scratching at his window, Teddy’s life becomes a waking nightmare that no one else believes. Can Teddy escape the tree’s terrifying grasp and solve the mystery of the missing boys before he becomes the next boy to disappear?


Book cover for I Text Dead People

I Text Dead People – Rose Cooper – June 9th, 2015 – Purchase on Amazon

You can’t block the dead.

Annabel Craven hopes she’ll fit in—maybe even be popular—at the Academy. She’s worried she’ll stay friendless and phoneless (it’s true). But when she finds a mysterious phone in the woods near the cemetery, one of her problems is solved . . . and another one is just beginning.

Someone won’t stop texting her. And that someone seems . . . dead. How is Annabel supposed to make friends when her phone keeps blowing up with messages from the afterlife? And what will happen if she doesn’t text back?



Book cover for The Ghost by the SeaThe Ghost by the Sea – Eileen Dunlop – December  1996 –  Purchase on Amazon

While a guest at Culaloe, Robin discovers that the spirit of Milly, a young girl who tragically drowned prior to World War I, is haunting the house, and she and her cousin, John, begin a search for answers to the mysterious happenings involving their family.





Book cover for The Stone Child The Stone Child – Dan Poblocki – August 5th, 2009Purchase on Amazon

What if the monsters from your favorite horror books were real?

Eddie Fennicks has always been a loner, content to lose himself in a mystery novel by his favorite author, Nathaniel Olmstead. That’s why moving to the small town of Gatesweed becomes a dream come true when Eddie discovers that Olmstead lived there before mysteriously disappearing thirteen years ago. Even better, Eddie finds a handwritten, never-before-seen Nathaniel Olmstead book printed in code and befriends Harris, who’s as much an Olmsteady as he is. But then the frightening creatures of Olmstead’s books begin to show up in real life, and Eddie’s dream turns into a nightmare. Eddie, Harris, and their new friend, Maggie, must break Olmstead’s code, banish all gremlins and monster lake-dogs from the town of Gatesweed, and solve the mystery of the missing author, all before Eddie’s mom finishes writing her own tale of terror and brings to life the scariest creature of all.

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

I know, I know,  there’s not a single Neil Gaiman book on this list. And I didn’t include the Night Gardner. But this isn’t a list of top ten creepiest kids book, but a list of the top ten creepy kids books I’ve added to my TBR lately.

So tell me, what creepy kids books would you recommend I add to my list?

Devil’s Glen (Horror Novel)

“Seek the gates and save the boy.”

Welcome to Bettendorf. At first glance, it seems like a typical Midwestern town, but take a closer look and you might be surprised.

High schooler Jack Davies sees the darkness coming; he lives with it. Cold voices call out from the closet door; dead hands reach up from under his bed. Although he doesn’t know it, Jack wields a great power.

Now, a smooth-talking preacher has come to town promising freedom and redemption for all who follow his words. But like Jack, this preacher has a secret. Those who heed his call find themselves pawns in his plan to awaken an ancient evil, long ago imprisoned in the dank caves of Devils Glen Park.

With the help of a widowed police officer, a babysitter, and a mysterious spirit called Ava, Jack must find the truth about his hidden power in time to battle the dark forces that have descended upon his town. If he fails, our world will be cast into darkness forever.

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Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #11

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

03/11/2017 – 03/17/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

Well, we’re really getting into it now, aren’t we? I can feel you holding my hand but not quite so tight, if you please. Wait. That’s not your hand?

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Upside Down (Dark Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi)

Book cover for Upside DownUpside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and essays edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates. Over two dozen authors, ranging from NYT-bestsellers and award winners to debut writers, chose a tired trope or cliche to challenge and surprise readers through their work.

Read stories inspired by tropes such as the Chainmaille Bikini, Love at First Sight, Damsels in Distress, Yellow Peril, The Black Man Dies First, The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood, The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse, and many more…then discover what these tropes mean to each author to find out what inspired them.

Join Maurice Broaddus, Adam Troy-Castro, Delilah S. Dawson, Shanna Germain, Sara M. Harvey, John Hornor Jacobs, Rahul Kanakia, Alethea Kontis, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Haralmbi Markov, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Ferrett Steinmetz, Anton Strout, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong and many other authors as they take well-worn tropes and cliches and flip them upside down.

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