Yesterday I decided to have a movie night on my own and watch a horror (because that is how I usually prefer to watch horrors: alone and in the dark). Hellhole was the one suggesed to me because it was new on Netflix, and when I saw it was European (Polish, to be precise) I knew I wanted to give it a try.
I don’t think there is much to say about this film. It was definitely worth of time. It wasn’t anything mindblowing, but it was good. At times it felt like I was watching a drama, but then again, with all the paranormal things going on, it was definitely horror.
I liked how it took a different look on sanatory and overall it was a good, short movie to pass time. I liked it and although I think the end was a bit dry, I still enjoyed it.
Today I am happy to bring you my review for a horror I read recently and enjoyed very much. It is perfect Halloween read in my opinion.
What Moves the Dead was published on July 12th 2022 by Tor Nightfire and it has 165 pages. I read my own copy of the book.
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
What Moves the Dead is Kingfisher’s retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.
What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.
Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.
I am going to start this review by fangirling about this cover. Do you see how amazing it is?? Beautiful, hypnotic and creepy at the same time! Honestly, this is my favourite book cover that I have seen in years, and now when I finished the story, I understand it and appreciate it even more!
What Moves the Dead is a retelling of a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. Which one? I don’t really know. Obviously I didn’t do my research very well, but to me it doesn’t make much difference because the only short story that have read by E.A.P. is Black Cat (In the meantime I learned that the story is called The Fall of the House of Ushers).
But what I did notice is how similar this novel is to Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. They both start with a letter about one sick character where the main character comes to visit, they both have big spooky house, gothic atmosphere, and also… one big thing that plays big part in both stories. Plus, they are both horrors. Of course, me being bad at doing proper research, I don’t know if they are both retelling of the same classic story. Still, it is worth mentioning that T. Kingfisher admitted similarities between her and Moreno-Garcia’s novel in her author’s note.
What Moves the Dead has non binary main character, which I appreciate.
The book is set some time in the past, and it is set in the world that is similar to ours (London, Paris and America are there) but it also has some imaginary places that don’t exist in our world, and also cultures that I’ve never heard about.
It is written in first person, from Alex‘ POV, but as the narrator sometimes talks to us readers, at times it feels like it was written in second person.
The gothic, dark and wet atmosphere was my favourite part. Also, I appreciate how short this novel is. It takes a skill to write something that isn’t too long, but says so much.
This was a buddy read with Amanda and we both liked it. We both also agree that we didn’t fan over big revelation of what caused all this mess, as it made little sense to our contemporary oriented brains.
However, I still very much recommend this book and I will definitely check other work by T. Kingfisher.
This week I was in a mood for some horror, as spooky season officially started (but let’s be real, that genre is my favourite and I am in a mood to be scared most of the time). I was happy to see that The Invitation was officially out, because I remember we watched the trailer in the cinema back when we were there to watch Orphan: First Killback in July.
What I noticed after few minutes into the movie was that the trailer we watched back then was not for the same movie as I was watching. At first I thought there were two movies with similar titles that I have mixed, but now I am not so sure. What probably happened was I watched the trailer for a totally different movie, and thought I was watching the one for The Invitation. All I remember about that movie from the trailer is that it was about an exorcism, and that it looked good.
But let’s not talk about that unfortunate misconception, and let’s talk about the movie I actually watched.
The Invitation started as a modern story set in New York, following a young girl who’s role was played by actress named Nathalie Emmanuel, who is best known from Game of Thrones. She was reached out by her long distanced cousin who found her through some DNA finder app, and he invites her to a wedding where all of her long lost relatives would be, to meet them and get to know all of them. She accepts, goes to England to the biggest mansion one can imagine, who’s owner comes from the old money and all that jazz. It all seems too perfect to be real, and as it usually goes, it is.
I loved the first half of the movie. Evie as a character was very likeable, the invitation was fishy so I was curious to see how the Hell will broke loose, and once we got to the part in England it started to get creepy. Characters were shady, the house was cold and mysterious, it’s owner (played by Thomas Doherty) was… you could feel something just wasn’t right.
I liked the turn the story took, but if I am being honest, at some points it was too much that it looked ridiculous.
So all in all, it was a solid horror with first half much better then the second. Would I recommend it? To horror fans, definitely!
GIFTED / Today I want to talk about a book I read back in August. I loved this author’s novel Mexican Gothic so I was excited to be invited to read and review The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. This book was published on July 19th 2022 by Del Rey and it has 306 pages. I want to thank the team from Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
A lavish historical drama reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.
Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.
Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.
The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.
All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.
For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey.
Right after I finished The Daughter of Doctor Moreau my thoughts were a mess and I honestly didn’t know how I felt about the story in whole. I knew I liked Mexican Gothic better than this one, but also those two stories are totally different that it would be unfair to compare them.
Once again, Silvia Moreno-Garcia managed to give the atmosphere a role itself, and the place of the story was unique, well described and easy to imagine.
This historical retelling was told in third person following two perspectives: Carlota’s, who is the daughter of the doctor, and Laughton’s who is an employee. Getting into Laughton’s head was more interesting to me, especially because of his battle with his own demons that made him take the job in this peculiar place.
The only thing that didn’t make much sense to me was the motivation to keep up with the project. At first it was to have free labour from creatures who wouldn’t have human rights (now when the slavery was illegal), but when experiment after experiment failed, one had to wonder why waste all that money on laboratories when it can be used to decently pay people for their work instead?
Overall, this was a good book with some action packed scenes and historical references. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
Movie Monday is a feature here on my blog, in which I’m rambling about movies I’ve watched lately.
Today I want to talk about the best movie that I have watched this year (so far): The Black Phone
The Black Phone
Guys, what a great movie I watched recently!! The Black Phone was amazing. I went into it with somewhat high expectations but I was still surprised how good and captivating it was.
In case you didn’t know, it was based on short story written by Joe Hill. I never read the story as I didn’t know about it after after I finished the film, but even though I now know how it goes, I would still take a chance to read it.
This movie is generated as a horror. It was scary at some moments, but I would rather prefer to say that it is a fiction set in late 70s with elements of magical realism. Still, it was very violent so keep that it mind. There were scenes with brutal bullying and peer violence but also with parent hitting a child (or beat her to blood to be precise).
Otherwise, it was even a relaxing movie when all of the violence and main fabula gets out of the way, the setting was kind of nostalgic.
Actor performances were great and I am sure future big movie stars played in this movie. As for the already acknowledged actors, Ethan Hawke’s performance was appreciable. To me he gets better and gets better roles as he gets older.
The story was well done and the only thing that was missing was the motive behind it all, but then again it reminded me how evil sometimes doesn’t need the motive. It just is.
Today I want to talk about the movie Orphan: First Kill. I was really looking forward to see it and now when I watched it I can, with no regrets, say that it is the worst movie I’ve seen in years.
As a dedicated lover of horror movies, I was more than happy when I’ve heard that one of my favourites, Orphan, will get another movie, set in time prior then the original story.
I took the very first chance I got to go to the cinema with my friend and let me tell you, our expectations were high, but the feeling we had after we finished the watching can be described with only one word: disappointment.
However, the execution can be described with many words: lazy writing, plot holes, stupid characters, lack of motives, lack of explanations, cash cow, money and time waste.
The actors weren’t bad, but they couldn’t save the movie that was doomed from the start.
Overall, the movie was so bad it made me want to talk about it so everyone who isn’t sure if they would give it a chance would know that it would take my advice to save some money and skip it.
I was so let down by the movie that I am sure everyone in the movie theater felt the same, and now I wish we picked another movie instead of this one, but it is what it is.
I still am a great fan of the original Orphan and I recommend it with all my heart, but when it comes to Orphan: First Kill I do not recommend it at all.
Hi Everyone, It has been a while, probably over a month since the last time I wrote something for this blog. There were some scheduled reviews poping up, but I personally wasn’t active anywhere except on Goodreads, and I was pretty unactive there too. The reason for that: I feel like I never have time to just sit and in piece and silence write and read in front of my computer, except in the very late evening when I am too tired to be productive, so I choose to read instead.
Today is Halloween, and I want to bring you my three reviews for the books I read this October. Non of them was given to me in an exchange for review, but all three of them I chose along with my friends because we wanted to give them a try.
Mexican Gothic was an October pick in the book club I am a member of along with other awesome book reviewers, when Cackle and House of Hollows I read along with Amanda from Chocolate Pages, who is also the member of previously mentioned book club.
So in conclusion, Amanda and I read together all of the three books I talk about today, so make sure to visit her BLOG too, to see what she thought about them.
Mexican Gothic took the bookish community by the storm last year when it came out, and if there wasn’t the hype around it I probably wouldn’t pick it up. It’s magnificent cover, although beautiful to look at, didn’t “speak” to me so this time I am thankful for the hype because now I am glad this novel joined my read shelf.
I, just like most of the readers I believe, have certain aspects of the story that are important for me to like the book, character development being in the first place. What I’ve noticed lately is that the atmosphere in the story is slowly getting closer and closer to take that CD aspect from the throne.
And if there is something this book has fully developed, is the atmosphere. Gothic, dark, gray, wet… I could almost smell the damp when I was imagining being in High Place.
One more thing that makes this book special to me is that my favourite character was High Place. Yes, you read it right. The big, cold house has such a strong presence it felt like it was a person itself.
As for other characters, I think our MC Noemi was fully developed and it was clear what was her motive, her reasons to act the way she did, and she was also likeable and the one to look up to.
On the other hand, I think some side characters could have been more developed or at least more presented.
The writing was good and easy to read, but if I am being honest, the story was boringat times and I caught myself yearning for some action, or at least for something to happen.
As we got closer to end and secrets started yo reveal I was little disappointed with the way the story turned, but at the same time I appreciate it because it does make it different from other stories in this genre (here I am mostly comparing it to movies as I am still new to horror genre in written form). My personal opinion is that the movie would be great and I would like to absorb it for the first time in that format, but that ship has sailed, obviously.
In the end, I just want to warn you about some scenes that can be triggering like ones that can remind of sexual abuse, but there is long list on TW for this novel so make sure to check it out. I don’t always recognize them, as they are personal to each reader, but I would say TW: sexual abuse, racism, substance addiction, and also some graphic and gory scenes.
I decided to give Mexican Gothic 3,75 stars because although it was good and I can’t find it many flows except maybe being too slow at times, it just didn’t wow me to give it a higher rating.
Let’s make one thing clear: 👏This is not a thriller! This is not a horror! 👏 To be a thriller, it has to play with your (or at least the MC’s) mind, to be a horror, it has to have at least one character dead/murdered (or in danger of the same) and at least one gory scene.
(Not) Sorry to spoil you, but this has non of that.
This is cozy women’s fiction with paranormal (witchy, perfect for Halloween) elements that can also be categorized as feminist novel and that is it!!
It was weird, I’ll give it that, but it is definitely not disturbing (unless you hate spiders, who are here pets because why not throw something childish and unnecessary to make it unique)!
So yeah, if you consider Twilight a horror because it has vampires as characters, then this is the horror/thriller for you. If you are looking for thrilling book that will keep you at the edge of your sit, this is not a book for you.
This is cozy, slow paced book, perfect for readers who are looking something to read for Halloween, but instead of being scared, they want to be relaxed.
It was entertaining, with characters interesting enough, and easy to read writing style. It is written in first person.
I could spend my time overanalyzing the novel, telling you how Annie reminded me of my own friend which made me care for her on a higher level, how in my mind Sophie looks like Megan Fox, how I loved Sam and am sorry the writer ruined his character even though I understand why she did it, how I think cat would work way better then the spider and how absurd it was for MC to take everything like it was even though no sane person would do it. I could also tell you how I really enjoyed the atmosphere and my friend Amanda who I buddy read this with, and me, we had great time and how this book was exactly what we both needed after finishing Mexican Gothic, but I won’t bore you more then necessary.
I will just recommend this novel to everyone who are looking for cozy autumn book with witchy/Halloween elements.
House of Hollow
As soon as I saw the cover for House of Hollows I knew I had to read it. The design reminds me of Horrid and Wilder Girls, books I both enjoyed so much, and I have a theory that covers like this keep weird and brilliant stories between the pages. This book proves my theory right!
The story is narrated by Iris, the youngest of the three sisters who disappeared one night and came back one month later not knowing where they’ve been, and clueless about the truth about what happened to them.
The story is written in first person, easy to follow and fast paced from the very beginning. In fact, it was so fast paced at times that I was lost for moments (that often happens to me in fighting scenes).
Once again, my favourite part of the story was the atmosphere. I noticed that that aspect in storytelling became of huge importance for me, so I loved this book for it.
I can’t say much about the world or things that happened, because I don’t know where is the line between reviewing and spoiling in this particular case, but I will say that my bets are the author found some inspiration in the movie Insidious.
The characters were all presented very well, and I love how the author played the game of good guy/bad guy masquerade. I would tell you who’s side I was on, but then I would spoil you, so I’ll keep my mouth shout (or my fingers reserved, I should say).
The epilogue was the only part I didn’t like, as I find it unnecessary.
I should also mention I shared this reading experience with my friend Amanda, who I’m buddy reading so often lately, we should call ourselves bookish sisters. She is not the one to pick fantasy, paranormal or ya on her own, but she really enjoyed this book too, so that says something, right?
In conclusion, I am sooooooo glad I’ve read this novel. It was perfect Halloween/October choice and I recommend it to everyone who is searching something spooky.
GIFTED / I really enjoy retellings so I always look forward to discover new ones, especially if the retelling is witten in genre different then the original story, like it was the case with Within These Wicked Walls, where the author managed to make horror out of the love story (but if you ask me, Jane Eyre is kind of horror-ish).
This book will be published tomorrow, on October 19th and it has 336 pages. I received a copy via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. I want to say Thank You to St. Martin Press, Wednesday Books.
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS / What the heart desires, the house destroys…
Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.
Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.
Action packed from the very beginning, and I love it!
I picked Within These Wicked Walls by accident, misplacing it for another ya horror that was coming out this year. However, I am not sorry because I was in a mood for horror, and horror I got.
I like how the story opened with an action and I was pulled into it so very easily. I don’t know if this book is in ya category as the main character Andri is 19 years old, but to me it definitely read as ya horror.
The setting was little hard for me to understand, and I am honestly considering rereading this whole novel to understand it better, plus I do believe that I would appreciate the story more if I give it another go. What also confused me was how this read as fantasy but then book classics would be mentioned and at times I had feeling I was reading historical fiction with fantasy/horror elements…
This supposed to be Jane Eyre retelling, and although I can see little similarity in setting (big castle) and ghost who maybe was it’s version of captured wife from the Jane Eyre, I can’t agree that this is retelling. I personally saw more similarities with Beauty and the Beast.
I loved characters and the main plot, including all the horror elements and action scenes, but I didn’t like the love story. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Andri and Magnus, and it all felt all of a sudden. To be honest, I’d prefer if the story was without it.
All in all, good, fast paced story, perfect choice to read in October.
GIFTED / Hi guys, today I want to talk about a book I read recently, that is pretty hyped up. Horror genre is still pretty new to me when it comes to books (movies I wantch all my life and it’s my favourite genre) so I don’t know what works good for me and what not, so I am prepared for failure when I chose the book, until I get to know my taste better.
The Final Girl Support Group was the book I hoped I would love, but unfortunately, that didn’t happened.
The novel was published on July 13th and it has 352 pages. I want to thank Penguin Global and Berkley books for inviting me to read and review this title.
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?
Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
Unfortunately, this just wasn’t for me. And I am sure this is really “it’s not you, it’s me” case.
In all honesty, the reason I picked up The Final Girl Support Group was the hype it was getting even before it’s release, due to the author’s popularity. I usually love horror movies, slashers and gory are my jam, but here in this book… although I do appreciate the action… most of the time I felt lost.
From the very beginning something felt off. It was probably the writing style I just couldn’t get into to save my life and the narrator and her craziness/paranoia didn’t click with me either. I am aware that anyone in her place would lose their sanity too.
There were also so many characters, so many final girls obviously based on already created final girls in cult horror movies we all seen or at least heard of, that it took me way much time to acknowledge them.
There was an aha-moment that surprised me in a good way, but that was it.
If I am being honest I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about the plot, I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about the end, and I feel sorry I wasn’t more invested.
It was clear to me around 15% that this book wasn’t for me, but I wanted to finish it as I had an ARC.
After I finally pushed through it I couldn’t believe it had only 352 pages. It felt like it was long as an eternity.
So my conclusion is, once again, that this book just wasn’t for me and I don’t think I will read more of Grady Hendrix’ work.
GIFTED / Hi guys! Today I am talking about a book that I read along with my girls in our book club. These days I am mostly focused on buddy reads, as I feel like I get more from the book when I discuss it with others. My favourite buddy in crime is Amanda from ChocolatePages, we read many books together this year, and I hope we’ll continue with it. Survive the Night was the August pick in the book club we are both members of.
This book was published on 29th June 2021 and it has 324 pages. I want to say thank you to Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.
Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?
What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.
So… this was a shitshow full of mad people. And I don’t mean it in a good way.
Let me start this review on a positive note. As Riley Sager is a best selling author, I expected to like his writing style, and although I wasn’t a fan of all the things he has written in this particular novel, I do admit that his words are easy to follow and the book reads easy and fast. To give you and example how fast it reads, I will just say that it was our August pick for our book club and instead of planned 7, it took us only 4 days to finish.
The premise was promising, but with all the negative reviews appearing I didn’t have too high expectations. However, I did expect to be fascinated with Josh’s character (because of one BookTube review) but that didn’t happen. Also, in one of my Goodreads friend’s review I read that Charlie is one of the stupidest characters ever written, and after I finished Survive the Night, I 100% understand why my friend feels that way. I also agree with her, to some point. It is hard to root for someone who acts so against their well being. If I am being honest, one part of me even wanted for her not to survive the night.
As for the big relevation I wasn’t surprised at all, as the author gave us only few characters in the whole story, there weren’t much choices to chose our suspect from.
Last thing I want to mention is how I am not happy with the way mental illness was handled. We never got the answer what Charlie’s diagnosis were, the author almost approached it as some kind of superpower, at some parts it felt like it was used just to mess with our mind and one chapter closer to the end reminded me of the way mental illness was handled in the history, when ppl in mental hospitals were put under electricity hamlets to be cured. That chapter left bad taste in my mouth.
In the end I will just say that I am still eager to read Riley’s book called Lock Every Door, and this one I will just pretend it wasn’t written by him.