#BookReview Karl Drinkwater’s Horror Collection

A Facebook competition graced me with two gorgeous printed copies of Turner and They Move Below by Karl Drinkwater.

I’m a fan of Karl’s writing since listening to the audio version of Harvest Festival and had They Move Below waiting on my Kindle, so I was delighted with my prizes.

Turner

Karl Drinkwater's Horror Collection

The bright and bloody cover of the novel Turner drew me in instantly. The book was full of action, gore and gutsy characters.

I loved the isolated Welsh setting and the overall atmosphere of the village. The village reminded me of Summerville Island in the classic horror  film, The Wicker Man. The more gore,  the better for me, and this did not disappoint. Turner would make an excellent horror film, with its twists and turns and constant action.

I loved the clever use of the words ‘turning’ and ‘turner’ in the book also. Like Harvest Festival, tension builds steadily throughout the book to a horrific and shocking ending.

They Move Below

Karl Drinkwater's Horror Collection

They Move Below is a collection of 15 dark tales. Like all of Karl’s other work I’ve read, the writing is excellent. These are my mini reviews of a few of my favourite short stories.

If That Looking Glass Gets Broken

This was the most surprising of the stories for me, I did not guess the ending at all! And I read a lot of horror stories! The ending was shocking and horrific and I really enjoyed it.

They Move Below

The title tale was a strange one. The main character was very unlikeable and I found myself wishing bad things would happen to him… Let’s just say the ending was fitting! A surreal tale where the things that lurk below come alive.

Creeping Jesus

Creeping Jesus was an unusual tale of a school trip to a natural history museum. I laughed out loud at the ingenious ending.

Just Telling Stories

Just telling stories was my favourite of the tales, it definitely has the creepy chills factor. I could see each scene unfold in my head and I’m sure next time I’m wandering down a lonely hotel corridor, this will creep into my head.

Claws Truth Forebear

This tale reminded me if an Indiana Jones movie. I loved the exotic location and the claustrophobic feel to it. I always dreamed of being an archaeologist when I was a child, so I was equally  enthralled and horrified.

Breaking the Ice

Breaking the ice was written like a recording of a police interview. This style works really well in horror and leaves the reader’s imagination to wander as we are fed the information bit by bit.

How It Got There

I loved the red herring in this one, the writer does an excellent job of misleading the reader. A very clever tale.  I also loved the way it tied in with the novel Turner.

The Scissor Man

The Scissor Mam reminder me of a grim, moralic fairytale, featuring a particular dislikable little boy. The reader is left to imagine a deliciously gruesome ending for him.

Overload

Overload was written in a very unusual style with shots of internet conversations (I’d love to know how it was done!) It’s format is perfect in this social media driven age. It’s also a cautionary take about taking everything that you see online to be true.

Living in the Present

This started out as a nice heartwarming Christmas tale, but the reader receives subtle hints that all may not be as nice. This was quirky and grisly.

Bleeding Sunset, Dancing Snowflakes

This original take on the vampire genre was ethereal and slightly erotic. There was beautiful imagery, even in the name.

I find it very hard to fault this collection, each tale is unique, some horrific  and all leave the reader’s imagination run wild.

Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival was a brilliantly written and exciting Sci-fi horror novella. I was very lucky to get a gift of the audio version of Harvest Festival. This was my second audio book ever.  I enjoyed every minute of it and I’m hooked on audio books for car journies now.

The book is excellently written, every word seems to be there for a reason. The tension builds from the end of an average day on the farm for Callum and his family. The ordinary strains on family relationships is very evident in the first few chapters. I loved the realism of those scenes.

The fact that those scenes are so normal allows for tension to build rapidly once the family ends up facing a horrific invasion of an alien kind. Dramatic and terrifying, the scenes move speedily along to an ending which stayed in my head for some while. Though it was a novella, I loved the changing dynamic in the family’s relationships from start to finish. 
Karl Drinkwater's Horror Collection
Karl Drinkwater’s Horror Collection

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but has lived in Wales for half his life. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies.

Wexford Literary Festival #Wexlitfest17 📙 📚 📖

This is my attempt at describing a wonderful experience at 2017 Wexford Literary Festival!

We drove down to The Wexford Literary Festival, in Enniscorthy, after work on the Friday. After getting stuck in traffic in Killeagh for 45 minutes, we eventually made it to our resting spot for 2 nights. We stayed in the Slaney Suites, part of Treaceys Hotel, which was reasonable and very central. After some quick refreshments (in the form of food and a beverage) we made it to the opening night!

The One Act Play Competition

We made it to the Presentation centre just in time for the One Act Play competition. Each of the four shortlisted plays was performed by the excellent actors of the Enniscorthy Drama Society.  Isherholz Calls by Jay Phillips opened up the evening’s proceedings. The judges had a tough job as all the shortlisted entries were worthy winners. I couldn’t pick between my favourites – Pitchfork by Kelby Gilfoyle and  Nicola Cassidy’s play, Chop! The winning play, One Solitary Line by Neil Walden was extremely clever and entertaining. The night was a great introduction to the events of the festival to come.

Readers and Writers Day

The Readers and Writers Day kicked off early on Saturday with a quick opening speech from the enigmatic Carmel Harrington, along with a plentiful supply of tea, coffee and biscuits. The committee members introduced themselves to us and we we felt welcome immediately. It was great, yet slightly nervewracking to put faces to the Writerswise and Twitter folks that I had only met online up to this point.

Non-fiction Panel

Wexford Literary Festival

The non-fiction panel kicked off with Shane Dunphy, Andrea Hayes and Louise Hall. The talk was fascinating and taught me a lesson that I should not rule out non-fiction books from my reading pile!

I can’t wait to read Shane’s upcoming fiction novel ‘After She Vanished’ and the audience were moved by his stories from his ‘Miserylit’ books- his term! Keep an eye out for one of his books which is being made into a feature film!!

Andrea Hayes was humble and kept telling us that she’s not a writer, despite having published two bestsellers! I’m not the type of person who reads motivational books usually, but after hearing Andrea speaking, I ran straight to buy her book ‘My Life Goals Journal.’ I’m using the audio hypnosis and writing in the journal and have already achieved one of my small goals, thanks Andrea!

Despite not being religious in the slightest, Louise’s book about different people’s stories and their pilgrimages to Medjugorie intrigues me. The nosy side in me loves the human story. The panel melded together wonderfully with facilitator Sheila Forsey at the helm.

The main take away points from this panel were:

  • Write what you want to write. 
  • If you’re interviewing people use a tape recorder 
  • Do what you love and love what you do
  • If you’re telling a real person’s story get their permission

Crime Writers Panel Discussion

Next up was a juicy panel with crime writers Alex Barclay and Michael O’Higgins. They gave us an insight where the gruesome and scary ideas in their books come from. Michael draws mostly  from real life inspiration and regaled us with tales of real life criminals in Dublin.  Alex isn’t sure exactly how the ideas come to  her but has been reading True Crime since she was a teenager.

Next, they moved on to that ‘Killer First Line’ that crime writers are so well known for. Alex advised writers to bring as much magic as possible in the first sentence while also setting the scene for the story. Michael didn’t give it a a huge amount of thought but agreed it was important for setting scene place and character. It was great to listen to the two crime writers spilling their bloody guts to curator Adele O’Neill (who signed a three book deal herself earlier this year!)

The main take away points from this panel were:

  • Don’t get caught up in the ‘how to’s of writing 
  • Write what you can find out and don’t be afraid to ask people for help with research (but do give them credit) 
  • Trust your story, and trust your gut 
  • You can be gruesome anywhere

Publisher Q&A

Before the break for lunch was an insightful chat with publishers Lisa Coen and Sarah Davis-Goff of Tramp Press, moderated by the lovely Caroline Busher. Lisa and Sarah met while they were competing with each other as interns in Lillyput Press. They seem like a force to be reckoned with!

They shared their dream submission with us… I shouldn’t tell you……………….. Well…………………………………………………………………………… Maybe……………………………. OK……………………… It’s brilliant Irish Sci-fi (which I think everyone who was in the room is now trying to write!)

They only publish two or three books a year from exceptional writers. The two wonder woman look after all aspects of the business between them. They’re always looking for diverse writers and be prepared for questions on your influences if you submit to them.

The main take away points from this panel were:

  • When making submissions, follow the guidelines and address the individuals.
  • Expect to be rejected, but keep at it – www.litrejections.com is a great resource for writers. Always be writing the next thing.
  • Do it for the love of writing.
  • Write an exceptional Irish Sci-fi novel and submit to Tramp Press 😉

An Evening in Conversation with Carmel Harrington and Sinead Moriarty

The highlight of the weekend was definitely the gin tea party in the magestic Enniscorthy 🏰 Castle. Sitting down listening to the charismatic Carmel having an intimate friendly chat with the thoughtful and honest Sinead was nothing short of magical.

Gin served from teapots by two fine gentleman in their finest, added a touch of utter elegance to the evening, and helped everyone feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Carmel and Sinead shared personal stories, how they began their writing careers, the ups and downs in their own lives and I feel privileged to have experienced the evening. We left the evening feeling wonderful and totally inspired. My two friends who don’t currently write 📝, even thought they might write something themselves after attending!

The main take away points from the evening were:

  • The Irish writing community is friendly, supportive  and helpful.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Anxiously wait for Carmel’s Cold Feeling book to be released.
  • Carmel Harrington and Sinead Moriarty are both awesome 

We had back to the rebel county on the Sunday, so unfortunately we couldn’t stick around for the Sunday events. By all accounts, the prize giving and the motivational talk with Bibi Baskin was an apt way to close a fantastic festival.

The main thing that struck us all about the weekend is that it was all about the writers and none of it was publicity driven.

The Wexford Literary Festival committee are an amazing bunch and pulled off an epic weekend! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018! 👏 👏 👏

My Witchy Shoes from Curiouser and Curiouser Shoes

My witchy shoes

I have been lusting over all the fabulous shoes on Curiouser and Curiouser Shoes for months. I am delighted to finally own my own pair of precious Witchy shoes!

My Witchy Shoes

From Harry Potter shoes to Ruby Slippers, each pair of shoes is unique and beautiful. Curiouser and Curiouser Shoes also do bespoke shoes, with different choices of heel height and show type – Shoe Heaven! I wanted a pair but I  didn’t know which shoe to order!

Joanne over at Lipsticknleapordprint tagged me in a post. Curiouser and Curiouser were looking for a tester for a new Witchcraft shoe. I was ecstatic! These were the perfect shoes for me!

My main character in the supernatural YA novel I’m working on is a young witch. My own pair of shoes adorned with spells and potions? Yes, please! I contacted Bethany and told her I was interested in being a tester for the Witchcraft shoes, we agreed on a style of shoe and she asked for input on the design and now I am the proud owner of the most fabulous shoes I’ve ever owned! The shoes are really comfortable and I’m over the moon with them.

Witchy shoes

Witchy Shoes

The shoes arrived beautifully packaged and I was like a child on Christmas morning opening the pink glittery box!

Witch shoesWitchy shoes

I finally own magic shoes, shoes I’ve wanted ever since the Clarkes Magic Steps ad! Which I never got, thanks Mam!

Curiouser and Curiouser Shoes you’ve made me a very happy girl, thank you!

You can check out the fantastic creations by Curiouser and Curiouser Shoes by clicking  here.

#BookReview – Twice Upon an Apocalypse

Twice upon an Apocalypse

Dark Fairytales in a Lovecraftian Landscape

I’m a big fan of Crystal Lake Publishing’s short story anthologies, so I jumped at the chance to receive a launch copy of Twice Upon An Apocalypse. These are all the well known favourite fairytales tossed into a hellish world.

Fairytales in their essence are quite horrific,  not all love and happy endings.

I loved the way each story was reworked into a unique tale, but still carried the same original story mingled with a unique flavour of Lovecraft. I find it hard to pick my favourites as they are so many good stories! But the twists on Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella were excellent with their strong female characters! I also loved the Bluebeard and the Little Mermaid stories. The Little Mermaid has always struck a chord with me, as does the evil tale of Bluebeard.

The joy of a short story collection like this is being able to dip in for a complete story  in a short period of time.

Even though I never stopped at just one story,  because I kept wanting to see which fairytale would come next! I’m already dying to read the next Crystal Lake anthology.

To purchase the anthology  click here.

To find out more about Crystal Lake Publishing click here.

 

The Book Lovers Tag 📓 📔 📕 📗 📘 📙

I was inspired by fellow blogger Ritu at Butismileanyway to do this Book Lover’s tag. Like Ritu, I love to read and I adore books! 📚 My friend and I even set up our own Facebook book club Books, Glorious Books,  and we’re always open to new members.
Image result for book lovers tag
Do you have a specific place for reading?
I can read anywhere but my favourite places are my local library in Hollyhill and my bed. I just love my bed and my bedside locker has a mountain of books on it!
Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?
I have a collection of lots of different Harry Potter bookmarks 🔖 but I am sometimes forced to turn down a page! Sorry, Mr/ Ms Librarian!
Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of the chapter?
I try to stop at the end of a chapter, otherwise I’m making up my own chapter ending in my head!
Do you eat or drink while reading?
Yes, to the drink – I love a nice glass of red wine 🍷  with a juicy horror.   No, to food. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the messiest eater going! My books would be destroyed!
Music or TV while reading?
I like to read while my husband watches soccer, the noise doesn’t bother me when I’m on book world.
One book at a time or several?
I usually have at least three books on the go – a Kindle book for on the go or late night weekend reading, a physical library book and an audio book for my drive home from work. I know, that’s a lot of books!! 😀
Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?
The library, at home, a cafe, the car – I’m happy anywhere with a book!
Read out loudly or silently?
Read out loud in my head!
Do you read ahead or skip pages?
Never!! But I do tend to speed read!
Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I’m not the most careful person, so generally the spine is broken. But my books were handled with clumsy loving hands.
Do you write in your books?
Nope! The only writing I like in my most special books are dedications from the author, like the wonderful dedication from Andrea Hayes in my Life Goals Journal.
I won’t nominate anyone specific, but I do urge you to have a go at the tag if you are a book lover too, just for the fun of it!
Link back to me so I can read your answers!
Happy reading!

Darkness into Light for Pieta House – Blarney 2017 #DIL2017

   Darkness into Light

This was my fourth year doing the Darkness Into Light Walk for Pieta House. The event gets bigger and better ever year!

The Darkness Into Light  walk was held in Blarney for the first time this year.  It was an intimate and friendly walk, with a spectacular finish in the environs of Blarney Castle (where my husband and I also took our wedding photos last October). As we walked along the Castle grounds in Blarney, a snake of yellow people were ahead of us and behind us as far as the eye could see. The message behind the walk is strong and powerful.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark things may seem. 

Pieta House are a charity organisation that help people and their families cope with depression, suicide and self harm. Their services are free and the organisation was founded by Joan Freeman. Joan spoke in my workplace a couple of years ago and she is an inspirational woman.

Would you give up a few hours of their sleep to do the walk if it could save a family months of lost sleep?  If the walk could save your brother, Mother, father, sister, daughter, aunt, son or uncle, would you do it?

The symbolism of the walk is beautiful. It’s a magical and emotional experience. Walking into the dawn is a treasured event and the reason behind it resonates through everyone who partakes. If you missed the walk this year and would like to donate to the charity click here. I’ve never lost someone to suicide, I’m lucky.  Suicide and depression affect EVERYONE in some way.

Darkness into Light

Darkness into Light sheds a light on mental health. It’s OK to ask for help, it’s OK to not be OK, it’s OK to share your feelings. Watch out for others, you never know the effects you have on them.

Contact Pieta House at any hour of the day by phoning Freecall 1800 247 247 or simply texting HELP to 51444. To find out more about Pieta House click here.

If doing Darkness into Light saves just one life or gets people talking, then it’s important. If you still need further convincing watch the video below!

Deadly t-shirts for horror lovers on Serialkillershop.com!

I recently came across a fantastic site called Serialkillershop.com. With a name like that, I was immediately drawn to it!

serialkillershop.comserialkillershop.comserialkillershop.comserialkillershop.com

They sell an array of themed clothes and other knick knacks. The themes are horror, humour and true crime. Their speciality is Horror t-shirts (AKA KILLERS). All t-shirts are hand drawn, limited edition, and printed on the highest quality garments. International shipping is free if you spend over $49.

serialkillershop.comserialkillershop.comserialkillershop.comserialkillershop.com

 

I thought it would be interesting to see what types of t-shirts appealed to the various members of my family – each one (including me)  is unique and weird in their own wonderful way! They loved the t-shirts too and these were there choices.

The crazy sporty girly girl (AKA  the sister!)

Sarah’s pick didn’t surprise me and I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise anyone else. I doubt she has ever seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but this quote is typical Sarah! She’s a rare one!

 

serialkillershop.com

 

The Little Brother with a Dark Sense of Humour

James loves anything dark and funny. This pick suits his personality perfectly. No words needed to describe this one!

The Daddy, the one who made me a horror freak!

serialkillershop.com

My Father inspired a love of horror in me from a young age. His pick was from the horror classic Hellraiser. Who doesn’t love a bit of Pinhead?!

The Batman Fanatic, my husband

serialkillershop.com

Despite my best attempts, my husband is not into horror AT ALL!! But he loves Batman movies and his favourite is Batman: The Dark Knight. I have to agree, Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker is just epic.

Me, Noelle – the lover of the weird, horrific and beautiful

serialkillershop.com

I love horror movies of all kinds, but I also love the weird and beautiful. Pan’s Labyrinth is my favourite film of all time. It’s heartbreaking, horrific and the special effects are unbelievable. I can watch it over and over again and never tire of it.

To conclude, there is something on Serialkillershop.com for everyone in the family. I have some products winging their way to me from the States and I can’t wait to get my hands on them! I’ll keep you posted!

Which of these t-shirts is your favourite? 🙂

 

 

The Third Twin by Darren Seegle: Book Review

The Third Twin from Darren Speegle is another original horror novel from Crystal Lake Publishing and I was lucky enough to receive a launch day free copy.

Best Read: While planning an Alaskan or Brazilian adventure!!

The Third Twin

The Third Twin is clever, dark and scary. Not things go bump in the night scary, but scary like someone hurting all your nearest and dearest. There are some truly horrible moments in the book, but all are portrayed beautifully. Like all the other Crystal Lake Publishing books I’ve read, this is original and edgy.

The travel scenes are unbelievable – I want to visit Spider festival in Brazil and the Vampire Ball in Germany! I could see and smell each unique landscape in my head. The cover art is also beautiful and evocative.

A trip to the Spider Festival in Brazil for Barry and his daughter Kristin,  a couple of years after Kristin’s twin’s death,  sparks a horrific and surreal nightmare for the entire family. This is thrilling and mysterious book, with twists and turns throughout.

My only criticism is that the end was maybe a bit too clever? I had re-read the last chapter a few times to try and understand it. Eloquent and well paced, I will definitely be reading more from this author.

To purchase the book: click here.

To find out more about the book click here: click here.

Yay, a Book Prize from Karl Drinkwater!

My luck has been in the last few months. I won a jewellery voucher for The Hidden Gem, makeup from Joanne at Lipsticknleopardprint and a night away to the beautiful Inchydoney Island. My luck continues with a book prize from Karl Drinkwater!

Karl DrinkwaterKarl Drinkwater’s Horror Collection

Karl Drinkwater gifted me an audio copy of his novella Harvest Festival last year. If this is anything to judge by, They Move Below and Turner should both be excellent reads.

Here is my review of Harvest Festival.

I received a gift of the audio version of Harvest Festival. This was my second time listening to an audio book and I enjoyed every single minute of it. Audio books are a great way to keep me busy on the car journey home from work!

The book is excellently written, every word is there for a reason. The tension builds from the end of an average day on the farm for Callum and his family. The ordinary strains on family relationships is very evident in the first few chapters. I loved the realism of those scenes.

The normality of those scenes allows for tension to build rapidly when the family ends up facing a horrific invasion of an alien kind! Harvest Festival is dramatic and terrifying.  The scenes move speedily along to an ending which stayed in my head for some while.

Though it was a novella, I loved the changing dynamic in the family’s relationships from start to finish.

To conclude, I look forward to reading my gorgeous newly printed copies of They Move Below and Turner!

Karl Drinkwater's Horror Collection
Karl Drinkwater’s Horror Collection

To purchase Karl Drinkwater’s Horror Collection click here.

Karl Drinkwater

To find out more about the author click here.

Two New Horror Gems on Netflix UK

There are two new horror gems on Netflix UK this month – Viral and The Neon Demon.

Viral

Viral is a story of two teenage sisters struggling to survive a deadly virus outbreak. This genre is a bit overdone, but this is a fresh take on it. The acting is realistic and not overly dramatic, while the gore is bloody and  beautifully disgusting! My favourite element of this was the dynamic between the two sisters – the horror genre’s Anna and Elsa. I loved this.

The Neon Demon

I’d been waiting for this movie to make it to Neflix for ages! So I was delighted when one of my Best of Netflix Horror buddies informed me​ that it was one of the new additions this month!

This is absolutely stunning movie. Florescent, throbbing colours and lots of slow disturbing scenes. This shows horror of a different kind -the horror of the human species and vanity. Fresh-faced 16 year old Jesse arrives in LA to try to make it as a model. What follows is a disastrous kaleidoscope ​of events. This is weird and beautiful and utterly disturbing. I loved it and it’s nothing like any other film I’ve seen.

 

Netflix, you did not disappoint with these two beauties!

What did you think of these movies? Are you looking forward to anything on Netflix this month?