Posts tagged horror
Here are another couple of books I had reserved for Halloween: The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane, and The Last Apprentice: Night of the Soul Stealer, books 2 and 3 of The Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney.
I discovered this series by chance — I randomly got it off Bookmooch a couple of years ago (mainly because and read it for Halloween last year. I liked the first book so much, and as luck would have it, the series is available here (P289 each at National Book Store!) so I immediately put the next two books on my Christmas wishlist last year, and got them via the Flips Flipping Pages Kris Kringle. And here came Halloween again, so I broke out books 2 and 3!
A bunch of my favorite authors have been releasing comeback books lately (Jonathan Stroud with The Ring of Solomon, Jasper Fforde with The Last Dragonslayer, Cornelia Funke with Reckless), and I’ve been hedging on reading them. I’ve been resisting buying them all on impulse (at least until the next bookstore sale) because my expectations are set higher for these authors and I still need to condition myself (in case I get disappointed, yes, I’m paranoid that way).
Darren Shan, the author of Cirque du Freak, the only vampire series I’m a fan of, has had a couple of books out recently. I’ve passed up The Thin Executioner and the new release of Procession of the Dead for the moment, mostly because the Demonata series was a hit and miss for me and I haven’t even finished it yet. But I had gotten (as promised) Birth of A Killer: The Saga of Larten Crepsley as a present for one of the junior members of our book club (Paolo, who is every bit of a Cirque du Freak fan as I am), and because I haven’t seen him yet, I couldn’t resist reading the book first before I turn it over to him.
(First published on Manila Bulletin, Students and Campuses section)
Something sinister is bubbling beneath the surface of the backwater town of Skeleton Creek, and best friends Ryan McCray and Sarah Fincher appear to have stirred it. Ryan and Sarah are convinced that Skeleton Creek is harboring secrets, and they are determined to get to the bottom of it, even though there are forces that want to stop them at all costs.
This is the premise behind Scholastic Press’ latest multimedia venture, following the phenomenal success of its interactive middle reader series 39 Clues, which had readers collecting clue cards and playing online games in the hunt for the Cahill family treasure. This time around, Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman introduces readers to a new multimedia format: video books.
“Books are having a harder time holding the attention of a wired youth culture. iPods, cell phones, movies, the Internet, video games, and television are distracting even our best young readers,” states Skeleton Creek creator Patrick Carman. “I developed Skeleton Creek for ten to sixteen year olds who have grown up with YouTube and MySpace for one reason: I want them to read. While there will always be plenty of room for traditional books for young adults, publishing has to think outside the box in order to bring back many of our young readers.”
Finally, I have a new review to post!
Since last February, I’ve been counting the days until I could get my hands on a copy of Carlos Ruiz Zaf0n’s young adult novel The Prince of Mist. I got a copy as soon as it hit the bookstores — the first week of May, I think, and read it the very same night. I’ve been meaning to review it for some time now, but work has piled up (again) and I haven’t had the luxury of time for blogging.
Anyway, if you don’t know Carlos Ruiz Zafon, he fast became one of my favorite authors after reading The Shadow of The Wind, the bestselling novel that catapulted him into fame, and earned him the post of Spain’s most widely read contemporary author after Miguel de Cervantes — and Cervantes has had a good five centuries to build up his readership.
I’ve been meaning to read the classic Dracula ever since I read (and reread) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. With all the vampire fiction that’s been coming out recently, I realized I really abhor the glamorized vampire and prefer the good, old-fashioned Dracula, and so I grabbed the chance when I spotted the Viking Studio illustrated edition featuring comic book artist Jae Lee at last year’s Cut-Price Sale at National Bookstore, for about P200, along with a copy of Jane Eyre from the same line, also P200.
I knew I read Dracula when I was in 6th grade but it must have been abridged, or maybe I covered my eyes over the scary parts (Rich Hall has a sniglet for it — “snargle” — to lessen the visual impact of a horror movie [in this case, a book] by filtering it through one’s fingers) because I don’t remember much of it.
Anyway, I had to read Dracula because I need to read the book “Mina” by Marie Kiraly, a Dracula spin-off assigned to me by another Flipper for the Flips Flipping Pages Diversity Challenge this year. I also have some more Dracula-themed books in my TBR that I’d like to read so I figured I needed to read the original for comparison.
I’ve been missing in action this week because I’ve just gone through an AH1N1 scare. Well, it didn’t turn out to be AH1N1 but I can’t say fortunately — I’m on the last legs of a very nasty bout of upper respiratory tract infection that has kept me in bed for days.
I haven’t been able to read much in this time, as I had fever for four days, and after that my mom gave me this vitamin that makes me fall asleep in three seconds flat and then makes me eat like a hungry bear. And she’s afraid I’ll strain my eyes if I read too much or use the computer (hence I am sneaking this in while she is off at the drugstore).
Picture books were a great comfort to me when I was sick as a kid, and guess what – it still works! I read The Travels of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff; Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich by Adam Rex; and Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna, illus. by Loren Long (books #102-104 of 2009).
Anywaaaaay, the reason I brought this dilemma up is because I dug out this book from the bargain bin: Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones, collected from folklore and retold by Alvin Schwartz, drawings by Stephen Gammell (Book #49 for 2009).
The book looked familiar; I think I must’ve read this (or one of the previous volumes) back in grade school. There are over 25 stories in the book: some ghost stories, some urban legends, some just strange tales.
If I were much younger, I’d probably have enjoyed this book and I’d have “chilled my bones” as the book earnestly promises.
On a positive note, what’s nice about this anthology is that there’s a whole section in the back devoted to references for the adaptations — whether it’s oral tradition, a news article, or a reported recollection. One of them, An Appointment in Samarra, even appears in the last book I read (The Eight by Katherine Neville).
I also like the pen and ink wash illustrations of Stephen Gammell (Caldecott Medal awardee for The Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman, and Caldecott Honor awardee for Where the Buffaloes Begin by Olaf Baker), I think they’re even more scary than the stories, and if I was the young reader perusing this volume, they’d have been set the right mood for bone-chilling. :)
My copy: a worn paperback, still good for many readings, now in my bookmooch inventory.
My rating: 3/5 stars
Twelve-year old Amy is tired of being responsible for her special (it doesn’t specify how, but she seems to have Asperger’s, but is high-function) sister Louann. She retreats to her Dad’s ancestral home to live with her Aunt Claire. In the attic, she finds a beautiful dollhouse that is a perfect replica of her great-grandparents’ house. Her Aunt Claire is distressed upon seeing it, but Amy is fascinated and comes up to the attic to see more of the dollhouse.
Strange things happen at the dollhouse — the dolls that represent her relatives are never where she leaves it, and seem to move about the dollhouse. Amy thinks the dolls are trying to tell her something, but Aunt Claire doesn’t believe her.
After some sleuthing at the local library, Amy finds out that her great-grandparents were murdered in the house. The dollhouse holds the key to solving the mystery, and Amy and Louann must work together to resolve the grisly family secret once and for all.
The novel has a good set of characters, a fast-paced narration, and several chapters that will send shivers down your spine. The subplot about families dealing with special children is great too :)
My copy: (actually my sister’s) – an old paperback from the bargain bin at Book Sale
My rating: 4/5 stars