FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017

Frighteningly Good Read #8

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are both prolific and talented writers. Whether they work together or separately, I always love their books. My hands down favorite character that they have created is Special Agent A.X.L. (Aloysius) Pendergast. Pendergast is the coolest person I have never met (who doesn’t exist) and if he is in the story I am buying the book. In fact, you can go to Douglas / Child’s website and sign up for the Pendergast Newsletters that as wonderful, weird and varied as Pendergast himself.

There are at least fifteen books with Pendergast but the one that really scared the socks off of me was Wheel of Darkness. It is right smack dab in the middle of all the stories but it deserves accolades galore for freaking me out. It should be noted that the authors made this book different enough that it could easily be read as a stand alone.

wheelofdarknessWheel of Darkness is bizarre and eccentric. In this story Special Agent Pendergast and his ward Constance are wrapping up a World Tour in Asia where they find that a rare and dangerous artifact hidden and guarded by monks has been stolen. Of course, Pendergast offers to track and retrieve the relic.

I cannot pinpoint one particular part that scared me the most. The pace and anticipation of the book was fast and thrilling. Perhaps it is because large sections of the book take place on a cruise ship which is where all my nightmares begin. The big red boat is my idea of hell. I know so many people that find cruises relaxing but I just know I would be stuck on a ship with Norovirus and a hurricane outside. Plus, so many strangers…. no, thank you!

Some people did not enjoy this book. It was absolutely a departure in tone for many of the other Pendergast stories but I loved it. It was thrilling and terrifying and definitely deserving of being called a FGR. One person told me she was a huge fan of the series until this book and it scared her too badly to continue reading. Most importantly, did I mention it has Pendergast?


Tell me, please?

What is something everyone else enjoys that is a nightmare for you?


 

all ages · FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017

Frighteningly Good Reads #7

Recently I was coerced into watching the Amazon original show, The Worst Witch. Truthfully, this is not the best filmmaking I have ever seen. The “magical” moments were definitely not million dollar blue screen shots. However, the story telling was absolutely on point. It follows a girl struggling to better herself even though she is considered “the worst” in her class. It was so endearing that I watched the remainder of the entire series.

apprentice witchSo, when I saw The Apprentice Witch I had to check it out. This book by James Nicol begins with our witch, Arianwyn, flunking her Witch’s assessment. However, since there is such a great need for Witches she is assigned to a little town called Lull as an Apprentice Witch. There she works she learns to become more and more confident in her abilities. And, it is working. With each spells cast and charm mended Arianwyn becomes more confident in her abilities. Then, sinister darkness appears out of the woods and Arianwyn is challenged by a force that would thwart even the most talented and seasoned Witch.

Maybe this selection takes the Frighteningly out of the FGR but it was such an adorable and fun book that I had to add it to my selections for October 2017. Arianwyn is a good person who chooses friendship over personal success and makes mistakes while learning.

For me, the supporting characters are often the biggest draw in a book. And these supporting characters come in all shapes and sizes. Arianwyn has to cope with being assigned her first post while on Witching probation and a long term visit from her rival Witch from school – Gimma. Gimma was a great foil for Arianwyn and her blossoming friendship with Salle. Truthfully, people like Gimma have managed to manipulate me my whole life and I went back and forth between hope that they would finally become friends and cheering for Arianwyn to crush her.

There was also Wyn’s new friendship with Lull townie Salle that had the realistic element of awkward hope that seems to be true of all new friendships – no matter how old you become. And maybe this is what I enjoy the most about children’s books. They allow us to learn over and over again what every child and adult needs to know. How to become a better person.


Tell me, please!

Are there any not-so-spooky stories on your TBR for this month?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017

Frighteningly Good Reads #6

This FGR is a throwback. This is in part because I read this book over and over again and also because some of the books I planned to review were not exactly stellar. One was so very good….until the ending. This is the downside of only writing positive reviews!

Everyone has their favorite Stephen King and, in my opinion, this psychological thriller is one of the best. Misery hits home for so many of us intrepid little writers because, while we dream of connecting with people through our work, nobody wants a Number One Fan like Annie. *Shudder* Can you imagine?!misery

My first job was at a local library. I started as a page. In case you didn’t know, that is one of the many people tasked with re-shelving all of the books that are returned.

Public service announcement: if you don’t want the book, that is FINE. Don’t just stick it anywhere. Please.

Anyway, when I had to shelve books in mystery / thriller I would always check on Misery. If one of the copies was there, I would randomly open it and peek in on the characters. This book is so scary that I could read a page or two and my head would be in the same terror-stricken place as I was when I first read the story!

If you haven’t already read Misery, this is the time of year to sit inside and revel in the terror that King’s words can create. And, the movie is so iconically terrifying that you can look forward to watching it later in the month.


Tell me, please!

If you a fan of Stephen King, which of his (many) books is your favorite?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · nonfiction

Frighteningly Good Reads #5

I purchased a copy of The Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes on a whim a couple of years ago and I use it all of the time. I am really fascinating by different religions and beliefs systems and I was curious about the spells. Alright, honestly, I was extremely frustrated with a situation in my life and there is a whole chapter on The Evil Eye. Sold.

excyclopediaThis Encyclopedia not only offers the spells but also gives fascinating reference information and background knowledge. As a self described, “inclusive encyclopedia and reference book,” The Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells feels comprehensive to me but honestly, I have no basis for that opinion. I only know that when I wish there was a spell for something this book has five options.

For example, I know I have mentioned before that I struggle with insomnia. Sometimes, I try to be a good little Catholic and pray on it but, as far as I can tell, there is not a Patron Saint of Sleep. So, I like to try some of the Insomnia Spells – there are at least 10. My favorite is the Insomnia Bath.

  1. Gently warm goats’ or ideally, sheep’s milk (as in counting sheep),
  2. Blend true almond extract and several drops of essential oil of lavender into the warm milk so that the fragrance pleases you.
  3. Add to a tub filled with warm water before bedtime.

After one of these baths (I can never find sheep’s milk and sometimes I use almond milk) I feel better, I’m more tired and I am usually able to sleep. Not to mention, I smell good and my skin looks nourished.

I’m also a frequent user of a domination spell (stay with me! It’s not what you think!) which is called the “Kick a Stone Spell”. Basically, you find a small stone and name it after the person who is making you insane. Imagine the most annoying person at school or work and go from there. After naming it you drop it, kick it around (not to hurt it, just to envision that you are in control) and talk to the rock about what you want it to do. This is probably effective for me since it is like a dry run of being assertive. I also find it very enjoyable. Its cathartic. And hilarious for any onlookers.

The Encyclopedia’s bibliography is pages and pages of references. I cannot imagine the work that went into creating this tome. I feel almost rude in the fun way I use this wonderful book but I cannot help it. The spells and information fascinate me.

If you are at all interested in spells I highly recommend The Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells the Ultimate Reference Book for the Magical Arts by Judika Illes as a Frighteningly Good Read. I keep mine right next to my Bible.


Tell me, please!

Would you ever try casting a spell?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Graphic Novels · Halloween2017 · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Reads #4

For day four of my adventures through Frighteningly Good Reads I tried a graphic novel. I have only recently been introduced to the wonder of graphic novels and finding a scary one that was also excellent was surprisingly easy.

throughthewoodsThrough the Woods by award winning comic-creator Emily Carroll is a book of five short horror stories. In addition to the art, which I found very creepy (I’d say that this as a good thing, after all it is a horror book), the stories are told in sort of the manner one would any scary tale. Just, imagine that you and your friends are sitting around a campfire. One leans into the glow to speak in a whisper, “There was a girl…and there was a man…” This is how I heard the stories in Through the Woods.

And the creep factor in these drawings is high but doesn’t pass my gross-out limit. The author was able to build anticipation and tension with her art and words and leave me baffled on one story, transfixing in horror on another and actually shuddering on a third. Each story stayed in my mind but if I were being honest, the fifth one really scared me the most. I mean, really scared me. I almost tossed the book across the room.

This book really puts the Frightening into my growing collection of Frightening Good Reads. If you want to try a truly scary graphic novel I highly recommend sitting down and taking a trip Through the Woods.


Tell me, please!

Do you enjoy graphic novels? What about scary short stories?

 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · Mystery · Romantic · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Read #3

It is hard to write about things that make me happy when there is so much senseless violence and devastation in world. I was in an utter tailspin after hearing the news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. My heart breaks for all those who were killed, their families and for the people who were hurt, scared or had a love one in any way involved.

For moments like these, I keep a shelf of books that bring me nothing but joy. They are all dog-earned and the spines are broken but they calm me down and keep my company on long nights when sadness is almost all consuming.

I have five Jennifer Crusie books on that shelf. I fell in love with her contemporary romances that combine a strong woman, a cute guy and a bit of mystery within their storylines. I love that her character’s happily-ever-after are varied and not so cookie cutter as requiring a marriage and children. Mostly, these books are well written escape. A much needed one at times like these.

maybeSo, today I recommend for you as a FrighteninglyGoodReadMaybe This Time. This romance pits a divorced couple against a creepy old house with both figurative ghosts from their past coming back to visit and literal ghosts in the present popping up and causing chaos. Add in two delinquent children and an unfinished romance and this book cooks.

There are ways to help people. There are a million things that must and will be done. But, tonight, if you have trouble sleeping, books like these are always there for you. They can’t fix anything but they will graciously keep you company.


Tell me, please!

Do you have an author you rely on to take you away?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · nonfiction

Frighteningly Good Reads #2

I think it is clear that I love books. I also love themes. And, when the weather turns cold I really enjoying cooking again. So, when I picked up The Wizard’s Cookbook by Aurelia Beaupommier, it might as well have said, “Property of Molly Mack,” on the inside.


wizardscookbookThis FrighteninlyGoodRead has magically recipes inspired by such favorites as; Harry PotterThe Wizard of Oz, the delightful Nanny McFeeThe Lord of the Rings and so many more. The first thing I am going to make is The Elven Waybread or Lembas bread. I’m going to try and make some green napkins that look like leaves to wrap them in for my lunch.

Some of the food, treats and drinks in this cookbook look nothing like the way I imagined them. They look better. The full page photographs and small blurbs explaining their origin help really excite my interest in the recipe as well as invigorating my desire to re-read so many books! I enjoy the way the author gives a simple list of ingredients and directions and then adds in extra modern technology. For example, in the recipe for Gandalf’s Pick-me-up beverage the fruits are to be crushed in a mortar (or food processor). Similarly, if you want to make Hippogriff en Papillote you can substitute ostrich meat for the hard to find Hippogriff. Even ostrich meat sounds disgusting to me but I guess a black magician has to eat too.

Obviously, my favorite part is the beverages. I may not have time to whip up Harry’s favorite little steak and kidney pies. But, I think sipping one of Snape’s nice Memory Potions with my PB&J or adding genuine Butterbeer to my evening ice cream just sounds so heavenly. The deserts are also just up my alley too and I cannot wait to finally make and taste one of the White Witch’s Turkish delights.

FullSizeRender

The Wizard’s Cookbook is a great addition to any cookbook collection with the added benefit of both the beautiful cover and the delicious looking, thematically fun recipes. I am going to display it in my kitchen for all of October and torture my friends and family with the receipes throughout the year. So, get out your Cauldrons, grab a copy and make something delicious!


Tell me, please!

Do you love thematic cooking?

Is there a treat from a book you’ve always wanted to taste?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · Middle Grade

Frighteningly Good Read #1

Its the first day of October! Hallelujah! So, obviously I’m already picking out pumpkin designs and spending quality time on Pinterest compiling Halloween ideas. But this month is a marathon here. I need to stretch.


cabinentofcuriositiesSo, for todays Frighteningly Good Read, I have a great warm up book. Fantastically eccentric and slightly scary, The Cabinet of Curiosities by Stephan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand and Emma Trevayne is the perfect knuckle cracking-let’s get down to business- spook book. This compilation of middle grade short and scary tales is the perfect tool for shifting from summer to fabulous fall. The 36 Brief and Sinister tales included in this book would also be easy read aloud fun when you just need a little more scare into your daily punch.

The book is delightfully quirky.  It is broken down into sections or drawers that are labelled innocent and light things “cake” or “song” but include short stories that were found in the shadows. Since the book is a middle grade level, none of the tales are so dreadful or disgusting. Rather each is just a little cup of chilling fun.

I also enjoyed the fun letters and notes written from one “curator” to another. Whatever you do, don’t skip the Meet the Curators at the end. Here the authors describe themselves as, “Tinker of Shadows and Tailor of Lies,” or “Dark Puppetress,” and will give you more books to read by these authors.


Tell me, Please!

Do you enjoy spooky short stories?