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‘The Amityville Horror’ Jay Anson

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The classic and terrifying story of one of the most famous supernatural events–the infamous possessed house on Long Island from which the Lutz family fled in 1975.

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SPOILER ALERT!

Okay, so this was meant to be my Halloween special review (you can check out last year’s here), but because I’m shit, I’m 11 days late (doing the review, not that kinda late. Don’t worry, there’ll be no baby Jazzs, thank God). Better late than never, though, right?

So The Amityville Horror was gifted to me on my birthday way back in early October and I was super excited to get stuck in. My favourite kind of horror stories are the kind that are supposedly built upon a foundation of truth (and I use the term ‘favourite’ very loosely here because how can something that scares the metaphorical shit out of me possibly be my favourite? Some mysteries will have to remain unsolved).

The book begins in December 1975, with the Lutz family moving into their new home at 112 Ocean Avenue in the town of Amityville. However, just over one year prior, on 13th November 1974, the spacious family home bore witness to a grisly mass murder at the hands of Ronald DeFeo. The Lutz family aren’t superstitious, though, and while they think the crime tragic and unfortunate, they’re nonetheless excited to move into their new home with their three children.

112 Ocean Avenue was to be their home but for a mere twenty eight days.

What I found chilling about The Amityville Horror is that it doesn’t play out like your stereotypical, run-of-the-mill horror. The events described within it predate horror tropes that began to creep into movies and books of the same genre in much later years (like the green Jel-o type substance seeping down the walls, which instantly put me in mind of Slimer from Ghostbusters, a movie which was released in 1984, seven years after this book). There were also some events – like the black water in the toilets and the front door being violently warped and ripped off its hinges – that I have yet to read of in other books and its the originality of these events that add an air of authenticity to this book. I found myself reading The Amityville Horror and thinking “This sounds pretty convincing” and when you can actually imagine those types of events happening to yourself and your own family, that’s when the chills really begin to seep into your bones.

The horror is a slow-burner. There are multiple occasions when the Lutzs dismiss their experiences as tiredness or their imaginations and what makes for a real edge-of-your-seat horror story is that by the time they realise that something quite other is at play, it’s too late.

What I find most interesting about this story, outside of Jay Anson’s book, is that subsequent owners have reported no such events as the Lutz family described. What do you think? Do you think the Lutz family simply wanted their 15 minutes of fame? Do you think their prior knowledge of the house’s history influenced their perception of otherwise natural occurrences? Did the entities that DeFeo claimed ‘spoke’ to him see something of DeFeo in George Lutz? Let me hear your ideas in the comments below!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Song: Roger Daltrey’s Don’t let the sun go down on me (because who’d want to spend a night in that house?)

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This book is available on Amazon in a shit ton of different formats (okay, like five)

 

 

 

 

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My new blogging schedule

Hey, guys!

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting anywhere near as much lately and there’s a number of reasons for that, feeling down/uni assignments/tiredness to name but a few.

I’ve decided to try and be a bit more organised with my time and try and get back up to speed with things. I know some of you will say “But it’s only a hobby, don’t sweat it!”, but my lack of activity on the blogosphere has been giving me a lot of anxiety. I feel bad that I haven’t been commenting on other people’s posts anywhere near as much as I used to and because I’ve made some great friends through blogging, I worry about losing those friendships.

So I’m going to maybe do one review/post once a week and comment on other posts on another day of the week. I’m going to be trying this system for the next couple of weeks to see how it works. I’m doing a review tonight and then tomorrow I’m going to be catching up with other people’s blogs, so please don’t be angry if I don’t get round to your blog tonight. I’m trying my best and I’m sorry for being shit.

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Thanks for understanding 

‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ Rupi Kaur

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From Rupi Kaur, the bestselling author of Milk and Honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. Illustrated by Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. It is a celebration of love in all its forms.

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It seems that the world had been eagerly awaiting the publication of Rupi Kaur’s the sun and her flowers in the wake of the New York Time’s bestselling success that was milk & honey (for which you can see the review of here). I thoroughly enjoyed Rupi’s first collection of poetry, finding the combination of simple yet powerful prose alongside equally simple yet powerful illustrations to be something unlike anything I had ever encountered before in poetry.

I wasn’t 100% sure of what I’d think of the sun and her flowers, if I’m really honest. I found that in the wake of milk & honey’s success, a lot of poets, particularly on platforms such as Instagram, were trying to emulate Rupi’s very distinct style. I find being inspired by a person is a wonderful thing; I myself tried my hand at micropoetry and found the challenge of trying to incorporate as much emotion into as few a words as possible to be refreshing. As a writer, it’s always good to experiment with different styles…but as I said, I found a lot of people were trying to emulate Rupi herself. This isn’t a criticism of these people in any way, but I think it’s so important to find your own voice and style too. Being inspired is great, but drawing on that inspiration to forge your own style is even better. Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’ve read so much Rupi-esque poetry following my reading of milk & honey that I was half expecting to be sick of it by now.

But I wasn’t. the sun and her flowers is a thicker volume than milk & honey and it expands upon and adds to the hard-hitting themes explored within its predecessor. There’s themes of abuse, self-neglect, lost love, moving forward, racism, sexism…basically, it’s a collection in which everyone, regardless of their gender, age, sexuality or race, will find a poem or two with which they can relate. In particular, I found the poems regarding Rupi’s parents to be interesting albeit often painful. Their experiences of starting a new life in the USA are experiences that are still relevant today within the current climate, a climate in which immigrants are too often looked upon with scorn and suspicion. It makes for a powerful message.

As with milk & honey, I have no doubt that the sun and her flowers will draw its fair share of criticism. If I stop slurping my tea, I can almost hear the naysayers with their cries of “But it isn’t real poetry!”…but how do we define poetry? Poetry is about the creative expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas and I find it unfair to judge Rupi’s work against the likes of, as I saw in one review, Byron. They’re two completely different people living in vastly different ages. As with everything, poetry has changed vastly over time and while it’s fine to appreciate the works of long-dead poets, it’s also completely fine to appreciate the works of living, up and coming poets.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Song: David Guetta’s (feat. Sia) Titanium 

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This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader and paperback format.

I got published!

During my little break, I headed back up the road to see my family and when I rocked up at my grandparents’ house, I found the anthology in which a flash fiction piece of mine is published had arrived! (wow, that was a really long sentence…and breathe)

What makes it even better is that my best friend’s story is printed on the opposite page. We’re planning on releasing a collection of short stories early 2018 so watch this space 🙂

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Taking a little break

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Hey, guys. Just a quick post to let you know that I’m going to be taking a break for a week or so. I’ve been feeling very low lately and to top things off, I also have a UTI so have been feeling even more crappy. I’m going home to see my family this weekend and while I’m going to catch up on comments (I’m really, really behind so I’m really sorry), I won’t be doing any posts. I’m hoping I’ll be feeling okay soon! In the meantime, though, if anyone wants to keep in touch, feel free to chat with me through my personal Facebook. I always love hearing from you guys ❤

 

‘Cleaving Souls’ Chauncey Rogers

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Some dangers you cannot outrun. Some nightmares do not end when you wake.

Something is watching Katherine Harris. She can feel it when she goes out. She can feel it inside her home. She feels it in her bed. Her husband, Alex, wants to blame her anxiety on her pregnancy, but he’s often away for work. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be stuck in a small town, to be trapped in a tiny house on a run-down street, to be alone. Kat does, and the feeling only grows worse. 

Whatever is going on, Kat’s certain that it’s far more serious than pregnancy jitters. When Alex takes Kat on a second honeymoon to get her mind off things, it becomes far more dangerous as well.

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I received a free copy of Cleaving Souls, courtesy of Chauncey, in exchange for an honest review. I reviewed Chauncey’s previous book, Home to Roost, the review of which you can check out here.

When I first heard about Cleaving Souls, it seemed to tick all the right boxes on my list of What makes a great novel. Horror? Check (hey, it is Halloween month after all!) Written by Chauncey Rogers, author of Home to Roost, which is one of my best reads of 2017? Check. Intriguing premise? Double check. I had high hopes for Cleaving Souls and I was eager to delve right in.

It did not disappoint. In fact, I’d go as far as to say Cleaving Souls went above and beyond my already high expectations.

One of the first things I want to highlight is Chauncey’s ability to completely immerse his readers in the events within his novels. My reading of this book began in a drafty launderette, where I had to sit for an hour waiting for my laundry to dry. The launderette is bitterly cold in October and the plastic seat I was sat upon did little to enhance my comfort…but I barely noticed my dismal surroundings. Upon reading the first page, the world around me seemed to melt away and was replaced by the disconcerting town of Peascombe in which the book’s protagonist, Kat, lives with her husband.

Let’s talk about the prologue.

The prologue effectively reels a reader in. It’s a prologue that had me asking a lot of questions, questions which I can’t reveal here without giving away potential spoilers. I will say this, though; the answers to your questions don’t start being revealed until around three quarters of the way through the book, meaning it keeps you guessing. I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy books that have me theorizing throughout and the great thing about Cleaving Souls is that my various theories regarding the gradually worsening creepy happenings in Kat’s life came nowhere near to the actuality of them. The truth underpinning Kat’s dreams and the voice she keeps hearing is far darker than I could have ever imagined.

Which leads me quite nicely onto the horror elements of this book. A lot of horror these days is blood, guts and gore and while that makes me insanely uncomfortable, it doesn’t outright scare me. It doesn’t keep me awake at night. I just watch a few funny videos on YouTube and bam, I forget about it.

Not with Cleaving Souls, though. The horror within this book is creepy. It’s unsettling. It’s unnerving. It’s the kind of horror that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down (hence why it wasn’t a book that I read before sleep). For me, one of the most unnerving elements of Cleaving Souls is Kat’s initial uncertainty over what is and isn’t real. How terrifying must it be to question your own sanity when (spoiler alert) you see your reflection in the TV screen doing things that you most definitely are not? How unsettling must it be to receive texts that disappear, leaving you (and your spouse) wondering if they were ever there at all?

Cleaving Souls is a fresh, innovative book within its genre and one that will keep you guessing right until its terrifying end. If you’re looking for a creepy book to keep you company on these cold, dark nights leading up to Halloween, Cleaving Souls is the book for you.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Song: Queen’s I’m going slightly mad 

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This book is available  to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

Halloween reads

In the run up to Halloween, I’m trying to work my way through some of the creepier titles on my TBR list and today I started ‘The Amityville Horror’ (also, yes, I am in my PJs at 5pm but I have a cold and I’m tired so I’m excused :P)

What spooky reads are you currently reading?

Curse – a poem

There are days when you might feel that to some people your existence is a curse

But know and remember this one truth; you’re so wanted, loved and needed 

And I hope that one day the clouds will part and you’ll gain a true sense of your self worth

 

For anyone who needs a little reminder today ❤

I’m back, beeotches!

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I really wanted to post pictures of all the cultural hotspots in Glasgow (so there’s a picture of a cool archway I saw on the way to the pub), but, truth be told, about 90% of the photos I did take are of me and my boyfriend posing for Snapchat filter selfies. So what you’re seeing are photos of some baklava I had in my favourite tea room, some gorgeous flowers I received for my birthday, one of about 30 Snapchat selfies, aforementioned cool archway and one of my panda birthday cards.

Thank you so, so much for all of your birthday wishes ❤ Today was spent catching up on uni things and doing boring adult things like laundry…but have no fear, I shall be catching up in the next couple of days ❤

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