Curiousity Corner: Dracula by Bram Stoker

I’ve said this before – vampires are delicious. I may be paraphrasing. Now it’s no surprise that I would want to read this. It might just be my love for Gary Oldman, or my curiousity with all that good supernaturally stuff  that brought me here. Both, probably.

Since I saw the movie when I was much younger, I didn’t realize it was based off of a book. Though it’s actually one of my favourite movies (no matter how not great it was) so I’m going to make an exception and give it a read at some point. Dracula is supposed to be one of the original bloodsuckers…or as far as I know, at least one of them. I would like to see where Bram takes his imagination with this. I’m not sure if it was the same in the novel or something they changed in the film, but I liked the background that Dracula was given. I think it fit well with the story line. In the book, I just have to wonder if he’s just a lonely vampire wanting what everyone else has? Aww. Sad. Anybody have that problem with books and their movie selves?
Happy Halloween!

Xox,
Sasha

Advertisements

A Depressing Tale From Michelle’s Paper Garden

This is something I thought of when I am walking home in the middle of the night.
________________________________________________

The girl could not be more than sixteen years old yet she held a sleeping baby, a boy, wrapped in a plain blue pressed to her not fully developed breasts. He had been born only a few hours before she decided to take to the streets, an unwise action to be sure, but she deemed her task important enough to venture out on a cold winter night with a newborn. Foolish child was completely unaware of the predators who lurked just beyond her sight. Like myself.
I couldn’t help but smile a little. Merry Christmas to me, I thought wickedly as I began to follow her to the street at the edge of the park. I remained in the shadows of the trees, my feet never touching the ground.

She looked to her left and then to her right before crossing the quiet, snow covered street. It was a precautionary measure that had been etched into her head since childhood, but it did nothing to warn her of my presence or for that matter, of the presence of the others who were hovering about her: the homeless man whom to most would appear to be sleeping on the park bench was a ghoul, a creature whose enjoyment of the dead bodies is disturbing even to the most sadistic of night creatures; the unusually large stray dog who was sniffing around garbage cans in the park was a werewolf with hungry red eyes, and the old Santa Clause at the corner was no jolly old elf, but a redcap with a thirst for blood. All watched her carefully, all were aware of the others hanging about.

She raced up the steps of the large gothic building whose great towers seemed to reach the sky and stained-glass windows that were larger than any man; a church with all its stone glory. There were lights coming from inside the church, as it was Christmas Eve and midnight masses were popular for some reason. I would never understand Catholics.

With the utmost care — or at least the utmost care one can show when leaving a newborn on the front porch of a church— she placed the baby in front of the door. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to him before placing a kiss on the child’s forehead.
How sentimental, I thought sourly as the girl rose and slammed her fists against the wooden doors. Then, she rushed down the steps like a prankster who had just left a flaming gift on the doorstep of a hated neighbour and across the street. She quickly whipped past the homeless ghoul, who immediately perked up, as she vanished into the trees.

With a cruel grin of black pointed teeth, the creature rose from his bench and walked after her. The wolf growled hungrily from behind me, and proceeded to follow him, hoping to get a bite before the ghoul had his way with the young girl. No one would want to take a bite after the ghoul.

My head snapped back to the abandoned baby, and I immediately noticed that the redcap had moved from his corner. He had almost reached the staircase when the wooden door swung open, flooding the porch with soft candlelight and warmth from the many bodies that were seated in the pews. A man, a priest from him garb, stood in the doorway with a confused look on his elderly face. He spotted the baby and his expression changed to one of pity. He scooped up the child, mumbling comforting words that the sleeping baby would neither hear nor understand. He looked around, but saw no one, as the redcap had dropped his disguise and had ducked behind a tree.

It was my turn to act. I stepped out of the trees and walked to the edge of the park. “Good evening, father,” I said cheerfully as I walked across the street without looking one way or the other. I had no need to be cautious.

The priest pulled the child close to him, either because he worried that the baby would be cold or because the tiny voice in the back of his mind was telling him that I was not like him. Men of the cloth were not known to appreciate the unusual. “G-good evening, miss. Merry Christmas,” he replied with a forced smile. There was a twinge of fear in his dark blue eyes.
Hmm, so it’s the latter. I sighed as I walked up to the priest, who took an involuntary step backwards. He stared straight at me, and I in turn, stared right back.

My pupils narrowed to a thin slit. “You have nothing to fear, priest. I am just like you,” I told him, though the words made me want to gag. No one wants to be the equal of their food. “Now, give me the baby and then walk back into the church to finish your service.”

The priest nodded as he handed the baby to me and turned to renter the church. Some of the churchgoers asked him what had happened, but he ignored them all as he marched up to the alter. Paying no mind to the strange looks from his congregation, he began to preach. Those in the pews mumbled to their neighbours, but did nothing else.

The baby made a noise, rubbing his little nose with a balled fist. I glanced down at it. I could feel my fangs peeking out of my gums as I watched the blood rush through the tiny creature. There was nothing like the taste of a newborn.

There was a growl from behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see the redcap, thin and pale, standing at the foot of the staircase. His blood-soaked cap was clutched in a skeletal hand. The ghoul and the werewolf appeared on the other side of the road. The werewolf, now in human form, was covered in blood. The ghoul adorned a bloody skull on top of his head and the face of a pretty sixteen-year old girl was sewn to his bare chest. He chewed absently on a severed arm.

I turned to look back into the church. There were so many warm bodies that it sent chills up my spine. A low, content hiss escaped my lips. I smirked coldly. “Have at it, boys.”
A blur moved past me and the first scream followed as a large wolf tore into the jugular of a little old grandmother. The ghoul waddled over to the door, screeching gleefully at the mounting fear in the room. The redcap glided by me, turning in the doorway to face me.

“Coming, Camilla?” he asked, his voice was hoarse.

“No,” I replied as I lifted the baby. “This will be enough for me.”

The redcap nodded before closing the door. There was a soft click, trapping everyone inside like cows in a slaughterhouse. Screams and the sound of crunching bones were the only things that could escape the church.

Grinning like a schoolgirl, I spun around to make my way down the stairs, which I had planned on skipping down. I could have done a jig, I was so happy. Once I made it down the stony steps, I glided across the street and vanished into the dark, snowy park.

Paper Garden Presents Hack/ Slash Omnibus


Title: Hack/Slash Omnibus
Author: Tim Seeley, Dave Crosland, Stefano Caselli
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing
Year: 2008
Number of pages: 300 pages
Type: Paperback
Genre: graphic novel, horror, humour, fantasy, adult, urban fantasy

Summary:
At the end of every horror movie, one girl always survives… in this case, Cassie Hack not only survives, she turns the tables by hunting and destroying the horrible slashers that would do harm to the innocent Alongside the gentle giant known as Vlad, the two cut a bloody path through those who deserve to be put down… hard

Review:
Firstly, Hack/Slash isn’t porn. I know the cover is misleading, as even I was a little hesitant to pick it up because of the way the heroine (Cassie Hack) was posed and what she was wearing. Mind you there is a severed clown head right beside her, so you would have to be in some pretty kinky stuff.

Anywho, back to business!

Hack/Slash is all about horror, but I don’t mean the computer generated monsters and ghost of this day and age. I mean, the corny, campy horror that involved plenty of make up and rubber. Cassie and her companion Vlad hunt down and massacre, usually with the help of a baseball bat that has nails sticking out of it, serial killers who rise up from the dead. They fight all the classics, including Chuckie the psychotic doll.

Basically, if you don’t like blood and gore, you are not going to like this one. If you can’t stomach the following photo, find yourself another graphic novel because this is nothing:

Oh, did I mention that Cassie is a freaking badass! She is tough, sarcastic, and will do anything for Vlad, who would do the same for her. He is also very cool being big, green, and Hulk-like minus the invincibility. I liked Cassie. She came from a screwed up family, including a serial killer for a mother, and had some serious issues, as one does when you spend your life travelling across the country, hunting, and killing undead serial killers. She also isn’t a typical heroine, in which I mean she isn’t an “independent” woman that needs some hot guy to swoop in to save them at the last minute and then they fall in love. God am I sick of those stories. Cassie has a sort of crush on this one guy, but that lasts a single issue. The only person who saves her is Vlad, and he is not getting anywhere near her pants unless he is doing the laundry.

She is sort of a mix between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tank Girl.

Oh, remember when I said that this isn’t porn? It still isn’t, but there is some nudity… okay A LOT of nudity, but come now, with HBO and the Internet, you should all be used to some boob flashing… and lesbian make out scenes. Whatever.

Hack/Slash is funny, but in a cheesy, God-the-80s-called-and-they-want-their-material-back kind of way. I loved it just as much as I love horror and John Hughes movies.

Oh! I forgot to mention one little thing that I found a little annoying at the beginning, but then got used to it. The omnibus contains a bunch of stories, not all of which are drawn in the same way (there is one drawn like an Archie comic), and there are also little previews of stories that are really cool, but at the time I didn’t think they were going to be written. Luckily for me, they appeared in later omnibuses. Yay!

So, this may not be for everyone, but I loved it and I will keep reading it. Some people I know didn’t like it because they thought that it was too bloody or too much sexual content, but I found this series addictive and hilarious.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Michelle

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy


Title: Hemlock Grove
Author: Brian McGreevy
Publisher: FSG Originals
Year: 2012
Type: Paperback
Genre: Horror, paranormal, mystery, werewolf, urban fantasy

Summary:
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12510849-hemlock-grove]

Review

I watched the tv show before I even knew it was a book, so one would assume that I have spoiled the book and all of its mystery, but that’s not completely true. I have only read about 100 pages and so far they are keeping more or less true to the book. However, the book tells us what the characters were thinking, while a televised version could never do that unless you have Sookie Stackhouse around. Their thoughts and even some of the backstory that the show left out are very interesting and give the characters a slightly different feel. For example, in the show, Peter is motivated in his quest to stop the murders by fear of being locked up s everyone suspects him, while in the book he is motivated by not only fear, but also pity.

Anyway, onto the actually book! I haven’t finished it yet, but so far it is pretty good. It isn’t as confusing as the tv show, well at least not yet. Things are given more of an explanation in the book. The author can write very well, which is evident through his character Shelley who is mute but writes beautifully in her emails to her uncle. However, there are some points when he completely loses me and I have to reread the paragraph and figure out what he’s talking about. Some of his wording is awkward and there were a couple of words that I had to look up because I hadn’t the slightest idea what they meant. Also, the dialogue is weird to say the least. I didn’t think it overly realistic.

The constant reference to Peter’s balls was a little awkward for me. I don’t have any, but I am pretty sure they aren’t supposed to be able to sense trouble. They are not supposed to have spidey sense!

So far it’s a good read. I haven’t given up on it yet. We will see what happens.

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Year: 2003

Type: Paperback

Number of Pages: 370

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy, Adventure, Contemporary

Summary: When Richard Mayhew stops one day to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London pavement, his life is forever altered, for he finds himself propelled into an alternative reality that exists in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14497.Neverwhere]

Review:

Slight rant before beginning: that is a ridiculously short summary. The Time Machine had a longer summary than that and the book is half the size of Neverwhere. Hmph.

This is one of my favourite books. Thank you, that is my review.

I’m just kidding! Okay so this book is weird. Basically, there is a whole hidden world under our world and each station of London’s Underground is something different. How cool is that?

The main character, Richard, is a little annoying because he doesn’t really do much, but there is an array of better characters in the book like Lady Door who can magically open doors anywhere and the Marquis de Carabas who is my favourite character. Lady Door is clever and a strong female lead. Thank you for the strong female lead. I am so sick of reading about damsels in distress. Give me a girl who can hold her own. Marquis is odd and a little two-faced. The only reason he even helps Door is because she will have to owe him a favour. The villains of Neverwhere were creepy and twisted and gave me the heebie-jeebies. They love blood and torture. They are a pair of sick cookies and they will stop at nothing to kill Door. I loved them, especially after reading American Gods where the villains were less than scary. (That is a review for another time)

As for the story, you have to go in knowing that it is going to be weird. Think world of Alice in Wonderland or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and with about the same level of randomness. Question nothing and all will be well, though the world building is very impressive; it almost seems plausible if magic was a real thing and all. Anyway, the world and the eccentric characters fascinated me and the story kept me hooked.

Oh a word of caution: Stay away from the graphic novel and the miniseries.

5/5

Like I said, this is one of my favourite books. Neil Gaiman is godly and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will find true happiness.

Nostalgic Tales : Girl of Nightmares

Title: Girl of Nightmares

Publisher: Tor Teen

Author Kendare Blake

Type of book: Hardcover

Pages:332

Genre: Romance, Fantasy supernatural, horror

So it finally happened, the ending, the conclusion, the final round between good and evil. I didn’t want it to end.

Once more Madame Blake takes us on a magnificent journey, time has passed since Anna Korlov made the brave decision of descending into hell to save Cas and his friends, and while everyone is grateful for her sacrifice the only one to still ponder about it is Cassio. Where did she end up going? Is she content? And what of the Obeahman, is he truly gone? Thankfully all these questions and more get revealed in this stunning sequel.

Cas is restless, angry and generally heartbroken, he feels that nobody really understands and I think in a way he cocooned himself from life itself. He is haunted by visions of his beloved Anna causing him to lose sleep, and if that’s not bad enough our once ghost busting trio have a rift. If I saw anyone who might want to reconsider their role in the group, I wouldn’t have called that person out first. I guess sometimes supernatural experience can either make you bond together like The Ghost Busters, or fall apart like so many music bands we know today.

Despite their fallen member Cas’s waste no time in conjuring his next move. Rescuing Anna— which everyone is so against it but you know what they say “love makes you do crazy things”. I just would never imagine venturing into the deep red tomb of evil would be it. It’s a bloody fantastic ride to get there let me tell you that. However, they can’t do it alone and a trip to England is proving to unfold many mysteries and a new ally/enemy named Jestine. The best way to describe this girl would be as Cas’s female version, but more mature? Perhaps just knowledgeable and better skilled? The part where they venture away to London though does highlights some very interesting places I did not know about and perhaps I will want to see from afar of course.

Either way I was torn between being thankful that she was there when they needed help and hating her when we find out her true reason for sticking around and what it might mean for Cas and his position as…the guy who fights which goes bump in the night?

All in all I felt the book was too short, I knew it had to end but it happened way too soon so that is just my little thing, overall I enjoyed it Anna got what she deserved. Of course the sappy romantic in me wanted them to be together…even if he had to die…THERE I SAID IT I WOULD HAVE NOT MINDED IF HE DIED! Wow that feels nice to let that out. I think though, reflecting on the ending again, it kind of showed mirrored what we all wanted, or at least what I wanted. that even in death, love triumphs all or something of the latter. The selfish part of me also says that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if she did continue with this story…just one more, but I know that won’t happen so I’ll settle and just let it continue in my head.

Nevertheless, I love this author to bits and if she comes out with another work I will tune in so please look into this :)

Grading : 5/5

-Meli

Anna Dressed in Blood

right

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendra Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Type of book: Paperback
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Ghost
Pages 316

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

My oh my have have I waited for a Ghost story or what? The answer is yes, yes I have. This book was stunning. My mother read it first and took her time in devouring it to make me wail like cat drenched in water. When it was finally my turn, my customer’s at work just didn’t seem so important.

Anna Korlov, or as the residents of Thunder Bay, Ontario know her as, Anna Dressed in Blood had been on a killing spree for quite some time, but this story isn’t so much about her than it is about Theseus Cassio Lowood. Ghost hunter extraordinaire with one bitchin’ name strolls into town with his witch of mother and a cat-spirit detector. After the tragic murder of his father, Cas (as he prefers…such a waste because his name has so much presence!) he took it upon himself to continue the family business. His task being to banish Anna back to where she belongs, but what kind of story would that be if he just up and did that? I liked that despite his constant moving from one places to another, the author didn’t make him out to be this lone-wolf, totally cold and self involved in his own demons. He is sarcastic and witty and knows how to handle himself. I don’t want to forget Cas’ ghost-busting crew Thomas, a psychic and fellow spell caster and Carmel, the queen bee of the school who just wants a little more excitement in her life. Not your average combo but this trio definitely make a great team.

I wasn’t expecting to find romance in this book but I wasn’t complaining, it felt like an extra treat in my lunch box. It felt fitting ghost-killer and ghost star-crossed lover much? Think so. Their dynamic evolved very nicely as Cas began to see himself more than just a guy on the job, but a normal teen having his first crush and not being able to stop himself from going up and beyond.
As we delve further into the book we find out some frightening things. One of them is what happened to Anna how she came to be trapped inside her own home, that the human soul becomes dark there isn’t always a way to fix it. My mum actually teared over the revelation. Not to say you will, but it’s pretty sad. There be mentions to a secret entity who Cas has been waiting for, the reason for his constant ghost hunting and who has been with him from the beginning. As I keep thinking back on it, I get the willies. Like a baby finding out his toy bear isn’t smiling, but grinning evilly.

Trust me…it makes sense.

The story is also incredibly humorous, I didn’t stop laughing and I really appreciated that from Kendare Blake, she balanced out the scary with wittiness. There is a sequel to this book which I purchased because the ending from the first book pulled heartstrings. I am looking forward to how she wraps it all up and so far from other reviews, Girl of Nightmares will not disappoint, but I’ll let you know about that another time.

Grading :4.5/5