Top Ten Tuesday: October 30: Halloween/Creepy Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

October 30: Halloween/Creepy Freebie

I don’t read a lot of horror or thrillers so this list will be short. These stories either gave me a chill or made me think how sick the world can be.

Creepiest books I’ve read:

1) Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn

2) Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelly

3) The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan. Her short story “Bougainvillea” from Zombies Vs Unicorns is set in the same universe.

4) NOS4A2, by Joe Hill
I am currently listening to this audiobook as my October/Halloween creep fest.
I thought about adding Horns to the list, but my memory of it is more from the movie, which felt more like a dark comedy. I recently got the audiobook of Horns.

5) Poe is a master of creepiness. My favorites are: “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and “The Pit and the Pendulum”.

6) I Am Legend (and other stories) by Richard Matheson. I don’t remember much about the short stories, but reading over my review I did like them.

This is kind of sad. Maybe by next year I will have more to add to this list.

Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley, Narrated by B. J. Harrison

Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley, Narrated by B. J. Harrison; 8 hours 19 minutes.

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It is the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein! It also October and I decided to read some ghoulish stories.

I first read Frankenstein almost 20 years ago when I was in high school.

So back then I was a bit bored by the writing. I still was at times because Shelly would go on a bit with some descriptions, and listening to Harrison’s soothing voice would allow me to doze off.

I do think this time around though that I appreciated the prose more and found some passages quite poetic. I do love that Mary Shelly was a woman ahead of her time to write such a deep, philosophical, science fiction story.

I am so used to the adaptations of Frankenstein that I forgot that in the original story it is never outright said how he makes the Creature. It’s not the digging up bodies and using lightening method we’re used to. It’s implied that Frankenstein made the body from scratch. Also, and maybe I fell asleep during that part, he is also never called Doctor Victor Frankenstein. Did he get his P.H.D.?

The reason that this story still stands today is because the philosophy and themes in the story are timeless. We’re a blank slate and what shapes us is nature and nurture together. Also, take responsibility for your actions. I am looking at you, Victor.

4 out of 5 Lightening Bolts

I just want to give a shout out to my two favorite adaptations:
– Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, which is still hysterically funny.
– Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein, where Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated their roles each night as Frankenstein and the Creature.

Top Ten Tuesday: October 23: Most Evil Villains

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

October 23: Villains (favorite, best, worst, lovable, creepiest, most evil, etc.)

1. Lord Voldemort. He’s Hitler in the Wizarding World. I don’t think I need to say more.

2. Dolores Umbridge. That sadistic, child abusing wretch has no business being a Professor or an Inquisitor. If I went into details this would turn into an essay. What is most infuriating, because we all this happens in real life, is that she does not truly get hers at the end of OotP. We see her still working at the Ministry in DH. One change that I like in that film that was not in the book was that Harry throws “I must not tell lies” back in her face.

3. Alec D’Urberville from Tess of the D’Urbervilles. He is the devil. He rapes Tess, blames it on her, lies about “finding God”, and he’s just an all around POS. I wish he suffered a more painful and drawn out, excruciating death.

4. Benjamin from The All Souls Trilogy. He is a really gross, sadistic rapist. Being a vampire is no excuse because he would have behaved the same way as a human.

5. Jeffrey Halcomb from With in These Walls. He’s a creepy, evil cult leader with supernatural abilities. There were so many times I just wanted to punch his stupid face. The way he manipulated people was infuriating.

I am sure I have more but these were the top 5 I could think of off the top of my head. Looking it over I see they all have the common characteristics of being manipulative and sadistic.

New York Comic Con 2018 – Sunday, October 7

The first panel of the day was Family-Friendly Fantasy: Keeping it PG in the Age of Grimdark & Game of Thrones.

Most of the fantasy works we discovered as readers new to the genre were books the whole family could read together, without worrying about graphic descriptions of rape, torture, or violence. But many of the popular fantasy works being created today contain images that are simply too graphic for some readers. There’s a place for gritty realism in fantasy, but how much is too much?

Colleen Lindsay was the moderator and Katherine Arden, Emily R. King, and Elle Katherine White were speakers.

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Katherine Arden wrote the Winternight Trilogy. Emily R. King wrote The Hundredth Queen Series. Elle Katherine White wrote the Heartstone Series. 

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Book review and book signing of Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

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From the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, a novel about what it takes to become a vampire.

On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus’s deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor—the young employee at Sotheby’s whom Marcus has fallen for—is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he’d escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both—forever.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time’s Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

On September 24th I went to Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side to hear Deborah talk about Time’s Convert.

The main theme of Time’s Convert centers around parenting. The book is split into three stories: Diana and Matthew with their 18 month old twins, Marcus reminiscing about his early life, and Phoebe’s first 100 days as a vampire.

Phoebe’s chapter titles are numbered to tell how many days old she is as a newborn vampire. New born vampires have a faster development and each day represents a year.

The Bishop-de Clermont family have been through the wringer and need a break. So they get a summer vacation with no dire life or death situations.

Being a historian, Deborah was somehow going to weave history into her book. Diana can’t time walk in this story because she has too many responsibilities being a wife, mom, witch, and a professor with tenure, so Marcus reminisces about his life as a human and as a young vampire.

The story is also about kids rebelling, and Marcus is certainly a rebel having served in the American Revolution and being a fan of Thomas Paine. In contrast, his vampire father, Matthew, is from the Middle Ages, so they sometimes clash. Deborah has fun writing those moments.

Writing a story that took place during the American Revolution allowed Deborah to become a student again because her focus is the 16th century Europe.

Deborah said she wants to write more stories in the All Souls world like this, where it moves forward in time and we get to see how the twins grow but also incorporate elements of history. So it will be an ongoing series, instead of another trilogy where there is a beginning, middle and end.

Deborah writes long hand for her first draft. She writes in loops where she’ll write a scene or maybe just two lines of dialogue, then do some research and go down that route before returning to a scene. She was writing The Serpent’s Mirror about Matthew’s life with the Tudors, but then Matthew “stopped talking” and Marcus wouldn’t stop. And that is how we got this book first. She also is writing a story about Gallowglass.

She read a scene from Chapter 9 where Marcus meets Sarah Bishop during the American Revolution. She chose that scene because it was not considered a spoiler since it is mentioned in ADoW. (I liked that scene very much.)

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Top Ten Tuesday October 16: Bookstores/Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

October 16: Bookstores/Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

1)Bodleian Library. The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library.

I have been to Oxford, but I didn’t get to go inside the Bodleian. Next time I am there I am taking a tour and I’ll keep an eye out for witches, vampires, daemons and Ashmole 782.

 

2) British Library
This was on my list of places to visit when I went on my big trip to London with friends, but we ran out of time. So, next time I am back there I don’t want to make anymore excuses not to go.

3) The Library of Trinity College Dublin.
I feel like if I were lucky enough to visit this place I would pretend I was Hermione in the library at Hogwarts.

4) Library of Congress.
Though I have never been to D.C., this is probably the easiest one for me to visit besides the New York Public Library, which I have been to many times. I feel that it is a must when visiting D.C.

There are many other libraries I’d love to visit to. A few I saw on Buzz Feed.

New York Comic Con 2018 – Saturday, October 6

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First panel of the day was I’ll Take Dementors for $500, Obi-Wan: A Fan Game Show with Marc Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Sylvain Neuve, Ryan North, and Chuck Wendig.

Here is the gist: Do you know the whole DC universe by their legal names? ID a Star Wars villain from a single wicked line? Name every kind of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans? Test your knowledge, competing alongside bestselling authors in categories like The Dark Side, Bad@ss Chicks, Winter Is Coming and more, using clips from Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter audiobooks. Narrator Marc Thompson hosts in character as Obi-Wan Kenobi and will select a few lucky audience members to compete onstage.

While Marc was dressed as Obi-Wan, he didn’t do his voice the whole time. The game was played like Jeopardy! and the categories were The Dark Side; Expecto Patronum; Winter Is Coming; Fierce Females; I Can Be Your Hero, Baby; and Nerd-Tastic.

It was really fun to watch. My favorite categories were The Dark Side and Expecto Patronum. For some reason they weren’t picking Winter Is Coming until nearly the end. If none of the players knew the answer the audience would shout it out and the first one to buzz in got to answer it. In the end Delilah’s team won.

There was a short Q&A afterwards. The part that interested me most was when Marc Thompson was talking about the process of recording an audiobook. He’ll get the book and make notes, and also record some new voices on his phone to refer to. As he gets more into the recording process he will be so used to doing the new voices he won’t need to refer to his voice memo.

Marc doesn’t talk to the authors because he has a director and doesn’t want to go over the director’s head by saying, “Well, the author said this.”

He was complemented on how great he sounds but Marc gave the credit to the editors who piece it together when he makes mistakes, as well as the music and sound effects they add when it’s a Star Wars novel.

As for the voice of Thrawn, I guess he did a different voice for the anniversary edition of the Thrawn Trilogy, because that was before Rebels. I still have to listen to it. But for the two most recent books he really captured the his voice from the animated series.

I can’t remember this other question or full answer now, but Chuck said that Palpatine’s first name “Sheev” is like “Steve” in AGFFA. That made me laugh.

After the panel there was a signing with the authors right outside the room, which was super convenient. We didn’t have to run and push our way to another part of the Javits.

This time I brought From a Certain Point of View with me. I told each author how I plan to slowly collect every author’s signature until I am old.

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Friday, October 5

I went to work for the earlier part of the day and got to Comic Con at 2PM so I could go to Ashley Eckstein’s meet and greet at the Reed Pop booth.

I was such an airhead and forgot to bring my From a Certain Point of View book for her to sign! What a scatterbrain I am sometimes.

Ok, next time. Moving on. I told her how emotional I was when I found out The Clone Wars was returning while watching the SDCC panel. Ashley said she was a hot mess because she was crying, but I told her I was crying with her and I loved when Matt got out of seat.

I was getting choked up again and so I asked her about her sweatshirt and if it’s available. She spoke about the concept for the original logo for Her Universe being Ahsoka’s markings and the shirt is available. It came out for the 10th Anniversary collection, but slipped under the radar with the other items based off the characters’ outfits.

I told her that I got the Skywalker hooded sweatshirt and she asked if it is too big. I told it her it is but I knew it would be. I can just wear it around the house when it’s winter. It is so comfy.

She is so sweet, she asked about my sister and I told her she would be coming to NYCC after work, and that we will be seeing her in April for Celebration.

At the Penguin Booth there was a mystery giveaway. You chose from several descriptions. I saw someone walk away with this book and the cover caught my eye, so I did my best guessing. I guessed right!
The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Thursday, Oct. 4 – Part 2

After the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child panel I went to the live stage to see Ashley Eckstein talk about Her Universe and The Clone Wars being saved.

I took video of the 10 minute interview, but I am having some trouble uploading right now and will edit this post with a link to the video sometime soon.

I liked the part when she said she had to keep the secret about the Clone Wars being saved since January when she got a call from her agent and she didn’t believe it so she had to call up Dave Filoni to confirm it.

After, I roamed the Exhibit Hall and picked up these giveaways.

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid from Simon & Schuster.
From the Penguin booths:
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden -> I asked a few people at the booth if they had this ARC before someone found it in the back. I have all 3 now! More about this in Sunday’s post.

I also went to the Audible booth where they were having a special event all weekend for the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter. The line was so long – about a 45 minute wait on Thursday and one hour on Saturday. You pick a character’s bottle for the “Pensive” (really just a headphone station) to hear a scene of theirs from the audiobook.

What is funny is that since July 31 I have been listening to the audiobooks and am now up to Deathly Hallows.

There are six characters to choose from Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort. I would have liked to collect all 6, because you got to keep the bottle with their name, but I only got to do it twice. I picked Hermione first then Ron on Saturday. Hermione’s scene was when she slapped Malfoy. Ron… I think the machine malfunctioned, even though a repair man had just been there doing something to it, because the scene was when Bellatrix is torturing Hermione. And my sister went before me and she picked Harry and heard the exact same scene. So, yea, the machine was still busted, we think.

My sister went again on Sunday and picked Dumbledore. She heard the part when he tells Harry of the Prophecy and Voldemort’s need of it.

Another part of the Pensive experience was that you wave a wand in front of a camera, they add some smoke to the video and you send it to yourself to share on social media.

But the best part was the code they gave to redeem at Audible. I got a free credit and downloaded The Shining. Only allowed one code though, even though I went twice. My sister tried to add the second code and was told she already did it.

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Top Ten Tuesday: October 9: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

What constitutes a long book? I think that depends on the reader. A person who doesn’t read much may say anything over 200 pages is long. But to someone who reads 50 books or more a year, they may say it’s anything over 600.

To keep this list reasonable and in the realm of 10 books I am sticking with anything over 500 pages.I’ll do this in order of page numbers, which means I am not grouping trilogies or series together.


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