The story is told by Stacia, a seventeen-year-old girl held captive by a degenerate named Doc. Beautiful to the eye, his house is like a Victorian mansion, but something sinister lurks behind closed doors- the sex trafficking of young girls.
She is not alone.
There is nine-year-old Kammie, who loves plants and draws flowers on everything. Since the horrible night that Doc took her innocence, she has never spoken a word.
The toughest of all three of them is Alex. She dresses in leather, fishnets, and short black skirts, giving her a goth-punk appearance. She believes she is a vampire and avoids light, even when it means her freedom.
As punishment, Doc starves them. This last time it was because Alex bit a client. She decides that it is time to follow through with their plan, which will bring them the freedom that they have wanted for so long.
When they can finally leave their prison, the girls realize that they will no longer be together. So, instead, they make sandwiches as they try to obtain a sense of normalcy. It is quickly taken from them when there is a knock at the door.
What happens next is terrifying. It seems as if the violence surrounding the girls will never end.
Flashbacks of previous traumatic events reveal clues as to why they behave the way they do. Alex’s viciousness is justified, and the reader can’t help but feel empathy towards the girls for the abuse they endured.
My favourite character is Stacia. She is compassionate, despite the horrible things she has been through. Before she was taken, she lived with an alcoholic mother and her lowlife boyfriend, and she questions whether she should go home or start a new life elsewhere.
I like how the author used description to create a twisted atmosphere and induce emotion, but more detail throughout the story would have made it more powerful. The subject matter of the book makes it difficult to read in places as it deals with rape, violence, and psychological torture.
The ending came as a shock. I thought it was abrupt and had some unresolved issues. I am hoping a sequel will follow.
If you are a fan of dark tales with a lot of twists and turns, The Pale White is a book that you will want to crack open on a cold, wintery night.
Chad Lutzke is the author of numerous books including The Same Deep Water as You, Wallflower, and Skullface Boy. He has written for various magazines such as Cemetery Dance, Rue Morgue, and Scream, and he has contributed articles, reviews, and artwork to the music and film scene. He lives in Battle Creek, Michigan with his wife and children.
Shadow Grove isn’t a typical town. Bad things happen here. Children disappear, one after the other, and nobody is doing anything about it. Parents don’t grieve, missing posters don’t line the streets, and the sheriff seems unconcerned.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Cleary lives on the outskirts of Shadow Grove, next to the creepy forest everyone pretends doesn’t exist. Usually, the forest is filled with an eerie calm, an unmistakable graveyard solemnity. But the trees have started whispering, forgotten creatures are stirring, and the nights feel darker than ever.
Something is stalking the residents of Shadow Grove, changing them into brain-dead caricatures of themselves. It’s up to Rachel to stop the devouring of her hometown before all is destroyed and everyone she loves is forever lost.’
When the nights begin to draw in early, a spooky read is a must and The Night Weaverdoes not disappoint. The main character, Rachel, is a terrific role model for young female readers, someone who is different but is strong enough to go her own way and pretty much not care what the ‘popular’ crowd say or do. No stranger to loss with the death of her best friend some years before and then the loss of her father, she has become fiercely independent, although sadly much of this is due to the emotional distance that has grown between Rachel and her mother as a result of the latter’s difficulty in dealing with her grief.
Whilst the rest of the town is strangely reluctant to explore the forest, Rachel is convinced that is where the children have gone. With the support of her neighbour’s grandson, the two cross the border into the woods and experience the ‘other world’ of the Fae. As Rachel fights to rescue the children, she becomes involved both with a Fae prince and with the very human Greg Pearson. The pacing is good and whilst it discusses Rachel’s relationship with her mother and her own memories of her father, it does not become mawkish and allows the magic of the story to keep the pages turning.
As someone who tends to avoid books featuring the Fae (usually because the author has made them too ‘sparkly’ or twee for me), I found this was a hugely entertaining YA romp with Snyman keeping the balance between darkness and romance perfectly. As a secondary school librarian, this is a book that may yet find its way onto my workplace shelves.
“In this frighteningly believable thriller from New York Times bestselling author and master storyteller Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost and causes madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.”
I jumped at the chance to read this book because of the word ‘apocalyptic’. I love doomsday type scenarios and as it was described as a thriller, it was something I felt I’d naturally go for. As I read on, however, I got the strongest sense that in truth this was really a YA romance set against an apocalyptic backdrop. Initially disappointed in that respect, I continued to read and make my judgment on it firstly as a story, and then as a YA book (as a librarian in a secondary school I read a lot of YA).
The cult of New Earth is a truly chilling place to be, where the leader, Magnus, appears to manipulate his followers with ease. Disposing of a first wife for Wynter’s sister, and then preparing to take Wynter herself as a second spouse, he appears cruel and even perverted. Wynter’s escape, or expulsion, is manipulated by her sister and initially, she is safe in the house of an old friend of her late mother’s. The growing dementia epidemic however soon undermines that feeling and she discovers Magnus had no small part to play in that. Lee paces the story well, interweaving present day with flashbacks but without confusing the reader. She brings out the angst and anxiety of a young woman undergoing extreme mental stress in a thoughtful manner without turning her into a lunatic. The twists and turns, of finding, and losing, friends and helpers on her journey to save the world, keep you turning the page. The ending is somewhat unsatisfactory as it is clearly set up for the follow-up, A Single Light. Having read the blurb for that, it appears to be more of the apocalyptic book I so wanted this to be. I look forward to reading this sequel.
This non-fiction book is subtitled ‘A History of Fear from Ancient Times to the Present’.
I first came across the author and historian Ronald Hutton fourteen years ago when he appeared as a guest in ‘Tales from the Green Valley’, a BBC TV show featuring a year-long project to re-establish a working Elizabethan farm in Wales using genuine techniques. He provided good-natured expert analysis of the Christmas traditions of the time, and it was apparent that he really knew his stuff.
Last year, I was delighted to receive a copy of this book as a birthday present from my teenage daughter (make of that what you will). I was intrigued when I realised that the author was the same expert on pagan custom and history I’d enjoyed watching a decade and a half earlier. The starting point in reading my daughter’s gift was therefore that Hutton would demonstrate the same thoroughness of expertise and knowledge here, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The book is divided into three sections – deep perspectives (on global, ancient and shamanic contexts in the history of witchcraft), continental perspectives (including the legacy of the Egyptians, the reception of witches in the Middle Ages and the early modern patchwork including the Shakespearean age) and, finally, a section on British perspectives on witches and their relationship with fairies, Celticity and animals.
It would probably be helpful for me to point out that Hutton’s book is a history of how witches (including shamans and service magicians, so the term here is used for both male and female practitioners) are perceived by the wider societies in which they reside, rather than a history of witchcraft itself. To that end, excellently researched and thoughtfully presented though it is, readers seeking a practical history of how witchcraft has been practised or even a how-to manual would be best advised to seek out other titles. On the other hand, as histories of witches and their treatment go, it is impeccably argued and detailed.
I’m a great believer in academics presenting their findings impartially and being careful to explain objectively the limitations of their sources, be honest about the extent of our current knowledge, and highlight areas where further research would help. This, as well as the diligence of decades of in-depth research, is where Hutton’s strength lies. He gets right down into the detail, lays it out and provides a justified conclusion, all in very cool, precise language which doesn’t force on the reader a particular point of view based on preconceived notions. Not all histories are created equal! Instead, Hutton goes where the facts take him and gives the reader space to reach their own conclusions as they make that journey with him.
For all the research and detail, this was far from being a dry read. It was fascinating and informative, and I enjoyed it immensely.
*pumpkin craft: quilted pumpkin supplies – 1 styrofoam pumpkin, bunch o’ straight pins, at least 126 fabric squares 3×3 inch alternating colors- one of them being green and ironed into triangles, timble, stitch gauge, an iron
*cursed places: salem, pressed with stones, preston castle, jackson, ca, texas, abandoned victorian house, cold spots, spooky, hauntings, winchester, john muir house, dunsmuir house pool area, real camera pictures, winchester wedding
*logbook of terror: creepy castle, russell
*darkvein manor: by emerian rich with cleo de milo concept by e.m. markoff, rish outfield-ives, kadirah wade-hazel, pete lutz-jay and henry, emerian rich-clara and cleo, naching t. kassa- dr. francistein, james seo-heath, kirk warrington-fabio, theme music-valentine wolf
*ghastly games: daphne, adventure escape asylum
INTERVIEW: Jonathan Fortin, Next Great Horror Writer
writer challenge, publishing contract, clarion, lilitu, crystal lake publishing, succubus, awkward robots indigo volume, fairies, requiem in frost, norway, heavy metal ghost, helpful zombies, audiobook coming, halloween plans, edwardian ball, horror movie marathon, sleepy hollow, crimson peak, suspiria, evil dead 2, dracula, the thing
*odds and dead ends: kieran, checkmate, alexander alekhine, conspiracy, wwii, murder, wizards chess, star trek chess, 3 dimensional
*frightening flix: kbatz vid clip, gothic romance, crafting vids, tombstones, paint it black, DIY cardboard coffin, mini coffin tray, pumpkins
Kbatz Gothic Romance Vid
*live action reviews: crystal, luciferina, monestary, sex, drugs, rock and roll, occult
NEW MOVIE LINEUP end of 2019- 2020
terminator, dr. sleep, ewen mcgregor, brahms 2, maggie, walking dead, netflix, black christmas, anna and the apocalypse, the grudge (again), blumhouse untitled, uncanny annie, the turning, the turn of the screw, henry, james, the lodge, trailer on FB group, fantasy island, horror adaption, the invisible man, claude rains, tattoo, ricardo monteban, a quiet place 2, the new mutants, horror or superhero, saw (again), morbius, blade, spiderman, empty man, vampire hunters no thank you, vampire hunter d, buffy, oz, spike, angel, the woman in the window, candyman (again), escape room (again), spell, plane crash, twilight zone movie, last night in soho, halloween kills (again), micheal meyers, jamie less curtis, what is the franchise that has the most sequels, the witches, angelica huston
INTERVIEW: A.J. Rome, writer, director, producer, actor
a.j. Rome, the vampire diaries, re-kill, mirrored, end trip, uber, black mirror, safe tech, watch on, itunes, amazon, google play, vudu, youtube movies, tubi, (coming soon) roku, acting, film creation, duplass, creep, blumhouse, paranormal activity, blair witch, halloween plans, cookie monster briefs, universal studios, halloween horror nights
***jesse orr, my darling dead, finale, rat people, willard, ben
***garden party massacre, amazon prime, carnivorous plants from target, haunted mansion funko pop toys, bill rude
***dark divinations, sub before october 31st
***the witch path, terror films
***resonance, terror films, the forest
*halloween plans, guatemala, visit family, cemetery, marigolds, little mermaid ears, mermaid tail, octo hat, sea creature photo shoot, day of the dead, katrina, cooking, altar, honoring the dead, anniversary, lunch
The Place of Broken Things is a new book of poetry penned by Linda Addison and Alessandro Manzetti. They take the reader through a fascinating labyrinth of pain, remembrance, and longing. Though the book may be short, the verses are filled with haunting imagery that burrows into your very being. It carries you to places like Angkor Wat, Provence, and imaginary Harlem. With each poem, you are transported to a new broken place where you learn about the suffering of each subject. The use of language is flowing and free, nothing about it seems forced. I even learned a couple of new words.
Throughout the book, the contrast between a cold and harsh modern reality and the deep, rich inner life of the characters is enthralling. Perhaps it’s not escapism so much as a philosophical lease on life. There are several references to religion. One of my favorites is in the poem “Cathedral Lane.” In it we are taken through the morning life of a homeless Native American in a large city. Many of the poems in this collection are set in busy cities which we tend to think of as dark and grey but here they take on a new and colorful life through the character’s eyes. The homeless man is Navajo as the poem makes reference to a sun deity-Nandzgai and a night deity-Chahalgel. Although the man is destitute, he still manages to see the world in a beautiful, serene and timeless way, which is in stark contrast to his cacophonous and grimy surroundings. My favorite line is:
“Somewhere in the distance the sun returns, sliding up from the horizon, as night retires he opens his eyes to greet the passing of Now from one sky god to another…”
One poem that stuck with me is ‘Animation’. It caught my attention right away because of the format of the poem itself was visually interesting. The poem’s setting is in an office and talks about, what reminds me of a Borg invasion in the Star Trek universe. The office is thrown into chaos as all the metal and wiring coalesces into a humanoid being saying “join us.” What follows is a futile attempt to escape, ultimately leading to assimilation. When the poem first starts out, it formed into two moderately sized diamond shapes. Then, as the escape ensues, the sentences expand outward, and then become smaller, like a triangle. It does it again. And then, finally, as the worker is captured and is being taken over by the metal and wires, the sentences become smaller until it ends in one word, “join.” Because of the physical shape of the poem, I felt like I was experiencing what the office worker felt. The actual description of the process of assimilation is succinct and very effective. The end description will always stay with me:
“Flesh body knitted with steel, eyes empty, weeping blood floats in front of me. Wire caresses my face, enters my ears, metal loops bind me to the walls…”
It just sends shivers down my spine. With the current rise in A.I. and predictive programming technology in our everyday life, this poem takes on a whole life of its own and forces the reader to wonder, what if?
The last poem I want to talk about is “She, on Sunday.” This one fascinates me. It talks about an older woman remembering her past, and her obsessive need to repeat certain memories and how she’s become trapped in a small room, perhaps in real life, perhaps in her own mind- I’m not sure. This poem is tied together by the author’s musical references throughout. They mention Yann Tiersen, I know this name. As it turns out he was responsible for the soundtrack to the whimsical film Amelie, one of my favorites. If you are not familiar with the film, there are a few piano instrumentals in it that express a deep sense of longing, which is a perfect companion to the poem. I strongly encourage you to YouTube this music and listen to it while reading to get the full effect. There is a strong connection to the character’s obsession with her memories and her obsession with certain music. The imagery throughout the poem is amazing. You get to see something so unassuming and ubiquitous and have it transformed into a surreal Escher-esque image. For example, take someone playing the piano and have it described to you as follows:
“…moving cold fingers, pressing blurry fingerprints on the ivory keys, bleeding curves, lines and black and white mazes which vibrate following the coils of a music theme…”
This poem also has one of my favorite lines in it:
“…like women’s scents in the days when the incense of spring begins to burn…”
The Place of Broken Things is filled with such magnificent imagery and sadness, it is sure to satisfy many. There are over thirty selections to choose from, some written individually, and others are a collaborative effort between the poets- all are worth checking out. If you are in the mood to indulge yourself in darkness and pain, then I suggest reading this book and know that you are not alone. The Buddha said, “all life is suffering.” As it turns out in the end, that is something we all have in common.