Book Review│The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

cover165462-medium I recently got really into Marianne on Netflix. I binged the entire series in a weekend and was superbly creeped out the entire time. I loved the idea of a centuries old demonic witch having controlled a young writer into telling the world of her stories so that she could use the magic of influence to continue to kill and mame through brutal accidents each time the woman wrote a book. It was really well done and if you have a weekend where you just want to binge something creepy, I highly recommend it.

Similarly, Damien Angelica Walters takes us on a journey through the past and present to bring to life the story of a decades old murder and the tale of The Red Lady. Years ago, Heather was part of a club with her friends. They called it The Dead Girls Club because they would sit around and tell stories about death, the macabre and serial killers. Somewhere along the line, one of the girls, Becca, introduces the story of The Red Lady, who is a witch that was killed centuries ago.

After the story is shared, strange things start happening to the girls and ultimately tragedy strikes that summer when one of the girls is killed. Was it really The Red Lady or was it just hysteria among a group of 12-year-old girls? Years later, Heather is bent on finding the answer as she takes us back through her story and we weave into the past and present trying to put the pieces together. As Heather gets closer to the truth, mysterious threats and clues arrive, bringing Heather into a panic…who could really know what happened that summer? Who would know and why are they coming forward now? Heather becomes lost in a sea of time and regret, unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not, leaving us readers in just as panicked a state as we try to reach our own conclusions on whether or not Heather had killed Becca 30 years ago or if The Red Lady is, in fact, very real.

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters is the kind of horror thriller that will keep you reading until the early hours of the morning. This is a book that will keep you on your toes and won’t let you go until it’s done. Walters crafted a solid plot that immediately pulls you in and drives you through a roller coaster of events and moments before reaching it’s inevitable end. Just be sure to read this one with your lights on and your husband near by because you will feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and little noises will send  your book flying across the room– a wonderfully written thriller.

Book Information

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters is scheduled to be released on December 10, 2019, from Crooked Lane Books with ISBN 9781643851631. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

Book Review│The Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll by Thomas Kingsley Troupe

dead eyed dollThomas Kingsley Troupe’s The Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll is scheduled to be released just in time for my favorite season: FALL!! Troupe’s book is a fictional encounter with one of the creepier things that exist in the world. Have you ever heard of Robert the Doll? He currently lives in a museum in Florida, but legend has it, he haunted the life of his former owner for years…well into the boy’s adulthood, marriage and eventual death.

Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll belonged to Robert Eugene Otto who lived in Key West, Florida. The doll was a gift to Robert from his grandfather for his birthday. As legend has it, the Robert used to blame any childhood mishap on the doll and soon the doll developed his own awareness to the world around him and later would move things around the room and disappear and reappear in different areas of the house. In his later years, Robert would the doll his own room where he would live until Robert and his wife later died. The new owner of their home described many supernatural occurrences involving the doll which would later be blamed for a variety of misfortunes including broken bones, car accidents and divorces. Today, Robert the Doll has a new home in a museum where visitors can see him first hand, but must heed his warnings of asking permission before taking his picture and must mind their manners, if not, Robert will take his revenge on you.

The Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll

Troupe’s novel is a short read, about 47 pages. It tells the story of Al, a young boy who takes part in a field trip to the museum to meet Robert the Doll. He and his friend, Selma are skeptical about Robert the Doll, but Selma also is fearful of the doll because as she says, but what if it IS real? She leaves Al alone with the doll and Al takes it upon himself to take a picture of Robert without his permission, completely disregarding the warning signs and the letters from people who have done the exact same thing to Robert in the past and have later had to apologize for their behavior. Al will later come to regret his decision as strange things start happening to Al and to those around him. Al must figure out how to accept that there are certain things in life that are just unexplainable and need to be respected…Robert the Doll is one of them.

The Haunted States of America Series

The Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll by Thomas Kingsley Troupe is the latest middle grades horror story in the Haunted States of America Series. This book series showcases a haunted tale from one of the 50 states with easy language and mild illustrations that help bring the creepy story to life. As a kid who grew up on RL Stine, I would definitely invest in this series for my son when he is older and looking for a creepy bedtime story. As a teacher, I would pick these up for early middle-grade readers who need a high-interest story to keep them motivated. Other books in Troupe’s Haunted States of America Series include Beware the Bell Witch, Ghostly Reunion, Spirits of the Storm and Trapped in Room 217

About the Author

Thomas Kingsley Troupe is a native of Minnesota. He has written numerous fiction and non-fiction books with many being geared more towards kids. His series include the Haunted in America Series as well as Hauntiques and Furry & Flo. When he is not writing, he enjoys ghost hunts and campy movies.

Book Information

Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll (Haunted States of America) by Thomas Kingsley Troupe will be released on September 1, 2019 from Jolly Fish Press with ISBN 9781631633485. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

Book Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

In the last installment of the Sookie Stackhouse Series, Charlaine Harris wraps up her story of the sexy telepath from Bon Temps. Readers get a lot of their questions from Deadlocked answered while still creating new ones that will hopefully be explored in a later supplement to the series.

Out of all the Sookie books, this one was probably the calmest. There is very little action and when compared to the other books, not as much murder and bloodshed, though this book does have its fair share of that too. Most importantly, readers finally get an answer to the question that began all the back to the first book– who does Sookie choose, Eric or Bill?

That answer is somewhat surprising, but at the same time not completely alarming because true fans of the series and even of the show, could see that answer coming for a long time. Overall, Harris leaves Sookie in probably the best place she could find herself in considering everything that happened to her since the Vamps came out of the coffin. Loose ends are tied up and enemies finally banished (for now), leaving our heroine at peace for the time being.

We also get to see most of Sookie’s ex-loves and flirtations, including were-tiger Quinn and the oh so dreamy, Alcide Herveaux which is never a difficult thing to have to read about.

Not to disappoint, Harris will be releasing a novel-length epilogue of sorts in October explaining what happened to her much beloved characters following the conclusion of the series.

For my reviews on all other Sookie Stackhouse books, click on the sookie stackhouse novels tag at the bottom of this post.

Score: 4.5/5

Book Information: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris was released in May 2013 by Ace Books with ISBN 978-1937007881.

Happy Halloween!

This is one of my favorite days. I love pumpkins, and the colors and the cooler temperature. I love how for one day out of the year you can be whatever you want to be. I love hearing the kids in my neighborhood running around and  ringing doorbells. I love doing something special for my students.

This year my grade level team decided to dress up as character from Hocus Pocus. Only…no one got it. Have I officially become….old? Granted they were distracted by the fact that one of the male teachers is one of the Sanderson sisters and I got to be crummy Allison so my costume looked more everyday than it did costume, but COME ON!

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Hocus Pocus is one of the best movies. It was the first movie I ever got to see in a movie theater. And it came out not around Halloween and I remember it pouring rain, but my mom took me to see it anyway that day. And it was just the coolest. 

I may have then spent home room projecting movie photos and explaining it to them. It was in that moment I felt so old. When I first started teaching, I was in my early to mid-20’s and the kids just liked me because I was young. Add in the fact that I look like I’m 12, and kids saw me more as of an older, cooler peer than an authority person. And that worked for years, but more recently, I have noticed the shift where I have become the authority figure and though I am enjoying every moment of that, at the same time, I am a little sad that my references are now….outdated.

Kids these days need to brush up on their movies because if they don’t know this one, then they sure are missing out on some great flicks.

Stephen King’s IT

As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I was pretty much like a lot of children of my generation– I grew up watching creepy dark comedies and shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark? Which at the time, were super scary to me and to this day, I can not forget the Melissa Joan Hart episode with the ghost-boy that would randomly pop up and whisper “I’m cold” until he was reunited with his lost red hoodie. TV  and movies used to be a lot more than what they are today, for sure.

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Stephen King’s IT was another thing all together. I was either 11 or 12 when I was forced to watch it with my little brother who, though only 7 or 8 at the time, lived for shit like that. As for me, I was completely terrified by both Tim Curry and clowns and showers and drains and storm drains and….for YEARS following having watched it. I’m 30 years old now and to this day, I get the urge to fast-walk passed storm drains. It doesn’t help that there is one right by where I park when I get home…at night? I fly into my house. What? I’m a writer, I am forever cursed with a very real over-active imagination that believes in the possibility of all things. Including that Tim Curry in full-blown It makeup will be in the storm drain, offering me a red balloon so he can rip off my arm.

Imagine my shock when I was older and sat down and actually read the 1,000 page novel with just how much more detail was in the actual story. And as with anyone who has read the novel, the gang bang scene with them as kids was probably one of the more uncomfortable parts of a Stephen King book that I had to get through. Then, as a writer by that point in my life, it also got me to think. This was an extremely long book to begin with and to allow the gang bang scene involving adolescent kids into publication? Like, was this the book where they finally said to him, you’re off the leash just go with it because we know it will sell? It has to be.

 

It took me over two weeks to re-read it. The novel is a really great example for character development and using detail in writing. I had to keep taking breaks from it because at times it was almost too much. I also was very confused about what happened to Tom Rogan, Bev’s abusive husband who follows her to Derry after beating her up and her friend, only to kidnap Bill’s wife Audra to take her to It, only to seemingly disappear before the final battle. I had to pull up book spoilers to find out his fate. Has that happened to anyone else? I seriously felt like I blinked and missed an entire section, but when I went back, it wasn’t there. Oversight or is it just that quick?

I can’t wait until September when the new movie comes out even though, I feel like the new film has a lot to top from the Tim Curry 1990 version. It’s also hard to see Pennywise being portrayed as so obviously evil when in the novel, Pennywise was an illusion, a mask for it’s true form because it was how It was able to get the children it needed to feed. I think we all need to go into the new version thinking of it as an entirely different take all together.

What I can’t forgive though? The fact that this will be two parts and we’ll have to wait even longer to see the Losers reunite as adults.

What’s the freakiest part though? It comes back every 27 years to wreak havoc on Derry. 1990? Oh yeah, that was…wait for it…27 years ago.

Exquisite Corpse

It had been some years since I had read Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse. I spent any down time I had yesterday finishing it. It took me maybe 12 hours of on again off again reading to finish it. I forgot how engrossing the novel is.

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You know that it’s a really good read when it’s so shocking and well-written that it stays with you even after you’re done. It’s been a very long time since a book has left me feeling raw and anxious. I’ve read a lot over the years, and I think the last book that really did this to me was Stephen King’s Pet Semetary. Though I do have IT on my to-read list so I have a feeling that this list of books that chew you up and spit you out may grow in time. I just can’t get out of my head the ending of Exquisite Corpse, and the very true reality that that is probably occurring somewhere in the world right now, a seemingly perfect ideal for a mad man who feasts on human flesh. Ugh, the chills!

Can anyone recommend more horror novels that I have to check out? I’m taking a break today and started Sirens by Janet Fox even though that too takes you into the dark side of the gilded 1920’s and the world of jazz and gangsters.

If I could have picked when I could I have been born, it definitely would have been more towards the earlier 1900’s. Jazz-age Paris must have been a sight to behold.

Late Night Books

I can’t remember the last time that I was so into a book that I stayed up all night reading it. I had a lot of work to do last night, I had a syllabus to write and a course to finish putting together, but the temptation for a fun read was just too great last night.

In high school and college, I was just like a plethora of other teens and kept, religiously, a LiveJournal. I loved it. It opened up to me an entire world where I was able to “meet” people from all over the world and read about their lives. In fact, I met many writers, artists and other creative through LJ. I loved that community.

Of one of the people that I “met,” was New Orleans based author, Poppy Z. Brite. I fell in love. I loved her books and her wit. I was very sad when she stopped updating her blog.

Some years later, she began to update again and I once again was reminded of why I loved her writing as much as I did. She had since begun to identify as a he, officially, even though so much of his writing had been about his gender dysphoria. He was also creating really cool art and had retired from publishing. Recently, he started posting dibs books, which are books from his personal collection that he signs and ships out. I was lucky and grabbed two, one of which is the extremely dark Exquisite Corpse.

I had read the first 100 pages in an hour, I had forgotten how dark and immersive the book was. I stayed up until nearly 2am laying on my couch reading a book that I wanted to read. It was amazing! I haven’t been able to read a book for fun since Phil and I went to Wildwood for a long weekend last year. I’ve just been so busy with my teaching courses and with my PhD that hobbies have sort of fallen to the side. I plan to finish it tonight and move onto the stack of books that I have sitting in the shelf of my headboard.

I really need to start making some more time for myself.