Final RIP XII Post: Two Shorts and Stranger Things 2



It's my last RIP check in and I think I did pretty good this year.

The 24 Hour Readathon happened last weekend and although I didn't officially participate I read a little just to be a tiny part of things. I completed two short stories.


The Open Door by Mrs Oliphant. A British officer retires and chooses to rent a house in Scotland with his family. On the property there are the ruins of an old house, including the remnants of a doorway. Everything is hunky-dory until the winter months arrive. While the officer is away on business, he gets an urgent message: he must return home, his son is dying of "Brain Fever"! He finds his son in bed and anxiously waiting for him. The cause of his condition is his worry over the strange voice he heard over by the ruins. It's up to Dad to discover the source of the voice and save his son from... I dunno, death by ghost voice?

This is a pretty typical haunting story. There's a ghost who's stuck between worlds and needs to find his way to the light, sort of speak. There's a skeptic who looks very foolish. There are locals who the hero treats condescendingly. There's a sense of urgency that you have to buy into. It was...fine.

The Shadows on the Wall by Mary E Wilkins Freeman. This story seemed very familiar to me and about halfway through I realized it was a Night Gallery episode I saw when I was a kid. That episode terrified me. I was afraid of shadows for a while afterwards.

In the short story, a group of siblings gathers for the wake of their dead brother. He had been ill, but the night of his death he and his brother had an argument. The three sisters are afraid of this brother, since he's known to have a temper. Two of the sisters are the first to notice the strange shadow, then the third sister sees it. Finally, the brother notices the shadow and his reaction is one the sisters' feared.

This haunting isn't typical and Freeman gets points for originality. I can see why it was used as the basis for that Night Gallery episode. It's a great visual. The dialogue, however, got on my nerves. There is a lot of whispered, "No, don't speak!" and gasps and shudders from the sisters that were very Victorian fainting couch adjacent. It definitely didn't have the effect the show had on me.



If you watched the first season of Stranger Things, then no doubt you are aware of the second season streaming on Netflix right now. My husband and I watched the whole second season this weekend because we're party animals like that.

It's a year after the events of the first season. Most people in Hawkins have no idea how much danger they were in and the government would like to keep it that way. The people who do know are living with the aftereffects. Joyce is worried about Will who is still suffering the effects of being in the Upside Down. Nancy is wracked with guilt over what happened to Barb. Mike is still searching for Eleven. Eleven herself is in hiding and trying to work out how she fits into a world she's never been a part of before. Meanwhile back at the lab, scientists are doing a terrible job at fixing the mess they made.

You'll read a lot of examinations online (if you look) of whether or not this season is as good as the first. There's also much talk of what critics wanted to see and didn't. I took it for what it was and enjoyed it as much as the first season. They expanded on some storylines, created new ones. Some characters faded into the background, while new ones were introduced. The season starts out slow, but by the end it's as much of a thrill ride as the first. It's pretty great!


The World of Lore: Perfect for RIP... and an Update


Hey all! I'm sitting on my couch trying to will a cold away. It's not really working. Now would be a good time for a post.

Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada and it was a good one.The fam and I not only had a great turkey dinner but went to a pumpkin patch and took a day trip to look at the leaves.

Not a bad view

The weather was unbelievable. Just perfect for outdoor activities. I'm so glad we got to enjoy it.

The Readathon is next weekend and though I wish I could participate in the 10 year old (wow) event, I have plans with my family. October is a busy month for me. We have a lot of birthdays in our family that month. I hope everyone else reads a lot of books for me! Maybe I'll lift my Twitter ban and drop in that day to cheer you all on.

Anyway I read another book for RIP XII. It's a perfect fit for the challenge and the season.

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke 


I have been a big fan of Lore, the podcast, since its beginning, so I knew I'd be reading the book based on the series. I had the chance to listen to the audio version, which is narrated by the author of course. It's much like the podcast, most of the stories are part of that series, but laid out in a cohesive way and the gaps filled in a bit more. There are sections on vampires, fairies, ghosts, gremlins, possessed dolls, legendary creatures like the Jersey Devil. He even gets into haunted places.

The World of Lore is about folklore so the stories should be taken with a grain of salt. Not that they aren't true, just ask my cousin's boyfriend's aunt's hairdresser. If you want a more realistic delving into folklore, check out Ghostland by Colin Dickey. I would have liked more original material, but this is a great way to introduce people who don't listen to podcasts to, well, The World of Lore. (There's also an Amazon series. He's covering every format.) The non-audio version is illustrated, so that's a bonus. I might have to check that out. If you like creepy folklore, you should enjoy this one.

I received this review copy from Penguin Random House Audio via Volumes. All opinions are my own.

RIP XII: Two Short Stories of Haunted Houses


I always make a bit of time for short stories during RIP. The horror genre is perfect for short form writing. People have been sitting around in the dark trying to scare each other with their tales since forever. You don't need a lot of explanation or exposition to get your point across. "I was in this place, some creepy things happened, the end."

The following stories follow that formula perfectly. In fact, they are almost the same story but with a few details changed. Let's take a look.

An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street by Joesph Sheridan Le Fanu. Two Irish cousins keep house in the family's rental property in Dublin, unaware of its haunted reputation. Not long after settling in the narrator's sleep is disturbed by terrible dreams. His cousin unceremoniously vacates the house, leaving him alone to experience harrowing encounters.

The Haunted and the Haunters by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. A English gentleman hears of a haunted house for rent and spends the night there with his servant and dog. Immediately, the group is harassed by spirits. The servant flees and leaves the narrator alone to witness a ghostly visitation.

Since I read both stories within 24 hours of each other, I couldn't help but compare the two. I ended up liking Le Fanu's story more for a few reasons. First, the protagonist is a more likable character. He and his cousin are just trying to make their way in the world. Being medical students, they try to save a few pennies by staying in a recently purchased family property. They are just minding their own business when the events occur. On the other hand, Lytton's hero is looking for trouble. He's a guy with money and little else to do, so why not rent a haunted house for funsies?

I also like a ghost story where the hauntings are more psychological. In Aungier St, the narrator experiences dreams, he hears more of the ghost than he sees. In the end, the cousin relates the experience that drove him from the house to the narrator, which helps put the pieces all together. The Haunted's ghosts are right in the narrators face from the start. They are not shy! They even put on a little play for the narrator that reminded me of- don't laugh- Garfield's experience in Garfield's Halloween Adventure. (I must have watched that show about a million times when I was a kid.)

The Haunted and the Haunter's protagonist is a "rational" man and takes pains to tell the reader how he had to be courageous and not give into fear. He goes into some theories about ghosts, including some discussion of mediums and mesmerism. It's a very Victorian point of view, but also a bit like Ancient Aliens, where a quas-scientific explanation is given which doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. The alternative title is The House and the Brain, so...

The Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street, on the other hand, is just a straight up ghost story, as the narrator points out in the first sentences.
It is not worth telling, this story of mine--at least, not worth writing. Told, indeed, as I have sometimes been called upon to tell it, to a circle of intelligent and eager faces, lighted up by a good after-dinner fire on a winter's evening, with a cold wind rising and wailing outside, and all snug and cosy within, it has gone off--though I say it, who should not--indifferent well.
The narrator knows the right atmosphere for this story, and as cousin Tom is dearly departed, there is no one to refute his claims. You have to decide whether or not to believe him. It helped that I read this during a thunderstorm. Perfection!

I'd still recommend both, as they are short and available for free. On Project Gutenberg:
An Account of Some Strange Disturbances on Aungier Street / The Haunted and the Haunters.


RIP XII: On a Roll, Book and a Movie

It's not even the end of September and I've met my RIP XII goal. Yay, me! I finished World of Trouble by Ben Winters, and watched a not-quite-horror movie The Silenced.

World of Trouble is the final book in the Last Policeman Series. I reviewed The Last Policeman and even though I read Countdown City for a Read-a-thon apparently I didn't review that one.

When we last saw Henry Palace, he was heading out to find his sister in the final days of humanity. Nicki joined a cult-like group who believes the asteroid's trajectory can be changed by a mysterious scientist, but the Government is preventing it for some reason. With only days left before the asteroid's meant to hit Earth, Henry is feels the pressure to find her. Using his police skills he pursues Nicki and her people to a town in Ohio, but they don't appear to be there- or they're very well hidden.

The world has changed a lot since the beginning of The Last Policemen. There is panic, there is resignation, there is fear. Henry must be wary of the people he meets along the way. The rules of civilization are no longer being followed. He doesn't know what he'll find in the towns he travels through.

It's a quieter book than the first in the series. He has less contact with people now. He's focused on one mission, to find his sister. The reality of the situation finally touches Henry in a way it didn't in the first book. How will this series end? I don't want to give too much away. I can only say that it gave me a lot to think about.


For RIP XII: Peril on the Screen, I watched The Silenced, a Korean movie you can find on Netflix. The movie is set in 1938 at a boarding school deep in the forest. There is something reminiscent of The Shining about the title sequence as a car winds it's way through the trees.

One of the passengers is Joo-ran aka Shizuko, a new girl at the school. She's meek and sickly, struck with TB. The school's headmistress tells her they will soon cure her. She begins a medical treatment involving injections. Some of the other girls act strangely toward her. There was another student with the same name who disappeared late one night, never to be heard from again. They resent her as an apparent replacement for their missing friend.

One girl takes Shizuko under her wing. Yeon-duk is an athletic girl who works hard so she can be chosen for a mysterious trip to Tokyo. She makes friends with Shizuko and they spend their time wandering around in the forest near the school.

Strange things begin to happen to the other girls and eventually Shizuko herself. She and her new friend try to find out what is really going on at this weird school.

It's hard to judge the quality of the acting when you don't know the language. I think the girls were fine, but some of the Baddies laid it on a bit thick. (There is one young guy, and I thought, 'Dude, less swagger.') The cinematography was beautiful, and costumes pretty great. This movie is less scary than I thought it was going to be. It's more of a mystery. There is some bizarre body horror as Shizuko is a witness to some freaky contortions by her classmates, but that's about it for scares.

The Silenced was fine. Netflix suggests I watch Oh My Ghost! a series about a horny virgin ghost who possesses a chef. Um, okay?

RIP Begins With The Changeling and Twin Peaks

Hello again! Happy Sunday. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe from storms. The weather is gray here but not too bad so far. Hurricanes don't touch us much until October. 

The girl is back in school. I'm hoping for a good academic year. Last year was pretty stressful. A teacher can make or break a year for someone as anxious as my child. And one of hers last year made me want to pull my hair out. So far, she seems optimistic about her classes. Fingers crossed!!!

I've finished one book for RIP XII already. Yay! An audio of The Changeling by Victor Lavalle. Here's the scoop.

Once upon a time, a man and his wife lived in the magical land of New York City. They recently became parents. They lived happily until the mother started behaving strangely. She declared that their baby wasn't a real baby. Her husband began to worry. One day the mother did a terrible thing and then disappeared. Her husband goes on a quest to find her that leads him to unfamiliar lands and horrible creatures.

So, yes, this is a modern fairy tale. Not the Disney sort, but more of the Grimm's variety. When I started The Changeling, it read as any novel of a modern couple falling in love and starting a family. Apollo has issues, his father left his mother when he was young. Emma has a hard time adjusting to being a working mom. Normal stuff. It was moving at a snail's pace and I wondered if it was going anywhere. Then it got Bon...kers! BONKERS! I don't want to give too much away but it's a for real fairy tale. The kind you would hear on Myths and Legends Podcast (which, btw, is very good). Dark and full of wtf moments.

I found The Changeling enjoyable for the most part. It was slow at times, but when there was action, it was intense. Fairy tales always have a message, usually a heavy handed one, and this one is no exception. What is a good parent? How does the past shape the parent we become? And just for fun, are you posting on Facebook too much? (Answer: Yes, you are.)

Warning for those with small children: you might want to sit this one out if little ones in peril make you upset. I know I wouldn't have been able to read this when my girl was a baby.

The author is also the narrator, which I'm just realizing now. He was actually pretty good. That's not always the case. 
And I watched the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return. I don't even know.

First


Then



Finally


Those are all my thoughts.

Did you watch Twin Peaks, 2017? How are you holding up?


RIP XII : I'm Here For It!


Yay! Readers Imbibing Peril season is here again, for the twelfth time. Wow! Since I've participating the last 10 years, I had to jump in again. There are many ways to participate but I'm choosing- 

Peril the Third:We all want you to participate. This Peril involves reading one book that fits within the R.I.P. definition.

I'm hoping to read more. We'll see. I picked up a few classics while on vacation.



  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  • The Lovecraft Compendium by HP Lovecraft
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I'm currently listening to The Changeling by Victor LaValle on audio. It seem like a good choice. I have a few things on my reader and I'm sure I could find more on my shelves. So, hopefully I will read a book or two!

And thanks to Heather and Andi for hosting!

Another Post. Plus The Grip of It, the Perils of Home Ownership

Hey gang! How's things? Good I hope. I hope you all kept your vision after the solar eclipse. There wasn't a lot to see here, but now I have an earworm for the rest of the year.



I'm going to get listy. Here's what's new.

On the Personal Front

I'm riding out the end of summer. It's actually been pretty good. I've been driving the girl around everywhere, but that's not so bad. We've been busy and I have to say we've had a better summer than some in the past. We're taking it day by day and not making big plans. She seems to be enjoying the season more than usual and I think it's because she's arguing with me less. (I'm knocking on all the wood.) I don't know about you, but I'm less inclined to want to drive someone and their friends to the beach after an hour long argument about nothing. Perhaps she's learning that keeping mama happy is to her own benefit.

At the Movies

I went to see Kidnap with a friend. It was fine. Halle Berry is an Oscar winning actress for a reason. She gives great face performance. Unfortunately, having her in Kidnap just highlighted the terribleness of the rest of the movie. There's a lot of overacting. And some of the lines...yeesh. But it was fun to watch her slam her seemingly indestructible Chrysler minivan into just about every surface she encounters. Who knew a minivan could outrun a Mustang GT?! Enjoy this one on Netflix in a couple of months.

Books? Yes.

I listened to The Grip of It by Jac Jemc. A Millennial couple moves from the city to a small town to avoid the husband's gambling problem because apparently they've never heard of the online gambling. They purchase a low rent Winchester Mystery House with weird hidden panels and funky vibes. I'm not sure of the reasoning here. "Hey Babe, want to live our own Shirley Jackson fantasy/nightmare?" They work on the fixer upper but not even The Property Brothers can save them from this real estate disaster. First, there are weird noises, items appear and disappear. Then they find themselves waking up in their neighbour's house with no memory of how they got there. Strange drawings appear on the walls and they feel they are losing their grip on reality.

I was really into The Grip of It at the beginning, but then I found that the happenings got repetitive. Some of the things that happened seemed pointless and I couldn't understand why this couple kept the things they did from each other. The husband's gambling problem didn't appear to have any real consequences other than moving to a nice little town. Oh the humanity. The ending was hurried and I didn't feel satisfied with how things were wrapped up. There were too many open endings.

How's Blogging Going?

There are over 1600 unopened messages in my blog gmail account. If you sent me one, I'm probably never going to find it. I'm thinking of just deleting everything in it unread. Sorry.

Warning: Blogging jargon ahead!

Google informs me that I'm supposed to install a SSL certificate on my blog for user security but since I have a custom domain Blogger won't let me. What a pain in the arse.


I don't have the energy to migrate my blog elsewhere. I find the whole thing annoying and it doesn't make me want to hop right back into blogging when I don't really understand what I'm supposed to do. I dunno. Anyone else dealing with this situation?

That's about it this week. See you all again soon!