Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Halloween Countdown

 

Get out your flashlight and hide under your blanket!

What do you read to give yourself the scary creeps?

There are a lot of great horror authors out there. Below is my own personal suggested horror reading list. I’ve read all of these and would read any of them again. Most are available online or at your local bookstore.

You might have seen movie versions of some of these books. Please READ THE BOOK. For example, Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris will terrify you and you’ll find so much more in the book that was left out of the film.

Tales to Chill Your Bones To by Michael Haberfelner

A Feast Not So Fancy by Mandy White

Dysfictinal 3: Down the Psyco Path (Disfunctional Fiction) by Mandy White

The Feeder by Mandy White

THE by Nathan Tackett

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

Gone South by Robert McCammon

Perfume: A Story of a Murder by Patrick Susland

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Frankenstein by Marry Shelley

Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

The Shining by Stephen King

Needful Things by Stephen King

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Turn of the Screw by Henry James

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Creepies: Twisted Tales from Beneath the Bed By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Creepies 2: Things That Go Bump In The Closet By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Creepies 3: Nightmares on Deviant Street By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Weirder Tales By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Feel free to leave your own scary/creepy/uncomfortable horror reading suggestions in the comments below.

The countdown to Halloween is ON. Happy Reading.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: A Trio of Escapes – Fiction, Travel, Poetry

Under Currents

By Nora Roberts

IMG_6927

I’m currently reading Under Currents.

I’ve been reading books by Nora Roberts for years. I’ve loved her stand alone books. I’ve loved the trilogies. The books in the J.D. Robb In Death Series are my absolute favorites.

This one is different. Below is the official description but that doesn’t describe this book completely. I had a difficult time reading the first few chapters. The descriptions of violence and brutal child abuse were graphic and disturbing. Sure, I read a lot of horror but this was beyond that. I’m not saying don’t read it. Stories of abuse need to be told. Stories of surviving need to be told. Stories of overcoming such horrors need to be told.

Do I like the book? So far so good. I’m still reading. That’s a beautiful thing.

Official Description: For both Zane and Darby, their small town roots hold a terrible secret. Now, decades later, they’ve come together to build a new life. But will the past set them free or pull them under?

Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back…

Years later, Zane returns to his hometown determined to reconnect with the place and people that mean so much to him, despite the painful memories. As he resumes life in the colorful town, he meets a gifted landscape artist named Darby, who is on the run from ghosts of her own.

Together they will have to teach each other what it means to face the past, and stand up for the ones they love.

 

Riding The Iron Rooster
By Train Through China

By Paul Theroux

IMG_6926

Written in 1988, this book was recommended to me by my dad. I couldn’t put it down. Riding The Iron Rooster took me on a live long love of books about travels, but this one always stands out.

Official Description: Paul Theroux, the author of the train travel classics The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express, takes to the rails once again in this account of his epic journey through China. He hops aboard as part of a tour group in London and sets out for China’s border. He then spends a year traversing the country, where he pieces together a fascinating snapshot of a unique moment in history. From the barren deserts of Xinjiang to the ice forests of Manchuria, from the dense metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Canton to the dry hills of Tibet, Theroux offers an unforgettable portrait of a magnificent land and an extraordinary people.

Riley Love-Lyrics

by James Witcomb Riley

IMG_6924.jpg

Years ago, so many I can hardly remember, I picked up a small red volume of poetry at a book store. This one always stuck with me.

Her Beautiful Hands

O your hands–they are strangely fair!
Fair–for the jewels that sparkle there,–
Fair–for the witchery of the spell
That ivory keys alone can tell;
But when their delicate touches rest
Here in my own do I love them best,
As I clasp with eager acquisitive spans
My glorious treasure of beautiful hands!

Marvelous–wonderful–beautiful hands!
They can coax roses to bloom in the strands
Of your brown tresses; and ribbons will twine.
Under mysterious touches of thine,
Into such knots as entangle the soul,
And fetter the heart under such a control
As only the strength of my love understands–
My passionate love for your beautiful hands.

As I remember the first fair touch
Of those beautiful hands that I love so much,
I seem to thrill as I then was thrilled,
Kissing the glove that I found unfilled–
When I met your gaze, and the queenly bow,
As you said to me, laughingly, “Keep it now!”
And dazed and alone in a dream I stand
Kissing this ghost of your beautiful hand.

When first I loved, in the long ago,
And held your hand as I told you so–
Pressed and caressed it and gave it a kiss,
And said “I could die for a hand like this!”
Little I dreamed love’s fulness yet
Had to ripen when eyes were wet,
And prayers were vain in their wild demands
For one warm touch of your beautiful hands.

Beautiful Hands! O Beautiful Hands!
Could you reach out of the alien lands
Where you are lingering, and give me, to-night,
Only a touch–were it ever so light–
My heart were soothed, and my weary brain
Would lull itself into rest again;
For there is no solace the world commands
Like the caress of your beautiful hands.

This is a charming volume of poetry that is near and dear to me. Today some might consider this book might be considered overly sentimental or by some sappy. Screw em. I like it. You can like it too. You can like anything you want.

Inscribed on the inside:

To the Elect of Love, – Or Side-By-Side
In Raptest Ecstasy, Or Surrendered Wide
By was That ear No Message To Or Fro
Between The Loved And Lost Of Long Ago.

My version was published in 1905. The book originally came out in 1883.

You can get copies of this online (free digital) or find it in used bookstores. There are also new paperback versions.

img_6925-e1568651704329.jpg

summerreading

Happy Reading.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Books I Read To My Kids

When I was a child there were a lot of books with pretty pictures, but it has been in the past 50 years that the children’s book industry has blossomed into something truly magical and inspiring for both children and adults.

I’ll put links to Amazon and other sites on here, but I found out about most of these books by word of mouth or GOING TO MY LOCAL LIBRARY. Libraries ROCK – I urge you to GO to your local library and take advantage of all of the useful services they provide. You can also find many of the out of print books on eBay or used book stories (real life and online.)

Sammy the Seal by Sid Hoff

We found an old copy of this at our local library sale. What a find! Sammy the seal decides to go to school but finds it isn’t really the best place for him to be. Sounds simple but it will surprise you. This is an old fashioned read but so much fun. You can’t help but adore Sammy!

http://www.amazon.com/Sammy-Seal-Can-Read-Book/dp/0064442705

Halloween Pie by Michael O. Tunnell and Kevin O’Malley

You HAVE to read this one out loud and do ALL of the voices.

The scent of Old Witch’s scrumptious Halloween pie lures Vampire and Ghoul, Ghost and Banshee, Zombie and Skeleton, from their lairs for a midnight feast. This wonderful read-aloud romp, full of spooky sounds and midnight magic is sure to be a Halloween favorite.

http://www.amazon.com/Halloween-Pie-Michael-O-Tunnell/dp/B00006F7JK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491026&sr=1-1

One Witch by Laura Leuck

Absolutely charming. I will never tire of this wonderful book. One witch, on a hill, had an empty pot to fill. So what does that one witch do? She goes around to visit all her fiendish friends, naturally; two cats, three scarecrows, four goblins, five vampires, six mummies, seven owls, eight ghosts, nine skeletons, and ten werewolves.

At every stop they contribute ghoulishly tasty ingredients until the witch has enough to make a properly gruesome stew for her party. Then, of course, she must send out her invitations; to the ten werewolves, nine skeletons, eight ghosts, seven owls, six mummies…

http://www.amazon.com/One-Witch-Laura-Leuck/dp/0802777295/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491243&sr=1-12

Each Peach Pear Plum by Allen Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg

 A dear friend of mine gave me this book when my daughter was born. I can’t even count how many times we read this. I’ll never give my copy away!

“Each Peach Pear Plum. I spy Tom Thumb!” In this engaging, interactive book for the very young, familiar nursery-rhyme characters such as Mother Hubbard and Baby Bunting sneak their way into the gentle drawings. Even young children who might not know all the fairy-tale stars can find them lurking in the cupboard, on the stairs, or deep in the woods. In the happy finale, the whole cast meets up for plum pie in the sun, where the little one on your lap will gleefully find everyone. http://www.amazon.com/Each-Peach-Pear-Picture-Puffins/dp/014050639X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491325&sr=1-1

Go, Dog. Go! By p.d. Eastman

All I can say is that this book is one of the most perfect and brilliant books ever written. It has it all: fast cars, parties, adventure, gambling, romance, sports and more. If you haven’t read Go, Dog. Go! you’ve been sleeping way too long in your coffin. Time to wake up and read the book.

http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Read-Myself-Beginner-Books/dp/0394900200/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491364&sr=1-1

Oz Series

JOHN R. NEILL (Illustrator), L. FRANK BAUM (Author)

Most people don’t know that after the first book “The Wizard of Oz” there were more. 14 OZ books written by L. Frank Baum and many more written by other writers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Oz_books

While I like the first book – I love the rest, especially Dorothy and the Wizard In Oz and The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

Oz is a land where girls rule. Dorothy, Glanda, Ozma and other strong girls take charge!

When the series continues after the first book and (John R. Neill takes over the illustation) the entire tone of the books changes. Dorothy is transformed from a chubby frumpy farm girl who longs for home, to a dynamic, sharp, stylish girl who is almost like a hip young Hillary Clinton.  Oz becomes a place where you’ll meet talking cats with an attitude, where anything can come to life and there is a surprise around every corner.

Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak

My favorite book by Maurice Sendak is Outside Over There. It is not only one of the most beautiful books ever written, but one of the most touching and magical books I’ve ever read. It is a story of Ida who is watching her baby sister, but not so well, because her baby sister is kidnapped by goblins. Of course Ida must go on a quest to rescue her sister. It is a story as only Maurice Sendak can tell though his wonderful words and illustrations.

Some people believe the movie Labyrinth was based on this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Over-There-Caldecott-Collection/dp/0064431851/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491556&sr=1-1

The next two books are by Daniel Pinkwater – a brilliant storyteller. If you haven’t heard of him look him up on the NPR web site archives (NPR.org)

Irving and Mukuk: Two bad Bears by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

This is one of those spit milk out of your nose pee your pants funny books.  Jill Pinkwater’s illustrations are too much FUN and perfect for this story!

http://www.amazon.com/Irving-Muktuk-Two-Bears-Story/dp/0618354042/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491637&sr=1-1

Wolf Christmas by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

A touching Christmas story about a group of wolves who become curious about the human celebration of Christmas.  My favorite Christmas Story.

Daniel Pinkwater reading “Wolf Christmas”: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/25/132324290/Daniel-Pinkwater-Reads-Wolf-Christmas

http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Christmas-Daniel-Manus-Pinkwater/dp/0761450300/ref=sr_1_86?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491751&sr=1-86

 The House on East 88th Street by Benard Waver

A fun book that will make you wish you have Lyle the crocodile living with you. A charming book about the Pimm family and the unexpected bonus they find when they move into the house on East 88th Street!

 

The best gift (aside from common sense) you can give your child is the gift of reading and story telling.   

Please feel free to let me know if you have any favorites you’d like to post or an author you’d like to feature (especially indie authors). If you are an author of YA or kids’ books, and if I feel you’d make a good fit for this blog, I’d love to help you get the word out about  your work! That goes for illustrators too!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

2019 Summer Reading: Beauty, Brutality, Reflection, Love, Verse, and Humor

This morning I pulled four books off of my self. Four books by two authors.

This morning, and most mornings, I can tell a story, but I am not a master of words. Both of these authors put together words in a way that is pure art. The word “wonder” comes to mind. I am in awe.

These are books to savor. They include poetry, short stories, and a gentle calling.

Jon Obermeyer

I met Jon Obermeyer at a reading in Fair Oaks, California last summer. I was taken by his words. Like I said before it is all about the words. Jon is also just a great guy; smart, friendly, great sense of humor.

I’ve featured two of his books today. He has many.

Wingspan

by Jon Obermeyer

IMG_6697

The official description: The 70 new poems in “Wingspan” reflects poet Jon Obermeyer’s wide ranging interests and geographic wanderings. A native of Santa Barbara, CA, Jon has lived most of his adult life in North Carolina (with a short detour to west Florida). In this third collection of poetry, Jon explores his West Coast roots and his East Coast habitats, the delights of parenting, creative work and exploring the natural wold, and musings about turning 60. In a confident, original voice Jon reminds us what is important and what keeps us going, riding the thermals. “What defines Jon Obermeyer’s poetry is a trust of plain speech and sure-footed humility; a willingness to let circumstance wash over, but not wash away.” Terry L. Kennedy, author of New River Breakdown “Jon Obermeyer was a student of the brilliant Robert Watson and one thing he learned from Watson was to find his own voice…diction, lyricism, and meaning uniting to let us see what he sees, hear what he hears, feel what he feels.” Kelly Cherry, author of The Life and Death of Poetry: Poems (LSU Press) “Jon Obermeyer is one of those poets who goes right for the gut. His words are bright, penetrating, clean as a bone. In this collection, he talks about tectonic plates, English invaders, and red-eye gravy in a spiritual way….He listens. He listens closely. That’s his secret. I’ve never met anyone with a better ear to the ground. He’s not trying to solve anything.” John Miller, from the Foreword

IMG_6696

Centripetal Force and Other Stories

by Jon Obermeyer

IMG_6695

Official Description: David Sedaris wrote, “A good short story should take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.” Sixteen stories are included in Jon Obermeyer’s second collection of short fiction. Both cautionary and comic, these post-2008 financial meltdown tales feature characters who are caught off guard, in their personal lives and in financial status. A divorced man finds witnessing the aftermath of a horrific highway accident strangely purifying. A retired auto inspection mechanic finds himself kicked out of an art crawl open house, and it triggers flashback to an incident on a high school football field. A homeowner and father worries that the ex-con handyman fixing his termite-damaged subflooring might also be a suspect in a local murder. Two couples, one wealthy, the other struggling financially, vacation together in Italy, as one marriage disintegrates and the other relationship is strangely affirmed. A woman is forced to choose a way to assuage the hurt of an absent boyfriend over a holiday weekend, possibly reuniting with a former finance. An unemployed poet decides to open a retail store devoted solely to one book, his 400-page opus about the working man. The author in his preface writes: “For two years in the early part of this century, I wrote the annual circus program for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I ventured each December to Ringling “Winter Quarters” at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, and spent three weeks interviewing the performers and watching the new acts in rehearsal. “To make the circus interesting for the 12-year-old boys who were the target audience for the book, we planned a series of graphics alongside the text. These visual, small nuggets based on the science behind the circus, comprised what my editor John Miller called our “Dorling-Kindersley” approach. “That’s when I first learned the difference between Centripetal Force (center seeking) and Centrifugal Force (center fleeing). The Ringling equestrian act, circa 2002, worked on the defying the principle of Centrifugal Force, keeping the horses contained the small ring as they spun around it at fast speed. This act was known as “Little and Big,” because horses and small dogs were involved. “So, what keeps us from flying off the surface of our spinning planet into Deep Space? It’s gravity mostly, but I might argue there’s a bit of centripetal force at work, a subtler form of grounding. What keeps us from flying off the proverbial handle? What distinguishes that line between sane and in-sane? “Fiction, like poetry, keeps us from becoming scatterlings. It’s my job as a kind of Ringmaster, the professional artist, to salvage these little events that might have big import when laid out in a narrative arc; Little and Big. I’m going to take the tiny things that have happened to me, or something I’ve heard about from others or in a public forum, and whip them into an enjoyable froth, with some dialogue and description.”

IMG_6698

 

Ra Avis

You are loved. You are frightfully wondrous. Those are the words you will read or hear when the name Ra Avis comes up.

I’ve known Ra through blogging since 2012. I came across her words and her beautiful heart. Since then I’ve met other wonderful bloggers through her. I’ve also shared her work and message.

Ra is a dinosaur with a dinosaur heart. She is also a woman with a great capacity for life, joy, resilience, humor, words, and all things good.

Rarasaur.com

Snack Nasty

Prison Poetry by Ra Avis

IMG_6694

This book is both brutal and beautiful. Verse.

From the back of the book: The stories told here don’t always fall sinn-side up. They are the scrambled and fried edges of prison life. They are the illusion of dignity, the inconsistency of justice, and the fluidity (and fluids of the human condition. These are the true stories from my 438 days of incarceration.

IMG_6696

 

 

Dinosaur-Hearted

by Ra Avis

IMG_6692

This is a book that will inspire you and make you smile. Trivia: I have my own dinosaur heart necklace that I wear when I give docent tours at the art museum.

Official description: This book is a gentle call to happiness in a time of healing, and a reminder that — wherever you are, whoever you are– you are loved.

IMG_6693

 

I’ll see you next Monday for more reading suggestions. Since school has started in most locations, and September is here, I will be changing the name to Juliette’s Reading or something along those lines.

Happy Reading. And feel free to share your own reading suggestions.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

summerreading

 

2019 Summer Reading: Old Bones and a Birthday

This past July 4th I was sitting on the side of a mountain overlooking Donner Lake and watching a spectacular fireworks show. As the fireworks went off we could see the train on the other side of Donner Lake moving along watching the show. Truckers and cars along the highway also stopped to view the fireworks.

Unknown-1

We were there for my daughter’s 20th birthday. The dogs are Brody and Alice. I had to show off this cake – made by my daughter’s boyfriend’s mom.

I’m from Sacramento, and I’ve spent a lot of time around Donner Lake. Needless to say everything the ghosts of the Gold Rush, and transcontinental railroad workers are still around, as well as the ghosts from the ill fated Donner Party.

Let’s go back to October of 1846. The Donners and the Reeds were two families who headed up a group of folks coming out to California to start a new life. From the get go it was a total shit storm of misdirections, grumbling among the travelers, and bad decisions.

When the “Donner Party” finally made it to what is now Donner Lake, they were only what is now a 90 minute drive from my house outside of Sacramento. Unfortunately there was no Interstate 80 to take them down the hill, no snowplows, no tow truck, no park rangers, no nothing. They were trapped by an unusually heavy snow fall and had to spend the winter in a high mountain wilderness. Many survived. Many did not. Of course, you all know, and I know you’ve been waiting for me to say this, many ate the bodies of their traveling companions (yes humans, they’d already eaten their horses, cattle, and dogs.)

The members of this unassuming and ill-fated group had no idea they’d be so famous. They also had no idea that the frozen lake they camped by would become a California State Park, and a favorite vacation spot. We go up for a day trip there all the time.

Descendants of the Donners, Reeds, and other members of the Donner Party are still living in the Sacramento area.

Which brings me back to 2019 SUMMER READING.

For years I’ve been reading ALL of the books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I’ve listed many of them in my past reading lists on vampiremaman.com.

THANK YOU to the authors for so many hours of fun reading.

Unknown-3

Preston & Child

I love their books. Some of the stories are so far fetched and out there that you’d think a Vampire like me wouldn’t be reading them, but hey, I read for FUN. And you know, I’m sort of out there far fetched myself.

I am so excited because my copy of their newest book OLD BONES has finally arrived.

Unknown-2

This is the official description:

Nora Kelly, a young curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology, is approached by historian Clive Benton with a once-in-a-lifetime proposal: to lead a team in search of the so-called “Lost Camp” of the tragic Donner Party. This was a group of pioneers who earned a terrible place in American history when they became snow-bound in the California mountains in 1847, their fate unknown until the first skeletonized survivors stumbled out of the wilderness, raving about starvation, murder-and cannibalism.

Benton tells Kelly he has stumbled upon an amazing find: the long-sought diary of one of the victims, which has an enigmatic description of the Lost Camp. Nora agrees to lead an expedition to locate and excavate it-to reveal its long-buried secrets.

Once in the mountains, however, they learn that discovering the camp is only the first step in a mounting journey of fear. For as they uncover old bones, they expose the real truth of what happened, one that is far more shocking and bizarre than mere cannibalism. And when those ancient horrors lead to present-day violence on a grand scale, rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson is assigned the case…only to find that her first investigation might very well be her last.

As soon as I finish the deliciously wonderful  book I’m reading now (Tight Rope by Amanda Quick) I will devour Old Bones.

images

Donner Lake

 

Today’s post was brought to you by my coffee cup, which is now unfortunately empty, and my busy day. I’ll have more reading fun next Monday.

It will be 102F here today. I don’t know about where you are but I plan on staying cool, editing MY BOOK, and maybe getting in a little reading. Alice the dog also is getting her nails clipped but then again that is an entirely different blog post.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

summerreading

2019 Summer Reading: King Arthur and John Steinbeck

220px-TheActsOfKingArthur

I will always be in awe of John Steinbeck, both as a reader and as a writer.

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976) is John Steinbeck’s retelling of the Arthurian legend, based on the Winchester Manuscript text of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.

I’ve read almost all of Steinbeck’s books – many multiple times – but I’ve never read this one. It has been on my self for years. So, without any additional introductions I will add this to my 2019 Summer Reading List.

Why this? Why now?

We’ve all been fascinated with stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. From the musical Camelot to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we can’t get enough. The series of books about Arthur is endless. There are even television shows.

I’ve even started a series of stories about a Warlock and Selkie who occasionally run into Merlin and other characters from Arthur’s court.

My hope is that Steinbeck’s unfinished version will be as beautifully crafted like the rest of his books. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. I’m sure you won’t be either.

If Arthur isn’t your kind of story, then do yourself a favor and read one of Steinbeck’s other novels, or even a short story or two this summer. You’ll be glad you did.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

summerreading