Friday, July 29, 2016

A sad, sad weekly wrap up.

Weekly Wrap Up!
July 24th-31st


So fellow booknerds, 

I failed completely at this weeks reading goals. I thought I would have some time to read a little bit, however I could not have been more wrong. I did not get the chance at all to pick up a book this week. I was busy with working and planning my Eagle Scout Court of Honor, which gladly is now completed. I will be transferring all these reads to next week, as I will be working a lot but I will be working at night so I will have time to read through the day. 

I have formally resigned from my job, so as of August 6th I will no longer be working where I have been for the past four years... That is bitter sweet but I will be going back up to University on the 26th of August so that will allow me twenty whole days of reading and making video content for you all! I will be back to my normal one video a week starting next Sunday, I have many ideas and topics to film about, including my massive July Book Haul. So you will be seeing more of me next week than you have these past two weeks. Once again I am sorry for not getting a video uploaded last week or this week.

I would also like to remind all of you that you have until Sunday July 31st to enter in my signed HEX giveaway! I will ship anywhere all you must do is subscribe to my YouTube channel and comment on the video some of your favorite horror or thriller books! 

I will be back on Monday with a jam packed August TBR, along with many review ideas that I have been saving to create until I had the time to do so properly.


Happy Reading!

You can find me on Twitter @Komondor70, and on YouTube at MyBookishEmpire, be sure to check out all of those outlets to get as much bookish Empire content as you want!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review!

Winter People 
By: Jennifer McMahon 

Before I even tell you how awesome this book is, I want you to know that you all NEED to read anything that Jennifer has written, because the atmosphere that she is able to create will haunt you long past the last page! I am reading this book from a Central Vermont local resident and I think that made this book all the more eerie and scary, as I was able to recognize towns and the influence that small towns of the area can have on people. I also had an awesome time reading this book with my buddy from the West Coast Missy from BingeReader on Youtube! 

Plot: "West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself." (Goodreads.com)

Tagline: Loosing hope can sometimes be worse than your biggest fear!


General Thoughts: 
  • Damn this woman can write! 
  • She lives very close to me in real life! 
  • Can all horror books be written in this lyrical and vividly imaginative version of Vermont!? 
    • These were my first three thoughts after completing this book!
  • Why have I not heard about this author sooner?
    • She is a well published author through Doubleday publishing, so I am confused how I missed hearing about the genius that has written this book and many more!
  • I do not believe that West Hall is a real place in Vermont, however if it is I really want to go exploring there. Of course not after dark but during the day it sounds like the picturesque charming Vermont country town.
Writing Style: 
  • The writing style exhibited in this book borders on the literary, however it shows a few informalities which allow the reader to connect to the story. I enjoy her writing style, as it is a "high-brow horror" novel. I would classify it as "high-brow horror" for the simple fact that the writing is using an elevated style with many unique tones and structures woven in. 
  • I would like to clarify that this book, though it is "high-brow horror" is not hard to read at all! This is one of the most enjoyable and intellectually pleasing books I have come across in the horror genre. 
  • Jennifer's writing is a set of staggering plot-lines and differing time periods that meld together in a whimsically unsettling fashion, truly a treat!
Plot: This is something that I will not discuss in detail because of the shock factors that are used in this novel, however I do have some I can say upfront. I was scared with this book more so than some may be because I live in the direct vicinity of where this novel is set. The plot utilizes two time periods very effectively with an alternating chapter style that adds a great amount of depth and understanding to the novel as a whole. I loved every ounce of this book, both while reading it and thinking back about it! 

Characters: 
  • Ruthie: This is the sister that I never had! Ruthie is one of the rebellious and angsty teens that continuously get brought into plots of novels and are just two dimentional, however Ruthie is not! She is a fully thought out and realistic teen, playing the role of "mother" through the majority of this book. Ruthie's rationality and decision making remind me of my own when I am forced to deal with stressful situations. All in all, Ruthie gave me a new perspective on the familial bond that is created when nurtured from a young age!
  • Sars Harrison Shea: Sara is the women from the past that is brought into the story through her journal that was recently published. This woman had me reeling with every passage she wrote about, the shocking and eerie Aunty she had while growing up gave me the most chills while reading! Sara is her own unique and mystical being without the added hint of witchcraft, thought this dash of magic was "icing on the cake" for me. Sara is a women who I now see on the streets strolling among the hippies and farmers of Vermont. I cannot describe the connection that I had with Sara's character, however by the end of the book I felt as though I had met her before! All around stunning character development.
  • The rest of the supporting characters were just as realistic and vividly portrayed in this novel. I will just hi-lite these two so my entire review does not become a character study sheet! 
This book is a must read for anyone who: 
  1. Lives in New England!
  2. Enjoys horror, small towns, family bonds or just lyrical and literary writing.
  3. Wants to try an eerie horror novel, but is not ready for the slasher and jump scares that Hollywood pumps out. 
  4. Anyone who can read!
Rating: 5/5 Screams (horror ratings) 

I will be reading more of Jennifer McMahon's work in the coming months, with Missy so keep an eye out for that! I also will have a video review which will contain spoilers for the book that you should only watch after reading the book! I cannot get rid of the eerie thoughts and chills that this "high-brow horror" has given me!

Happy Reading!

I will chat with you all very soon about some other phenomenal books I am reading!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Madness! 7-25-16

Monday Madness: My Week in Books!
7-25-26

Hey guys! 

I have survived another week of work and I am now getting ready to read as much as possible during my spare day time this week! Wish me luck guys, I have a tremendous amount of reading to do before this month is done! 

This week there will not be any huge events or fun author stuff to talk about sadly; however my girlfriend and I are going camping this weekend and it should be a grand bookish time! I have in fact met Sylvain Neuvel, thanks to the lovely people at Bear Pond Books for his book club chat about Sleeping Giants! I am incredibly lucky this summer with the amount of amazing authors I have been able to meet and chat with about books and the bookish community! Any way enough of my chatting, now lets get into my reading plans for this week!

To Read 7-25-16: 
  1. Sleeping Giants by: Sylvain Neuvel 
    1. Roughly 200 pages left, which should not take me more than a night.
  2. Ninefox Gambit by: Yoon Ha Lee 
    1. This is a fast paced and gripping Sci Fi that I have to review for the publisher!
  3. The Gracekeepers by: Kirsty Logan
    1.  I am 19% complete with this, however it is a very fun and fast read!
  4. Jerusalem by: Alan Moore
    1. I need to start this and begin the long haul of reading it for the publisher! I will not make a ton of progress, but one must start somewhere!
  5. Mage's Blood by: David Hair
    1. I know this will not happen, but I am putting it here as a reminder for me to get to it soon, as I have the fourth one to review from NetGalley!
I know what you guys are thinking, "Wow, Wil stop doing this to yourself each week you plan too much and you never accomplish it all..." To you who doubt me, I will prevail and achieve most of this list this week! I have a few night shifts instead of day shifts so I will be able to read during the day and when we are camping I aim to read a fair chunk... 

I know I have a very busy week ahead of me, but I would love to know what you all have been up to and what you aim to read in this coming week? Again, I am chatting too much; I will see you all later, time to READ!

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Summer Reading Tag!

The Summer Reading Tag!

I recently saw Jen Campbell on YouTube do this tag, and since it is not one of my posting days for videos,  I thought I would answer these seven questions for you today on the blog! I am going to have a video up this weekend, though I am not sure what yet... Without further gabbing lets get to the questions!

  1. What three books do you want to read this summer?
    1. I would love to read: 
      1. Jerusalem by: Alan Moore
      2. Ghost Talkers by: Mary Robinnette Kowal
      3. This Census Taker by: China Meiville
  2. Which character most embodies the traits of summer?
    1. Kizzy from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by: Becky Chambers 
      1. She is so much fun to be around and read about on the ship, and she has the brightest and most bubbly personality of any character I have read. Kizzy = Summer!
  3. What book do you most associate with the physicality of summer? 
    1. I do not really do this with any particular book, however I associate colors and cover designs with summer and the other seasons. Colors such as Orange, Red, Yellow etc... 
  4. What kind of books do you like to read on Holiday? 
    1.  In my family we do not go on holiday trips or anything, so there are not any books I would remember reading on holiday, however during the summer break I read a ton of large books that I cannot read during the school year.
  5. If you could go on holiday with any author, where would you go? 
    1. I would go on holiday with John Scalzi, because he always has some witty and slightly irritating comment to make that would make the holiday so much better! I would like to stay in the USA and just go to a comic con with him and hear his banter about the whole experience!
  6. What is your book of the year so far? 
    1. This is a very tricky tricky question for me to answer because I have read so many amazing books! I would have to say a three way tie right now between: \
      1. Swamplandia by: Karen Russel
      2. We Were the Mulvaneys by: Joyce Carol Oates 
      3. The long Way To a Small Angry Planet by: Becky Chambers
    2. These are all amazing books for their own reasons, you should check out my revies of each of them right here on the blog and then pick them up!
  7. How did you spend your summer holidays as a child? 
    1.  I spent my summer holidays at some sort of Boy Scout camp or even just a summer swim program, so I was always busy. Now I just work and enjoy writing for the blog and reading awesome books!

Those were my answers for the Summer Reading Tag which I found through Jen Campbell's Video

Happy Reading! 

Check out the YouTube page on Sunday for more awesome content!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: A Head Full Of Ghosts

Review: 
A Head Full Of Ghosts
By: Paul Tremblay

When I found out I was interviewing Paul Tremblay along with Thomas Olde Heuvelt, I knew I needed to pick up one of his books; A Head Full Of Ghosts was that book for me. I must say while reading it on my own I was not thrilled or scared by it, at least until I spoke with Paul about what his goals were with the book. If you are looking for a break neck paced horror novel then this one is not for you, however if you want an intellectually inviting conversation about horror and what society thinks of it then this is your next read! 

Paul Tremblay: "Paul Tremblay is the author of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK and the award-winning
A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones). 

He is the author of the short story collections COMPOSITIONS FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD (Prime) and IN THE MEAN TIME (Chizine Publications). His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous year's best anthologies. He is the co-editor of four anthologies including CREATURES: Thirty Years of Monster Stories (with John Langan). Paul is a member of the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, has a master's degree in Mathematics, and has no uvula. You can find him online at www.paultremblay.net.

Paul is very truthful and declarative in his bios. He once gained three inches of height in a single twelve hour period, and he does not have a uvula. His second toe is longer than his big toe, and yes, on both feet. He has a master’s degree in mathematics, teaches AP Calculus, and once made twenty-seven three pointers in a row. He enjoys reading The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher aloud in a faux-British accent to his two children. He is also reading this bio aloud, now, with the same accent. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts and he is represented by Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management." (Goodreads.com)

Plot: "The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface--and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil."(Goodreads.com)

General Thoughts: 
  • Originally when I began this book I was hoping to have the chance of a horrific and haunting ride, however as the book moved into its own I felt that it was not meant to be horrific or scary at least completely and solely.
    • Paul later confirmed this when he said that the book  was his way of coping with and having a conversation to the public about exorcist books. Which I feel is a much more accurate representation of what this book was doing and therefore succeeding at!
  • The blog posts honestly irritated me to no end when I began! I know, laugh at me all you want I know because I am a blogger I should enjoy writing posts and reading posts; however sometimes that is not the case. 
    • Towards the end of the novel I loved to read the blog posts because I had a connection to the creator of the posts! As you can see I am very character driven even in my horror popcorn books I need to connect with characters. 
  • The reality show added a new depth to the story which I felt was needed to add some complexities that the plot was otherwise lacking.
Characters: 
  • While I know I said that these characters were lacking something special to me, I found Merry and Marjorie to be endearing and a unique look at how children cope with the unexplainable. I think that these characters have a good backbone for some EPIC character growth, however the book was way too short for that to occur completely.
  • Merry: The innocence that is depicted in Merry makes me have some slight hope for humanity. I know that is an odd thing to say about a thrilling book about exorcisms, however in light of recent events Merry's naive and "basic" brain showed me that humans regardless of age have some good in them. I know it is an odd thing to pull from a young female character, but I found it to be important how well Paul captures adolescence. Merry has a very unique perspective on the whole series of events. 
  • Marjorie: I felt that Marjorie was more of a literary device, or tool to convey your thoughts to aside from the person she was meant to be. Marjorie had so many horrific things happen to her through the book, from physical harm to emotional damage from her family. She seemed to have so much unloaded onto her all at once that made her seem unreal and fake to a point where caring was pointless. Perhaps a better phrase would be that Marjorie is the Voodoo doll of the story, she had no true connection to me. 
Plot: 
  • The plot to me seemed more about how humans can manipulate and embellish stories and and horrific events into being something totally un true. 
  • In this book I saw elements from the exorcist plot line, from modern movies and from older works of fiction; however what I thought was not going to work for Paul's advantage actually saved the book for me. His conversation with the reader about horror as a genre is flawless!
Writing:  
  • The writing was good to begin with, however in the end I enjoyed the blog writing more than his actual style. 
    • Towards the end he had a more rushed pacing and heightened climax of the book. 
  • I really did enjoy how simplistic it was to read for face value, and yet how much he was able to hide in the depths of such simple words.
  • Pacing of this book is very fun and fast for the majority of the way through; however the blog posts slow the reading speed down quite a bit until you know who is writing them. I felt that this book in general had no pacing issues, but rather a few bumps in the otherwise streamline story.
If you are looking for a book to make you think about the influence of horror on both the psyche and human relations this is the book you want. However if you are looking for more of a thriller and a dark tale I would recommend my next reviewed book: Winter People by: Jennifer McMahon!

Rating: 4 stars

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hex Review

Book Review: 
HEX 
By: Thomas Olde Heuvelt


Last week I had the time of my life meeting Thomas Olde Heuvelt at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier Vermont, after reading his wonderful American debut novel Hex! This book genuinely scared me to
We are in front of the Vermont Capital Building
Paul Tremblay (Left), Me (Middle),
 Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Right)
no end as any awesome horror novel should, and today I thought I would give you my in depth thoughts on the book behind this awesome author!

About The Author: "Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

In 2016, Olde Heuvelt's critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book." (Goodreads Author Bio)

Plot: "Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past." (Goodreads.com) 

General Thoughts: 
  • This book is funny, creepy, and WILL keep you up at night.
  • The atmosphere that Thomas is able to create throughout the duration of the novel is impecable; he really is able to make you feel completely immersed in the story. 
  • The characters are quirky, cool and relatable, all of which adds a tremendous amount to the stories enjoyment. 
  • The cover of the book is very well designed. I like the idea of showing the small house on a foggy day, alluding to some creepy events to come from within the pages. 
  • Omniscient point of view gives the reader a wide scope and understanding of the story as it begins to unfold, this is something that worked very well in this story. 
Characters: 
  • Tyler: The main person we follow throughout the novel. His family, the Grants own a house where Katherine frequents often on the outskirts of town. Tyler is your typical teen who wants to hang out with friends and show off his skills, which he does via his YouTube channel where he vlogs his daily life. I found Tyler to be incredibly relatable and charming throughout this novel, as he went through the typical teens issues along with the horrors encompassing Katherine's rath. He has the teenage personality and spunk, while he lacks the angst and whiny nature that I dislike when reading about teens. 
  • Steve: Steve is Tyler's father, he plays a major role in the book later on. I loved the fact that Thomas Olde Heuvelt decided to put a father and son relationship in this novel, because family ties are often overshadowed by romantic feelings in novels. I found Steve to be endearing and a comforting presence in the midst of the horrors which un folded within Black Spring. He encompasses all that a father aspires to be in a very realistic way, even throughout his grief and loss he remains "real" and not greatly glorified.
  • In general I love each and every one of these characters, however I do not want to spoil any of the others for you. I will say that the revenge and teenage habits that are portrayed are the most true to life that I have read about in a fictional story.
Plot: 
  • While I agree that the characters were very strong  in this book, the plot it what made this book shine!
  • The plot of this book worked brilliantly well with the setting of the Hudson Valley. 
    • The Hudson Valley is known as a place of mystery and folklore for the New York state, which lent its hand well to the eerie Katherine Van Wyler (witch in HEX). 
    • The region is steeped in mystery and horror tales of the past. I cannot wait to go back to school in the fall and experience the Upstate New York way in a new eerie light.
  • The atmosphere of this book is incredible considering the fact that Thomas had not been to the Hudson Valley before he changed the setting in the US edition. He captured small town America flawlessly and added the right amount of horror to scare anyones socks off!
  • This story is fast paced and fun, definitely one that EVERYONE should read especially if they will be new to the horror genre.
Writing: 
  • As many of you should be aware of, this book has been translated from Dutch to English. The translator's name is Nancy Forest-Flier, and Thomas has said he worked very closely with her to ensure a great translation, which certainly shows in the book.
  • Thomas had the chance to edit and change the ending of the American edition from the Dutch edition, which he took full advantage of. He says that the switch was for the better, and I surely enjoyed the English ending but I am immensely curious about the Dutch ending.
  • Thomas actually wrote the ending of the US edition himself in English and then edited for errors, and I am proud and happy that he got a taste of writing fiction in English. Mostly I am happy because it may speed up the time between his releases. 
Scare Factor: 4/5 screams
Rating: 5/5 stars 
I want everyone to read this book so badly that I am going to be hosting a giveaway for this book over on my YouTube channel! You will receive a signed copy of the book along with an "eye sewing kit" that was given to me from Thomas Olde Heuvelt!


Giveaway Details: 
  • This giveaway will be open Internationally! So as long as you live on this planet I can send it to you, interplanetary mail is still so unreliable that I do not want to chance sending something to Jupiter.
  • Begins: Today, July 18th
  • Ends: July 31st at 11:59:59PM EST 
  • You Must: 
    • Subscribe to my YouTube Channel 
    • Comment on my video Interview of Thomas Olde Heuvelt, and recommend me some of your favorite horror books. 
    • Let me know in that same comment that you want to enter the giveaway!

Happy Reading... 


The Giveaway Book!

Look at that awesome Author scribble!





Friday, July 15, 2016

Interview with Paul Tremblay & Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Author Interviews: 
Thomas Olde Heuvelt & Paul Tremblay

First let me say a huge thank you to both Thomas and Paul for agreeing to sit down and speak with
Welcome to Vermont Guys!
July 12th 2016

me for a while about their time as writers and their awesome books! I contacted Thomas about two weeks ago asking if he would be willing to sit down and do an interview for the blog, which he agreed to do along with a YouTube interview about Hex, which will be up by Monday July 17th! Thomas was getting a ride up from the Boston area with Paul Tremblay, whom he asked if I wanted to interview as well and I obviously agreed to do. This is the interview that resulted from the author event at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier Vermont on July 12th!

Thomas Olde Heuvelt: "Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

In 2016, Olde Heuvelt's critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book." (Goodreads.com)

Paul Tremblay: "Paul Tremblay is the author of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK and the award-winning A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones). 

He is the author of the short story collections COMPOSITIONS FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD (Prime) and IN THE MEAN TIME (Chizine Publications). His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous year's best anthologies. He is the co-editor of four anthologies including CREATURES: Thirty Years of Monster Stories (with John Langan). Paul is a member of the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, has a master's degree in Mathematics, and has no uvula. You can find him online at www.paultremblay.net.

Paul is very truthful and declarative in his bios. He once gained three inches of height in a single twelve hour period, and he does not have a uvula. His second toe is longer than his big toe, and yes, on both feet. He has a master’s degree in mathematics, teaches AP Calculus, and once made twenty-seven three pointers in a row. He enjoys reading The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher aloud in a faux-British accent to his two children. He is also reading this bio aloud, now, with the same accent. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts and he is represented by Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management."(Goodreads.com)



Interview:

Me: "When did you guys start writing and where do you guys look for your ideas?"

Thomas: "I started writing when I was a kid I was really young, um I think I was twelve, no I was seven." " I never completed anything when I was a kid, but I had a whole idea in my head for a whole novel. And then some kid would ring the bell and ask me to play soccer outside and I forgot about the story, that is how it always went."

Paul: " I was much older, I didn't start writing until I was twenty three."

Me: "Thomas, with Hex being your first English novel, was it the first one you ever wrote, or did you have stuff that you wrote before that was not published at least in English?"

Thomas: "It's actually my first book over here in America, but it is my fifth book in the Netherlands. So my first book was published when I was eighteen, and so it has been a while, it is not my first."

Me: "When you guys are looking for ideas, do they just come to you? Or do you get them from legends,or TV shows or movies."

Paul: "For me maybe a little bit of both, but definitely I get inspiration from movies, books, TV, I take ideas from anything. I try to treat writing as being like a Magpie, always building a nest always picking at different things. You know more than a handful of my short stories and novels have titles that come from songs; even A Head Full Of Ghosts that title was basically taken from a Bad Religion's song, My Head is Full of Ghosts (Bad Religion song). I got the bands permission and then quoted them in the epigraph, which is really cool."

Me: Paul"I noticed that some of your novel A Head Full of Ghosts was pulling a lot from the exorcist." 

Paul: "Oh definitely, that book was a conversation or a reaction to the exorcist and a whole bunch of other horror movies and books."
Me: "Do you guys enjoy reading suspense or horror, or do you read outside your genre that you write?" 

Thomas: "It is a bit of both. I definitely read a lot of horror that s what I am entertained by, but I also like reading outside the genre too, you know get your perspective a little wider. I am very fond of books by Jonathan Safran Foer, Yan Martel is one of my favorite authors, so those are more literary guys; but no I love Stephen King, I love Clive Barker, Paul Tremblay."

Paul: " Same. I definitely read a lot of horror, but you know I try to read as widely as possible you know fiction, occasional non-fiction. I think as a writer you have to it is important to know the history of the genre you are working in, but at the same time it is important to read many differing voices."

Me: "When you guys are writing, do you write in a linear fashion or do you jump around?"

Paul: "I work linearly in so far as I go in the order in which I think the book is going to happen. Most of my novels jump around on the timeline, but whatever is the first chapter is where I start. I wish I could jump around, but I can't."

Thomas: "I write extremely linear, I don't dare to write chapter eight if I have not finished chapter seven because I am afraid I will miss things that I can build up from. It is like building a building I guess, I mean you don't start with the roof right. You need the foundation underneath first."

Me: "What are some of your favorite books, and or movies that may have inspired your writing over the years?"

Thomas: "Well the book that inspired me when I was eleven years old was Stephen King's Pet Cemetery I was way to young for that and it was by far his darkest book, and I guess it set the track for what I was going to do later on. Before that even Roald Dahl's The Witches it was turned into a great children's movie back in the 1990's Angelica Hudson as the Witch and the moment she grabs the mask and pulls it off her face and reveals the hideous witch face underneath, that traumatized me. Made me very afraid of women for a long time."

Paul: "Okay, I am not gonna touch that. Joyce Carol Oates Where Are You Going Where Have You Been? its a short story, and Stephen King's The Stand were really the two stories and books that turned me into a reader. I didn't really start writing until I was twenty three, I was actually at The University of Vermont struggling to get my masters in Math, at the same time I inexplicably fell in love with reading. The movie that scarred me the most was Jaws, I still cannot watch SPOILER getting bit in half, but it remains one of my favorite moves I have watched it over fifty times. Every time I watch it I still cover my eyes at that moment or change the channel, that includes watching it on July 4th which was not even two weeks ago."

Some bantering about Joyce Carol Oates and how amazing she is as a writer...


Paul: "I think all authors are just Joyce Carol Oates we just put different names on them. I gave away the secret, sorry Joyce."

Me: "Do you have any vivid memories from touring, or fan reactions when they first meet you guys?"

Thomas: "Definitely, the best reaction I get on Hex all the time is that people email me or Tweet me or actually come to me when I am on tour and they tell me 'You Bastard, I had to sleep with the lights on' I am normally like 'Yeah, it worked!'. But that is what I like best. The other reaction I get a lot in the Netherlands where I am from is 'So who is the guy who actually wrote it?' because they never believe that I wrote it because I look so young."

Paul: "I get similar reactions. I feel like we get more feedback online now with the tons of social media. I do get messages telling me how much the book scared them and it is really cool to hear. Last night I got to do one of the coolest readings, with Thomas, Joe Hill, and Kat Howard. Four people I really respect and admire as writers and a woman showed up with a t-shirt that was a mashup of a story of Joe Hill's and my book, which was pretty cool and I wish I had one."

Me: "Thomas, What is your plan for your next book that will be out in English? I do not know if you normally write in Dutch or English, or how you work when writing."

Thomas: "I write in Dutch, at least my first version is in Dutch. I have a terrific translator, she is called Nancy Forest-Flier. I mean I studied the English Language so what I did is like going over translations and adding my voice, which the translator corrects my mistakes because I am not perfect with English. But actually the ending of this book I changed from the Dutch version to the English version, that was the first time I actually wrote fiction in English. It was quite fun, I was so deep into it because of all the edits we were doing together with the translator. So I might actually do it more often because it might make things easier. I am writing a new book now, over halfway through it and I am sure that will be out in America as well."

Me: "Paul, What was your inspiration behind A Head Full Of Ghosts?"

Paul: "For this book I actually feel I got kinda lucky, it was one of those eureka moments that as a writer you hardly ever get. I was actually a hundred pages into another book that I was sorta struggling with so I was looking for as many distractions as possible I was "researching" but really I was just kind of procrastinating. I was reading this book of essays published by Centipede press that was called The Exorcist: Studies in the Night Film they have a series of these books, and there are all these essays about The Exorcist and its political ramifications. There is this wonderful essay describing this journalist who went back to research this supposed real case that inspired the Blady novel and they found out that it was all buck. I put those essays  down and thought that there have been a lot of literary updates of the zombie, werewolf, but never one about the exorcisms; though Hollywood keep pumping the films out but no one did a novel, so I was like how would I do an exorcism book. Right off the bat I had the two sisters and the reality show and I knew what the ending would be, so I gave up on the other book which is kinda hard to do when you are a hundred pages into it, and just dove right into A Head Full Of Ghosts
Me: "Paul, as far as The Disappearance at Devils Rock, what was the inspiration there?"

Paul: "So I didn't have the luxury of sitting around wondering what could my next book be, you know it was contracted so I was frantically looking for an idea. So I started with as a parent what is one of my greatest fears, and you know it is to have a child go missing. I started with that and then one of my favorite places in the world is Borderlands State Park which is ten miles from my house, I hike and bike and walk there, so it is only natural to turn my favorite place into something creepy so those were the two places that I started with."

The End...


I would like to once again thank Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Paul Tremblay for joining me for a quick chat about their awesome books and how they write in general. You guys all should go and check out there books if you are in the mood for something spine tingling and creepy!

Links: 



Hex Book Trailer!


Concert Experience

Lindsey Stirling 2016 Tour!

I cannot believe that last night, July 13th at 8PM at the Flynn Center for The Performing Arts I got to see Lindsey Stirling perform for her first time in Vermont! I first want to clarify why I am doing this post, I am not doing this post to boast or brag, I simply want to write my thoughts for the future and tell you all about how amazing she is as a women and performer! Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any pictures or videos of her performing so I do not have any exciting pictures to share with you guys, but you must trust me that she was amazing! Her costumes made the night all the  more magical, along with the astonishing visual effects. 

My girlfriend and I went up to Burlington from my house, which took us about one hour to reach the Flynn Center. We arrived at 7PM and got our tickets from the Will Call and then had to wait until around 7:30PM when they let us through security and into the main lobby of the Center. I found this to be very odd that they did not let us into the theater until about 8:00PM when the opening act was going on, the artist who opened the concert I cannot remember her name, sorry. The opening act was powerful and amazing, but we all went insane when Lindsey walked onto the stage! Directly after the opening act the stage crew cleared the stage for Lindsey and her dancers which took about thirty minutes in total. And then she came out to give us the show of a lifetime! She miraculously played for two hours solidly alone aside from some backup instruments and dancers, I was not expecting such a long show but I truly was left in awe and craving to see more!

Lindsey has a stage presence that I cannot describe by anything except as magically awesome (so articulate I know)! She is a small human being with the biggest heart of any person I have met, she projected love into the audience with such sincerity that I was stunned! She played many songs including my favorite Roundtable Revival, Stars Align, Transcendence, Elements, Shatter Me, and many more including a few from her new album! Let me just tell you my personal reaction when she began to play Roundtable Revival; I nearly shot out of my seat and began to dance (poorly mind you) to the song! The whole crowd began to ell and scream when she began to play the song, we had the best time while there because of Lindsey's energetic and loving stage presence! 
Our seats were in the front row of the Theater which I was shocked that we got, however I was on my computer ready to buy them the day that they went on sale in February so I knew I would get decent seating, but I was not expecting where we actually sat! We were in row A seats 10 & 8 (right next to each other) and here is the view we had of the stage (no zoom used)! The joys of having front row seats was shown to me when Lindsey began to dance across the stage and interact with the audience as she played! She stopped in front of us quite a few times dancing and smiling to the whole crowd, making the show that much more personable and entertaining.

The special effects and props were killer, she played Moon Trance and they filled the stage with rolling tomb stones and fog from a nearby fog machine. This was just the beginning of the astonishing effects, when she played elements and a few other songs a white backdrop sheet cascaded from the white scaffolding that you see in the photo, allowing them to project scenes and music videos onto! The best special effects that we saw were in her song Transcendence, when the sheet was having color wisps projected on it, with her dancing and playing behind it! She can move with such grace and force while playing that my jaw was open the whole time she was even on stage, I am neither musically inclined nor can I dance and she was able to do both at the same time! Some of you may be curious if she dances like she does in the music videos that she has out on stage, and I can confirm that yes she does dance with just as much grace and spunk on stage and in front of the camera. I could go on endlessly about how amazing she is, but I want to express how happy I am that she came to Burlington Vermont which usually is not on any tour stops! Lindsey if you come back anywhere near Vermont you can be sure that I will be there with friends!

I would highly recommend if she comes anywhere near you with this summer tour which I will link down bellow that you guys go to see her perform, regardless of the seats you get!I will be pre ordering her new album which comes out in early August (the 19th) which is called Brave Enough!

And because I cannot get enough Stirling right now, I will be reading her book ASAP and posting a review up of it, along with a playlist to listen to whilst reading the book!

Tour Schedule & Tickets
Album Pre-order on Amazon
Lindsey Stirling's YouTube Channel

The Arena

This is a new song from her, along with a music video that is killer! This one video will give you the idea of her stage presence that I am hard pressed to describe by anything other than magically epic!


Go Check out her music NOW!

If any of you are die hard Stirling fans, let me know your favorite songs by her! My favorites are Roundtable Revival and Moon Trance, both of which were played at the concert. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reading Update!

Updates!

When we last spoke on Monday, I was frantically trying to complete A Head Full of Ghosts by: Paul Tremblay for the interview that I had with him and Thomas Olde Heuvelt at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier Vermont. I unfortunately did not complete Paul's book until today at noon, however I am pleased to say that I enjoyed the book greatly and will have a review up late late tonight (July 13th). I will be working on editing the video interview I had with Thomas Olde Heuvelt tomorrow and hopefully have it ready to be posted this Friday/Saturday, along with a review of his book Hex!

Tonight, however I am going to see the amazing Lindsey Stirling in her summer tour for her new album, Brave Enough. I am hoping that after this exciting event I will be able to come back to my house and read for an hour or two before I fall asleep again. I will be reading Winter People by: Jenifer McMahon, which I am buddy reading with Missy from The Binge Reader on YouTube! 
So far I am finding this book to be a very quick and enjoyable read that incorporates just the right amount of horror and contemporary setting to allow the readers to connect with the story. With this recent horror and thriller kick that I have been on I am eager to finish this book and share my thoughts with you all! 

The Concert was astonishing! A post will be up soon about my time there!!!!!

Happy Reading!


My Perspective on The Horror Genre!

I am very new to the genre of Horror, and suspense so I have a unique thought process going on with the books I read set in these genres and I thought you should know why I have fallen in love with this genre. For the longest time I felt that the horror genre was just going to be a rip off like the cheesy and exploitation filled Hollywood films that I had only seen trailers for, this deterred me from reading anything with the label of "horror" for fear of being jump scared or exploited for an emotion. I honestly would still have this closed and very naive opinion about the genre had it not been for an event that my local bookshop, Bear Pond Books was having on July 12th called a Mid Summers Nightmares author signing. This event is what afforded me the joy of interviewing both Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Paul Tremblay, along with hearing from some great local authors who I am now excited to try their works. Knowing that I had the chance to meet these wonderful authors spurred me into a reading frenzy to finish some of their works before I had my interview with them, while they did scare the day lights out of me I must admit that they are some of the most well crafted and fun stories that i have read in recent years. Having completed their books, I have since given up on the stigma or horror novels and will be exploring some on Thomas Olde Heuvelt & Paul Tremblay's recommendations. 

While I have moved past the stigma and fear of horror novels, I do not know if I will be able to step beyond with horror films. I am one of the biggest scaredy cats that you will ever meet, often times in the dark when I am forced to open or close the store where I work I see my own shadow cast by a singular light that we have by the register and I jump away from it! I honestly think that the footage that the store has with me scaring myself on it could be worth millions one day to a comedian looking for an easy target. With that being said, I feel that horror books have a different effect on unassuming readers like myself; as a reader you can imagine the horrors and their gruesome details. I am more afraid of visual queues of horror than reading about them. If someone shows me a torture scene in a TV show or movie I am often seen looking away or shielding my eyes from the gore and brutality on screen, however when I read about such events they pull me into the story and intrigue me to read on even faster. This is a very odd juxtaposition of emotions with a similar medium (horror) I cannot concisely explain the reason why I am able to handle and enjoy the horror novel genre and not horror films. 

I have never actually attempted to watch a horror film, however I know it will do more "damage" to my sleep pattern than the horror novels would. I am going to give one horror film a shot, Jaws purely because Paul Tremblay said that it is one of his favorites and out of every other one I can think of it sounds the most tame. After viewing Jaws later this week I will post a reaction video/Blog Post so all can see how my first viewing of a horror movie goes, try not to laugh too much at my reactions. 

In conclusion, this little chicken (me) will be attempting to explore the horror genre and its many forms in the coming months and I am going to be taking you all along for the ride!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday Madness!

Monday Madness!

Hello, People of the Empire!

I am back again tonight with this weeks Monday Madness! I think this is a very good way for me to share what I will be doing this coming week, I have a very busy week going on this week but I am going to try to do this week in my bookish World! First of all, those of you who have been following my YouTube Channel I am sorry that there was not a video this past Sunday. I have been very very busy with work and reading so I did not have time to film this week! I will have more videos up this week and I am very excited to show you all what I have been planning for the blog, I promise we will have new actual content up on the blog this week! 
I will be reading a ton this week, hopefully after I am done work. Tomorrow I have an author interview tomorrow with Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Paul Tremblay at a local shop. I am busy right at this moment reading A Head Full of Ghosts by: Paul Tremblay and I have finished Hex by: Thomas Olde Heuvelt which I will review on Friday! I am very excited to meet these two fellows and chat about their bloody brilliant books and enlighten you about their works! I have quite a few questions for them, I will also be vlogging the event and posting it on Sunday for your viewing pleasure :) That is just what I am doing on Tuesday evening, on Wednesday I am going to a concert with my girlfriend. I will get to see Lindsey Stirling in concert on Wednesday! And again on Saturday I am going with my families stock race car to Massachussetts for a race filled weekend, these events are going to make reading this week very hard so I have decided to limit what I am reading!

I am going to read A Head Full Of Ghosts by the end of today, and my read for the rest of the day is going to be NineFox Gambit by: Yoon Ha Lee. This is a SF book that I have been meaning to read for Rebellion Publishing on NetGalley.com. I am really in the mood to sit down with a very good book and stay up way too late finishing some reviews and books for publishers. I know I have said I wanted to finish NineFox Gambit this past week, however I became distracted with Hex and now A Head Full of Ghosts for the author interviews I am doing tomorrow, so with these now done I will have enough time to start a new book and plow through it! I will not be too ambicous with my plans this week, I will see how many I am able to complete in this busy timeline. 

Please let me know what you all are doing this week, I will have a new post up tomorrow at somepoint from my list of scheduled posts. Keep checking in all this week to see those interviews, and possibly a great giveaway! 



Happy Reading!

Chat with me on Twitter and on Goodreads if you have any questions or opinions, I am always up for a good bookish chat!


Friday, July 8, 2016

Rating books!

How I Rate Books...


This is a very controversial topic throughout the bookish community, as we all rate books differently and have differing reasons why we read. I made a post a while ago about this very topic, however I know that my thoughts and rating system has changed since that went live. Rating books is such a personal thing that can be hard to clearly define how one does it, however I am going to attempt to in this post, there may be a video later on about this very topic that I will link here as well. 

Why I read: 
  • I read for fun (This is my number one reason that I read, for the pure joy of story telling!)
  • I read to see many worlds that are not possible in reality.
  • I read to see the authors way with the English language. 
  • I read for myself, I may try books on many peoples recommendation but I choose what I read to suit my enjoyment. 
    • Reading to me at least is a very personal event/action. I am odd in that I cannot read with a friend or even my girlfriend present because then I will just talk the time away. So for me reading is finding a secluded place and bringing a blanket and pillow in to curl up with and enjoy the company of my current "friends" (fictional). Knowing that I read purely for enjoyment, you may find it peculiar that I rarely DNF (do not finish) books. I find the act of not completing a book to be wasteful and very rude to the author and their profession, with that being said occasionally it is unavoidable if a book is just an awful slog to read. 

General Rating Thoughts: 
  • I ask myself these questions before giving a book any sort of rating: 
    • Was the book enjoyable?
    • Does the book have a well rounded grasp of the English language?
    • Did I connect with the characters? 
    • Would I recommend this to a friend? 
    • Did I sticky note any passages (this is good if I have)?
    • Can I see myself attempting to reread this book in the future? (Though I rarely reread books, I would love to try to reread more in the future)
  • I also will do one of two things directly after reading a book, I will either rate on Goodreads and change it later if my opinion changes, or I will sit and mull the entire story over for two days in shock..
  • After finishing a novel I will write down some of the pros and cons of the book so I have a general outline to go from for the blog review.

What My Ratings Mean: 
This is subject to change, however this is my current star rating emotions. 
  • 1 Star: 
    • This book should not be printed or shelved in a bookshop, I would not recommend that anyone picks up this book! It usually will come with many grammatical errors and a very poor understanding of the plot and character growth as literary devices to move the story along. 
  • 2 Stars: 
    • I would be leary of reading this book, there are some plot issues that will make the story confusing or frusterating. The book will also be lacking that signature character attachment that I look for in novels that I read. This book will have some information dumps and be dense with pacing issues throughout, however it may be worth a read from someone else. 
  • 3 Stars: 
    • This book is one that I enjoyed, but did not fall in love with any aspect of it. I would recommend that if the plot sounds good on a 3 star book for me that you pick it up, this rating sheerly means something was not right with the book for my tastes. In short this rating screams OKAY to me and nothing more. 
  • 4 Stars: 
    • This rating means I really enjoyed the book! I would recommend that you pick it up and read it soon! This has all the aspects I look for in a book:
      • Character growth
      • Enjoyable plot
      • Well rounded writing 
      • An Atmospheric setting
    • This just means that it did not wow me, or have the extra special aspect that makes a 5 star book.
  • 5 Stars: 
    • This means the book is phenomenal and I would recommend it to everyone! It also must have met all of my previous requirements for a great book listed in 4 Stars. 
Some of you may have noticed that a majority of the books that I read tend to be in the four and five star categories. I know to some people that may throw a red flag saying that I give out too many "easy" five stars, however I want to tell you why I do. I do not tend to pick up books that I know I will have an aversion to so I tend to have a good reading experience with those that I choose to read. I do not want to discredit my ratings for the sheer fact I do not pick up books that I don't think I will enjoy.

Happy Reading!
I would love to know how you all decide the ratings that you give the books you read? 

Until Monday, Happy Reading from me over here at MyBookishEmpire!
Check the YouTube Channel on Sunday for a new video!

June Wrap Up


Review


July TBR