Movies

Japanese Horror Movies

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battleroyale

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I’ve put together a few horror recommendations from Japanese movies I’ve watched over the years. Not all of these have a supernatural element because the scariest thing to me is anything supernatural, I can watch any gorey movie but as soon as you get the supernatural element I usually nope right out of there. Have you watched any of these? Are there any you want to check out for this spoopy season? Do you have any recommendations for me?

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Book Reviews · Books

Recent Japanese Reads

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thekeyThe Key by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

GOODREADSAMAZON

This was my first time reading Tanizaki, it is a short novel written out as journal entries between a husband and wife. It is mostly focused on the sex life between the two, the husband being significantly older than his wife who seemingly is unsatisfied with their sexual relations. Both start writing in secret diaries about the other in hopes of the other person reading it, the story explores the unconventional ways they find that in turn helps to spice up their sex life until the husband becomes sick. This book explores intimate relationships, desires, fetishes, adultery and grief. It was an interesting read that I found myself invested in and ultimately gave 3/5 stars. I plan on reading The Makioka Sisters by this author in the future.

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battleroyaleangelsborderBattle Royale: Angel’s Border by Koushun Takami

GOODREADSAMAZON

This side-story manga about the ‘Light House Girls’ in the Battle Royale novel was a must-read for me as Battle Royale is one of my favourite books/movies of all time. This manga is also written by the author of the original novel/manga series and specifically explores and focuses more on the girls that decided to group up and hide out inside the Light House on the island during the ‘game’. As expected, this was heart wrenching to read and made me tear up a few times, I really hope that Takami writes more side-storys like this in the future. He is supposedly working on his second novel. I gave this manga 5/5 stars. A must read for any Battle Royale fan.

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lifeforsaleLife for Sale by Yukio Mishima

GOODREADSAMAZON

The latest of Mishima’s works to have an English translated release, this may now be my favourite book of his that I have read so far. After a failed suicide attempt, Hanio decides to place an ad in his local paper offering his ‘life for sale’ which leads him on a wild ride with many interesting characters wanting him to do some bizarre and crazy things. The journey that this takes Hanio on ultimately gives him back some value to his life. I very much enjoyed this short novel after not reading any Mishima for a good few months, it reminded me just why I love his work. 5/5 stars.

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ibitsuIbitsu by Haruto Ryo

GOODREADSAMAZON

Ibitsu is a decent sized manga collection (think Junji Ito) and it is bloody terrifying. I will be making comparisons to Junji Ito’s manga as that is the only other horror manga I have read, where as I generally find Ito’s artwork the most disturbing thing about his works, Ibitsu was terrifying in art and story, it literally felt like I was watching a really creepy Japanese horror movie (there is even some parts with the wall climbing). Of course I chose to mostly read this at night before bed which was not the best of ideas. This manga had just about every awful thing you could think of and something I was not expecting was the sexual peverseness and inclusion of sexual artwork. There is also a lot of self harm imagery in this manga. It set out to scare and disturb, which it certainly accomplished with me, does that make it a good book? I’m giving it a 3.5/5 stars.

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So that’s what I’ve been reading lately, I tend to find that reading Japanese authors help me to get out of reading slumps, I am currently reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and really enjoying it, I will post a review of that once I’m finished. Do you read much Japanese fiction? Feel free to leave me some recommendations!

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Book Reviews · Books

Lost Boy

lostboy Lost Boy by Christina Henry
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 4th July 2017
Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Horror, Gore, Peter Pan

Synopsis
There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy.
Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.
Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.

Review
I’m so glad that this book lived up to my high expectations for it, it was everything I wanted and expected it to be. A dark retelling of the story of Peter Pan, but from Captain Hook’s perspective back when he was Peter’s original Lost Boy. Peter is shown to be an extremely selfish attention seeker and thinks of the boys he takes from the real world as nothing more than amusing playthings to go along with his adventures and entertain him, if they no longer amuse him or become a nuisance he simply finds ways to get rid of them and replace them with more boys.

I felt truly sucked into this lost island and had a constant feeling of dread throughout reading, getting attached to characters and knowing more than likely at some point they will die. Plus the plains are filled with huge spider monsters called the Many-eyed which are just terrifying.

Peter’s idea of fun is ‘raiding’ the pirates which is effectively having children turn into vicious murderers or if they arn’t strong enough they will simply be killed themselves. Peter also likes the boys to partake in ‘Battles’ where they are pitted against each other to ‘practise fighting’ but ultimately some boys end up seriously hurt or he will even have them fight to the death while he watches.

I don’t want to go much more into the plot but this is a must read for any fans of dark retellings, it is gritty and gruesome and I loved it.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

Wilder Girls

wildergirls Wilder Girls by Rory Power
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 9th July 2019
Keywords: YA, Thriller, Body horror, LGBTQ, Gore

Synopsis
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Review
Why is it that the books I loved reading the most are always the hardest to write reviews for?? Well here is my attempt anyway a week after finishing this masterpiece.

This was already one of my most anticipated releases of 2019, it sounded like my perfect book and the early reviews were coming in great, that also got me worried that I was hyping this book up too much with too many expectations, and what if I eventually was about to read it and felt that it didn’t live up to the hype? I didn’t need to worry because it was bloody brilliant and it is easily one of my favourite books of all time.

But why did I like it so much? I’m a big fan of messed up stuff in general in books and movies and this book has quite a lot of messed up stuff in the forms of body horror, gore and pretty much the underlying plot in general. The 3 main girls we follow are all very different but very relatable and lovable in their own ways, and the best thing of all for me was their relationships with each other.

Especially Hetty + Byatt for me, having a very close bond myself with my best friend I felt I could really relate to how they felt about each other and boy did I cry about it.

Even the sub characters in this book you find yourself easily getting attached too, and not knowing the outcome of this book had me on edge constantly from halfway through right until the very end. I’m highly anticipating what Rory Power brings out in the future.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Books

2019 Book Releases

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Here are some of my must-read-as-soon-as-it-comes-out new releases for the rest of this year! Are any of these on your to-read list?

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Wilder Girls by Rory Power – July 12th
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – August 15th
Hat, ribbon, bird, rose. To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed.
When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she desperately wants to save him. For some reason, he doesn’t forget, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to hide his memories. Who knows what will vanish next?
The Memory Police is a beautiful, haunting and provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss from one of Japan’s greatest writers. For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Girls of Storm and Shadow – November 5th
This is the second book in a series so I won’t post the synopsis here, you can click the link to Goodreads if you want to read it.

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Book Reviews · Books

ARC: The Girl in Red

Book Review: The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

Published: 18th June 2019 by Titan Books Ltd

Keywords: Horror, Dystopian, Post apocalyptic, Gore, Retelling, LGBTQ, Amputee

Synopsis

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….

Continue reading “ARC: The Girl in Red”

Book Reviews · Books

Other Words for Smoke

Book Review: Other Words for Smoke by Sarah  Maria Griffin

Published: 2nd April 2019 by Titan Books Ltd

Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Ireland, LGBTQ, Witches, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror

Synopsis

The house at the end of the lane burned down, and Rita Frost and her teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. The townspeople never learned what happened. Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth; they spent two summers with Rita and Bevan, two of the strangest summers of their lives… Because nothing in that house was as it seemed: a cat who was more than a cat, and a dark power called Sweet James that lurked behind the wallpaper, enthralling Bevan with whispers of neon magic and escape. And in the summer heat, Mae became equally as enthralled with Bevan. Desperately in the grips of first love, she’d give the other girl anything. A dangerous offer when all that Sweet James desired was a taste of new flesh…

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