The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

I introduced you to my new favourite protagonist last week but I still want to talk about the full novel because I really loved it and devoured it in two days. For a Stephen King book it’s like a tasty snack rather than a main meal – and sometimes, that’s just enough to satisfy.

Tricia is lost in the woods. But she’s not alone . . .

The world has teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered this when she was nine years old. Lost in the woods.

Trisha McFarland is just nine years old when, on a hike with her mum and brother, she wanders off the beaten track and gets lost in the forest. Her family, too busy bitterly arguing to notice, don’t discover her gone until it’s too late. In mere hours, Trish is so lost that it doesn’t feel like she’ll ever see or hear another human being again. Although, judging from the creeping feeling she has, she’s definitely not alone out there.

While Trish stumbles through the woods, determined to find her way back to her old life, she imagines she is joined by her favourite baseball player, Tom Gordon and sometimes her best friend Pepsi. At night she grabs a few moments with her Walkman, catching up on the ball games and sometimes, news reports about her own disappearance. By day she eeks out the small packed lunch in her backpack but little by little she must rely on the basic survival techniques her mother has taught her.

As the clock ticks and the authorities fail to retrieve her, she believes she is being gained on by something not altogether human. If her fever dreams are anything to go by she has something new to fear besides starvation and eating the wrong berries: The God of the Lost in all his wasp-faced goodness.

Can Trish make it to the end of this horrible journey, despite all the bites, the sickness, the hunger and her mystery stalker? You bet your arse she can.

The book is incredible vivid and King, as usual gives us a very well-rounded central character to root for. He plays with reality a lot and again with the concept of self-preservation via an inner fantasy world.

While I couldn’t 100% be sure we’d get a happy ending – King has absolutely left me floored with the unexpected more than once – I was so satisfied by this ending. A definite recommendation from me if you fancy a quick but impactful read.

Book details:

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (19 Sept. 2019)
ISBN-10: 1529311128
ISBN-13: 978-1529311129
Bought Halloween edition paperback for myself

What are you reading?

I Wish I Knew How To Quit Boo – Stephen King Edition

I’ve decided to leave the rest of my year (and then some) open for Stephen King. Books, that is but if the man himself wanted to stop by and take me on a couple of dates I probably wouldn’t say no. Imagine the chat.

Anyway, the UK is a rainy grey place right now so what better environment in which to get cosy with The King? Loose jersey lounge wear, blankets and lashings of horror – it’s the only medicine I need. I’ve made a loose plan to read in tandem with my horror partner Matt but he’s already speeding ahead on our first book so we might have to go our own ways eventually.

Here’s what’s on my reading list:

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: Halloween Edition

Tricia is lost in the woods. But she’s not alone . . .

‘The world has teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered this when she was nine years old. Lost in the woods.’

Trisha has only veered a little way off the trail. But in her panic to get back to the path, Trisha takes a turning that leads into the tangled undergrowth. Deeper and deeper in the terrifying woods.

This is first on the list mostly because it’s considerably shorter than the others. I’m about 50 pages in and it’s a real page turner. Trisha is nine years old and sick of the arguing between her mum and brother, following her parents’ divorce. On a hiking trip, she takes just a second to have a pee and gets lost. Alas the woods is a big place for a small girl – and it seems she isn’t the only one out there…

TGWLTG is so far wonderfully (horribly) visual and real – and Trisha really feels like a girl her age, albeit a wise one. I like her a lot and I’m looking forward to the rest of her story. Please let her be okay!

Christine: Halloween Edition

Jealousy isn’t a green-eyed monster. She’s a red Plymouth Fury.

Christine, blood-red, fat, and finned, is twenty. Her promise lies all in her past. Greedy and big, she is Arnie’s obsession, a ’58 Plymouth Fury. Broken down but not finished.

There is still power in her – a frightening power that leaks like sump oil, staining and corrupting. A malign power that corrodes the mind and turns ownership into Possession.

‘This is the story of a lover’s triangle…’

Matt got me this last year for my birthday and I’ve been waiting for the best time to crack her open ever since. I love John Carpenter’s 1983 adaptation with the fire of a thousand suns so I know what I’m in for, though I’ve no doubt the book is going to pad it out wonderfully.

I love stories about inanimate objects coming to life and Christine is no exception. Plus, she’s pretty much my namesake, right?

The Stand

First come the days of the plague. Then come the dreams.

One of King’s bulkiest tomes and considered one of his all-time classics, I’m kind of nervous about starting it since I can barely lift it! My reading place of choice is in the bath so maybe I’ll be forced to rethink that.

I have a suspicion my plan to read Stephen King novels for the rest of the year is going to stretch well into 2020 thanks to this bad boy – but if Brex-shit does go ahead this Halloween, maybe a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel will be fitting. Bring it, Uncle Stephen.

Bag of Bones: Halloween Edition

He went to Dark Score Lake to confront his past. Now he might drown in it . . .

When Mike Noonan’s wife dies unexpectedly, the bestselling author suffers from writer’s block. Until he is drawn to his summer home, the beautiful lakeside retreat called Sara Laughs.

Here Mike finds the once familiar town in the tyrannical grip of millionaire Max Devore.

I know very little about this one but the premise sounds great. I’m excited to start digging in and might make this my next one. Like The Stand and Christine, it’s not a tiny book so will take some commitment.

Lucky for me I’m planning on dialing down the social side of things as we roll up to Halloween and beyond, so I have time. Lots of lovely nesting time.


Can we also take a moment to shout out the incredible 2019 Halloween Edition covers? Rose Madder in particular is a beauty. Even though I’ve read it quite recently, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to display this print on my shelf. Carrie and Misery are both on my birthday/Christmas wish list.

The Bag of Bones and Christine editions were realeased in Halloween 2018 and are just as beautiful. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings!

What are you reading?

Late Summer Reading List

I’ve spent the best part of the last two months trying to get through the first book in the Game of Thrones series – and although I’m enjoying it, there’s a lot to get to grips with. I love the story and many of the characters but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fantasy girl. Thankfully, I’m coming to the end so I’ll be able to pick up something new soon. I have a couple of books waiting in the wings, hence this late Summer Reading List.

I’m only 28% through my Goodreads Reading Challenge and according to the app, will need to read two books a week for the rest of the year to hit my target of 50 books in 2019. Better get my skates on then, I guess.

What I’m Reading Next

The Corset by Laura Purcell

This book has been on my radar for a while. I loved The Silent Companions and found it genuinely eerie – so I have high hopes about the follow up. I’ve already spoken about it so I don’t want to repeat myself but I’m looking forward to dipping back into Purcell’s version of Gothic goodness.

Honestly, this is the kind of book I normally reserve for Autumn reading but fuck it. It’s windy enough out there to appeal to my nesting sensibilities, so bring it on.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

“So, this is me. Lily Allen.

I am a mother, and I was a wife. I’m also a singer and a songwriter. I have loved and been let down. I’ve been stalked and assaulted. I am a success and a failure. I’ve been broken and full of hope. I am all these things and more.

I’m telling my truth because when women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better.

So, this is my story. These are my thoughts exactly.”

I’ve got a soft spot for Lily, who hasn’t always got it right but has always been seemingly honest, which I admire. She also been through an awful lot in her career and personal life, so I suspect this autobiography is going to be pretty eye-opening stuff. I’m holding out for heaps of scandal and a healthy dollop of bitching about other celebrities.

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

I follow Laura on social media and find her quite endearing, so when I saw she’d written a novel, even though it’s not my usual kind of book, I wanted to check it out.

When I was grabbing dinner in Sainsbury’s at the weekend, I found it for the bargain price of £2.99. Well I’m a girl of limited means, so what was I going to do?

The premise is this:

“What if you almost missed the love of your life?

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.

Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.”

Cute, huh?

No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter

Bethany is an internet staple for me, someone I’ve followed and admired for a long time. I’d go so far as to say she is one of the people most responsible for helping me change my way of thinking towards my own body. I’d definitely recommend you check her out on Twitter and beyond.

NBD is her debut fiction novel and I am so excited to meet her fat protagonist, Emily. I suspect this is a book I could really have done with back when I was a teen and I just really hope it gets the attention and acclaim it undoubtedly deserves.

A little outline:

“A warm, funny YA debut about a fat girl embarking on her first romance, female friendship, valuing herself and not settling, by one of the best body positive writers in the UK.”

So that’s me. Getting ready to hunker down with several good books and a duvet.

What are you reading?

Weekly Digest: Five Articles (#2)

A couple of articles I’ve enjoyed recently.

What I Learned From Dating Someone Totally Wrong For Me

I know what it’s like to be with the wrong person. I did it for 6 years, so this speaks to me on a deep level.

Particularly this bit:

The internal whisper that it was time to focus on my health and happiness became louder every time I chose to listen, and eventually it was the loudest voice in my mind.

I couldn’t act against myself and in favor of myself at the same time. I had to choose.


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8 Books Out In July In The UK That Will Make The Perfect Summer Reading Companion

I’m always down for a new book recommendation and some of these look bloody good. If I can be bothered to leave the house this Summer, I’ll be under a tree with a pile of books.


How to Have a Great Summer (According to Horror Movies)

This one definitely speaks for itself.


John Hughes Lied to Me

I love this essay, by author and journalist Caren Lissner. John Hughes most definitely has a lot to answer for (even though I love him still).


Pinhead-Hellraiser1

Pinhead Also Being Resurrected in a ‘Hellraiser’ TV Series!

We have such sights to show you

I am so stoked that this is soon to be a thing. Could there be anything more heavenly than more time with the Godfather of Pleasure & Pain, Pinhead himself? At this stage it’s not known if Doug Bradley will be reprising his legendary role but I do hope so.

Meanwhile, any Hellraiser endeavor that doesn’t include Julia (Clare Higgins) is a travesty.

What are you loving this week?

Other People’s Blogs

I’m a very bad blogger. I mean, I post regularly on my own blog which is fine but I’m bad at commenting and keeping up with other people’s blogs and I wish to change that. We’re a community after all and spreading the love is the right thing to do.

Here are a few blogs I read as much as I can – some obvious additions and some real hidden gems. Go give them some love, why don’t you? We could all do with some new and enriching viewpoints. Oh, and they’re all women. Go figure.

Lightle-tainment

Obviously I’m hugely biased here given that Lightle is my homie but she is very clever, I swear. Talking about most of the things that float my boat too, my girl has a way with words and her love of all things entertainment is really fun to be part of.

Best recent posts:

I’ll Work Something Out

Natalie doesn’t blog all the time, more’s the pity. She seems to have this thing called a real life. Nevertheless, the essays she has written to date are lovely, honest, relatable and funny. Everything I ask for in a blog.

Best recent posts:

Lady K’s Movie Dialogue

Kath might be this blog’s biggest cheerleader and for that I am honestly so grateful. Kath shares my taste for movies and books so almost all her content is my jam. I’m a particular fan of anything that examines an original film/book and its adaptations/sequels which is lucky for me ‘cos Kath has done some absolute bangers.

Best recent posts:

The Pink Panther Snipes Again

As if I’d write a list and not include Wifey. Jill’s blog has been a source of constant joy for me for years now – and her friendship even more so. It blows my mind that I have a Librarian friend that I’ve only met once across the Pond but it’s the best thing ever. I love Jillian’s appreciation of terrible B-movies and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Best recent posts:

Screen Queens

I love Screen Queens, a blog created and written by young women and members of the LGBT community. Their content is brilliant and thought-provoking. Also quite often horror themed which of course is a bit of me.

Best recent posts:

Which blogs do you love?

Weekly Digest: Five Articles

I thought I’d share a couple of articles I’ve been reading lately.

Exploring the internet is one of the only things that gets me through my working day if I’m honest – that and my lovely work friends – and these are the ones that have caught my attention this week. Yes, Weekly Digest is back!

How Tony Scott Gave ‘True Romance’ Its Happily Ever After

One of my all-time favourites could have been very different, had Tarantino had his way. Bless you, Mr. Scott for the gift of this perfect ending. You were so cool.


How I Lost My Five Best Friends

This is all too real to be honest and actually quite a difficult read. Breaking up with a best friend can be just as heartbreaking as with a partner and we need to talk about that more.

I’ve lost a few friends in my time and I still miss every one of them, even though I wouldn’t do anything to change the outcome of them now. I’m exactly where I need to be with the people I share my life with now. (Even if I do lament it sometimes).


Photo by Ryan Brisco on Unsplash

All The Mugs I’ve Loved and Lost

I love a damn good mug so this memoir really appealed to me. I have a couple of favourite mugs myself and I’m always open to new ones. Glynn’s new rule is that I have to get rid of an old, crusty one if I purchase a new one though, which I suppose is fair.

Danielle makes me think more about the objects we come into contact with every day, and her prose is stunning.


I Started A Plants & Crafts Club To Combat Loneliness In My Area, Because Making Friends As An Adult Is *Hard*

Making friends as an adult is hard. When you get to a certain age it feels like a much bigger challenge to approach the people you think are cool and make them your besties. That’s why this is a gorgeous idea.

We could all take a leaf (giggle) out of Aoife‘s book and look at ways to combat loneliness and other social conditions locally. I’m going to have a think and see if there’s anything I can come up with. Keanu Reeves Fan Club – Brighton Division, anyone?


How Do You Choreograph a Good Queer Sex Scene? 6 TV Creators and Filmmakers Explain

There’s nothing I can add to this one, obviously but it’s interesting to see how much goes into filming a good queer love scene. Pose, for the record, is incredible.

What are you loving this week?

Books I Want to Read But Can’t Afford to Buy…

…So I really should join the library

Ugh there are so many books I want to read at the moment. I want them all and I really shouldn’t be buying any more books – in fact, I shouldn’t really buy new books at all. Except I want to support my local booksellers where I can, and I can’t walk past Waterstones without adding another title to the list.

Here’s what I have my eye on at the moment:

Red Snow by Will Dean

This is the second book in the Tuva Moodyson series and is the sequel to the brilliantly atmospheric Dark Pines. Tuva is a reporter for a local Swedish newspaper who just happens to be deaf. In this installment, she must investigate two deaths – one suicide, one cold-blooded murder. Are they connected?

I think I’d save this one for the colder months or a rainy weekend but it sounds great and I love the way Tuva is written.

The Ghost Photographer by Julie Rieger

I recently started listening to The Boo Crew podcast and in one of the first episodes I heard, they interview Julie, who seems pretty cool. I mean she’s cool anyway as a senior exec at one of the biggest movie studios in Hollywood – but throw in the fact she can see ghosts and entities in the photographs she takes – well, who could be cooler?

The book goes in on the trauma that led Julie to discovering this gift and honestly, I can’t wait to dip in. Even though paranormal activity is the one thing that truly, truly petrifies me – it’s also so fascinating.

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

This book centers around Australian Eleanor Mellett, a woman with breast cancer who moves to a creepy small town to take a job as a primary school teacher. Living along in a remote cabin with no internet connection or phone line, our protagonist wonders what happened to the previous teacher she’s filling in for, why there are so many locks on the door and who the fuck is knocking it late at night.

Compared to Henry James’ Turn of the Screw and a little known author named Stephen King, it sounds right up my street.

The Corset by Laura Purcell

I read Purcell’s The Silent Companions not long ago and loved it. It genuinely chilled me to the bone in some places and I found it really refreshing. The Corset offers more Gothic goodness with this tale of two women who couldn’t be more different.

Dorothea Truelove is young, hot and rich while Ruth Butterham is young, poor and on trial for murder. When Dot volunteers at the prison, she finds herself drawn to Ruth. But Ruth harbors a dark secret and when she reveals it to her new friend – the women’s lives are entwined forever. Is Ruth a liar or is she a mad, bad murderer as she’s already confessed to be?

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I flipping loved Conversations with Friends so I’m stoked that NP is now out in paperback.

I actually don’t really mind what this story is about because I feel Rooney could make me fall in love with anything just so long as she was writing it – but this is a story about love and friendship that strikes up between popular Connell and loner Marianne, two very different people who just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by Michael Moynihan & Didrik Soderlind 

I recently watched and fell in love with the Lords of Chaos movie, starring Rory Culkin which surprises me a lot. I mean, I didn’t think Norwegian Black Metal would be up there on my list of Stuff I Dig but here we are.

I have since grown truly obsessed with the rise of this music genre – and the horrific murder (and lead up to it) of Mayhem front-man Euronymous, at the hands of Kristian ‘Varg’ Vikernes. Honestly, it seems the BM scene was the bitchiest place on earth and I’ve been in some of my own in my time. True crime and men in tight black jeans are my jam, yo.

The Girl Before You by Nicola Rayner

I’m including this because a) it sounds like a banger and b) it was written by my friend’s sister-in-law. Which is so cool. Compared as these thrillers typically are to The Girl on the Train, TGBY focusses on the relationship between Alice and her MP husband, George.

Alice has always had a thing about the women who came before her – and George’s rep as a womaniser certainly precedes him. But when she falls pregnant, her unease turns to obsession – in particular, she can’t get one woman from his past out of her head: Ruth.

Ruth went missing when she and George were first year students at university and was never found. When Alice sees a woman who looks just like the mysterious Ruth, she starts to think there’s more to the story that her husband is telling her…

Cannot. Wait.

What are you reading?

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019 and a New Reads List

The best thing about the new year is signing up to a new Goodreads Reading Challenge. So far, over the last few, I have failed to complete a single year – or if I’ve got anywhere near I wouldn’t know as I’ve failed to log the books I’ve read.

There’s not much to the rules of the challenge to be honest. You input how many books you want to read that year and then, as you complete each one, you check them off on the GR app. It’s quite addictive, at least in the first couple of months as you rack ’em up and see you percentage achieved rise (I’m currently on 12% with six out of 50 books done).

Anyway, I love to read and I love to buy books even though I shouldn’t and I’ve got some real peaches in the immediate pile (anyone else got piles in order of importance?). Here are some of the ones I’m most excited for:

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

I mean, what a title. It’s also meant to be an absolute belter so bring it on!

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’m obsessed with this cover and even more intrigued by the subject matter. I think this is definitely next in line for me.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I’ve recently read Eileen by the same author (reviewed here) and it was gorgeous so this is a no-brainer. It sounds awesome:

A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature.

Men without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami

I’ve always been a big fan of Murakami but somewhere along the line I read too much of his work and needed to take a long break. I’m back in the game now after I read his little short Birthday Girl. There’s just something about his prose.

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

A classic I’ve not yet read though I’ve devoured the film many times and adore it (boo Polanski). Cannot wait to dip into this deeply unsettling world again.

Help by Simon Amstell

I love Simon Amstell and find him very clever and funny. Darren and I have seen him a couple of times doing stand-up and that’s was enough to make me snatch this up as soon as I saw it.

From a complicated childhood in Essex to an Ayahuasca-led epiphany in the Amazon rainforest, this story will make you laugh, cry and then feel happier than you’ve ever been.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

I’m currently reading this bad boy and it’s started well with a definite The Woman in Black flavour (which is mentioned on the cover with a bi-line by Susan Hill). As far as I’m concerned you can’t lose with Gothic literature but I just hope this is good as I suspect it’s going to be.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel

I got the movie tie-in novel after seeing the very, very good movie adaptation on Monday night (review to follow). I loved Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel and frankly, I wanted more as soon as the credits rolled. So this is going to be a lot of fun. What an ingenious idea for a scam though.

Lee Israel’s hilarious and shocking memoir of the astonishing caper she carried on for almost two years when she forged and sold more than three hundred letters by such literary notables as Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, and many others.

Adèle by Leïla Slimani

Slimani’s Lullaby (know as The Perfect Nanny in some countries) was dynamite. In turn beautiful, odd and shocking, it tells the story of how the perfect nanny came to murder the young children in her care. Adèle centers around a seemingly perfect wife, mother and career woman (of the same name) who leads a very secret double life.

~

I might have to cancel the rest of the month so I can get fully immersed. I will be reviewing as I go too so watch this space.

What are you reading?