October Fright: Poe Thrills

octofriSometimes reading a whole book or watching a two-hour movie just takes too long. Sometimes you’re just looking for a quick thrill. When this happens I reach for good ol’ Edgar Allan Poe because nobody does it like Poe. Halloween is only a couple of days away, so I thought I would share some of my favorite short stories by the master along their first lines, so you can get a taste for what they entail. Here are some of my favorite Edgar Allan Poe short-stories:

The Tell-Tale Heart:

TRUE! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily –how calmly I can tell you the whole story.”

Spoiler alert: he’s definitely mad. Those interested can listen to actor Matthew Gray Gubler’s rendition of this short story here.

The Masque of the Red Death:

“THE ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal — the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.”

Depending on how you look at it, Poe is very good and never shy when describing the nitty-gritty details.

The Pit and the Pendulum:

“I WAS sick — sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence — the dread sentence of death — was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears.”

This story is like a nightmare come true.

The Fall of the House of Usher:

“DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.”

Lesson learned: don’t help other people entomb bodies.

These chilling short-stories are sure to put you in the Halloween mood if you’re looking for a quick thrill. Other notable Edgar Allan Poe stories I like: The Black Cat and his most famous poem The Raven.

The Friday 56, #32: The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join in every Friday, the rules are simple.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.


While I spoke, there came a marked change over the countenance of the sleep-waker. The eyes rolled themselves slowly open, the pupils disappearing upwardly; the skin generally assumed a cadaverous hue, resembling not so much parchment as white paper…”

I love me some Edgar Allan Poe. He’s my go-to author for Halloween. This 56 is from his short story The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar found in my copy of The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings. I haven’t read this particular story yet, but it sounds a tad grotesque, but that’s Poe for you.

ARC Review: Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Title: Of Monsters and Madness
Author: Jessica Verday
Series: Of Monsters and Madness, #1
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley which does not affect my review**

Having lived most of her life amongst missionaries in a place far from her country of birth, Annabel Lee is unprepared for her new home in Philadelphia. With the passing of her mother, Annabel ventures across seas to join her father, whom she has never met. But the meeting doesn’t go as planned, for her father is far from welcoming. Annabel finds solace in her maid, Maddy, and her father’s assistant, Allan Poe. But the gruesome murders that have been plaguing the city and her father’s mysterious experiments have Annabel on edge.

“My arms flail desperately, reaching for something to grab on to. But there is nothing. Panic sets in. Every breath I take floods my mouth with dirty water. Tiny bubbles surround me as the air escapes my body.”

Annabel is a sweet tempered girl with a kind disposition, who aspires to be a doctor. She isn’t used to being waited on and so must adjust to having servants and not being able to contribute to the household. Making this even more difficult is her father’s disapproval of her upbringing. He seems to hold her accountable for her mother’s actions, which are not fully explained in the book. What bothered me most about Annabel’s character was her inability to overcome her need for her father’s approval and she spent a little too much time wallowing in self-pity.

Annabel’s relationship with Allan Poe is not what I expected from the beautiful poem that is Annabel Lee. I hoped to be swept away by an epic love story, but their relationship consists mostly of blushes and stolen kisses. I did enjoy reading about Annabel’s growing relationship with her grandfather who’s much closer to a father-figure than her mostly-absent father.

Anyone who has ever read any of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories has suspected at one time or another that he might have been a little mad, and in many cases genius and madness are two sides of the same coin. Of Monsters and Madness explores one possible scenario, presenting a grim story, but in my opinion lacks the right amount of mystery and eeriness befitting Edgar Allan Poe’s works.

Rating: 2/5