October Fright: The Undead Rise!

AKernelOctober

Last year for October Fright I spotlighted some of my favorite witchy reads. This year I wanted to go a little more in depth when it came to picking a monster to feature. I know by now many people are probably tired of the zombie genre and there are times that even I feel that the undead’s fifteen minutes of fame is over, but there are a lot of fun (can I use the word fun?) and exciting zombie books, movies, and shows worth checking out. Here is a look at my zombie recommendations for the novice or seasoned zombie watcher. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Favorite Zombie Reads:

1. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

“The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.”

2. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

“In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.”

3. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

“It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?”

4. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

“”It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—& the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty & arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—& even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism & thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.”

5. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

“Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.”

Favorite Zombie T.V. Shows:


1. The Walking Dead (AMC) – Of course I’m going to mention The Walking Dead. I’ve been a fan of this show from the beginning. I feel like I’ve been through so much with these characters. I also want to say that I do think the earlier seasons were better. My favorite characters are Michonne, Carol, and Carl. If I was starting my own zombie apocalypse team, these three would be on it. If you’re interested, I believe all aired seasons are currently on Netflix. I’m not a huge fan of the spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, which is why I’m not listing it. Everyone seems to be getting on my nerves in that one, so now I’m just watching it as background noise while I blog.

2. iZombie (CW) – If you’re looking for a different take on zombies, I’d recommend watching iZombie. Liv is just like any other living human…except that she craves brains and a single scratch from her can turn you into a zombie. Using the visions from the brains she eats (she also takes on the personality of whomever she eats, which can really fun), Liv helps solve murders. Not convinced yet? This show is also from the creator of Veronica Mars. Watch it! This show is also on Netflix.

Zombie Movies Worth Watching:

1. Night of the Living Dead (1986) – When making a list like this, you simply have to mention the original George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead. If classics are your thing or you’re not much for blood and gore, I recommend reaching for this one.

2. 28 Days Later – Probably the scariest of the zombie movies I’m listing, 28 Days Later is sure to make you feel like your whole world was turned upside down. Technically the movie never uses the word ‘zombie’ when describing just what kind of infection is happening, but I think it’s pretty safe to consider this one a zombie movie.

3. Zombieland – Because there is nothing wrong with having a little fun when it comes to zombies, I’d recommend watching Zombieland, which combines the terror of trying to survive the zombie apocalypse with a bit of humor. Also, if you don’t want a twinkie after watch this movie, there is something wrong with you.

4. World War Z – As far as movie adaptations go, this is probably among the worst. I’m not even sure the writers of this one even read the book. But as far as entertaining movies go, this one isn’t half bad. So if you’re looking to shut off your brain awhile (no pun intended) and just enjoy a few zombie thrills, look no further than World War Z.

Are you a fan of the zombie genre? Do you have any favorite zombie books, shows, or movies? Are you a fan of anything on my list? Let’s talk in the comments!

October Fright: Chilling Childhood Flicks

AKernelOctober

Bit of a warning before we get started. This post contains gifs from horror movies and if you aren’t a fan of scary movies or they make you uncomfortable, it’s best to turn away now. I’m not ashamed to admit that while putting this post together, I got the heebie-jeebies about a dozen times. Childhood trauma just gets stronger with age, people. I want to start off by saying that I can’t rightly recall how I was able to watch all these movies as a child, but even if my parents had known, I’m pretty sure I would have found a way to watch them anyways. Here is a little look at the horror movies I watched at far too young of an age, the movies that satisfied that weird part of myself that loved scary stories (still weird even now), the movies that terrified me so much that it’s very unlikely I’ll watch them again. Alone. By myself. At night. In the dark. On a dare? Maybe. I’m including original release dates, so you don’t get these movies confused with any terrible remakes or sequels.

1. Child’s Play (1988) – What could be creepy about a children’s doll? Everything, people, everything! I saw this movie when I still played with dolls. How do I know this? Because my cousins and I used to joke that this one doll I had kind of looked like Chucky. She had that same sinister cheek bone structure and deceivingly benign freckles. Not too long after I saw this movie, this doll was banished to the garage. I can’t remember what happened to her after that. Should I be concerned that I don’t remember? Nah, it’s just this bad memory of mine. Right? RIGHT?!?!

2. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Unlike with Child’s Play, I feel pretty confident saying I saw this one while staying over at my cousins’ house. One of these cousins had a very unnerving skill. He could make himself sound like Freddie Krueger. It was creepy to me and it just about terrified my younger brother (I don’t think he’s watched a Freddie Krueger movie since). Still, this movie kind of appealed to me. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and the idea that something can invade your dreams–where you are completely vulnerable and and the only defense is to stay awake–is enough to give me nightmares. Because I really like sleeping.

3. Hellraiser (1987) – But, Alicia, where is your gif for Hellraiser? Okay, confession time. Pinhead is the single most terrifying entity in human existence and even thinking about him makes me nervous. I remember next to nothing about this movie except Pinhead. I don’t even rightly know what it is about this villain, but he makes me extremely uncomfortable and I have this really strong aversion to him. I won’t watch the movie (not even on a dare), I won’t look at his picture while browsing movie titles, and I certainly won’t be searching for gifs for this post. Also, it’s all about the original actor, any remakes do absolutely nothing for me. I’d mention his name, but that would require me to Google it and that’s not going to happen.

4. It (1990) – Oh great, clowns. I don’t have a phobia or anything, but when I think about this movie, I start to reconsider everything I’ve ever believed about them. No, my children will never have clowns at their birthday parties. I will not be attending any birthday parties where there might be a clown. I will never enter any fun houses where clowns reside. This movie also turned me off of exploring any sewer tunnels. My cousins apparently knew of some and there was never a chance that I was going to say yes to that adventure. I still sometimes eye sewer drains warily. Little side note: these clown sightings across the country just reinforce my fear of them, hoaxes or not, it’s still terrifying. Thinking of just carrying a bat around.

5. Silence of the Lambs (1991) – I don’t consider myself a squeamish person. Blood, guts, decapitated heads. I’m all fine with those things (fictional, of course), but Silence of the Lambs really gets under my skin (no pun intended). Apparently I have a deep aversion to cannibalism. When the television show Hannibal premiered, I was sure I’d enjoy it, but it only took a few episodes in for me to realize that my stomach was not going to be able to take it.

Are there any horror movies you watched as a child that have followed you into adulthood? Are you a fan of any of these movies or do you refuse to watch any of these? Is there a particular horror villain that freaks you out? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Giveaway Alert: If you haven’t entered my giveaway (US only) for an ARC of One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards in celebration of Halloween, you can do so here. End the 14th!

October Fright: The Spooktacular TBR

AKernelOctober

Yes, it’s October, and I’m ready to dive into some pretty spooktacular reads. This year I have a variety of books to choose from, some I missed out on last year and a few new releases that have caught my eye. I’m listing ten books for this particular TBR, which is a number that I think is pretty doable (this is a lie, there is no way I’m getting to all of these). If you’re looking for a frightening read to add to your own TBR this October, I hope you find something to add from my list. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. The Merciless by Danielle Vega

      “Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
      Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
      Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .”

2. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

      “Grace Mae knows madness.
      She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
      When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.”

3. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

      “Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, ‘the girl of nowhere.’
      Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.
      Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.”

4. The Cellar by Natasha Preston

      “Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out…. “

5. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

      “Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery…who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.”

6. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

      “Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

      If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.”

7. And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

      “When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?”

8. The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

      “Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.

      When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.”

9. Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

      “Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

      Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

      Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.”

10. Yesternight by Cat Wintere

      “In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.
      Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.
      Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.”

Have you read any of these books or are you planning to? Which spooky reads are you looking forward to reading this October? Let me know in the comments!

Giveaway Alert: If you haven’t entered my giveaway (US only) for an ARC of One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards, you can do so here.

October Fright 2016: Let the Scares Begin!

AKernelOctober

As you can surmise from my blog’s new look, it’s October. October may be my favorite month of the year and that’s mostly due to Halloween. I’ve always loved the holiday, dressing up and trick-or-treating was something I always looked forward to. I also really enjoy scary movies. Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush, but creepy movies and stories have a strange kind of appeal. While putting together posts for this month, I watched a lot of horror movies to put myself in the perfect mindset. I also lost a lot of sleep, being unable to shut off my brain when it was time to go to bed. This month I have an assortment of posts to share with you ranging from my October TBR to How to Survive a Horror Story. I hope you enjoy everything I have in store and please feel free to share any Halloween-themed posts you put together this month in the comments. Happy October!