Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Preparing a plate full of FrightFall reading

Usually, I'm the type of person who grumbles about the holidays being rushed up,particularly when Halloween candy is on display right along side back-to-school sale notebooks.

However, I am getting ready for Halloween a bit early this year and it's all due to the Seasons of Reading annual FrightFall Readathon. Instead of the regular week or so, this readathon will be for the entire month of October, ending on All Hallow's Eve right about the witching hour(how appropriate indeed!).

 Since this is quite the literary undertaking, it only makes sense to start setting up my reading list as soon as can be. For the SOR readathons that have a scary theme, I tend to pick a Stephen King book to reread and this time out, my selection is Firestarter.

Having reviewed the 1984 film adaptation for Bad Movie Month over the summer, my interest in this novel was rekindled, you could say. I do remember the book being much more engaging than the lackluster pack of wet matches that Hollywood turned it into on screen.

The title character is Charlie McGee, a ten year old girl born with the power of pyrokenesis,aka being able to set things on fire with her mind, due to her parents taking part in a blind study while in college. That study was actually run by a secret government agency experiment called The Shop and the formula that they gave to those unsuspecting students gave those who survived special abilities such as mind control, which Charlie's dad Andy has a low grade version of at his command.

 Now those folks want to see what little Charlie can do, forcing father and daughter to be on the run. Capture is inevitable yet the real risk comes not from those who wish to control Charlie. Young Charlie finds herself at a crossroads when it comes to dealing with her power and she may have no choice but to burn a few bridges in order to figure out who's in charge. Should be fun and fascinating to revisit the original girl on fire here:

Not every book for FrightFall has to be in the horror genre. You can also read mysteries of all sorts as well and with that in mind, I picked up a copy of Miss Marple:The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie.

The twenty tales collected here are from other short story sets by the legendary Miss Christie such as The Tuesday Club Murders and Three Blind Mice. All feature the elderly yet lively lady from St. Mary Mead who manages to find the right person that committed murder among the small town folk around her.

I know that everyone's into Hercule Poirot right now, due to that remake of Murder on the Orient Express coming up soon, but Miss Marple is completely more charming and clever to me.

 Ever since I saw the movie version of The Mirror Crack'd(and yes, I read the book,too) with Angela Lansbury, she has been my favorite small town sleuth and reading these stories ,with a cup of tea at hand, ought to do very nicely for this occasion:

The next book on my list is actually doing double duty,as it is also my October pick for my Series-ous Reading challenge. I must confess that in the latter category, I am jumping very far ahead here as The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla is actually the eleventh book in Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series and I've only officially finished the first four books.

However, I have gone out of order before with these particular books and none the worse for it. Also, this entry has a vampire theme and that is just so perfect for Halloween time.

The leading lady here is Sally Fitzhugh, whose interest in vampires is due to the popularity of a gothic novel called The Convent of Orsino, sort of the Twilight saga of the day. When rumors about her new neighbor, Lucien, the Duke of Belliston, being one of the undead, Sally can not help but meet him. While he turns out to be rather human(not to mention rather handsome), a series of strange murders on his property appear to be relying on that vampire rumor to be true.

Sally and Lucien find themselves having to team up in order to clear his name and prevent the true killer from striking again. With these books being set in Jane Austen's time, there is an added bonus of bookish pleasure to be found,especially as Jane liked a few scary stories herself back then:

Speaking of vampires, Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Certain Dark Things showcases a different side of the eternal night dweller's world. Our nighttime heroine is  Atl, a descendant of Aztec blood drinkers who is on the run from warring vamp gangs in Mexico City.

When she comes across Domingo, a street kid looking to survive any way he can, Atl sees him as nothing more than a portable meal on her way towards South America and freedom. However, the two of them form a bond that could possibly benefit them both in ways either of them couldn't imagine.

Having read her debut novel,Signal to Noise, I've been eager to check this one out,especially since this is a vampire book, a genre that I do enjoy. This is certainly not going to be a Twilight type of tale and that's good, as there is a real need for fresh blood when it comes to sanguinary storytelling these days:

There's still plenty of time to sign up for FrightFall, if you're interested and I do hope that this new month long format brings us many new reading friends to the party. One thing to remember is that you only have to read one scary book, so it is perfectly fine to have The Shining and Little Women on your FrightFall TBR. Hopefully, you won't have to use Joey from Friends' method of chilling out between chapters:

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