Christmas Horror Book Tag: A Booktuber tag video for those with spooky souls!

Christmas Horror Book Tag: A Booktuber tag video for those with spooky souls!

For my latest YouTube video I created my very own booktuber tag, a series of questions as a challenge for other booktubers! But mine is, of course, a little different. I love Christmas and all the fun, family friendly festivities that come with it but I have a dark, horror loving soul that still needs a little creepiness even at the festive season so my book tag is a horror Christmas book tag! I would love if you guys could check it out and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!

Merry Christmas especially to all the other spooky souls out there!!

Book Review Video: I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll.

Book Review Video: I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll.

For my latest booktube video, I am reviewing Psychological crime thriller ‘I Will Make You Pay’ by Teresa Driscoll. This book is about a journalist who finds herself the target of a violent and sadistic stalker. Head to my video to check it out and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!

If you fancy buying a copy of the book, you can grab it here: https://amzn.to/34LDYr1

Are You Serious? Lighthearted book review of ’52 Things to do in your lunch break’ by L.Archer.

Are You Serious? Lighthearted book review of ’52 Things to do in your lunch break’ by L.Archer.

A little background to this video…I found this book in a thrift shop and picked it up because of the title. After reading a little of the introduction I knew I had to buy it and do a little, funny review on it because, well if I wrote this book it would be one page long and would recommend taking a break and eating your lunch on your lunch break…but maybe that’s just me? This is just a light hearted, funny review because the book made me titter. Let me know what you think…maybe you guys are super productive on your lunch breaks and I’m just lazy? Lol

Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to my booktube!

Ultimate Gift Guide for Horror Lovers: What to get your spooky loved ones for Christmas.

Ultimate Gift Guide for Horror Lovers: What to get your spooky loved ones for Christmas.

Hello readers! I have already given you the Christmas gift guide for book lovers, but what about the spooky souls like me? The people who watch and read all things creepy and who have Halloween decorations around their home as regular decor all year round? Well, if you or your loved ones are obsessed with all things horror like myself then look no further for the ultimate Christmas gift guide. Whilst anyone can buy their loved ones a copy of the latest Stephen King novel, or a DVD of that horror film they talked about incessantly, this list details some badass, unique and truly special gifts for horror lovers out there that’s guaranteed to put a big, creepy smile on their faces…you’re welcome.
Book Box

I love books, I love reading and I love Horror and luckily there are some awesome book

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boxes available which tick all of those boxes and then some. Plus, with any kind of subscription based gift, you have the added bonus of it being the gift that keeps on giving for months after Christmas is long gone, the decorations have been stuffed inside boxes for another year and the sherry and prosecco high has worn off…Perfect!

First up, we have the UK based Abominable Book box. This box contains three reads, one of which will be that months featured book, the second will be a randomly chosen pre-loved horror book and the third one will vary from month to month. Along with these spooktacular reads, you will also receive yummy artisanal snacks to enjoy

night worms

your horror reads with. Perfectly packaged and great value for money, this box is a great gift idea for any horror book fans.

Next, we have the US based Night Worms. This fabulous book subscription service prides itself on truly appreciating and promoting horror. The lovely ladies who created the service are avid horror lovers and that is clear from each and every box they have put together so far. Every package contains badass horror reads, magazines, bookish merch and Nightworms exclusives to create the perfect horror experience. I love this company and even had the privilege of interviewing its creators, which you can read here. I am always blown away by these packages and very jealous of the peeps living state side who get their hands on one!
Clothing

Us horror fans love to wear our creepy hearts on our sleeves and there are so many

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awesome shops selling badass horror merchandise out there. Shops like Tee Public, a veritable buffet of horror tees for fans of every genre out there, alongside everything from stickers to mugs and notebooks, trust me when I say there is something for everyone and to suit every budget. Best of all, every purchase from the company supports an independent artist. This shirt design for example, is called ‘World of Horrors’ is by artist Mushabon who by the way has some

pretty

really rad designs available on the site.

A shop which I personally regularly drool over is the fabulous Pretty Cult. Every item on sale makes my gothic heart go pity pat, whether it is their ‘join the cult’ items of their gorgeous tarot card tanks, every item has a witchy vibe I adore. They even have a badass collaboration with the gorgeous ladies behind Little Ghouls at the moment, a dream team I might add. Check them out immediately and make your gothy heart sing. Go on…join the cult!

emp

Lastly, EMP UK offers a huge selection of fandom based clothing and goodies, including items for the horror fans amongst us. With everything from American Horror Story to Friday the 13th, this site has your horror clothing covered in every shape, size and style. They also have everything from horror Funko Pops, jewellery, accessories to mugs, patches and wallets, so there is something here to suit every fandom and every budget too.

There is literally something out there for everyone so no excuses guys and gals, I want to see you wearing your love of horror out there for all to see!
Enamel Pin Badges

lively ghosts

A more subtle way to display your love of horror is in the form of an enamel pin badge. Whether you wear them on a jacket or bag or have them on pin boards on your wall displayed as tiny, quirky works of art, everyone really appreciates a nice enamel pin and there are some incredible shops and designers out there to choose from, like the fabulous Lively Ghosts. This fabulous shop offers some truly wonderful and unique horror designs covering everything from Stephen King to Tim Burton. I have been drooling over their designs on Instagram for so long and one day I will own one…One day I WILL own one!!

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Next up is the wonderful Two Ghouls Press. I own a couple of their fabulous patches and pin badges already but this is the kind of shop where enough is never enough, I must collect them all. Of particular note are their fabulous Ghoulish Gals pin collection, all of which would look amazing as a standalone piece or collected together. Their designs are truly unique and capture all that is fun about the horror genre.
Art

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Let’s face it, everyone uses their walls to display and show off their personality, hobbies and style. Whether it’s a battered band poster, a portrait of your dog dressed in Victorian clothing (That’s not weird right?) or your kids scribbles, art is important. This fact is no different for horror lovers. We love creating a creepy little space which looks like Dracula’s interior designer decorated it, full of pictures with eyes that follow you around the room and taxidermy. You can get some gorgeous horror posters and pieces inspired by horror

cat art

books and classics, but I wanted to concentrate on the artists which capture all of the wonderful, spooky vibes in their own unique and individual ways. Artists like Caitlin McCarthy who creates hauntingly beautiful images, or the fabulously talented artist Cat Mallard who creates enchanting, folksy images which are perfect for those who, like me, may be dark and gothic but are also a sweet soul at heart, like this adorable bat image.

mary syring

Another fabulous artist is the incredible Mary Syring who epitomises Halloween, spooky vibes in every image. I particularly love her fantastic ouija board shaped like a ghostly bunny complete with a goat shaped planchette. I mean look at it, it is every horror lovers dream! All of these artists bring the spooky with their

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gorgeous art and would look wonderful donning any wall. Finally I am obsessed with the wonderful Bwanadevil art who creates the most incredible colourful, retro horror art with old school vibes. I am utterly in love with their coffin framed pieces in particular and I have several saved in my own Etsy list as you read this post. Check out this incredible Vamperina picture for case and point.
Homeware

redrum

As well as art, there are other ways to adorn your house with horror goodies. Mugs for example are one of my favourite gifts to give and receive and what better than a horror themed mug? Some of the previous shops mentioned above have mugs available, like Tee Public and EMP UK, but if you prefer something hand crafted and made with love, try Pottery by Danielle and her badass Stephen King themed mugs. (This pic was taken by @jobis on Instagram).

loser club

I recently discovered the fabulous 12 Months of October who creates stunning hand made wooden signs. They have Halloween and Christmas signs as well as signs perfect for any horror lovers home all year round. This fabulous Losers Club sign would look fantastic on a book shelf or

13th

dresser for example.

I am an avid lover of nicknacks and ornaments and what’s better than a nicknack is a creepy, horror themed nicknack. That’s where Spook Show Babe comes in. She hand crafts the most amazing little creatures and monsters as ornaments, decoratons and jewellery. Check out this adorable little Jason Vorhees – how sweet is he?

coffin

I am a huge fan of The Alternative Beauty collective and I already own multiple items from their store. From Ouija board trinket dishes to coffin shaped shelves, skull shot glasses to witchy candles, there is something here to bring a little spookiness to any and every room. I already own the coffin shaped shelf where I store my vintage, battered Stephen Kings and my Beetlejuice funkos but I have a friend who uses hers to store her beauty products and makeup brushes so this is a particularly versatile item perfect for any horror lovers home.
Special Edition Books

As a book worm and avid reader, I will always advocate for buying more books and the

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creepier and scarier the better as far as I’m concerned. What’s better than a book? A beautiful edition of a book, stunning inside and out. First up, I have to mention the gorgeous Barnes and Noble leatherbound editions. My particular favourite, is this beautiful ‘Penny Dreadful’ book, a collection of traditional victorian and gothic horror stories and it is one I own personally, because seriously LOOK AT IT! Who wouldn’t want that bad boy sitting on their book shelf or coffee table?

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Next up, the fantastic Etheral Visions Publishing are dedicating themselves to bringing truly unique and stunning editions of classic horror. Featuring stunning, art deco style illustrations by the ridiculously talented Matt Hughes, every single page is a work of art worthy of being framed. I already own their gorgeous Edgar Allen Poe collection and I look forward to grabbing a copy of their beautiful edition of Frankenstein.

lovecraft

Finally, check out this stunning collection of H.P.Lovecraft stories from W.W.Norton and Company Ltd. The cover alone is worthy of sitting on any coffee table and is a real conversation starter. Inside is twenty-five more Lovecraft stories are re-presented as well as a number of never-before-seen revisions and collaborations with other authors.

Another way to wiggle your way into the heart of a horror book fan is to discover an author or book they have never heard of before and one which they will not be able to put down. I get a lot of my horror book recommendations from the horror bloggers and bookstagrammers I love, like the fabulous Mother Horror aka Sadie Hartmann, co owner of Night Worms book subscription box and reviewer for Scream Horror Magazine, and the amazing Ladies of Horror Fiction who are all about promoting the female authors of the genre, a group who are often underrepresented in the industry. Check them out now!
Magazines

scream mag

There are a multitude of horror magazines out there that contain everything horror lovers adore in one neat package. As with the book subscription boxes, a magazine subscription is a gift that keeps on giving and one which will bring a smile to your spooktacular loved one for months to come. My personal favourite is the badass Scream Magazine. This magazine literally covers every aspect of horror, from books to movies and interviews and informative articles, this is the horror lover’s BIBLE!!

If you fancy something a little more independent and limited edition, check out

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Edinburgh based Blood Bath Zine. This magazine contains original short stories, poems and pieces of art all in line with that issue’s theme. They are three issues in (‘Bodies’, ‘Demons’ and ‘Hauntings’) and so far they are knocking it out of the park, receiving positive criticism and love far and wide. I am a huge fan and I am determined to one day be featured in this bad boy!!
Bookmarks

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Look, I’m a bookworm ok? I love reading and writing horror and I love horror books, plain and simple so of course, I love horror bookmarks. The name that immediately comes to mind when I think of horror bookmarks is the fabulous A Stranger Dream. I have several of her fabulous horror doll bookmarks and I cannot express enough how much I love her fabulous work, with each bookmark being not just a practical item to mark your page but are also all completely frame worthy!

Book Review: The Fearing by John.F.D.Taff, an apocalyptic Horror series with a difference!

Book Review: The Fearing by John.F.D.Taff, an apocalyptic Horror series with a difference!

In my latest booktube video, I review the apocalyptic horror series The Fearing by John.F.D.Taff. Click yo find out why I gave it 4.5 stars out of 5 and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!

If you fancy buying the books yourself, you can get them here:

Book One Fire & Rain: https://amzn.to/2pQmvP0

Book Two Water & Wind:https://amzn.to/2QJYfZI

Book Three Air & Dust:https://amzn.to/35ufcvu

Book Four Earth & Ember: https://amzn.to/2Oey5g0

What to Buy a Book Worm at Christmas: The Best Bookish Gifts.

What to Buy a Book Worm at Christmas: The Best Bookish Gifts.

Hello readers, apologies for my absence recently, I have been pumping all my energy and free time into getting my Youtube channel up and running. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can do so here and don’t forget to subscribe! I have a bunch of collaborations coming up with some insanely talented artists, but in the mean time I thought I would do one of my favourite yearly posts- my recommended gift list for all the bookworms out there. So, if there is a book worm in your life you want to treat this year, or you yourself are a nerd of the bookish variety and feel like treating yourself, then check out my list of the best bookish gifts around:

Book Boxes

I always, ALWAYS include book boxes in these posts because these are literally the gift that keeps on giving. Whether it’s a three month or six month subscription, this gift spreads the Christmas spirit out for yonks and ensures that your beloved book worm sees how much you care for them on more than one occasion! There is literally a book box to suit everyone out there, whether they like Horror, Crime, Fantasy, Young Adult or Romance, there is a box to suit every age group and every taste. Instead of listing every box available (because I could dedicate multiple posts on just that topic alone), I will tell you about the two book boxes I rep for and can therefore get you discount off- you’re welcome.

greek boxFirst up, Books That Matter. This feminist book box dedicates itself to promoting women: female authors, writers and businesswomen are show cased in these perfect little packages. The company has a fantastic ethos and even received the Nations Female Start up of the year award, so you know they’re good. Every month you will receive a book alongside a bunch of bookish goodies, all tailored to that month’s theme. Going as low as just £14 per month, this is the cheapest and best value book box I have ever come across and you can even get 10% off with my code MARIE10. Check them out now!

Next, we have the badass My Chronicle Book Box, a British based book subscription box mychron2with a subscription to suit everyone. They offer quarterly boxes in either the Crime and Mystery category or the Sci-fi and Fantasy category, featuring not one, not two but THREE books, all of which are signed (yes you read that right, THREE signed books) alongside other bookish goodies. They also recently started a smaller monthly subscription box so there is something to suit every budget here. This box really is truly catered to dedicated readers, with author interviews and signed, often hardback books, and the best bit is you can get 10% off with my code MIRRORS10.

Bookmarks

bookish denBookmarks are a cheap and classic gift for a bookworm and one which any true book Nerd truly appreciates (because no one, I repeat, NO ONE likes a dogeared page). They come in every shape and size and every fandom, so you will be able to find just the right one to suit the bookish peeps in your life. They come in magnetic form, as paper dolls, classic cardboard and even woodmarks and it is the former I want to start with today. I recently discovered The Bookish Den and I am obsessed with their incredible woodmarks. Of special note is their stunning Tolkien collection for all of those Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fans out there.

Another fabulous woodmark artist is the amazing In The Reads. Whilst The Bookish Den in-reads.jpghas engraved wood marks, In The Reads features beautiful and uniques coloured images of everything from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones.

Both of these companies along with so many others create woodmarks and bookmarks which are stunning pieces of art in their own right and are almost too beautiful to simply place between the pages of your favourite books and current reads….they deserve to be framed and appreciated.

Enamel Pins

iron inkSometimes us book lovers want to display our love of all things bookish for all to see, that’s where an enamel pin comes in handy. Again, these come in every fandom and style imaginable so there is literally one to suit everyone, from the dark and gothic like myself to the colourful and fun, you are sure to find the perfect pin to suit your loved one. First up, I have to mention Iron and Ink Designs. This fabulous shop not only creates stunning pins but is one of the few bookish shops out there that tries to officially license merchandise when possible, so you can buy your pins with a clear conscience and the knowledge that your favourite authors officially approve these goodies. Best of all, you can use my discount code MARIE10 to get 10% off now.

Clothing

Not content to merely show their love of books on their lapels, some book lovers prefer lit empto wear their bookish hearts on their sleeves, cue bookish clothing. There is a multitude of fandom book t-shirts and sweatshirts on the market but my personal favourite has to be The Literary Emporium. They have the most stunning clothing on their site, of particular note the gorgeous Jane Eyre and Frankenstein motifs. They even do full gift sets with the clothing item, a Penguin cloth bound copy of the book and an enamel pin…something every book worm would jump with glee at discovering under their Christmas tree.

Candles

Since my house looks like it was decorated by Dracula (I am a goth girl, what can I say?), there is almost always candles burning in pretty much every room. Candlelight is relaxing, soothing and cosy and if the candle is scented, it can evoke all the lovely feels and cosy vibes, but what is even better than a gorgeous scented candle I hear you ask? krampusWhy, a book themed gorgeous scented candle of course! Wick Wish Candle company create the most stunning candles featuring everything from horror to fantasy and Young Adult, to classic literature. They smell fantastic, burn evenly and look stylish to boot. Best of all, you can get 10% off any purchases with my discount code BOOKISH10. Wick Wish also curates seasonal boxes, filled with stunning goodies alongside the beautiful candles and they regularly collaborate with artists and writers, including yours truly. In fact, there is now an artist collection where each candle is a collaboration with an artists or writer to create a unique pairing of different mediums and the premier of the collection, the Christmas themed Krampus candle, features a spooky, festive short story by me! Check them out now!

Tea

Every reader out there has a beverage of choice for when they are leafing through their adagiolatest read and mine is definitely tea. I rep for Adagio Teas so I am a little biased, but I know any book lover would be obsessed with their awesome fandom blends. They feature everything from Harry Potter to Sherlock Holmes, Lord of the Rings to Pride and Prejudice as well as a tea blend for every movie and television fandom you can think of to. I particularly love their little fandom sample tins.

Special Edition Books

For us avid readers, nothing makes our hearts go pitty pat quite like a beautiful cover onpenguin.jpg a special edition of our favourite books. Signed books can be expensive and hard to get hold of, so this is an easy and inexpensive way to show the book worm in your life you care. I want to mention two of note here. First of all the stunning cloth bound classics by Penguin, of which I have a few myself. I love the textured feel and simple but stunning designs and they look fabulous on a shelf.chiltern

I am also obsessed with the Chiltern classics collection. The stunning floral and metallic designs look like gorgeous works of art and would be perfect to set on a coffee table as a conversation piece. Tell me you aren’t drooling right now just looking at that picture?

One of a Kind

robertaReally want to spoil your book loving friends and family? There are some incredibly talented artists out there which can create unique, one of pieces for your loved ones. Artists like the fabulous Roberta Marina Stitches, an embroidery artists who can create a commissioned image for every fandom, book or author out there. I own some of her embroideries and I also know her personally and can vouch for her incredible talents, check her out!

 

house dollsAnother such artists is the fantastic House of Worry Dolls. This company creates tiny and unique worry dolls for everything from your favourite movies and books to a one of a kind family portrait. I had the honour of collaborating with her and I own a couple of her dolls so again, I can personally vouch for how intricate and detailed these tiny works of art really are. These look particularly good framed, but can also be hung from your tree as a truly unique and personal Christmas decoration.

So there you have it folks, some gift suggestions for the book worms in your life, most of which have been tried and tested personally by me, the ultimate book worm. What are you hoping Santa will bring you this season? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

 

My Booktube channel is now live!

My Booktube channel is now live!

Hello my dear followers, I hope this post finds you well! I wanted to announce the launch of my booktube channel: Marie McWilliams to you all formally and invite you to come and subscribe. I have primarily been using Instagram and this blog to get all my nerdy, book worm, horror loving, weird thoughts and original stories out into the world and I have loved every second of it. Both my Instagram and this blog have steadily grown and I am so proud of what I have accomplished that I wanted to keep pushing myself and trying new things. Youtube seemed like the next logical step. My channel will feature much of the same content as my other social media platforms. There will be book reviews, book box unboxings, my thoughts about book to movie adaptations, horror movie and book love, tips for writing, reading and creating content and all the other random things that pop into my brain. I would love if you guys could come on this next step with me. I am exceedingly nervous and I would love some familiar faces and old friends there as support along the way…plus spread the word, tell your friends, share my videos because I want to make new friends as well! I want to Thank my dear friend Ali who has been my guide to all things tech (I am about as technologically minded as a toadstool) and my editor. I also want to thank you guys and all my wonderful followers on my other platforms- your support, comments and kind words have meant the world to me at some of the lowest moments and I am so glad for this wonderfully nerdy community. I will post the link to my first video, a simple introduction, below and ask you to check it out, give it a little like and subscribe now! Thank you again for your continued support guys- you rock!

Marie xx

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj6gAjgPxaZ5AGUlj4ALwzw

Original Short Story & Artist Collaboration: Sleepless Beauty.

Original Short Story & Artist Collaboration: Sleepless Beauty.

Hey gang! Hope you have been keeping well.  Apologies for the gap in blog posts, but I have been working on something super exciting…my very own Youtube channel! It will be much like my blog, lots of bookish fun and general nerdiness and I would love it if you coule drop by, check it out and subscribe.  It goes live Monday 21st October 2019 at 8pm- there will be a live countdown on my Instagram. I am so excited and nervous to be starting this next chapter of my life online and I would love if I had some old friends along for the journey. Anyway, back to tonight’s post. In my latest artist collaboration, I have collaborated with the incredibly talented Cat Mallard.  Cat creates beautiful magical illustrations which remind me of fairy tales and far off lands. Her folksy style evokes a sense of nostalgia and comfort and is perfect at bringing to life stories and characters so I was honoured when she agreed to collaborate with me. As I said, her style reminded me of fairy tales but just like me, Cat has a dark edge and loves all things spooky and macabre so when I sat down to write the story for the collaboration, I was inspired to create a dark twist on a well know and beloved story, that of sleeping beauty. The image she created is stunning and perfectly evokes the story. On a side note, each of those little dots were done one at a time by Cat, she is so dedicated to her work that I am in awe (I will show you some close ups so you can see what I mean). I hope you like it! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and if you are an artist and would like to collaborate, please get in touch! For now, happy reading….

Sleepless Beauty

Fairy tales are stories told and retold again and again, passed down through generations, known throughout the world, universal and recognisable.  Stories of girls losing glass slippers and eating poisonous apples, of frog princes and magic kisses, of once upon a times and happily ever afters.  But what if the stories you know and love were in fact true, and what if, they were wrong.  Like Chinese whispers, with each telling, with every piece of information passed along, it morphed and changed, transforming into something more palatable to the audience, something more pleasant than the truth.

catmallard collabShe was a princess of exceptional beauty amongst a dark and thorny kingdom.  A diamond amongst stones.  She was kind, and good to her people and in turn, they adored her.  She was a beacon of hope in their difficult lives.  But sadly, unbeknownst to her, she was also cursed from birth, for her Father in his foolish youth, had begged the help of a local witch when crops failed and families starved.  She had granted his wish for a good harvest and the safety of his long-suffering people, but in exchange, she asked for his first-born child.  Desperate and out of options, he reluctantly agreed, and now, as Aria’s sixteenth birthday approached, and she blossomed into a woman, he knew the witch would come for her prize.

The witch was a collector of sorts.  She would encourage the brightest and most beautiful to grow and to thrive into happy souls, before striking them down in their prime, entombing them in a curse of her own creation.  Their suffering and sorrow, fed and enriched her.  That is how she stayed young after so many years on this earth.  Aria was the brightest and most beautiful of all the souls and would sustain her for decades to come.  So, it was with wetted lips and the tremble of anticipation that she approached the castle on the eve of the child’s sixteenth birthday.

The king begged of course.  He bribed, and blackmailed and threatened and finally broke into weeping, as the realisation of defeat sank in.  The witch remained stony faced and unflinching.  No earthly gold or shining trinket could ever be worth the price of such a rare and desirable soul.  When she had had her fill of his sobbing, she banged her staff against the marble floor, demanding silence.

“You made a deal King.  You got your food and your people prospered, but now it’s time to pay.  Nothing comes in this world for free.”

“Please, I beg of you…take me instead.”

She scoffed, an impatient smile sat on her thin lips.

“Your soul is worthless to me.  I want what’s owed.  The bond of contract cannot be close up cat 2broken King, this you well know.”

He knew it to be true, and so, with a heavy heart and overwhelming regret, he sent his daughter to the witch.  That evening, unable to live with what he had done, nor without his darling Aria, he threw himself from the battlements onto the stones below.  The people wept in waves that day, for they had lost their king and their beloved princess all at once.

Aria tried to be brave, but fear overwhelmed her, and silent tears fell as she walked through the woods to the witch’s cabin.  She did not hate her father.  She understood why he had done what he did so many years before her birth, and she knew that by doing it, he had saved the lives of countless people, and indeed the children they were then able to bring into the world, but still, she felt the loss of her life, her home, with the grief and sorrow one would expect.

For her punishment, the witch, with whispered words and the flick of her tongue, cursed Aria to a life without rest.  No matter how weary or desperate she would become, she could never sleep, never dream, never rest.  She would walk the earth for a thousand years, slowly going mad from her waking nightmare.  It was a punishment worse than any she had dealt before, and one which would cause enough suffering to feed and fatten her like a hog.  The witch was pleased.  Aria wept.

Prince Theor, a friend and cousin to Aria, heard of her plight and the death of her father.  He rode for three days and three nights to get to her side and slay the witch.  Theor was an expert swordsman and a champion fighter.  He feared no man or beast, but the witch was more powerful than ever now she fed from Aria’s weeping breast.  The fight was short, and Theor was slain with his own sword.  One cut, straight to his heart, and his eyes never closed again.  Aria stood by, helpless and watched his blood turn the forest floor red.

“You fool.  I cannot be killed as long as she lives.  Through her pure soul, I am invincible.  For one thousand years, she will sustain me, and I will rule this land as my own.  You will know suffering like never before, and your begging and pleading and desperate tears will only make me stronger.”

Aria thought of her people, and the terrible future which lay before them.  Life in this harsh wilderness was already difficult, with harsh, frozen winters and dry, drought filled summers, but the people worked hard and looked after each other.  They had little, but they were grateful and never wanted for more.  Her heart broke at the thought of their sorrow.

close up catSuddenly, she was struck by a thought.  The witch had called her soul pure, in fact, she had stated for all to hear, that the purity of her soul was the very thing which made her so strong.  Perhaps, if she was to carry out an act of cruelty, for no other reason than to be cruel, it would blacken her heart and tarnish her soul just enough for the witch to lose her strength, for a moment would be all she needed.

When a woods man entered the clearing the next day, lost by the ever-moving trees and the thick thorns which had begun to grow since the witch claimed power over her, she seized the opportunity.

“I’m sorry.”

As he knelt with hurried hands to free her from her shackles, she hit him with a rock, and cleaved his skull in two.  Instantly, he was dead, and as soon as he breathed his last breath, the witch cried out as if in panic.  Aria knew it was now or never.  She scrambled for the hunter’s knife and plunged it into her chest just as the witch appeared from her home, eyes wide with fear.

“As long as I live, you are invincible.  And so, I die, so you may die too.”

Without a tormented soul to sustain her, the decades of stolen life began to catch up with her.  Her face aged and sagged, before it fell away as she became dust and bones.  The three bodies lay close together in the now silent woods, as thorns withered and trees rooted themselves once more, and sun shone behind clouds.

Her sacrifice, and that of her Prince cousin and the poor woodsman, did not go unmarked.  The people of the kingdom remembered them through stories, but over time, those stories have changed into something unrecognisable.  It is understandable why people would choose the alternate version, with a sleeping princess awoken by a kiss, and a witch slain with his mighty sword.  But that is not what happened, that is not the truth, and sadly, the truth is not rides into the sunset and happy ever afters.  It is blood and death and bones.

But, perhaps you prefer the edited version to the reality, it is for you to decide.  Do you choose an unhappy truth, or a happy lie?

 

 

 

Book Review: I Will Make You Pay by Teressa Driscoll.

Book Review: I Will Make You Pay by Teressa Driscoll.

Hello readers! For this week’s post, I will be reviewing the crime thriller I Will Make You Pay by Teressa Driscoll, but before we leap straight into my thoughts on the book, let’s read that trusty blurb shall we?

I will make you payEvery Wednesday, like clockwork, the terror returns.

It seems like an ordinary Wednesday, until the phone rings. A mysterious caller with a chilling threat. Journalist Alice Henderson hangs up, ready to dismiss it as a hoax against the newspaper. But the next Wednesday, the stalker makes another move—and it becomes clear that this is all about Alice.

Someone wants her to suffer, but for what? Her articles have made her a popular local champion—could it be her past rather than her work that’s put her life in danger? Alice is determined not to give in to fear, but with the police investigation at a dead end, her boyfriend insists on hiring private investigator Matthew Hill.

With every passing Wednesday the warnings escalate, until it’s not only Alice but also her family in the stalker’s sights. As her tormentor closes in, can Alice uncover what she’s being punished for before the terrifying threats become an unthinkable reality?

I am a huge fan of crime fiction and I am always particularly intrigued with stalker stories.  Horror films and books scare us by often wandering into the realms of the unrealistic and surreal but a stalker is something very real.  Stalkers exist, they terrorise and they have even killed.  It is a threat grounded firmly in reality and therefore one which will incite and rouse a particularly deep fear within the reader.  Driscoll’s stalker is particularly cruel, often taunting the protagonist, for example having someone throw a freezing cold liquid in her face so she momentarily believes it is acid.  A simple, seemingly innocuous act, it is after all just water, but in the context of her harassment and her intensifying fear this moment causes her great distress and trauma.

The protagonist Alice is for the most part believable and empathetic.  We understand through her narration the sheer panic and paranoia that can come as a result of someone targeting a person in such a way.  Suddenly every site she visits is a place she could potentially be attacked, every face in the crowd is possibly her stalker, every phone call another taunt or jibe.  She is torn between protecting herself and withdrawing from the potential dangers of the world, and having a normal life, in short refusing to let the stalker win and in doing so she often puts herself in further danger.  There were moments were her refusal to be completely honest with Police and to take their advice irritated me slightly, but I can understand why she would not want the stalker to succeed at ruining her life.

The book has enough action interspersed throughout to keep it fast paced and interesting, and features several twists and turns and the all expected red herrings.  Although I guessed the bad guy successfully (no spoilers here), I could not grasp the motive until towards the very end despite the fact that Driscoll provided all the necessary information to the reader for them to work it out.  I really admire any author who can keep a reader scratching their end until the end.  The fact that I guessed the identity of the stalker is not necessarily a poor reflection on the author, as I read and watch so much crime fiction and indeed, even write it myself, that I am rarely surprised but that is why the concealment of the motivation of this man alluding me was particularly exciting.

Over-all, this is a great read and one I would recommend for any fans of crime fiction.  I would give it a firm 4 stars out of 5.

* Note: I was sent this book on behalf of the author and Amazon Publishing. My review is honest opinion of the book.