A Favourite Classic Novel: ‘Treasure Island’ by R.L. Stevenson

‘Treasure Island’ is a ripping adventure story of pirates, treasure, mystery and courage that takes the young Jimn Hawkins from his home at the Admiral Benbow Inn to the Caribbean and back again. 

It has been made into movies, cartoons for TV, comic strips, graphic novels and all sorts of adaptations over the years but, for me, nothing beats the original book.

The story is told richly, with an interesting and varied cast of characters. The most famous figure in the book is Long a John Silver, whose reputation exceeds that of anyone else in the story. People may not recognise the name of Jim Hawkins, the heroic young main character of the novel , but everyone knows of Silver as a notorious pirate. 

‘Treasure Island’ is a great book for older children and teenagers. It’s a book that I still love reading, and I always enjoy enjoy teaching it because my students always respond positively to the story and it’s key ideas. 

A Favourite Classic Novel: ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee

This is such an important book. Through the eyes and experiences of six-year-old Scout Finch, the reader comes to understand key lessons about prejudice, equality, and personal integrity that profoundly influence the way they see and interact with other people. 

The story is told in a very matter-of-fact manner, yet it is laden with irony and quite intricately constructed layers of meaning that give it depth and enable it to have a powerful effect on the reader. The simplicity of Scout’s questions contrasts with the significance of the behaviour and beliefs challenged by her perplexity, while the wisdom of the adults to whom she turns for answers inspires the reader, too. 

I have numerous favourite scenes and quotations from this book, but the one I love most is the tender scene between father and daughter at the close of the book, which really emphasises the message of the book as a whole: 

A Favourite Classic Series: The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis

I may be cheating by covering a whole series instead of just one of the novels, but how does one choose a single favourite among such an incredible set of books?

Supposedly written for children, The Narnia Chronicles fill me with as much joy and wonder now as they ever did. They are stories that never, ever get old.

I collected a mismatched set of the books over several years as a child, and then as a teenager I indulged my slightly OCD book-neediness and bought a boxed set with matching covers. I can’t find any of the first lot, and only one of the boxed set remains on my shelf. I’ve lost a few in different classrooms over the years and others courtesy of unreturned loans, so several years ago I bought the complete set in one volume so I could read them all again.

While each book in the series is a unique and brilliant story in its own right, as a collection they are remarkably cohesive and unified.

The Narnia Chronicles really are the works of a master storyteller. 

A Favourite Classic Novel: ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens

I have always enjoyed Dickens’ knack for transporting the reader to the grimy streets of London, or to the interior of a neat little Victorian house, and have them understand exactly why they had been taken there. His imagery and characterisation are vivid and his wit is razor sharp. 

I have several favourites among his novels, but ‘A Christmas Carol’ would have to be at the top of that list. In addition to its searing social criticism and powerful message about what actually matters in life, it is infused with some really well written macabre and Gothic horror scenes that have a profound effect on both Scrooge and the reader. It’s a short read with a huge impact. 

Women in Horror: D.J. Doyle

Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: D.J. Doyle

D.J. Doyle was raised by pot-smoking hippies and spent her days worshipping pagan deities in the HellFire Club and her nights watching horror movies and reading horror books. She now lives with her family in a treehouse, preying on unsuspecting travellers, and where she likes nothing better than coming up with ideas for new stories and plotting her next novel. Some of this might have been made up.

She has written many subgenres of horror from comedy to extreme to sci-fi. So far, her novels are based on Irish Mythology and Folklore, intertwining tales from the past and present. Her extreme horror stories go inside the minds of serial killers, which was not an easy task.

 Celtic Curse: Newgrange

Haunted for years by dreams of death and mysterious rituals, Jess Young travels to Ireland in search of answers. Her search becomes a race against time when her friend is abducted by Celtic Druids bent on resurrecting the Morrigan; the Celtic goddess of war and death. 

Reader Review – This is a dark, gritty and fatalistic story of ancient beliefs, rituals and powers that grapple for control of the future of the world as we know it. Doyle builds the story masterfully, complete with twists that take the reader’s breath away and a sense of urgency that grows as the action escalates. 

Christ On A Bike

Father Jack and his pontification of priests are on their travels to conduct an exorcism. Demons can lurk in every corner. 
Can Father Jack overcome the demons within?

Reader Review – Why can I not give 6 stars???? This unique little short was bloody brilliant! I have to say I have never laughed as hard as I did when reading how Fr. Jack referred to his team. This terrific little short is like the show Father Ted on steroids, it has all the humor, all the sass and a s**t load of horror with enough creep factor to give you the heebeegeebees. 

Red

Blurb – A depraved past has shaped a man into the twisted serial killer he is today. His obsession with the color Red, and his lust for blood, leads to inventive ways to kill his captives. Who is his next victim, and can she be his salvation? 

Review – This is extreme horror at its finest. It was a quick throat punch with a kick to the nuts finale. Violent and gory with a truly twisted psychopath at the helm, Red is a must read.

WordyNerdBird’s note:
I have read and thoroughly enjoyed many of D.J. Doyle’s horror books. My favourite is still A Celtic Curse: Banshee, so here is a bonus link!

You can find and follow D.J. Doyle on
FACEBOOK | TWITTER GOODREADS | WEBSITE

Women in Horror: S.K. Gregory

Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: S.K. Gregory

S. K. Gregory writes horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels. When she isn’t writing, she works as an editor and promoter for indie authors. She resides in Northern Ireland and has been writing since she was a child.

Most of the horror she writes features supernatural creatures such as demons. She recently released a collection of short stories called Chills and Thrills Tales which feature everything from werewolves to ghosts, to killer cannibal demons.

Independence Day

July 4th – The infection begins…

When a town is overrun by zombies, Rachel and her family are caught in the chaos. The virus spreads fast and Rachel is left to defend herself and her little cousin. 

Gabe and Adam are two soldiers, tasked with finding the source of the infection and stopping it. But are they already too late?

Rachel joins the soldiers in a bid to survive, but with the army ready to drop a bomb on the town, they must figure out a way to escape before they are killed. 

Can it stop the spread of the infection though?

Contains adult content.

Trickster

A Small Town. An Ancient Evil…

For acting Sheriff, Kayla Thomas, most nights consist of breaking up bar fights and locking up drunks. That is until a local businessman decides to open up the old mine and gets more than he bargained for. 

Something evil resides in Silverville and he just let it out…

When the businessman is found murdered, Kayla faces a viral like disease which turns ordinary people into murderers, tapping into their worst fears. 

Who can she trust when anyone could be infected? 

With the town snowed in, Kayla and her deputies must find the source of the virus before the roads are cleared. If this evil escapes into the world, no one is safe.

Can Kayla defeat the Trickster?

Crashed

When Crystal crashes into Jax, she is worried that she will go to jail for drunk driving, but she has bigger things to worry about. Jax may seem like a normal teen, but he is hiding a secret. Injured in the crash, his wolf side is unleashed. Crystal is in danger, will she survive the night?

You can find and follow S.K. Gregory on
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | 
WEBSITE

WordyNerdBird’s note:
I have read ‘Trickster’ and the ‘Chills and Thrills Tales’ short story series by S.K. Gregory, and found them to be enjoyably dark and disturbing.

Women in Horror: Fiona Cooke

Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: Fiona Cooke

Fiona Cooke is a writer, editor, poet and blogger living in the Midlands of Ireland. 

Fiona has four books published on Amazon and blogs at unusualfiction.wordpress.com about her work and anything that interests or inspires her. A Tolkien obsessive, she lives for music festivals and all things horror related. She hopes to  publish her latest horror novella – Death Dues in the near future.

Fiona Cooke writes gothic horror, contemporary horror, Literary horror prose and ghost stories. She is also compiling a collection of gothic poetry for release in October 2019.

You can follow Fiona Cooke on
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WORDPRESS | AMAZON

WordyNerdBird’s note:
I have read and enjoyed Fiona’s books, and always appreciate the dark twists and turns that her horror stories take.