Creeptastically Good Reading for October - Melting Pot
It’s October!! Every year, I mention that October is one of my favorite months because it marks the coming of fall and the final slide into the holiday season. Soon the leaves will change from greens to reds and oranges, the air will be heavy with rain, and the nights get longer and longer. *sigh*
This month’s picks are real page turners that will keep you hunkered down until the last page. Plus, two of them take place in my home state of Oregon. I lost almost whole weekends to each of these creeptastically yummy reads.
Pull out a warm sweater, grab a mug of mulled wine, and dim the lights to fully immerse yourself into these dark tales.
When I was a kid, I was absolutely nuts about Scooby-Doo cartoons. (So much so, one of my family nicknames comes from the show.) Meddling Kids answers the question: What if Scooby-Doo and the gang found some real black magic monsters and suffer some serious PTSD in their mid-twenties?
Let me just say that Edgar Cantero is now one of my favorite authors. Just like his fist English language book The Supernatural Enhancements, I devoured this book. His use of word play and pop cultural references simply glide along the page making it hard to believe the English is his second language. BRAVO!
Whatever book he is working on right now, I will surely preorder. And just like his first book, there is a great twist at the end that makes you want to go back to the beginning to see if there was any way you could’ve seen it coming.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.
SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.
1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader . . . which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.
The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.
A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids is a strikingly original and dazzling reminder of the fun and adventure we can discover at the heart of our favorite stories, no matter how old we get.
Written in a first person diary / blog post format, Possession dives deep into the emotions of a fifteen year-old girl’s battle with identity, sanity, family, and religion all set in a modern day town dealing with the aftermath of police brutality.
It is clear from the beginning that Laetitia enjoys being the center of attention. As a reader, I wasn’t sure if she was telling the truth or merely mirroring her mother’s subtle psychosis. This use of an unreliable narrator only heightened the tension in the story. (Oh how I love an unreliable narrator!!) Plus, there were pictures inserted into key areas of the text that made it that much easier to slip into Laetitia’s world. I also enjoyed the sense of community and how troubling events created a ripple effect through both individual families and the community at large.
I will be honest and say that I probably won’t be reading other books in this series….not because of the writing…the story, again, was a solid page turner….but with my vivid imagination, I am still sleeping with the lights on!
Possession (Diary of a Haunting) by M. Verano
In the tradition of Paranormal Activity and The Exorcist, an ordinary girl with a strange illness recounts her experience with the dark and ancient entity that’s making her sick in this chilling diary that features photos and images of what she experienced.
All her life, Laetitia Jones has only wanted to be a star. It’s more than an ambition—somewhere deep inside, she knows that she was born for greatness.
But her path to stardom now seems to be halted by a mysterious, undiagnosed illness that’s taken over her body. Doctors don’t have a clue and most days, she’s stuck at home documenting her strange symptoms—symptoms that start with fevers and chills, but soon escalate to bizarre bodily reactions.
Laetitia’s only escape from her illness is following the news—and the race riots that are moving closer and closer to her neighborhood. But when horrific visions begin to invade her mind, even the media can’t distract her and she begins to wonder—is her illness something biological…or is it something more? Are the voices she hears and the notes she finds in her own handwriting signs of insanity…or signs of something much more sinister and demonic? Or, perhaps, signs of something benevolent…something holy even.
Laetitia has always known she’d be famous…she just didn’t know it would happen this way.
Demons walk among us and just like vampires coming ‘out of the coffin’ in Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, these demons have made themselves known to the world. From the beginning, they are clear on the fact that they are willing to make ‘deals.’ But instead of taking your soul, they take an arm, leg, fingers, or even your heart.
Being ‘heartless’ comes with responsibilities, but a definitive end date. The nice thing about making a deal with your heart is that you get what you want and know that you will get you heart back. (The magic that keeps you animated only lasts so long.) The bad thing is that your duties don’t come with hazard pay, you are always on call for missions, and you have to keep up with a knitted version of your heart at all times during your two-years of servitude.
I’m a sucker for a romance and this book is a lovely YA adventure with a romance swirled in for good measure. Dee really didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she made her deal with this particular Daemon. You’ll thoroughly enjoy how this story unfurls all the way to the last page.
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
A thrilling blend of sci-fi, paranormal horror, and romance--perfect for fans of Holly Black, Leigh Bardugo, and Stranger Things.
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a devil--her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life--she finds her trade may be more than she bargained for. And becoming "heartless" is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she ever could have imagined.
With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something like love grows between them amidst an otherworldly ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: can she give James her heart when it's no longer hers to give?
The Hearts We Sold is a Faustian tale for the modern age that will steal your heart and break it, and leave you begging for more.
Columnist: C. Morgan Kennedy
I have a confession to make. I’m a time traveler. I love flinging myself into the future, then hurtling fast to an alternative past. In my usual time-space-dimension, I’m a mechanical engineer and business woman. So, I have a natural penchant for hover cars and steam or aether powered engines. Though I was born in the wrong era, I’m actually a child of the sixties – 1860, 1960, 2060.
My stories feature strong women, who know how to wield their minds like weapons. Their men are smart and often controlling….but, rest assured, my female leads give them a run for their money. They strive to follow their hearts and dreams for the betterment of themselves and their loved ones. Like my life, all of my stories feature a diverse cast of characters.
With my business partner, Therese Patrick, I work to demystify marketing principles for my author friends. Our first book, Author Marketing 101 Guide & Journal, was published by Gazebo Gardens Publishing and released in October 2013.
Steampunk, futurist, blerd, artist, author, and marketing maven…a real creative force of nature – that’s me in a nutshell.
Keep tabs on my adventures via my blog, Morgan’s Mix Tape, on my website: http://www.cmorgankennedy.com.