The Librarian’s Cellar TBR Battle: November Reads

The ‘To Be Read’ battle continues! The goal I set for myself was to read 20 titles between September and December. So far, I have read 12 books , see September Reads HERE and October Reads HERE

So, maybe I won’t reach my original target, but I am enjoying the challenge anyway, and making time to read in a busy day is the best thing there is, so I’m winning! Here are four books I’ve enjoyed this November.

Good Samaritans by [Carver, Will]

Good Samaritans by Will Carver is a nasty book! A compelling, sharply written, nasty book! One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach! No spoilers, but you get the picture? Carver has created an ensemble of sharply observed, three-dimensional characters and a cracking good story of twisted desires – and the evil that festers while in the grip of those desires. I can see the movie rising from the pages. Not one for the squeamish though!

 

When Your Eyes Close: A psychological thriller unlike anything you’ve read before! by [Farrelly, Tanya]

When Your Eyes Close by Tanya Farrelly has an unusual premise, which could have been quite difficult to execute (excuse the pun!). However, the author has managed to do just that. The story weaves around Nick Drake, a troubled alcoholic, now seriously ill, and in search of the clarity he needs to get his life back on track. Through the unlikely catalyst of Hypnotism, Nick’s journey will uncover long-buried secrets, twisted lies, and will lead to the eventual unmasking of an unlikely murderer.

 

In Pieces by Sally Field is both honest and courageous. Field conveys a childhood that was far from perfect with a candid flow that never leans into self-pity or moroseness. The book took seven years to write, with highlights from her acting career and her love affairs, but the most impressive element of this memoir for me is the deep love she holds for her mother and family that permeates every page.

 

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a riveting read, a chilling suspense thriller that encompasses the supernatural and a good old-fashioned tale of a journalist with attitude, still haunted by her sister’s death 20 years earlier. The story moves back and forth between past and present, and features Idlewood Hall, a now derelict building that was once a school for girls – girls that were trouble-makers, unwanted, or just too smart for their own good in an era that did not protect nor cherish them. A shocking discovery when a new and mysterious owner of Idlewood Hall begins renovations, sets in motion a riveting, twisting mystery that will unearth some painful truths.

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Caroline E. Farrell is a writer and filmmaker. Her novel, LADY BETH was awarded BEST NOVEL by the Carousel Aware Prize in 2017. She has also written and directed the short film, FRAMED (2018) currently on the festival circuit, and has written and co-produced the award-winning IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013). She is currently working on her latest novel. 

 

The Librarian’s Cellar: Great Reads – Luisne An Chleite

I received this beautifully produced anthology as a gift, and just had to share it here.

Filled with creative input from writers and artists living in Kildare, the book is a revelation of poetry, prose, paintings and drawings from a very talented collective. For the Gaelgoirs, there are also some lovely Irish language pieces, and what a fabulous title Luisne an ChleiteInspiration of the Quill. Well done to the Wordsmiths Creative Writing Group on the creation and publication of such a gorgeous book, and kudos to Celine Broughal (Writer and Librarian!) and to the library service for supporting such a lovely project.

The Librarian’s Cellar: At the Cinema – THE RIDER

If you get a chance to see THE RIDER, please do, a visceral, beautifully directed film.

Rodeo champ, Brady Blackburn is recovering from a serious head injury, and must come to terms with the devastating possibility that he may never compete in the rodeo again. Horses and riding are in his blood, and this magical relationship with the most majestic animal in the world is so well conveyed. The film is a gentle study of the very masculine world of cowboys, set in the beautiful, though uncompromising South Dakota plains. What makes The Rider stand out is Writer and Director Chloé Zhao’s choice to use non-actors and real-life situations. Even more poignant is Brady’s relationships with his autistic sister, and with his best friend, Lane Scott, who plays himself, also a Rodeo Champion who is now completely paralysed following a serious accident while competing.

Although the subject matter is dark, Brady’s resilience shines through. His fate is promising – his skills and love of horses will carry him through. Superb acting from Brady Jandreau, one to watch, and wonderful storytelling. Chloé Zhao is a talented filmmaker, also one to watch!

 

The Rider | Drama, Western | 2017 |

Cover Image may be subject to copyright.

Battle with the TBR Tower: October Reads

I’m a bit late with posting this as I’ve hit the ground running for November, but I’m still here, continuing my reading challenge, and in October I chose to read spooky novels, and ended up sneaking in a couple of titles that were not on the original list. See HERE

I only managed to read 3 and not 5 novels, as I had hoped, but no apologies, and no excuses – time has a mind of its own! Also, as you know if you have been following me, I’m not in the business of slating other writer’s work, and I only post about books I have enjoyed. Luckily, all three from October’s pile have gotten the thumbs up!

 

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The Nightmare: F.B. Hogan

This collection of 7 short stories contains themes of horror and tales of the unexpected. A great little book to dip in and out of on a cold, dark night be the fire, or tucked up beneath the duvet! The ghostly in the everyday is acutely observed, my top 3 favourites being, Ventry, the hauntingly sad, yet retributive Always, and the wicked I’ve Got My Eye on You. These stories will keep you suitably chilled!

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The Lingering: SJI Holliday

A couple with a disturbing secret enter a spiritual commune, their aim, to make a fresh start, and to get away from their dark past. The commune just happens to be located in a rambling, haunted manor house, which also used to be an asylum. All the ingredients for a fairly spooky read, The Lingering is a disquieting blend of suspense and horror.

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You Let me In: Lucy Clarke

Chilling and compulsive reading, I didn’t want to put this down until I had read the very last page. Lots of twists and turns, but so expertly structured that I followed along seamlessly, and woah – I’ll bet that there will be authors out there who identify so much with the character of bestselling writer, Elle Fielding and her social media persona! This was my first Lucy Clarke book to read, but it won’t be the last.

 

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer, blogger and filmmaker. She is the author of the award-winning novel, LADY BETH. Her short film, FRAMED (2018) is currently screening at festivals worldwide, and she is also the writer of the multi-award winning short film IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013). Caroline was a finalist in the 2018 Blog Awards Ireland.

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Wonderful Things!

Three wonderful things happened this week.

The First Thing! This blog was a finalist in the Irish Blog Awards in two categories: Books & Literature and Arts & Culture, so naturally, I was pretty chuffed to attend the awards night in the TRAMLINE Venue, Dublin. The theme of the night was Dia de los Muertos, hence a great excuse to dress up, and the place was only heaving with positivity and good will, and although I didn’t win, I am delighted for all those who did, particularly those in my categories. I keep this blog going because it gives me pleasure to do so, and I get to share, through The Librarian’s Cellar, my favourite books, films, guest interviews and occasional theatre reviews. Through the general side of the Blog, SHE BLOGS, I can write to my heart’s content all things that relate to my personal passion: writing and filmmaking.  So thank you, Irish Blog Awards – the recognition is much appreciated!

The Second Thing! FRAMED, my directorial debut, is in the official selection of The Directors Circle Festival of Shorts in the horror film category. Supporting bold, visionary filmmakers while advancing the art form of film with remarkable cinematic technologies and experiences. the festival takes place in Erie, Pennsylvania, and is the eleventh film festival that FRAMED has been selected to screen at – so far!! I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of such a generous and talented cast and crew, so here I go, thanking them profusely, once again!

The Third Thing! LADY BETH, and a lovely reminder that it is one year since my book won BEST NOVEL at the Carousel Aware Prize Awards. It’s been a fantastic year (moving way to fast though!) and for this too, I am so grateful to everyone who encouraged me to push it out there, read it, praised it, critiqued it, and helped to spread the word. For all these reasons, I would like to pay it forward and have 10 signed copies of Lady Beth to give away. Simply let me know if you would like one.

I am a firm believer in magic, whether it pays you the occasional visit or you make your own, keep creating. It might even return threefold!

Reading Challenge: Progress on my battle with the TBR Tower!

I’m sure I am not alone in rarely being able to resist the temptation of buying new books, despite the growing To Be Read tower already tilting over on the floor of my spare room. To combat my addiction – and it is one folks, it is an addiction – at the beginning of September, I decided to take 20 titles in total, most from the physical book tower, and the remainder from my Kindle, also bulging with waiting to be read works.

See my original post HERE.

I figured if I read 5 books per month between September and December, I could finish the list by New Year’s Eve, though I give myself permission to replace any title that isn’t grabbing me in the first chapter. So far, I haven’t had to resort to that, and am proud to say that I have finished the 5 books I set aside for September. So, here they are, with comments on each:

Her Name Was Rose: Claire Allan

Lonely Emily witnesses a terrible accident when a car mows down a young mother, killing her. Convincing herself that it should have been her who died that day, Emily becomes obsessed with the dead woman’s life through social media, and in particular, with her widowed husband, Cian. No spoilers here, but this is a gripping murder mystery, peeling secretive layers from an ensemble of characters as Emily moves further and further into danger…

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The Collector: John Fowles

Published in 1963, The Collector grabbed me from the very first paragraph and kept me consumed with the story until the last page. Switching between the narratives of the captor, the socially inept Frederick Clegg, and the captive, pretty middle-class art student, Miranda Grey, the darkness of the subject matter is subtlety, yet powerfully conveyed through the author’s acute study of the foibles, gender and psychology of these compelling characters. A truly dark chiller, I loved it!


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Sweet Little Lies: Caz Frear

Detective Cat Kinsella is working on a case, a case in which she suspects her own father of a terrible crime! A very popular debut from Caz Frear with lots of twists, intrigue and clever intertwining of family drama! A sharply written procedural crime novel, Sweet Little Lies is elevated by the witty dialogue that peppers a dark story with some light relief as we follow a very human and ‘over empathic’ main character as her personal and professional worlds collide.

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House of Spines: Michael J Malone

Struggling author, Ranald McGhie, has suffered from mental illness, a result of trauma and disappointment in his early life. When he inherits a rambling mansion from a deceased uncle he had never known, Ranald’s life changes dramatically. Although there are many tropes in this chilling mystery, Malone weaves the story rather well. A thriller bound with supernatural elements, House of Spines is a page-turner.


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The Dead Girls: Derek Flynn

Inspired by real life accounts of highway murders in the US, The Dead Girls is a well-crafted, dark thriller that features an often used, stalwart component of crime fiction, the flawed ex-cop turned private detective, in this case, John Ryan, hired to find a missing girl. The subject matter is harsh, dealing with sexual violence, murder, alcoholism and drug abuse, with a cast of characters that feel authentic to the world. This is the second book to feature Ryan, the first being Broken Falls. The ending of this one suggests a third novel in the making, and I certainly hope so, because there is unfinished business for John Ryan!


 

So there you have it, my progress so far. Now wish me luck for October – and since it is the month of all things ghoulish – so too will be my reading material!!

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Caroline E. Farrell is a writer and filmmaker. Her novel, LADY BETH was awarded BEST NOVEL by the Carousel Aware Prize in 2017. She has also written and directed the short film, FRAMED (2018) currently on the festival circuit, and has written and co-produced the award-winning IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013). She is currently working on her latest novel. 

The Librarian’s Cellar: At The Cinema – The House With A Clock In Its Wall

Well, I loved this one! Adapted by Eric Kripke from the 1973 novel by John Bellairs, The House With A Clock In Its Walls tells the tale of Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), a 10 year-old orphan who goes to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black), a man he has never met before. Jonathan, as Lewis will soon find out, is a warlock, and lives in a very quirky and mysterious house – a house that ticks – literally! Cate Blanchette plays the enchanting Florence, Jonathan’s next door neighbour.

For Lewis, a clever, yet vulnerable young boy coming to terms with the death of his parents, moving to live with his uncle will not just give him a new start in life, it will open up a whole new world of wizardry and intrigue. But of course, there will be obstacles before Lewis finds his own kind of magic as he bonds with his new family. Lots of fun, great cast and the film looks spectacular. I reckon it will become a family favourite for many Halloween’s to come!!

 

The House With A Clock In Its Walls | 2018 | PG | Director: Eli Roth