Category Archives: Pop Culture

Never Sleep Again

Finished Never Sleep Again by Thommy Hutson.

This book is basically the definitive oral history for the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Thommy Hutson spoke with Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss and all the other stars (and behind the scenes people) for this book.  It’s a coffee table-sized book and is about 260 pages (not counting the acknowledgments and index) and there are a lot of gorgeous pictures and fun stories throughout.

There was a Kickstarter campaign for the book, and I was happy to be able to contribute.  I got my book in November—even better because it doesn’t look like it’s available on Amazon.

This book isn’t for everyone, but I really loved reading it.  I’ve seen the four hour long documentary on the entire series (also called Never Sleep Again) but even so, there were some stories here that I hadn’t heard.

Obviously this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an Elm Street fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  It’s an incredibly good time and, as I said, the book is gorgeous.

Highly recommended.

The Best Books Of 2014 (Part 1)

These are the best 2014 releases that I read this year.  These are listed in chronological order.

Honorable mention first must go to The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner, which I read last year.  It’s amazing; you need to read it.

1)  Archetype by M.D. Waters

2)  Prototype by M.D. Waters

3)  Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

4)  After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

5)  Gideon’s Spear by Darby Karchut

6)  The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

7)  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

8)  Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

9)  The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

10)  Desperate by Daniel Palmer

11) Elements of Mind by Walter H. Hunt (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

12)  The Stag Lord by Darby Karchut (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

13)  Court by Cat Patrick

14)  The Bear by Claire Cameron

15)  Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

16)  Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

17)  Learning Not to Drown by Anna Shinoda

18)  To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

19)  Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

20)  Into the Night by Suzy Rigdon (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

21)  Divinity by Michelle L. Johnson (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

22)  Night after Night by Lauren Blakely

23)  Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

24)  The Merciless by Danielle Vega

25)  Call Me By My Name by Ed Bradley

26)  Landline by Rainbow Rowell

27)  All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

28)  Like No Other by Una LaMarche

29)  The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

30)  Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

31)  Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

32)  Conversion by Katherine Howe

33)  Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

34)  Those Who Wish me Dead by Michael Koryta

35)  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

36)  Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

37)  The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

38)  Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

39)  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

40)  Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

41)  Naliyah by Shauna Kelley

42)  My Real Children by Jo Walton

43)  Mahalas Lane by Marianne Cushing

44)  Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

45)  Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

46)  The Beast of Seabourne by Rhys A. Jones (one of my books at SHP; still excellent)

47)  Vision by Lisa Amowitz

48) Stars in their Eyes by Lauren Blakely

49)  All Broke Down by Cora Carmack

50)  I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

51)  The Camp Boyfriend series by JK Rock

52)  AlibiZ by Karice Bolton

53)  Nights With Him by Lauren Blakely

54)  Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

55)  Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

56)  The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

57)  Small Victories by Anne Lamott

58)  Revival by Stephen King

59) Saving Grace by Jane Green

60) You by Caroline Kepnes

Books To Watch For In 2015: An Overview

This is the second year of Books to Watch For!  I got this idea after my friend Kathy started doing this last year (yes, I basically stole it—but with permission!).  You should stop by her site and see what she’s excited for, too.

This year, I also got incredibly ambitious.  I talked to many of my favorite authors to see (a) what they have planned for next year and (b) the books that they’re looking forward to.

As a reminder, each book is featured over the course of two days.  The first day is a synopsis and explanation for why I’m excited (although most of the time, it’s probably fairly self-evident—because, when Sara Blaedel, for example, releases a new book, I’m excited) and the second day is an interview.

Even more exciting, several of my favorites are releasing two books next year! It’s going to be a good year for people who are book-greedy like I am.

There are some amazing books ahead, so please let me know what you’re looking forward to.


Things I’m Obsessed With

Welcome to the latest Things I’m Obsessed With!


I continue to be way, way behind on everything but I have a lot of good books ahead.  Eventually I’ll read them all, right?


My time of horror movies is almost over!  I agreed to do 31 Horror Films in 31 Days, and I have been able to do it.  The month’s almost over, though, and I am also excited 22 Jump Street again; it should show up in my Ultraviolet account on the 28th.   There have been some less than great movies, but I also have seen some amazing ones.  (I was very impressed with The Caller and The Possession of Michael King, to name a couple.)


I am currently in love with a couple of new fall shows (The Affair, Marry Me and How to Get Away With Murder).  But I am ALSO so in love with The Mindy Project and Sons of Anarchy! I’m finally caught up with Sons and I can’t wait to see what happens with this final season.  I guess we’ll see how it goes; the season ends in early December.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Book Community Drama And Renewed Manifesto

Over the weekend, a huge thing happened.  And then all of a sudden, a lot of bloggers (including me) got nervous.

Do I need to get a PO Box?  Should I scour my blog and Twitter for any hints as to my personal life (jobs/location/places to find me) and double-check that my Facebook is locked down?  Is there a way to increase my anonymity without completely starting over?

And do I need to worry that someone will randomly call me at work or show up at my house because they don’t like something I Tweet or blog?

I quickly eliminated that last worry.  As I said to a blogger friend of mine, one of the perks of having dozens of readers is that you stay pretty low under the radar.

And then I came to some decisions.

1)  I am not going to alter my habits online or on this blog.  It’s primarily a book blog (and that’s a lot of what I discuss on Twitter—except for this month, when I have gotten a lot of use out of #31HorrorFilms31Days) and that won’t change.  But when I feel like getting personal, I will.

2)  I’m not writing any more negative reviews.  (To be fair, I have barely written any anyway, because I have a pretty good handle on what I like to read and so I am rarely surprised by a book that doesn’t gel with me.)  It’s not because I worry that an author will show up at my house; it’s because this particular drama has given me an epiphany: I don’t want to talk about books I don’t like.  It takes time away from me talking about the books I do like.

And there are so many books that I want to read that I don’t want to spend time reading a book I don’t love because I feel pressure to review it.  Screw that, kids.

And that brings us to my final decision (which has been made a long time ago):

3)  I will not read or review any book that is written by an author who behaves badly.  I am not giving any of them any publicity whatsoever.  And those authors (including the one who sparked this incident) will not be discussed or promoted on my blog.

We only have so much free time, and I would rather spend mine flailing about good books.  I would rather get you to read Darby Karchut or Gae Polisner or Martha Brockenbrough or Courtney Summers or Jo Knowles or DK Mok or Walter H. Hunt or Daisy Whitney or Michelle Johnson or Suzy Rigdon or DC Farmer or Rhys A. Jones or Eileen Cook or Lisa Schroeder or Sarah Darer Littman or Amy Fellner Dominy or JK Rock or Lisa Amowitz or Errick Nunnally or Jodi Picoult or Stephen King or M.D. Waters or Shauna Kelley or Ann Stampler or Carrie Jones or any one of a billion writers I love, and who I bet you would love, too.

(ETA: As a side note: if you have entered and won a contest of mine, I do not keep any addresses. Once the prize has been shipped, addresses are destroyed.  If the book was sent from the publisher, that contact person is the only person your address has been shared with.)

The Balancing Act

So I always mention that I have so many TV shows that I want to watch—and it keeps growing.  Currently it includes, but is not limited to, The Sopranos, The Wire, The Americans, Dexter, Friday Night Lights and the first seasons of Penny Dreadful and True Detective.

But I also really enjoy watching movies.  And I need a ridiculous amount of sleep to function.  And this is primarily a book blog (today notwithstanding).  I’m currently watching all the TV I can handle and still be able to do other things.

My TV schedule:

Monday: nothing

Tuesday: The Mindy Project, Sons of Anarchy (finally caught up, guys!)

Wednesday: Nashville, American Horror Story

Thursday:  Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder

Friday: The Amazing Race

Saturday: nothing

Sunday: nothing

That’s absolutely doable.  I’m also looking forward to Bates Motel and Parks and Rec coming back.

So I think what I’m going to start doing is watching shorter series (True Detective, Penny Dreadful) over the winter hiatus and then doing longer series (The Wire, The Sopranos) over the summer.  It’ll take forever, but that’s fine.  I have time.

A Nightmare on Kel’s Street: 31 Horror Films, 31 Days

So as you know, we are thisclose to October, which means that it is time for horror movies!

I saw on Twitter that there’s a challenge to watch 31 horror films in 31 days (over October, obviously) and because I like challenges and making myself even busier, I thought, “Well, YES PLEASE.”

I’m even going to make a list of what I plan to watch, although I would pay good money on me breaking the last by the end of the first week.  An * means I haven’t seen it before.

1)  The Possession of Michael King*

2)  The Rite

3)  The Possession

4)  The Omen

5)  The Omen (remake)

6) Omen 2

7)  Omen 3

8)  Omen 4

9) Rosemary’s Baby

10)  The Exorcist (director’s cut)

11)  Misery

12)  Cujo

13) The Ward

14)  In the Mouth of Madness

15)  Last House on the Left (original)

16)  The Hills Have Eyes (original)

17)  The Hills Have Eyes (remake)

18)  Village of the Damned

19)  The Fog

20) Christine

21)  A Nightmare on Elm Street (original)

22) A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master

23)  Child’s Play

24)  Child’s Play 2

25)  Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter

26)  Friday the 13th (remake)

27)  Scream

28)  Scream 2

29)  Scream 3

30)  Halloween 3

31)  Halloween.  Because mandatory.

Things I’m Obsessed With

Welcome to the latest Things I’m Obsessed With!


I’m finishing up prep work for my second annual (!!!) Books To Watch For feature!  It will start in late November and then run through all of December.  I’ve got some great authors lined up and I’m so excited to share these books with you.


I’m just happy that my shows are back.

So what are you obsessed with this week?


Things I’m Obsessed With

Welcome to the latest Things I’m Obsessed With!


I feel like I have so many amazing books coming up to read.  Do you ever feel like that? It’s like every book I have in the stack is just amazing and I cannot wait.  (Upcoming books include the new Jandy Nelson, the new Meg Wolitzer, Famous Last Words, Girl Defective, Tell Me, Anatomy of a Misfit and Falling Into Place.)


We’re slowly heading into two of my favorite movie seasons: Oscar season and horror movie season! The two converge on October 3, when two movies that I am very excited to see both come out.  One is, of course, Gone Girl.  I’m very excited for it in and in a world where The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo gets some nominations, I’m willing to bet Gone Girl could get nods for Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Adapted Screenplay.

And the other? Annabelle.  It’s the prequel of sorts to The Conjuring which had a subplot featuring the world’s creepiest doll.  This movie is all about Annabelle and could be awesome (it’s produced by James Wan—who is doing great things with horror movies—and has Alfre Woodard in the cast) and could be horrible (it’s about a doll; it’s very, very hard to do a movie that centers around a doll and have it be scary. Doll as partial scare—see Poltergeist and The Conjuring—can be done very well; doll as entire scare is generally not good at all).  But I am going to see it anyway, hopefully with my friend Janie.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Things I’m Obsessed With

Welcome to the latest Things I’m Obsessed With!


I have all these amazing books ahead of me to read and I feel so incredibly lucky to be a book blogger and to get to read so many of them early.  Fellow bloggers, do you ever feel that way? Like you look at your TBR stack and just think, “Holy crap, there are so many! But they all look so amazing and they’re all mine!” And I feel especially blessed that publishers and authors and publicists value my opinion enough to seek it out for a review.  It’s overwhelming in the best possible way, but I hope I never forget how lucky I am.  And I get to go to BEA every year!  (Starting in 2016, I get an extra week vacation at the day job, and I plan to start trying to go to ALA every year it’s on the East Coast or in Chicago.  I think West Coast ALAs would be too expensive, but East Coast ones? Yes, please!)


I have been on a bit of a horror movie kick recently (always) and am completely obsessed with the movie Oculus.  It has so many of my triggers in horror movies (weird things in mirrors, weird things happening to faces, weird things happening to eyes and things happening to your teeth) and it’s a completely confusing movie that keeps you completely off-kilter.  It’s amazing and I love it.

Also, we’re about a month away from the big Halloween boxset release on Blu-Ray and I am SO EXCITED.  I feel like movie for movie, this is the best horror series ever.  There are only two movies that I think are pretty bad (and one of them, Halloween 6, is redeemed by the producer’s cut, WHICH IS INCLUDED IN THE DELUXE BOXSET!).  Nightmare on Elm Street may be my favorite but I think Halloween is the best.


I have currently discovered the joy of (thanks to my friend Erin).  Everything I’ve ordered from them has been amazing and I have a hard time saying exactly what my favorite thing is.  I love the peanut butter cups and the caramel puffs and the black cherry gummy bears and and and and and.  (Yeah, they have a lot of healthy snacks as well, but I haven’t tried those.  I DID get their marshmallow bits, however, which is basically like a bag full of the marshmallows from Lucky Charms with none of the gross cereal parts.  And it’s just as awesome as you’d expect it to be.)

So what are you obsessed with this week?