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Happy Zombie Awareness Month, dear reader! I am super excited to celebrate ZOMBIES this year because I am hosting Zombiethon: Zombie Awareness Readathon & Watchathon on my channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures. I have created another Zombie Fun List just for this year. It will include everything related to zombies, such as movies, television shows, books, short stories, articles, cocktails, and clothing. I also created a Discord for my channel which includes the Zombiethon event. I will be hosting live chats, reading sprints, as well as a book giveaway. It promises to be a zomberific good time!

In the past, my books and movies were mood reads or mood watches. This year, I decided to create reading and watchng prompts to guide me in picking out my movies and books. Having prompts this year added a bit of whimsy to the choices I made for this year’s celebration of Zombie Awareness Month.

Zombie Fun List

Movies

Television Shows

I plan to catch up on Fear the Walking Dead with the 8th and final season coming out on May 14th. If I have some extra time in the month, I would also like to watch a few episodes of Kingdom which is currently streaming on Netflix. Kingdom is a South Korean zombie show set in the 16th century.

Books, Short Stories, and Articles

As for short stories, I plan to read “Eat Me” by Robert R. McCammon which is included in a collection of zombie stories titled Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry Dead edited by John Skipp. My article to read this month is “Do Zombies Feel Pain? Exploring Sensory Neuropathy” which was posted on 17 February 2023 by Luke W. Boyd. You can find this article as well as plenty of other articles and information related to zombies on the Zombie Research Society website.

As always, I am delighted to be celebrating zombies throughout the month of May. If time permits, I will sprinkle a zombie post here or there throughout the month. Of course, dear reader, you are invited to participate in all the zombie shenanigans I have planned for Zombiethon. Who do zombies avoid eating, and why? Clowns, because they taste funny! Happiness!

“A non-frightening zombie is a lame zombie.” ~ Scott M. Gimple

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March was a MARVELOUS reading month for me. I read six short stories for The Week of Weird Readathon and completed eight books. Of those eight books, I read five for Middle Grade March. Both readathons were new reading adventures for me. I read quite a few new authors and discovered new middle-grade favorites. In addition, I completed The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson which I had been buddy reading with my sister Rachel since January. I completed Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam which I had been reading since January while also participating in Vanderkam’s Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge. Lastly, I finished Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier which was the January/February selection for the FOMO Book Club.

The Week of Weird Readathon

I have been wanting to read more short stories ever since devouring three collections by Joe Hill back in the spring of 2020. These collections are Strange Weather, Full Throttle, and 20th Century Ghosts. For those of you who do not know, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. He is a fantastic writer, and his books and short stories are wonderful! I sprinkle short stories into my reading life sparingly, so when The Week of Weird Readathon was announced by Crystal @ fiberartsy and Jason @ Jason’s Weird Reads, I was excited to add a few of them on my March TBR. There were five reading prompts for inspiration. I read a few of the stories and listened to a couple on the podcast, Levar Burton Reads.

  • Old Weird: Read a weird fiction story or book published between 1910s – 1970s.
  • New Weird: Read a weird fiction story or book published between 1980s to the present.
  • Out of This World: Read a weird fiction story or book featuring science fiction elements.
  • The Dark: Read a weird fiction story or book featuring supernatural or horror elements.
  • Flora and Fauna: Read a weird fiction story featuring nature.

For Old Weird, I listened to Levar Burton read “Childfinder” by Octavia Butler. This story was my introduction to Butler’s work. It is about a rogue telepath that defies the establishment to protect telepathic children who have not yet tapped into their abilities. It was a good story; however, I felt like it was the prologue to something bigger. 3.5 stars

For New Weird, I read “Afterlife” by Stephen King. Anyone who has followed me for some time knows that Stephen King is my absolute favorite author, so it should be no surprise that one of his short stories made this list. Bill, an investment banker, dies and ends up in a purgatorial waiting room of sorts. He meets Mr. Harris and is given the opportunity (again, because he has been there before) to choose between two doors. Bill can choose to relive his past life with no previous memories or choose finality of existence. It is an interesting dilemma, and I was surprised by Bill’s decision. 4 stars

For Out of This World, I listened to Levar Burton read “I Was a Teenage Space Jockey” by Stephen Graham Jones. This story was my introduction to Jones’s work. Two 6th grade Native American boys spend Halloween evening in a video arcade and have a surreal experience while playing Galaga. I loved this nostalgic story centered around these two characters. 5 stars

For The Dark, I listened to Levar Burton read “The Story We Used to Tell” by Shirley Jackson. This story was my introduction to Jackson’s work. Katherine visits her friend Y at her late husband’s family mansion. During the visit, they come upon a creepy painting in one of the bedrooms that disburbs both women. The next day Y goes missing and is later discovered inside the off-putting painting by Katherine. This story was incredibly dark and eerie, and I loved the goosebumps it gave me. 5 stars

For Flora and Fauna, I listened to Levar Burton read “Cricket” by Kenneth Yu. This story was my introduction to Yu’s work. (I thought I had listened to another story of his, but that story, “The Paper Menagerie” was actually written by Ken Lui. HA!) Richard and his family were tasked with caring for his mother until her death. He held a grudge against his siblings for this arrangement, perceiving it more as a burden then a blessing. After the elderly matriarch’s death, a talking cricket mysteriously appears, dispensing wisdom to Richard and his wife Lucy. This unexpected guest intrigues Lucy, entertains the couple’s young son, but angers Richard. Lots of great messages in this short story. 4 stars

I read an additional story that could pretty much fulfill all of the reading prompts except New Weird, and it was “Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft. An alien entity comes to earth and lands near a farm where it destroys the family who owns the farm as well as anything living in direct proximity of the farm. This descriptive story is scary, ominous, and exudes dread. If you read this short story, dear reader, make sure to check out the movie with Nick Cage afterwards. It was a terrific film adaptation. 5 stars

Middle Grade March

The Middle Grade March Readathon on BookTube was hosted by four lovely ladies, Krista @ Books and Jams, Amanda @ The Curly Reader, Katie @ Life Between Words, Jenna @ Jenna Reads n Writes (Instagram). As you know, dear reader, I enjoy reading children’s literature, and I read some fabulous middle-grade books throughout the month of March. There were five reading prompts for inspiration plus a group read, A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga.

  • An award winner, but not Newbery (The Voyage of the Frog by Gary Paulsen)
  • A Sci-fi/Dystopian book (A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga)
  • Sky or Sea on the cover (Odder by Katherine Applegate)
  • Book with a neurodiverse character (Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling)
  • Book published in the last year (Odder by Katherine Applegate)

Even though I enjoyed everything I read for Middle Grade March, my absolute favorite story was Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling. It was heartfelt, humorous, and had wonderfully written characters. I fell in love with the spunky main character Aven Green. Dear reader, if you want to hear more about my thoughts on any of the books I read during Middle Grade March, please check out my Middle Grade March wrap up video. It also includes my thoughts on Vacancy by K.R. Alexander which was my March book club selection for the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club. I also hosted my first book giveaway on my channel. Since I loved Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus so much, I gave away 6 copies to readers who expressed interest. I have 3 more copies to give away, so if you are interested, dear reader, please leave me a comment on this blog post, and I will enter you into a drawing. Giveaway ends on Sunday, May 7th at 11:59 PM.

FOMO Book Club

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier was the January/February book club selection for the FOMO Book Club. This online book club is run by three brilliant British booktubers, Alice @ Alice and the Giant Bookshelf, Gemma @ Gem of Books, and Jack @ Spread Book Joy. I must confess that Jaimaca Inn is my first Daphne du Maurier story, and I was not disappointed by this classic tale. Jamaica Inn gives off gothic vibes with its suspenseful atmosphere, gloomy and dark setting, and mysterious characters, including Jamaica Inn.

Despite her naïveté and lack of good judgement on occasion, I really liked the protagonist, Mary Yellin. She is young and inexperienced; however, I admire her sagacity, determination, and courage. After the death of her mother, Mary leaves her home in Helford to live with her Aunt Patience, her mother’s sister, and Uncle Joss at Jamaica Inn. Soon after her arrival, she is disheartened to learn that Aunt Patience has married an unsavory man, and Jamaica Inn has unpleasant secrets. This novel is considered romantic suspense, but it is my kind of romance. While I was not too surprised by Mary’s decision at the end of the novel, I did enjoy all of the twists and turns, the mystery surrounding Jamaica Inn, and Daphne du Maurier’s storytelling. 4 stars for Jamaica Inn!

Buddy Read

Back in January, my sister Rachel and I started the personal development book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Caring): A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. Yes, I covered up the expletive so as not to offend anyone; and, yes my sister laughed at me and pointed out it is just a word. Personally, I do not think it was necessary for Manson to use this word to effectively get his information out to his readers. However, he probably would not give a f*ck what I think anyway.

Once I got passed the cuss word in the title and the first chapter, laden with foul language and crude examples, I actually learned some valuable information that I could apply to my own life. There were quite a few takeaways from this book, but a few that really resonated with me included: happiness comes about through problem-solving, there is value in suffering, distinguishing between good and bad values, failure is a way forward, and the “do something” principle. I personally like how instead of looking for motivation to inspire action, you can take action to inspire motivation. Manson states, “If you lack motivation to make an important change in your life, do something – anything, really – and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.” This self-improvement book earned a solid 3.5 stars.

23 for 2023 List

Tranquility by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters by Laura Vanderkam is #20 on my 23 for 2023 List. I was not planning to read Vanderkam’s book until the summer; however, she hosted a Tranquility by

Tuesday Challenge in January, and it became the perfect time to dive in and get reaquainted with a few of the rules to see if they could help calm the chaos in my own life. My plan is to write a separate post specifically about my overall thoughts about this book and my experience with participating in the challenge. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I was excited to read Tranquility by Tuesday because I was one of the 150 participants in her time study to gather the data for this book. A couple of the rules had become habits or modified habits during the original time study, but most of them had fallen by the wayside and were forgotten. However, after reading the book (which I thought was fantastic) and completing the challenge (which I thought was eye-opening and fun), I am excited about how most of these rules can become effective habits in my life over time if I intentionally put them into practice. 5 stars for this personal development gem.

As you can see, I had a productive month of reading, dear reader. If you want to hear more about my thoughts on this book or the other books I read in March, please check out my March wrap up video.

My sister and I are taking a break in between now and June. Rachel is an actuary and started her busy season at work at the end of March, and I have commitments in April with Old School April and in May with Zombiethon. I have been reading a bunch in April. I finally got around to reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. The Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club chose a rockin’ selection by Grady Hendrix. And, I finally finished reading Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley. Hopefully (always hopeful), I will be writing a post soon about what I read in April. Lots of terrific reads to share with you!

Lastly, do not forget about my book giveaway. Leave me a comment on this blog post if you are interested in a chance to win a copy of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling. Giveaway ends on Sunday, May 7th at 11:59 PM. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” ~ Vera Nazarian

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Happy Zombie Awareness Month, dear reader! I am ready for some zombie fun which will last ALL month long. ZOMBIES are my jam! I have created another Zombie Fun List just for this year. It will include anything related to zombies, such as movies, television shows, books, short stories, articles, cocktails, and clothing. Kelsi will also be joining me for a zomberific good time, and when it is all said and done, we plan to chat about our rotting good time with reanimated corpses.

Zombie Fun List

Movies

Television Shows

  • The Walking Dead
  • Fear the Walking Dead
  • TWD: World Beyond
  • All of Us Are Dead
  • Kingdom

Books, Short Stories, and Articles

For more information about zombies, check out the Zombie Research Society. They have awesome articles about the living dead, including a recent article called “Digesting the Living: Zombie Stomach Acid” which was posted on 09 April 2022 by Luke W. Boyd. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Additionally, for all you readers who are on the fence about zombies, check out Kelsi’s latest video, 10 Zombie Movie Recommendations for People Who Don’t Like Zombies! on YouTube. Kelsi loves horror, but zombies are not her favorite horror genre. However, she does admit that she has found some undead gems since celebrating Zombie Awareness Month with me.

I am thrilled to be celebrating zombies throughout the month of May. If time permits, I will sprinkle additional zombie posts throughout the month. Of course, dear reader, if you feel the compulsion to join us, we would love to know what activities you will be engaging in during the month. What does it take to become a zombie? Deadication. Happiness!

“You can’t negotiate with a zombie. They have only one impulse – that’s to eat us or our brains.” ~ Stephen Graham Jones

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Ho, Ho, Ho! It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my neck of the woods which means it is time to reveal my Christmas Fun List. I recently purchased some new Christmas socks with gnomes on them from Cracker Barrel in Hammond. I will be wearing Christmas socks and pins to work again to show my Christmas spirit. And, talking about spirits, the Christmas season would not be complete without mixing a Christmas cocktail. I have my eye on the Sugar Cookie Martini. I will try my hand at making a Christmas dish or baking a Christmas treat. I subscribe to a bunch of magazines that feature holiday-related recipes this time of year, so I am sure I can find one that is not too complicated. Additionally, my hubby and I will be attending a play with friends, Shelly and Kerry, on Saturday evening. Our friend Karen is performing in the musical, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, at Slidell Little Theatre. It is based on the wonderful children’s novel by Barbara Robinson about the havoc six misfit children cause when they decide to perform in their town’s annual Christmas play. We also plan to have dinner and cocktails prior to the performance.

Reading is definitely on my Christmas Fun List again this year. As of this moment, I have four books on my list that I will be reading along with Kelsi throughout December. Kelsi Kringle is gifting me a copy of Silent Night by R.L. Stine which will be my first Fear Street read. It is about a spoiled brat that gets her comeuppance when she acts naughty during Christmastime. Another book on my list includes Robot Santa by Dean Koontz. It is the follow-up to Santa’s Twin that Kelsi and I read last season. Bob is up to his old tricks again, causing Santa to have another stressful Christmas Eve.

I read the terryifying NOS4A2 written by Joe Hill last December; therefore, it should be no surprise that the graphic novel, Wraith also by Joe Hill, has made it onto my TBR list for this month. It reveals the “twisted beginnings” of Charlie Manx, the monstrous antagonist who feeds off the souls of children after luring them into his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith that takes them to Christmasland.

Happy Krampusnacht! Today is the celebration of Krampus, the dark and hairy, horned beast who wanders the streets on the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, scaring children who misbehave. I will be reading another collection of short stories edited by Kate Wolford that centers around the Christmas demon. The anthology includes twelve tales and is titled, He Sees You When He’s Creepin’: Tales of Krampus. Kelsi has already finished it and tells me it is FUN.

12 Days of Christmas Horror

While I am on the subject of Krampus, I have included a film about the horrifying creature on my 12 Days of Christmas Horror. Movies are a HUGE part of my Christmas Fun List. I will watch all 12 of my horror movies for the first half of December. Kelsi and I have five Christmas horror movies in common that we will be chatting about on Sunday, 12 December. I watched my first movie (Mercy Christmas) last night, and it was a terrific way to start off my holly, jolly horror movie marathon.

12 Days of Classic Christmas

For the second half of December, I will be watching Classic Christmas movies leading up to Christmas Day. Not everything about Christmas has to be horror-related. Elf and Love Actually are two of my favorite Christmas movies, and I must watch them at least once during the holiday season. Kelsi and I only have one film (It’s A Wonderful Life) in common for this half of the Christmas movie marathon.

Last but not least, Kelsi and I are having a Christmas Evil Challenge that kicked off on December 1st and will last until December 22nd. She and I have been debating the merits of the film, Christmas Evil, since we both watched it for our movie marathon in December 2020. She ADORES it! I DESPISE it! Therefore, we thought it would be fun to reach out to our friends, family, and online communities to settle this debate once and for all. Additionally, there is a giveaway and an Instagram activity connected to the challenge.

Kelsi put together a video explaining the challenge, the rules of the giveway, and how to show your team spirit on Instagram. If you participate on Instagram. please include the hashtag #ChristmasEvilChallenge along with your picture. Team Kat wears green and is a NO for Christmas Evil. Team Kelsi wears red and is a YES for Christmas Evil. And, for those of you who are on the fence about the film, wear white to show that you really don’t know how you feel about it. A livestream is scheduled on Thursday, 23 December at 6:00pm CT where the winner of the challenge will be revealed. We hope you consider joining the challenge and our livestream. It should be a great deal of fun.

Of course, like all of my fun lists, I am open to adding activities if something fun pops up throughout the month. I am open to reading more Christmas-related books, short stories, or articles if time permits. What activities do you have planned for the Christmas season, dear reader? Share in the comments or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Maybe something you plan to do will strike my fancy, and I can add it to my list this year or maybe the next. In the meantime, ’tis the season to be jolly. Happiness!

“Christmas,” said Santa, “is about living your life with love and a spirit of giving, friendship, compassion, peace, and bright hope.” ~ Dean Koontz, Robot Santa

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My Halloween Fun List this year included a thematic ReadaThon which I hosted with Kelsi. The ReadaThon turned out to be a spooky delight. Kelsi and I chose books and short stories focused on attributes of horror movies. Originally, each one of my prompts was assigned its own selection. However, with the unexpected surprise of landing a role in a local play, I had to adjust my original Readathon choices, so I could complete the activity. Basically, I re-shelved all three of the short stories I had selected from Night Shift by Stephen King as well as the novels, Thinner by Richard Bachman, Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh, and Night of the Living Dummy by R. L. Stine.

I kept the other selections from my original list and added “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. While I am not a stranger to the movie, Sleepy Hollow (starring Johnny Depp), or the television show, Sleepy Hollow (starring Tom Mison), I had actually never read the gothic short story. In my opinion, it is the perfect spooky read for an October evening, especially one that is chilly enough to situate you in a comfy chair while reading the mysterious tale near a toasty fire. Ichabod Crane brings you on quite an adventure in the valley of Sleepy Hollow where he encounters the infamous Headless Horseman.

My favorite new read for the season is The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. My book club unanimously voted to read it for October, so I added it to my ReadaThon (helped me double dip on two prompts). What an absolutely delightful piece of literature! It is a wonderful treat filled with beautiful imagery, mesmerizing characters, and a breathtaking journey through the history of Halloween. It is another perfect read for the Halloween season. My friend and fellow blogger Rita wrote an awesome review about the book that aligns with my own feelings about the book.

One of my favorite stories to read in the month of October is The Widow’s Broom by the wonderful Chris Van Allsburg. I adore picture books, and this one is an incredibly enchanting story about a widow who discovers the merits of a magical broom. Van Allsburg’s illustrations are captivating and whimsical. I saved it to read on Halloween night. It inspired me to make mini broom treats with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and pretzel sticks. Yum!

I chose two enjoyable short stories from A Newbery Halloween. This is a charming collection of endearing stories from exceptional Newbery Award-winning authors. The first story, “The Magic Ball” by Charles J. Finger, involves a “cold-eyed witch” who practices strange magic with the help of a magic ball. The second story, “The Man of Influence” by Paul Fleishman, includes a struggling stone carver, an affable apparition, and a surprising twist at the end.

The other books included in my ReadaThon were not October or Halloween related per se, but they fulfilled the remaining prompts on the list and added a spooky element to the season. As I mentioned in a previous post, My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix was wonderful. It was my first book by Hendrix, but it will definitely not be my last. Cabal by Clive Barker reminded me how much I enjoy his writing and swayed my initial feelings for the film adaptation of the novel which goes by the title, Nightbreed. The middle school book, Fear Zone 2 by K. R. Alexander, was a spooky enough sequel to Fear Zone and featured a creepy clown. Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King did not disappoint. It is a short book packed with action and terrific illustrations. Kelsi and I did a livestream chat comparing it to its film adaption, Silver Bullet.

Kelsi and I had an October Reading Wrap Up chat to discuss some of the books and short stories we read for our Halloween Horror Movie Mania ReadaThon. It includes our stats, such as the total number of pages read for the month. Books mentioned in the chat include: Cabal, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Autumncrow, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, Cycle of the Werewolf, and more. Additionally, we had our friends Melanie, Melissa, and Rachael weigh in with their thoughts on The Halloween Tree. Please check it out, and let us know what you think about our book selections, our ReadaThon, and our chat in general. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and ideas for future ReadaThons and chats.

Dear reader, I hope you also had an enjoyable spooky season. I plan to publish a few more posts about the other activities I participated in throughout October. I am a tad bit behind with my writing because of performing in The House on Haunted Hill (fabulous reason), recording video chats with Kelsi (always time well-spent), and living life in general (several added commitments that have seriously enriched my life). They have all been wonderful experiences, and I am so grateful for them. And, I am grateful to you, dear reader, for stopping by and reading my blog. Happiness!

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

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Autumn has officially started which means the month of October is just around the corner. Last year, I created a Halloween Fun List with all sorts of fun and spooky activities. Reading books, short stories, and poems was one of my favorite activities on the list. This year, Kelsi and I thought it would be fun to create a readathon with prompts based off of horror movies. We created a video explaining the prompts and announcing which books we will be reading for the readathon.

PROMPTS

1.“You know it’s Halloween. I guess everyone’s entitled to one good scare…” – Halloween

Read a book set on or around Halloween.

2. “Nothin’ can call it off.” – Pumpkinhead

Read a book with a pumpkin on the cover.

3. “Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep.” – Nightmare on Elm Street 

Read a book at night or in the dark to elicit nightmares! 

4. “Who ya gonna call?” – Ghostbusters

Read a book featuring ghosts or ghostly beings. 

5. “Being normal is vastly overrated.” – Halloweentown

Read a more innocent (but still spooky-themed) book geared towards kids, middle graders, or young adults.

6. “Wolfman’s got nards…” – The Monster Squad 

Read a book featuring any kind of monster…vampires, mummies, werewolves (because…nards), blobs, sea monsters, gremlins, aliens. Any monster or creature would be fang-tastic!

7. “Ding dong, you’re dead.” – House

Read a book or story featuring a haunted house, hotel, apartment, or any place that’s haunted. 

8. “If you believe in God, then you gotta believe in the Devil.” – The Last Exorcism (BONUS)

Read a book that features an exorcism or some kind of possession. 

9. “Susie, do you know anything about… witches?” – Suspiria

Read a book that features witches, wizards, or any kind of magic/black magic.

10. “What do you look like? It depends on who is looking…” – The Mothman Prophecies 

Read a book or story featuring something unexplainable, mysterious, or eerie.

11. “This one night changes everything for me.” – House of the Devil 

Read a book/story set in the 80s, published in the 80s, or a book that has an 80s feel/vibe. OR Read a book having to do with cults or devil worship.


12. “It will consume you.” – Color Out of Space

Read a book with a bright or neon-colored cover.

13. “You gotta see the shape of this fn’ guy that just walked in.” – Terrifier 

Read a book with creepy clowns, menacing mimes, or dangerous dummies. These are supposed to make you laugh, but some end up trying to murder you instead! 

Kat’s Picks

Kelsi created a bingo-style card (featuring a visual of the horror movies to accompany the prompts) for anyone who wants to join us in our spooktacular reading adventure. The card includes a bonus square for overachievers like Kelsi and me.

The terrific part of this fang-tastic readathon, dear reader, is you can tailor it to fit your reading needs. You can read novels, novellas, graphic novels, short stories, or poems. You can read something different for each of the squares or one selection could be used for multiple squares. And, you are under no obligation to choose every square…just pick and choose which prompts appeal to you. This readathon is designed for all of us to add a little more thematic fun during the Halloween season. Happiness!

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” ~ William Shakespeare, MacBeth (more…)

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May is Zombie Awareness Month! I could not be happier, dear reader, because I ADORE zombies. It has been awhile since I celebrated all things zombies during the month of May (2012 to be exact), so I suggested to Kelsi that we participate in a Zombie Movie Marathon to commemorate the undead. I have also created a Zombie Fun List that will include watching movies and television shows, reading books, short stories, and articles, wearing clothing, and making a cocktail all associated with zombies. If I come across any other zombie-related activities throughout the month, they will be added to my list. Undoubtedly, I will be zombified by the end of the month. HA!

Zombie Fun List

Movies

Television Shows

  • Fear the Walking Dead
  • iZombie
  • Reality Z
  • Deadset
  • Kingdom
  • Betaal

Books, Short Stories, and Articles

For those of you that don’t know much about zombies, check out the Zombie Research Society. They have been around since 2007. The organization’s focus is on “the science, survival, and culture of the living dead.” If interested, you can also follow them on Facebook (temporarily restricted), Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

I am so excited about celebrating the month of May with zombies. Be on the look out for additional zombie posts sprinkled throughout this month. As with all of our movie marathons, Kelsi and I will be have a rotting good time chatting about reanimated corpses at the end of the marathon. Of course, dear reader, you are also invited to join us for an infectious good time. Where do most zombies live? On dead end streets! Happiness!

“A non-frightening zombie is a lame zombie.” ~ Scott M. Gimple

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carved pumpkins

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

October 1st is literally just two days away, and I couldn’t be more excited because I am celebrating Halloween all month long. Inspired by my friend Kelsi, I created a list of activities to commemorate my favorite holiday. To start the spooky season off on the right foot, I will be donning Halloween socks. Pins, earrings, and other fall/Halloween accessories will be worn to add a little magical flair to my otherwise uninteresting wardrobe.

I am currently reading NOS4A2, a horror novel written by Joe Hill and Ghost Squad, a ghost story by Claribel A. Ortega. Other books on my list include Witch Catcher, a fantasy novel by Mary Downing Hahn and The Collected, a horror novel by K.R. Alexander. 

Halloween BookIn addition to books, I have several short stories to devour throughout the month. I will begin with two tales of mystery and horror by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Purloined Letter” and “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion.” Other selections will be taken from A Newbery Halloween. The stories that I have chosen from this collection include “The Baddest Witch in the World” by Beverly Cleary, “Witch Girl” by Elizabeth Coatsworth, and “The Year Halloween Happened One Day Early” by Virginia Hamilton. 

October would not be complete without the return of all things The Walking Dead. Sunday, 04 October is the air date for the long-awaited Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead followed by the premiere episode of the newest spin-off series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond. The following Sunday, 11 October welcomes the return of Fear the Walking Dead for its 6th season. Zombies, zombies, and more zombies!

My hubby and I will be attending the screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Columbia Theatre in Hammond on Friday, 09 October. The following week, my friend Helen will be visiting from Colorado, so we will celebrate one of the nights with a Halloween cocktail

The month-long celebration will also include numerous movies, 13 to be exact, for frightfully delightful cinematic pleasure. I will watch them in no particular order; however, I plan to watch Sleepy Hollow first. The first four movies on my list were influenced by Kelsi’s horror movie marathon list. 

Movies:

  1. The Haunted Mansion
  2. Train to Busan
  3. Hocus Pocus
  4. Color Out of Space
  5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  6. Sleepy Hollow
  7. Salem’s Lot (1979)
  8. The Innocents
  9. The Ritual
  10. The Vatican Tapes
  11. Death Note
  12. House of the Witch
  13. Dark Skies

Dear reader, if you are interested in more Halloween fun or want some inspiration to create your own Halloween Fun list, check out Kelsi’s blog post “Happy First Day of Autumn!” How do you celebrate the Halloween season? I’d love to hear of anything else I can add to make the upcoming month more spooktacular. Happiness!

“Every day is Halloween, isn’t it? For some of us.” ~ Tim Burton

light landscape sky sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Reading is my favorite way to pass time, so I added a new reading goal for 2020 inspired by Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. In 2019, as part of her yearly Design Your Summer and 19 for 2019, she took a literary adventure with Summer of Proust. After reading her blog post “Reflections on My ‘Summer of Proust'” and seeing how much she enjoyed reading all the works of Marcel Proust, I decided I wanted a “Summer of Poe” and put it on my 20 for 2020 list (#16). What a fantastic idea!

Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite American authors. My love affair with Poe’s work began in the 8th grade when I chose to recite the poem “Annabel Lee” for my Reading class. Throughout high school and college, Poe was assigned literature for English classes which always brought me considerable joy. As a junior high English teacher, I felt it was only fitting to impart my love for Poe to my students. For years, my students and I read and discussed “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Raven.” Therefore, choosing to spend the summer reading one author’s work was a no-brainer. 

PoeUnlike Rubin, I did no preparation prior to reading Poe’s work like she did for Proust. In hindsight, I probably should have done a smidge before starting my own literary adventure. From the beginning, I knew the odds of me reading everything written by Poe in one summer would be impossible. One reason, his writing is challenging. I personally cannot read his work quickly. Another reason, because his writing requires so much concentration on my part, I knew I would also need to read other books written by other authors that did not require so much mental effort. Therefore, I chose to read The Edgar Allan Poe: Anthology of Classic Tales since it did not contain a complete collection of Poe’s stories and poems, and it was given to me as a gift from Andrew. To my dismay, while perusing the table of contents, I soon discovered that over my lifetime I had only read six of his short stories and two of his poems. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

I chose to read all of the short stories, poems, and the one novel, which were organized by genre, in the order presented in the anthology.  It was wonderful to revisit tales that I was familiar with like “The Fall of the House of Usher” (still scary after all these years), “William Wilson,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death” (haunting), “The Tell-Tale Heart” (never gets old), “The Black Cat,” “The Raven” (nevermore), and “Annabel Lee” (beautifully written poem about death). If you notice, dear reader, the tales of Poe that I have previously read over the years are included in the horror genre. And, I must confess, his short stories and poems in this category are quite riveting and are probably my most preferred of his writing. Of my new horror favorites, two are revenge stories, “The Cask of Amontillado” (confirms that I will never visit catacombs) and “Hop-Frog” (never underestimate a jester). “Morella” and “Ligeia” are equally creepy and best read during the day. 

My leisurely excursion through this treasury revealed to me that Poe was so much more than a horror writer. He is credited with inventing the detective story, and the two stories in this collection, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” are suspenseful and quite enjoyable. There are seven short stories and his only completed novel under Adventures of Sea and Sky. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the short stories, especially “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall,” “The Gold-Bug,” and “The Oblong Box.” “Mellonta Tauta,” which is set in the far future seems to eerily parallel our current societal times with the past of the narrator who is writing letters while on a balloon flight.  His novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, is about the adventures and misadventures of Arthur Gordon Pym on the high seas. While it took me a long time to read, this novel is interesting and entertaining. At some point in my lifetime, I will revisit it. Surprisingly to me, until I read this compilation, I was unaware that Poe wrote humorous and satirical stories. There are only three of those types of stories in this book; however, in my other book Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, there are a total of 25 stories. Of the three that I read, I adore “The Spectacles” and “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether.” Both are incredibly amusing. I cannot wait to read his other stories in this genre. Finally, there are only four poems in this collection, and I fancy all four of them. When checking my other book, Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, it revealed a total of 55 poems. All gems, I’m sure. 

My “Summer of Poe” was a huge happiness boost and has made living through a pandemic more bearable. Clearly, I still have so many more stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe that I must read, so another “season” of Poe is necessary. In the meantime, I will delight in the stories and the poems that I have read by Mr. Poe as I venture into a realm of other books by other authors awaiting my discovery. Have you, dear reader, ever devoted a period of time to reading a certain author or genre? If not, would you consider it, and which author or which genre would you consider? Happiness!

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe Collection

 

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Easter BasketAlthough this Easter will look a bit different from Easters of the past, the fact that Jesus Christ has risen today remains the same. And, that brings about a peaceful feeling for me. Even though we did not celebrate Easter Mass at a physical church this morning; we still celebrated with a FB LIVE Easter Mass with Fr. Jamin, pastor of St. Margaret Church. The Easter Bunny still made a stop at the Loyacano household. Instead of hanging out with extended family today, I’ll be hanging out with the hubby and Andrew. What we do today doesn’t really matter to me. We are alive, well, and ready for a rebirth.

My walking streak continues. Because of the threat of impending bad weather, I chose to walk early this morning. I encountered a few sprinkles at the beginning of the walk and right at the end. I am still walking daily with Levar Burton (skipped Thursday with Levar to finish listening to the latest episode of Office Ladies). This will be the routine until I catch up with the episodes or start run/walking, whichever comes first. This week I listened to episodes #49 – #54. As always, I enjoyed all six stories; however, “Shoggoths in Traffic” (nod to H. P. Lovecraft) and “Cuisine des Memoires” were my favorites.

#49: “The Simplest” by Nicky Drayden
#50: “Shoggoths in Traffic” by Tobias S. Buckell
#51: “Cuisine des Memoires” by N. K. Jemisin
#52: “Small Medicine” by Genevieve Valentine
#53: “Face Value” by Sean Williams
#54: “Blur” by Carmen Maria Machado

Lily

My friend Ming sent me a photo of her beautiful lily.

Each day I feel as if I am improving with my productivity. I have been sifting through and discarding old paperwork. I have started to clean out my master bedroom closet. I ordered some dies for scrapbooking; therefore, along with my new grid paper, I really am hoping to get some layouts completed in the next few weeks. I completed the book of short stories (Full Throttle) by Joe Hill, and immediately started a collection of four short novels (Strange Weather) by him. I learned how to ZOOM and zoomed twice with some of my teacher friends. My hubby and I purchased a new dryer since ours gave out last Sunday. He was able to order one from Lowe’s and picked it up on Thursday evening after work. He is officially on vacation, so I am hoping we can complete some projects around the house during the upcoming week.

My Easter wish for you today is to have an enjoyable day, dear reader. May your Easter Sunday be filled with joy and a renewal of hope. Happiness!

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair: We are the Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song.” ~ Pope John Paul II

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