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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

With Love for Horror Books: The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

After Winter's father disappears in the wood it's Winter's job to guide lost travelers back to where they're from. This guardianship is part of her heritage. Winter's father never had the chance to complete the instructions he was supposed to give to his daughter, so Winter has to do a lot of discovering on her own. Sending accidental visitors home isn't too difficult, but this changes when the wood becomes darker and more violent. Why is it transforming?

Winter doesn't have to find out more about the problems with the wood by herself. A traveler from a different time ends up in her section. He isn't there by accident, he's entered her world on purpose because he's looking for help. Together they're trying to unravel the mystery behind the increased violence and the disappearances of their loved ones. The wood is poisoned and is becoming more and more dangerous, will they find their answers in time to stop this process or will Winter lose everything she holds dear?

The Wood is a fantastic creepy story. I loved the setting, a forest where lost wanderers appear who need to be sent back to their correct time and place. It's a great idea for a story. I liked that the wood is sentient and couldn't wait to discover more about its secrets. Winter is a smart and resilient main character. She's brave, attentive and resourceful. I loved how she keeps following her instincts and this eventually leads her to the truth. I was really curious about the secrets the wood was hiding and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out more.

Chelsea Bobulski's writing has a nice easy flow. I was enchanted by her setting. I love reading about scary places that the sunshine can't reach and the volatility of the wood kept me on the edge of my seat. I was intrigued by the magic she describes and liked the combination of time traveling with dark fantasy. The Wood is a captivating book filled with family secrets, eerie characters and unconditional love.


If you love fantasy with dark creepy settings The Wood would be an excellent choice.

About Chelsea Bobulski

I’ve always been obsessed with storytelling, a passion that was cultivated from an early age by my mother reading The Berenstain Bears and Little Critter books to me before bedtime. It doesn’t matter the medium—books, movies, TV, theater, dance, art—if there’s a story to be shared, you have my full attention. I was the kid on the playground who couldn’t just play hide-and-seek or tag; I had to come up with a story for why we were hiding or running away (not sure if the other kids found this charming or simply tolerated it. Probably the latter).

After an author visited my elementary school, I realized I could take these wild stories I was always coming up with and write them down. In my middle school years, this love of writing turned into fanfiction revolving around my favorite TV shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) and my favorite book series (Harry Potter).

I continued writing through my high school and college years, although it was much more of a hobby at that time, something I did when I was bored or supposed to be taking notes (shh, don’t tell anyone). It wasn’t until I took a writing class at the Thurber House taught by the amazing Lisa Klein that I realized I wanted to pursue writing as my career. I immediately told my boyfriend what I wanted to do with my life, and he has been my number one fan and supporter ever since.

Suffice it to say, I married him.


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The Books, TV Shows, and Movies that Inspired The Wood
Guest post by Chelsea Bobulski

I’ve been obsessed with horror from a very young age. Specifically, with the idea that there is not only more magic in this world than meets the eye, but that there is also a constant battle between good and evil, forces of light, and forces of darkness. I think that’s actually a very common obsession for young children. There’s something about that time in our lives when our eyes are more open to seeing and understanding the hidden layers of our world, but many people lose that fascination and that curiosity as they get older. The world becomes more matter-of-fact; more surface-level. The only things that matter, the only things that are “real,” are the things that meet-the-eye.

But, for some of us, those forces we instinctively recognized from a young age still draw us in; still call to that part of us that sees past the surface level of this world to the many hidden things buried beneath. For me, this curiosity and fascination reveals itself in the kinds of books I

like to write. Books in which nothing is as it appears on the outside; where magic lives side-by-side with every day life; and where forces of light and forces of darkness still clash.

My debut YA novel, The Wood, is a contemporary fantasy about a magical wood that connects worlds, and the girl who has been called to guard it, and although it contains elements of different genres blended together, there is a good amount of horror in it, as there tends to be with all of my books thanks to this predilection I’ve had since I was a young child, and that was especially cultivated by the books, TV shows, and movies I loved in those formative years. So, without further ado, here are the horror books, shows, and movies that shaped me as a writer, and that, in turn, shaped The Wood (if you’re a fellow 90s kid, you’ll probably recognize all of these).


(1) The House on Hackman’s Hill by Joan Lowery Nixon: I was obsessed with this book as a child (which I’m pretty sure I got from the Scholastic Book Fair the year it came out), and when I try to think of the horror books I read as a kid that really shaped me as a writer, this one tops the list. An old house haunted by the spirit of Anubis? Yes, please. (2) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: If you are a fan of horror and have never read this book, or if you’re new to horror and looking for a book that really encapsulates what the best of the genre looks like, you MUST read this book. It’s considered by most horror writers to be the quintessential example of what good, modern horror should be. (3) The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red by Ridley Pearson: This book was written as a companion novel to the Stephen King TV miniseries, Rose Red (see below),

“documenting” the life of Ellen Rimbauer, one of the spirits that haunts Rose Red. This was one of those books that gripped me from the very first sentence and never let go, and that lingers in my mind to this day.


(1) Are You Afraid of the Dark?—I terrified my older cousins by making them watch this show. I think I was around three or four when I first started watching it, which, admittedly, was probably way too young, but it was such an entertaining show, where each episode told a different scary story. I still think of the monster in the swimming pool episode every time I go swimming.

(2) Rose Red—A horror miniseries by Stephen King about a parapsychologist and a group of psychics investigating the weird disturbances at a haunted house inspired by the real-life Winchester Mansion. A definite must-watch for Stephen King fans.

(3) Scariest Places on Earth—This was a documentary series hosted by Linda Blair that ran on ABC Family from 2000-2006. Each episode highlighted a certain place known for paranormal activity, and then sent an ordinary family there to investigate it overnight. I’m pretty sure I saw every single episode (Dracula’s castle stands out in my mind as being particularly good), and I still get chills down my spine when I think of the creepy voice that narrated it.

(4) Buffy the Vampire Slayer—This show was everything to middle-school me, and it’s not only one of the best female-empowering shows ever written, but it was also a master class for me on good writing, pacing, character development, and how to increase the

stakes. I recommend it to all writers, not just fans of horror/paranormal (although for you horror fans, the Hush episode is particularly terrifying).


(1) The Ring—I watched this more times than I can count as a kid. I was obsessed with this story, both in the way it was written, and in the cinematography used to capture it. It is really a very beautifully-crafted movie, and also absolutely terrifying. And the really funny thing is, I don’t know if I could watch it today, because the concept is so horrific in a soul-deep way, and Adult Me doesn’t handle that nearly as well as Child Me did. Probably because I recognize just how messed up it is on a deeper level now than I did then.

(2) The Others—This is another move that I watched over and over again, but that I can still watch today, mostly because it’s the kind of horror that is more intriguing and mystifying than it is soul-deep disturbing. This one is also beautifully written and beautifully executed.

(3) Sixth Sense—I wouldn’t be a 90s kid talking about horror movies if I didn’t mention the movie that launched M. Night Shyamalan’s career, as well as his reputation for a good, slap-you-across-the-face twist. Although this movie will always be a classic to me (and another that I forced my older cousins to watch with me, and made them wonder what the heck was wrong with me that I enjoyed it so much), I have to say that Signs is my favorite Shyamalan film.

*BONUS MOVIE*—To throw in a recent movie that didn’t influence The Wood, but that creeped me out way more than I thought it would, and that will probably influence any future horror I may write, I have to mention last year’s Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele. The writing and cinematic execution of this movie is a stunning example of how sometimes nothing can really get inside of your mind and change the way you view horror like a very simple, but very intentional, story. The things that creeped me out in this movie (like the guy running straight at the camera out of pitch darkness with that horrifying music playing) are not things that, on the surface, you think would be all that terrifying, but I had nightmares over that one scene alone for a week (and that’s not even getting into the premise behind this movie, which is the kind of disturbing that lives inside of you forever once you’ve seen it). Basically what I’m saying is, it’s fantastic, and you all need to watch it.

So, those are the books, TV shows, and movies that shaped me into the writer I am today, and that influenced The Wood and all of my writing. They are also a big reason for why I like to look deeper than what-meets-the eye in this world, to the hidden things lying beneath. Because there is more to this world than what you see.

You knew it when you were a child.

Do you know it still?


One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a hardcover copy of The Wood.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Wood sounds like the perfect read to me! I love creepy stories.

  2. I never heard of The House On Hackman's Hill. I think I'll check that out. I also liked the moves you mentioned. Except I wasn't as enthralled with Get Out. Strange that I didn't like it more. It had a lot of things I look for in a good thriller. Really enjoyed the guest post and have my eye on The Wood to read now.

  3. I agree about Buffy--it's one of my favorite shows!

  4. The Wood sounds like a refreshingly different and incredibly suspenseful read.

  5. I adore creepy stories and the cover for The Wood is stunning! Such an interesting guest post, too :)

  6. love this kind of story, as long as it's daylight lol!!

  7. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the awesome review and giveaway!!!

  8. A great cover for a horror story, can't wait to read it. :-)

  9. Love horror and that cover alone would make me want this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    sherry @ fundinmental

  10. I love a dark creepy horror book, can't wait to read this.

  11. Horror is one of my favorite genres; I hope there's alot of thrills and chills in this book, lol :)

  12. thanks for the generosity

  13. I think I'd like to read this, added the books onto goodreads so I can find them later :)

  14. The story is very intriguing. Also the favourite TV series, movies and books of the author include some names I absolutely adore!

  15. Your book sounds wonderfully intriguing and I also really love the cover design! That said, I'm a hug Buffy fan myself and totally love to binge-watch it on DVD.

  16. The Cover is so cool!
    And sounds really great,looking forward to read :)

  17. This sounds creepy. I like that the woods is another character.

  18. Added to my TBR list, because I love this kind of heroine: a sixteen-year-old who doesn't make all the wrong decisions, but rather thinks things through.

  19. This looks like an amazing book, and i'd love to read it!

  20. This looks so good! Fingers crossed! Love the cover too!

  21. This sounds like the kind of book I would absolutely love!

  22. The wood sounds amazing! I'm in love with the cover and I've been wanting to read ir since its release.

  23. I adore this kind of stories

  24. A very illuminating guest post. I must admit that I was never into horror (of any kind) as a child and it's only fairly recently that I've found that I do enjoy some horror stories but by no means all. I hope you have few nightmares and manage to write lots more novels. :-)