Spooky Book Recs & Discussion: Children’s, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Books

Earlier in the month, I did “Snack Sized Stories” (short stories, novellas, comics & graphic novels), and I’d intended to post one of these book recs lists every Monday in October (replacing my usual “Must Read Mondays” this month), but…I forgot because it was a really busy time :/

I remembered this week, though!

I actually don’t read a lot of middle grade or children’s books these days, except re-reads of books I loved when I was growing up, or reading aloud with my kid. But, I’ve read a few as an adult, and I remember some from when I was a kid, and I do somewhat regularly still read YA, so hopefully this list won’t be only like 3 book long 😛 (I’m including both things generally considered horror, and some things I just think are creepy/spooky/scary.)

Middle Grade & YA

  • Goosbumps by R.L. Stine– Just, all of them, basically. If you never read a Goosebumps book, try picking up one of the classics (Night of the Living DummyGhost BeachStay Out of the BasementSay Cheese and Die!, etc.) to see what you think.
  • The Fear Street Saga by R.L. Stine– These were more for teens, I think, and I only read about 2 of them, but really liked them.
  • Shivers by M.D. Spenser– There weren’t many of these, and I don’t think they were quite as good or well-known as Goosbumps, but I really liked them.
  • Bone Chillers by Betsy Haynes– I think I only read like 2-3 of these, but I think I liked them in grade school.
  • Scary Stories (all 3 volumes) by Alvin Schwartz– Creepy folklore? Yes, please! I think I almost wore out my school’s library copies of these books, and I still love them and sometimes re-read them now that I have my own copies.
  • Christopher Pike’s books– I can’t remember if these were in a series, but I read a few and remember them being super popular for a while.
  • Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe– I…can’t remember if I ever actually read this, or if my BFF read it so much I just knew the story and think I read it :/
  • Point Horror series– These were books written by different authors (R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney, etc.), and there was at least one spin off (Nightmare Hall, I think).
  • Haunting With Louisa series by Emily Cates– I might have only read the first one, but I remember liking it, at least.
  • Sweet Valley Twins Super Chillers by Francine Pascal– Yep, that Sweet Valley. My cousin had tons of the different Sweet Valley books, but I think I liked her Super Chillers most.
  • Neil Gaiman– I started to list a couple of books, but pretty much just read any of them and you’re probably going to find something creepy.
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black– I read this a couple of years ago and really liked it.
  • The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle– This was one of my absolute favorite books of 2015 ❤
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs– Not super scary, but still has some kinda creepy bits.
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black– I really loved this one, too, and I feel like it’s really underrated.
  • The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray– Partially because I will use any excuse to talk about, and partially because it has some creepy parts (but it isn’t a horror series at all).
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl– My favorite Dahl book growing up ❤
  • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz– I don’t think this was as well known as Scary Stories, but still great.
  • Scary Stories for Stormy Nights by Mark & Michelle Kehl– I remember having 1 or 2 of these, and liking them, but I don’t remember much about them now :/
  • Bruce Coville– I think I had the Book of Monsters and… at least one other.

For the pre-school(ish) kiddos (or grownups if you like picture books):

  • Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell– I read this one to my kid around Halloween and we both loved it. (This one is mostly for pre-school aged kids.)
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler– This one is also very cute.
  • The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing & Cynthia Fisher– I think this was my favorite to read to kid a few years ago.
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro & Jared Lee– This one was fun the first 12 times, then it got old. (This was probably kid’s favorite.)
  • Check for spooky versions/additions to your favorite series, like Berenstain Bears, Splat the Cat, Fancy Nancy, Little Critter, Disney, etc.

Did you read scarier books when you were a kid?

What was your favorite scary book/series?


NaNoWriMo Prep Update

This was supposed to go up yesterday :/ Not sure what happened.

I haven’t done nearly as much on-paper planning as I’d meant to/thought I would have by now, but I’ve got a lot of different things floating around in my head still. The problem is deciding which ones to keep and then figuring out how I’m going to link them all together :/

But, at least I think I know my MC’s name, plus two other characters. I have a general idea of my MC’s personality and history, and how she might react to things. We’ll see how it goes next month, though, I guess. I know what the setting looks like. Like, the images are so clear in my head I want to scream because I’m not talented enough to draw or paint them.

Next up, I need to make a pinterest board or something for my characters and things that will be in the story. I haven’t actually done this before, but I did use something similar (some online corkboard thing, I think) one year and it was just ok. Pinterest is way better, though, so I’m hopeful it’ll help keep me motivated and inspired, and remind me of what something looks like when I have a freak out and my mind goes blank and I forget everything -_-

I’ve written down a few pages of notes and I’m just about ready to start actually outlining. It would be nice if I could figure out the middle and ending before NaNo starts, for a change. (Actually, I think I had the ending last year, but no middle at all and it was a nightmare.) I have some ideas, but I keep discarding them all and trying to think of something new. I’m hoping I’ll be inspired soon, so I’m not panicking about it when NaNo begins. I might even just pick one of my not-great endings, because I can always go back and change it later.

This doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. This doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. This doesn’t… (Anyone else have to keep repeating things like that as a reminder to chill out?)

One thing that’s drastically different this year from every other year I’ve done NaNo is that I’m not going to try to win. This year, I will win. It will be an ugly mess that might never be fit for other human eyes, and I will almost certainly have bits that are just me typing in things like “Add [whatever kind of thing should happen here] in a couple months when you come back to edit! Move on!” but I will get those 50k words this year. No more excuses, no more giving up. It’s happening.

(Somebody remind me I said this when I inevitably hit the “I can’t do this!” stage around day 10-15 next month, please.)

Blogtober Babbling: When you’re in the mood for specific books and don’t have any of them :/

First off, happy Friday the 13th!

I hate this particular type of…well, it’s not really a book slump, but it’s similar in some ways, because trying to work around it means I’m struggling to read.

Right now, I’m in the mood for a few books I know of, but I don’t have any of them. I kind of understand when I’m in the mood for a particular trope or theme, or type of character, but this is strange because all the books I’m in the mood for seem pretty different.

Like: The Vegetarian by Han Kang, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (ok those two are similar enough I guess), Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (kicking myself for not snagging this one when it was a Kindle daily deal a few days ago), A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire…

See what I mean? And there are more. Like, probably at least 5 others I’d love to read right now because I’m in the mood for them, but I just don’t have them. My library also doesn’t have any of these, in physical format or on Overdrive. *sigh*

I think I really need to apply for an out of state card from the Brooklyn library. I think it’s like $50/year, but their Overdrive selection makes it totally worth it. I mean, if I *don’t* buy 2-3 hardcovers because I checked them out from there, the card pays for itself. Anything after that is money I’m saving. (Have any of you done this? Gotten a card from a large library in another state to use for their digital titles?)

Right now I’m trying to decide between a few books I do have, particularly The Witches of Eastwick vs The Stepford Wives (if you have an opinion on which I should read first, let me know!), but I just kind of feel like sitting on the couch and staring at horror movies instead.

Speaking of which…It’s Friday the 13th, which means my movie selection for tonight has been made for me. Yay :/ (I’m not a big fan of Jason or Michael. I’m a Freddy fan.)

Wow this really is a babbling post :/

Does anyone else get in book-moods like this?

Do you have any tips for managing it/getting over it?


Lastly, The Witches of Eastwick or The Stepford Wives: which should I read first?

Blogtober babbling: I can’t say “No” to my kid about books

I think it’s because of the way I was brought up. I had books, but not many. A couple of family members would buy me a couple of books each for either Christmas or my birthday, and that was usually it for a year. Sometimes I was allowed to use money I got in my cards to go buy a book, but not often. We rarely went to bookstores, and, when we did, I thought I would die when it was time to leave. It wasn’t even that I wanted to buy tons of books. I just liked being around them.

Finally, when I was about 10 or 11, I was allowed to start going to the library a couple times a month. That was heaven. Looking back, I realize the library in the town I lived in was really small and actually not that great. But back then, it was my sanctuary. I didn’t have a good home life (I’ll spare you the details), and books were my escape. At school, I stayed in the library as often as possible, either reading, looking for books to check out, or helping the librarian. When I moved to the area I’m still kind of in, I stopped being able to go to the library. Or, when I did get to go, I was given about 15 minutes to find books. Two weeks later, they were returned (usually after hours by my guardian) and it was another few weeks to months before I got to go back. Fun times. (<<Sarcasm.)

Now, I’m all grown up and have a kid of my own. The first few years, I wasn’t sure my love of books had been passed on. Then, very suddenly, the obsession blossomed. One week, there was no interest in the books when we were at a bookstore. In fact, kid was bored senseless. Then, bam! Kid wanted ALL THE BOOKS! I was so proud and pleased ❤ (We live over an hour from the library, but try to go as often as possible. If we lived very close to one, both of us would probably buy a little less and borrow a lot more.)

The downside of this is that I just can not say no when kid wants a book. So, now there are two of us constantly drooling over the teetering stacks of books we’re toting around a bookstore, trying to decide which ones we absolutely must get, and which ones we can wait to buy. Poor husband. (He likes books, and likes that we’re approaching “we live in a library” status, but he doesn’t get as excited about books as kid and I do.)

Basically, in our home, books are treated as necessities for life. We don’t gift books, we gift other things (clothing, toys, games, etc.) I remember too many times getting something shaped like a book, being excited, ripping off the wrapping paper and discovering…not a book. I also remember getting too many books I had no interest in, but usually forced myself to read anyway because a) it was a book, and b) it was a gift and I would have gotten in trouble if I hadn’t read it.

I don’t want my kid growing up like that. I want my kid to not think of books as treats you get once or twice a year, and I want my kid to be able to read what’s interesting. Neither kid nor I get all the books we want. We’d need a house about 5 times bigger for that to even be a possibility 😛 But if kid finds a book and really wants it, I just can’t say no if it’s at all within my power to get the book.

Related anecdote: I was so proud over the weekend because we found the third Magnus Chase book. Kid has the first, but not the second, and I mentioned that. Kid’s eyes lit up and then kid said “I know where the second book is!” and shot off to get it. That’s the first time kid has remembered books in a series and been interested enough to know where they were in a store. It’s almost like how I was with Harry Potter ❤ I actually almost cried haha. I guess you kind of had to be there, and would have to know my kid to really understand what a big deal that was, but it’s definitely going in the baby book 😛

September Wrap Up + Book Haul

The last 8 days or so of September, I read like my life depended on absorbing as many books as possible. It was crazy. From the 22nd-30th, I read 9 books and 3 short stories, bringing my total things read in September to 4 short stories (for the Gothic September Poe read along) and 14 books.

It wasn’t exactly record-breaking, but I was impressed, especially since I’d been in a genre slump all year, and was falling into a general reading slump.

The Martian saved me, though. Something about the real/realistic science from it, coupled with the tone and pace, acted as a bridge between non-fiction and sci-fi for me. It was great, and I think I’m mostly out of my sci-fi/fantasy slump (as long as I don’t read too much of either close together).

I read…

september wrap up goodreads

Book, rating, link to reviews, and what Bookish Bingo square I used them for…

  • Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore (3.5/5 stars)
  • “Berenice” by Edgar Allan Poe (4/5 stars)
  • Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena & Jess Zimmerman (4/5 stars, but I’m considering lowering it to 3.5/5) // My review //Co-Authored
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (4.5/5 stars) // “Person on Cover”
  • Blue Horses by Mary Oliver (4/5 stars) //Poetry or Verse
  • Halloween Carnival vol. 1 edited by Brian James Freeman (3/5 stars) // My review // “Horror
  • The Martian by Andy Weir (5/5 stars)
  • 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (3.5/5 stars) // My review // “LGBT
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (2/5 stars) // “First in a Series
  • Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis (4.5/5 stars) // My review // “Set at a School
  • “William Wilson” by Edgar Allan Poe (3/5 stars)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (3/5 stars) // “Illustrations
  • Lumberjanes vol. 1 by Noelle Stevens (3/5 stars)
  • Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins (3.5/5 stars)
  • “The Imp of the Perverse” by Edgar Allan Poe (4/5 stars)
  • “A Descent Into the Maelstrom” by Edgar Allan Poe (4/5 stars)
  • The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor (3.5/5 stars) // My review //Magic in the Real World
  • Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp (5/5 stars)

For the autumn challenges below, here’s my first post about them which has links to the origins.

I finished the Poe read along, but I ended up reading 3/4 stories in the last week or so, instead of one per week. It was fun and I should definitely get back to reading Poe more regularly.

Fall Bookish Bingo

fall bookish bingo MARKED

I’m so close to a Bingo already, yay!

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril didn’t work out so well for me in September, so I need to step it up for October to reach my goal of 4 books. The only one I read (and counted) for R.I.P. in September was The Graveyard Book, which was one of the books I listed as a possible choice in my original post.

Yearly challenges updates:

For #RockMyTBR, I read The Killing Joke, but The Graveyard Book or The Martian would have counted, too.

And, finally, I got to check off a couple of tasks for both the PopSugar reading challenge, and the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. (I’ll post both lists at the end of the year, because I might swap some things around between now and then.)

Book Haul!

september haul

Left to right: 5 Goosebumps books! In a tin! (That I didn’t want to take the plastic off of yet, which I now realize was a mistake because the picture is garbage, ugh.) // Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay // Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly // The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan // Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao (ARC) // Fever by Deon Meyer (ARC) // Doctor Who: City of Death by James Goss (ok, this one is technically husband’s, but I’m going to read it, to) // Caraval by Stephanie Garber // The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.

Both of my grown-up cats were very interested in what I was doing. At least I managed to get one shot that didn’t have my other cat’s butt blocking 3/4 of the frame. Of course, I got this one shot because she decided to try to sit on my head while I was on my stomach on the ground taking the photo:/ 

How was your September, and what was your favorite read last month?

Are you participating in any autumn (or all-year) reading challenges?

Is there anything from my haul that you think I should read ASAP?

201 Movies for this Special, Spooky Time of Year

Yep, you read that right. Two. Hundred. And one. You guys, I’ve been making this list for days (I’m scheduling this post for the weekend, but it’s the 4th while I’m writing this) and my fingers are numb. (Just kidding. Mostly.)

Anyway… I started off making a list of horror movie recs, and that got out of hand so fast. I’m a major horror movie buff. I’ve been watching them my entire life (well, since I was 2 or 3, at least), and I’ve seen more than I can even remember. But, I know not everyone likes horror movies, so then I started including comedy-horrors. Then thrillers. Then family-friendly movies.

So, this is a list that pretty much runs the gamut, and I think there might be something for just about everyone on here.

I have seen everything on this list, but I didn’t love everything I included. Some of these are so bad they’re good (like, funny when they’re not meant to be, or so outlandish you find them amusing, etc.), if you know what I mean. I did not include a few popular, more recent movies, because I hated them. (Looking at you, It Follows and The Babadook…)

Also, a lot of these have been remade, but I’m recommending the original. There are a few remakes I did like (My Bloody Valentine, for one), but I rarely like them.

Lastly, several of these are movies in a series. I think I only listed first movies, but with a lot of them, I would recommend the entire series, or at least a few of them.

**Some of these movies, maybe even many of these movies, do/could have triggering scenes. If you’re not familiar with the movie and you have triggers, I strongly encourage you to google the movie and trigger warnings for it before watching.**

  1. 5ive Girls
  2. 28 Days Later
  3. 30 Days of Night
  4. 1408
  5. 2001 Maniacs
  6. The Addams Family
  7. Alien
  8. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
  9. The Alphabet Killer
  10. The Amityville Horror
  11. An American Haunting
  12. An American Werewolf in London
  13. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  14. April Fools Day
  15. Atom Age Vampire
  16. Audition
  17. Beetlejuice
  18. The Birds
  19. The Black Cat
  20. The Blair Witch Project
  21. The Blob
  22. Bordello of Blood
  23. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
  24. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  25. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  26. The Butterfly Effect
  27. Cabin Fever
  28. The Cabin in the Woods
  29. Campfire Tales
  30. Candyman
  31. Carnival of Souls
  32. Carrie
  33. Casper
  34. The Cell
  35. Cherry Falls
  36. Child’s Play
  37. The Conjuring
  38. Coraline
  39. The Corpse Bride
  40. The Covenant
  41. The Craft
  42. Creepshow
  43. The Crow
  44. Cry_Wolf
  45. Cursed
  46. Darkness Falls
  47. Dark Water
  48. Daybreakers
  49. Dead Silence
  50. Dead Snow
  51. Death Tunnel
  52. The Dentist
  53. Disturbia
  54. Dog Soldiers
  55. Donnie Darko
  56. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
  57. Dracula
  58. Dracula 2000
  59. Dracula Untold
  60. Drag Me to Hell
  61. Dreamcatcher
  62. Elvira
  63. The Exorcist
  64. The Eye
  65. The Faculty
  66. Fido
  67. Final Destination
  68. The Fly
  69. The Fog
  70. The Fourth Kind
  71. Friday the 13th
  72. Fright Night
  73. From Dusk Til Dawn
  74. The Funhouse
  75. Ghostbusters
  76. Ghost Ship
  77. Ginger Snap
  78. Gremlins
  79. The Grudge
  80. Halloween
  81. Halloweentown
  82. Hansel & Gretel
  83. Harry Potter
  84. The Haunted Mansion
  85. Haunter
  86. The Haunting
  87. The Haunting in Connecticut
  88. Hellraiser
  89. Hideaway
  90. The Hills Have Eyes
  91. Hocus Pocus
  92. House on Haunted Hill
  93. Honeymoon
  94. Hostel
  95. Hotel Transylvania
  96. Hush
  97. Idle Hands
  98. I Eat Your Skin
  99. I Know What You Did Last Summer
  100. In Dreams
  101. Insidious
  102. I Spit on Your Grave
  103. Interview With the Vampire
  104. It
  105. Jeepers Creepers
  106. Jennifer’s Body
  107. John Carpenter’s Vampires
  108. John Dies at the End
  109. Last House on the Left
  110. The Legend of Hell House
  111. Leprechaun
  112. Let the Right One In
  113. Little Shop of Horrors
  114. The Lost Boys
  115. The Messengers
  116. Misery
  117. The Mothman Prophecies
  118. My Bloody Valentine
  119. My Soul to Take
  120. The Night Flier
  121. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  122. Night of the Living Dead
  123. Nosferatu
  124. Oculus
  125. The Omen
  126. One Missed Call
  127. Orphan
  128. The Others
  129. Pandorum
  130. Paranormal Activity
  131. Pathology
  132. The People Under the Stairs
  133. Pet Sematary
  134. Poltergeist
  135. Practical Magic
  136. Priest
  137. Psycho
  138. Pumpkinhead
  139. Puppet Master
  140. The Reaping
  141. Red Eye
  142. Regression
  143. Repo! The Genetic Opera
  144. Resident Evil
  145. The Ring
  146. The Rite
  147. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  148. Rosemary’s Baby
  149. Saw
  150. Scream
  151. The Serpent and the Rainbow
  152. Shaun of the Dead
  153. The Shining
  154. Shutter
  155. Shutter Island
  156. The Silence of the Lambs
  157. The Sixth Sense
  158. Sleepy Hollow
  159. Snow White: A Tale of Terror
  160. Something Wicked This Way Comes
  161. Stigmata
  162. Stir of Echoes
  163. The Strangers
  164. Suspiria
  165. Sweeney Todd
  166. Teen Witch
  167. Teen Wolf
  168. Teeth
  169. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  170. They
  171. Thir13een Ghosts
  172. Thirteen Ghosts
  173. Train
  174. Tremors
  175. Trick ‘r Treat
  176. Two Thousand Maniacs
  177. Underworld
  178. Urban Legend
  179. V/H/S
  180. Vacancy
  181. Vampyres
  182. Van Helsing
  183. The Ward
  184. The Wicker Man
  185. The Woman in Black
  186. What Lies Beneath
  187. When a Stranger Calls
  188. White Noise
  189. White Zombie
  190. Wicked Little Things
  191. The Wicker Man
  192. The Witch
  193. The Witches
  194. The Witches of Eastwick
  195. Wolf Creek
  196. The Worst Witch
  197. Would You Rather
  198. Wrong Turn
  199. Young Frankenstein
  200. Zombieland
  201. Zombie Strippers

Tell me about some of your favorite scary movies, or movies you like to watch around Halloween!

NaNoWriMo is coming

‘Tis the season for hand cramps, all-nighters, too much coffee, tea and booze, and feeling like you might just be cracking up. That’s right, National Novel Writing Month is next month, and, of course, I’m doing it for about the 8th time. Yay… (No, really, I am excited I’m just not feeling so great or optimistic.)

Have I won? Haha, no, not once. I did get about halfway there a couple of times, but that’s usually when things start to fizzle out. I like writing short stories, and novel writing has been…complicated. I’ve always been a pantser rather than a planner, but that’s actually started to change over the last couple of years. So far, it hasn’t gotten me closer to winning NaNo, but it has made the month leading up to NaNo (AKA Halloween month) feel more productive, so that’s something.

If I could stop editing and looking for the “right” way to say things as I write, that would be great. It’s a big part of what slows me down. That, and hitting a small wall, like knowing exactly what’s going to happen next, but having no idea how to get there from where my characters are. I need to just start inserting things like “HEY! come fix this later because I have no clue wtf to do to get them from A to B.”

(If all of this is making no sense, I apologize. I’ve been sick all week and it’s culminated in me feeling like my head’s been sliced up and rearranged before being stuck back together all wrong.)


My NaNo project for this year started off as horror, which was cool. I was fairly certain I was going to write horror for a few months, so it was nice to have ideas to start thinking about. But then it changed. It took on a weird, dark fantasy or magical realism vibe, which was strange and frustrating. Now, it seems to be mostly back to horror, so I have no clue what’s going on in my head with this story. I’m trying to map things out, write out scene ideas, etc., but this story is like a mess of yarn: I can’t figure out where the beginning is :/

Next month, I will not be super active on here. I’m going to aim for like 3 posts each week (probably all memes). I need to continue reading, but I’ll most likely put off reviews until December.

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo? (If so, good luck!)