Posted in book tags/memes

Top 10 Tuesday: Spooky Books On My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.

This week, TTT is a Halloween Freebie, and I feel like I’ve almost used every topic possible this month for other posts 😛 True, I could do my favorite villains or creatures or something, but right now I’m feeling much more excited about my TBR, so that’s what I’m talking about.

Just a quick disclaimer, of sorts: I haven’t read these yet, so I really don’t know if they will turn out to be spooky or not. (I also tend to not read many reviews of books unless I’m on the fence after reading the synopsis.) I’m basing my assumption that these will be spooky reads pretty much exclusively on the synopsis, but also a little on Goodreads genre shelves (which are woefully unreliable too often, I know), what I’ve heard about them and remember (mostly for backlist titles), and the cover.


1. Craven Manor by Darcy Coates

Craven Manor

I love the cover of this one ❤ So creepy! It gives me Gothic ghost story vibes, but I actually don’t really remember the synopsis except that a guy is desperate for work and takes a job as a groundskeeper, but things aren’t what they seem and then weird stuff happens.

2. The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

The Family Plot

I think this was actually on my R.I.P. XIV/Something Wicked Fall TBR, but I don’t think I’ll be getting to it before the end of this month :/ I also don’t remember the plot (hehe) of this one very well, but I do remember something about an estate and some spooky Gothic vibes.

3. Alice by Christina Henry

Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1)

Really, I could have chosen anything by Christina Henry, because I still haven’t read any of her books :/ But I went with this one because I think it’s been on my TBR the longest. It’s inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but that’s literally all I remember about the synopsis.

4. Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1)

I love Mira Grant’s (AKA Seanan McGuire) writing, and I really loved the Newsflesh trilogy, so I’m excited to read another of her horror novels. Really, I was sold after hearing “killer mermaids,” even if I didn’t already like the author.

5. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2

I really enjoyed both Horns and Heart-Shaped Box, and this one has been on my TBR for ages. I think I’ve been intimidated by the length (it’s about 700 pages), but maybe I’ll put it on my Tome Topple TBR…

6. The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

The Tenth Girl

This one made my TBR early this year when I first heard about it, but since its release I’ve been seeing a lot of great and terrible reviews, so it seems to be pretty polarizing. I usually end up loving books like that, but we’ll see.

7. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Winterwood

Shea Ernshaw plus creepy woods? Heck yeah! I’m really looking forward to this one.

8. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club

The plot of this one reminds me of the movie Mercy Black, but I have a feeling I’m going to like this book more (although I did like that movie).

9. Melmoth by Sarah Perry

Melmoth

All I know about this one is that it’s by the author of The Essex Serpent (which I really liked) and it has at least some Gothic elements. I’m sold.

10. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Bone Houses

This one has been on my radar all year, and I own it, and it was on my TBR for…something.I really thought I was going to get to it this month, but I’m doubting that now. Maybe next month.


I don’t read horror and other spooky books only in October, but I do tend to save quite a few different kinds for this time of year, so I have options because I’m definitely a mood reader. But, I also like trying to read things that are spookier in the autumn, whether it’s a Gothic story, fantasy with some creepy elements, or some variety of horror. The chillier days with wind and rain just add an extra layer of fun to reading something a bit unsettling ❤


Are there any spooky books on your TBR that you’re really looking forward to reading ASAP?

Posted in book recommendations, books, read a thon

Spooky Book Recs for Readathons

This might go up after Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon has officially begun, but I’m writing it before then. I’m slow and lazy, though, so we’ll see when I manage to actually get this posted. (I also didn’t want to make this specifically for Dewey’s, because there are a lot of readathons happening this month.)


I was just thinking of what I might be able to read for this round of the Readathon because Saturday the 26th is going to be super busy for me/my family, probably.

So, I’m not going to have a lot of time to actually sit and read a physical book or ebook, but I’m hoping to get through an audiobook (or most of one) while getting ready.

I had short options on my mind, so I’m going to recommend some short novels and novellas, short stories, and comics/graphic novels that are spooky and might be perfect for a readathon. (Not that the point of Dewey’s is to finish lots of books or whatever, but I know a lot of people like being able to finish at least one book during shorter readathons like that one.)


Comics and Graphic Novels

Wytches: Volume 1 (Wytches, #1)

Wytches by Scott Snyder is so creepy ya’ll. I almost never get freaked out at all by books, but I was reading this one in the dark a few years ago and actually thought I was going to have to turn on a light haha. (Also, at least for the US, it’s $3.99 for the Kindle edition right now, which isn’t bad.)

Through the Woods

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is a good pick for people who don’t want horror-horror, but like creepy fairy tales and folklore kinds of things. The artwork is gorgeous, in my opinion, and I really enjoyed the stories.

Anya's Ghost

If you like ghost stories and don’t want something scary (more fantasy than horror), Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol might be a good option.

Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him

While Outcast, vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman (the person who created, I believe, The Walking Dead) wasn’t my favorite, it wasn’t awful. It just wasn’t for me, but I still recommend it if you like demon-y stories.

The Crow

If you’re more in the mood for gritty fantasy/horror (and especially if you like the movie), try The Crow by James O’Barr.

Short Stories

The Complete Tales and Poems

You can’t really go wrong with Edgar Allan Poe, and I’m not going to bother recommending any specific story because there are a lot of them and I don’t think I’ve read anything by him that I didn’t like :/

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

Ghost Stories of Antiquary by M.R. James isn’t the exact thing I read, but I’m a big fan of James’s classic ghost stories. Some that I remember liking best were “Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook,” “The Ash Tree,” “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad,” “Count Magnus,” “Number 13,” and “The Mezzotint.”

The Canterville Ghost

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde is a great choice if you want something a little longer (page counts vary wildly, but it’s around 100 pages) and something more humorous than terrifying.

Scary Stories Treasury

Obviously I have to recommend the Scary Stories trilogy by Alvin Schwartz.

The Monkey's Paw

The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs isn’t super scary, but it is creepy enough to make this list. Be careful what you wish for…

Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood

Some of Algernon Blackwood’s ghost stories might be making my TBR for this final week of Halloween Month. Sorry, can’t recommend anything specific because it’s been about 15 years since I read anything by him, but I do think his ghost stories are more of the Gothic variety than utterly terrifying.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Somewhere around 70-100ish pages is Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, and this is probably your best bet if you want something that’s just a little autumnal-ly atmospheric and not really scary.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

One more I’m not sure if I should lump in with short stories or novellas is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Rober Louis Stevenson. (Why do the page counts for some of these classics vary so much omg.)

Carmilla

Right around 100 pages (maybe?) is J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla. I really liked this one and highly recommend if if you haven’t read it and you like Gothic vampire stories.

The Turn of the Screw

I’ll end it with one of my least favorites from this list: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I should really like this Gothic, classic ghost story. But I just thought it was meh.

Shorter Novels and Novellas (under 300 pages)

Wylding Hall

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand is a modern Gothic ghost story, and I really enjoyed it.

The Woman in Black
Dolly

The Woman in Black or Dolly by Susan Hill were both good, in my opinion. I prefer the former (classic ghost story vibes), but the latter (cursed doll) was also enjoyable and totally different.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

I read Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire for the 24 Hour Readathon back in April, but I almost wish I’d saved it for this round.

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake, #1)

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab is a middle grade novel, and perfect for this time of year if you like ghost stories. I think I read this one in a single evening a few weeks ago.

A Stir of Echoes

A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson is a little over 200 pages and kind of a horror/thriller mashup? If you’ve seen the movie with Kevin Bacon, the book is quite different, but still good. (I love the movie.)

Rosemary's Baby (Rosemary's Baby, #1)

If you haven’t read Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, but like the movie, give the book a try. I think I read this in a day a few years ago.

The Haunting of Hill House
We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Neither The Haunting of Hill House nor We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson are among my favorites, but they are pretty short and quick to read if you get into the stories.

The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well, #1)

Just squeezing into the under 300 category (299 for the paperback and Kindle editions) is Rin Chupeco’s The Girl From the Well which is one of my favorite horror novels ever. (Also, the Kindle edition is $4.16 right now.)

We Are All Completely Fine

I read Daryl Gregory’s We Are All Completely Fine like 5 years ago and I still think about it a lot. I’ve never read anything else quite like it, and I think it’s really underrated.

Doll Bones

Doll Bones by Holly Black is another middle grade book that I really enjoyed when I read it (but details are fuzzy in my memory now). I do remember it being a little creepy, but it’s a good pick for people who don’t like horror, or for young readers who want to dip their toes in.

Coraline

If you want something middle grade that seems to freak out adults way more than it freaks out kids, try Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

The Things She's Seen

If you want more fantasy and mystery than horror (narrated by a ghost, mostly), try Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina’s The Things She’s Seen (also titled Catching Teller Crow).

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector, #1)

Thriller fans have probably already read The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison, but I was really late to the game with this one. I didn’t love it, but it was a fairly quick read, and I did give it 3.5/5 stars, so…

Hallowe'en Party (Hercule Poirot #39)

I haven’t read Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie yet, but I think I’ll be reading it sometime very soon. If you like Poirot (I seem to prefer his stories), this one is set around Halloween, as the name implies.

The Halloween Tree

Finally, the thing I’ll probably read on Halloween is The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. I’ve never read this one before, but it’s set on Halloween, so I’ve saved it all year 😛


This…this turned out to be more of a project than I originally imagined haha. I was hoping to get this up a little earlier, but oh well. There’s still almost a full week of October left, and readathons are still happening, so maybe this will be helpful for someone out there.


Are you participating in any readathons or reading challenges this month?

Posted in book tags/memes

Book Blogger Hop: October 25th-31st

The Book Blogger Hop was created by, and is hosted by, Billy over at Coffee Addicted Writer. Each Friday, there’s a new question, and you have the whole week to post and add your link.

Book Blogger Hop

This week’s question is…

25th – 31st  – What’s your favorite horror book-to-movie adaptation? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

Ok, I’m totally cheating with this and not picking just one. But! I have three categories.


Liked the movie, didn’t like the book:

Interview With the Vampire. I loved the next three Vampire Chronicles books, but omg I did not have a good time with Interview.

Liked the book and the movie:

The Woman in Black. There were some changes in the movie, but it was a good adaptation in my opinion, and I loved both.

Liked the movie, haven’t read the book:

The Ring (and the original Japanese version). I did start the book back in highschool, but I couldn’t get into it. Eventually, I’d like to try reading it again, though.


What’s your favorite horror adaptation?

Posted in book tags/memes

Top 5 Wednesday: Horror Novels By Women

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. (Sam is taking a break from T5W, but we have tons of old topics to use/revisit during that time, so I’m planning to do a combination of that and making up my own topics while we wait and see if T5W officially comes back.) You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.


I wasn’t really feeling it this week, but then I realized I’ve never talked about this topic here. Or, if I have, I can’t find a post about it.

In no particular order, as usual…


Sawkill Girls

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand (AKA, the book I will not shut up about) is not only one of my favorite horror novels, but it’s on my general list of all-time favorites. I. Am. OBSESSED. (I screeched more about it in my review.)

The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well, #1)
The Suffering (The Girl from the Well, #2)

I’m cheating and saying Rin Chupeco’s The Girl from the Well duology because I loved both books. I actually liked The Suffering a tiny bit more than The Girl From the Well, but both were fantastic in my opinion, and I highly recommend them, especially if you like movies like The Ring.

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill has stuck with me, and I don’t even really know why. I actually gave this one (I think) 4 stars out of 5, but it’s still a favorite because I can’t shake it. (I also really like the movie.) If you like classic ghost stories, check this one out.

Newsflesh (3 Book Series)

Mira Grant’s (AKA Seanan McGuire) Newsflesh Trilogy is also kind of cheating because I’m not narrowing it down to just one, but I liked the whole trilogy fairly equally. I think I liked the third book least, but I still gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I love that this zombie trilogy opens way after the outbreak, so everyone is already used to them. It was an interesting change.

Undead Girl Gang

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson is my latest obsession, and I might have a review coming later this week if I can motivate myself to organize my thoughts and write it 😛 If you like witchy stuff, zombies (but not mindless zombies, more like Liv Moore from iZombie minus the brain-eating), and mysteries, try this one.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Okay, I know it’s Top 5 Wednesday, but I couldn’t leave off Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. This is still one of my favorite vampire books ever, and I’ve been itching to re-read it for a while.


I could list a few more as honorable mentions, but I’m starving so I’m wrapping this up here so I can go grab some food and coffee 😛

Do you have a favorite horror book/story written by a woman?

Posted in book review

Book Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism

My Best Friend's Exorcism

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Genres/Descriptors: horror>paranormal; YA(?)

Publication: 2016

Pages: 337

Trigger/Content Warnings: Sexual assault/rape mention, animal death, blood/gore, eating disorder, abusive/manipulative friendship, drug use, homophobia/homophobic language, child abuse, attempted suicide, bullying

Check it out on Goodreads


What’s it about?

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?


Review:

In some ways, this turned out to be exactly what I expected, but mostly, it was nothing like what I was expecting.

First of all, I didn’t actually expect the friendship aspect to be such a huge part of this story. Sure, we know from the description that it’s about two highschool BFFs, but what I was expecting was something more…obsessive and paranoid? There was some of that, for sure, but Abby’s dedication to saving Gretchen was actually a lot more believable and at times heart-wrenching than I thought it would be. I was not expecting to get punched in the feels by a horror novel, but here we are. I think this is the strongest part of the book, and that Grady Hendrix did a fantastic job with it. This honestly might be my favorite depiction of female friendship in a book written by a man. (I’m not saying men can’t write good female characters and friendships, but this one really stands out to me because of how good it was.)

I went into this kind of expecting a love letter to ’80s horror films and pop culture in general, as well as more than a nod to the satanic panic of the ’80s and ’90s, and that’s where this almost fell short for me. Those things were definitely there, but I was expecting it to be absolutely stuffed with ’80s stuff, but it was almost possible to think of this as being set in the present day, honestly. Which is fine, but not what I expected. Let me be clear: the ’80s references are definitely there, but we’re not beaten over the head with them. Instead, they’re seamlessly woven into the story in a way that puts the story firmly in the ’80s, but in a way that’s still relatable for people who weren’t around then, if that makes sense. (I was born at the end of the ’80s, but I grew up in a family that didn’t let go of that decade until almost the millennium.)

I also didn’t expect this to move so slowly, but it kind of did. It wasn’t so slow I got bored, but I kept waiting on the demonic stuff to start up, but it took a long time to get to that. Or, rather, it took a long time to get to the intense stuff. I ended up actually really liking that about this book, because sometimes I think horror (movies or books) can jump into the paranormal stuff a little too soon and by the end, you’re kind of numb to and bored by it. (Well, I am, at least.) With this book, it’s hard to be sure if Abby is being paranoid or something, or if some demonic activity is actually going on, at least until the last chunk of the book.

Another thing I didn’t anticipate was how gruesome this was at times. This book seriously went from, “shitty high school stuff” to “OMG I can’t believe you went there” as things revved up, and it had me cringing at times. While I wasn’t terrified by any of this, I will say that the thing with the worm stuck with me oh my freaking gods. I can not shake that scene from my mind. (Also, *spoiler alert,* but a pet is killed in this book. It’s over fast, and it wasn’t super graphic, but I didn’t know about that before I read this and it caught me off guard.)

And then there was the actual exorcism part. Holy crap. I’m not newbie to exorcisms in media, but this one was kind of brutal. It could have been worse, but I think I said “Oh my gods,” and “Holy shit,” and “Daaaaaamn” several times while reading it. I don’t want to say much about what happened because spoilers, but the end of all that was one of my favorite parts of the whole book. That part absolutely delivered exactly what I was hoping for, and I freaking loved it. I might have laughed a tiny bit, I almost teared up, I cheered for Abby, and I really want the movie to actually happen because I need to see that scene, specifically, and re-watch it a few times.

Throughout this book, Abby tries so hard to do the “right” thing and get help, but no one wants to listen to her and believe her. It’s kind of a perfect reflection of our actual world and how girls and women are not taken seriously and believed about their traumas, particularly when it might upset the lives of the wealthy and powerful. In a lot of ways, most of what happens in this book is very believable, and that makes it hard to tell if it’s demonic in origin, or just horrible people doing horrible things. Maybe it’s a little of both, even, and I think that makes it scarier.

This book didn’t keep me awake at night, give me nightmares, or even really scare me. It did creep me out a little, and it certainly grossed me out at least once, but I didn’t think it was actually all that scary. Your mileage may vary, because I’ve consumed so much horror in my life that it rarely gets to me at this point. I think if you’re new(er) to horror, this one might creep you out more. But what this book was, was fun. It was ridiculous and so silly at times, and oh my gods I want to see it made into a movie because I think it’ll be great.

Where it truly shines is with the friendship between Abby and Gretchen. I can’t get over that, and I think Grady Hendrix did such a good job with it all around. I think if you’re a lover of horror, you’ll probably enjoy this one more than someone who only picks up horror stuff occasionally.

Originally, I rated this one 3.5 stars on Goodreads, but now that I’ve sat with it for a while, I’m bumping it to an even 4 out of 5 stars.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆