Spooky Book Recs & Discussion: A Mixed Bag

So far, I’ve recommended Snack Sized Stories (novellas, short stories, etc.) and some for kids-teens (or anyone else who likes YA, MG, picture books, etc.), and between those two lists, I don’t have a lot of horror/thriller/otherwise spooky books left to recommend.

I have read a couple of things since writing those, though, and there were a few things that either didn’t fit with those lists or I looked over, so this is just a mixed bag of spooky book treats.

These will probably run the gamut from slightly creepy/darker setting (think gothic lit, or things that have a Halloween/autumn “vibe” to them, or are actually set in the autumn) to actual horror/thriller stories.


And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie– Gotta have some Christie in these recs lists ❤
Bird Box by Josh Malerman– I really liked this one. It actually creeped me out several times.
Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl– I don’t think I finished this YA series, but I liked the first 3(?) books.
Dracula by Bram Stoker– Classic vamp book is classic 😛
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley– Again, classic. Not my fave, but I liked it.
Generation Dead series by Daniel Waters– I really liked most of this YA zombie series.
Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott– This one is hard to describe, but I enjoyed the mild-eeriness it had going on.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill– I wanted to love it more than I did, but it was still good and a bit creepy at times.
Horns by Joe Hill– I really liked this one. (The movie was pretty good, too.) Book + Movie review here
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson– I saw the movie first, but I think I liked the book more.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio– Kinda thriller? I will recommend this book every chance I get ❤ ❤ (Review of the audiobook here)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë– Gothic lit, so not terrifying, but definitely has a darker mood/vibe thing going on. Fave ❤
Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist– I really liked this, and highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. (The Swedish version of the movie is also good.)
Living With the Dead series by Jesse Petersen– If you like comedy/horror, like the movies Zombieland, Dead Snow, etc., read this series!
Outcast vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman– I think I expected more from this comic series, so I’m on the fence about continuing it. This one was ok, though.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman– Ok, I didn’t love the book :/ It was good, but I like the movie more.
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin– The book and movie are both great.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn– I have conflicting feelings about this, but I cautiously recommend it (just look up trigger warnings first if you need them).
Sweep series by Cate Tiernan– One of my favorite YA series with witches. Not super spooky, but I like re-reading it around autumn/winter.
The Funhouse by Dean Koontz (writing as Owen West)– I think this was adapted from a screen play (I can’t remember the movie well enough to be sure, though) and I loved it. Very campy, B Horror-ish.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson– Classic horror is classic. It’s good. Give it a read if you like haunted house stories.
The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine– These YA vamp books aren’t really terrifying, but there are some bits that are tense and they give me “autumn” vibes.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde– Just read it. It’s fantastic and gothic and creepy and funny and brilliant. (I’m in love with Oscar Wilde, ok?)
The Rose Master by Valentina Cano– YA gothic story that I really enjoyed (reviewed here) and can’t wait for the sequel (Of Bells & Thorns) coming out next month. (It’s also kind of a Beauty & the Beast retelling, and I really liked that aspect, too.)
The Shining by Stephen King– I’m not a Stephen King devotee, but I did like this one. I’m still not sure how I feel about his writing, overall :/
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon– I reviewed this one. I really liked it. Nice, spooky vibe throughout the whole thing.
The Witching Pen series by Dianna Hardy– One of my absolute fave indie/self-published authors and series. It’s not terror-inducing, but might be a good pick for people who like reading paranormal/PNR this time of year.
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory– I also reviewed this one and it’s stuck with me. I don’t remember a lot about it, now, but I do remember enjoying it a lot.


See any favorites on this list?

Let me know if you check any of these out!

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Book Blogger Hop: October 13th-19th

This weekly hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, featuring a question about books each week. The purpose is to bring bookish bloggers together, basically. To participate, write a post about the question for that week and add your link.

 

The question this week is: Who is your favorite horror/suspense author and why?

 

This is a really tough question for me, and I almost didn’t do it because, while I really like horror (in general), I don’t read a lot of it because I haven’t found much I enjoy. When I do, it’s usually only a single book from a particular author.

My first thought is Edgar Allan Poe. So many things I write and enjoy can be traced back to him and his writing, and he’s been a favorite most of my life.

But does R.L. Stine count? I read a ton of Goosebumps books when I was a kid, I just re-read one for the first time since middle school probably, and I still very much enjoyed it.

 


What about you? Do you have a favorite?

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?

Halloween Read-a-thon Sign Up + TBR!

Click for the original post

I just found out about this read a thon yesterday or the 10th, but I’m excited! I wish I’d found it sooner, though, because I could have used my last read (Bird Box) for my choice between like 3 or 4 prompts 😛 Oh well, it’s fine. This will just (hopefully) motivate me to read more of the books I want to read this month anyway.

I’m notoriously awful at sticking to a TBR, so who knows what will happen. These are just the books I’m considering and hoping to read. (The book covers link to goodreads.)

Ok, before I dive in, can I just say how freaking great Lauren’s images are for this challenge? You don’t have to use these, but they’re just too cute not to ❤


About the Read-A-Thon:

(Check out Lauren’s post for all the details.)

💀 The read-a-thon is going to run from the 10th October – 31st October.  

💀 You can join in at any time until the end of the read-a-thon. 

💀 You can read as many or as little books as you want!!!

💀 The books HAVE to be horror, thriller and/or have some kind of supernatural element!! Except for one challenge, but more on that below. I’m sorry if these genres aren’t your cup of tea, but it wouldn’t really be a Halloween themed read-a-thon otherwise.

💀 When posting your TBR link back to this post so other people can join in!! Share the spooky love!! If you don’t have a blog that’s okay!! You can post your TBR on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, YouTube – ANYWHERE!!

💀 Use the hashtag #HalloweenWR to share your progress on social media!!


The Challenges/My TBR:

 

 

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I’m thinking Abberations (edited by Jeremy C. Shipp) for this one. It’s a collection of short stories from different writers, and I love the cover. Or, I might read Outcast: Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman because I’d forgotten the cover was creepy until now.

 

haunted-house

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So. Many. Choices! But I’m considering Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill.

 

 

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I actually don’t have a lot of books on my shelves that would work for this, but I’m thinking of reading The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin.

 

 

I do about 90% of my reading at night, so I’m counting pretty much whatever for this one. But, I might add an extra bit of challenge to it and read one of the Goosebumps books I got last month in one night.

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Oh this is soooo easy, and I’ve kind of already done it. In October, I marathon horror and thriller movies every single day. (Not loads every day, but at least one.) But, I’m thinking of doing the extra challenge and reading a book then watching the movie. Possibly The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.

 

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I think I’m going with Trick for this, but I’m not sure what I’ll read. I’m thinking about This House is Haunted by John Boyne because it’s been on my Kindle for at least a year or two. (If I don’t read and watch The Exorcist, I might use it for this one.)

 

 

I might read 7 books, but I’m not sure I’ll manage 7 that fit this read-a-thon :/ I’m going to try, though!


Let me know if you’re participating in this read-a-thon, too!

Do you have any book recs that would fit any of these challenge categories? I’d love to hear about them 🙂

Book Blogger Hop: October 6th-12th

This weekly hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, featuring a question about books each week. The purpose is to bring bookish bloggers together, basically. To participate, write a post about the question for that week and add your link.

The question this week is: Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are both considered classics. Have you ever read either of them?

After many (many many many) failed attempts, I finally finished both.

I read Dracula almost 10 years ago, and enjoyed it, though not as much as I’d hoped to. The majority of the book really dragged by and I struggled a lot with it, but the last bit (after a particular event that I won’t name because ~spoilers~) picked up and I really loved it.

Last year, I made it through Frankenstein and just kind of liked it. I realized that I knew most of the story, but some things never really made it into adaptations, so it was nice to read the source material.

I think I rated both 3 stars on goodreads, with an actual rating of 3.5 stars each. I did like both books, I just expected…more, maybe. I’m curious now to read the edited version of Frankenstein, though (I read the original 1818 edition, which is apparently more gruesome than the later, more popular version), to see how it compares to the original.

Someday, I might revisit one or both, but probably not for a long time. They were good, but not favorites.


Have you read either/both?

Which one is your favorite, or the one you’re most looking forward to reading?

Book Review: Halloween Carnival: Volume 1

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cover; links to goodreads

Genres: horror; holidays>Halloween

Why I read it: I love horror, I love short stories, and I really love Halloween, so I requested it on Net Galley and was approved for an eARC.

Who I’d recommend it to: Anyone interested in the above things I mentioned. 

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (3.5 stars)

 

Goodreads | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play Books

 


What it’s about:

Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John R. Little, Lisa Morton, and Mark Allan Gunnells put the horror back in Halloween with a quintet of devilishly delightful tales, curated by acclaimed author and editor Brian James Freeman.

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon
Chocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.

THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin Lucia
Father Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.

DEMON AIR by John R. Little
Fear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.

LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton
Trick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.

#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan Gunnells
Some people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.


Review:

First, I rate anthologies like this by rating each individual story, then averaging all those ratings together to come up with a rating for the whole book. Also, because these are short stories, I don’t want to say much about them, so this should be a short review.

Strange Candy by Robert McCammon– This was a nice story to kick things off with. It wasn’t particularly scary, just a little creepy (and also a little heartwarming), and very Halloween-y. I gave it 4/5 stars.

The Rage of Achilles or When Mockingbirds Sing by Kevin Lucia– I thought this one was a little spooky, but still not very scary. It did have a nice mysterious vibe going on, though, and I actually didn’t see the twist at the end coming. However, for this one, I feel like it was a little too short, because there were too many questions left at the end about certain things. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Demon Air by John R. Little– This was my least favorite story. I thought it was boring, kind of disjointed, and overly cheesy. I gave it 1 out of 5 stars :/

La Hacienda de los Muertos by Lisa Morton– I’m familiar with a certain legend that was used in this story, and I ended up actually liking this one more than I thought I would when I first started reading it. It was like a combination western/horror, and I thought it was a bit spooky. But, it felt a little too rushed at the end and I think it would have worked better if it had been just a little longer. I gave it 4/5 stars.

#MakeHalloweenScaryAgain by Mark Allan Gunnells– This was my favorite story, and it’s also the longest, taking up just a little less than 50% of this collection. I have a few minor complaints, but they’re not really relevant to the story. It wasn’t terrifying, but it was suspenseful and felt like an homage to some of my favorite horror movies in some ways. I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars.


I was a tiny bit let down by this collection because I was hoping to be really scared by it, but it only succeeded a few times in making me feel a little creeped out. Still, it was an enjoyable read and I’ll definitely be looking most of these writers up to read more from them.

Would I recommend it? Probably, but not if you’re looking for lots of gore or something truly terrifying (unless you’re very easily scared, in which case this might work for you).

Spooky Book Recs & Discussion: Snack Sized Stories

Normally on Mondays I do Must Read Mondays, to recommend one book, but for this month, I’m carving out some time to make lists of recommendations. I’ve decided to do this in categories (that I’m coming up with as I go, because in life, as with NaNoWriMo, I am a pantser and not a planner).

This week, I’m recommending collections of stories in their various forms, and a few long short stories and novellas. I’ve read more of these than I’d originally thought, and some have been featured on my blog before. Not all of these are particularly scary, but I wanted to suggest things for people who like horror, as well as for people who just want a little bit of creepiness, things based on folklore, or stories that have a Halloween-vibe/theme.

Short Story Collections, etc.

 

  • Basically anything by Edgar Allan Poe (obvious, but for a reason)
  • M.R. James’s ghost stories (not for everyone, but I liked them)
  • H.P. Lovecraft (I’ve only read a couple of stories, I think)
  • Ray Bradbury (I remember reading a couple of his stories in high school that I think were creepy. I really need to read more of his work soon because it’s great.)
  • Algernon Blackwood (I’m pretty sure I haven’t read any of his stories in 10 years or more and he’s really not that well known these days, except among horror lovers)
  • Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories trilogy (another obvious one, for a reason)
  • The Horror Zine (I think I’ve only read one issue so far, but I keep meaning to get more)
  • Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror (I haven’t read everything in this, but it’s a great collection and has two full-length novels: Frankenstein–the original 1818 version!– and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
  • Halloween Carnival vol. 1 (I have a review of this one coming out tomorrow, which is also release day)
  • The Haunted Grove by Tim Jeffreys (I actually don’t remember much about this because I read it so long ago, but I rated it pretty high)
  • Horrors! 365 Scary Stories (I got this when I was in middle school, I think, so I haven’t read from it in a while, but I remember liking a lot of the stories)
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (so pretty and creepy in an old-school fairy tale kind of way. Review.)

Longer Pieces 

These are longer than short stories, but under 150 pages (except the comic trades, but I included it in this part because they’re short, but not stand-alone stories).


There are definitely more that I read years ago, but they’re unfortunately lost to me now.

I wish I could remember some of the better true (or “true” if you’re not a believer) ghost story collections I read when I was growing up. I remember having quite a few, but the only ones I still have aren’t books I would recommend.

If true/”true” haunting stories are your jam, I would suggest you start by searching for books written about hauntings in your locality, or a place you’re interested in. Your local library might some collections from your area.


I have a few things I’m really looking forward to getting around to soon(ish), like Scottish Ghost Stories by Elliot O’Donnell, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, more of Lovecraft’s stories, Arthur Machen’s stories, and I’d like to revisit some Algernon Blackwood now that I’m older and have forgotten if I liked his work or not. On my wishlist, I have The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter (although I think it’s more horror/fantasy than just horror) in the highest position, but there are loads more I’d like to get eventually.


Ok, I think I’ve rambled on enough for one day, so I’ll wrap this up now.

Do you have any recommendations for shorter horror books, graphic novels or comics, or short story collections? I’d love to hear about them!

 

If you read any of these, let me know what you think!