Hello everybody, and welcome to my Top Ten Tuesday post, with recommendations for books to pick up this Halloween! If you’re not sure what you want to read this spooky season, I have ten recommendations for books that I have read and I think would make excellent reading. There is quite a variety of books in this selection, so there should be something here that meets your needs.
Where I have a live review of each book on my blog, I’ve provided a link to that if you want more information.
So, let’s jump into my recommendations!
I’m starting off with some of Stephen King’s most iconic books. Aside from The Green Mile, The Stand was one of the first books I read of Stephen King’s. I actually listened to this epic on audiobook due to its size.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a premise that is a more extreme version of the pandemic we have just lived through, then maybe this one isn’t for you. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this post-apocalyptic narrative.
Another Stephen King novel I read and really enjoyed is IT. I read this one physically, and I have no doubt that I’ll be going back to my copy on my bookshelf at some point! I really enjoyed the dual-timeline narrative, and at just under 1400 pages, this is the longest book I have ever read. Despite that, I managed to read IT in a couple of weeks.
Moving away from Stephen King, I have a number of books on this recommendation list from other authors.
I read Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chboksy in October 2019. This is also quite a sizable horror, but well worth the investment! Even though I read a good portion of this book on holiday, the narrative was chilling and unnerving enough to give all the autumnal, spooky vibes!
If you want to pick up a fairly short read this Halloween, then The Dark Chorus may just be the book for you. The narrative focuses on a young boy who can see lost souls. The narrative has a spiritual emphasis and involves this young boy committing terrible, ritualistic murders, towards his end goal.
It was a very creepy read, but one I rated very highly!
If you like to read more towards the fantasy genre, Empire of the Vampire is a strong recommendation for you. I read this book by Jay Kristoff on holiday this year. As the name would suggest, this book is about vampires, but also about our main character, who is a vampire slayer.
Empire of the Vampire is a very Gothic style fantasy, with elements such as religion and the undead being at war with each other. I personally cannot wait to pick up the sequel to this book, whenever it is published. In the meantime, I can only recommend Empire of the Vampire to you!
The Chalk Man
Coming in at 280 pages, The Chalk Man is a very approachable reader for anybody. With a dual-timeline split between Eddie’s childhood, and his return to his hometown as an adult, a very dark story unfolds.
The benign language a group of friends used to communicate with each other leads to the discovery of a body, and nothing is ever the same again.
The Taking of Annie Thorne is another fairly short, but very sinister read. This was the second book. I read by CJ Tudor, and she is an author I will go back to for this kind of read in the future. It is brilliantly paced, the characters are engaging, and the storyline is something else.
This was a five-star read, and now I’m recommending it to you in the hopes that it will be for you too.
If you are a bit pressed for time this Halloween, maybe a series of short stories would be better suited to you?
I read these short stories back in October 2019 and they are a great way of delving into the dark and sinister without too much investment. They are also very easy to read, and you can read as many or a few of them as you like. The good thing about short stories is that they are very approachable!
Lastly, if you’re not much into the Halloween genre and want to read something more satirical, I can recommend Mort by Terry Pratchett. It has a loose tie to the genre in that one of the main characters of this book is Death. In this first instalment of the Discworld series, Death decides to take an apprentice – Mort.
So, those are my Top Ten Tuesday recommendations for books to pick up this Halloween! Have you read any of the books listed today? Would you recommend any of them to others?
Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly TBR for October! How are we in the final quarter of the year? Already, this year is absolutely flying by, and before we know it I’ll be talking about the books I read in 2022 in total! But, enough of that now. Today’s post is all about the books I intend to read during October. This month I am toning things back down and not taking part in any readathons. Instead, I have gone back to my previous model of setting a small number of fixed books to read in the month, but the rest being mood reads that I can chop and change at will.
My one and only fixed record of the month is Blink of the Sun. I have agreed to review this book on BookSirens, and the review is due towards the end of this month. This particular fantasy caught my eye, and as I’m always trying to explore new authors (especially indie authors), I fancied giving it a go. I can’t wait to see you how it compares with a number of other fantasy books I’ve read, and what makes it stand out if anything.
I have been wanting to pick up this third book in the Farseer trilogy for the last couple of months. Unfortunately, there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to read this as part of a monthly TBR in September with the way Bookoplathon went. However, I have every intention to pick this up this month whilst the events of the first two books are fresh in my mind. I am also really enjoying this series, but I’m partly kicking myself that I didn’t try it earlier. Better late than never though, as they say.
I didn’t get chance to read Carrie in September. This was a poll pick as part of Bookoplathon, but as it was one of the last rolls in the game, I just didn’t get to it. However, October is a perfect month to pick up a book like this! It would be rude not to have a Stephen King novel as a Halloween read, and whilst I already had this one on a TBR, I figured it made sense to carry it forward. This is a mood read, however, and I have plenty of other Stephen King books on my bookshelf. I could always change my mind and pick up The Shining, or Outsider, or even Sleeping Beauties if I fancy a change.
I received my copy of this book just over a month ago now, and I have been looking forward to reading it ever since! I haven’t really read much in the way of dark academia to date, however, I feel like this is a perfect seasonal read. This book begins with a child in a plague-ridden house. A sinister setting if ever we saw one. From there the story really comes into its own. I’m also really interested to see the take on language and translation that is an integral part of the plot. I can be a little bit of a nerd when it comes to language… particularly English. This isn’t a usual plot device or theme of a book, so I want to see how this works.
With the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II last month, I have been inspired to pick up a book about her life. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that she reigned for over 70 years as the British monarch. Most people don’t work for that long in their lives. I have to say, when it comes to the British monarchy, I am fairly in the dark. I can’t say I know very much about it, and it is for this reason that I want to pick up Queen of Our Times. I want to fill that gap, and in reading this book, honour the woman who gave her life to her job, to her duty.
That is my monthly TBR for October 2022! Compared to last month, it is not remotely adventurous, but that’s a good thing! Last month’s reading list ended up being far too long, but that wasn’t really my fault. It was just bad luck. This month I’m aiming for a smaller list but with good quality books that I’m really going to enjoy.
Have you read any of the books on my October Monthly TBR? Have any of them caught your eye? Let’s have a chat in the comments!
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post subject is Halloween themed since we’ll be celebrating Halloween (somewhat differently than most years, I expect) later this week.
We don’t call it Halloween here on the Isle of Man. Instead, we call it Hop Tu Naa. All in all, it is very similar to Halloween, but if you do want to have a skeet (that’s Manx for having a nosey) at the difference between the two celebrations, you can find out more on the Culture Vannin website.
For today’s post, I wanted to put together a list of recommended reads if you are looking for inspiration this Halloween/ HopTu Naa. There are some classic horrors here, as well as a few thrillers if that is more your bag and last, but not least, there’s a bit of a parody read if you want a lighter tone.
It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real …
They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.
The road in front of Dr. Louis Creed’s rural Maine home frequently claims the lives of neighborhood pets. Louis has recently moved from Chicago to Ludlow with his wife Rachel, their children and pet cat. Near their house, local children have created a cemetery for the dogs and cats killed by the steady stream of transports on the busy highway. Deeper in the woods lies another graveyard, an ancient Indian burial ground whose sinister properties Louis discovers when the family cat is killed.
Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron’s villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world’s most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.
Based on the third edition of 1831, this volume contains all the revisions Mary Shelley made to her story, as well as her 1831 introduction and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s preface to the first edition. This revised edition includes as appendices a select collation of the texts of 1818 and 1831 together with ‘A Fragment’ by Lord Byron and Dr John Polidori’s ‘The Vampyre: A Tale’.
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen.
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.
A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.
Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.
As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.
But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?
In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton
“Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day . . . quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, and altogether triumphant.” – A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.
For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
This inventive debut twists together a thriller of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.
Recommended in The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Buzzfeed, Vulture, BookRiot, and more.
The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences. Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?
Hello spooky friends! It’s time to share this month’s reading list – and it’s a bumper one! I am going on holiday with my lovely sister a little later this month and I’m crossing my fingers for lovely sunshine and some R&R – reading and relaxation time!
A combination of blog tours and a few reads of my own choice to check off the list make for a busy month. In order to keep up with this list, I am looking at having to read an average of 59 pages a day. Combine this with taking part in Blogtober, and you’ll see that I don’t like to make my life easy!
It’s a good job I like a challenge right? Are you ready to check out the books on this month’s TBR?
Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles – Paul Twivy
This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.
Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space. They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.
Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?
My blog tour post isn’t until the end of the month, but I am prioritising reading these books first.
The synopsis is both unusual and intriguing for this book; it’s what drew my attention to it. The blog tour has been extended too, so it has grabbed a lot of bloggers attention. The book also has some sci-fi elements to it, so I can’t wait to see how this ties into the book!
To Snare a Witch: Book 1 – Bell, Book and Candle – Jay Raven
A chilling historical tale of lust, sorcery and devastating revenge.
No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.
But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty, intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe. What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust at any cost and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.
And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…
I am reading this novella for a blog tour as well, one day after Hallowed Ground. The end of the month is packed with reviews – four in four days!
At 85 pages, this one is comparatively short so I can probably read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed reading Game of Crones, also by Jay Raven earlier this year. The writing style of Game of Crones suited me really well and I devoured it quickly. I trust I will be able to read To Snare a Witch in good time too.
If you were given the chance to become a powerful sorceress, would you leave behind everything you thought you knew?
When Addison is offered the position of her dreams through a mysterious phone call, she rises to the occasion and moves to the Florida Keys to a mansion called Paradise House.
Footsteps from playful ghosts, a room of killer dolls, and an all too intelligent owl lead her to the mysteries that lie within the walls, to reveal the true reason behind her invitation. When dark forces get a hold of her and her patient, Addison is left with no choice but to take extreme measures to protect the ones she loves.
Will Addison be able to acquire the necessary skills fast enough in order to protect her patient, and defeat the evil entities that thrive in the mansion?
I have the pleasure of reviewing this mystical, arcane novel on none other than Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa here). It feels very appropriate to be reading books with spooky and sinister goings-on this month. How could I refuse this blog tour spot?
RAVAGED BY WAR …AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.
If I want a rest after Blogtober then I have to go a few days longer before I can get it! After Whorl Bran Reborn is my last blog tour read of the month, with a tour date of 1st November. I recently read the first book in the series, The Beltane Choice. I enjoyed reading about a completely new period in British history. This book picks up after the events of the first book and I cannot wait to see how the story progresses.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
I first took an interest in Greek Mythology earlier this year, reading Mythos by Stephen Fry. There are a lot of good reviews of Circe, and it won a Goodreads Choice award last year. I bought a physical copy of the book earlier this year and I am taking this on holiday with me. Given the choice, I like a mix of e-books and physical ones – it’s not so large that it’ll compromise my luggage space.
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I bought my copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the same time as Circe. Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology was absolutely fantastic! I wouldn’t describe myself as a champion of YA literature; I don’t read all that much of it, but I adored these! Based on my love of those, it was a no-brainer decision to try her other books. This also isn’t too large, so it’s coming away with me!
We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.
Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.
At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.
Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.
Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.
I won a Netgalley download of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. Given the nature of the book, it’s appropriate to wrap up with this book for Hop Tu Naa. Doesn’t it sound really creepy?! It reminds me a little of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary with the whole small town and sinister forest vibe. I loved that book. I wonder how it will compare.
So, seven books… I think that’s got to be one of the longest reading lists I have set for myself. Have you read any of these books? What spooky reads are you reading this autumn?