It’s my favorite celebration of the year (besides Christmas, that is!) – HALLOOOOOWEEEN! Time for some spooky reads! I don’t have many to recommend, so I sought the help of some of my favorite bloggers and asked them to recommend their favorite chilly, scary, eerie reads. (THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING ME OUT, YOU ALL!)
And….in no specific order, here they are!
Blurb: From the dark corners of the internet to the eerie depths of the forest, the boogeyman lurks. An odd collection of elongated limbs in black and white, an oval-shaped head, and a lurking, a following, a stalking. The Slender Man.
(Me: OMG the cover 💀🥶)
Paul says, “The story may have a little more spook and thrill than scare, but it is one that is definitely recommended. A Halloween-perfect book that looks at teenage friendships, the anonymity of the internet, and an urban myth that continues to unnerve and affright.” Paul’s full review here.
If you’re looking for something for the kids, click here where Paul recommends books such as Room on the Broom, Pete the Cat and Five Little Pumpkins! Fun, spooky reads!
Jodi at Witty & Sarcastic Book Club recommends ‘Needful Things’ by Stephen King
Blurb: Nothing has a price tag in ‘Needful Things’, but everything is certainly for sale. The heart’s desire for any resident of Castle Rock can easily be found among the curiosities…in exchange for a little money and—at the specific request of Leland Gaunt—a whole lot of menace against their fellow neighbors. Everyone in town seems willing to make a deal at Needful Things, but the devil is in the details. And no one takes heed of the little sign hanging on the wall: Caveat emptor. In other words, let the buyer beware… ‘
Jodi says, “All in all, I enjoyed it. The snowball effect was fascinating, the ending was unexpected, and I got chills during the epilogue. If you enjoy Stephen King, or horror in general, I’d recommend this book.” Jodi’s full review here.
A POPULAR PICK: The Six Stories Series
The Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski.
Blurb: One body. Six stories. Which one is true?
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.
Drew says, “Holy shit! The revelation near the end, truly a ‘did I just read that’ moment! Damn, Wesolowski, with a dumbstruck look and mouthing ‘fuck‘ that made me put down my Kindle and think about all I’d previously read in the book and yes, I had to re-read the revelation a second time to take it in!” Drew’s full review here and his review of Hydra (Six Stories #2)
Blurb: “A missing child
A family in denial
Which one is true?
On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995. Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…
Stephen says, “Overall, this is a captivating and brilliantly constructed book that provides a lot more than just a fascinating mystery. I loved the format and the quality of the writing, while the ending had the desired effect. It works very well as a standalone, but looking to the future, Six Stories can count me as its newest subscriber!” Stephen’s full review here.
Another POPULAR PICK: Shirley Jackson, the Queen of Horror & Mystery
NS: The story follows a group of four people staying in Hill House: Dr Montague (a researcher of psychic phenomena), Luke (the heir to the house), Theodora (a bohemian kind of girl) and Eleanor. The latter is our protagonist and we experience the story from her perspective. She is quite a timid person, having been a carer for her mother and then living with her overbearing sister. Accepting an invitation to stay at a ‘haunted house’ offers her the chance of escape and even to develop her sense of self. At first, it seems to be merely a cold and creepy house without anything happening. And then the haunting begins…
NS says, “I liked how Jackson examines their expectations of a haunted house, a traditional theme of horror and mystery novels from times past. A dark and run-down building which somehow looks evil? Strange noises in the night? Unexplained cold spots? Reticent old servant who won’t stay there past sundown? All present and correct. It’s almost a parody of the genre. But the slow pace allows the sinister atmosphere to build, without descending into silliness.” NS’s full review here.
As for me, I recommend, ‘We Have Always Lived in The Castle’ by Shirley Jackson
Blurb: Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.
Me: It revolved around the Blackwoods, whose remaining family members were shunned by its community due to a poisoning incident six years ago, which claimed the lives of everyone except Uncle Julian, Constance, and the narrator, Mary Katherine (Merricat). Merricat did most of the errands outside the house, and Constance, who was the ‘murder’ suspect (but ultimately acquitted), was only allowed to go out to the garden. All was well, until cousin Charles arrived to the Blackwood home. Then, as they say, all hell broke loose.
“I read this about 5 to 6 years ago, and it still gives me the chills just looking at the cover. That shows how powerful Jackson’s writing is, and how well this story was written. All I can say is, it’s unputdownable. It was so good that my hubby had to call me, then text me (because my phone was on silent LOL) , to get me out of my hiding place to go out for lunch.
This is another atmospheric, creepy, eerie and bone-chilling read. I love it, but fear it at the same time. Merricat is one character that’s hard to forget.”
I’ve also read NS’s recommendation, The Haunting of Hill House. If you’re planning to read any one of the recommended books, I suggest you DON’T READ THEM IN THE DARK.
Jennifer: Tom Kennedy and his son Jake are starting over after the loss of Tom’s wife/Jake’s mother. The new place is Featherbank. Little do they know, Featherbank has a dark history. Frank Carter, nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” was a serial killer who haunted the town more than twenty years ago. His MO was whispering in windows at night to lure his victims outside. A young boy in town vanishes, and the crime is eerily similar to those of Carter’s. This inspires talk in the town that Carter must have had help from someone else. Just as the police go to talk with Carter in prison, Jake starts hearing someone whisper into his window at night.
Jennifer says, “Oh my, do I love an atmospheric, haunting thriller. The hook is present on page one, and the pacing is nonstop. I was surprised and kept on the edge of my seat. I love this kind of writing- not a spare word, and it kept me flipping the pages. Overall, The Whisper Man is an outstanding debut crime thriller. No wonder everyone is talking about it!” Her full review here.
Me: I agree, Jennifer! I keep seeing this book all over my Twitter feed!
My favorite review is from Nick at Out Of This World SFF Reviews on:
I AM LEGEND (1954) by Richard Matheson
Nick: It’s a brilliant vampire story that even after sixty some odd years, loses none of its terror and suspense. It describes the horrifying tale of quite literally the last man on Earth, a man named Robert Neville, who is the only survivor of a terrible plague that has turned every other man, woman, and child on the planet into a vampire. The heartbreaking part is that his wife was also one of the victims. He barricades himself inside his home and only leaves in the daytime to collect whatever food, fortifications, and weapons he can find to survive another night. Because it is at night when the vampires come calling and incessantly beat at his door. On one especially terrible evening, he actually recognizes his wife’s voice as one of the vampires outside calling for him to come out.
Nick says, “Completely forget about the travesty of a movie adaptation of this book starring Will Smith. Just flush it right out of your brain and pretend that it never existed. Are we good now? Okay. THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLY AMAZING!
If I had one horror book to read for the rest of my life it would be this book. I devoured it in three hours in one-sitting. I just didn’t want to put it down for even a minute.
This is tops on my list of scary reads for many reasons. Leaving Bram Stoker’s Dracula out of the conversation, I AM LEGEND is quite possibly the best vampire story ever written in my opinion. A perfect read for this and every upcoming Halloween!”
Shalini at Shalini’s Books & Reviews recommends, ‘Haunted House Ghost’ by James C. Cudney
Blurb: Halloween excitement is brewing in Braxton.
Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing.
While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost.
Shalini says, “I have never seen autumn and Halloween in real life, the author made them come alive for me with the power of his writing. Red herrings were placed strategically amongst the orange pumpkins and the Halloween props. They blended in so smoothly that guessing the killer was beyond me.” Her full review here.
Rosie: I’m the first to admit that horror books barely touch my bookshelves, however, I’m lucky to have a group of friends who are delighted to read this genre. So today I’d like to give a shout-out to an author that The Rosie Amber Review Team are delighted to support.
Barb: It is a tale of a little boy, a favorite toy, murder, horror, and (possibly) the end of the world. Narrated by the toy dog Doggem—whose job is to go home with the five-year-olds in Mrs. Snady’s class and inspire them to practice their fledgling writing skills by writing up Doggem’s diary—we soon realize that the recently sentient toy is an unreliable narrator at best.
Barb says, “If you ever took turns to take your classroom toy home for the weekend, and had to write about your adventures together, this story may give you images that make you shudder.”
Terry: Bledbrooke is a strange town, in which electricity often fails and phone reception is almost non-existent. Donald Hobdike is the Manager of Works; on the day in which the story takes place he must go down to the old, abandoned sewage works to fix a problem. A young ex-con, Mikey, is assigned to help him. And down they go…
Terry says, “This is a story which is darker than dark, sinister and highly readable!”
Thank you all for contributing to my very first ‘Bloggers Recommend’! You all rock!
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Have you read any of the above? If you have, what did you think? If you haven’t, do you intend to read them? Do you have one that you’d like to recommend that’s not listed above?
Till then, HAPPY READING!