It’s dark and spooky out there. And only going to get darker and spookier.
Why not stay inside in a nice warm room and read? I’ve got some suggestions here for some perfect books to fit the season. Let’s start with the family friendly stuff before getting into the truly terrifying, shall we?
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Honestly, my kids found this much less scary when they were young. But when they got older – that sewing on buttons instead of eyes?! Pretty freaking horrifying.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane, also by Neil Gaiman. More atmospheric than truly scary, but a lovely ending. Perhaps more late summer than fall.
- The Thief of Always by Clive Barker. All four seasons in one day. Sounds charming, but maybe a little too possessive?
- Full Tilt by Neil Shusterman. An evil carnival. Still appropriate for this time of year, and as a bonus, let me include Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury if you’ve never read that one. Both get right inside your head.
- Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Odd sees ghosts. Mostly it’s guys like Elvis. But sometimes they’re not so friendly.
- The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier. This one makes you think more than scares you, but it’s so good that it’s worth reading.
- Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Timely and terrifying.
- The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. Who are they and why do they come in winter?
- The Keep by Paul F. Wilson. When even the Nazis are afraid, you know there’s trouble.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. If you haven’t read the original, you’ve got to do it. So. Creepy.
That’s my list for this time of month. None of them are very new, with the exception of Lovecraft Country, but there good scary reads all the same. What’s on your list?
Title: Living the Good Death
Author: Scott Baron
Wearing nothing but psych ward pajamas and fluffy slippers, the odd girl wasn’t really dressed to kill. Being the Grim Reaper, however, she felt confident she could make it work.
She thinks she’s Death. Is she right? That’s for readers to figure out as they read the entertaining new book by author Scott Baron. As the girl (she doesn’t have a name for half the book) goes through her new life, she experiences the normal human needs of hunger, fatigue, and going to the bathroom. She also makes enemies and falls in love.
The reader, meanwhile, is never quite sure whether the girl really is Death or whether she’s imagining it all. Sometimes the story makes you think she couldn’t know thar unless she was human. It was a fun idea, but I was really ready for some answers.
I liked the secondary characters in this one a lot. The doctor was a little too evil to be believed though, and the ease at which he’s able to get the girl admitted to a mental hospital without her consent was totally unrealistic. That bugged me enough that I almost quit reading. But the ending was good so I’m glad I stuck with it.
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, but my opinions are my own.
Review: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy/Horror Novella
Silence is an innkeeper, but if you’re thinking of a friendly, garrulous sort who likes to gossip with the patrons, you’re far off. Silence is grim. Most folks are pretty grim, here on the outskirts of the forest. She’s also a bounty hunter, and between both jobs, she’s barely making enough to provide for her 14 year old daughter and her ward. Now she’s heard of a fat bounty on a known criminal, currently sitting downstairs in her tavern.
Silence and her daughter William Ann wait for the right moment, then follow to get the bounty. They’ll have to track a whole group of men, kill them, and bring back the body of the one they want, all without getting killed by the men or attacked by the shadows who dwell in the forest.
Of the two, the forest shadows are far more deadly. One touch and you’ll start to wither. Only silver can stop you from becoming like them. There are rules to keep you safe, but even when you follow the rules, there’s never any guarantee. But Silence needs that bounty.
Sanderson is really one of my favorite writers. I loved how he painted such a vivid picture of a grim world and a tough woman determined to keep her family together no matter what it took. Haunting and mesmerizing, you have to read this one.
I’ve got a couple of recent DNF (did not finish) that I thought I’d mention. Sometimes people are surprised by how fast I read, but they don’t realize that I count ALL books I read, including the ones I try, but just don’t like for whatever reason. Here are a few I didn’t finish lately.
Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
This one was just what it sounds like, a collection of stories about Greek heroes written as though told by Percy Jackson. I love Percy, but when he’s telling someone else’s story, I find him a little more annoying than when he’s telling his own. My main problem here though is that I really already know most of these stories, so I wasn’t interested in reading them again. There was one in there I hadn’t heard, but I know about Daedalus and Theseus and so on. Just wasn’t interested.
Belle Dame Sans Merci by Astrea Taylor
Belle is a cool heroine, but for some reason reading a story set in Hell was stressing me out! I skimmed this one, so I mostly read it and then skipped to the end. I’m betting this one has a sequel. If you like stories about demons and stuff like that you’ll probably like it more than I did.
Author: Drew Hayes
Genre: urban fantasy, comic horror
How I heard about this book: Familiar author
Source: Kindle Unlimited
I really like old Fred the vampire accountant. He’s a funny guy. There was a lot about the world of this story that I wanted to know more about. The book was a collection of several adventures, starting with Fred’s 10 year high school reunion. The story starts with Fred already having been turned into a vampire. In fact, we don’t learn much about how it all started until the last story in the collection. His reunion kind of takes a downturn when a group of werewolves turn up and start devouring the alumni.
I liked all the characters, but I *LOVED* Bubba! The worldbuilding was was well done and it was genuinely funny. I laughed out loud more than once.
But there was too much swearing in here, especially for an audiobook. I’m not sure if I want to read the next in the series or now. The narration was done by fellow Utahn Kirby Heybourne, and he does a really good job. But like I said, I got tired of hearing the F-bomb so many times.
Bubba alone is worth 1 star, so overall, I’m giving this one 3.3 stars.
Reading Decathlon, book 9
Companions of the Night
by Vivan Vande Velde
Setting: modern New York college town
Plot: Kerry agrees to return to the laundromat before bed to pick up her brother’s teddy bear. But when she gets there, she finds the owner and some friends have captured and beaten a guy. They claim this Ethan is a vampire and refuse to let him or Kerry go. Kerry helps the guy escape only to find that he is in fact a vampire. Now someone has kidnapped her family and they’re going after her next. Kerry and Ethan team up, but can Kerry trust him with her family’s safety?
Pros: Um, it was short?
Cons: It was confusing?
Honestly, this one didn’t stand out much for me. I read it while waiting for the doctor today and it was good to pass the time. I did like the ending. Kerry was able to be smart and made some good decisions. I really appreciated that she wasn’t some starstruck vampire groupie. But I can’t say that I really liked it. 2.5 stars