Spook Stock Halloween Readathon!

It is almost time for my readathon!!!

If you dont already know, I announced during the summer my plans to host my own Halloween themed readathon called Spook Stock.

The goal of Spook Stock is to celebrate Halloween, horror and all things dark and spooky. The horror section has been disappearing from bookshops in recent years so why not show it some love on Halloween month?

Horror not your thing? You can still take part, just make sure you have at least one book that is Halloween suitable. Thriller, crime, or books that are simply dark or contain monsters of any kind are perfectly fine.

The Rules are simple:

1. Read as much as you can in 1 week.

2. You can read whatever you like but there has to be at least ONE Halloween appropriate book in your To Read List.

3. Take part in daily blogging challenges that are posted throughout the week. (Not compulsory)

 

If you are taking part in Spook Spock simply write a blog post or social media status on your usual platform and link it back to this post with your TBR and I will share everyone who is taking part. We can be our own coven of spooky readers for the week.

The Readathon Dates: 23rd – 30th of October 2017

 

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Halloween Reading Recommendations: Short Story Collections

Me getting ready to recommend some books during my favourite time of year:

Since this is a book blog for all things creepy, kooky, mysterious and ooky all year around it is safe to say that I have quite a few Halloween reading suggestions. So I have decided to break them up into different posts. Today I will be suggesting my favourite short story anthologies to get you into the Halloween spirit. Short story collections are my favourite kind of book to read in October. You can just pick out a creepy story you are in the mood for and get through it in one sitting. Creepy reading in bite sized chunks.

So in no particular order here are 5 of my favourites

The Mammoth Book of Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories Edited by Richard Dalby

The Victorian and Edwardian eras were the golden ages of ghost stories. This bind up collection contains over 40 of the best and creepiest tales from the time period.

I own a rather battered copy of this book because it was one of the first ghost story collections that I owned and I like to read a story or two from it every October. This is perfect reading if you are a fan of Victorian or Gothic literature.

Did you know that it was a Victorian tradition to tell ghost stories on Christmas?

 

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

A collection of horror stories from one of my favourite horror writers, Joe Hill.

A lot of this collection is more strange than Halloween style creepy, but it still makes for good, dark October reading. It is Simpson’s Tree House of Horror levels of weird at times.

My favourite story in this collection is the title story, 20th Century Ghost. It is so sad! If you end up reading just one story from this collection it has to be that one.

 

 

 

Dark Water by Kōji Suzuki

I have been a little addicted to Japanese horror novels this year so of course one of them is going to make it onto this list.

Kōji Suzuki is the amazing author behind the very famous Ring series, and you might just recognize the title of this book from another famous Japanese horror film with an American remake, Dark Water.

This collection is beautifully eerie and wonderfully well written. Dark Water is a collection of horror stories which are all linked with the theme of water. I love when writers have a theme in their short story collections, because they can cover so many fears and genres just by focusing on one small thing. This is one of the best horror collections that I have read this year and if you are a fan of Japanese horror, you need to check this one out this month.

 

The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories

This book is perfect if you want ghost stories that are not too scary. Susan Hill’s work is based on old Gothic literature so many of her stories follow the logic of Crimson Peak. “Just a story with a ghost in it, not a ghost story.” She uses ghosts and creepy things to shine light on the horrors of humanity.

This would make perfect reading for a dark October night with unpleasant weather beating at your windows. When you have read all of the original Gothic ghost stories pick this book up for some that have been written in a more modern time period.

 

 

The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

I was tempted to add Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination on this list but I decided that he gets enough love in October so I should give this spot to another Victorian horror writer who doesn’t get enough love. Ambrose Bierce.

Ambrose Bierce was a generally strange person who wrote non stop throughout his life. His stories are grim, strange and many were laced with that brilliant Victorian dark sense of humor and irony. If you want a “comedy” story about a man being buried alive and then beaten to death with a shovel this is where you need to look.

Bierce is one of my all time favourite Victorian writers. I dare say that I enjoy him more than Poe sometimes.

So those are my top picks for Halloween horror anthologies this year. Tell me what your favourite short horror story is because I am always open to suggestions. What is your favourite Halloween read?

REVIEW: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Summary:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

“Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom.”

Review:

(Note: I have started adding links to the cover images in my reviews so you can add things to your GoodReads to-read list a little more easily) 

Is it possible to set a horror novel in IKEA? Apparently so.

This is a novel that has been on my radar for a long time. Every time I would search my library’s audiobook section for horror novels it would pop up. I was a little reluctant to read it. A horror novel set in a fictional version of IKEA sounded a little stupid, but then I had a change of heart. I went from finding it stupid to potentially brilliant. Could this idea be so daft that it works? Well, after reading it I can officially say, it does.

Horrorstör has all of the brilliant elements of the modern haunted house story but it is all set at night in a fictionalized version of IKEA. It is fast paced, has tons of creepy moments and doesn’t shy away from gory moments. It might be a little stereotypical at times but in a good way. I was expecting this book to read like a parody of the horror genre but it ended up being one of the better horror novels I have read this year.

I think one of my favourite things about Horrorstör is the characters. They are so relatable and recognizable. If you have worked in retail you have probably met at least one, if not all, of these characters before under different names as your co-workers. You have the girl who doesn’t want to be there, the middle aged single woman who LOVES her job and is very friendly, the uptight manager, the artsy 20-something girl with brightly coloured hair and the young 20-something nice guy. These are the people who are tasked with solving the mystery of what is happening in the store at night.

I loved this book so much that I am going to break my current book buying ban for it. I listened to the audiobook version of this novel but I have seen the physical copy online and it is designed to look like an IKEA catalog. That sounds amazing so I need my own copy.

Warnings:

Mild gore: Mostly broken bones and blood, mild horror.

Rating:

 

 

4 out of 5 Skulls

This is a solid horror novel and I think it would make a brilliant Halloween read if someone wanted a simple and fast paced creepy book. Lots of ghosts and threat, but nothing too offensive. An older teen or the usual YA reader could handle this one.

Dark Reads of the Month: August

This is a little later than  my usual monthly book posts because it was my 29th birthday last weekend so I was busy. Also I have been unpacking my library and that is taking a long time. Maybe I will share photos when it is finally finished.

So any way, on to the books for the month.

I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist


A group of strangers wake up one morning to find that everything outside has disappeared. Anything beyond their windows is now nothingness. What happened? Why did it only happen to them? And why do creepy figures and creatures keep appearing?

As I have mentioned in previous posts I am a huge fan of Lindqvist’s first novel Let the Right One In. It is one of the best vampire novels of all time in my opinion. So when the publisher asked me to read his new novel I jumped on it. This novel reads very much like a Stephen King book without the King tropes. It was The Langoliers without the disappointing ending. I can’t say much more without spoiling it so just read it for yourself if you are a fan of this kind of surreal horror with lots of mysterious happenings.

The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill


A young man with a life long obsession with a famous explorer decides to write a novel about his hero’s life and uncovers some horrific truths along the way.

This is very much along the lines of classic gothic fiction. I absolutely love everything by Susan Hill right now and her gothic novels are just what you need when the weather becomes more Autumny. This novel was a little longer than her other books but I enjoyed the slower pace of it. It was like a slowly unwrapped mystery burlesque.

If you have read all of the old gothic novels I suggest you pick her books up because they are basically old fashioned gothic literature written in modern times.

Charlotte Says by Alex Bell


This is the prequel to a novel I wrote about in my first Dark Reads of the Month post: Frozen Charlotte. This is a series about haunted dolls that make people do horrible things. In this prequel we find out about the history of the school Frozen Charlotte was set in and where the dolls came from.

Normally I don’t write about prequels or sequels to novels on here but I didn’t know this book was coming out until it was sent to me and I know a few people on here read Frozen Charlotte because of my post about it so I thought I would let you know about the newly released prequel.

This is a YA horror novel but it is seriously creepy so I think plenty of adults would enjoy it if they wanted a quick spooky read. I loved both novels and  I am 29 years old and not a big fan of young adult fiction. If dolls jamming pins into people’s eyes sounds icky enough for you maybe give this a read. It would make perfect Halloween reading. Just maybe read Frozen Charlotte first.

ARC REVIEW: I AM BEHIND YOU By John Ajvide Lindqvist

Synopsis:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

“A supernatural superthriller from the author of Let the Right One In

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming.”

Review:

Creepy, disturbing and confusing, I am Behind You is a novel that will keep you guessing.

When I first heard of this novel I automatically thought of one of the first Stephen King stories I read and that was The Langoliers. The Langoliers was a bit of a bust to me personally but I still liked the idea of a group of strangers waking up to find themselves suddenly cut off from the rest of the universe, so I hoped that this book would give me what The Langoliers was missing. Did it deliver on that front? Heck yes it did. In spades.

Not only did this book actually have the twist I wanted to see in The Langoliers but it also had something else, a creep factor. While Stephen King focused more on the human element with The Langoliers and that fell into a pile of nonsense at the end, I Am Behind You gives you both them human and supernatural element of horror. The characters start seeing freakish creatures and figures and they get increasingly worse and more horrifying as the book goes on.

The only real issue I found with this novel was the changing view points. Normally I am fine with a novel that changes character perspective but this book did it constantly. It meant that I found myself getting one or characters confused because they were similar.

I would say that this would make a great Halloween read. If you don’t want ghosts, and ghouls, but you want a disturbing adult novel that will get you thinking I would suggest picking this one up.

I Am Behind You is scheduled for release on the 7th of September. 

Rating:

 

 

3 out of 5

This is a pretty solid three out of five. I enjoyed this novel a lot but I dont feel quite right giving it four starts for some reason.

 

Waiting for Wednesday: I am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Book Synopsis:

“A supernatural superthriller from the author of Let the Right One In

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming.

This gripping conceptual horror takes you deep into one of the most macabre and unique imaginations writing in the genre. On family, on children, Lindqvist writes in a way that tears the heart and twists the soul. I Am Behind You turns the world upside down and, disturbing, terrifying and shattering by turns, it will suck you in.”

Why I need it:

What is going on in this novel?! Why has outside been deleted?! What did these families do?!
All of these questions I need answers for.

I am a huge fan of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s writing. Let the Right One In is probably one of my favourite novels and definitely my favourite vampire novel. You can read my review of it here. So it is safe to say that I am looking forward to his newest book.

The concept of this novel sounds like something from a Stephen King novel. It almost reminds me of The Langoliers with it being about a group of people who suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world. Hopefully it won’t contain any of The Langoliers time-whimy plot nonsense because that was when that story reached the point of stupidity.

Will this book be another brilliant novel from a brilliant author? I guess we will have to see when it comes out.

I am Behind You is scheduled for release on September 7th 2017

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

ARC REVIEW: Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Summary:

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:
“The much-anticipated prequel to the bestselling FROZEN CHARLOTTE, a Zoella Book Club title in Autumn 2016.
Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.

Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.”

Review:

Creepy dolls, ghost children and needles in eyeballs, what else would you want from a horror novel?

I read the first book Frozen Charlotte earlier this year and I was left dying for a prequel. I needed to know more about these creepy dolls. Where did they come from? Why did they want to kill people? Did I get what I wanted? Yes and no.

I got my prequel and it was just as creepy as I expected, but at the same time it was just a more detailed writing of events that were mentioned in passing in the first book. I enjoyed that but I would have liked a few more new things thrown in. That is the only negative thing I found about it. Other than that it was a brilliant read.

Even if a lot of it was a rehash of events mentioned in the last novel the book did have one new thing that made it stand out: A scary ghost. Yes the dolls are frightening but in this book there is also a ghost who visually is frightening. I am not easily scared but I wouldn’t want to see this ghost in person. I am not going to give spoilers, but ghosts who have their expression frozen like a death mask, especially when their death was horrible, are chilling. Imagine choking to death and your face being stuck like that forever. A pleasant image? No. Stuff of nightmares.

Also unlike the original book this novel contained a very realistic romance. I am not normally one for romance in novels but when it is realistic and isn’t getting in the way of the plot I can happily enjoy it. It was kept very to the side and was rather mature for the main romance in a teen novel and those traits made it rather sweet. If you aren’t big on romance you can enjoy this one without the annoying YA style love tropes being shoved in your face the whole time.

Warnings:

Will frighten younger readers, horror, threat, gore, animal cruelty and abuse.

Rating:

4 out of 5

I LOVED this book almost as much as I loved the first one. I would happily say that an adult would enjoy this simple horror read if they wanted something quick to fill an upcoming October night with. The perfect addition to anyone’s Halloween to-read list, but I would say, read the first book first, but that is just common sense.