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.

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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.

Waiting for Wednesday: Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Book Synopsis:

“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.”

Why I need it:

A Frozen Charlotte Prequel? Sign me right up.

So far Frozen Charlotte has been one of the best YA books that I have read this year, and because of that fact I am pumped for the prequel. In the original novel there was a lot of references to events that happened involving the dolls in the past and that made me want to know more about them. It looks like I have finally got my wish.

You can read my full review of Frozen Charlotte here.

I just hope that this novel will be as creepy and fast paced as the first book. I guess we will have to wait until September to find out.

Charlotte Says is scheduled for release on the 7th of September 2017.

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

Waiting for Wednesday: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Book Synopsis:

“Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.”

Why I need it:

I have never read a Stephanie Perkins book in my life but thanks to the book blogging world and its love for all things YA, sappy and wrapped in a sparkly pink cover I have heard of her. The reviews are usually positive even though her books are not to my taste at all. But here Perkins is trying her hand at horror and that finally got my attention enough to make me want to read one of her books. I love when writers branch out into different genres!

Slashers are my guilty pleasure. I usually love my horror complex and interesting but sometimes you just need some mindless gore and violence in your life. It is even better when that gore and violence comes with a side of mystery that keeps you wondering who the killer is throughout the novel.

I will admit though, this book sounds a lot like a rip off of the Urban Legends film series but I love that series and old urban legends so that doesn’t entirely put me off reading it. I don’t know about you but when I first heard the Babysitter and the Man Upstairs urban legend in primary school I lost sleep for weeks. The idea of not being entirely alone in your house has always frightened me so that made the title of this novel automatically stand out.

I am so excited for this book!

There’s Someone Inside Your House is scheduled for release on the 12th of September 2017

Are you a Perkins fan? If so let me know what you think of this genre change?

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

Waiting for Wednesday: When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

Book Synopsis:

“Dashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it’s even worse now that he’s dead….

After her troubled older brother, Dashiell, dies of an overdose, sixteen-year-old Ruby is overcome by grief and longing. What she doesn’t know is that Dashiell’s ghost is using her nightly dreams of him as a way to possess her body and to persuade her twin brother, Everett, to submit to possession as well.

Dashiell tells Everett that he’s returned from the Land of the Dead to tie up loose ends, but he’s actually on the run from forces crueler and more powerful than anything the Bohnacker twins have ever imagined….”

Why I need it:

Evil siblings, enough said.

I have seen possession as a plot point quite a bit, in fact this novel sounds similar to Chucky without the doll part of the story, but the fact that this book is about a dead sibling makes it a lot more interesting. When it comes to horrible family members there is always a feeling of being trapped. They are your sibling, you are supposed to love them and mourn their passing. But what if they were a terrible person who is trying to possess your twin brother? The whole situation in this novel automatically makes the living characters seem trapped. That is why I want to read this book.

I am also curious about the fact that someone who died of an overdose is possessing people. Was it a suicide via medication or was it recreational drugs? If they were recreational and he was an addict that might make him use while possessing people. Imagine being possessed by a ghost that makes you use drugs. Now that is real horror.

Maybe I am reading into this blurb too much or those elements won’t be as well written as I would like, but I guess I won’t know until I read it.

When I Cast Your Shadow is scheduled for release in September 12th 2017

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

TBR Spotlight: YA Horror

As some followers know normally I am not a fan of the YA genre. When it comes certain elements YA can be cheesey or straight up annoying, but there is one subcategory of YA that has surprisingly has never let me down so far and that is YA Horror. Yep, the usually neglected horror genre is a bright light in an age genre that is usually full of bland chosen ones, corny red flag romances, poorly thought out fantasy worlds and on going plagiarism battles. If you havent picked up a YA Horror novel you need you. They are usually easy to read and generally short novels. So, without further ado, here are 6 YA horror novels that have made it to my To-Read list.

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

About:
“You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.”

The Girl from the Well is a novel based on Japanese folklore and horror. This book is probably one of the books at the top of my to read pile due to my obsession with all things Japanese horror related. It sounds like The Ring with some vigilantism thrown in, what’s not to like?

Shutter by Courtney Alameda

About:
“Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.”

What first drew me to this novel was that it has the same title as a favourite film of mine. (Shutter 2008 or 2004. Both the American and Thai versions are brilliant if you want a horror mystery film to watch) This book and the film are not related in the slightest but the matching titles were enough to make me read the blurb. At first I was put off by the use of the name Hellsing because I am sick of that trope by now but the mention of spirit photography kept me interested. Spirit photography is a bit of a hobby of mine as I like to collect old and new spirit photos. They are creepy and are like playing Where’s Wally with a ghost. Maybe I should write a post sharing my favourite photos some time, but that isn’t book related…but I guess it would be if I reviewed this novel.


The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

About:
“Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.”

When I read the blurb of this novel my first thought was “What the hell is going on?” It sounds confusing but in the way a mystery should be. I am also interested in how the story is made up of reports, testimonials, the diary and video footage. I want to see how they will tie all of that together to make the story.

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

About:
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

I have heard a lot about this book and apparently it is a diverse horror read. I have been wanting to read more horror from other cultures so this book is right up my ally. Also I have heard that it contains a cult of some kind and that just adds to the creep factor.


Ten by Gretchen McNeil

About:
“It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?”

I will admit, this book sounds cheesy but sometimes you need a cheesy slasher book. This book reminds me of films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream. Sometimes you just need stupid teenagers running around being offed one by one until the killer is revealed. Mindless, violent and probably fast paced.

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

About:
“Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.”

I love when the blurb of a horror novel teases the fact that the whole thing could just be in a characters head. That sort of things always makes for a thoughtful read and reminds me of The Haunting of Hill House. (Another book you should really check out if you haven’t already) Where did the aunt go? What is the deadly legacy? And why is the cousin hearing voices? These are all questions I want an answer to.

Have you read any of the books mentioned above? If so let me know what you thought of them. Or suggest a good book. They don’t have to be horror or thriller, they can just be on the dark side.

Waiting for Wednesday: Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill

Book Synopsis:

“In this chilling stand-alone novel by the acclaimed David Macinnis Gill, sixteen-year-old Willow Jane discovers she has the ability to stop time, and witnesses an ancient evil infiltrating her Boston neighborhood and hunting her friends and family. This original and sinister spin on gothic tradition will appeal to fans of Asylum, American Horror Story: Coven, and The Walking Dead.

You cannot wake the Shadowless when she sleeps within my bed. Kiss the lips of the Shadowless and the morning finds you dead.

When a bolt of lightning causes a Boston-wide blackout on her sixteenth birthday, Willow Jane doesn’t think anything of it—until she begins stopping time, until she comes face-to-face with her menacing familiar, until her sister disappears. But these aren’t the only strange and horrifying things to come out of the storm. An ancient witch named the Shadowless has awoken and escaped from her crypt, and she’s looking for revenge on Willow Jane’s family.” 

Why I need it:

Personally I don’t think there is enough YA horror out there so when I see a new release in that genre that looks promising it goes straight on my to read list.

Honestly this book had me when the synopsis said it was for “fans of Asylum, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead” because I love 2 out of those 3 things. I am probably the only person in the world who hasn’t seen an episode of Walking Dead. When it comes to American Horror Story though I am a bit of a junkie.

The summary of this book that reminds of the Mara Dyer series. Another dark book where a teenage girl finds herself having sudden unexplained powers with a horror element. The Mara Dyer series might have had a disappointing ending but I will still always love the first and second books of the trilogy.

That cover is also seriously pretty. It is simple and impactful. And as someone who works in design that font made up of tiny twigs is just eye candy for me.

An interesting idea wrapped in a genre I want to read more from, Uncanny is one release I am looking forward to finally getting my hands on.

Uncanny is scheduled for release on the 5th of September 2017

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

What is your favourite YA Horror novel? Maybe I will read and review it.