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Wednesday, October 25, 2017


I've never made a secret of the fact that I LOVE Halloween. Every little last thing about it thrills me, from the bats and cats and copious candy, to the creepy costumes and scary movie marathons. And one of my favorite things to do in October to embrace all that Halloween has to offer, is to inject a little bit of the creepy and tense and atmospheric into the books I read. I talked about this recently, at the start of this month's 30 Day Book Binge, and I even used to host an event in October called Helluva Halloween, that was all about these books!

But since I've really been embracing the whole audiobook thing lately (current listen: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, which I am loving), and since the format of audiobooks adds the potential for a whole extra layer to the creep fest, via sound effects, spine-shivering voices, and the general cozy-creepy aura that comes with late night, cool weather storytelling ala campfire urban legends, I thought I'd share some of MY personal favorite recommendations to cozy up with on a cool October night, when the wind is howling and you're ready to settle in and give yourself the chills.


Do I ever not recommend Anna Dressed in Blood? This straight forward horror novel is by turns gruesome and full of heart, and beyond being one of my favorite YA horror reads, it's one of my favorite reads, period. I don't care if she is a little bloodthirsty, I. Love. Anna!
I recommend this for anyone who doesn't have a weak stomach, but especially for fans of urban legends and Supernatural.

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now armed with his father's mysterious and deadly atheme, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage. She still wears the dress she wore in the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, it is now stained red and dripping with blood.

Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. Yet she spares Cas's life.

Narrated by: August Ross

I've mentioned before that I don't just crave scary things in October, but also (perhaps moreso) things that just have that certain October atmospheric vibe. It's hard to say what it is, exactly, but I think you all know it -- it just feels like an October read.
Moira Fowley-Doyle's debut definitely fits that bill.

Every October, Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident prone. Some years it's bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season - when Cara; her ex-stepbrother, Sam; and her best friend, Bea, are 17 - is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.

Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she'll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she'll uncover the dark origins of the accident season - whether she's ready or not.

Narrated by: Colby Minifie

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray

Nominated for a 2013 Audie Award (aka, people dig this audiobook), The Diviners is the perfect blend of building atmosphere and flat-out goosebump-inducing horror. You can find more of my coverage of it here, but basically, this was one of my favorite books of 2012, and I kinda can't believe I haven't picked up book 2 already...

Something dark and evil has awakened....

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened....

Narrated by: January LaVoy
This audiobook includes an introduction read by Libba Bray.


This book.
By far one of my all time favorites, with one of the best opening paragraphs and compelling narrators I've ever read.
I seriously, seriously, seriously cannot recommend this underrated little gem enough, ESPECIALLY for this time of year.

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune—and manages to penetrate into their carefully shielded lives. Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the revelation of a terrible secret.

Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne


This gritty, true-crime-feeling YA is so fraught with tension that it actually got my blood pumping, so it's an obvious choice for this time of year.

For fans of Gillian Flynn's Dark Places and Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars, The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell - and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn't have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons - and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they'll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial Callie drifted, and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette - to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie's dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer - and this time it won't be so easy to run away.

Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie

I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga

As a general rule, I tend to prefer real life horror (stalkers and serial killers and psychopaths) to monster horror, because real horror means it could really happen -- and that's much scarier. I Hunt Killers is a perfect example of this, that ups the ante in some creative ways and is layered throughout with the most glorious nail-biting tension.

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer. But he's also the son of a (now incarcerated) infamous serial killer, and "Dear Old Dad" (as Jazz calls him) has taught Jazz everything he knows. But what Jazz doesn't know is whether or not he is destined to follow in his father's footsteps. He knows he has urges, but he also knows (hopes) that he has a conscience, that he isn't like his father, that he can follow his own path. And so, in an effort to right his father's wrongs, Jazz decides to help the police (although they don't know it yet) hunt down "The Impressionist" - a new serial killer in town.

As The Impressionist kills more victims, Jazz uses the "skills" he's learned to determine the killer is copying his father's career - almost to the letter. Everyone in town thinks that Jazz could be the murderer, and why shouldn't they? The only people that stand by him are his hemophiliac best friend, Howie, and his tough, beautiful girlfriend, Connie - one of the few girls Jazz feels comfortable around given his father's history: His dad may have murdered dozens of women, but they were all white, and Connie is black.

As the bodies pile up, Jazz struggles with determining his "true" destiny. Ultimately, he manages to stop The Impressionist, but in the meantime learns his father has escaped from his maximum security prison, and Jazz may have played a role in his escape.... For now he's safe, but he knows his dad is out there, somewhere, looking for his next victim....

Narrated by: Charlie Thurston

There are so, so many more atmospheric or downright horrifying books out there that I heartily recommend (you can find more on my goodreads shelf), and of course, plenty more that I haven't read yet -- a good browse through the mystery & thriller, and horror sections of Audible will likely fill your basket with some creeptastic goodies.

And you can read any one of these that I've recommended or that you found while browsing (or have had on your wishlist!) for freeas part of a FREE 30 day trial from Audible.
I know.

So get to listening and get to shivering, and let me know which delightfully dreadful books YOU recommend for Halloween reading in the comments!
You've got one week to go, my tender lumplings. Make it good.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.  The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

OCTOBER #30DayBookBinge | vlog the first

Heyyy. Enjoy this much-belated and probably-too-long vlog for the first week of the 2nd 30 Day Book Binge! And pray for me that I'll somehow be able to keep up with this endless editing and get week 2 up in a reasonable amount of time...

Things Read:
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue
Revival, vol 5
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

"Old Bossa" and "Spooky Ride" by Twin MusicomSource:
Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org

"Front Porch Sitter" by Audionautix
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

All are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

#30DayBookBinge PRINTABLES: Autumn 2017 Edition + October TBR!

Today's the day, it is now official: the second 30 Day Book Binge has begun!

As promised, I've made new printables for this month's reading challenge. If you're unfamiliar, the goal of 30 Day Book Binge is to build a consistent reading habit, and just, frankly, TO READ. It doesn't matter the amount of time you read — 5 mins, 5 hours — or the type of material you read — big ol' paperback, digital comic, audiobook, newspaper, cereal box... — all that matters is that you read something every single day for 30 days. If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up -- just pick up a book and get back to it!

To help you track what you're reading and when (if you're into that sort of thing), and to keep you motivated, I've made some printable (or savable) bits that might come in handy. You can find and download them all here.

In the folder, you'll find:

  • Two versions of October calendar (one blank, and one with check boxes, if you're the box checking type)
  • A stand-alone reading log, if you'd rather keep it separate from your calendar.
  • Weekly printables & a month wrap-up (same as last time) for organizing your thoughts, saving quotes, and tracking your progress.
  • And a set of 5 watercolor bookmarks to download and use this month!
And with any luck, a little free time and some motivation, there will be a few more printables thrown in here and there as well. If there's something you'd like to see, let me know!

In addition to the printables, I've also started a daily bookstagram challenge to go along with the Book Binge! This was very much requested at the end of the last Book Binge, and though I don't expect everyone (even myself!) to keep up with it, I think it'll be an added layer of fun!

Now, onto my (sort of) TBR for this month!

Honestly, who knows what I'm reading this month -- but it WILL be something, and it WILL be daily!

The Wicker King
The Night Circus
A Girl Like That
I Stop Somewhere
To Kill a Kingdom
Crooked Kingdom
Between the Spark & the Burn
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
Amid Stars and Darkness
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue
When Dimple Met Rishi

FORGOT TO MENTION Wayward Daughters

Most recent book haul
The Accident Season -- recommend me things like this!!!

So... that's it for this very long post! I do hope you'll join me this month for the 30 Day Book Binge. It was a lot of fun seeing what everyone was reading the first time around, and it was GREAT encouragement and motivation!


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