Category Archives: Book Lists

Compilations and lists

Haunting October: 9 Spooky Books On My List This Year

HauntingOctober Spooky Books

Last year, I decided to read only “Halloweeny” books for the entire month of October. I called it Haunting October. It took me way outside my comfort zone, helped me finally cross some books off my “to-read” list, and was also a whole lot of fun. Naturally, I decided to do it again this year!

I’ve been putting my list together, and while I doubt I’ll manage all of these, I’m super excited about all of them. For me, anything even remotely Halloween-related counts. That means the book can be horror, or not. I read a couple last year that were definitely not horror, but had witches, and that worked for me. That said, the whole point was to read things I wouldn’t typically read (and get in a spooky mood!), so you’ll see a few more horror on my list this year!

9 Spooky Books on my List This Year 

It wouldn’t be a Halloween-themed month without a Bradbury book, would it? (Eventually I’m going to run out of Bradbury books, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.) The October Country is a collection of spooky short stories, perfect for reading before bed.

 

 

 

 

Next up, Joe Hill’s The Fireman. I debated between this one and Horns (which is probably more Halloweeny), but if I’m honest, The Fireman is more appealing. I think we have both the audiobook and the physical copy, so this one may be my listen for the month.

 

 

 

 

I first read Shirley Jackson last year, when our book club picked I Have Always Lived in the Castle as one of our reads. I’d heard of her, of course, and The Haunting of Hill House is supposed to be one of her finest works, as well as one of the ultimate examples of horror writing. If it’s anything like Castle, it’ll be super creepy and unnerving. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

Because, duh. Seriously, A Monster Calls is supposed to be THE book. I’ve read several reviews saying the physical copy is worth it for the illustrations alone, so I’ll have to check my used bookstore for it. If not, maybe the library.

 

 

 

 

I’m also eventually going to run out of Gaiman books (write faster, Neil!!). Another that’s been on my list for a while, I love the description and am eagerly looking forward to reading it. I didn’t realize Neverwhere was his first novel, either, so that’ll be fun. And you guys know how much I love Neil Gaiman…or if you don’t, just take a look at my reviews of American Gods, Norse Mythology, or The Graveyard Book.

 

 

 

Bird Box is supposed to be super creepy – so creepy even Jimmie doesn’t want to read it. We’ll see if I’m brave enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve had a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth on my bookshelf since it came out in 2009. It’s one (of many) I’ve just never made time for. The description reminds me a little of that M. Night Shyamalan movie, The Village. This one makes me a little nervous since the Goodreads rating is a little low (3.59), but we’ll see.

 

 

 

 

And finally….yes. I’m one of the only readers in the world who STILL hasn’t read The Passage. Unless Jimmie traded it in, we have this one too. It’s enormous, and that terrifies me.

 

Just kidding, one more. Those are some dark and spooky covers. I should probably throw in a silly cozy mystery. Allison Brook’s Death Overdue will do nicely! It’s the first in a new series, and I’m all about a haunted library. Can’t wait to read this one. It releases on October 10th.

 

 

 

 

Anyone else reading Halloweeny books next month? What are your favorite spooky, witchy, creepy stories?

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beachbooks

6 Books in My Beach Bag this Summer

My beach bag is full of books. 

I’m in sunny Riviera Maya, Mexico, at the Royalton Riviera Cancun resort, and I’ve stuffed my beach bag full of (hopefully) engaging, thrilling, and fun books. Will I get through them all? Probably not, but I’m sure going to try.

I like to take a mix of both print and ebook books with me on vacation. I can’t deny the convenience of having a couple dozen books available on my Kindle, but there’s also just something about reading an actual book on the beach. So I’ll admit, I have many more books with me than are on this list. But, let’s just roll with it. So which books made it into the beach bag?

Young Adult

If you’ve read any of my Book Bites posts for the last….oh, I don’t know, 3 months?, you’ve no doubt seen Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch has been on it for the entire time. I unearthed it from the tower on my nightstand, and threw it in the suitcase, so we’ll see if I get to it!

 

 

 

 

daughterofthepirateking

I’ve debated and debated about picking up Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King for months now, simply because I was waiting for more reviews to come in. I’m always skeptical of brand new books with super high reviews – a lot of reviewers tend to throw out 4s and 5s left and right. That’s ok, but doesn’t always reflect how I’m going to feel about a book. The premise interested me from Day 1, but I’ve read a lot of really lackluster YA lately (I’m looking at you, Caraval.) However, with 6500+ reviews and a solid 4.0 on Goodreads, I’ve got high hopes.

 

 

Chick Lit

little beach street bakeryI loved Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner so much that I knew I wanted to read as many of hers as I could. It’s no surprise, then, that I grabbed and ran with The Little Beach Street Bakery the moment I saw it in my local used bookstore. (And it was $2.50 – score!) It’s been torture saving it for Mexico, and it’s probably the one I’ll have already finished by the time you read my post. If I’m honest, I’ll probably finish it on the plane before we even get to the resort, but who cares. You can read my full review of The Bookshop on the Corner here.

 

 

 

 

Thriller

darkmatter

Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter has been on my list since before it came out, and I finally decided to just take the plunge and buy it. I used to read thrillers all the time, but in the last few years, pretty much only ever read them at the beach. They’re engaging and it’s hard to feel terrified when you’re sipping cocktails under palm trees. (Remember that time I read The Woman in Cabin 10 while putting back mimosas? I’m looking to recreate the moment.)

 

 

 

 

Nonfiction

I’ve had it on hold long enough. It’s time to finally read a Roxanne Gay book, considering how well regarded they are. I’ve got the ebook of Difficult Womenand I think I can at least get through a couple of the essays in between margaritas.

 

 

 

 

 

Classic

I debated long and hard about whether or not to bring the brick that is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. In the end, I decided the extra weight wasn’t worth it, but I used a Scrib’d credit on the ebook. Will I make any progress on it? We’ll see, but something tells me Scarlett O’Hara is a perfect beach companion.

 

 

 

 

You might notice I don’t have any cozy mysteries in my beach bag. I’ll agree, cozies are probably some of the ultimate beach books. However, I have about 40 of them on my shelves, and since they take me roughly 2 hours to read, are not a good use of baggage allowance! I do have a few on my Kindle, though, so if I get desperate I’ve always got them for backup!

What kinds of books do you take on vacation? Should I have put anything different in my beach bag?

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5 Great Audiobooks for National Audiobook Month

audiobookmonthJune is National Audiobook Month

Happy Audiobook Month! For several years now, the Audio Publishers Association has held a national campaign every June to promote audiobook listening. Librarians, booksellers, publishers, and the rest of the reading world come together to celebrate the joys of listening to books. I’ll admit, I’m a little late to the party, since the month is nearly half over. Regardless, I couldn’t miss a chance to join in!

It seems like we’re all over the board when it comes to audiobooks. I know people who would never finish a book if not for audio – and then I know people who consider listening to a book “cheating.” I know people who say they can’t pay attention to the book if they listen to it, and people who find they pick up more listening than reading. And I know plenty of people who have just never tried one!

At one time or another, I’ve been all of those people. I listened to my first audiobook in August 2016. I’d always thought I’d get bored by listening. Plus there was the time factor – I could easily read two or even three books in the time it would take to listen to one. But, I had a trip to Atlanta coming up, and I was driving by myself, and I was bored with all my music. I signed up for a free trial of Scribd, downloaded a book, and off I went. It took me about half an hour to get used to the experience, but by then I was engrossed in the story and knew I was going to finish it. And now here I am, writing a post about audiobooks for Audiobook Month! So without further ado….

5 Great Audiobooks for National Audiobook Month

If You’ve Never Listened to an Audiobook, Try…

theravenboys

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven BoysThe first of the series, The Raven Boys is a captivating story by an author who knows how to grab (and keep) your attention. Will Patton’s narration (you may know him from movies like Remember the Titans and Armageddon) is breathtaking, and it’s no wonder he’s won an Audie award for Best Male Narrator. Review in this post.

 

 

 

 

If You Need a Beach-Worthy Audiobook, Try…

bookshoponthecornerJenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner. It’s a feel-good story for any book lover. Be warned, though, I gave all the characters in the next two books I read Scottish accentsafter listening to Lucy Price-Lewis’ narration. This is a perfect light read with substance, not to mention an excellent travelogue. I’m planning a trip to Scotland now, and I 100% blame this book. You can read my full review here.

 

 

 

 

If You’re Short on Time, Try…

norsemythologyNeil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. Just over 6 hours in length, and each myth has its own chapter. Unlike a lot of other audiobooks, the chapter endings don’t feel like cliffhangers. That makes Norse Mythology easily digestible, especially if you have limited listening time. And as for narration? Neil Gaiman is superb. Hearing an author read his or her own work is kind of the ultimate experience, since you get to hear it exactly how the author intended. Full review here.

 

 

 

If You Need a Book Club Recommendation, Try…

undergroundrailroadColson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. It won the National Book Award last year for a reason. It’s timely, compelling, and in-your-face. I listened to this separate from book club, but I wish I knew someone else who’d read it so we could discuss. There’s so much here to talk about, and not just about the past either. Bahni Turpin does the narration, and her ability to convey the emotion and turmoil of the story is remarkable. Full review here.

 

 

 

For Epic Feats of Narration, Try…

sleepinggiantsSylvain Nuevel’s Sleeping GiantsThe audio version features a full-cast recording. The story is told in a series of vignettes – interviews, case files, journal entries, and the like. Having the full-cast recording makes the listening experience that much richer, because you feel like you’re really getting to know each character. Review is coming on this one!

 

 

 

 

How are you celebrating National Audiobook Month? What audiobook should I listen to next? Leave a comment below telling me your favorite recordings!

Not an audiobook listener yet? Use my link to get two free months of Scribd! Rent audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, and more. You’ll get two audiobooks and 6 ebooks during your trial, and if you continue after that, it’s just $9 a month.