Spooktober Reads

Halloween Book Recommendations.

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Book squirrel has a great collection of books for Halloween reading at
Book Squirrel’s Spooktober Reads. 

Ranging from creepy suspense to full-blown horror, these are some of the best Halloween reads around.

Stake Out by Lily Luchesi.

Lily Luchesi Stake Out

YA Paranormal.

In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge.

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Lac Du Mort and Other Stories by Joanne Van Leerdam

Lac Du Mort 6x9

Macabre/horror.

From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.

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Tunnels by P.J. Blakey-Novis.

Peter Blakey-Novis Tunnels

Horor.

From the author of Embrace the Darkness, Tunnels takes you on six terrifying journeys full of terror and suspense.

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Beyond by Alanah Andrews

Alanah Andrews Beyond

Dark fiction.

The future, ghosts, aliens, surprising twists, murder, love and beyond…

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Truly Unfortunate by C.A. King

C.A. King Truly Unfortunate

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

Which is stronger… the boundaries of reality or the safety on one’s own mind?

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The Dowling House by A Drew

A Drew The Dowling House

Horror/macabre.

An unseen world, where one just might discover the secrets that exist there, may be better off left to rot.

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Of Nightmare Realities by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Of Nightmare Realities

Horror.

Delirium and psychosis are beginning to set in. Are these visions real? Or merely the hallucinatory projections of your sleep-deprived mind?

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Road To Terror by S.K Gregory

SK Gregory Chills 1 Road to Terror

Horror/Suspense.

Aria is running from something she can’t quite remember.

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The Celtic Curse: Banshee by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Banshee

Horror/Ghosts/Folklore.

A young gypsy woman is murdered for falling in love with the son of an Irish clan leader. She curses the men responsible and their bloodline.

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Reaper’s Folly by Nikki Landis

Nikki Landis Reapers Folly

Horror/Dark Fantasy.

Anchored in Hell, in the dark Underworld, one tarnished soul has become captive to the Darkness.

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Fear Of The Dark by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Fear of the Dark

Horror.

Sometimes it’s not the dark you should be afraid of… it’s what’s hiding in it.

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The Nightmare by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan The Nightmare

Horror/Gothic

Seven cleverly crafted tales of gothic and contemporary horror to keep you awake at night.

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The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

Lily Luchesi The Coven Princess

Horror/Fairy Tale adaptation.

Your blood does not define you.

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Curious Times by Joanne Van Leerdam.

Curious Times eBook

Horror/dark humour.

Friday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories.

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Do Not Open Until Halloween by C.A. King

C.A. King Do Not Open Until Halloween

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

In this young adult fantasy, award-winning author, C.A. King, explores the answer to one of the questions readers have always wanted to ask… Where do fairies come from?

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Flash of Darkness by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Flash of Darkness

Horror.

Five flashes of terror to torment your mind…
Allow Eyenot to drag you through the darkness.
You may never find your way back to the light.

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A Flash of Light by S.K Gregory

S.K. Gregory Chills and Thrills 3

Creepy/Paranormal.

A Chills and Thrills Tale #3

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The Celtic Curse: Newgrange by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Newgrange

Horror/Suspense.

The Celtic Curse: Newgrange is a highly original and often macabre tale crafted from strands of legend, religion, ancient culture, sex, superstition, loyalty and friendship.

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Pieces of Heaven by Nikki Landis

NIkki Landis Pieces of Heaven

Horror/Paranormal.

A Haunted Horror of Visceral Regrets.

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Arachnattack by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Arachnattack

Horror.

What IS Project 26? They called it the summer of spiders…

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Death Comes Calling by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan Death Comes Calling

Gothic horror.

Death comes calling and decides to stay. A selection of dark fiction for lovers of gothic horror.

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Book Review: ‘Warm Shelter: A Ghost Story’ by Rich Hawkins

A powerful, dark short story.

Rich Hawkins Warm ShelterThis is a powerful story of one man’s descent into darkness. The author has drawn the reader into that journey by positioning them to look over Alex’s shoulder to see what he sees, but also by expressing the character’s thoughts and feelings in a really natural and familiar way. It’s a very good story, combining elements of horror, macabre, and suspense to keep the reader in the grip of the rising tension as the story progresses.

Perhaps the most striking quality of the story is the writing itself. It’s lean and precise but, at the same time, incredibly sensory and poetic. Hawkins skilfully causes imagery to flash into the mind of the reader and linger for a moment in such a way that the reader can not only see but also smell and taste those images, until the next scene and the next image takes its place. Hawkins makes great use of suggestion and foreboding to gradually darken the story, allowing the reader time to hypothesise and question before reaching the conclusion of the story. These elements combine to imbue the story with a nightmarish quality that evolves subtly at first and grows stronger as the tension of the story builds.

It’s a short read, but one that has a significant impact on the reader.  Acorn Award I Golden

‘Warm Shelter’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: Road to Terror by S.K. Gregory

SK Gregory Chills 1 Road to TerrorA short story laden with fear and doubt, the author takes the reader on a dark road with Aria. Aria is unknown but the urgency and desperation that Gregory creates is effective in hooking the reader into Aria’s flight and developing sympathy for her situation.

The story is well-crafted and comes with a great twist that is delivered very effectively. Acorn Award II Silver

Road To Terror has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Leopard in the Mist’ by S.E. Turner

This book, and the series to which it belongs, come highly recommended.

2018-09-18 19.28.17“Is that why we mourn so much in death, for the unsaid word in life? Is that why we can’t let go, for misplaced promises and the lost hours that we try to grab when it’s all too late?

Embedded in this beautiful story is a profound exploration of grief and loss, and the struggle that humans have in resolving their emotions and experiences when they confront the inevitable changes that accompany the passing of someone they have loved and valued.
At more than one point in the narrative, the reader is compelled to consider those soul-searching questions again as the overwhelming power of grief resonates deeply within both the characters and the reader.

It is a moving and at times heart-wrenching story of coming of age and fulfilling destiny by making the right decisions, not just for oneself but also for the society in which one lives.

The strands of different characters’ stories are drawn together in this book, having been interwoven and overlaid throughout the series so far. Overall, the series provides a rich and broad tapestry of narrative that blends earthen tones with royal purples and other vivid colours and textures.

When one of the characters reflects on the events and challenges of the past, and the things he has learned about society and humanity, he says “I personally can’t see a successful future where one person thinks they are better than another person.” This is where the relevance of this series for each of us is really driven home: when we treat one another as equals, we are all better off, both individually and collectively.

The third in Turner’s ‘KIngdom of Durundal’ series, ‘A Leopard In The Mist’ brings this excellent trilogy of books (thus far) full circle, providing unity and resolutions not only for its own part of the story, but also for the first two books in this excellent series.  Acorn Award I Golden

This excellent novel has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

 

If you have not read ‘A Hare In The Wilderness’ or ‘A Wolf In The Dark’, they come highly recommended.
Click on each title to read my reviews of books 1 and 2 in this fantastic series.

 

 

Audiobook Review: ‘A Blessing In Disguise’ by C H Clepitt

A delightful short story audiobook that can be enjoyed in one sitting.

CH Clepitt A Blessing In Disguise AudiobookI’ve enjoyed every book by C.H. Clepitt that I’ve read, so I was keen to see how this book worked as an audiobook.

The story is read by Margaret Ashley. Her voice is very expressive and easy to understand, with a lovely British accent that makes listening a pleasure. The reading of the story is well paced and articulate, so it’s easy to follow.

The story itself is lighthearted and whimsical, the sort of thing you’d find on a lovely British TV sitcom. With the subtitle “Life Begins at 48”, this story uses warmth and humour to draw the audience into the all-too-familiar-these-days scenario of a middle-aged woman’s life taking unexpected turns one after the other. The main character Linda is likeable and, although somewhat cynical, takes the surprises and twists of life in her stride. ‘A Blessing in Disguise’ reminds the audience that problems and complications do sometimes bring their own rewards, and that life really is what we make of it in choosing how we will respond and resolve the situations we find ourselves in.

A fairly short story of 26 minutes’ duration, it’s easily enjoyed in one sitting.

Acorn Award I GoldenThis excellent audiobook has been awarded a Gold Acorn, and is also available as an ebook.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Dragon School: First Flight’ by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Compelling YA fantasy that captivates the imagination.

Sarah KL‘Dragon School: First Flight’ is a compelling YA fantasy adventure story. Filled with danger, excitement and discovery, this book introduces Amel Leafbrought, a teenage girl embarking on life as a trainee dragon rider.

Amel does not see herself as heroic, yet she is. She does not allow her disability to limit either her dreams or her determination, nor does she give in to the taunts from those who cannot see past it. She does, however, allow herself to express the fear and misery that is all-too-familiar to those who bear the brunt of discrimination and bullying. The reader develops empathy with Amel not because of the way in which others treat her, rather than because of her disability, purely because while her physical limitations are challenging, they are not the greatest cause of distress to her. The ways in which she responds to both kinds of challenge are generally positive and proactive, and allow her individual qualities to shine. The realisation that she has abilities others do not is a source of encouragement to both Amel and the reader.

The author has portrayed the best and the worst qualities of humanity in the characters that make up the cast of the story. Some are kind, some are hateful, while others are indifferent for various reasons. In this, a fact of life is portrayed quite realistically: each of us has to work out who we can trust, who we cannot, and who are our allies if we are to find our path in life and navigate it successfully.

‘Dragon School’ captivated my imagination as powerfully as I remember Harry Potter doing when I first read it, but it is most definitely not a “copycat” concept.

There are so many elements of this book that work really well. The world building is unique and interesting, the social systems are complex and fascinating at the same time, the complications and challenges are dangerous, and the things for which Amel and her peers must strive are important.

I am excited to see this narrative develop and expand, and to see Dragon School and Amel become the enormous success that it deserves to be.

This series is now on my “one-click”list, and all who love YA fantasy, magic, and dragons should ensure it is on theirs, too.  Acorn Award I Golden

While ‘Dragon School: First Flight’ is only a short book, it is a most excellent one, and most worthy of a Golden Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Incredible Aunty Awesomesauce’ by J.S. Frankel

This brilliant book that should be on every teen’s reading list.

Jesse Frankel The Incredible Aunty AwesomesauceWhat a brilliant read! Highly original and very imaginative, the author takes YA sci-fi to a new level by demonstrating how very believable is the concept that we are “not alone” in the universe. By setting this story in our world, he positions the reader to explore thought-provoking questions about identity, self-knowledge and acceptance of others for who and what they are. This story is so engaging and action packed, it was really hard to put the book down once I had started reading.

Sam and Kym are both very realistic and relatable teenage characters. Both have endured bullying in different ways by their peers, and both finding their own ways of dealing with that. Their friendship and the way in which it develops is natural and the pair complement each other really well. The author has made Kym in particular a really strong and proactive character, and it’s great to see that she remains a positive female role model by really taking it up to the antagonists in the story and using her intelligence and strengths to counteract some really negative behaviours and attitudes.

Acorn Award I Golden

‘The Incredible Aunty Awesomesauce’ is a book that should be on every teen’s reading list and in every library, and is fully deserving of a Gold Acorn.

 

Find your copy at Amazon, Kobo, or Nook – if you prefer a different store, it’s probably there, too!