Recommended Reads: Halloween!

Recommended Reads: Halloween!

BOOK REVIEW (6)
Today I thought I would try something different and give a list of recommendations for the perfect books to read at Halloween. I’m going to try and do these more often, so I might do seasonal ones and holiday ones too.

Untitled design (17)1. The Silent Companions – Laura Purcell
This is without a doubt one of the scariest books I have ever read. The story follows Elsie, a young widow who has moved into her later husband’s stately manor home in the country. Without only her husband’s cousin for company she explore the house and finds a painted wooden figure – a silent companion. She feels the eyes of the painting constantly following her and with the help of an ancestral journal she finds out that the companion is a lot more than it seems. This book was dark, Gothic and terrifying, it’s definitely the perfect choice for Halloween reading.
Also Try: The Corset – Laura Purcell: Laura’s newest creepy Victorian tale. 

Untitled design (5)2. The Wicked Deep – Shea Earnshaw
This story follows the cursed town of Sparrow, in which 200 years ago three sisters were drowned because the town believed they were witches. Now each year the sisters return to possess bodies of the local teenage girls, using them to lure boys into the water and drown them. This story has so much atmosphere and a really vivid setting. It’s creepy and has lots of twists and turn. I raced through it and it’s a really well told tale.
Also Try: The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert: A dark tale about a young girl who enters a land of fairy tales created by her reclusive grandmother.

Untitled design (16)3. Small Spaces – Katherine Arden
This is a middle grade novel that is spooky, unsettling and a fun adventure tale. Ollie is going home from school when she finds a young woman trying to destroy a book in the river. Rescuing the book, she takes it home and begins to read the tale of a family and the horrors that have happened to them. The next day she goes on a school trip to a local farm where she learns that the story might not be entirely fictional… This story is so enjoyable and spine-tingling. It’s an excellent adventure story and perfect for Halloween.
Also Try: The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden: This is an adult fantasy, but incredibly atmospheric and set in a frozen Russian landscape, making it perfect to dive into on a chilly Halloween night!

Untitled design (18)4. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White
This year marks 200 years since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. If you’ve read the book or are looking for something a bit more accessible to start off, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is the perfect choice. Told from the point of view of one of the few female characters in the story, the book is fast paced, dark and disturbing. It’s a truly excellent retelling and a brilliant Halloween book.
Also Try: And I Darken – Kiersten White: This is the author’s series of Vlad the Imapaler (Dracula) retellings, but reimagined as a woman.

Untitled design (13)5. City of Ghosts – V. E. Schwab
V. E. Schwab’s first middle grade book is the perfect addition to your Halloween reading. The story follows Cassidy, a young girl who can see ghosts. When her parents are asked to create a TV series about ghosts they travel to Edinburgh to begin filming. Here Cassidy meets all kinds of ghosts and not all of them are friendly. This story has such a stunning setting in Edinburgh and is all kinds of dark and creepy.
Also Try: Vicious – V. E. Schwab: A dark and gritty story of two best friends turned enemies who try to make themselves superhuman and the death and destruction that follows.

Untitled design (14)6. We Have Always Lived In The Castle – Shirley Jackson
No creepy book list would be complete without a mention of a Shirley Jackson book. Merricat and her sister Constance live with their Uncle Julian in a grand estate home. Several years ago four of the Blackwood family were poisoned with arsenic and died. While acquitted for the murders, the family are still the talk of the villagers. When a distant relative comes to visit, the future becomes fraught with danger. What will happen to the sisters, and will the truth of the murders come out? Shirley Jackson has a way of making stories so dark and intense and this is a perfect unsettling tale.
Also Try: The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson: This story follows four people who come to stay at Hill House looking for spooky phenomenon and the horror that awaits them inside. It is not also a super scary Netflix series too!

Untitled design (19)7. Dark Matter – Michelle Paver
This story is so spine tingling and eerie! I’ve read it a few times and it’s still as creepy as it was the first time I read it. The story is told in a series of journal entries from a young man who is part of an expedition to the icy baren wilderness of the Arctic. As things start to go wrong and his companions are forced to leave, our narrator Jack is left along in this freezing land, but is he really alone, or something watching him? I couldn’t put this down and it’s definitely one my favourite books of all time.
Also Try: Thin Air – Michelle Paver: A story in the similar vein about an expedition up a mountain in which things start to go wrong. It’s not as good as Dark Matter but it’s still an excellent creepy tale.

Untitled design (15)8. Wytches – Scott Snyder
This is the first volume in a series of graphic novels by Scott Snyder. This story is haunting with some really stunning artwork. I read it for the first time earlier this year and really wish I’d kept it for closer to October. This story follows witches (obviously) but not the kind that you think you know. Hiding in the woods, these witches are ancient, and they’re hungry.
Also Try: The Woods – James Tynion: The story of a school with 500+ students and staff that mysteriously disappear. Where could they have gone? And what’s waiting for them when they get there?

Untitled design (20)9. See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt
This book isn’t so much scary as it is atmospheric and disturbing. A fictionalised account of Lizzie Borden, a young woman accused of murdering her mother and father with an axe. The story is told in a very visceral way and it is a really impressive debut novel. “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”
Also Try: The Witch Finder’s Sister – Beth Underdown: A historical fictional novel about a young man who accused women of witchcraft. 

Untitled design (21)10. The Willows – Algernon Blackwood
During my English degree we did a class on the fantastic and elements of a story that make you feel unsettled even if there’s nothing these. Tasked to find a book and write an essay on this, I found and read The Willows. This book really frightened me, partly because you never really see or find out what’s going on. In the vein of H.P. Lovecraft the story follows two friends camping by the Danube river when they are forced to pause their trip. During their stay something in the environment starts stalking their every move and the two companions aren’t sure they will make it out alive. This short tale is one of my absolute favourites and if you like haunting creepy books that you can absolutely fly though, definitely try this.
Also Try: Anything by H. P. Lovecraft: His stories are dark, eerie and definitely unsettling.

So that’s my top list of Halloween recommendations. If you’ve read any of these let me know what you thought and if you have any good recommendations for me then definitely comment below!

Blog Tour: Strange Ink – Gary Kemble

Blog Tour: Strange Ink – Gary Kemble

BOOK REVIEW (5)
Release Date: 9th October 2018
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 391
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

After moving into a new house, journalist Harry Hendrick wakes up with tattoos that aren’t his…

When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past. One way or another, he has to right the wrongs.

Review

Untitled design (12)This is a hard hitting thriller that is completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The story follows a journalist struggling with his career who one day wakes up with a tattoo he has no memory of getting. He believes it to be a drunken mistake but as more tattoos begin to appear he learns that something much darker is going on. The idea of tattoos appearing that weren’t yours really intrigued me and I’m so glad I picked this up. It’s a dark mysterious story that hooks you from the very first chapter.

The plot is intricately weaved and incredibly clever. It’s a mystery/thriller with a pinch of horror and a dash of romance. It mixes together to create a really memorable and enjoyable read.

Harry is a really fascinating protagonist. His job at the Chronicle leaves much to be desired and things aren’t really going his way. I really enjoyed watching him progressed as the story went on, and there’s an impressive amount of character growth in this story. He’s a complex character and one that readers are really going to grow attached to.

The story is pretty quick paced with short chapters that make you keep saying “one more chapter.” Strange Ink’s original concept, gripping writing and beautiful cover should certainly make it top of your wish list this autumn.
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Strange Ink Banner

Book Review: Easy Prey – Catherine Lo

Book Review: Easy Prey – Catherine Lo

BOOK REVIEW (4)
Release Date: October 16th 2018
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 352
Find It On: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was given an ARC of this book at YALC.

Synopsis

Secrets and revenge run rampant in the Internet age—Easy Prey keeps you guessing until the final reveal.

Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number—and private photos—with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal.

Review

Untitled design (11)Easy Prey is a perfect autumn read – it’s dark, mysterious and absolutely unputdownable.

The story follows three students who are accused of leaking racy photos of a teacher on Twitter. The three students are completely different – the geeky brainiac who is whizz with computers, the popular athlete and the good girl turned rebel after her own racy photos were leaked online. They all claim their innocent, but if they didn’t do it who did?

The one thing about psychological thrillers if that you can often tell what the ending is going to be, for that reason I don’t read too many thrillers, however with Easy Prey I would never have guessed the ending in a million years. It was an excellent twist and I definitely raced through this intense book because I was dying to know how it was going to end.

I really liked the characters. The story was told in alternating points of view with each of the three students and it was fascinating to see things play out from different perspectives – it definitely added to the mystery surrounding which one was guilty. The characters are much more than their stereotypes of the geek, jock and rebel girl and I loved that as the book continued you learned more and more about them. They are definitely morally grey characters and nothing is what it seems in this story. The book also really delves into the issues of leaked photos and privacy on the internet – something that really needs to be discussed more in books.

Easy Prey is absolutely a five star read for me. If you’re looking for something mysterious and fast paced, this book is perfect for cuddling up on a dark autumn night.

5 stars

Waiting on Wednesday: The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

Waiting on Wednesday: The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

BOOK REVIEW (3)

Synopsis

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Thoughts

Untitled design (10)Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday. This week I’m talking about the gorgeous Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. This is a new fantasy series from the author of The Bone Season and I’m dying to read it. They gave away some beautiful ARCS to bloggers and I am very jealous of those getting to dive into early. I’m excited to see how Shannon creates this new world and I’m looking forward to seeing the dragons and read more of Shannon’s beautiful writing. I also adore the cover and am only slightly intimated by the size – nearly 900 pages! The Priory of the Orange Tree is coming February 26th 2019 from Bloomsbury Books.

Book Review: The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey

Book Review: The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey

BOOK REVIEW (2)
Series: Sovereign #1
Release Date: June 25th 2018
Pages: 303
Find It On: Goodreads. BookDepository. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

Review

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey is the first in a new fantasy series in which we follow the residents of the Blue – the last remaining city on Earth. As soon as I picked this book up I was hooked on this intense and action packed story, and I’m so excited to find out what’s in store next!

Untitled design (9)The story is told in alternating points of view – one from Cameron, a noble with many secrets in his past, out in the wilds attempting to find someone who disappeared many years ago, and Julia, a young girl forced to serve the reigning nobles. I really liked the differing perspectives in this story, the characters were really complex and fascinating and I certainly found myself becoming attached to them as the story progressed.

The Gilded King is definitely an unpredictable story – I was never quite sure where it was going to turn next. The world building is excellent and Jaffrey has created a really fascinating world with a whole wealth of paranormal creatures. The story is well paced and has plenty of action, ramping up more and more to the intense ending. The story blends action packed moments with romance and mystery incredibly – this makes for one really exciting story. If you’re a fantasy lover, this is bound to be your new favourite series.
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Magical Readathon – Charms Extra Credit Wrap Up!

Magical Readathon – Charms Extra Credit Wrap Up!

BOOK REVIEW (1)
So for the Magical Readathon I was hoping to try and read five books and that will give me a five day head start next year. Alas that didn’t quite work out. I read three books from my TBR, started the fourth and then also finished a book that wasn’t on my TBR at all –  so let’s take a look at the books I managed to read.

Untitled design (5)Challenge #4 – Rictusempra (a book that tickles you in the right way i.e an exciting trope/genre/theme)
For this I went for The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw because I love stories about witches and I got this book for my birthday. I thought it would be totally up my street and I was absolutely right. It was full of surprises, it was so atmospheric and beautiful and I flew through it. I gave it 5/5 stars and a full review for this book will be coming really soon!

Untitled design (6)Challenge #2 – Accio (Read a book at the top of your TBR)
For this I read Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller. I read Daughter of the Pirate King earlier and the year and have been dying to pick this up. This was another birthday book so I was really excited to get to it. The second instalment was a lot darker, dealing with the horrible things Alosa’s father has done. I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as the first book in the series, so I gave it 4/5 stars.

Untitled design (7)Challenge #5 – Lumos (Read a book with a light cover)
I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a while so I went with One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. This book is so twisty and turny, I really had no idea who was behind the murder and who was telling the truth. I also liked the romance aspect of the story, it was nice to have that additional layer to the story. I read this one really quickly and gave it 4/5 stars.

Untitled design (8)Challenge #1 – Alohamora (Read the first book in a series)
Now I had originally planned to read Mirage by Somaiya Daud, and I have started this and am really enjoying it, however I did end up starting and finishing Vicious by V. E. Schwab. This is the first in her Villains series with Vengeful having just come out. I was dying to read them both so who can blame me for picking up Vicious? I absolutely loved the complex morally gray characters and the dark plot of this story. Needless to say I gave it 5/5 stars and I can’t wait to read Vengeful.

So those are the books I managed to read for the magical readathon. I’m pretty pleased with my four out of five challenges complete and I really enjoyed all the books that I read. I’m still hoping to read the two other books I mentioned – Mirage and The Winter of the Witch – this month, so check back for my October wrap up and see if I manage it!

September Book Haul!

September Book Haul!

The Bibliophile Chronicles (9)
I’m back today with my September book haul! Now this book haul is actually going to be split into two because my birthday was also in September and I got quite a few gift cards so I thought I would do a separate birthday book haul showing what goodies I picked up. So let’s dive in to (some of) the books I got in September!
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1. Snapshot – Brandon Sanderson

This kindly came in the post from Gollancz and is actually the first book by Brandon Sanderson I’ve ever read. It was a really interesting science fiction mystery and the ending completely blew my mind. I’ll have a review up for this one very soon!
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2. Rosewater – Tade Thompson
I was so excited when this came through the door from Orbit Books because I’m so excited to read it. The parcel also came with the cutest Rosewater enamel pin badge which now sits pride of place on my work bag.
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3. A Blade So Black – L. L. McKinney
A Blade So Black is a new Alice In Wonderland retelling from Titan Books. It was such a fun read and I’ll have a review up really soon. If you’re interested to know more, I participated in the blog tour with an exclusive extract from the book – you can check that out here!

37854049 (1)4. Sisters of the Winter Wood – Rena Rossner
This was a total surprise when it came through the door and I read it immediately. I really enjoyed this creepy fairy tale like story and you can read my full review here. I gave it 5/5 stars and it will definitely be on my favourites of 2018.
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5. Dark Age – James Wilde
This King Arthur retelling sounds amazing and totally up my street. Transworld kindly sent me a copy of Dark Age and I ordered the first book Pendragon online. I’m so excited for it to arrive so I can binge read both of them.
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6. The Caged Queen – Kirsten Ciccarelli
This is the second instalment in the Iskari series and I was ecstatic to recieve a copy. I raced through this and it was another five star read. If you want to check out my review and stop on the blog tour, you can check that out here!

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7. The Winter of the Witch – Katherine Arden
Katherine Arden has become one of my favourite authors with her Winternight Trilogy. I actually screamed when this came in the post because I’m so excited/scared to read it. I definitely don’t want this series to end, but I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

400318068. Soulbinder – Sebastien de Castell
When I saw Soulbinder go up on ReadersFirst I was desperate to be picked to review it. This series is such a fun, fast paced fantasy series and I’ve been racing through the books. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen in this latest instalment.

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9. The Taste of Blue Light – Lydia Ruffles
Lydia ran a competition to win copies of her book on Twitter and I won! (I never win anything!) Thank you so much Lydia! She very kindly signed it and I’m really looking forward to reading it because I’ve heard so many amazing things.

3951027110. Hallowdene – George Mann
Titan Books very kindly sent me a parcel with some spooky Halloween reads and this was one of them. I am definitely a mood reader and look reading dark and spooky books in October so this is perfect.
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11. Strange Ink – Gary Kemble

This was also in the same parcel as Hallowdene. This is a spooky story about a man who wakes up with a tattoo and more and more keep appearing as the story progresses. I’m on the blog tour for this one too, so check that out on October 16th!

2069853012. P. S. I Still Love You & Always and Forever Lara Jean – Jenny Han
I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and loved it so I ended up clicking and collecting the rest of the series. I’ve since read them both and they were sweet and cute and everything you need for a perfect contemporary read.
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14. Mirage – Somaiya Daud
I’ve heard quite a few people talking about this book already and it sounds like such a fascinating read so I couldn’t resist ordering a copy online. The story follows a young woman who is forced to be the body double for a princess in case of assassination attempts. I’m hooked already!

39098246 (2)15. The Corset – Laura Purcell
I pre-ordered The Corset by Laura Purcell because I absolutely adored The Silent Companions so I have to have a new book to scare myself silly with. If you haven’t read The Silent Companions yet I highly recommend it. Hoping The Corset will be just as dark and creepy!
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16. The Traitor God – Cameron Johnston
I went to a fantasy author event at Waterstones and Cameron Johnston was the only author who I hadn’t read a book by. After hearing him talk about it I knew it would be right up my alley. He kindly signed it and I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

4049909817. The Boneless Mercies – April Genevieve Tucholke
This book is a feminist fantasy standalone and I’m so excited to read it. Simon and Schuster very kindly sent me a review copy and I’m making it a priority to get to during my Halloween readathon. The story follows death traders in search of glory so what could be more appropriate for Halloween?
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18. Scrublands – Chris Hammer
This was a surprise piece of post from Headline books. A dark crime mystery due for release in 2019, I’m really excited to sink my teeth into this story! The book has been on the bestseller list for weeks in Australia so I’m definitely looking forward to picking this one up.

So that’s my September book haul! Which books did you pick up in September? And if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know your thoughts!