Halloween is the perfect time of year to read some classic novels, mystery, thriller and horror!! And with halloween being celebrated a little differently this year its a great time to delve into some other realities!.
Some great Halloween reads include;
Dracula by Bram Stoker. (You have probably dressed up at Dracula at some point but have you ever read the book?)
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (another classic that should be on your tbr list!)
Monsters by Sharon Doger (a book based on the life of the above author Shelley, check out th)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (A popular series of the same name was based on this novel)
The Shining by Stephen King (or the majority of Stephen Kings books)
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (a dark fantasy childrens novella)
The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (A gothic novella)
The Witches by Roald Dahl (Childrens fantasy novel)
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (Horror novel with a film of the same name)
Any of these books are a great choice and can be classed as classics or popular fiction. I would say that even if you don;t have/want to read these options any horror, mystery or crime books isn’t a bad choice!
Have a great halloween and stay safe !
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please feel free to like, comment and share! Don’t forget to check out Eva’s Instagram !)
SLEEP NO MORE by P.D James is a collection of 6 murderous short stories with a foreword by Peter Kemp.
I picked this book up at a local bookstore/café, The Book Nook, which sells preloved books. As I looked through the shelves I stumbled upon this book, and after having read another collection of P.D James Short Stories (The Mistletoe Murder and other stories) I had to read it.
I loved every one of the stories in this book, all 6 featured mystery, twists and turns and although only short feature some great developed characters.
I really like the format of the book, I like having the 6 short stories so I can read a full story, start to finish, in one sitting with no need to wonder what is going to happen next. Saying that the books are full of twists and turns and keeps you engaged but no need to stop reading mid story.
I would highly recommend these books for someone who is wanting a quick read with the same suspense and mystery as a full novel. Perfect for the month of Halloween!
the two lives of Louis and Louise is a beautiful, moving novel by Julie Cohan which was first Published in 2019. To say I loved this book is almost an understatment.
This book is all about one life, lived twice. The book follows Louis Alder and Louise Alder, the same person in two different realities. These realities only separated by their gender.
“Both Louis and Louise grow up in the small paper mill town of Casablanca, Maine, with the same friends and family—but because of their gender, everything looks different.”
After a dramatic even happens to Lou (Louis and Louise) on the night of their high school graduation, they leave their hometown of Casablanca for good. When they return 12 years later, both to very different towns ad problems they discover id their destinies were ever the same.
The book explores gender in a way that I haven’t seen before, what would be different if you were born he opposite gender yet shared the same life. It makes you think about gender stereotypes and whether something happened to Louis or Louise due to their gender. The book never explicitly discusses this but you can’t help but to think about it due to the books unique concept.
I found this book to keep me continually wanting to read on and to be honest re-sparked my love for reading all over again. I never stopped reading but this book made me want to pick it up any chance I had.
I think that Julie Cohan did an amazing job writing this book, (not that any of her other books are any different, I just haven’t read them YET), its moving and engaging. For a book with two timelines and two viewpoints that are very similar at times, I never found the book to be a confusing read once. Each chapter is titles for the character, sometimes Louise or Louis, sometimes Louise and Louis.
We also meet Lou’s best friends as kids, Allie and Benny. Twins who often propel the events of the story. We see how the friendships change depending on what life we are looking at and how event that are similar can end so differently. I liked this aspect of the book and the introduction of twins with different genders to see the difference that Lou would interact with them depending whether they are Louis or Louise.
Overall, I loved this book, I can’t fault a single part of it. others reading this book may feel different but I felt it was beautiful, moving and subtly written by Cohen that seamlessly explored Lou’s life. There are dramatic events that take place but the book never necessarily focuses on them and more about the outcomes and results of them.
Would highly recommend!!!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(Please feel free to comment or like and please share whether you have read this book or any other by Julie Cohan.
Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy is a young adult historical fantasy novel that is set in Denmark in the 19th century. In this world secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift. For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy; it flows freely through her blood but every time she uses a bt of her magic a deadly, ice-like build-up replaces it, this build up is the Firn.
For the majority of the book we follow Marit and she tries to uncover the secrets that caused her fathers death. We follow her as she moves from the orphanage where her chosen sister also resides when she is one day chosen to be adopted by Helene Vestergaard. (Eves hero and very famous dancer). Marit manages to get a job as a seamstress at the vestergaard house to stay with Eve. whilst there she uncovers the secrets and lies that surrounds the Vestergaard mines.
I really liked this book, I thought it was just enough fantasy to keep you engaged however at the same time quite realistic. Yes, the use of magic isn’t all that real but I think they way that Murphy has written it in a way that it does seem like it is possible. The book is well written and easy to follow and the structure of the book is good, where it is split into fairly small chapters which follow a specific character (mainly Marit however towards the end we see more viewpoints).
Mystery is evident throughout the book and keeps you reading but alongside this there is many other themes of loss, friendship, love and magic. I think this book is a perfect mix. The mystery all comes to a head in the last few chapters which are so engaging and exciting that it keeps you on the edge of your seat (I won’t share what happens, that’s for you to find out !)
I really liked the character Marit, she is fierce and determined. after being orphaned after her fathers death and losing her elder sister to the Firn she carries on and whilst in the orphanage she meets Eve. Eve is her closest friend and the love she has for her is real. She wants what is best for Eve even if that effects herself and we see that more prominently as we read the book. I really liked this friendship as it did feel real, that they both met in this orphanage that brought them together and Marit following her to the Vesergaard to get a job where she can still be around her best friend. At times in the story you see their friendship falter and is affected by the world outside the orphanage but as we will them to be good again, you see how Marit is affected and want to fix whatever issues have occurred.
It wasn’t only Marit who I loved to meet but we get to meet a whole load of people from the Vestergaard household that gives this book much more depth and realism. We meet more of the servants that work in the house alongside Marit who all are willing to use their magic to keep the job in this house, no matter the risk. We also meet Helene herself, Eve’s new mother and her family. some good, some bad however all integral to the story.
Overall, I would say I really liked this book. I received it in the Book Box Subscription service and I am glad I did. I would definitely recommend to lovers of YA, historical fantasy and mystery lovers!
This months theme was Once Upon a Story and featured one mystery book and some bookish goodies related to this theme.
In this months box you received 6 bookish goodies which included a weekly book planner by Vetoile on instagram so you can plan your bookish adventures. It also featured a lovely scented candle (named Ruby Slippers) by bookworm candles who can be found on etsy. It also featured some lovely notecards inspired by the book a Girl Made of Air as well as an Auryn Enamel Pin made by book box club themselves. The last two bookish goodies were a Fairy Tales cushion cover by Sparrow + Wolf and a Fairy Tails multi-wear snood with artwork by Racheal Preshy. All of these goodies are absolutely gorgeous and to a high standard!
The featured book this month was D a Tale of Two Worlds by Michel Faber.
‘The letter D is disappearing from the English language – and Dhikilo must do something to save it! With a shape-shifting magical dog by her side she heads of to the fantastical land if Liminus, where she must find and defeat a dark dictator, known as the gamp’
This book looks really interesting to me and honestly I am not too sure whether I will like it. I tend to enjoye books with a little more realism but saying that I will definitely give it a go. Thats the reason i find this subscription service to good as it allows me to try different genres and authors I wouldn’t otherwise!
I recently purchased a mystery book box from the etsy shop ABookishEmporium. This box features a mystery book as well as some reading gifts to accompany whilst you delve into the new book!
I was really excited to receive this book, I love getting a mystery book as it allows me to delve into new genres and authors. It came beautifully wrapped in a box alongside a handwritten thank you note. Once I opened the box the book was beautifully gift wrapped with bullet point detailing certain notes about the mystery book inside.
Alongside the book (which I will reveal what it was) you also received some goodies. I got two types of teabag, thoroughly minted and earl grey, as well as an iced tea flavoured with rose and elderflower (especially excited to try this!). I also got some little snacks which included a little packet of border biscuit and two packets of Mini Loaker wafers (one vanilla and the other chocolate). not only did you receive something to eat or drink whilst reading they also includes a little tealight and a beautifully scented wax melt to enjoy. There was two bookmarks also included one that featured a quote from the book Little Women and the other a floral corner bookmark.
The book I received had the bullet points as follows:
one life split in two
“tender and thought provoking”
The book was ‘Louis and Louise’ by Julie Cohen. The book is a fictional book that explores gender and stereotypes.
“If you could look at one life in two different ways, what would you see?‘
Louis and Louise are separated by a single moment in time, a strike of chance that decided their future. The day they were born is when their story began.
In one, Louis David Alder is born a male. In the other, Louise Dawn Alder is born a female.
Louis and Louise are the same in many ways – they have the same best friends, the same parents, the same dream of being a writer and leaving their hometown in Maine as soon as they can. But because of their gender, everything looks different. Certain things will happen in their lives to shape them, hurt them, build them back up again. But what will bring them back home”
I am really looking forward to reading this book and I would totally recommend this etsy store, they sell a bunch of other bookish goodies so check it out. The shop is linked at the top of the book.
Roadside Crosses is the second installment in the Kathryn Dance series by Jeffrey Deaver.
In a previous blog post I spoke about 2 books in the Lincoln Rhyme series which I won in a competition, that prize also included this book!
Kathryn Dance is a special agent at the California Bureau of Investigation and an expert in interrogation and kinesics.
After having read other books by Jeffrey Deaver I was excited to read this one. I like to read a series as I feel more engaged with the characters and their stories. As I was reading this book I felt that this could be a new series on my TBR list!
Roadside Crosses is a novel where roadside crosses are appearing in memorium to deaths that have not yet occurred. This in intelf intringued me to read this book!.
The roadside crosses and crimes all stem from a blog post on the ‘Chilton Report’ where Chilton questions road safety, the comments soon start to be directed at a young boy named travis who is blamed for a previous crash on the highway. After this leads to an attempted murder on someone who posted about Travis, the blame for that starts to shift to him himself. As Dance investigates this and hunts Travis down the books takes a dive into the online world and how that can be used in an investigation and how someone can confuse real life with the virtual one. This was an interesting angle which I enjoyed reading. It was a page turner and I wanted to continue to find out more about what happened.
Reading about Dance’s expertise in kinesics was really interesting and I felt gave another dimension to the character. She is able to interpret body language in a way that others wouldn’t realise and make deductions which aid the case. I liked the character of Dance, a special agent and mother who uses her expertise to solve the crimes shes faced with.
I felt that the book was full of surprised and twists which I like in a crime/thriller novel and I like this book so much I started to read the nexr book in the series. As you may take away from that, I would recommend this series but would recommend starting at #1!
Find me by André Aciman is a fictional novel which follows the characters we previoulsy met in Call me by your name.
This book shows us how the characters of Oliver and Elio have evolved since the previous book and what their lives are now. This book also provides us with an insight into Elio’s father Samuel. In fact, it seemed a large portion of the novel was about Samuel and his relationship with a younger woman. I was disappointing as their wasn’t too much about Elio and Oliver and how the events in Call me by your name was effecting their lives in this book. You get a couple of looks at that but I feel the book was overpowered by Samuel’s story line which felt a bit pointless in itself.
I would say that I didn’t find it hugely necessary to carry on the story from Call me by your name and I at times felt that it would have been better leaving it at that. Saying that as I read this book I was enjoying it but not necesarily as a follow up to the previous book. I was so excited to read this book after loving Call Me By Your Name, and I felt a little disapointed as it was less about Oliver and Elio and more about Samuel.
I would say however the cover of this book is really simple yet beautiful, the colours reflect a romantic story and if I hadn’t read Call Me By Your Name I may have picked this up purely due to that!
Overall, I would say I was disapointed when I read this book as I felt the main characters we want to reconcile with were pushed to the background and in the foreground was a look at Samuel (whose story felt out of place) I would say however that I like André Acimans writing and maybe if I had read this without looking at it as the sequel to Call Me by your Name I would have a different outlook on it.
I wouldn’t necesarily recomend this book, expecially if you have read Call me by your name (It felt it should end with that book). I would however recommend Call me by your name to anyone who hasn’t read it yet! (I have a previous blog post all about that one!)
This month’s book box club theme is Moonlit Melodies and as usual features a book and bookish goodies that relate to this theme.
As well as the featured book you also received a bunch of great goodies! This included a #midnightsnack cookie as well as a moon child sticker pack. The sticker pack features stickers including shooting starts and moons. You also received a phantom of the opera pouch and access to The Bookshop Band album which features songs inspired by books including Alice in Wonderland. A cute door hanger was also featured which is very cute, and a heating eye mask by spacemasks.com. as well as all of that you also received an exclusive book box club pin badge!
The featured book this month is ‘Ghost Wood Song’ by Erica Waters.
The book is a young adult fiction novel.
Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.
But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.
In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.
I am really excited to read this book, if I’m honest it wouldn’t have been a book I would have picked up myself but that’s the reason I love this subscription box! It allows me to explore genres and authors I wouldn’t therefor experience! You also get access to a Spotify playlist which features all the songs referenced in this novel which I think it really unique!
Again I would highly recommend this subscription box!
The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard is a psychological thriller partially set in Lithuania that features many themes including trafficking, crime as well as love and family.
This is Susanna Beards second novel but the first I have read and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a novel full of suspense and twists which keep you compelled to keep reading. It begins with the main character finding a body on a beach and Lithuania and as she tries to find out what happened for the body to be there she uncovers secrets she didn’t expect to find. Although it is a psychological thriller there is also action and danger throughout. As we follow Anna with this journey we follow her life including her meeting Will, and she begins to fall in love. Through this area of the novel we explore the themes of love and family. We see how Anna life and mindset changes when Will comes into her life.
I really liked Anna as a character and thought she was realistic and likeable. She has her flaws and has made decisions that everyone won’t agree with but I think this helps for the readers to relate, nobody is perfect and its good to see that represented in a novel. We also see the aspects of being in a relationhsip where the woman is older is good to see as it is generally written about with the opposite.
The book has some heavy topics (such as trafficking, abortion etc) and I think that Susanna Beard tackled this really well! I would highly recommend this book.
I reached out to Susanna Beard and asked if I could ask her a few questions and she kindly said yes! (greatly appreciated, thank you!) So the following is those Questions and answers.
What made you want to become a writer, primarily of psychological thrillers?
I’ve wanted to write novels since I was a teenager – but didn’t have the confidence to go for it. In those days there were no creative writing courses, and writing (except for journalism, which didn’t appeal) wasn’t seen as a ‘proper’ job, sadly. I enjoyed writing throughout school and my English teacher gave me a love of reading and books — she was a great teacher and really inspired me.
When I started my first novel, Dare to Remember, I was just writing a story: I didn’t have any idea it would turn out to be a psychological thriller! When my publisher called it that, it was a surprise. At the time, the genre was very popular (and still is), so I decided it was going to be my focus.
2. Did you have any specific inspiration, or influence to write ‘The Truth Waits’?
Well it was around the time of the huge interest in thrillers, so after my first was published, I decided to start with a thriller-y premise – like the body on the beach!
I then added in some themes I was interested in, like the older woman with a younger man, the concept of people being thrown together – as they were when the Icelandic volcano erupted – and sex trafficking.
3. What research or process did you follow in order to write ‘The Truth Waits’?
Having decided to set the book partly in Lithuania, I looked online at images of the coastline, which looked perfect – great long, empty sandy beaches, dark skies, threatening waters. I also researched sex trafficking, mostly online, and talked to agencies like Victim Support to get a good picture of how sex trafficking works and what happens to the victims.
I met the Lithuanian Attaché in London to get further background on the country, its politics and history. I then spent four days visiting Klaipeda and the Kuronian Spit where the beach was, and travelled by train across the country to Vilnius. It was great to visit a completely different place and to learn about the geography, customs (and even the police!).
4. What made you write this book in the third person, rather than the first?
I suppose I felt more comfortable in third, though I have since written some characters in first. I think it depends on how close you want to be to the deeper thoughts and feelings of your character – though in ‘close’ third (where everything is written from the personal POV of your protagonist, including description), you get a similar feel to first.
5. Was it a conscious decision to make the main character a female, a strong, independent businesswoman at that?
It was indeed! There are parts of me in her – although she’s not me. I like strong female characters and would find it hard to write a woman who stayed weak and submissive throughout the story. I would have to make her change as events unfold and become strong.
As I’m writing mostly contemporary fiction, I aim to write my stories as a realistic picture of women’s lives, and I think today there are many, many women (in developed countries, at least) who are independent and successful, in multiple ways.
6. The book features some tough topics, i.e. sex trafficking, was it difficult to write about this?
Actually, no – although I understand why you’re asking this. I’m an avid watcher of dark films, drama and thrillers, including crime. The theme is covered fairly regularly, and sometimes in shocking detail, so I knew how it would be.
I also think sex trafficking needs more exposure – it’s a sophisticated, international activity run by gangs of career criminals. I looked particularly at Eastern Europe and Russia and found that Western Europe and the US are often the destinations for these girls. Once you start researching, you realise that it’s a terrible problem, all round the world.
7. Was there any reason you decided to set the book in multiple locations including Lithuania. I really enjoyed this international aspect but curious whether there was a specific reason?
I was looking for a beach as a setting – but it couldn’t be a holiday beach with sun and tourists; it had to be empty and unknown – for the dark, suspenseful aspect of the story. I started with the idea of Sicily (where my sister was stranded because of the volcanic ash incident) but soon realised it was too beautiful! So I looked on the map for a more northern location, largely unfamiliar to a British audience. The Baltic coast was perfect.
8. The book also features a forming relationship between two people, was there a reason it features a younger male and the themes of wanting a family and balancing this with careers?
Yes. I think there’s still prejudice about women with younger partners (the word ‘cougar’ used for them is evidence of this!), while men have always been looked on as ‘lucky’ for pairing with a younger woman. The theme of balancing family with career is one that will run and run, for women at least!
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors and writers? Yes – be patient, keep writing. The rewards are fantastic. If you can, give yourself confidence through training – there are so many brilliant courses out there.
10. Is there anything else about ‘The Truth Waits’ that you would like to share?
I dedicated the book to my dear friend Sharon, a talented and wonderful TV drama producer, who helped me sort out a plot that turned out to be a bit of an octopus! Sadly she passed away last year. I will always remember her generosity in helping me.
I think we can all agree these answers were fab, so many thanks again to Susanna Beard! I would highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it the same as me!