Halloween Reading Round-Up (Mini-Reviews)

I only read 3 of the 6 Halloween-ish books I set out to read in October. That makes me 50 % successful (see — glass half full thing). Part of it is being a mood reader and also this weird thing I’m going through. I really enjoyed the books I picked so I decided to round them up in one post and, at the end, talk about if I think they were good Halloween reads.

 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs:

What It’s About In A Sentence: Jacob’s grandfather has always told these tales about his life growing up that were filled with strange and unusual things but, when his grandfather dies, he realizes maybe they were not tall tales and embarks on a journey to find the orphanage where his grandfather grew up.

What I Thought: This book was delightfully strange & wonderful. The cover made me think it was going to be kind of scary but in fact, honestly, the bottom of my purse right now is probably scarier — this is more of a fantasy/supernatural-y kind of story. I really enjoyed this one and really marveled at the brilliant writing and storytelling and it’s a book I would hand to people who think that YA isn’t well written. Despite the fact this book wasn’t scary like I thought it would be, it still had a perfect Halloween vibe. The photographs that are scattered about the book really added to the story,Β  the depth of the characters and the general feel of this extraordinary adventure. There’s magic, strange happenings and this mystery that is just woven so carefully and so smoothly that you can’t help but find yourself mesmerized. I didn’t know what to expect at first and was curious about these tall tales that Jacob’s grandfather seemed to tell and then when Jacob starts questioning if they are made up stories I was just absolutely enchanted by this life he lived. I cannot wait to see what the sequel holds in this incredibly unique series.

 

RATING:

RATING-loved-it

 

 

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

What It’s About In A Sentence: Madeline’s family, The Ushers, are cursed — they are plagued with strange illnesses, are not able to leave the house that seems to haunt them and watch their every move and nobody knows how to free them from it.

What I Thought: This one was creepy but not scary! It’s inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher and I was a little familiar with it but not enough to really know what was going to happen. The writing was fantastic and I was drawn in immediately to this sinister house and its history though there were points that were kind of slow for me..like really slow. If I’m honest I’m still a little confused as to what happened at the end for sure and also I THINK I get what was behind everything but also maybe not? As far as atmosphere goes, this book had it. PERFECT book to curl up with on a cool Fall day and just get lost in the life of a girl who lives in this house where strange things happen and whose family has this mysterious illness that eventually kills them. The house became its own character really. I will say that sometimes, while interesting, the storytelling — the chapters alternate from Madeline at different ages — was hard to keep track of and I’d have to flip back to double check what age we were at. This book would definitely be a great movie and when I kept reading I was visualizing so many scenes and the setting of everyone room and of the exterior of the house and outside of the house. Very creepy and I’m glad I read it around this time!

 

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

Rooms by  Lauren Oliver

Rooms by Lauren Oliver:

What It’s About In A Sentence: A family comes together to clean out the house of estranged patriarch and secrets and the past hurts come unearthed as the ghosts of the house, wrought with their own secrets, watch on.

I really liked this one! Lauren Oliver is such a great writer and I think her adult debut was very solid. It’s definitely different than her YA and I think those looking for exactly THAT could be disappointed as this is definitely more character driven and more of a slow paced story but it really worked for me. It was NOT scary at all if that matters to you. There are ghosts but it didn’t feel like a typical ghost story and definitely explored some emotional things. The family dynamics were fascinating — a family comes together to clean out the house of house of their ex-husband/estranged father. All 3 of them are carrying their own burden and secrets and then the other two perspectives we get are the two ghosts that inhabit the house who have their own secrets they can’t let go of.Β  The multi-POV’s can seem daunting at first but I really enjoyed the perspectives from the family members and also the ghosts because ALL of their threads in the story were SO fascinating to me and I got swept up in them and the ever so slightly unraveling mystery. Lauren’s writing is just so haunting and beautiful and so full of depth.

RATING

RATING-reallyliked

Overall Scare Factor Of My Halloween TBR reading:

So none of the books I read were super scary. The Fall definitely was creepy and atmospheric but not scary — definitely takes the cake for “scariest” out of these . Rooms wasn’t at all creepy or scary and the ghost element wasn’t of the scare variety. Miss Peregrine’s was delightfully strange and all the magic and supernatural elements made it a great Halloween read. They all, though The Fall & Miss Peregrine’s more strongly than Rooms, had that FEEL of a good Halloween read.

I will say next year I’m hoping to add an actual SCARY book into my reading experience (hit me with recs in the comments!!) but I’m really pleased with the books I chose for my Halloween reads! So if you want solid, non-scary books but still have that FEEL for your Halloween reading I’d check all of these out!

 

What books have you read so far in your Halloween/October reading? Any REALLY scary books to recommend to me for next year (or just good recs in general)?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’ve read so many books this month and got really burned out! My favorite spooky reads were 172 Hours on the Moon and The Madman’s Daughter because they were exactly what I was wanting for Halloween, creepy! 172 Hours was making my hair stand on end and giving me paranoia, but I couldn’t put it down.

    I also read Rooms but it was one of my most disappointing reads this month. Sad day for me! πŸ™ πŸ™ On your scale I would probably rate it as ‘Eh, mixed feelings.’ I liked seeing how the family stuff played out, but felt detached from the ghosts’ POVs, and was turned off by the excessive vulgar descriptions. It was too short and slow for me to be so full of characters and different storylines. Usually I am struck by many breathtaking passages in Lauren Oliver’s books, but there was really only one moment for me where I felt that way in Rooms. But for what it’s worth I wasn’t enjoying anything I was reading around the same time. I burned myself out really quickly on the spooky theme.

    I felt the same about Miss Peregrine! I expected it to be creepy but once I found out what was really going on it totally turned out to be something different, but really really amazing and beautiful! I’m waiting on book 3!

    I’ll have to check out The Fall next year.

    • OMG LOOOOVED The Madman’s Daughter back when I read it! I need to finish that series! Must check out 172 Hours on the Moon bc I SO want that kind of book!

      Ah it happens! Always a bummer when you are looking forward to a book and it doesn’t hold up! I think a lot of people will be turned off by the same things you were.

      Ahh so you loved Hollow City?? I need to get my hands on that!

  2. Glad the books you read you liked! (I like the glass half-full mentality!)

    I tried Miss Pergrine on audio last year (or maybe earlier this year?) but couldn’t get into it. Maybe it was the narrator, maybe it was not quick-paced enough for me for audio. I get bored easily and audio is hard for me to pay attention to if it isn’t fast=paced. I might try it again one day. I really want to read Rooms and The Fall.

    • I would DEFINITELY recommend trying it again in print. I don’t think audio would be a good fit. There’s something about his writing that I think just needs to be read. Plus all the cool pictures inside the book really add a lot. Also, I’m so the same with my audio. I have to have something that will really capture my attention.

  3. My sister in law recommended Miss Peregrine’s and I have it on my TBR list. Hopefully I will get to it at some point!

  4. All of these are books in my TBR list! And based on your opinion they are just what I need. A book that has a Halloween feel but doesn’t scare me much I couldn’t sleep at night. As you can see I’m not much of horror fan, but if you want some recs, I’m currently reading The Shinning by Stephen King and it is way creepy!! Scary too, but not so much. It does give me this unease when I’m, reading it though. I think Mr. Kind is definitely the way to go. I’ve heard he has some really horrific books, I just picked the least horrible one.

  5. Sounds like Rooms is one I will check out, as I’m not into scary at all. I used to read Stephen King in my younger days, and that has given me enough creep factor to last a lifetime πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve been reading LOTS of scary stuff this week! I think my favourites have been some of the short stories I’ve read, as well as Emily Carroll’s web comics and her graphic novel of short stories, Through the Woods. I also read The Madman’s Daughter and thought it was deliciously spooky — and, of course, the last installment to Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark And Grimm series. Spooky and absolutely hilarious. I’m like you, I tend to read a lot of scary books at Halloween, but I can never find anything that’s truly scary. Hope you can find something for next year!

  7. Glad you enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s – I think the pictures make the story, to an extent.

    I’ve got Rooms on my wishlist. You’ve got me wanting to read it even more now, although I don’t think I’ll get to for quite some time.

    I kind of wish I’d started my Halloween reading a little sooner than I did as I thought a few books on my unread shelf fit the holiday well, however I’ve been reading my first, and only, Halloween read for a week or so now. Why I started with a chunkster – Night Film – I do not know. The good thing is that I’m enjoying it a lot. Although not scary as such, it is a creepy read.
    πŸ™‚

  8. The scariest book I think I’ve ever read is Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough. It took me weeks to not imagine something crawling after me when I was walking down the hall to put my son to bed every night. The monster in the book was drawn to the tender flesh of young ‘uns… So, so scary!! But despite all the make your skin crawl moments, there were moments of levity between the main character and the neighborhood boys she befriends. Which the book really needed to keep you from being too overwhelmed by the bad stuff. Anyhoo, I totally recommend it! And Miss Peregrine’s has been on my TBR list for forever! I’ve got to get around to reading it.

  9. I’m glad that you loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! I had several issues with the book but I loved it all the same. The pictures are soooo creepy, yes? In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have read it before bedtime because I was terrified by the picture of Emma.

    I can’t wait for you to read Hollow City, the second installment in Ransom Riggs’ series. I found it much better than the first, and the pictures are way creepier too! πŸ™‚

  10. Great reviews! I really liked Miss Peregrine though it was very very strange. Every time I thought I had a handle on what was going on it’d change on me.
    The Fall wins the award for creepiest cover! I like the premise of that and Rooms so I’m definitely adding them to my TBR. Though to be honest it’ll probably be next Halloween before I get to them!

  11. I had a hard time finding stuff to scare me this year too. I watched a ton of horror movies and tried to read only “scary” books and nothing really did the trick, and I’m usually a chicken. The closest I got was with WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE by Laurie Faria Stolarz and MARY: THE SUMMONING by Hillary Monahan. Happy reading!