Good evening, my friendly neighbourhood spoops! This write-up was originally supposed to go out hours ago, but I decided to take the day and just read. I haven’t been able to binge read through an entire book in a single sitting in a very long time, so when it started happening earlier, I embraced it like a floofy fucking cat and went with it. (It was a phenomenal book, by the way. Full review drops later in the week.)
Welcome to my über belated Caturday Reads! This is going to be my reading list for all of October as I don’t plan on doing much reading in lieu of watching things. I’ve had this amazing film watching vibe going on, especially for horror—serious, campy, cheesy, psychological, etc.—media, and I really want to go with that feeling as much as I can. It’s also the ideal way that I like to celebrate October aka my Birthday Month of Cake and More Cake.
Bookish goals for the month include a couple cosy mysteries, some sci-fi horror, dark fantasy horror, urban fantasy horror, and horror suspense including Japanese horror! On the surface it seems rather ambitious, however, with the extra time and complete lack of physical and mental energy on the weekends (thank you Uni and upper division, graduate prep classes), reading and napping has been my favoured form of self-care. If I actually manage to read all these books and watch all the horror, creepy things on my watchlist, I’ll consider this whole year to be a phenomenal success. Yay for little victories!
Anyhoo, y’all know the gig. I’ve got snippets and respective publishers’ sites linked in their relative sections. Aside from what I want to read, I’ve shared books that I’m currently in the middle of at the end. If you’ve had the (dis)pleasure of reading any of these titles, please lemme know in the comments what you thought of them! In a non-spoilery manner, of course. 😉
Caught Dead-Handed by Carol J. Perry: A cosy mystery series about Lee Barret, who returns to her hometown Salem, Massachusetts to interview for a job as a reporter for WICH-TV. But the only opening they have available is for a call-in psychic hotline to host the late night horror films after the previous host ends up dead. Reluctantly accepting the gig, Lee starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she uses as a prop, wondering if perchance she truly is gifted. To make things even spoopier, Lee finds out that Ariel was an actual practising witch, which becomes even more evident when the cat that Lee inherited from the late Ariel starts exhibiting some unique powers of his own.[Series Site]
I bought a stack of cosy mysteries back in April-May, and this was one of the serials that I decided to check out. I’ve actually been saving it for Halloween because of the premise, the cover, and the overall ambiance it gives off. Keeping my fingers crossed it won’t disappoint! This is the first book in the series.
Copycat Killing by Sofie Kelly: The third instalment in a cosy mystery series that follows a local librarian and her two special feline companions that have unique abilities, which they use in helping her solve local murders around town. [Series Site]
The first two books (Curiosity Thrilled the Cat & Sleight of Paw, respectively) were amazing and it established this series—The Magical Cats Mystery Series—as one of my absolute favourites from the genre. Naturally, I’ve been eager to check out the next instalment now that Autumn has officially arrived… sorta.
The Luminous Dead by Caitlyn Starling: A sci-fi horror story about a caver that finds herself on a strange planet where she must endure through intense psychological and emotional tribulations in order to survive the terrors that lurk there. Described as being a cross between The Martian, Gravity, and Annihilation, the story is richly atmospheric and thrillingly horrific. [Pub Site]
I’ve owned this for a while, but since I haven’t been in a mood for an anxiety-inducing roller coaster that this book is advertised as being, I’ve held off on picking it up. Now that the mood has finally struck, so has my curiosity as to what lies within these pages.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager: A haunted-house horror tale about Maggie Holt who moved into a rambling Victorian estate in Vermont with her family twenty-five years ago. Three weeks later, they fled in the middle of the night, terrified out of their wits. Being too young to remember what transpired, as an adult Maggie doesn’t believe in the hoopla of ghosts and ghouls. When she inherits the estate from her father upon his passing, she returns to renovate and sell the place. Yet, as the locals treat her icily and strange occurrences begin happening in the house itself, Maggie begins to wonder if her father had been right all along about the spectral shenanigans. [Pub Site]
I’ve read all of Riley Sager’s other books (except for the most recent, Survive the Night), and I’ve enjoyed most of them. Only one of them was a highly recommended, five star experience for me, but the others were decent for being mystery thrillers. They never quite satisfied my itch for something mind-blowingly unexpected; the twists were normally effortless to ascertain and I find that to be boring. Nevertheless, since it is the month of Halloween, I figured I couldn’t go too terribly wrong with a haunted-house narrative.
Near the Bone by Christina Henry: A horror suspense thriller about a woman that gets trapped on a dark, snowy mountain and tries to survive for her dear life, especially after she realises that there are monsters in the woods hunting her. [Pub Site]
Christina Henry is one of my fave authors of adult fantasy and horror. She does sinister and supremely spooky tales quite excellently. Her dark fantasy novel, Alice, is my favourite rendition of that classic tale. So, when I saw she had written a dread and anxiety-inducing horror thriller, I had to have it as soon as possible!
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry: A dark fantasy horror novel about people going missing in a sleepy small town called Smith’s Hollow. After each terrible mutilation, the town just accepts that a killer is out there and probably won’t be apprehended, which frustrates a young girl enough to make her take matters into her own hands. [Pub Site]
As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of Christina Henry’s works, and her dark fantasy is totally my brand of fun and wicked. She does atmosphere and psychological eeriness so damn well, which is what made this seem like a no-brainer pick for the month.
Death Masks by Jim Butcher: The fifth instalment in the author’s urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files, this time Harry must partake in a wicked duel to end the war between vampires and wizards, hunt down one of the most treasured items in theological history, and avoid mob bosses wanting his head on a silver platter. So, business as usual, of course! Then there’s Harry’s former girlfriend, who is struggling with a special brand of malevolence all her own. Will Harry be able to stop the war, save his head, and rescue the damsel before the world blows up? [Pub Site][Series Site]
Since Summer Knight did redeem the series for me (to an extent), I feel mildly comfortable moving forward with it. I’m mostly in it for the side characters, which I talked about briefly in my last review, and I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the chauvinistic objectification of women continues to keep its ugly little pants on.
Goth by Otsuichi: A Japanese horror anthology of short stories that are related to a small town that seems to be a magnet for serial killers. The titular story follows a young girl who’s obsessed with brutal murders. Her and her friend go to some rather extreme lengths to investigate the grisly crimes that happen in town, not seeking to stop these killings, but to understand them more intimately. [Pub Site]
Japanese horror is its own extraordinary style of horror. It can be meticulously psychological and slow-building, unbeknownst to the reader that they’re being influenced until their skin crawls and their brain aches with discomfort. It can be visceral and devastatingly morbid with terse, simplicity. No matter how it’s written, the one thing it absolutely guarantees is a spine-chilling lingering essence of fear that is left behind hours, days, and months after the final pages have been flipped. This is why I love it so fucking much.
Those are all the books that I plan on reading in October, and quite possibly even into November if I don’t get to them all in these next three to four weeks. I’m glad that they span the different genres and subgenres of horror, as it’s definitely something that I’ve been delving into more deeply this past year, and it’s been a positively fabulous ride.
If you’re curious as to what’s on my watchlist of films for the month, please let me know in the comments and I shall drop a posty thingy for it!
What are some of your planned Spooktober reads, films, and shows? Do you have a favourite that you like to turn to every year, or is there something new and fresh that has piqued your fancy?