Haunting Reads for the Halloween Season

Halloween, the season of creepy monsters and cavities, is also the perfect time to curl up with a good book. Whether you like to be scared stiff by your reading material or prefer a romantic ghost story instead, the literary world contains ghouls and goblins galore if you know where to look. From classic tales of the macabre to modern supernatural thrillers, a good Halloween book offers both tricks and treats. Celebrate the holiday with some of the spooky and supernatural titles mentioned here.

Horns by Joe Hill

Recently adapted for a UK movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, this supernatural grindhouse thriller follows Ignatius Parrish in an unpredictable and suspenseful battle for his own soul. Ig’s small town reputation catches up to him in a unexpected way the morning he wakes up from a night of heavy drinking to find a pair of unmistakably demonic horns growing from his skull. Written by the son of Stephen King, this thriller has dynamic pacing and a climax that will leave you gripping the edge of your seat.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

This intensely poetic and nostalgic novel from the mind of fantasy genius Ray Bradbury focuses on one autumn in the lives of two twelve year old boys. Set in the year that “Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show” visits their small American town, it follows the two boys, one of their fathers, and the mysterious carnival leader – a haunting presence known as “Mr. Dark.” Bradbury’s title comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, uttered by a witch as she completes her spell. This novel holds secrets and terrors for the protagonists and for all readers who possess the kind of romantic Halloween spirit that still inspires dreams of running away with the circus.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is the third and most popular of Gillian Flynn’s published works. Like her previous two novels, Gone Girl is a rather dark novel about how people may not be who we seem. After a woman, Amy, goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, suspicions turn towards the husband, Nick, and as the story unravels we learn quite a bit about the couple. As we uncover more and more clues as to her disappearance, we discover that perhaps we don’t really know our spouses as well as we think, and we question our own facades that we put up in our marriages. With many twists, this novel will keep you guessing until the very end.

This is a somewhat difficult book to review because to say too much is to majorly spoil the book, which would be a shame. I will say that in the midst of the disappearance of Amy the novel does a great job of exploring two different topics: (1) the parts we play in society in order to fit in or be liked and (2) the effects the media can have on our mindsets. When we meet someone for the first time, do we act like ourselves or do we act in a way so that person would like us? If that relationship endures and we were, in a way, acting like someone other than ourselves, at what point do we drop the act, if ever, and at what point does the act become the person who we really are? These are some intriguing questions to ponder and, while I wouldn’t go as far as the characters in this book go, the book has made me think about these questions within my own marriage.

Free Audiobook of Frankenstein

Random House Audio is giving away a free audiobook of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in exchange for an email address on their Facebook page.  You will have to have a Facebook page to access it and you will have to use a computer to actually download the file. (You can stream the book on a smart phone or tablet, but not actually download and save the book.)

Bookwi.se reviewed a different edition of the audiobook in 2012, but the review should hold true for a different narrator.

Click-Clack the Raddlebag by Neil Gaiman

Reposting this 2012 Review because the short story is again free until Oct 31
Click-Clack the Rattlebag: A Free Short Story Written and Performed by Neil Gaiman | [Neil Gaiman]I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman.  I like his writing style, the sense of wonder that he brings into books and his literate references.  But he has a dark, but romantic side.  So nothing ends quite as you think it will, but most of the time there is still hope.

Gaiman is trying to start a movement where people write short stories and give them away for Halloween.  This year he wrote a short story, Click-Clack the Raddlebag, and recorded it (I think he is a great narrator) and Audible.com is giving it away.  For each download, Audible will contribute to DonorsChoose.org.

You do not have to be a member of Audible to get the story.  So there is no reason to not try it out.

I love Gaiman, but I am not really a fan of the horror genre.  I like creepy and suspenseful, but not blood and guts.  This story has all of the creepy, none of the bad stuff.

It is about a young man that is putting the younger brother of his girlfriend to bed.  The boy asks the young man to tell him a story.  I won’t give any more away.  But the ending is great.  You really don’t get the creepy factor until the very last line.  Go get it. It is free. (Only 11 minutes)


12 Free Christian Kindle Books

Andrew Murry: Destined to Serve, A Biological Nvel by Olea Nel

249 pages, 18 of 18 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

A boyish and fun-loving Andrew Murray arrives back in South Africa after being ordained at the Hague on his twentieth birthday. He soon discovers that his preaching lacks the power displayed by his heroes of the faith. He therefore decides to embark on a quest to become a powerful preacher filled with the Holy Spirit.

But not long after his appointment as pastor to the Dutch emigrants beyond the borders of the Cape, he finds that he is being shunted off course by a frenetic round of preaching tours that sap his energy and leave him little time to spend with God. He also finds himself having to cope with an overly demanding church council, as well as walk a tightrope between the Boer farmers and the British Settler community who are bent on land speculation to the detriment of neighbouring tribes.

Feeling overwhelmed by the task, and knowing that he was pressed into taking it, he starts to doubt his calling. It does not take him long to realize that he has to either man-up or bow out.

The God Who Solves Pain by Stephen Morrison

136 pages, 14 of 15 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

The God Who Solves Pain is written for anyone who has ever wondered, “where is God in my pain?” With biblical proofs and logical conclusions, this book seek to redefine how you understand God and His relationship to pain. The questions dealt with in this book are ones many struggle with before, or after believing in Christ. These questions include: “Does God cause pain?” “If God is good, why does He allow pain?” “Where is God in my suffering?”

This book may not give you all the answers you’re looking for, but it will certainly offer a new perspective on these age old questions. Most of all, Stephen D Morrison writes to convince you that God is GOOD. Absolutely good!

The Great Darkening by RG Triplett (Epic of Haven Trilogy #1)

454 pages, 45 of 53 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

When the great burning tree of Haven begins to die, leaving the otherwise unlit world of Aiénor in a state of ever-growing darkness, a young man sets upon a quest to discover a new source of light before the unknown evils lurking in the shadows unleash their fury upon the unsuspecting world.

Fear strikes the citizens of Haven at the diminishing of their holy tree, and they determine that the only way to fend off the impending dark is to set about making their own light. There are plenty of trees in the forests of Aiénor to burn. But what happens when the timber has been consumed and the great tree has failed?

Could it be that one will emerge who will uncover the prophecies of old and seek the promised light?

How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp

272 pages, 163 of 171 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled, Previously Free

A changed heart is the bright promise of the gospel.

When the Bible talks about the gift of a new heart, it doesn’t mean a heart that is immediately perfected, but a heart that is capable of being changed. Jesus’ work on the cross targets our hearts, our core desires and motivations, and when our hearts change, our behavior changes. It’s amazing to watch people who once seemed stuck in a pattern of words, choices, and behaviors start living in a new way as Christ changes their hearts.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Summary: A 14 year marriage is in danger, and a magic phone to the past may be just the thing the marriage needs to be saved.

Rainbow Rowell is definitely now in my list of ‘favorite authors’. Like most I first heard about her because of her breakout book Eleanor and Park. From there I moved on to Fangirl and Attachments and now Landline.  With each book I was even more impressed.

I, and I think many others, still think of Rowell as a young adult author.  Although even Eleanor and Park was not originally published as a young adult book. And all of the rest of her books deal primarily with adults.

So with Landline, it feels a bit like Rowell is again trying to breaking free of her young adult label and writing a much heavier and more adult oriented novel.

Georgie McCool (yes it is her real name) is a TV script writer. Just days before Christmas, and the day before her family is scheduled to fly to Omaha to spend Christmas with her Mother in Law, her dream comes true. A Network wants to see a script for a pilot and four additional episodes for her own series.

But that means that she cannot go to Omaha with her husband (Neal) and daughters. And instead she will have to stay in LA and write with her best friend and writing partner, Seth.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Reposting this 2013 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale today only for $1.99

Book Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson - A young adult steam punk novel worth readingBrandon Sanderson develops a new magic system for each fictional world he crafts–and this steampunk young adult novel, set in alternate (yet strangely reminiscent) history of the US, is no exception. And yet… A magic system of lines written on the ground in chalk, where the monsters that threaten to eat you alive are actually two-dimensional, hand-drawn creatures? It’s weird, sounds kind of boring on the surface, and is actually pretty complex to grasp. It’s amazing (and impressive) that Sanderson explains it so well, and that he makes it as exciting as he does.

Joel desperately wants to be a Rithmatist–one with the gift for working with and manipulating those chalk lines–but cannot due to circumstances out of his control. So he does the next best thing: study the discipline as thoroughly yet surreptitiously as possible. Although magical in the sense that it’s not true to our world, the whole Rithmatic system is very logical and based in physics and geometry, so Joel is able to grasp and apply all the basic concepts in his head–even if he can’t execute them personally. This comes in handy as he becomes involved in an investigation of mysterious disappearances (possibly murders) of Rithmatist students at the local university.

8 Sale Christian Kindle Books

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis – $3.99

220 pages, 3122 of 3376 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Bookwi.se Review

Narnia . . . a land frozen in eternal winter . . . a country waiting to be set free

Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has become part of the canon of classic literature, drawing readers of all ages into a magical land with unforgettable characters for over fifty years.

Know the Creeds and Councils by Justin Holcomb – $1.99

183 pages, 51 of 53 reviews are 4 or 5-star

Bookwi.se Note: Bookwi.se has reviewed the companion book Know the Heretics and will review this one before the end of the year.

In every generation, the Christian church must interpret and restate its bedrock beliefs, answering the challenges and concerns of the day. This accessible overview walks readers through centuries of creeds, councils, catechisms, and confessions–not with a dry focus on dates and places, but with an emphasis on the living tradition of Christian belief and why it matters for our lives today.

As a part of the KNOW series, Know the Creeds and Councils is designed for personal study or classroom use, but also for small groups and Sunday schools wanting to more deeply understand the foundations of the faith. Each chapter covers a key statement of faith and includes a discussion of its historical context, a simple explanation of the statement’s content and key points, reflections on contemporary and ongoing relevance, and discussion questions.

The Shack by William Young – $1.99

298 pages, 6525 of 8230 reviews are 4 or 5-star

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed Up FilesSummary: The children’s classic story about running away, living in a museum and solving a great mystery all the while finding the important things in life.

Children’s books are great for adults to read occasionally.  In addition, to just being a change of pace, I find that the simple straight forward stories get to the essence of so many things. Chidlren’s book don’t have to have multi-layered plots with anti-heroes or twists and turns.

Instead children’s books tell simple stories that often do a great job of getting to root meanings of life.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler is one of the classics that I think has held up fairly well. Claudia, a 12 year-old oldest child that feels like she is underappreciated by her parents and decides to run away. Her younger brother, Jamie, comes with her mostly for the adventure. Most kids would identify with one or both of these reasons for running away.

4 Free Christian Fiction Kindle Books

Moving On by Trisha Grace

415 pages, 64 of 91 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

For twenty years, Tyler Hayes had been ripped from his childhood home. After the horrific accident that took away his parents’ life, Tyler’s grandfather removed him from the mansion and sent him away.

Now, after twenty years, his grandfather had passed away and he could finally go home. However, even in his death, Tyler’s grandfather had betrayed him once again, leaving the mansion to a woman he had never met.

Even though Kate Mitchell had never met Tyler, she knew all about the accident that changed the Hayes’s family. Unbeknownst to her, was how she was going to end up being caught in the middle of a long estranged relationship between two different generations.

Two complete different personalities would have to learn to get along and play nice in order to survive a will that would change their lives.

Gretel and the Orange County Hair Farmers by Joseph Gomez

3 of 3 reviews are 5-star, Lending Enabled

Isaac struggles to find his way home. Book is set in the early to mid nineties, and the kid has grown into a troubled young adult. Haunted by passed missteps and many mistakes he is attempting to make things right. Being drowned by a blanket of depression young Isaac cries out to Jesus, and the Lord answers. Isaac moved with his family to Colorado at the age of 17 from the sunny California coast.