Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them – Lemony Snicket.
Reading has, apologetically and unavoidably, taken a backseat in my life of late. With my full focus being on everything blogtober, I haven’t exactly made the time to get comfortable under a warm blanket and get lost in another world for a little while. At the beginning of the year, I was on a reading mission and I was reading left, right and centre. I suppose that working part-time and spending quite a lot of my journeys on trains and buses allowed for more time to read. Nevertheless, I won’t give myself any excuses anymore. As the nights are growing darker and with a distinct chill in the air, I want to dive right back into my very first love and read thousands of words that can change an outlook, give a breath of fresh air and completely obliterate your sense of comfort. For this time of year, I especially want to read books that are a little spooky, that are more bloodied than usual, that have haunting figures that watch your every move. Then, as we get that little bit closer to a season of magic and wonder of a different kind, I want to finally read the stories that I received for Christmas last year and fall in love with exquisite worlds and realms that are full of mystical creatures, princesses and queens with a fairy tale element that is raw and ancient, much like those stories told in whispers by firelight.
The Axeman’s Jazz
by Ray Celestin – bought at a charity shop
I’ve had a slight obsession with New Orleans ever since The Originals began. I want to visit the city of spooks, jazz with a wealth of culture, and this book has cemented that dream further. It is a story of a true criminal, a ghoul from another realm, who passes through the city in the dead of the night and butchers people to death, walking through walls and back again without a trace. Set almost at the turn of the 1920s, this novel tells the grisly account of the true Axeman. I am yet to find out who he was, or if he is ever discovered at all. Reading about New Orleans alone sends thrills up my spine. Add murder and mystery to the potion and I am spellbound to it. It is the perfect read for the Halloween season and one, I am certain, will have me at the edge of my seat.
The Bone Garden
by Heather Kassner – gifted by Titan Books
Another dark book that slightly gives me the creeps just looking at the cover. Even the title alone is chilling. Is it a garden made of real bones? Or, in fact (and more likely) a graveyard? I don’t want to read too much of the blurb because I prefer to be surprised by the outcome from the first page. From the frightful words that I have glanced at, I can gather that it will be dark, twisted and enchanting with a creature that is most certainly monstrous. I think that it will be an easy read with, I hope, a twist I don’t see coming. I’ll enjoy this fantasy full of shadows cosied up in bed as early as 8.30pm when the dark nights have already crept in and the haunting Halloween atmosphere is at its highest peak.
by Laura Purcell – bought from Waterstones
I remember the first time I laid my eyes on this beautiful book. It was the emerald green that captured my eye. The title intrigued me; simple, yet mysterious. Once I had read the blurb, I knew I had to buy this book, but that cold October day last year was not that day. Since, I have seen it across the online book world which further cemented my need to grasp this world of prisons and madness in (I assume) the nineteenth century. I have always been a little obsessed with women and asylums in literature. I feel like this book could have been influenced by The Woman in White, but I won’t know the secrets and the reasons behind what the truth is and what it isn’t until I finally read this story.
A Shroud of Leaves
by Rebecca Alexander – gifted by Titan Books
I love a detective thriller that I can really sink my teeth into, the kind with cold case murders and mysterious disappearances that have plagued a community for decades. This book sounds exactly like the genre of book that I want and need to read over the next few months, when my mind can get lost in the darkness of the story. The premise sounds very similar to After the Eclipse – two missing girls, one in the past and one in the present – until there is another discovery of a missing body from one hundred years ago. If a curse is involved, my opinion could go either way. I could adore everything about this book, or I could think that it is too far fetched, in which case the entire haunting of the story might be ruined. I’m excited to get started with this one and I just know that if it grips me quick enough, I won’t be putting it down until the very last page.
Wicked Like A Wildfire
by Lana Popović – a Christmas gift
I was given this as a gift last year and it is another one of those books that keeps getting put to the bottom of the pile. I have never heard of the author or the story before, but they are usually the best reads because it will be a complete surprise; the only opinion of it will be my own. There is forbidden magic and sisterhood, two topics that I enjoy reading about, especially if they entwine together like a tangled vine that leads to destruction and decay. From the one-line reviews on the covers of this book, I can see myself falling into a world of dreams and bewitchment. The best kind of world during the magical change of the season that leads us closer to the other side…
The Girl In The Tower
by Katherine Arden – a Christmas gift
It feels an age since I read Katherine Arden’s debut, The Bear and the Nightingale, a book that echoes the realms of centuries-old fairy tales and folklore. I remember thinking that I needed to read the sequel straightaway, but this book came out over a year later and despite my want to find out what happened next in Vasya’s life, it became another story that has found its way to the bottom of my reading pile. This story is set in old Russia where the snow is thick and the forests dark; it is the perfect setting for a winter read during the magic of Christmastime or the brittle months that come after and are in need of a fantasy to come alive beside the flames of a fire.
His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman – a Christmas gift
When I told Warren that I had never read a single book by Philip Pullman, I think he nearly disowned me. I am an avid reader, yes, and I have read hundreds of books over the years, but somehow children’s classics such as His Dark Materials and even Harry Potter have never really sparked on a bookshelf before my eyes. I have seen parts of The Golden Compass and so I know a little bit of the story, but I have never truly understood it… if that makes sense. Other than that, I have no clue about the stories themselves, and I prefer it that way. I want to delve into a world of enchanted creatures and unbreakable bonds without knowing what happens. It feels like another perfect book for the festive period, and a chance to read something that I should have read a long time ago. It’s a good job my imagination hasn’t grown with age as I have.
by Sophie Kinsella – gifted by Penguin Random House
I am a huge Sophie Kinsella fan, but I’ve never actually read any of the Shopaholic books. Don’t ask me why because I have no idea especially as there was a time in my life where my mum referred to me as a shopaholic myself. Becky (née) Bloomwood and I seemed to have a lot in common. When the opportunity to grab Sophie’s latest book arose, I jumped at the chance. I relate to her books so much that one of them is on my all-time favourites list. Her characters are written with hilarity and heart too. Plus, with Christmas just around the corner (I can’t believe I just said that), it seems like the perfect fit for a festive mishap.
edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering – gifted by Titan Books
This book has actually just had its publication date; I’ve been careful to not read any of the reviews so that I don’t spoil the impact of this dark, enchanting book that has eighteen compelling stories about witchcraft and the life of the hexed. The stories have been written by a collection of fearless women who bring dread to pages in a cunning masterful way. This book was made for Halloween, when the veil between this life and the next is but a thin wisp of almost-nothing. The witches we see on film may not be real, but when you read about them in books, it feels as though they are.
The Queens of Innis Lear
by Tessa Gratton – a Christmas gift
I first fell in love with this book when Mum and I took a trip to Manchester just before Christmas last year. The spine stood out with its regal nature and its thickness that promises a detailed, intricate tale between the pages. I love reading about queens and fantasy lands of far away. This book is no different, but there is a horror and a bloodthirst that adds to my desire to read it. Feuding families make for the best tales and when there is magic and torment, and a blindness that encompasses them all, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment to begin such a book. I think the reason I have waited so long is the sheer volume of it, and I don’t want to fall in love with a book that will eventually end as all the great stories do.
Well, that is certainly a list of incredible books that will keep me going for a long time. Reading during the colder months always feels a little more magical.
What books are on your autumn winter to be read list?
Love, Faye xo