Halloween Horror’s Spooky Themes

⇒Any time you pick up a horror book, it will most likely fall under a traditional spooky theme. Get ready to be creeped out by the books on my creepy horror themes lists that are perfect for any Halloween reading list!⇐

I am going to start this blog entry with a confession (is this becoming a thing with me now? Gosh, I hope not – then you’ll know everything!) So here it is: I am a big fat chicken! I absolutely love reading spooky books in October… as long as they aren’t TOO scary, and as long as they aren’t too realistic. Is that cheating? Enh… maybe.

Whenever I’m looking through suggested titles for my #spookyreads TBR, I shy away from so many of them because I can already imagine the twisted nightmares I would suffer if I got those stories stuck in my head. But my personal timidness aside, some readers are able to just plunge into the scariest of horror stories. With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to highlight some of the most popular horror themes and some very spooky reads to go along with them!

Silence lay heavily upon the wood and the stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

HAUNTED HOUSES

A classic. There is nothing more basic about reading a spine-chilling horror novel than having it feature an ancient, gloomy, and most definitely haunted house. Check out these incredibly spooky haunted house horrors…

  • THE INVITED by Jennifer McMahonHelen and Nate’s new property has a dark and violent past. Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago.
  • WITHIN THESE WALLS by Ania AhlbornLucas Graham finds himself investigating Jeffrey Halcomb’s life within the walls of the cult leaders former home – where his devoted followers may just have found eternal life.
  • THE GRAVEYARD APARTMENT by Mariko Koike“A terrifying tale of a young family who move into an apartment building next to a graveyard and the horrors that are unleashed upon them.”

GHOSTS

Boo! Scared ya, didn’t I? Not so much? Ok, well maybe I didn’t, but these ghost stories definitely will…

  • PETRA’S GHOST by C.S. O’CinneideAs Daniel hikes a lonely trail carrying the ashes of his wife, Petra, something sinister is stalking him and his companion, Ginny.
  • THE WAYWARD GIRLS by Amanda MasonA family experienced all the things that go bump in the night in their little cottage in 1976. Years later, Lucy revisits her childhood home to learn the truth about what happened there.
  • IMAGINARY FRIEND by Stephen Chbosky“Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend.”

We ask only to be reassured/About the noises in the cellar/And the windows that should not have been open.

T.S. Eliot, The Family Reunion

POSSESSION

OK, here is where I solidly chicken out. No apologies. I literally. just. can’t. But if you can…

  • POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil “San Francisco’s senior exorcist and his newly assigned partner from the Vatican enlist Bridget’s help with increasingly bizarre and dangerous cases of demonic possession.”
  • THE RITE : The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio – (nonfiction) “Journalist Matt Baglio uses the astonishing story of one American priest’s training as an exorcist to reveal the phenomena of possession, demons, the devil, and exorcism[s]…”
  • PANDEMONIUM by Daryl Gregory“Ordinary men, women, and children are the targets of entities that seem to spring from the depths of the collective unconscious, pop-cultural avatars some call demons.”

MONSTERS

We’re all familiar with the classic horror monsters: Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, and every werewolf you’ve ever read about. But modern horror stories invent modern monsters and new things that go bump in the night.

  • RELIC by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child“Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum’s dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human…”
  • CREATURE by Hunter Shea“[Kate] and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.”
  • MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN by Jennifer Giesbrecht“A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats.”

You didn’t hear what she told me when I got up — you’re so cute I could put you in a pie. Tell me that’s not the creepiest thing you’ve ever heard.

Julie Kagawa, The Immortal Rules

WITCHES

Let’s just say that these aren’t the Hocus Pocus or Practical Magic ladies that you may have fond memories of. These chicks are much, much creepier.

  • THE FAMILIARS by Stacey HallsA noblewoman and her baby’s lives depend on Alice Grey’s promise that she can save them. But, suddenly, Alice is accused of witchcraft and the women must combine their powers to save each other.
  • THE WIDOW OF PALE HARBOR by Hester FoxNot all is as it seems in the sleepy town of Pale Harbor. “Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives with a spinster maid in the eerie Castle Carver. “
  • WITCH WATER by Edward Lee“A warlock who sires children with his own daughter, children to be used for something far worse than sacrifice. A witch whose carnal abandon and sheer diabolism stagger even the most demented imaginations. And a 300-year-old mansion in whose walls are embalmed the infernal secret of…Witch-Water.”

Of course, these titles are just a taste of all the sufficiently spooky horror stories that could rock your October reading list. But there’s only one question… Are you brave enough?


Baby Teeth

by Zoje Stage
Rating: 
(3.9 stars – Goodreads rating)

To Be Published July 17, 2018, by St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Fiction / Suspense / Thriller

Format: Kindle Edition

Page Count: 320



Baby TeethHanna knew nothing was wrong with her. But Mommy wanted them to look. Again.

As a young(er) adult, I remember wanting to be a parent. I clearly remember that strong maternal pull to create someone, to nourish them, and to pour all of my love into a little person who would love me back just as intensely. It took longer than I anticipated, but I eventually became that parent that I envisioned. There is no instruction manual about how to parent a child “correctly”, and I have made plenty of mistakes; however, my daughter is loving, smart, and beautiful.

And, thankfully, she has never tried to kill me.

That is more than I can say for little Hanna Jenson. Seven-year-old Hannah Jenson (pronounced “Yenson”) is an elective mute who communicates with nods and gestures. She can speak, but words seem to work better inside her head. Her mommy and daddy love her, they play with her, feed her healthy food, and place her in the best schools. But Hanna hates her mommy. She wants Daddy all to herself, and the only way to make that happen is if Mommy is dead.

So Hanna would act, and give Mommy a chance to act in reply. And then she’d know. If Mommy passed or failed.

Zoje Stage sets up a creepy tale within the backdrop of a normal family from Pittsburgh. A custom-designed home, a successful husband, a stay-at-home wife, and… a possibly demon-possessed daughter.

And with that knowledge, we watch the little Jenson family spiral through uncertainty, indecision, awareness, and different levels of acceptance (and rejection) as they battle the demons (figurative and literal) that plague their daughter.

The story becomes a question of what happens when innocence is not so innocent? It’s the familiar parental war of nature vs. nurture or the human conundrum of love vs. loathe. And, as a parent, while reading this book I found myself on a slippery slope of opinion – often suggesting some things to do to this little girl that weren’t so nurturing.

The dynamics of these characters are puzzled together so perfectly, the reader see-saws between who is actually to blame for all the malevolent behavior that permeates this family. Is it the eccentric but brilliant young girl whose devious plots seem to stem from an internal distrust of her mother? Or is it the mother who struggles to force perfection into her own world despite being bracketed by unhealthy and flawed female relationships? Or could it be the father who has chosen to turn a blind eye to any troubles and instead view his family only through rose-colored glasses?

Daddy was an island that seemed like a paradise in her desire, but was nothing more than a rocky crag that couldn’t save her from drowning. Not with mommy beside him.

I was instantly locked into this family’s fight for survival in this thrilling story that is just a little bit too real for comfort. No comparisons to Hollywood’s Problem Child movie of the 90’s here because that was a comedy and there is nothing funny about Hannah’s chilling moods and deadly schemes to have her daddy all to herself.

I did feel a little cheated in the end though. There should have been a more definitive resolution. I think readers deserved that after the tensely suspenseful buildup. So, that’s why I deducted a half star.

I would highly recommend this debut novel to lovers of suspenseful, thrilling fiction and maybe to couples who are considering having children for the first time. (insert sarcastic side-eyed smile here)!

Get it Here      |  Read an Excerpt Here


About the Author

Zoje StageBlog

Goodreads

Twitter

Instagram

An author of dark and suspenseful novels, Zoje lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her debut novel Baby Teeth (St. Martin’s Press) will be released 17 July 2018. It will be released in the UK as Bad Apple (Transworld).

(Bio from Goodreads)


 

image001_1514946317787