The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Mini reviews: ‘Scrappy Little Nobody’ and ‘Let the Right One In.’

Review number one: ‘Scrappy Little Nobody’ by Anna Kendrick

Rating: 5 stars

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I picked up Anna Kendrick’s book when I was feeling poorly, and it was exactly what I needed to cheer myself up. I love the way Anna writes and she is so damn funny I was laughing out loud the whole way through.

When I was younger, I used to think celebrities weren’t ‘real’ people. Obviously I don’t think that now, but Anna Kendrick’s book made me fully appreciate that they *are* real, and Anna Kendrick is one of the realest. (Too many reals in that sentence, for real.) Anna comes across as so human, relatable, and down to earth. Even though she’s a successful actress, she’s just as awkward and anxious as I am. She’s got a fabulous self-deprecating sense of humour, she’s struggled with insecurities throughout her life, and she doesn’t take anything she’s achieved for granted. I loved reading about her school days full of awkward relationships and embarrassing moments. I just wanted to hug her and be like: aww, Anna, me too.

It was fascinating learning about Hollywood movies behind the scenes. It’s actually a lot less glamourous than I would have imagined, and there is no way in hell I would be able to do it. I need way more sleep than Anna Kendrick gets (and it sounds like she does too!) It was awesome reading about the funny things that happened on the sets of some of my favourite movies too.

My favourite section of the book was the chapter entitled “The World’s Most Reluctant Adult”. I swear to God I’ve never related to anything harder in my life! It’s so reassuring to know that even someone as successful as Anna Kendrick procrastinates doing housework, and promises herself every year that THIS will be the year she gets her shit together.

My other favourite part of the book was the ‘bonus reading group guide’ at the end of the book, a total satire full of hilarious questions written by Anna herself which had me cracking up with laughter. I desperately want to quote them, but they won’t make a dollop of sense unless you’ve read the book.

I thought I loved Anna before I read this book, because I enjoy her movies and find her tweets funny, but now I know I adore her and want her to be my best friend, thank you please.


Review number two: ‘Let the Right One In’ by  John Ajvide Lindqvist

Rating: 3 stars

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I have mixed feeling about this book, hence the three star rating. The writing was five stars for me: it was so atmospheric, and the author put just enough detail in to make every scene vivid, yet not so much as to make the descriptive sections drag. He managed to make a fairly ordinary suburban setting creepy as hell, and I found the first half of the novel so thrilling because of said creepiness.

The plot for me, however, was only okay. I didn’t feel that much actually happened, and for a 500+ page book I needed way more *story*. Most of the characters were interesting, but Eli, the vampire, who is the whole point of the book, was two-dimensional for me. I know Eli was supposed to be an enigma to begin with, but by the end of the novel I at least expected to have a clear understanding of how Eli became a vampire. But, nope. Eli was severely lacking in the back-story department.

Oskar and Hakan were the most interesting characters for me, but I didn’t feel like they underwent a whole lot of development as the story progressed. Everyone in this novel felt static to me. I felt like if I were to leave them, and come back to revisit them at a different point in their lives, they would all be sitting exactly where I left them. Despite this, I enjoyed reading about these two characters, because I found both of them very twisted.

Hakan is a paedophile, and reading from his perspective was extremely uncomfortable, but somehow fascinating. The author took this character to some very dark places indeed. Oskar, our main character, was also an interesting one: he’s a young, clever, slightly overweight boy, and by all appearances sweet and innocent, but spends his spare time scrapbooking articles about serial killers and fantasizing about murder. He was a pretty messed up kid, but I did find him likeable, and I was rooting for him. Not sure what this says about me…

I really rated the first half of this book, but the second half dragged. I did enjoy this book, but I think I would have loved it more had it had either had more character development and exploration of Eli’s backstory, or simply been about 100 pages shorter!

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My favourite creepy books!

Hello everybody and happy Almost-Halloween! I hope you’re all lounging around in your pyjamas soaking up the spooky vibes through your day-light-saving-time-darkened windows. (I know the clocks haven’t actually FALLen back yet, but it’s getting darker day by day, and I’m loving the otherworldly walks home in the dark when I go out after 6pm.)

Today I am bringing you some of my favourite creepy reads, because I am feeling Halloweeny, and I want to pass those pumpkin-feels on, y’know?

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Without further ado, here are some books that will give you the shivers, even though you probably already turned the heating up last week because there’s a CHILL in there airrrrr…


Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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Night Film is one of my favourite novels of all time, and I can’t think of a more perfect book to read in October. The story follows Scott McGrath, a journalist who is investigating the suspicious suicide of a woman named Ashley Cordova, daughter of the renowned, but reclusive, cult horror movie director, Stanislas Cordova.

Cordova is a fascinating character, elusive and strange; his films have been banned because of their horrifically disturbing nature, and there are rumours that some of the things that happened in those films were not quite as fictional as they appeared on screen…

This book is a total mindf**k, you’re constantly questioning what is and isn’t real, and it’s so gorgeously written it hurts. Please read this and become as obsessed as I am with it.


I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

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This is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read, and it’s really hard to explain why. It follows a woman who is travelling with her boyfriend to visit his parents for the weekend, which doesn’t sound creepy at all, but there’s something really, really off about the situation. You feel in your bones that something horrifying is going to happen, but you have no idea why you feel that way.

The feeling does not let up, and the book proceeds to get creepier and creepier until it is so unbearably creepy you can’t sit still. The final sequence of this book still haunts me to this day.


Slade House by David Mitchell

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Slade House is a story told from several different perspectives, about a strange house where, every 9 years around Halloween-time, a different guest is summoned to the house, and something utterly terrifying happens to them there.

This book is so freaking perfect; it’s tricksy, and strange, twisty, and beautifully constructed. It made my heart beat faster, and gave me proper heebie-jeebies. There’s a quote in the book where one of the characters describes the evening she spends at the house as being like “a board game co-designed by M. C. Escher on a bender and Stephen King in a fever”, and to be honest that’s a pretty good description of the entire book. It messed with my mind, and blew me away. As I said, PERFECTION.


Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

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Psychological thrillers don’t often stick in my mind after I finish them, because they’re usually quite samey and forgettable, but I’m still thinking about this book a few months after reading it because it was genuinely frightening.

The story follows a woman named Grace who is being held prisoner by her husband Jack, who keeps her in line using extreme psychological abuse. It’s not a mysterious book – we know who the villain is and understand their motives straight away – but that doesn’t stop this book from being hideously tense and scary; in fact, I think it makes it more so.

The tension is relentless, and claustrophobic, and you really find yourself trapped inside Grace’s head, trapped inside Jack’s house, with no way out. A powerful and memorable read.


Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

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This book is set in Victorian London and follows an opium-addicted doctor who is investigating a string of brutal, copycat, Jack-the-Ripper-style murders which may or may not have something paranormal behind them.

This is one of the darkest, goriest, scariest books I have ever read. Victorian London is shadowy and murky and creepily atmospheric, the narrative is dreamlike and strange, and this book contains scenes which literally made my heart pound with fear. It’s SO freaking brilliant and evil, and I’m desperate to re-read it at some point.


Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

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Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, but I would actually recommend reading this as a standalone and not bothering with the other two. If you like all your questions answered, and you’re not a fan of ambiguity, this won’t be for you, but if you like spooky strangeness and mysteries we’ll never fully know the answers to you will adore this.

The story follows four scientists who are sent to investigate an ecological anomaly referred to as ‘Area X’. Several other parties have been sent into Area X previously, and many of those parties have not made it back. The ones who have been fortunate enough to return have been changed… irrevocably.

This book was creepy as all hell, weird as all hell, and I never knew what was going to be around the next corner. It thrilled the conspiracy-nut side of my personality, and reignited my desire for there to be something ‘other’ to the ordinary world we live in.


What are some of your favourite creepy books? I’m always on the lookout for recommendations!

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Fancy a supernatural roadtrip across America? ‘Demon Road’ by Derek Landy will take you on one…

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Demon Road. Derek Landy. Harper Collins Children’s Books. February 2016.

For anyone who ever thought their parents were monsters… Amber Lamont is a normal 16-year-old. Smart but insecure, she spends most of her time online, where she can avoid her beautiful, aloof parents and their weird friends.

But when a shocking encounter reveals a horrifying secret, Amber is forced to go on the run. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers and red-skinned, horned demons – Amber hurtles from one threat to the next, revealing the terror woven into the very fabric of her life. As her parents close in behind her, Amber’s only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be….


I had no idea what to expect when I borrowed Demon Road from my local library, but I ended up giving it 5 stars because it was soooo ridiculously entertaining. I’d been wanting to read a Derek Landy book for a while for the sole reason that I saw him speak at YALC two years ago, and the man was HILARIOUS. His talk was like a stand-up comedy show; he had everyone roaring with laughter, and I just knew that someone that funny would write an excellent book. I was right!

Demon Road follows Amber, a 16-year-old girl who is on the run from her demon parents, who want to kill and eat her so they can gain more demon-y power: just your standard teenage problem really. The story is a kind of supernatural road trip across America, and yes that is as exciting as it sounds! Amber is joined by Milo (a surly, mysterious man who has an unusual relationship with his car – no, I don’t mean a sexual one, you perv!), and Glen, an overly chatty and extremely irritating (but strangely loveable) Irish boy they pick up somewhere along the way.

I loved the characters in this book, and the dynamics between them. There was no romance whatsoever, which was so refreshing, and allowed for my favourite kind of relationship to develop between the characters: unlikely (and reluctant) friendship!

Amber was a fabulous main character because she was a tough cookie, but not unrealistically so. She had the will to fight back, and she held it together pretty well considering her parents were attempting to kill and eat her, but she also experienced fear, felt pain, and didn’t magically, automatically know how to fight like a badass. Amber was smart (despite making some impulsive [bad] decisions here and there), funny, and adept in the art of quippy teenage sass. I found her (and all of the other characters, tbh) hilarious, and I’m so happy that Derek Landy’s IRL sense of humour translated so well into this book.

Demon Road had so much action, and so many moments of omg-they’re-all-going-to-die peril, that I had trouble putting it down. I enjoyed the urgency and fear of knowing that Amber’s psychopath parents were hot on her trail, and I loved all of the scrapes she, Milo, and Glen got themselves into along the way. They met so many fascinating (and SHADY) characters, and got unintentionally caught up in so many small-town paranormal horror stories, as they made their way across the supernatural backroads of America (a trail known to those in the know as the ‘Demon Road’). It was impossible to get bored with this novel; I never knew what was lurking around the next corner.  I love stories set in small towns where freaky weirdness is goin’ down, so the parts where the characters would pitch up in a new town for the night were so much fun for me.

I should probably warn you that this is quite a gory book (I’m talking guts, all over the place), but I’ve never been as bothered by supernatural violence as I have the kind that could happen in real life. If I can handle it, anyone can, because I’m a wimp when it comes to these kinds of things. I actually weirdly appreciated how brutal Amber’s parents were, because it gave a real edge of danger to the story; the threat Amber was running from was REAL.

All in all, I absolutely loved this book! I’m definitely going to read the sequel, Desolation, and I’ll be checking out some of Derek Landy’s other books too. If this sounds like your cup of tea, I highly recommend you do the same! 🙂

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Another book haul because Jess has no willpower at all…

At the start of the year, I made a vow to myself that, until I had read some of the books I already owned, I would resist buying any more books, apart from a select list of new releases I would ‘allow’ myself to pick up throughout the year.

This book haul contains eleven books, and only three of them were on the aforementioned list…

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I think it’s fair to say I have no will power at all when it comes to buying books. But in my defence, I’m a book blogger; it’s in our blood.

Here are all the books I hauled in January and February:


Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and I’m delighted to say that it has been MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF THE YEAR SO FAR. You can read my review here. Spoiler alert: contains gushing.


Slade House by David Mitchell

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I’ve had my eye on this book for a while, as I love literary horror, and I’ve heard great things about David Mitchell’s writing. This novel is about a house where, every nine years, something very-sinister-indeed takes place. I’m so excited to find out what that sinister something is.


After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry

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I picked this book up because it has a really cool and creepy concept: it’s about a man who stumbles upon an old house when his car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and, when he goes to seek help from the residents of said house, discovers that they all know his name, and have been waiting for him to turn up for a very long time. #creepy

Sarah Perry won the Waterstones Book of the Year with her latest novel, The Essex Serpent, so I’m expecting excellent things from the writing too.


A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

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I hunted everywhere for this book because one of my favourite booktubers, Katie at Chapterstackss, really enjoyed this one. This book is about a family who find themselves the focus of a reality TV show called The Possession when their local priest advises them that their fourteen-year-old daughter has become the victim of a demonic possession. This book sounds SO interesting!

As an aside, if you enjoy horror novels and need recommendations, check out Katie’s channel, because she is a fountain of wisdom when it comes to this genre.


Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

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I discovered this book when I was browsing in the Waterstones YA section, and it sounds PERFECT. The main character is a girl whose dad owns an events business, and who has grown up helping out at SciFi/Fantasy conventions. The love interest is a ‘messy haired and annoyingly arrogant’ author. If this book lives up to my expectations, I am going to fall all kinds of in love with it.


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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This book is SO BEAUTIFUL. I wanted to read it anyway because it’s set in a snowy landscape (which is something I adore in a book), it’s based around Russian folklore (intriguing), and according to the blurb, it contains a creepy forest (I cannot resist a creepy forest). When I saw the glorious cover, however, it leapt from a want-to-read to MUST-read!


Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

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I have been meaning to read this book for the longest time. I LOVE magical realism, and so many people whose bookish opinions I respect have enjoyed this one. I’ve also heard that the writing is beautiful, and there is an element of creepiness… SOLD.


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

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This book is about the diary of a Japanese girl that washes ashore on a beach in Canada, and the impact the diary has on the woman who finds it. This concept is really fascinating to me, and I’ve wanted to read this book for years, as I remember being impressed by the first few pages when I picked it up in a bookshop many moons ago. It was nominated for the Mann Booker Prize at the time, too, so I feel very intellectual having bought it, tbh.


History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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Adam Silvera’s new book was, of course, on my list of new releases I am ‘allowed’ to buy this year! I was blown away by his debut novel, More Happy Than Not, and I’ve heard this one packs just as big an emotional punch. I have extremely high expectations for this book!


Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

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CW at Read Think Ponder wrote a fantastic review for this book, and it has been on my TBR ever since. This is a supernatural horror set in a small town, and sounds like it explores some interesting themes too. I love it when a horror novel has so much more to it than simple shocks and scares, so I’m really excited to read this one!


My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

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Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors, if not my FAVOURITE author of all time, and I own every single one of her books; this was always going to be an auto-buy for me. What I love about Sophie’s books is that they are light-hearted, but they are done so well. She doesn’t just churn out bland, samey rubbish like some authors in her genre – her characterisation is always excellent and her writing is hilarious. Her books never fail to make me smile, and are perfect for when I need some cheering up.


So, that’s it for my January/February haul. I would say that you might not see one next month, because I’m going to try and exercise some restraint, but that would probably be a BIG, FAT LIE.

Have you read any of these books? Which books did you pick up this month? I’d love to hear from you!

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YA Horror: ‘Fir’ by Sharon Gosling (ARC Book Review)

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Fir. Sharon Gosling. Stripes Publishing. Release date: 9th February 2017.

Moving from Stockholm to an isolated pine plantation in northern Sweden is bad enough, but when the snows come early and all links between the Strombergs and the outside world are cut off, it gets worse.

With only a grudging housekeeper and increasingly withdrawn parents for company, there is nothing to do but to explore the old plantation house. Anything to stay out of the endless pine trees pressing in on them.

But soon it becomes clear that the danger within the old plantation house is even greater than what lies outside…


Thank you to Netgalley and Stripes Publishing for providing me with a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love the Red Eye range of YA horror books from Stripes Publishing (my favourite being Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell) so when a new book from the range popped up on Netgalley, I knew I had to request it, immediately!

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I was really torn over how to rate it. I ended up opting for 3 stars, because, whilst there were a lot of things I liked about the book, I was left with the feeling that something was missing.

First of all, let’s talk about the good stuff! This book contained so many of my favourite tropes from the horror genre: an isolated house, a sinister forest, unnerving characters, creepy children, and a multitude of mysteries. The setting and atmosphere within this book were extremely well executed, and the descriptions made me feel like I was right there, alone in that weird, silent forest, with only the ancient trees for company.

Despite the atmospheric writing, I felt quite disconnected from the main character. I can only call her the main character in this review, because we never find out her name. I had trouble getting to know her because, as well as lacking a name to ground her in some kind of reality, I discovered very little about her throughout the course of the story. She didn’t seem to have any hobbies, there was a brief mention of some friends at the beginning of the novel, but they weren’t mentioned again, and she spent a lot of time exploring her new home alone, rather than conversing with other characters.

The main character did have personality; it just wasn’t a strong one which jumped off the page. I wasn’t her biggest fan to begin with, because she started off being extremely whiney. I can understand that she wasn’t too thrilled about being forced to move to the back of beyond (and I’m sure I would have had the same stroppy reaction at her age), but I found her whining a bit grating; it reminded me of Bella Swan when she first moves to Forks, before she discovers the sparkly vampires… However, the main character definitely grew on me; as the story progressed, she developed into somebody much more mature and capable, when thrown into situations where she needed to be.

One character I did find very interesting was Dorothea, the housekeeper. The Stromberg family inherit her when they move to the plantation, as she has been in service there for many years. Dorothea was rude, deliberately difficult and uncooperative, and was described as having a ‘scuttling’ walk, which I have to admit made her all kinds of creepy to me. If you’ve ever read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Dorothea will give you serious Mrs. Danvers vibes… she was always lurking around every corner, and trying to make the family feel unwelcome in their own home, and I was constantly curious to know just what she was up to.

My favourite thing about this novel was probably the use of mythology. I can’t say much more about this, as I don’t want to wander into spoiler territory, but I loved the way that mythology was tied into the horror, and examined against the other possibility… that all the creepy things happening were simply hallucinations brought on by the isolation.

I was certainly invested in the mysteries of the story, and I enjoyed sneaking around and exploring with the main character, as she made sinister discovery after sinister discovery. I get a buzz out of that kinda thang! Despite enjoying how the mystery unfolded, I was left frustrated by the ending. I did get answers to the questions I’d had throughout the book, but what happens at the end threw a curveball, and I was actually pretty confused about what had happened. I sometimes enjoy an ambiguous ending, but I’m not sure this one was needed… unless it was a set-up for a sequel!

All in all, I found this novel entertaining, and definitely creepy in places, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d had a better connection with the main character, and if the ending had been clearer. However, if you’re new to the horror genre, I think Fir could be a fun place to start.

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Book review: ‘The Creeper Man’ by Dawn Kurtagich

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The Creeper Man (also published as And the Trees Crept In). Dawn Kurtagich. Orion Children’s Publishing. July 2016.

There’s a man in the trees, a man with no eyes, but still he watches, that’s the surprise. Stay away from the woods, it couldn’t be clearer, but the trees are creeping nearer and nearer…

Beware the creeper man.


I picked up this wonderful book at YALC, where I was lucky enough to meet Dawn Kurtagich herself and get my copy signed. I’d wanted to read this book ever since I first heard about it, but I couldn’t have predicted just how deeply in love with it I would fall. I adore horror and psychological thriller books, but so many of them lack the re-readability factor – once you know which scares are lurking around which corners, they tend to lose the magic they once possessed. But this book is different… it’s sprinkled with a far more powerful magic. This novel is dark and creepy, but it’s also heartbreaking and heartwarming – it’s the kind of book that stays with you, and I can’t wait to read it again.

The story follows a girl named Silla, and her mute younger sister Nori, as they flee their abusive father in London, running away to live with their ‘Crazy’ Aunt Cath in her rambling manor house ‘La Baume’, next to the dark and mysterious Python Wood.

Despite her eccentric, hermit-like existence, and her seemingly irrational fear of Python Wood, Cath is warm and welcoming, and as the girls settle into their new life they begin to feel safe and loved for the first time in their lives. But the feeling of safety is not destined to last…

From the day Cath completely flips when Nori wanders too close to the border of Python Wood, everything begins to change. Cath descends into a pacing madness, confining herself to the attic, leaving Silla and Nori to fend for themselves. With a rapidly decreasing supply of food, the surrounding land failing to yield any crops, and no neighbours to help the girls out for miles around, their health slowly begins to deteriorate as they continue to go hungry, day after day.  Feeling like she might as well be all alone in the world, Silla also starts to absorb and inherit Cath’s fears about Python Wood and the ‘Creeper Man’ who supposedly lurks there… but is he really coming for them, or is Silla simply losing her mind like Cath?

This book was thoroughly creepy, filled with a prickling unease from the beginning which builds and builds with Silla’s dawning realisation that something is very wrong with La Baume, and the woods surrounding the house which seem to have a consciousness of their own. But even more so than the sinister woods, and the creepy idea of the Creeper Man, it was the plausible-in-reality parts of the girls’ story which scared me the most…. The idea of slowly starving to death, with nobody to come and save you is, quite frankly, terrifying.

This novel becomes increasingly surreal and weird as the story unfolds, which is something I absolutely adored, but I also adored the warmth and relatability the characters brought to the tale, amidst all the creepy strangeness. Silla was a courageous character, despite her fears, and I admired that she was constantly facing the things she was most terrified of to protect her little sister. What I loved most about her characterisation, however, was that she wasn’t perfect – she was prickly, she struggled, she took her fears out on the people she loved, she kept secrets, and she wrestled with guilt. She was flawed and complex, and that’s why I found her so relatable, and her surreal experiences so believable.

I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally blown away by this novel, but sections of it had me in floods of tears, and others filled my heart with warm and fuzzy feelings. With all of this, plus the unsettling creeps which grew and grew into full on heebie-jeebies, this book left me a total mess, in the best possible way.

I would recommend this book to everyone, even those who don’t normally read horror, because it’s quite simply a fantastic story. It’s beautifully told, fairytale-like in places, with creepy little poems at the beginning of every chapter, passages where certain words are highlighted to reveal secret messages, and all kinds of other awesome unique details like that. This book was put together with so much thought and care, and I dare you not to fall in love with it the way I did. The ending was so clever, so perfectly executed, and socked me with so many emotions that I couldn’t give this book anything less than five stars.

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The small June haul that wasn’t supposed to happen at all…

Happy July everyone!

Yes, I know we’re already six days into the month. In the tradition of prefacing everything I post with an apology these days, I am sorry for my lateness with this June book haul. I have a lot going on in my head at the moment and I’ve been very low for the last couple of months, so I’m still feeling slumpy about blogging. But I did have a big writing session the other day, so I will be bringing you some reviews and book tags very soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to say thank you to all you lovely people for your support – it means so much to me, and I really appreciate you. ❤

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As you may remember, I wasn’t supposed to be buying any books this month because I was saving myself for YALC (but please, I say this almost every month and we all know I never really mean it!) I actually feel I’ve been rather restrained this month, as I only bought 6 books, and received 1 from Netgalley. Here’s my little haul for June:


***To have and to hold***

The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley

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So, I actually have very little idea what this book is about! I picked it up for about 10p from our donated books shelf at work, purely because of the creepy looking cover, and the fact that a reviewer on the back claims it gave him sleepless nights. From what I can gather, it’s some kind of literary gothic horror, but that’s really all I know about it. Oh, and Stephen King’s a fan, FYI.


Kill the Boy Band – Goldy Moldavsky

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Black comedy about a group of fangirls who kidnap a boyband member and tie him up in their hotel room? ALL OVER THAT. This was an unusual book, but I had so much fun reading it. Also I LOVE the colours used on this cover. They remind me of the nail polish I used to apply aged 14 whilst listening to Avril Lavigne. Review coming soon!


***Digital love***

13 Minutes – Sarah Pinborough

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This YA psychological thriller was a tense, twisty take on the dark side of teenage friendship. I was already a big fan of Sarah Pinborough’s books, and this one did not disappoint. I received a digital ARC of this book from Netgalley, and my review will be up later this week!


I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid

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This psychological horror novel is possibly one of the strangest, creepiest books I’ve ever read. I awarded this one 5 stars for being beautifully written and legitimately terrifying! You can read my review here.


The Unwanted (Black Water Tales) – Jean Nicole Rivers

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Continuing with the creepy theme (man, this haul is DARK), this book also had me hyperventilating behind a cushion for the majority of my reading experience. Set in a run down Eastern European orphanage filled with severely creepy children, this book had everything I look for in a horror novel. Thanks to Anne at The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange for recommending this one to me!


Paper Princess – Erin Watt

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Earlier in the month, I asked you guys to recommend me some fluffy books, as I really needed some cheering up. This one was recommended to me by Sammie over at Bookshelves and Biros for some ‘steamy escapism’ and it certainly delivered! I swooned a lot, you guys. One of my favourite New Adult reads this year. I’m really excited for the sequel, which comes out later this month!


Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon

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Another fluffy book! This one was recommended to me by Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books and I loved it so much. I had put off reading this book because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype, and because I already knew what was going to happen after reading a spoilery review last year. I’m so glad I finally gave it a chance!

I probably won’t review this one, as there are so many reviews out there already, but I will say that I thought Maddy was an adorable narrator, with such a lovely, quirky personality, and the romance was super cute. I really recommend this one if you want some happy, fluffy feels in your life.

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Source: Giphy


So that’s it for my book-buying this month (told you I was restrained!) Have you read any of these books? What have you added to your shelves this month?

And, as this haul was mainly on the dark and disturbing side, if you have any more FLUFFY recommendations, please let me know; I will appreciate them greatly and love you muchly. ❤

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Want to be thoroughly creeped out by a book? Try ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ by Iain Reid

imthinkignofI’m Thinking of Ending Things. Iain Reid. Gallery/Scout Press. June 2016.

You will be scared. But you won’t know why…

I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.

Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”

And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.


If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I’m completely obsessed with creepy books! Because I read so many psychological thrillers, I’m starting to find that I don’t scare all that easy, and I’ve been on the hunt for something to genuinely terrify me. Guys, I found that book!

I became aware of this novel a couple of months ago when I saw Trang’s review over at Bookidote, and I’ve been desperate to read it ever since. I waited impatiently for its UK release, and when I downloaded it on my Kindle a couple of days ago, I was mildly horrified that I was paying over £7 for an ebook, but confident it was going to be worth every penny. I wasn’t disappointed!

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is one creepy-ass book. It’s been a while since I found something fictional so utterly unsettling. And as the blurb promises, I was scared from the very beginning, but I didn’t know why until the very end! That sounds impossible, but it’s true.

The writing style was simple, yet mesmerizingly atmospheric. Every word was chosen so perfectly as to be loaded with menace. I was completely creeped out, even by the most ordinary things. Because everything does start off relatively normally – a woman (whose name we do not learn) and her boyfriend Jake are driving to his parent’s farmhouse, where she’s going to meet them for the very first time. As they’re driving along down badly lit roads, surrounded by nothing but farmland and the gradually darkening sky for miles around, all Jake’s girlfriend can think about is ending their relationship. None of this is directly scary, but there’s such a weird, off-kilter feeling and the sense of wrongness only intensifies throughout the novel.

A lot of the story is told through the thoughts of Jake’s girlfriend, her memories, and the dialogue between her and Jake, so there isn’t much direct action (until the end… oh boy!) but somehow that didn’t make the book any less gripping. There are some parts you might find quite slow if you’re all-about-the-action… Jake’s girlfriend does a fair amount of philosophizing about their relationship, and about the concept of ‘being alone’ versus ‘being with another person forever’, amongst other complex dichotomies. However, I found these parts really interesting! It’s a book which makes you think about human nature – why we are the way we are. It explores doubt and fear and longing – the things which make us human – in all of their uncomfortable complexity.

For me, this novel was perfectly paced. It’s a short read (roughly 200 pages) and I finished it in a single sitting. The creepiness and wrongness is relentless, and it builds and builds until it’s so unbearably creepy and wrong I was literally hiding behind my blanket and jumping out of my skin every time somebody came into the room in a totally cool and casual fashion.

Despite the fairly ordinary first few chapters, normality rapidly becomes a tiny dot on the horizon, swallowed up with the shrinking sun. Genuinely creepy things start to happen… unnerving nonsensical occurrences and coincidences, combined with the inexplicably weird way Jake’s parents behave (which made me increasingly more uncomfortable the longer Jake and his girlfriend spent at the farm – I was internally screaming at them to get out of that house and back on the road!), left me physically incapable of putting the book down! I really didn’t know what was going on, or what was around the next corner, and the anxious tension and mystery of it all kept me up way past my bedtime.

Something which added to the unsettling feeling of wtf-is-going-on was that at the end of each chapter, we’d get an excerpt from a conversation about something horrific that has taken place. We don’t know who is having the conversation – the characters are unnamed – and we don’t know what’s happened, but we gradually get drip fed the details. Because I didn’t understand the context of the conversation, or how it related to the main plot thread (until the end of the book), it was jarring and unsettling, and I spent most of the book terrified of finding out.

The climax of the book has got to be one of the most terrifying, disturbing, and heartbreaking sequences I’ve ever read. I really didn’t see it coming. It was so very, very clever. Maybe it was staring me in the face all along, I don’t know, but I’m tempted to go back and read it from the beginning now that I know. I’m so, so impressed with the execution of this fantastic novel.

I can’t really say anything else about the plot because I really don’t want to give anything away – the less you know the better. All I can say is that if you’re looking for a book to scare the crap out of you, which is addictive, and which makes you think, you must check this one out ASAP!

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Creepy cameras and sociopathic librarians: my review of ‘Four Past Midnight’ by Stephen King

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Four Past Midnight. Stephen King. Viking Press. September 1990.


I’ve only ever read one Stephen King novel – The Shining – and whilst I loved it and it was certainly creepy, I wasn’t terrified by it. I didn’t have to put it in the freezer like Joey from Friends

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Source: Twitter

I felt the same way about Four Past Midnight. I loved the way the stories were written (Stephen King is the BEST storyteller – you can tell even in the way he writes his personal notes to introduce each novella in this collection), and there were plenty of creepy moments, but I never felt the need to stash it away in the freezer for my own safety and sanity. I’m still searching for a story to *absolutely* terrify me in this way. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

I think I’ll do this story by story, otherwise this review could get a wee bit rambly:


The Langoliers – 5 stars

This was my favourite novella in the collection. The story follows a set of characters taking a flight to Boston. Each of them fall asleep on the plane, and when they wake up, everyone bar them has mysteriously disappeared, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone in control of the plane, which has been drifting along on autopilot whilst they’ve been sleeping.

This story was weird and creepy and I loved following all of the characters as they attempted to make sense of something completely nonsensical. If you loved LOST (aka my favourite TV show of all time) you’ll adore this. I loved the element of strangers having to rely on one another, and the way each of their back-stories were gradually revealed. Although there was a fairly big cast of characters (10), I felt each of them were distinctive, and I came to care about all of them deeply by the end of the novella. And speaking of the ending, it kind of blew my mind. It wasn’t a twist as such, but it was just so perfectly written.

Straight after finishing this, I checked out the rather cheesy 90s made-for-TV movie adaptation, and I secretly loved every minute. You can find the film on Youtube here.


Secret Window, Secret Garden3.5 stars

You may have heard of the film adaptation of this story – Secret Window starring Johnny Depp. I’ve never seen the movie, so I went in blind, but whilst it certainly gave me the creeps in places, I also felt the plot was predictable (I guessed the twist early on.)

The story follows recently divorced Mort Rainey, an author who is staying up at his summer house for the winter (as his ex-wife took ownership of their home in the settlement) and struggling over the manuscript for his next book. One morning, a strange man named John Shooter shows up on Mort’s doorstep and accuses him of plagiarising one of his stories. Mort has no idea what the man’s talking about, and assumes he’s just crazy, but as the story progresses, John won’t seem to leave him alone, and all kinds of sinister things start happening.

Even though I guessed what was going on, it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the story, which was very interesting from a psychological perspective. Plagiarism is a fear which must haunt all writers to a certain extent, because we can never be completely sure if an idea or phrase came from us, or from something we read years ago and buried deep in our subconscious. Mort instantly starts feeling guilty, and I loved seeing what guilt does to him and how it messes with his head. I’m really interested to see how this story is handled in the film adaptation, which I’m definitely watching soon!


The Library Policeman4 stars

This was an excellent story, but all kinds of messed up. The plot follows a man named Sam Peebles who goes to the library in search of some books to help him with a speech. When he gets to the library, there’s a real sense of wrongness; nobody’s around, it’s uncannily quiet, and there’s some seriously disconcerting decor in the children’s section, including a large poster of the sinister-sounding ‘Library Policeman’ who threatens to punish children who don’t bring back their library books. Sam confronts the librarian about the posters, which he feels are totally inappropriate/will terrify kids, and he gets a very strange vibe from her – there’s something not right about her at all. Creepier still, when Sam returns to the library, everything looks completely different, and the librarian he spoke to is nowhere to be found. But the scariest parts are still to come…

This story made me think about how strange libraries actually are, especially when relatively empty – all those massive, silent rooms with never-ending shelves of books definitely have lots of potential for creepiness.

There was plenty of weird paranormal stuff going on, and creepy characters who gave me the shivers, but the most horrifying thing that happened in this novella was something which could and does happen in real life. That particular scene made me sick to my stomach, and was probably the most disturbing part of the whole book.

For me, The Library Policeman was a powerful story, which addressed some interesting themes and important issues. I grew to really care about Sam, and I think that’s why this story affected me so much.


The Sun Dog2.5 stars

This story was actually part of the reason I bought Four Past Midnight in the first place. I went to a YA event last year, and an author on one of the panels said this was one of the scariest stories she’d ever read. I was expecting to be terrified, but unfortunately I wasn’t really feeling it. It was a creepy concept – a boy called Kevin gets a polaroid camera for his 15th birthday, but discovers there’s something very wrong with it… instead of taking pictures of whatever he points the camera at, the photos which emerge are of a dog next to a picket fence. As he takes more and more photos, the dog appears to be moving… closer and closer to the lens.

The pace of this story dragged a bit, and I found myself getting bored and wanting things to move faster. I was also disappointed with the ending – it just wasn’t horrifying enough for me, and I kind of knew what was coming all along, so it all felt a bit silly. It kinda reminded me of Goosebumps (although this was written before Say Cheese and Die…) for grownups. Except the only thing which made it grownup was a tiny bit more gore, and some swearing… Don’t get me wrong, I loved a bit of Goosebumps back in the day, but it takes a lot more to scare me as an adult.

An aspect of this story I did find really creepy were the dreams Kevin had about the world of the camera and the dog and the picket fence. They had that surreal, weird quality which reminded me of dreams I’ve had which were frightening simply because they made no sense. The other thing I found quite sinister was Pop’s shop (Pop is the man Kevin takes his camera to, in the hope that he might be able to fix it or tell him what’s wrong with it). Pop’s shop was full of clocks which would all chime ‘on the hour’ but slightly out of sync with each other. I don’t know why but there was something a bit disconcerting and eerie about that.


Overall, this was a great collection of horror stories, even if the last one was weaker than the rest. None of them kept me awake *all* night, but they were entertaining, creepy, and well written. I’d definitely recommend them, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Stephen King’s work.

Have you read any Stephen King books? Which ones would you recommend? And are there any scary books you can recommend that you genuinely considered putting in the freezer?! I’d love to hear from you.

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‘The Autumn Book Tag’/’The Fall Time Cosy Book Tag’ Mash Up

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I have been tagged by two lovely ladies, Charley over at Books and Bakes, and Deanna of A Novel Glimpse, to get all autumnal and talk about the books I like to snuggle up with when the weather gets colder. I’m combining these two tags for obvious reasons, but for those I nominate, you can choose to participate in one, both, or neither… whatever you prefer!


The Autumn Book Tag:

What is your favourite thing about autumn?

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Autumn is my favourite season (I’m an October baby)… crisp mornings, falling leaves, cosy evenings in the warm. I also love Autumn because The X Factor is back on my TV screen, and I still have a soft spot for it, even though it’s the same every year, and full of ‘sob stories’, and the crap auditions are totally staged… it’s perfect comfy-pyjama viewing for a dark, chilly night.


What book reminds you of your school days?

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It sounds crazy considering how much of a bookworm I am now, but during school I had a gap of several years where I barely read, because I was an angsty teenager struggling to cope with my own ‘issues’, let alone the problems of fictional characters. The book that got me back into reading was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It really did take over my life, at a time when I needed to be distracted, so it’ll always have a place in my heart, even though I am slightly embarrassed looking back on my all-consuming obsession.


What cover reminds you of autumn?

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The misty, atmospheric sky on the cover of The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle reminds me of fog settling on a chilly morning, and this book is the perfect October read. You can check out my review here.


What is your favourite horror or Halloween story?

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Night Film by Marisha Pessl. This book follows disgraced journalist Scott McGrath, who is investigating the suspicious ‘suicide’ of Ashley Cordova, daughter of controversial horror director Stanislas Cordova, whom Scott is convinced had something to do with Ashley’s death. It’s a huge book, but pacey, creepy and strange, and I was thoroughly sucked in, to the extent that I became a total zombie whilst reading it; although my body went through the motions of turning up for meals, having conversations with other humans, etc., my mind wasn’t present in the real world until a good few hours after I’d finished the book.


What is your favourite horror or Halloween film?

I’ve a feeling if I were to see it now, it would be lame and not scary at all, but I remember having 2 back-to-back sleepless nights after watching The Ring at a sleepover aged 13. To this day, I’m still not overly comfortable when old TVs go all fuzzy and make that hissing static sound…

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Image via Giphy.com


What fall book release are you looking forward to?

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I’m a big Sophie Kinsella fan, and there’s a new Becky Bloomwood book coming out soon (Shopaholic to the Rescue!) which I’ve got to get my hands on! This series never fails to make me laugh out loud.


What autumn movie release are you most anticipating?

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Mockingjay Part 2… Help, I’m going to bawl my eyes out in the cinema!


What are three books you plan to read this autumn?

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The Fall Time Cosy Book Tag:

Crunching Leaves: The world is full of colour. Choose a book that has reds, oranges and yellows on the cover.

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City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare. I love this cover, it’s just stunning. Coincidentally, I also adore what’s inside it! 🙂


Cosy Sweater: It’s finally cold enough to don warm cosy clothing. What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I haven’t read much contemporary romance this year, but I’m starting to get back into it, and this is one of my favourites! Etienne St. Clair is adorable, I don’t think you can read this book without falling in love with him a little. Anna is also one of the most likeable protagonists in YA fiction.


Fall Storm: The wind is howling and the rain is pounding. Choose your favourite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day.

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You can’t beat a good ghost story on a stormy day/night. I loved Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, a spooky story of isolation and creepy happenings, which takes place on a 1937 Arctic expedition to the supposedly uninhabited bay of Gruhuken…


Cool Crisp Air: What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments. She makes slaying demons and being a badass seem somewhat effortless, plus I really want her ruby pendant!


Hot Apple Cider: What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

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The Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch. I’m not sure if these books are necessarily under-hyped, but I hadn’t heard of them until I randomly discovered the first book whilst browsing Amazon. They’re amazing! The story follows Ethan Burke, a secret service agent who arrives in the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, looking for a colleague who went missing and was last seen there. He soon realises that something seems ‘off’ about the town – he can’t make any phonecalls to his wife and son, everyone seems determined not to believe he is who he says he is, and perhaps the most troubling thing of all… there doesn’t seem to be any way out of this creepy little town…


Coat, Scarves and Mittens: The weather has turned cold and it’s time to cover up. What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?

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Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. I’ll admit that I’ve read it (though my ‘Inner Goddess’ wasn’t a huge fan, soz), but I definitely wouldn’t want to be caught reading it on the bus. Then again, I guess that’s what the tiny-size font on your Kindle is for.


Pumpkin Spice: What’s your favourite fall time comfort food/foods?

Anything warm and yummy… jacket potatoes, sausages… the kind of food you eat on bonfire night. 🙂


I tag the following people:

Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm

Meg @ Little Blog of Books

Ali @ I Wuv Books

Dee @ The Bookish Khaleesi

Poulami @ Daydreaming Books

Alysyn @ Rein Reads


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Autumn photographs courtesy of Iain Strachan (my – very talented – Dad!)

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