I’ve been having a fantastic time putting together my Curated Bookshelf every month, but there are some themes where I just can’t find 12 books for it (yet). So I’ve decided to share these shorter lists on Mondays (most Mondays, at least). I hope you enjoy!
Even though Halloween now seems to start in August (and Christmas starts in October), it’s still just October by itself that means Halloween to me. And, even then, it’s too long. I’ve never been a fan of Halloween, probably because I’ve always scared really, really, really easily. The one day of Halloween is more than enough for me. But, since The Curated Bookshelf’s theme celebrates Oktoberfest with 12 books that involve characters enjoying a glass or ten, I’ve decided to focus on more Halloween themed lists for the next 4 Mondays (assuming I don’t completely freak myself out by the end of the month, so let’s get started on the scariest one, shall we?).
Every Goosebumps book by R. L. Stine
Technically, I’ve only read one, but my third grade teacher thought it would be great to read two to my class. I believe I slept with the covers over my head every night for months. The single one I read wasn’t even one of the scarier ones, but I still freaked out and vividly remember huddling in a corner in my room, desperately trying to finish it so I could stop scaring myself (no such thing as DNF for an 8-9 year old, I guess).
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
Haunted is a novel made up of twenty-three horrifying, hilarious, and stomach-churning stories. They’re told by people who have answered an ad for a writer’s retreat and unwittingly joined a “Survivor”-like scenario where the host withholds heat, power, and food. As the storytellers grow more desperate, their tales become more extreme, and they ruthlessly plot to make themselves the hero of the reality show that will surely be made from their plight. This is one of the most disturbing and outrageous books you’ll ever read, one that could only come from the mind of Chuck Palahniuk.
I had no idea this was a horror book when I picked it up. It mentioned a writer’s retreat, and I apparently didn’t read any further. It started off fine enough and then the horror elements started creeping in and then one lady apparently looked dead, so the other people decided to stick a knife in her so they could start eating her…and I’m surprised I didn’t lose my lunch. It would also seem that DNF was not a thing to my high school self. Because I definitely should have stopped reading it, so now I’m stuck with horrifying thoughts and images every time I see a face stretched in a scream (can’t even look at The Scream without feeling sick to my stomach).
The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky
They thought we were safe. They were wrong.
Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.
Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.
Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.
Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.
This is not horror. It was actually a fairly fascinating sci-fi novel about multiple universes that I sort of understood. But the beginning of the book completely freaked me out. I remember reading that part while putting my young daughter to bed (she liked me to stay with her until she was completely out, so I would sit and read for a while). The writing and atmosphere were just so good that it made me feel like jumping out of my skin just by turning the page. I was so freaked out by the dark of my daughter’s room that I couldn’t move or even get up to leave my snoring little girl until the whole sequence had ended. I could not stumble out into the light fast enough.
Rats in a Maze by Peter Bailey
It was just a simple car accident and Detective Fisher closed the case easily. But why did he remember things that had never happened, and who was the “most beautiful woman in the world” who haunted his dreams?
NYPD Detective Ray Fisher thought it meant he was going mad, but there was enough of the Detective left to see that the weirdness had started after he’d investigated a car that had been driven into the river. It was a trivial case but it opened his eyes to a shadowy elite who used people like pawns.
Ray thought he had all the answers until the NYPD suspended him and he realized that the only thing worse than the elite was the vast government Conspiracy concealing it.
Actually, this started off as little more than a crime mystery, but it quickly picked up a paranormal element. I actually had a bit of fun reading this, mostly because I couldn’t pin it down and the action just kept going. And then the end hit and it got weird and creepy and horrifying really fast. I don’t want to spoil it, but it did follow from the rest of the novel; it just added a really scary component that I feel like I can’t unsee.
The City Beneath the Hidden Stars by Sonya Kudei
Drawing on an eclectic mix of influences and based on the myths and history of Zagreb, Croatia, The City Beneath the Hidden Stars is a fantastical story that unveils the wondrous concealed in the mundane and is an adventure not to missed.
Long ago, the Black Queen once ruled Zagreb in a looming fortress over the city. Her legend lives on in children’s games and bedtime stories. Is it truly only folklore? And what harm is death to a queen who supposedly stole secrets from the stars?
When rumors surface that the Black Queen might still be alive and living in a haunted chasm beneath Zagreb’s Bear Mountain, it prompts the Star Council to dispatch star daimon Leo Solar to Earth to investigate.
After witnessing a bizarre event at a local music gig, former philosophy student Dario Taubek begins to notice a strange-looking man in a star suit. Curious, he follows him and what he discovers catapults him into a world he never knew existed. A world of magical trams, myths and monsters, celestial beings, and the legendary Black Queen.
Again, this isn’t a horror novel, but, again, the ending took on horror elements. This was actually a bit confusing to pin down. There are fantasy and science fiction elements, but I had a hard time figuring out if it was for children, adolescents, or adults as the material felt like it wanted to be adult, but the writing was much more juvenile, and the humor wasn’t always appreciated. The horror popping up at the end felt a little out of the blue, and I really didn’t like how it was done, but now I can’t unsee certain parts.
As you can probably tell, there won’t be any Stephen King in my near or far future. What books have scared you (that I will most definitely never read)?