Recommendations from the Piano: Creepy Classics!

Hello lovely people! It’s been a while since I did my very first recommendations post but I want to thank you for responding to it so positively! It gave me a lovely confidence boost 😀

So I’m back with another one today! I wasn’t sure what to recommend first for the spooky season as there are honestly SO many books I love that are just perfect for this time of year. But I’ve seen bloggers such as The Orangutan Librarian and Pages Unbound talking so eloquently about classics so I thought I’d link up with them and recommend some of my favourite creepy classics that are perfect to read in Autumn!

recommendations - creepy classics


wuthering heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This book is fairly divisive but I think a lot of the people who hate it tend to be the ones who go in thinking it’s a love story. It’s not! This is a story of two haunted young people, revenge plots, corruption, and the stormy Yorkshire moors. It’s one of my all-time favourites and I could read it at any time of year, but I think the rain and gloom of Autumn add particularly to its atmosphere.

 

jane eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I can’t mention Emily Brontë without giving a nod to her sister. Jane Eyre has so many great Gothic elements, including the absolutely fabulous setting and of course the legendary Bertha Mason. The time is definitely right to light a candle and read this one under a blanket.

 

rebecca du maurier

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

And I can’t talk about Jane Eyre without then mentioning a book heavily inspired by it! I’m fairly new to du Maurier having only read this one last year. But it’s easy to see why this is a classic. The symbolism alone makes this novel an absolute masterpiece but then you’ve got the characters, the house… everything is just fabulous. If you call yourself a fan of the Gothic, you need to read this one.

 

frankenstein penguin horror

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I studied this one in school alongside Wuthering Heights and I’ll be totally honest: I wasn’t immediately enamoured with it. But the more I learned about it, the more I began to appreciate it. And I have since read it multiple times. Autumn is the perfect time to read this one as the titular character Victor embarks on his university education but decides to go down a rather unconventional path with disastrous consequences…

 

picture of dorian gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

First entry on the list written by a man! I have rather a love for Gothic queens. But this one is deserving of a place on a creepy classics recommendation list! A portrait that absorbs a persons sins and ages in their place? It doesn’t get much creepier than that!

 

turn of the screw

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This is one of the original ghost stories! The ambiguity of this one makes it perfect for those of you who enjoy a good mystery in the darker months. I will say no more… 😉

 

haunting of hill house

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Another Autumn/Halloween queen! This book is brimming with a deliciously creepy atmosphere. I wasn’t sure whether to recommend this one or We Have Always Lived in the Castle – but I guess I’ve just mentioned both so 😉

 

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Yes, I’m recommending a play! It’s not very often I shout about Shakespeare here on the blog but he really is one of my first loves. This is one of his spookiest plays, being set in a Scottish castle and featuring plenty of witches and ghosties!

 

woman in black

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

This is definitely one of the creepiest classics on this list. There were some moments in this that genuinely freaked me out and I certainly wouldn’t recommend reading it in the dark before bed! This book also has one of the most memorable endings in all of literature. A must-read, for sure.

 

hound of the baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sherlock Holmes

I’m sensing a lot of similarities between the settings of these books – old Gothic houses in isolated locations? I’m here for them all. This one is a cracking little murder mystery story about a hellhound roaming the moors; it’s perfect to read on a dark night while the rain lashes against the windows.

 

sleepy hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

This one practically demands to be read near Halloween. While the prose is a little slow in pace, this story of the Headless Horseman is a good one. And it’s been adapted into graphic novel format if that’s your thing!

 

the raven

The Raven and Other Stories by Edgar Allen Poe

While you’re at it with the short stories, make sure you pick up some Poe! I can think of no better time to discover The Raven, The Pit and the Pendulum, and my personal favourite The Tell-Tale Heart. It’s all so deliciously macabre.

 

something wicked this way comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Finally (because you have to have 13 recommendations on a creepy classics list 😉 ) is a slightly more modern classic. While I love my Gothic queens, Bradbury is the king of Autumn. Something Wicked This Way Comes is about so much more than a Halloween carnival (though that alone would make me love it). It’s a wonderful coming-of-age story and features some absolutely stunning imagery. If you read any book on this list, make it this one ❤


So those are my recommendations for creepy classics to read this Autumn! How many have you read? Any that are on your list to read? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

Recommendations from the Piano: Underrated Pride Reads!

I’m kicking off a new blog feature today! Since I started my blog, I have wanted to give book recommendations in the form of lists but for some reason, I never had the confidence. I always felt like other bloggers had more to say than me and that I wouldn’t be bringing anything new to the table! But that’s a silly way to think so I’m taking the plunge today with my first list 😀

Pride month may be over but it’s never a bad time for some queer recs! And while I’ve seen some fantastic lists floating around, I wanted to highlight a few LGBTQ+ books I’ve read that don’t get talked about as much. Any reviews I’ve written are linked in the book titles. Hopefully you’ll find something that sounds good!

I’m also linking up with Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and the Bookish and now run by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt was a character freebie so I went for LGBTQ+ characters!

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the binding

The Binding by Bridget Collins

This is a fairly recent release but I’m not sure how many people are aware that this book has a m/m relationship at its heart. I certainly didn’t know when I bought it. But this book does the enemies-to-lovers trope SO well.

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More Than This by Patrick Ness

Ness is a gay author who writes amazing stories that just so happen to feature wonderful queer relationships. This book is a bit difficult to classify as it has some unique sci-fi elements but I listened to the audiobook last summer and adored it. I was driving along with a big grin and tears streaming down my face! If that doesn’t convince you to read it, I don’t know what will 😉

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Soulless by Gail Carriger

The Parasol Protectorate series features a delightful cast of queer characters. There is a lesbian side character and a m/m relationship in particular that I adore. And these books are SO funny! It’s a few years now since I read them so I might be due a reread soon. Soulless is the first in the series.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is one of my original favourites from my teenage years. The book features characters that take up a huge space in my heart. Patrick, one of protagonist Charlie’s best friends, is gay and there are some great conversations raised about this.

when the moon was ours

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

I read this early in the year with the Dragons and Tea book club. McLemore is married to a trans person and this book features a trans character, who was just so beautifully portrayed.

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The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Logan is a lesbian and usually writes queer fiction. This book features a relationship between two female characters and I definitely recommend it for fans of evocative imagery and beautiful descriptions. Again, it’s been a while since I read this one so I don’t remember a huge deal about the story – but I clearly remember loving it!

autoboyography

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Ok, maybe this one isn’t so underrated. But it jumped straight into my all-time favourites when I read it last summer, so I couldn’t make a list of pride recommendations and not include it, ok? 😀 Sebastian and Tanner have the sweetest relationship, and I love how the authors explore the implications of Sebastian’s religion in a tactful way.

you asked for perfect

You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

If you’ve read and enjoyed Autoboyography, there’s a good chance you’ll like this one too, as there are definite similarities. I’ve heard a lot of people recommending this one for the mental health rep and the ability to relate to it, but I’ve not seen it mentioned on many LGBTQ+ recommendation lists!

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

This is possibly the most underrated title on my list. I read this one for a blog tour last year and it was such a poignant and compelling story. The plot has many wonderful layers and I was so invested in these characters when I read this one.

summer of salt

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

This book has amazing LGBTQ+ rep, including the most awkward and adorable f/f relationship. It’s a magical story that handles a dark topic incredibly well. I loved this one so much.


So those are my ten recommendations for underrated books featuring LGBTQ+ characters! I love all of these books wholeheartedly and would love to hear from you if you’ve read any of them or if I’ve convinced you to pick one of them up! xsignature (2)

‘Here I Stand’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! It was a bit of a struggle to get this review up today as my mental health is going down the actual toilet, but here we are!

here i stand review


synopsis

Did you know that government spies can turn on your phone and use the microphone to listen to your conversations? That lesbian and gay relationships are illegal in 78 countries and can be punished by death? That Amnesty recently recorded the highest number of executions globally for more than 25 years?

Through short stories and poetry, twenty-five leading authors and illustrators explore the top human rights issues facing young people today.

Now is the time to take a stand and make a difference.

Full list of contributors: Tony Birch, John Boyne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Kate Charlesworth, Sarah Crossan, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, Ryan Gattis, Matt Haig, Frances Hardinge, Jackie Kay, AL Kennedy, Liz Kessler, Elizabeth Laird, Amy Leon, Sabrina Mahfouz, Chelsea Manning, Chibundu Onuzo, Bali Rai, Chris Riddell, Mary and Bryan Talbot, Christie Watson and Tim Wynne-Jones.


my thoughtsThis was an extremely powerful and worthwhile read. I’m really glad that I finally decided to pick this one up. Anthologies will always be a mixed bag, with some hits and some misses, but this one was incredibly strong with the majority of stories feeling high quality and conveying valuable messages. I would normally only rate an anthology at 3 or 3.5 stars due to the varied mix of styles but this one is a solid 4 minimum.

I’m not going to talk about every story but I’ll mention a few that stood out for me.

The collection begins with Harvester Road by John Boyne, a really powerful opening story that got me feeling all of the emotions straightaway. It explores various instances of child abuse all occurring in the same street and the ways in which adults try to ‘justify’ their actions. I was honestly appalled. This one really does pack a punch. I’d definitely be interested in reading more John Boyne after this.

Then we get Dulce et Decorum est by Chibundu Onuzo, which was a frustrating but fascinating take on the subject of child soldiers. I thought the matter-of-fact tone worked very well for this story.

Matt Haig’s The Invention of Peanut Butter was great and had a very clever message. I loved that it read like a folktalke. Stay Home by Sita Brahmachari was a moving look at role reversal when a child has to care for a parent due to mental health issues. I found this one very poignant and nicely written.

Redemption by Ryan Gattis was truly fascinating and I thought the author’s concept of a better prison system was unique and interesting. And Sludge by Sarah Crossan lulled me into a false sense of security with its lovely writing style and then completely ripped out my heart.

Then comes Bystander by Frances Hardinge. This story was utterly heartbreaking and reminded me of my time in Uganda, where I met a little girl with Down’s Syndrome. Though I didn’t witness anything, I suspected that she was being mistreated – and it was all because the elders in her culture thought she was possessed. Thankfully, there were people getting involved to educate these adults so something was being done to prevent the abuse – but I just wanted to scoop that little girl up and bring her home with me. It’s so sad knowing things like this go on in certain cultures.

There were a few other stories in the anthology, some which I didn’t like as much and some for which I don’t have a whole lot to say. The final story I want to mention is Harmless Joe by Tony Birch, another of my favourites in the collection. This one was really nicely written with a lovely message, and I loved the touch of magical realism.

Overall, this was a very heavy read but one which is so important and that I recommend to everybody.

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Have you read this one? What are some of your favourite anthologies? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

If you liked that, try this!

Hey guys! The idea for this post came to me whilst I was lying awake on a recent overnight shift at work so I thought I’d give it a shot and see what you think of it! Basically, I love when someone reviews a book and then offers recommendations on similar things to read. It’s something I’d like to start doing but I’m not sure I can yet as I haven’t read hundreds and hundreds of books! So I thought I could do a post like this every now and then, offering some recommendations.

Without further ado, let’s recommend some books!

 

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If you liked…

practical magic

 

Try…

 

These books are all full of small-town charm, and are utterly delightful reads. They might look like ‘chick-lit’ but they are so much more than that; they have meaningful stories at their centres and make for heart-warming reads. The magical realism in all of them (excluding Slightly South of Simple) is one of my favourite aspects.

 

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If you liked…

american gods.jpg

 

Try…

 

Norse Mythology is a natural progression from American Gods, though it is perhaps not quite so deep. If you’re intimidated by the size of American Gods, think of Norse Mythology as its easier-to-handle little brother. Pyramids is Terry Pratchett’s take on the gods and it features his trademark wit and satire. The Bone Clocks is similarly weird and wonderful to American Gods; it can be hard to get your head around at first but it’s so worth it.

 

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If you liked…

brass.jpg

 

Try…

 

Lush world-building and fantastic magic systems abound in these books about djinni and chimaera. I found the writing in The City of Brass particularly reminiscent of Laini Taylor’s books.

 

So there you have it! What do you guys think of my recommendations? Is this the kind of post you would like to see more often? I have a few more ideas in mind but didn’t want to overload you guys! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! x