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 😉

 

macbeth.jpg

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)

‘The Twisted Tree’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! Time for another review! I read The Twisted Tree for the recent 24in48 readathon and I enjoyed it, though it wasn’t perfect. Let’s see why, shall we? 🙂

the twisted tree


synopsis

Part ghost story, part Nordic thriller – this is a twisty, tense and spooky YA debut, perfect for fans of CORALINE and Michelle Paver.

Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes, as if their emotions and memories have been absorbed into the material. It started the day she fell from the tree at her grandma’s cabin and became blind in one eye.

Determined to understand her strange ability, Martha sets off to visit her grandmother, Mormor – only to discover Mormor is dead, a peculiar boy is in her cabin and a terrifying creature is on the loose.

Then the spinning wheel starts creaking, books move around and terror creeps in…

Set in the remote snows of contemporary Norway, THE TWISTED TREE is a ghost story that twists and turns – and never takes you quite where you’d expect.


my thoughts
This was one of my most anticipated releases back in January but I quickly became nervous after hearing some less-than-stellar reviews. So I lowered my expectations accordingly and waited a while to read it. I ended up being pleasantly surprised, though the book is not without its issues.

The book’s setting is definitely one of its strongest points. The desolate Norwegian landscape makes for a suitably atmospheric read that would be perfect for a cold winter’s night. The dark and spooky vibes are abundant. Burge simultaneously writes some lovely imagery and manages to create some much creepier moments than I was expecting.

The story is slow and sinister, and will certainly appeal to fans of the Gothic. I also really appreciated the Norse mythology connections and thought this added an original touch.

Sadly, I did feel like there were moments of missed potential. The book was relatively short and it wouldn’t have hurt to make it a little longer and more developed. I felt that I was left with unanswered questions by the end.

I also couldn’t fully get on board with the romance. For all the fantastical elements of the plot, it was the odd insta-love relationship between Martha and Stig that caused me the most difficulty when suspending my disbelief. Again, there was the potential for some really interesting themes to be explored (such as Martha’s disfigurement and both characters’ grief) but this potential was never fully realised.

Overall though, despite its issues, this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend for fans of atmospheric ghost stories!

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What are you all reading lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! x
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Blog Spot: ‘Mr Stoker & I’!

Happy Saturday everyone! A couple of years ago, when I was still super-new to the blogging scene, I read and reviewed two books by indie author Becky Wright. I also had the great pleasure of interviewing her as part of the promotion for her second book. And now I’m delighted to be back promoting her third book, which I’m so excited about… Mr Stoker & I!

I haven’t read this book yet as I’m saving it for October – both for the spookier Halloween vibes and because I want to actually read Dracula first 😉 But I have no doubt that this is going to be a fantastic story full of atmosphere and suspense.

Here’s what the story is about…

synopsis

My name is Miss Lucinda Meredith.
Please, come sit with me a while, let me tell you my story.

It was the Summer of 1890.
Theatre manager and writer, Mr Bram Stoker, arrived here in Whitby after an arduous theatre tour of Scotland. It was to be a welcome respite before his return to London.
What he discovered was far more intriguing.

We met at dawn on the East Cliff, in the shadow of Whitby Abbey, on a bench overlooking the sea. So at ease in his company, I felt compelled to share the events that had haunted my existence.

And after all these years, I wonder, could our chance encounter have inspired what would become, Bram Stoker’s legacy?

Sounds amazing, right?! And just feast your eyes on this stunning cover…

Stoker Street Team -1.jpg

Seriously, I am in love.

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Have I managed to intrigue any of you?! If so, you’ll be glad to know that Mr Stoker & I released today! It is available in both paperback and Kindle format from Amazon. Click on any of the images in this post to be redirected there 😉

I almost wish that I wasn’t saving this one for later in the year; creating this post has got me super hyped and wanting to read it immediately!

I do hope that some of you will give this one a try because Becky is a talented writer and a supremely lovely lady to boot. I wish her every success with the launch of Mr Stoker & I!

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‘The Binding’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful April so far 🙂 I’ve got another review for you today, for a book I recently loved! I’m excited to share it with you.

the binding


synopsis

Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.


my thoughtsThis is a book of my heart. I bought this because it hit a lot of my buzzwords but I honestly didn’t expect to love it quite so much. I instantly connected with the beautiful prose; seriously, the descriptive writing was so gorgeous!

I was completely enthralled from start to finish, feeling immersed in the story every time I picked it up. It was all a little bit dark and a lot mysterious, and I was living for it.

The characters are so fully realised that I could picture them all so vividly. It honestly felt like I was reading about real people. I will admit that the change in perspective in part three did throw me a little but I soon got myself used to it.

Collins did a great job of revealing just enough information to tantalise the reader and keep them hooked in. I was desperate to find out more, just as Emmett was, and it felt wonderful to follow along on his journey.

If you’re a fan of books like Rebecca, The Shadow of the Wind or The Thirteenth Tale, I would definitely recommend you pick this one up!

the binding.jpg

And now I’m going to leave you with this quote which really spoke to me:

May your darkness be quiet and the light come sooner than you need” – how lovely is that?!

Happy reading lovely people! x