#JorieReads | Spooktastic Fortnight of Psychological #Suspense & #Gothic Tales Personal Reading Challenge!

Posted Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 by jorielov 0 Comments

Spooktastic Fortnight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Spooktastic Fortnight of Psychological Suspense & Gothic Tales!

Autumn for me is a time in the year where I simply like to read a curated collection of stories which fall under different categories of mutual interest: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic or Paranormally inclined and Cosy Horror. This year, as I was looking over the lists for *reading challenges* I noticed 2017 fell a bit short in offering a chance to interact with other readers who appreciate the same type of stories! Therefore, as I had already put my plan into action to read the selected stories during the final fortnight of October, I decided to host my ‘own’ self-direct reading challenge this year!

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If other book bloggers or readers want to join me, please link to your blog, Twitter, Riffle List, LibraryThing List or other ‘space’ online where you are updating about what your reading – such as Instagram or Vlog (YouTube) in the Comments section below!

Use the tag: #SpooktasticReads & link back to this post

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Aside from the choices I’ve made, this year in particular, I want to see if I can make a bit of headway on this lovely BINGO card Stormy @ Book Blog Bake created a handful of Autumnal moons ago to celebrate #HorrorOctober and the resting joy of sinking into one of these types of stories which interests me as well!

Horror October Bingo Card created by Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake found via Oh! the Books via #OTBHorrorOctober

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Squares I’m hoping to ‘knock’ off the card this year:

  • A book which takes place in the woods
  • A book with super powers
  • A book with siblings
  • A book with Gothic elements
  • A book that’s a thriller
  • A (Cosy) Horror book on your TBR
  • A book that takes place in a small town
  • A book about witches
  • A book with a female MC
  • A book with a murder premise
  • A book with blood on the cover
  • A book that scares you
  • A book with a (blueish) grey cover
  • A book that defies genre
  • A debut Horror book

We shall see how well I do, eh?

IF you want to use this Bingo Card, please contact @stormydawnc direct. She gave this out a few years ago for bloggers who wanted to have a card to use as they read stories of Horror and/or Psychological Suspense. I’ve been trying to read my way through the card ever since!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Each of these lovelies entered my life at different intervals of time – some have been eagerly awaiting my attention for a few years, whilst resided on my bookshelf. Others, are recent arrivals – each of them, were drawing a different vein of interest to explore and enjoy reading per each variant of genre they entertain.

Here are the reasons why I am as excited now as I was when they initially arrived to devour the stories which await my readerly eyes:

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Jane Eyre | talk about the one story I have been most vexed to finish reading ever since I first stepped into the reading challenge of #SeptembEyre all those years ago! I have picked up this story off/on ever since – soaking into a handful of chapters each ‘new’ visit. Here is a snippet of my last reading:

Rochester is too quick in his renunciations on behalf of Jane’s independence and personal process of original thought; he only sees her as she appears, peppered a bit through short conversation but without the balsam of seeing her as she has yet to reveal herself with anyone other than her own soul’s mirror. Judiciously he feels in the right with his assessment of Jane, but Eyre has her own convincing confidence about her I believe will disconcert a bit of his pre-judgments whilst having to re-align how he perceives those of whom he become acquainted.

Jane is her worst critic, taking to heart the felicity of her own mind (where she might consider herself to fancy Rochester or rather, he might take a keen liking of her) prompting her to self-criticise herself in such a harsh way as to marginalise her own beauty for that of another; someone she felt would be of better benefit to marry Rochester than she herself. It is a pursuit of self-sabotage to feel so harshly towards one’s own merits of goodness and try to talk oneself out of being of equal worth – however, true to the nature of Jane, this self-reproachment is natural for her to do, given her upbringing.

The Library of Light and Shadow | I was first introduced to the collective works of M.J. Rose when I spied ‘The Collector of Dying Breaths’ on a blog tour schedule. From there, I entered her Daughters of La Lune series which honestly has held my attention far more than her Reincarnationist series! This did surprise me at first, but it’s the layers she stitches into this series which has held my eye and heart for how it is proceeding. Here is one of my favourite takeaways from the last installment of the series – ‘The Secret Language of Stones’:

Opaline’s true passion is the art of working with stones, crafting jewelry and listening to the stones themselves as they have an inherent language only she can hear and understand. She took an inopportune moment to declare her independence from her parents and opted to repeat her mother’s declaration to fuell her own destiny. Her mother could not truly take fault with her daughter (even though I think she might have to some degree) for being of the same silk as her, but daughters rarely surprise their Mums; even if letting go is harder on them. Opaline wanted to find an honourable way to deport her gift onto others, a way of cleansing the jaded past her mother inflicted on her by not having any sense of how harming her choices were to hear or observe. Such a clever method of etching in her gift with something tangible – in the beginning, as Opaline settled into her work at a friends’ jewelry shoppe, she imparted keepsakes with the hidden addition of a protective shield. Each person who touched the objects directly felt her influence on them, as despite the anguished losses they were trying to heal from – Opaline found a way to soothe their very souls.

All Hallows Eve at Eyre Hall | An after canon sequel based on ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ respectively – this is a trilogy I’ve been waiting to read for quite a long time now! Whenever I grew closer to finishing ‘Jane Eyre’ and attempting to read the other novel it held roots of inspiration – I found myself unable to attach my heart and mind to the story-lines. I have found ‘Jane Eyre’ to be a story I need to be in a certain mindset to read – which I would think might ring true of most Classical works of Lit. However, due to my unease in proceeding to read this particular after canon without reading the former stories, it has such been awaiting my eyes to finish the origin stories! This year, I am most determined to read *four!* Eyre stories and finally feel as though I have transitioned past what blocked me from finishing them! Likewise, Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall continues from whence this one leaves off!

Frozen Fairy Tales | Earlier in the Spring, before my allergies made reading quite the arduous chore – I was starting to get caught up on my readings which were held-over from last year. As most readers who visit me regularly know – there were quite a few new additions to my ‘backlogue’ when my father had his stroke. I’ve been slowly proceeding to erase the original half of the backlogue whilst attempting to disperse with the newer ‘stories’ as quickly as I can read them. I personally have a passion for the anthologies emerging out of World Weaver Press, as this is one Indie publisher I found quite accidentally on Twitter and have happily reviewed for them for a few years now. I lost my footing in my reading queues, thus I have quite a few stories I need to read before the close of 2017 to make amends for those short-comings – this collection felt ‘right’ to be reading this fortnight because all anthologies by this publisher have their own spin on ‘the unexpected’ where genre-bending stories frequently engage my imagination! Plus, too – ahead of #RRSciFiMonth, I wanted to start to read more Speculative Fiction! To gain a peek into why I love these WWP anthologies, here’s a snippet from my review of CORVIDAE:

Similar to Whistles and Thrills, this short also felt larger than it’s small wings – there was a moment of transition between the historical ‘now’ and the ‘present’ where I felt Deal did the best at giving us such a breadth of depth to envision what his rooks were attempting to notify the world about in their quest for communication. Deal wrote rooks into a war drama scene that happens after the war, where children are exploring their surroundings and imagining what the remains of war could hold within them. It’s about childhood innocence running head-first into the realities of how the casualties of war are not identified at time of death but oft-times are found accidentally, as if waiting for a nod of compassionate condolence.

My favourite piece of this short is what happens when Birgit sees what the rooks want her to feel – to see is not enough to understand. They open her eyes through her souls ability to grasp what was left unseen and hidden until that moment where a door opens to reveal a truth ready to be set free. Corvids like rooks have a soulful gentleness about them; their all-sensing and knowing of things, where you can tell they carry a weight on their shoulders.

This is the beauty of historical war dramas, there is so much left to be said and shared; stories root themselves to our heart as the emotion is inked out by writers who know how to write stories which pull us into their veiled worlds. More please!

The Supernatural Pet Sitter (see also Review) | An audiobook blog tour I ‘missed’ whilst I was on my unexpected hiatus in September! In some ways, I’m sort of happy I had – as this fits so very well with stories which are spooktastically ‘October’! I loved the charming premise of this story – of how sometimes you can bite off more than you can chew and how sometimes, even the most ordinary of jobs can turn out to be quite the handful! lol I look forward to seeing where this lovely little story takes me!

Sinking Down | Written by one of my favourite Speculative Fiction authors (E. Chris Garrison) of whom you will recognise as the authoress of my favourite Urban Fantasy series (The Tipsy Fairy Tales) – wrote this rather traditionally Horrific little Gothic tale quite awhile ago! There is a fuller story behind why this story in particular is of interest to me to be reading which I’ll disclose when I share my review – for now, know that I am in LOVE with the cover art design — I love the effects of ‘mirror images’ and this one is wicked golden in amplifying the concept! You’ll find more stories by this lovely author arriving in November during #RRSciFiMonth!

As Death Draws Near | Oh, dear my! The fifth Lady Darby novel – the novel I didn’t have the heart to read when it first arrived by Post and over the past twelvemonth of thought of little else – except for the itch to devour this novel! I simply couldn’t attach my focus on reading it til now. Reading this past year has had it’s fair share of ups and downs for me – I’ve tried to read as much as I could, but for the most part, I found myself ‘drifting’ out of focus with the stories I was attempting to read. The ones I managed to read and blog about are the ones which held me centred and glued into their narratives. After my September hiatus – I’ve felt re-inspired and have better clarity now to continue from whence I’ve left off – not just with Lady Darby but with all the stories residing on my shelf!

Secrets in the Mist + This Side of Murder | These were purchase requests of mine at my local library which happily boomeranged back so quickly into other readers’ hands, I had to await the chance to re-queue them into my own check-out list! I knew as soon as I finished reading ‘As Death Draws Near’, I’d want to move into the two new mysteries Ms Huber had penned! I am most excited to see what she has written as I know the style of these will differ a bit from Lady Darby’s world – something I am itching to become familiar with as I do like how she had a way of telling a story you feel as though you’ve lived through yourself.

Betrayal at Iga | I had fully planned to read this in *August*, except the month had other plans for me – specifically, the high frequency of electrical storms & the insanity of not being to ‘connect’ online enough to satisfy my bookish interests. I thought for sure I’d be reading this in September – honestly, I have been on absolute pins awaiting this chapter of the story, ever since I finished reading ‘The Ninja’s Daughter’. Spann has captured my bookish heart with her characters: Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori – they are the heroic blokes who reside in 16th Century Japan who never make you feel inferior for living in the 21st Century Western world! Read my final takeaways from ‘The Ninja Daughter’:

Oh, dear my! I love how wickedly Spann gives us something we’re not expecting and yet so very much want to see found in each of her stories! I have become quite attached and fond of Ana, Father Mateo and Hiro as well as Hiro’s cat Gato (that’s a riddle in of itself that will tickle your funnybone!) to such a level I eagerly appreciate finding them once more occupying the story’s central heart. I think the ending of this one was quite special indeed because it brought out things that might have been elusively just outside our knowledge in the previous installments but are now fully present and centred. These characters are a ragtag family of whom are precious and dear to each other, even if they don’t always sound like they love each others’ company! Now that their embarking on a new beginning, I long to see what will be waiting for them at their destination! What fun!

I love how in the end, the original title was fittingly well placed to alert you about a particular plot point that truly did come to pass! The title that is on the novel is well played, as it hints towards where the story ends up in the concluding chapters. The beauty of reading this installment is how the world in which Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori occupy is now expanding dimensionally wider in scope and thereby, the next story will carry us a bit further into the background of Hiro than we’ve ventured previously. I am full of awe at how with each new story, the mysteries grow in strength and in presence of place,…

Ms Spann has created a series for the historical reader at heart!

The Paris Winter | This was an ARC I received via the First Impressions Progamme through Book Browse – at the time, something happened which prevented me from reviewing the book before the deadline. The blessed part of the programme is if something happens in your life, you can withdraw from reviewing the book you received that month. I rarely had to use that option, but a few times, life did have a few curveballs come onto my path which made reviewing a non-option. This pre-dates my days as a book blogger – although, you could say, I was learning about being one! I have wanted to dive back into this story – feeling it’s a wicked good atmospheric read, how fitting would it be to include it now?

Paranormal Texas (see also Review) | One of two works of Non-Fiction by an author I first crossed paths with in the twitterverse chat #StoryDam. It’s a place where writers can come to interact in a light-hearted convo on a weekly basis. I used to claim this as one of my favourite hang-outs on Twitter. Until, I reached the point in the frequency of my migraines (a few years ago) chatting with such regularity (as I would be involved in at least five to six chats a week!) was going against my best interests. I pulled back and finally had to withdraw from chatting altogether except for #ChocLitSaturday. These two lovely books talk about the blissfully ‘unexpected’ portions of Texas you might not be as daring to visit IRL as you might be courageous to in book form! I will be reading this in parallel with Unexpected Texas!

On the Rocks (see also Review) + Death Comes | I only vaguely knew about Willa Cather prior to accepting these living person Cosy Mysteries – I happen to have quite good luck in finding Cosies featuring living persons – it’s sort of a sub-interest of mine, you could say! When I saw these were available on a recent blog tour, I was most giddy with anticipation! It would give me a chance to get to know someone from living history I hadn’t yet researched and it had such a convicting premise attached to it – I felt it would fit well with my appreciation for women sleuths who find themselves in unexpectedly dicey conditions!

Idyll Threats (partially read) + Idyll Fears | These are the Thriller / Suspense novels I hadn’t realised were a match-set and pair! Meaning, when I first requested to read ‘Idyll Fears’ from Seventh Street Books, I hadn’t realised I was requesting a ‘second novel’ in an ongoing series – therefore, I ILL’d a copy of ‘Idyll Threats’ in order to sort out the continuity of an established series. Most publishers lament series are now stand-alone but I have yet to confirm this through my readings and still prefer to read the stories in ‘order’ to settle into their world-building and understand the way in which the author has set the stage for the series to evolve.

The Shadows of the Past series by Christina Courtenay | I first started reading this series when I received ‘The Silent Touch of Shadows’. The only story in the series I do not have on hand to read is ‘The Soft Whispers of Dreams’ – however, I am going to be reading ‘The Secret Kiss of Darkness’ and ‘The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight’. I love how she slips you so easily through time – anchouring her setting in the present to a viable part of the historic past and fittingly gives you such a well-rounded read, you nearly forget which ‘century’ you entered the story because both halves have been expertly conceived and executed! I truly love ducking into her narratives – these two are going to be such a delight to finally read during my #ChocLitWeek this month! Read what I loved most within the pages of ‘The Silent Touch of Shadows’:

I can assure you dear hearts, you get so attached to the 15th Century, between walking the vast estate and being caught up in the particulars of that century’s sociopolitical drama that by the time you ‘pull yourself’ forward back into the Manor to see how the research Melissa is doing into the ancestral records for her family & Jake’s family lineage, you nearly do not know which era you’d prefer to stay in a bit longer! I especially loved one scene where Melissa is being given the access to an ancient copy of the original will penned on behalf of Sibell; as she starts to read the words in Latin, her mind takes her physically back to Sibell’s time. She can sense and feel everything happening to Sibell at the time the will is being written. The visceral imagery and sensory connectedness was conveyed in such a convincing way that you could ascertain exactly what was happening in that ‘one single second’ of Sibell’s young life.

The heart of the story is etched inside the beguiling truths which separated lost loves through such a violent ending of their lives. In some ways, parts of Sibell & Roger’s story reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, fated in such a way as to not find happiness within their own lifetime; at least not one that would be forever lasting. An element of the backdrop is quite close to my own heart, is the pursuit of genealogical research! I loved watching Melissa find the tethering ties out of the records of the archivists and how the pursuit of research truly started to reveal much more than she could ever have hoped to find! The manner in which Sibell and Roger insert themselves into her reality is a bittersweet haunting any reader of psychological suspense will enjoy! Especially considering the way in which things end and resolve!

Shifty | I first had a sampling of this world when I read the anthology ‘Gifts of the Magi’ earlier this year. At the time, the author offered me to receive this anthology of stories set within the same world I was already reading as a way to re-step back into her portal of stories I had developed a fondness for reading. If things had been different back then, I would have immediately read ‘Shifty’ soon after I put down Magi. It is hard to imagine how ten months later, it still feels like only ‘yesterday’ I had read my first story by this author! I cannot even tell you how gratifying it will be to resume where I left off! Here is the main takeaway I had at the start of the year:

What was quite stirring about this short, is how wicked interesting the world was where Ms Allen set her tale! To have food magically appearing in cookpots and having a hen produce eggs which whip up the delights of your foodie senses upon cracking them? Or rather, upon first crack of an egg – what you truly need might not even be food? It could be something dearly necessary (i.e. clothes) by which somehow your thoughts of willing an object or item to be ‘hatched’ is stirred inside the egg and thus, the egg produces what is needed. Who wouldn’t want to live there!? It would be a foodie’s dream or a baker’s delight – imagine if you could cull the magic to help you bake everything ‘right’ the first time you attempted a new recipe!? How fetching the aromas would be in that kitchen! Not to even mention how all the rudimentary necessary items would no longer be a worry because you’d always have exactly what you need!? I am sure there is more to this kind of magic, but on the onset of learning about it, how lovely it would be to know by cracking an egg, at least one immediate worry is dissolved?

There are two rather eccentric characters at the heart of this story – an elder man of unknown years and his equally elder grandmother; she is a bit more interesting because she’s attending the scene peripherally rather than centre-focused. You gather this man wouldn’t be housed in this particular part of his realm if circumstances hadn’t exiled him. From his grandmother, you sense he should be thankful for what he has now and not bitter about what he has lost in the past. They have an interesting duality to them.

The beauty of the tale is one of finding the moral ground to walk in a life of duty and honour, where the fine line between what is right or wrong might not be as clearly visible. It’s a good story to read at the holidays because of the truthfulness in being humble and forgiving; to err your wrongs and to find ways to affect other people’s lives for the good. You get so caught up in this short piece of literature, the ending comes far too soon!

Sharpe Shooter + Sharpe Edge | Two Southern Cosy Mysteries I fell in love with back in August – I only had the pleasure of listening to ‘Sharpe Shooter’ once – the audiobook I first attempted to listen and knit at the same time? As mentioned during my last [Sunday Post]? I knew I had to include these under the ‘Mystery’ bracket of my October Reads because Mysteries are the heart of what I have always *loved!* to read! They have given me so many pleasurable hours over the years, it is hard to measure how many stirringly dramatic stories I’ve read under this branch of literature! These however, are unique in of their own as they are far reaching into areas of Contemporary life more than you dare think possible at first! What I loved most about ‘Sharpe Shooter’ is how the author used tangents of thought to cross-relate into the main thread of interest for the lead character to nettle out! It wasn’t a story I was expecting – it was better! Therefore, as I move back into this series, I look forward to introducing it to my readers!

The Dream Keeper’s Daughter |  This was a hand-picked selection by a publicist who loves reading my blog and has such an affirmed understanding of the stories I read, she was quite brilliant in accessing this particular story would hold my interest! I only started to read the opening chapter before I had to await a period of time with less lightning storms – this goes back to how ill-fated August was to my reading life! This novel along with ‘Betrayal at Iga’ were stories I wanted to discuss with the Lampshade Reader who was able to finish them ahead of me, too! It’s a wholly unique novel and one I felt fit the ‘style’ of stories I wanted to be reading this October.

The Highwayman’s Daughter | I have ached to read this Suspense novel for a few years now! I love the song “The Highwayman” by Lorenna McKennitt – something I mentioned on Twitter a handful of weeks ago – which I instantly drew back to mind when contemplating reading this title! I know it’s going to be a novel which I’ll have to brace myself a bit to read, as Gyland has a way of depositing me into a ‘thrilling’ subspace of literature which keeps me on taunt edge! I love this about her style, though! She has incredible depth of giving you well-rounded characters and an edgy tale crafted so well for psychological intrigue – it’s hard to put her books down even if you think reading this after hours might not be the best idea! lol

Beyond | This Young Adult novel has it’s own niche – not quite a ghost story, not quite outside the ‘ghost story’ variant of the Gothic and Paranormal genre either. It has a special appeal about it because it’s dealing with hard topics and explores the ethereal veils between Heaven & Earth whilst delving into personal beliefs about the concept of what happens ‘after death’ or the state of being ‘in-between’ life and death. I was personally invested in the story simply due to the synopsis and I cannot wait to finally see the journey these characters are going to take me on!

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Which stories do you like to reside inside during those hours of the year when you want something with a bit of bite to it in your Fiction? Do you find yourself moving into Mysteries, Suspenseful Thrillers, Paranormal & Gothic stylised stories when the weather turns a bit cooler outside and Summer melts closer into Winter? What do you love most about chilling reads and atmospherically appeasing tales which give you a bit of edgy unease? Of the list of stories I’m progressing through myself – what interests you?

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Revised w/ links to Reviews: 28th October, 2017

{SOURCES: Riffle Lists are embedded due to codes provided by Riffle Books. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Horror October Bingo Card given to bloggers by Stormy who wanted to have a Bingo Card to read select stories of Horror and/or Psychological Suspense; used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Spooktastic Fortnight of Psychological Suspense & Gothic Tales 2017 banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

“I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen.” – self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Spooktastic Fortnight of Psychological Suspense & Gothic Tales 2017
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Posted Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 by jorielov in Bookish Discussions, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Parapsychological Gifts, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense

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