Scary Stories to Read in the Dark

The trick-or-treats haven’t started yet but it’s never too early to indulge in some spooky tales. Whether you fancy a recent thriller, a classic haunting, or creepy creatures, there are plenty of books to keep you sleeping with the lights on till next year.  

If you like a fast-paced psychological thriller, explore some of these titles: 

Kismet by Amina Akhtar

“A viciously funny thriller about wellness—the smoothies, the secrets, and the deliciously deadly impulses. Lifelong New Yorker Ronnie Khan never thought she’d leave Queens. She’s not an “aim high, dream big” person—until she meets socialite wellness guru Marley Dewhurst. But when the glam gurus around town start turning up gruesomely murdered, Ronnie has her answer: all is not well in wellness town. As Marley’s blind ambition veers into madness, Ronnie fears for her life.” 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley 

“Lives unravel amid the revelry on an eerie and remote island as family and friends assemble for a glam wedding in an updated Murder on the Orient Express. Each of the principal characters has a reason to want one of their number dead. The narcissistic bride, the unstable bridesmaid, the odd wedding planner and her husband, the resentful plus-one, the groom and his former schoolmates, who are revealed to be a pack of sadistic bullies. By the time the worst of them is found murdered, readers will not be sorry and might, in a Christie moment, have wanted to kill her or him themselves. This is one guest list no one would want to be on.” 

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda 

“Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.” 

Interested in the classics? Here are a few to sink your teeth into: 

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

“For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.” 

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

“Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north from London to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and most dreadfully–and for Kipps most tragically–The Woman In Black.” 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 

“Idealistic young scientist Henry Jekyll struggles to unlock the secrets of the soul. Testing chemicals in his lab, he drinks a mixture he hopes will isolate – and eliminate – human evil. Instead it unleashes the dark forces within him, transforming him into the hideous and murderous Mr. Hyde.” 

Zombies, vampires, and clowns keep you up at night? Hope these aren’t too creepy for you…: 

Hadriana in All My Dreams by René Depestre  

“If you’ve ever wondered what ingredients to use to create a zombie out of a living person, your search ends with this one-of-a-kind novel. “I died on the night of the most beautiful day of my life” so begins the testimony of Hadriana Siloé, a sensuous pale-skinned Creole woman who, on the Saturday evening of Jan. 29, 1938, collapses at her wedding altar. She had earlier taken a mysterious potion that induces living death. An icon of Haitian literature serves up a hotblooded, rib-ticking, warmhearted mélange of ghost story, cultural inquiry, folk art, and véritable l’amour.” 

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

“Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. The town is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.”

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

“Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized. Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?” 

Enjoy…

-Linnea

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Check out this selection of new releases for your enjoyment coming this week!

The Ink Black Heart (A Cormoran Strike Novel) by [Robert Galbraith]

The Ink Black Heart : The latest installment in the highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling Strike series finds Cormoran and Robin ensnared in another winding, wicked case. A gripping, fiendishly clever mystery, The Ink Black Heart is a true tour-de-force.

The House of Fortune : Alive with the magic of Amsterdam, the enchanting new historical novel from the author of the sensational New York Times bestseller The Miniaturist, which has sold more than two million copies. A feat of sweeping, magical storytelling, The House of Fortune is an unputdownable novel about love and obsession, family and loyalty, and the fantastic power of secrets.

The Thread Collectors : 1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities. Loosely inspired by the authors’ family histories, this stunning novel will stay with readers for a long time.

Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura

Lady Joker : This second half of Lady Joker, by Kaoru Takamura, the Grand Dame of Japanese crime fiction, concludes the breathtaking saga introduced in Volume I. Inspired by the real-life Glico-Morinaga kidnapping, an unsolved case that terrorized Japan for two years, Lady Joker reimagines the circumstances of this watershed episode in modern Japanese history and brings into riveting focus the lives and motivations of the victims, the perpetrators, the heroes and the villains.

Feeding Littles and Beyond : An inspirational, accessible family cookbook that offers everything a parent needs to bring joy and love back into the kitchen, by the baby and toddler feeding experts behind Feeding Littles and the New York Times bestselling cookbook author of Inspiralized.

Number One Fan : Terrifying and timely, set against the backdrop of convention culture and the MeToo reckoning, Number One Fan unflinchingly examines the tension between creator and work, fandom and source material, and the rage of fans who feel they own fiction.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here we have some new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler – Three sisters—Beck, a freelance journalist; Claire, a pediatric cardiologist; and Sophie, an Instagram influencer—come together to sell the family’s summer cottage in Maine, which becomes complicated by an enigmatic ex-con with his own hidden past. By a New York Times best-selling author.

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley – When a drunken altercation with a stranger turns into a job she desperately needs, Kiara, who supports her brother and an abandoned 9-year-old boy, starts nightcrawling until her name surfaces in an investigation exposing her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.

Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley – An advice columnist breaks her rule for never talking to other commuters on the train when she witnesses a nurse save another man choking on a grape.

Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley – From a New York Times best-selling author and Thurber Prize finalist comes a twisted mystery on the metaphysics of modern love, memory and mind control.

James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life by James Patterson – A #1 best-selling author shows how a boy from small-town New York made it to literary stardom.

These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany – Each navigating love, sex and the one night that changes it all, three Muslim best friends, Malak, Kees and Jenna, as their lives begin to take different paths, must find a way back to each other as they reconcile faith, family and tradition.

Aurora by David Koepp – When a solar storm knocks out the power across the globe, Aubrey Wheeler, in Aurora, Illinois, becomes the fierce protector of her suburban neighborhood, while across the country, her brother, a Silicon Valley CEO, hunkers own in his gilded desert bunker, leading to a long-overdue reckoning between siblings.

Counterfeit by Kristin Chen – Follows the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise.

Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro – Introduces readers to the dark, labyrinthine world of The Talents.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrotta – Tracy Flick, the iconic protagonist of Election, is back in full force as the hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey where she, energized by the prospect of a long-overdue promotion, sets out to prove her worth and get what she deserves.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

HIDDEN PICTURES by Jason Rekulak – A woman working as a nanny for a young boy who has strange and disturbing secrets.

OVERBOARD by Sara Paretsky – In a city emerging from its pandemic lockdown, detective V.I. Warshawski must elude Chicago powerbrokers and mobsters as she tries to find a missing girl who is the key witness to a nefarious conspiracy, which makes Warshawski a target as well.

BY THE BOOK by Jasmine Guillory – A young, black woman working in publishing makes a surprise connection with an author who has failed to deliver his highly-anticipated manuscript in the second novel of the series following If the Shoe Fits.

THE LIONESS by Chris Bohjalian – In 1964, Hollywood royalty Katie Barstow and her new husband, along her glittering entourage, arrive for their luxury African safari, but are instead taken hostage by Russians mercenaries, in this blistering story of fame, race, love death set in a world on the cusp of great change.

BACK TO THE PRAIRIE by Melissa Gilbert – The New York Times best-selling author and star of Little House on the Prairie recounts her return to rustic life with her new husband in a cottage in the Catskill Mountains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

LONG TRAIN RUNNIN: Our Story of the Doobie Brothers by Pat Simmons & Tom Johnston, with Chris Epting – Written by the founding members of the iconic American rock band, this incredible true story brings to life the longevity, success and drama of The Doobie Brothers—born out of the late 1960’s NorCal and stood alongside The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers and many others.

THE MOVEMENT MADE US: A Father, a Son, and the Legacy of a Freedom Ride by David Dennis Jr. – A work of oral history and memoir chronicles the extraordinary story of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and its living legacy embodied in Black Lives Matter.

FRIEND OF THE DEVIL by Stephen Lloyd – A substance-abusing war veteran working as an insurance investigator visits an elite New England boarding school to find an invaluable, stolen manuscript and soon discovers students are vanishing from campus and investigates with a reporter for the school paper.

MISRULE by Heather Walter – When the woman she loves falls under a curse that not even her vast power can break, Alyce, a dark sorceress, vows to do everything she can to save Princess Aurora, even if it means turning into the monster everyone in Briar believes her to be.

SIREN QUEEN by Nghi Vo – A new novel offers an exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.

STAR WARS: BROTHERHOOD by Mike Chen – Anakin and Obi-Wan must learn a new way to work together to save Cato Neimoidia when the planet’s fragile neutrality is threatened, dangerously shifting the balance that pushes this world to the brink of war.

BITTER ORANGE TREE by Jokha Alharthi – A young Omani woman attempting to assimilate in Britain reflects on the relationships that have been central to her life in the new novel from the Man Booker International Prize-winning author of Celestial Bodies.

~Semanur

New and Upcoming Graphic Novels

Spring is in the air, the sun is making it’s slow but triumphant return to Northeast Ohio, and there are great new graphic novels being published! We’ve got some stellar new fiction and non-fiction titles making their way to our graphic novels shelves. Below you’ll find five new graphic novels or soon to be published books that you should add to your to-be-read pile ASAP.

The Me You Love in the Dark by Scottie Young

Writer Skottie Young, author of the fantastic I Hate Fairyland series, and artist Jorge Corona, follow up their critically acclaimed series Middlewest with a haunting new tale. An artist named Ro retreats from the grind of the city to an old house in a small town, hoping to find solace and inspiration—only to realize that the muse she finds within may not be what she expected. Fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman will enjoy this beautiful, dark, and disturbing story of discovery, love, and terror.

Request the print book here or read it on hoopla here.

Fine by Rhea Ewing

For fans of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Meg-John Barker’s Queer, Fine is an essential graphic memoir about the intricacies of gender identity and expression. As Rhea Ewing neared college graduation in 2012, they became consumed by the question: What is gender? This obsession sparked a quest in their quiet Midwest town, where they anxiously approached both friends and strangers for interviews to turn into comics. A decade later, their project has exploded into a fantastical and informative portrait of a surprisingly vast community spread across the country.

Fine won’t be out until April, but you can get on hold for the book now!

Karmen by Guillem March

Spanish writer and artist Guillem March, best known for his work on Batman, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn, takes up his pen for a cutting-edge story about a highly unconventional angel named Karmen and the young woman she takes under her wing when heartbreak strikes too hard. Packed with intriguing twists and metaphysical musings, this gorgeously drawn series brings tenderness, heart, and humor to the delicate and difficult matters of life and death that we all face.

Karmen is set to be published early in May, so keep your eyes peeled for this title.

Crushing by Sophie Burrows

This quiet, wordless book is artist and author Burrows’ graphic-novel debut. A young woman, pale and rosy-cheeked with a straight black bob, lives alone in London—except for her cat. One night she runs down to the local kebab and pizza shop in her pajamas and encounters a young man, pale and freckled with floppy red hair, also wearing pajamas. Unfortunately, they don’t notice each other surreptitiously noticing each other and head their separate ways. The story conveys life as a series of small indignities, slight misses, and minor connections but ends on a hopeful note. The backmatter includes mental health organizations and crisis lines and a note from Burrows referencing inspiration from missed connections columns and pandemic isolation. 

Request a copy of Crushing here.

Policing the City: An Ethno-graphic by Didier Fassin and Frederic Debomy; Translated by Rachel Gomme

Adapted from the landmark essay Enforcing Order, this striking graphic novel offers an accessible inside look at policing and how it leads to discrimination and violence. What we know about the forces of law and order often comes from tragic episodes that make the headlines, or from sensationalized versions for film and television. Around the time of the 2005 French riots, anthropologist and sociologist Didier Fassin spent fifteen months observing up close the daily life of an anticrime squad in one of the largest precincts in the Paris region. This ethno-graphic is chilling in the parallels that can be seen in the struggles of Black people in the United States, exemplified by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Request a copy of Policing the City here.

Happy reading!

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here are some of the new books coming to our shelves this week for you to add to your book list!

Listening Still by Anne Griffin – When her parents announce they are retiring from the family business of passing the dead’s last messages to the living, Jeanie Masterson, gifted with the ability to see the dead, finds herself torn between duty, a comfortable marriage, a calling she both loves and hates and her last chance to break free.

The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh – Emma loves her husband Leo and their young daughter Ruby: she’d do anything for them, but almost everything she’s told them about herself is a lie.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle – Still reeling from her mother’s death, Carol embarks on their mother-daughter trip to Positano, Italy, alone, where she encounters her mother in the flesh at 30 years old and must reconcile the mother who knew everything with this young woman who does not yet have a clue.

The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer Smith – After the death of her beloved mother, failed indie singer-songwriter Greta James joins her father on a week-long Alaskan cruise, which becomes a journey of discovery for them both as they work to heal old wounds, giving her confidence she needs to move forward.

Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen – In 1907, after helping distribute clothing to those in need on Ellis Island, Molly discovers, through her policeman husband, that a murder occurred on the island that day and the suspect is the spitting image of her and feels strongly that fate wants her to clear this woman’s name.

Phantom Game by Christine Feehan – The #1 New York Times bestselling author presents this thrilling addition to the suspenseful GhostWalker series in which unbridled passion collides with an unearthly danger.

The Night Shift by Alex Finlay – When four teenage girls are attacked at an ice cream shop in Linden, New Jersey, and only one makes it out alive, which is similar to a case in 1999, an FBI agent must delve into the secrets of both crimes – stirring up memories of teen love and lies – to uncover the truth.

Sundial by Catriona Ward – Rob is forced to make one last trip out to Sundial, her parent’s property in the wild Mojave desert where dark secrets are buried, when a frightening accident in her home reveals a disturbing discovery in her oldest daughter’s bedroom.

The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers – In 1947 North Carolina, seamstress Maddie Sykes, a dressmaker for Bright Leaf’s most influential women – the wives of powerful tobacco executives, uncovers dangerous truths about this lucrative industry in a place where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive.

Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth by Deepak Chopra – The New York Times best-selling author returns with a guide on how to forge an inner path to abundance, tap into a deeper sense of awareness and become an agent of change in your life.

~semanur

5 New Books to Read in 2022

New year, new books! There are so many great books being published this year and below you’ll find five books that I’m particularly excited for! I can’t wait to read these titles and I hope you’ll get inspired by my picks as well.

In addition to stocking up on new releases in the coming months, this year I’m planning on revisiting some favorite classics as well. I’ll be spending some time with H.P. Lovecraft and Emily Bronte again, while making time to dive into some non-fiction titles and biographies (which is a bit out of my typical reading comfort zone).

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with a novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space. Expected publication: April 2022

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico. Expected publication: July 2022

Book of Night by Holly Black

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies in the vein of Ninth House and The Night Circus. Expected publication: May 2022

Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them. Expected publication: January 2022

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy. Expected publication: July 2022

What books are you looking forward to checking out this year?

Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

It’s been some time since I read a novel that truly surprised me and Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street not only surprised me, it astonished me. This strikingly original, difficult, and heartfelt novel disguises itself as a horrific story about a serial killer and a missing child, leading readers down disturbing paths and in all the wrong directions as it slowly but surely reveals itself to be much more.

Told through the perspective of multiple narrators, we follow the life of Ted, a strange and lonely man who lives at the end of the forebodingly named Needless Street. He has boarded up all the windows in his house, which sits at the edge of a deeply wooded park and regularly hosts visits with his estranged daughter. His only friend appears to be his cat Olivia- who is also a narrative voice and is quite charming.

The tale opens on the anniversary of the disappearance of a young girl, a disappearance that Ted was initially suspected of causing, and we also meet the vengeful sister of the missing girl who is still trying to track down her sister’s potential murderer years later. This deeply layered plot is revealed little by little with each chapter, and keen readers will note right off the bat that all is not as it seems with each narrator, and we are clearly not getting a complete picture.

The final few twists of this novel are stunning, and absolutely heartbreaking, making this a standout novel of psychological horror, but also an emotional story of trauma and finally, and most importantly, hope. A detailed author’s note at the end further explains Ward’s excellent work on this story and why this is a very realistic tale of trauma. Highly recommended for fans of deeply woven mysteries, unreliable narrators, and psychological horror.

Note: There are some very upsetting and intense scenes in this novel, particularly depicting animal abuse and child abuse, so please proceed with this trigger warning in mind.

Request a copy here or snag a digital copy here!