Monday, 19 October 2020

Halloween Reads 2020

After the year that's been 2020, you're probably not looking for any more scares! I know that I've been reading more romance and less crime fiction lately, purely because I need the escapism. But I've gathered together some of my favourite 'spooky' reads this year and listed them below. As per previous posts, they're not all strictly ghost or horror stories. One of my favourites, Magic Lessons, is historical fiction blended with magic realism. And Home Before Dark is one of those 'haunted or not' stories, where you're left to make up your own mind. 

Whatever you love to read, I'm sure there is something here for everyone!

Happy Halloween!

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

A prequel to Practical Magic and Rules of Magic, this tells the story of the Owens family matriarch, Maria Owens. Starting in 1664, when baby Maria is found abandoned in a snowy field and bearing the mark of a bloodline witch, it follows her adventures as she flees England via a Caribbean island to New York, before heading to a little town called Salem. And we all know what happened in Salem - or do we?

Genre: Historical Fiction/Magic Realism

Full review here:

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

When Maggie Holt was five years old her family moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling old Victorian mansion that already had a sinister reputation. They lasted all of three weeks before fleeing in the middle of the night, vowing never to return. No one would have known or cared - except Maggie's father wrote about their ghostly experiences. Now, nearly thirty years later, Maggie has the idea to move back into Baneberry Hall to renovate and sell it. She's not at all worried about the ghosts but because ghosts don't exist - do they?

Genre: Mystery/Psychological Suspense/Ghost Story

Full review here.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

In 1634 the Saardam is on a voyage from Batavia to Amsterdam. Among the passengers is Samuel Pipps (a 17th century Sherlock Holmes), who is being transported to his execution accompanied by his loyal bodyboard, Arent. As soon as the ship sets sail, things start going wrong. The ghost of a dead leper stalks the decks, strange symbols appear on the sails and carved into the ship's timbers, and livestock is mysteriously slaughtered. Could there be a demon living amongst the ship's passengers and crew? With Samuel imprisoned below deck, all lives depend on Arent solving the mystery...

Genre: Historical Mystery/hint of Supernatural

Full review here:

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

It's 1985 and fifteen-year-old Lauren's life hasn't been the same since her father was found brutally murdered. Strangely, no one wants to talk about his death or how it happened. Lauren's best friend Miranda has become more interested in clothes, make-up and boys, and no longer wants to hang out with Lauren at the old ghost tree. But when the remains of two teenage girls are found and Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging them through the woods, she knows that she will have to be the one to do something no matter what anyone else believes.

Genre: YA/Supernatural/Horror

Full review here:

The Haunted Shore by Neil Spring

Although Lizzy grew up in an old Martello tower right on the beach, she has always felt uneasy about the place. After losing her job, she is forced to return to look after her invalid father. Unknown to Lizzy, her father's health (both mental and physical) has deteriorated significantly and her brother has hired the sinister and belligerent Hazel as a housekeeper/carer. If that wasn't enough, almost as soon as Lizzy moves back into the tower she begins hearing strange noises and glimpses ghostly figures on the beach. Is she imagining things or is the stress finally getting to her?

Genre: Psychological Thriller/Ghost Story

Full review here.

The Nesting by C.J. Cooke

Lexi has conned her way into a job as a nanny even though she has no experience of working with children. Her new employer, Tom Faraday, is an architect working on a new-build in a rural part of Norway. This is the second house he has built on the site. The first one collapsed under mysterious circumstances. He is determined to finish this new house as a tribute to his late wife, Aurelia, who drowned in the fjord. Meanwhile, Lexi and his eldest daughter start seeing the ghostly figure of a woman, dripping with water...

Genre: Psychological Suspense/folk horror/ghost story

Full review here.

Related Posts:

Halloween Reads 2017

Five Reads That Chilled Me


All these books were read this year, obtained via NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily. If you'd like to know more about the other books I've read, or what I'm currently reading, you can find out more on my Goodreads profile.

Photo of pumpkins copyright: Fotolia 

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