Pine by Francine Toon

Publisher: Black Swan Ireland
Publication Date:
Length: 325 pages
Gothic | Horror | Thriller

CW: n/a

Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.

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Blog Tour – The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Welcome to my stop on The Shape of Darkness blog tour! Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date:
Length: 416 pages
Historical Fiction | Gothic

CW: n/a

As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.

But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

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The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date:
Length: 507 pages
Gothic | Horror | Young Adult

CW: graphic descriptions of death

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in her hometown, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realises that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the centre. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will. 

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Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes

Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date:
Length: 576 pages
Gothic | Horror

CW: n/a

Dracula returns…

It has been some years since Jonathan and Mina Harker survived their ordeal in Transylvania and, vanquishing Count Dracula, returned to England to try and live ordinary lives. But shadows linger long in this world of blood feud and superstition – and, the older their son Quincy gets, the deeper the shadows that lengthen at the heart of the Harkers’ marriage. Jonathan has turned back to drink; Mina finds herself isolated inside the confines of her own family; Quincy himself struggles to live up to a family of such high renown. And when a gathering of old friends leads to unexpected tragedy, the very particular wounds in the heart of the Harkers’ marriage are about to be exposed…

There is darkness both within the marriage and without – for, while Jonathan and Mina wrestle with the right way to raise a child while still recovering from the trauma of their past lives, new evil is arising on the Continent. A naturalist is bringing a new species of bat back to London; two English gentlemen, on their separate tours of the continent, find a strange quixotic love for each other, and stumble into a calamity far worse than either has imagined; and the vestiges of something thought long-ago forgotten is, finally, beginning to stir…

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Thoughtful Thursday – Seasonal Reading Patterns

Generally, I’m very much a mood reader but I will also be mindful of ARC publication dates at the same time. I try to read two, quite different books, at the same time but I always go by what I feel like reading otherwise it could end up feeling like a chore. Although, traditionally, summer is the time for ‘beach reads’, I’ve found that I’ve never quite done that myself. Instead, I find that October, or Autumn in general, is the time of year that I do more seasonal reading. 

Autumn is my favourite season, I love that it is getting colder, that there’s more rain and that the days are getting shorter. To me, there’s nothing better than a cool, rainy day and being wrapped up in a giant fluffy blanket with a book and a hot drink. At the beginning of Autumn, in October, I will lean more towards the Gothic reads, or those which are darker or more haunting than my typical reads. Whilst, as I mentioned in my Top Five Friday post this month, I don’t like Halloween I still find myself drawn to more spooky novels, but not necessarily traditional horror novels, as the days grow darker and colder. 

There’s just something about getting cosy with a novel that has the ability to unsettle you, or allows you insight into the darker side of the human mind and imagination, that I adore. Maybe it’s because you can’t escape the Halloween atmosphere in October regardless of whether you like it or not. Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of security of being inside and wrapped up in a huge blanket that makes you feel safe in exploring something darker. Or, maybe, it’s just because so many great dark or spooky reads come out around this time of year. 

As we move through Autumn and onto the cusp of Winter, I find myself reaching for more fantasy novels, YA or otherwise. Unlike Halloween, I love Christmas (although, I may not love Christmas music being on 24/7). It just feels like a more magical time of year with all of the lights and it’s for this reason that I love reading fantasy novels during this season. I loved fantasy growing up and wanting to be in a world with dragons and unicorns, and potentially have one as a pet (because who wouldn’t want dragons at their beck and call?). This love of fantasy changed as I got older, which will need to be the subject or a whole other post entirely, but that love of being in a different world has stayed. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t read dark reads or fantasy novels at other times of the year. Nor does it mean I only exclusively read these genres at this time of year but I find myself more in the mood for these kinds of reads as this time of year. Whereas in the Spring and Summer, I don’t feel inclined to read a particular genre…

What does Autumn get you in the mood to read? Do you think you’re a seasonal reader? Let me know in the comments! 

Letters From the Dead by Sam Hurcom

Firstly, huge thank you to Orion and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Orion
Publication Date:
Length: 384 pages
Horror | Historical Fiction | Gothic

CW: sexual assault

1905. A year after ‘the affair’ in Dinas Powys, Thomas Bexley has become a drunkard and recluse, haunted by terrible visions of the dead. But when news of a spate of extraordinary kidnappings reaches him, Thomas is shocked to learn that his dear friend and former mentor, Professor Elijah Hawthorn, is the lead suspect.

Discovering a plea for help from Hawthorn claiming to have unearthed a gruesome conspiracy at the heart of the Metropolitan Police, Thomas embarks on a journey to prove Hawthorn’s innocence.

But wherever Thomas goes, he is followed by the dead, and as the mystery of Hawthorn’s disappearance deepens, so too does Thomas’s apparent insanity…

How can Thomas be certain of the truth when he can’t trust anybody around him, not even himself…?

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