Weekly Reading Round-Up

With less than a week until Halloween, my reading has been skewing heavily towards ghost stories… with one surprise discovery. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

— Julie Kagawa, The Iron King.

How did I not discover this book before? It’s the amalgamation of all the folk-lore based fantasy novels I read in my youth, featuring warring faerie courts and a half-mortal girl pulled into the middle of it all. It was quite definitely a stay up half the night read.

— Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House.

It’s Halloween reading time! Every year, I re-read Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House. Is it a ghost story? Is it a non-paranormal portrait of an individual’s descent into madness? Either way, it still gives me chills.

— John Harwood, The Ghost Writer.

This modern/Victorian hybrid scared me silly last year. Now that I know the plot twists, I didn’t have to sleep with the lights on this time, but it’s still fairly creeptastic and very well written. The juxtaposition of modern narrative and Victorian ghost stories provides a two-in-one feel. Also recommended: The Seance.

— Barbara Michaels, Here I Stay.

An old favorite, featuring a woman who inherits a (haunted?) house and turns it into a bed and breakfast.

— Barbara Michaels, Stitches in Time.

Once you pop, you can’t stop– or something like that. Another well-beloved Barbara Michaels, in this case involving a grad student and a haunted quilt.

What have you been reading?


  1. Christine on October 26, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I finally read Susanna Kearsley’s The Rose Garden and loved it! Mariana is up next and I’m really looking forward to it.

  2. Joanne M. on October 26, 2012 at 9:52 am

    In the spirit of the season, I read Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party. I also fell in love with Joan Wolf’s version of the Arthurian tale in The Road to Avalon.

    • leslie on October 26, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Mariana is my Kearsley, it’s so good!

  3. Lauren on October 26, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I love “The Road to Avalon”! Have you discovered the sequels yet? My absolute favorite is “Born of the Sun”, although I still don’t know how to pronounce the main character’s name. So. Good.

  4. Céline on October 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Slow reading for me this week again…. I’m slowly making my way through the Death Gate Cycle series, by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis, which is really really good…

  5. Tiffany on October 26, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I am finding I can hardly contain my excitement for “The Ashford Affair”. Can anyone recommend some great historical fiction set in Africa?
    Thanks and have a great weekend!

  6. Lauren on October 26, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Thanks, Tiffany!! Here’s an “If You Like” that I did a few months ago on books set in Kenya: https://laurenwillig.com/news/2012/07/09/if-you-like-48/

    That was purely Kenya, but, if I remember correctly, Wilbur Smith had a series set around a family in South Africa. There was also a great memoir that came out recently, “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight”, about growing up in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in the 70s.

    I’m curious to hear what other people recommend, too!

  7. Nancy Kvorka on October 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Try Suzanne Arruda’s mystery series about Jade del Cameron. Very good…I have been watching baseball so not so much reading this week!

  8. Jessica S. on October 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, so I have pulled out my Jen Lancaster collection for comfort reading.

  9. Jacki on October 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I wanted some horror for Halloween so I am reading Red Rain by R.L. Stine- pretty good so far. But this makes me want to re-read Christie’s Halloween Party and all my Barbara Michaels! Maybe I can- there is a little storm coming up the coast that may preclude me from doing anything but reading by candlelight!

  10. Alice on October 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Reading Susanna Kearsley’s “The Splendour Falls.” It is currently only published in Great Britain but I ordered a used copy from Barnes and Noble. Typical Kearsley in that it is wonderful! In a vague way, it reminds me of Mary Stewart’s “Nine Coaches Waiting.”

  11. Lauren on October 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Oooh, I must have that! It’s the one Kearsley I haven’t read…. Not to mention that “Nine Coaches Waiting” ranks high on my all time favorite books scale.

    In a word, jealous.

  12. Ashley on October 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I have just discovered the glory that is Sarah Addison Allen. This week, I have read her “The Girl Who Chased the Moon” and “The Sugar Queen.” They were both EXCELLENT. Sweet love stories, nice quirky southern setting, a little bit of magical realism tossed in… I can’t wait to read her other two books.

    I’m currently smack in the middle of Kate Morton’s “The Secret Keeper,” and it is great so far.

    • Gina on October 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Hah, I did the exact same thing with her books. Discovered one, read them all within the next week or so. The other two, Peach Keeper and Garden Spells, are great too!

    • Sheila on October 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

      SAA is definitely one of my favorites. There is a wedding planner who designs around her books, and there are gorgeous pictures on her web site.

  13. Valerie on October 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I re-read The Haunting of Maddy Clare. I liked it just as well the second time around!

  14. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on October 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I just finished Spook by Mary Roach, which was kind of shallow for an indepth look at the afterlife. Also, not spooky at all.

    Now I’m reading the first of the Barchester books by Anthony Trollope for my end of year Charles Dickens extravaganza on my blog.

  15. Joanne M. on October 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Lauren – Yes! I recently read and loved Born of the Sun (I pronounced Ceawlin as “See -aw-lin, but I have no idea if that is the correct way or not….I speak very little Saxon! ha!) I also have The Edge of Light waiting in my pile to read…can’t wait.

  16. Pam on October 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    My Halloween read was Blackbriar by William Sleator, a smart British YA novel from the 70s in which a boy moves to a remote cottage with his guardian and creepy things start happening. Just spine-tingling enough without making me sleep with all the lights on and only $3.99 on Kindle. My travel/conference book this week is Blushing Pink by Jill Winters. It’s fun/silly enough so far, though I’m having a hard time buying Reese as a history Ph.D. (student).

  17. jeffrey on October 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Would you believe I am in the finishing stages of my very first Amish romance? Patchwork Dreams by Laura Hilton. Well, I LOVED it and will make no more apologies because I don’t think this will be my last one either. The author has a great story line, believeable characters, especially the hero and heroine. Not just a bunch of stereotyped drivel but a solid, entertaining and heart-warming read.

  18. Alexis on October 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Finished Overseas and Mariana this week, so it has definitely been a good book week. Hoarding The Shadowy Horses, The Shadow of Night, The Secret Keeper, and Death in a Floating City for christmas break reading, but I’m unsure if I can wait that long.

    But, I have The Sugar Queen in my TBR pile, so maybe I will start that one 🙂

    • Laura on October 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Oh…. I can’t wait to read THE SECRET KEEPER… Was it good???? Laura

  19. Laura on October 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I love Julie Kagawa’s series….. she has a new one that just came out , a spin-off from this one, that I’ve gotta get next…. Have you ever read THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE? It’s by Katherine Howe….. great book!!!! I’ts about a woman’s connection to the Salem witch trials…. uses past and present…. Katherine herself is supposed to be relation to some……I have it one my keeper shelf… Also Kate Morton (all of hers are favs…) Happy Reading!!!! Laura

  20. Vanessa on October 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I just finished reading the Ghost Writer… although I thoroughly loved the story, I wasn’t too fond of the ending, in fact I was a little confused and had to read it again. But now I’m onto the Seance!

  21. Nessa on October 28, 2012 at 12:09 am

    I just finished reading charming book by Helena Dela “The Count”, reccomended by Lauren while ago, and started to re-read my ancient copy of “Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins.
    I also can’t wait for “The Ashford Affair”…

  22. Sheila on October 28, 2012 at 9:46 am

    This week I finished two books I am ambivalent about: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern , and The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom. Both of them charmed and annoyed me at the same time, so I guess that means they were intriguing ! The Ashford Affair needs to come quick, I need somethng I know I will like !

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