Tag Archive | horror

Spirited away! Audiobooks that shock & scare

Eerie and scary, shockingly true! If you dare, read this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC with your ears!

The free download time for these complete audiobooks runs from Thursday 5/18/17 through Wednesday evening of 5/24/17. Keep them on your computer or electronic device, so you can listen to them any time you wish.

Thank you to the companies that provide these great audiobooks for us to download – two interestingly paired titles per week – all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/.

CD cover of The Gathering (Shadow House, book 1) by Dan Poblocki | Read by Dan Bittner Published by Scholastic Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Gathering (Shadow House, Book 1)download free through 24 May 2017
by Dan Poblocki
Read by Dan Bittner
Published by Scholastic Audiobooks

Five children trapped in malevolent Larkspur House -why were they brought to this terrifying place? can they find the clues and escape? are they alone?

In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It download free through 24 May 2017CD cover of In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in American and What We Can Do To Stop It by Nita Belles | Read by Nicol Zanzarella Published by Oasis Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Nita Belles
Read by Nicol Zanzarella
Published by Oasis Audio

Expert advice on recognizing and preventing human trafficking, which affects people of all ages and backgrounds.

What other tales of being stolen away – fictional or true – do you recommend?




Raising the dead with free SYNC audiobooks!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC are deadly delights, as we hear tales of a grave-robber and a mad scientist…

Remember that although each download is only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of the audiobooks for as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

We have several more weeks of full-length audiobooks to look forward to this summer. Have you bookmarked the SYNC site yet?  http://www.audiobooksync.com/
CD audiobook cover of Rotters by Daniel Kraus read by Kirby Heyborne published by Listening LibraryRotters
By Daniel Kraus
Read by Kirby Heyborne
Published by Listening Library



FrankensteinCD cover of audiobook Frankenstein by Mary Shelley read by Jim Weiss published by Listening Library
By Mary Shelley
Read by Jim Weiss
Published by Listening Library

Do you dare listen to these creepy tales before bedtime?

E for Elle in A Conspiracy of Alchemists, by Liesl Schwarz (fiction) – steampunk, magic, love, danger

book cover of A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz published by Del Rey BooksCorrect steam pressure in airship boiler? Check.
Passenger and cargo aboard? Check.
Clearance from Paris station to cast off? No? No?! Go, go, go, go!!

Being raised as a rational woman by her scientist father, airship captain Elle is most skeptical of Warlock Marsh’s claim that she will soon transform into Pythia as she becomes the world’s next Oracle, just as her runaway mother was…before her untimely death.

A wild chase after an artifact which must not fall into the hands of evil Alchemists takes Elle and Marsh from Oxford to Istanbul via Venice in this first book of The Chronicles of Light and Dark.

Can anyone outrun their destiny?

Book info: A Conspiracy of Alchemists (Book One of The Chronicles of Light and Dark) / Liesel Schwarz. Del Rey, 2013. [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation:  A routine airship charter flight from Paris to London turns into a quest to close the gateway between evil Dark and the rational scientific world of Light for a young lady pilot in 1903, who little realizes that she is the gate-key that both sides will do anything to possess.

When a Warlock steals the sealed wooden box just given to her, Eleanor thinks she should have questioned her docking agent Patrice more closely before taking this charter. As gunfire starts at the Paris airfield, the young pilot knows that this is not a routine flight for her steam air-freighter at all, and when she arrives home in Oxford to find that her inventor father has kidnapped, she realizes that all these events are connected somehow.

Her charter passenger Mr. Marsh is really Viscount Greychester, an eminent Warlock on the Council which harnesses the Dark for productive purposes in this world. All signs point to Dr. Chance being abducted by the Alchemists, whose service to the undead Nightwalkers over centuries has made them hungry to unleash the Dark into this world for their own nefarious purposes.

Off go Elle and Marsh in the professor’s experimental gyrocopter, racing to reach the Council in Venice before the Alchemists can get there by train. No, Elle will not discuss her mother, who abandoned the family and was killed. No, Elle couldn’t have inherited her spiritual gifts, can’t possibly be an oracle, the Oracle, the key that would allow access to the full powers of Dark…

Unsatisfactory answers in Venice, reports that the Alchemists’ train is en route to Istanbul, visions appearing in Elle’s dreams… time is growing short, and the box stolen from Elle in Paris holds a magical substance that could allow the Alchemists to start pulling Dark power without the Nightwalkers’ assistance – if Dr. Chance is forced to create the triggering device!

Can they trust former allies in a strange land?
Is Elle truly on the verge of becoming the Oracle foretold?
Is Marsh really walking into her dreams of love?

There’s danger at every turn as Elle and Marsh must battle air pirates, rescue Dr. Chance, and race against time to save the world from Darkness eternal in this steampunk-paranormal start to The Chronicles of Light and Dark. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

B for Bluebeard in Strands of Bronze and Gold, by Jane Nickerson (fiction) – luxurious halls, ghostly companions

book cover of Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson published by KnopfRescued from a life of drudge work,
Cocooned in luxury,
No visitors welcomed or allowed, at all.

An old English abbey transplanted with all its contents into the sweltering Mississippi woods, secrets behind every locked door, mysterious names etched into hidden corners of Sophie’s bedroom furniture… four wives tragically lost, M. Bernard’s only child dead, ghosts murmuring in her room.

The Bluebeard legend is lushly retold by Jane Nickerson, who lived in Mississippi several years before moving to Canada. She shared her writing inspiration in a Nerdy Bookclub blog post on her novel’s publication birthday, and I saw a tweet that it’s the first in a trilogy!

How do you know when something is too good to be true?

Book info: Strands of Bronze and Gold / Jane Nickerson. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013. [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation:  Whisked away to her godfather’s mansion after her father’s death in 1855, auburn-haired Sophia envisions plenty in place of her family’s genteel poverty. She is startled by the luxury she finds there, unsettled by slavery supporting the rich, sensitive to the ghost women wandering the halls, yet slow to heed the dire messages they try to convey.

The seventeen-year-old couldn’t have prepared herself for the magnificence of Monsieur de Cressac’s estate, a real English abbey shipped to America stone by stone and reassembled at his rural Mississippi plantation 25 years ago. Nor could she have imagined that her bearded godfather was so handsome, so much younger looking than always-ailing Father, nor that Madame de Cressac was deceased and that Mrs. Duckworth the housekeeper would be her chaperone in this vast mansion.

Monsieur insists that Sophia call him by his first name, that she cast off her mourning for the finest clothes, that she try every dish the chef prepares. Mrs. Duckworth cautions her against defying him, as his temper can get the better of him, so she allows the new lady’s maid to help her dress for dinner and plays the piano pieces he prefers.

But amid all this opulence, strange details emerge: M. Bernard has lost not one wife, but four. Their spirits appear to Sophia when she visits the long-closed nursery, as she pretends to sleep when Bernard taps on her door in the middle of the night, as her nightmares begin to outnumber her dreams.

By chance, she meets a young minister and an old former slave woman in the Abbey’s extensive woodlands; both warn her of Bernard’s very dark reputation. She writes many letters to her sister and brothers in New England, yet receives none in reply. Bernard decides that they must be married, despite their age difference and her misgivings – and will not accept no for an answer.

What truly happened to M. de Cressac’s wives?
Did he choose to court each one because of her red hair?
Can Sophia escape this house of darkness before it is too late?

This lush retelling of the Bluebeard story is garlanded with details about all that Sophia experiences as she moves from a loving home with few comforts to Bernard’s extravagant estate, supported on the backs of countless slaves and circumscribed by his moods.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Sisters Red, by Jackson Pearce (fiction) – werewolf-hunting sisters long for love

book cover of Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce published by LBTeenRemote town or crowded city,
more “missing” young women reported,
time to hunt down the werewolves.

The first in Pearce’s Fairytale Retellings, Sisters Red  takes the Little Red Riding Hood tale several steps into the present-day with chilling effectiveness.

The Atlanta-based author keeps her Retellings series firmly rooted in today’s South with Sweetly (Hansel and Gretel…and Fenris) and Fathomless (the Little Mermaid…and Fenris). Click the title links to go to my no-spoiler recommendations.

Which cover art do you prefer – the new paperback release with the hatchet or the original hardback and paperback art with the two girls’ faces and those red wolfeyes?
original paperback cover of Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce published by LBTeen
Book info: Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings #1) / Jackson Pearce. LB Teen, 2010 hardback, 2011 paperback. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation:  Girls are disappearing – time for Rosie and Scarlett to take up their hatchets, don their red cloaks, and hunt down the werewolves again. Perhaps the teen sisters can kill enough of these Fenris before their power becomes too strong…

Closer than twins, Scarlett and Rosie feel like they are one heart divided between two people and that they have a mission to protect people from the Fenris who slaughtered their grandmother, clawed out Scarlett’s right eye, left the March sisters selling off Oma’s things to stay afloat – hunting killer werewolves near and far leaves no time for a regular job. At least Silas is back from California, back to being their nearest neighbor out in the Georgia countryside, even if he didn’t take the traditional woodsman’s path like the rest of his family.

Attacks on young women during the Apple Time Festival reveal that outside clans of Fenris are converging on their area, and the sisters’ scan of the news tells them that Atlanta is getting hit hard. It’s Silas who suggests that they temporarily move to the city to deal with the werewolf outbreak, the three of them hunting together again to keep unwitting victims safe.

Now the trio has a whole new landscape to learn, trying to remain unseen as they stalk the leering men whose skin bursts forth into full fur when their prey has no more way to escape, the two girls donning mysterious red capes to entice the Fenris away from others and into the death trap of their hatchets and knives.

Silas insists that Rosie do something – just one thing – that’s not Fenris-related so she can keep her mind and soul together, so she tries an origami class. In the calm classroom, Rosie wonders if she’ll fight the Fenris forever, if she could have a future with Silas.

What is luring the other Fenris into territory not their own?
Can the three young people stop them?
Is there more to life than fighting away this darkness?

Told in alternating chapters by Rosie and Scarlett, Sisters Red brings an old fairytale into the here and now as the author’s home city is plagued by werewolves.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Something Red, by Douglas Nicholas (fiction) – white winter journey, red beast of death prowling

book cover of Something Red by Douglas Nicholas published by Atriasnowfall,
If only they can escape this winter hell with their lives.

Dangers on all sides as Molly’s pieced-together family survives the treacherous pass (thanks to warrior monks!), but must reach the inn and the castle on their own. A deadly dangerous something is magically shielding itself from even  Nemain’s fey perception and is waiting…

Fantasy, fear, mythology, a desperate trudge through snow and snow as Something Red,  something evil stalks the travelers.

Can you spy it just there, out of the corner of your eye, as Hob does?

Book info: Something Red / Douglas Nicholas. Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2012. [author interview] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Just out of sight, danger stalks them along the remote forest roads. Dame Molly, her niece Nemain, mysterious Jack, and the orphan Hob push their ox-drawn wagons fast as they dare, hoping to escape the oncoming snows. But when an attacker is snowed-in with them, their castle safe haven becomes a death house.

This is Hob’s first journey through the Pennines since Irish healer Molly adopted the young teen from the priest in his small north English village. Bandits regularly rob and kill travelers on these mountain byways, despite armed escorts by St. Germaine’s monks, veterans of the Crusades. Molly and burly Jack are on high alert, for something is trailing them on this steep road, hiding among the dense trees, its night-call darkening their souls.

From the monastery-guarded mountain pass to the double-walled palisade of Osbert’s Inn, patrolled by a dozen vicious mastiffs, they hear tales of recent tragedies and join forces with pilgrims to travel together to Sir Jehan’s castle before the road is closed by snow.

The caravan is ambushed as snow falls harder still. Molly and Nemain of the old religion try to interpret the omens appearing in the blizzard’s shadows. Even within the castle stronghold, they will not be safe, it seems, for the relentless evil being stalking them along the road has arrived there, too.

How did the death-bringer pass through prayers and countercharms around the castle?
Can massive warrior Jack protect those he claims now as family?
Why has this dreadful evil chosen them for its prey?

Wooden-wheeled oxcart, the traveler and the knight, mysterious forces consulted by Molly and Nemain, the high-born and the low, all spring forth in the intricate tapestry woven by poet Douglas Nicholas’ first novel recounting this inexorable hunt by a hidden enemy. (Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.)

Dangerous Boy, by Mandy Hubbard (fiction) – good girl, daredevil boyfriend, dangerous twin

book cover of Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard published by RazorbillNew guy in the small-town high school.
Handsome, rich, daring.
Falling for everyday girl Harper?
Swept off her feet, toward danger.

Logan wants a fresh start to his life after the difficulties he and his brother had in their hometown. Harper’s life after her mom’s death had gotten quieter and quieter. Boom! Romance like a whirlwind, eerie vandalism, brother Daemon mocking Harper’s affection for Logan.

If you sense a whiff of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (read it free at Project Gutenberg here), you’ve found one inspiration for author Mandy Hubbard’s fast-moving story of Harper’s hope for happiness and the too-real peril she faces.

Grab this one today at your local library or independent bookstore but do watch for strange happenings in your neighborhood, won’t you?

Book info: Dangerous Boy / Mandy Hubbard. Razorbill, 2012.  [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: When handsome Logan Townsend moves to her small town, Harper is intrigued. When he asks her out, she’s amazed and delighted. When his twin brother threatens her, she doesn’t know what to think. But if she merely thinks instead of acting, it might just be too late.

Living in the old Carson mansion with their uncle way out on the river road must be boring for Daemon, who’s doing school online instead of at Enumclaw High with his twin brother. He never comes along with Logan and Harper as they go to a Halloween haunted corn maze with friends or riding four-wheelers. Logan says that Daemon messed up relationships for him at their old school, so it’s better that he doesn’t want to be with their group anyway

Bloody cow bones showing up in rural mailboxes, red handprints on every car in the school parking lot, stop signs stolen – this new rash of vandalism is getting dangerous.

Harper has never really liked doing dangerous things, but after her mother’s death, her own father is like a ghost, going through the motions at their farm, without enough energy to warn her against trying reckless things that Logan loves to do. That four-wheeler rollover when a wheel fell off was just an accident, right?

Wondering what Daemon did at the twins’ former school to make them leave that town, Harper does some checking on Facebook and the newspaper, but comes up with more questions than answers.

Why isn’t Logan tagged in any pictures with his former classmates?
What did Daemon do that was hushed up so quickly in the media?
Why does his twin want Harper to stay away from the creaking house that he shares with Logan?

Echoes of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde drift through this spooky tale, with a young woman’s safety and sanity depending on her reactions to the dangers she uncovers.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Hysteria, by Megan Miranda (fiction) – murder, memory, missing pieces

book cover of Hysteria by Megan Miranda published by Bloomsbury Walker Books

Thudding heartbeats in the night,
bruises appearing each morning,
the rumors, the gossip, the lies…

Welcome to the tradition-filled halls of Monroe Prep, Dad’s alma mater, where Mallory’s reputation precedes her – the knife, Brian’s blood on her kitchen floor, the self-defense verdict.

Are her nightmares just reaction to the trauma or something more sinister? Surely Reid believes that Brian’s mom’s car was parked outside the school gates, that someone keeps entering her room, that she’s not seeing things – they’ve known each other since they were kids because their dads were high school roommates up here.

The crazy things happening now at Monroe cannot just be Mallory’s imagination… can they?

Read chapter one of Hysteria free here, then rush to your local library or independent bookstore to get it tomorrow on its publication day.

Megan Miranda crafts another chilling story teetering between paranormal and murderous; her debut novel Fracture  (my review) just came out in paperback – don’t miss either mysterious book!

Book info: Hysteria / Megan Miranda. Bloomsbury/Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation:

The blood, the knife, the holes in her memory – Mallory knows she should be glad for the “self-defense” ruling, but the pulsating hum in her brain won’t stop. Neither will the nightmares or Brian’s mom stalking her, asking where her dead son is.

Maybe boarding school in the New Hampshire woods will be far enough from her seaside house where Brian died in a pool of his own bright-red blood. Dad pulled strings to get her admitted to his alma mater at the last minute; he couldn’t stop the rumors about Mallory from getting there first.

Being a new student at Monroe Prep is worse than being at a regular high school since the snooty rich kids have known each other forever. Well, Reid is nice to her, probably because their dads were roommates here and their families got together often over the years. Last time she saw him was his dad’s funeral, not a good memory on lots of levels.

Despite her sleeping pills, Mallory still has nightmares, hears the booming echoes of Brian’s heart, wakes up with a handprint-shaped bruise on her shoulder that she couldn’t have done to herself, window unlocked when she knows she locked it. No cellphone service in these mountains, so she can never get through to her best friend Colleen at home, the only person who understands what she’s enduring.

A green car glimpsed through the fog – is Brian’s mother stalking her again?

A red handprint on her door, vandalism in her dorm room, menacing whispers – is her presence threatening someone at Monroe?

A hidden ruin in the woods, tribute to a lost student – is she supposed to be next?

Once again Megan Miranda crafts a chilling story of the hazy boundary between death and life in this psychological thriller with traces of the paranormal. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Every Other Day, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (book review) – hunt the supernatural, survive high school

book cover of Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes published by EgmontHigh school kid, demon hunter,
High school kid, werewolf killer,
Repeat, repeat, repeat…

Kali has enough trouble spending alternating days as a supernatural clean-up gal, but when someone may have injected the cheerleaders at her high school with bloodsucking parasites

A classmate marked for supernatural harvest, answers producing even more questions, high-level conspiracy – how did Kali wind up in all this?
How much does she have in common with the Hindu goddess Kali, slayer of demons?

Find Every Other Day  now in hardback at your local library or visit your independent bookstore for its January 22nd paperback release; both covers are the same haunting hourglass dripping blood…

How far should you go to protect your friends while risking your very life?

Book info: Every Other Day / Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Egmont USA, hardcover 2011, paperback 2013. [author’s website] [publisher site] [fan-created book trailer][author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: If that ouroboros on Bethany’s back is not a tattoo, then the cheerleader will be dead today, just when Kali is merely human, instead of a supernatural hunter like she will be tomorrow. Flip-flopping capabilities every 24 hours is more than annoying now – it’s liable to be deadly.

Good thing that her supernatural phase includes rapid healing powers, as the werewolves and hellhounds who battle against her during extermination runs always seemed to slash and bite Kali viciously. And who wants to show up at high school the next morning looking like that?

When Dad decided that she needed to go to public school for ‘social interaction’ Kali was sure it was just because his new boss at the university labs was sending his daughter there. Now, with a chupacabra stalking the cheerleading squad, maybe her presence at Heritage High can keep her classmates safe.

Luring the spirit from Bethany’s ouroboros into her own blood was the fastest way for Kali to save her life on this human-phase day. But now Kali has to survive many more hours with an aware parasite coursing through her veins and whispering in her brain before she turns supernatural hunter again.

How will she get the parasite out of her body to kill it?
Why does Bethany think that the cheerleaders were purposely injected with the parasite?
What’s in the lab under Bethany’s house?

If the zombies don’t get the teens, maybe Kali will get some answers – and live long enough to get into her hunter phase and strike back.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)



I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga (fiction) – following Dad as a serial killer?

book cover I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga published by Little Brown

Dad taught him everything about hunting –
how to sharpen knives correctly,
how to choose the right victim,
how to kill a person without leaving any evidence behind.

Imagine the world’s most notorious serial killer – as your dad.

Jazz knows how serial killers think and is determined to never be anything like his dad. But his nightmares continue, the sight of blood can trigger a flashback to being “on the job” with Dad as a kid… and a new killing spree has begun in his small town.

Barry Lyga skillfully takes readers into a killer’s mind through vivid yet subtle writing which lingers in memory long after the book is closed. (If you’re prone to nightmares, then I Hunt Killers is probably not for you!)

Grab the first 10 chapters and the prequel short story “Career Day” at Barry’s website for free, then rush to find I Hunt Killers  at your local library or independent bookstore and pray that Jazz can find the killer before more bodies pile up…

Book info: I Hunt Killers / Barry Lyga. Little Brown, 2012.   [author’s website]   [publisher site]   [book trailer]  

My Recommendation: His dad killed people – lots of people. The world’s most infamous serial killer has been in prison for years when his teen son happens upon a dead body murdered in Billy’s style. And then another, and another. Surely the sheriff of Lobo’s Nod doesn’t suspect that Jazz is taking up the family trade…
Jazz is trying to finish high school in their hometown before the social workers find out that he’s taking care of his unbalanced grandmother, instead of Gramma taking care of him. Just one best friend, but who needs more than funny, crazy Howie, a hemophiliac who has to let Jazz have all the adventures. Not many folks are comfortable around Butcher Billy’s kid, but Sheriff G.William has been his mentor for a while.
Now, G.William won’t let Jazz see the files on the victims, refuses to realize that the cases are connected, doesn’t want to know that they are following Billy’s pattern from its very beginning – and that Jazz can predict what type of person will be the next victim.
All those years of Dad making Jazz help him sharpen his knives, clean up afterwards, go with him on ‘jobs’ have allowed his son to see the crime scenes and the victims through a killer’s eyes. Jazz has all the details about every person that Billy killed (refusing to visit the websites dedicated to his dad or his killing spree) – but does he have his dad’s killer instincts, too?
As the body count rises – each victim having one less finger remaining than the last – Jazz’s nightmares about the horrific lessons that his dad taught him increase. Why can’t he figure out who the killer is when he can tell who the next victim will be? When will G.William take his theory seriously and protect the next possible victims? Will finally Jazz have to visit his dad in maximum security prison to find out if somehow Billy unleashed another monster on the world?  

Forecast for Lobo’s Nod: nightmares ahead, trust no one, count all your fingers…A chilling thriller that’s so real that it’s really, really scary – definitely not for the faint-of-heart – I Hunt Killers is first in a new series by Barry Lyga. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.