October Wrap-Up and November TBR

And so ends my favorite time of year.

October Wrap-Up

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

This is a horror novel for people who don’t especially like horror. Fun and still spooky. 4/5

Haunted Nights exited by Ellen Datlow

A fantastic collection all about Halloween happenings. 4/5

Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub

A novella about race and Halloween. The subtext was a little to sub IMHO. 3.5/5

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

A haunted house story unlike any other out there. Highly recommend 4.5/5

Ghosts by Raina Telgmeier

A YA graphic novel about death, change, and growing up. 5/5

I didn’t get as much spooky reading done as I wanted but I enjoyed what I read. November means it’s time for some nonfiction. I won’t be trying to actively check off the challenges for Nonfiction November but I’ll see what happens since I want to participate

November TBR

Fear by Bob Woodward

I’m curious to see what happens when a skilled journalist tells the story of this shit show of an administration.

Born Trump by Emily Jane Fox

I need to finish this dammit.

The List by Amy Siskind

A look back at our gradual descent into facism

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty First Century by Jessica Bruder

This was recommended to me because I enjoyed Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

I’ve been curious about this one for a while.

How many of these will I get to? Probably not too many because I’m tired AF after work most days but we’ll see what happens. I’m planning on doing something for Nonfiction November on my Instagram (JesseJaneReads) so please check it out.

Media Monday: Spooky Web Videos

Audio isn’t the only medium that has creepy content. These are some great places to find creepy videos

Fun Size Horror
Creepy and high quality horror shorts.

Black Box TV
A more indie style of horror shorts but very good content

BuzzFeed Unsolved True Crime & Supernatural
A believer and a skeptic investigate unsolved murders and spooky locations.

Node Haunted Mansion D&D Game
4 guys play a ridiculous game of D&D in a house of horrors. Did I mention all their characters have to lose their virginity before they can leave?

Poe Party
Edgar Allan Poe has a dinner party with other literati of the time and someone mysteriously dies. A bit on the lighter side.

Cinema Sins on horror movies
I love this series in general but watching horror movie take-downs is especially satisfying this time of year.

Haunt Me

YouTube and Legendary team-up shorts

Jon Cozart and Voctaves mash-up

How I Use Little Free Libraries

I’m going to open with an unpopular opinion and then make it a little better. I sell books I find in Little Free Libraries. I sell them to a used bookstore for store credit and use it as my ‘book allowance.’

As penance, I monitor several LFLs in my area and on my dog walking routes. If books aren’t moving, I’ll shuffle them around between different LFLs or even neighborhoods. If that still doesn’t work, they get added to my donation bin. I also clean out a lot of the junk people dump in there like badly damaged books or VHS tapes.

I wind up with several books I can’t sell that are damaged, ARCs, or my buyer just isn’t interested. Those get added to my LFL shuffle or donated to my library when I notice they’re not moving. One LFL near me leaks so I’ve occasionally rescued books from it before it rains again and moved them elsewhere.

The number of books I can’t sell that I find is at least 60% in a wealthy community with a fantastic library system. I’m not depriving anyone of literacy but making the system work for me and others. I’m sure some people want to shame me but this is as black and white as it seems.

One of our clients sends donations to an impoverished school district in the Deep South. If I find any books for elementary school aged kids in good condition, I don’t even try to sell them. I bring them by her house whenever she’s on my schedule. These kids don’t have the same access and quality of education as kids in my county so I’m glad I’m helping send that opportunity to kids who need it.

LFL are a fun and helpful addition to any community and I’m forever grateful for the access to books in my area. I’m a full time book dragon and part time LFL elf

Media Monday: Spooky True Podcasts

The truth is often stranger than fiction so see what happens when real life gets creepy.

The Brothers Mysterium
Brothers try to debunk the supernatural.

Jim Harold’s Campfire
Real people tell Jim Harold their spooky experiences

The Paranormal Podcast
Jim Harold’s original podcast about supernatural phenomena

The Last Podcast on the Left
I haven’t listened to this one enough to verify it so I’ll borrow this from their website: “Last Podcast on the Left laughs into the abyss that is the dark side of humanity”

Much lauded, this podcast takes a look at the history of folklore and things that heebie our jeebies

Snap Judgement Presents: Spooked
It’s the same vein as Jim Harold’s podcasts, real people recounting their supernatural experiences.

The Paracast

Realm of the Weird

Oh No Ross and Carrie

Bizarre States

The Parapod

Coast to Coast AM

Anything Ghost
Another true tales pod but this one isn’t told by the folks who experienced it.


Haunted Nights Review

I just finished Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton. I didn’t realize every one of these stories takes place on or around Halloween when I picked this up. All the better since it got me in the holiday spirit early and I can tell you it’s absolutely worth picking up. Here’s my story rating break down.

  • With Garden Weeds and Wolfsbane Seeds – 4
  • Dirtmouth – 3
  • A Small Taste Of Old Country – 5
  • Wick’s End – 4
  • The Seventeen Year Itch – 4
  • A Flicker Of Light on the Devil’s Night – 1
  • Witch Hazel – 4
  • Nos Galan Gaeaf – 3
  • We’re Never Inviting Amber Again – 2
  • Sisters – 4
  • All Through the Night – 4
  • A Kingdom Of Skulls and Marigolds – 4
  • The Turn – 4
  • Jack – 5
  • Lost in the Dark – 5
  • The First Lunar Halloween –

Average –

Personal rating – 4/5

Media Monday: Spooky Audio Dramas

Since I won’t be doing special Halloween playlists everyday, I thought I’d give you something a little different. Here are some spooky fictional podcasts to add some chill to your Halloween.

Welcome to Night Vale
Weird shit happens, a lot. A sister podcast, Alice Isn’t Dead, is said to have similar vibes.

No Sleep
Creepy horror shorts from the reddit sub of the same name.

Lia Haddock looks into the disappearance of over 300 people at a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee. Whether we’ll get more than the one season is TBD but it’s still worth listening to

The Black Tapes
A man tries to debunk the paranormal and our podcast host Alex finds something much darker than anticipated.

We’re Alive
A zombie-ish apocalypse happens. These are the folks who get to deal with it.

A sci-fi/horror podcast that takes place in the future. I don’t know much but it came highly recommended.

The Message
A short and fascinating podcast about a message received from outer space. You can finish it in a night so definitely give it a listen.

Deadly Manners
A mysterious murder, an all-star cast, and a relatively short run. What’s not to love?

The Dark Verse

Tales to Terrify

The Monster Club

Knifepoint Horror

The Wicked Library

O Is for Occult

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb is a horror novel for people who don’t like horror novels but want that thrill. Its scares and creeps are mild and insidious, a bit like a Lifetime movie. It opens with a scene from a seance during the height of the spiritualist era and manages to keep that relevant throughout.

Julia needs to escape from the horrible mess her husband left for her after pulling a Bernie Madoff and ending his life. Havenwood is the perfect opportunity for her to hide out and start over when she was ready. However, all is not as it seems and the walls hold many ghosts and secrets.

This was a fast and easy read with light horror and high eeriness. I was surprised by the romance aspect but I did enjoy it, even if it managed to be a bit hokey at times. Again, softening the horror blow.

My big complaint is that Julia never really demands answers and the story could have gone a little deeper in places. It didn’t tell or show as much as I wanted. The M. Night Shyamalan plot twist did not help this.

4/5 stars for a spooky ghost story for the faint of heart.