The third annual game of Booklikes Halloween Bingo starts 9/1/18! Join us and play!
Gothic: I am trying to pick mostly books that I already own, so for this one I'm going with an older gothic romance: The Lost Island by Phyllis Whitney. I'm also interested in The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter, and it would fit here!
Doomsday: I bought this series years ago for my daughter, and I'm hoping I can find it and that it hasn't already gone to Tennesee: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. If I can't dig that one up, I think I will do a reread of The House with a Clock in its Walls, which is being adapted with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett.
Slasher Tales: I am pretty sure that I am going with the anthology Slasher Girls and Monster Boys for this one because I already own it. Either that, or a quick reread of Lois Duncan's I Know What You Did Last Summer.
A Grimm Tale: I have so many options for this one! At this point, I'm leaning towards The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert.
Supernatural: I've had Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw on my kindle for months, and Halloween bingo seems like the perfect time to read a book about Dr. Greta Helsing, whose medical practice focuses on treating the supernatural!
Country House Mystery: I love country house mysteries and I've been meaning to read more Inspector Alleyn, so I think I will read Death and the Dancing Footman for this one.
Southern Gothic: I am strongly leaning towards another Sharyn McCrumb for this one, probably The Rosewood Casket, since I already have it in paperback. The other option is Compulsion by Martina Boone, which is a YA paranormal set in South Carolina.
Spellbound: I bought Daughters of the Witching Hill for the first round of Halloween Bingo, and then I never read it! Perhaps this is the year!
13: I am pretty sure I am reading The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie for this one. Because Agatha.
Terror in a Small Town: I'm going to try out Midnight, Texas, in the non-Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris: Midnight Crossroad.
Modern Noir: I'm leaning towards Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson, set in very snowy Iceland. I'm also considering the fourth book in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, Broken Harbor, which I haven't yet read.
Free: Some spontaneity is good, so I'm not assigning a book to this one.
Ghost Stories: Victoria Schwab is one of my favorite authors and City of Ghosts, which I already have pre-ordered, releases on August 28!
Relics and Curiosities: One of the few books that I plan to buy for Halloween Bingo is The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett. In the alternative, I already own The Book of Speculation, which would also fit this space!
Suspense: I'm thinking that I will read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn for this square, before I watch the Amy Adams adaptation!
Baker Street Irregulars: I have been waiting for just this opportunity to read Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson.
Creepy Carnivals: I am planning to read The Wanderers by Kate Ormand, which is set in a circus of orphaned shapeshifters.
Fear the Drowning Deep: I'm really excited about my selection for this square - Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant (which is a pen name for Seanan McGuire). It appears to be about terrifying and decidedly unfriendly mermaids.
New Release: I may read The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton, which is scheduled to be published on September 20 - it fits under the "mystery" subheading.
Shifters: I've owned God Save the Queen by Kate Locke, which seems to have shifters, for probably four years and haven't ever gotten to it. Hopefully this is the year! And if it doesn't work out for this square, there are other places to substitute!
Diverse Voices: I've been holding onto Blackwater Rising by Attica Locke for this category! I read her Bluebird, Bluebird earlier this year and loved it.
Cryptozoologist: I was going to read this one for the new release square, but I've decided to assign it here for now! Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire is book 7 in the InCryptids, a favorite series about a family of cryptozoologists from Oregon.
Terrifying Women: I haven't settled on a book for this square, but it will definitely be either Patricia Highsmith, Daphne du Maurier or Shirley Jackson, since they are my go to Terrifying Women!
I haven't "officially" identified a wild card author yet, but I am leaning towards Seanan McGuire, since I am really enjoying her books right now, and I have a ton of them available!
I can't wait to see what everyone else is reading!
And now for the last spaces!
More recycled categories! In addition, since 31 isn't divisible by 5, I just stuck the last category onto this post so we didn't have one lonely category sitting out there by itself!
Cozy mystery: a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.
Book suggestions: There is already a Cozy Mystery list available! I also stumbled on this one, Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet, which looks entertaining, and a throwback recommendation to an absolutely charming series, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency, set in Botswana!
Darkest London: any mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book set in London.
Book suggestions: I have a huge weakness for books set in London, so this isn't the first time this category has turned up in Halloween bingo! That means that there is already a list, which you can find here, which already has 72 suggestions. I am a huge fan of V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic series, which features not one, but four, Londons!
Amateur sleuth: this mystery will have a main character who is not a member of law enforcement.
Book suggestions: I've been enjoying Miss Silver, by Patricia Wentworth, and Latter End is one that I really enjoyed! One of the nice things about the Golden Age mystery authors is that typically their books can be read in any order! Agatha Christie's Miss Marple is also an amateur sleuth, and I like 4:50 From Paddington, which co-stars one of my favorite Christie women, Lucy Eyelesbarrow. In addition, take a look at MBD's Amateur Sleuth list.
Terrifying women: mystery, horror, suspense or supernatural written by women.
Book suggestions: I don't think anyone can go wrong with either Patricia Highsmith or Shirley Jackson. But, if you're still looking, check out the Terrifying Women Authors list!
Murder Most Foul: any murder mystery.
Book suggestions: Let's start with one of the best murder mysteries ever written - Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. In addition, you can find many other options on these lists: Serial/Spree Killer, Locked Room Mystery, and Mystery Square.
Diverse voices: written by an author of color.
Book suggestions: I'm always looking for new books written by diverse authors. I recently discovered Attica Locke, who writes mysteries, including Bluebird, Bluebird, which I read earlier this year and liked. Also, I always recommend Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower for this square! Last year I read Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older, which I liked. You can find a bunch more here: Diverse Authors Square.
Well, that's a wrap guys!
And, if you are going to be requesting a card, do it here!
Before I unveil the last six categories, I want to show you a new twist on the game!
Having a difficult time finding a book to fill a category?
Introducing Authors Wild!
The Wild Card!
Each player can identify one author as your wild card author - as long as the author writes horror, mystery, suspense or supernatural books.
Any book by that author can be used as a wild card to fill any space.
The wild card can be played twice during the game.
Wild card authors don't need to be identified before the game begins, but once you play your first wild card, that's the author who must be used to play the second wild card as well!
All of the new categories have been revealed! From here on out, you get recycled categories from years past. On the bright side, we've already got a whole bunch of suggestions for them with Murder By Death's brilliant Halloween Bingo lists from the last two years
Classic horror: horror fiction that was published prior to 1980;
Book suggestions: check out this list: MBD's list for Classic Horror. In addition, as someone who is not a horror fan, classic horror is one of my favorite squares! I definitely recommend The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Uncle Silas by Sheridan LeFanu and Dracula by Bram Stoker, which is best as a full-cast audiobook.
Romantic suspense: any romance which has a significant sub-plot that involves mystery, thriller or suspense.
Book suggestions: MBD's list for Romantic Suspense. Also, this is pretty much your only chance to get any romance into your bingo, so I recommend checking out almost anything by Mary Stewart, but especially The Moonspinners, Window on the Square by Phyllis Whitney, or Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt.
Gothic: any book with significant: a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance.
Book suggestions: Pretty much anything by Daphne du Maurier would be considered gothic, including Jamaica Inn, Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye is a really fun retelling of Jane Eyre, with Jane as a killer and carrying the tag line "Reader, I Murdered Him," and another retelling of Henry James The Turn of the Screw, Florence and Giles, by John Harding, which I have not read, but which looks interesting. For more suggestions, check out MBD's list for Gothic.
Country house mystery: a closed circle murder set during a gathering like a house party.
Book suggestions: These are some of my favorite mysteries, and there is some overlap with the next category, Terror in a Small Town. You can find a bunch of options on MBD's list for Country House Mystery, and one of my personal favorites off of that list is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. In addition, Hunter's Green by Phyllis Whitney would fit, if you're interested in something more gothic and less mystery
Terror in a small town: any mystery, supernatural, horror or suspense that takes place in a small town.
Book suggestions: A few suggestions for this square include: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuteveld, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, and one of the best of all of the Agatha Christies, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which is already included on MBD's list for Terror in a Small Town.
Post updated to add links to all of the booklists!
Modern Masters of Horror: horror published in or after 2000.
Book suggestions: I'm not really a horror reader, so I am going to have to rely on some of my booklikes peeps for newer horror selections! I can provide these less horrorish horror options, though: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, published in 2009, 14 by Peter Cline (2012), and the companion novel The Fold (2015).
Supernatural: mystery, suspense or horror books which include elements that defy current understanding of the natural world, including magic, witchcraft and/or crypto-zoological aspects.
Book suggestions: This is an extremely broad category, so I'm just going to link to MBD's Supernatural list, which already has 89 possibilities! I bet she'd be willing to add more, if you put them in the comments!
Genre: Horror: anything that fits into the horror genre.
Book suggestions: Again, not a horror reader, so . . . here is the Horror list!
Cryptozoologist: any supernatural creature, from Ammit to Ziz;
Book suggestions: Discount Armageddon by Seanan is the first book in one of my favorite series, which is actually about a family of cryptozoologists, so you should totally check it out. You can also find books on these lists: Monsters, Demons, Shifters, Vampires and the previously linked Supernatural list!
Fear the Drowning Deep: mystery, suspense, supernatural or horror books with sea-related elements: sea creatures, ships, shipwrecks, and/or sharks.
Book suggestions: This may be my MOST FAVORITE new category! I am planning to read Into the Drowning Deep by Seanan McGuire. In addition, I stumbled on this one when I was mucking about on Goodreads, and it's a novella - The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster. Others would include: Salt and Storm by Kendall Kuyper, The Blackhouse by Peter May, and of course, Jaws by Peter Benchley. And, we have a new booklist for this square: Fear the Drowning Deep.
This post has been updated to include links to all of the relevant booklists!
Ghost stories: any story involving ghosts or hauntings, including haunted houses, buildings, graveyards, etc.
Book suggestions: Jackaby by William Ritter, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, and The Ghost of Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire. In addition, this is a recycled category, so there's already a list for it - Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses.
13: any book that relates to bad luck, superstitions, including (but not limited to) black cats, ravens or crows, or the unlucky number 13, either in the title, series, book cover or page count.
Book suggestions: Okay, I totally love this new category! The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (the Penguin Classics Deluxe edition, which I own, has a black cat on the cover. See link), any of the books from A Series of Unfortunate Events (the series ended on the unlucky 13th book). Also check out MBD's Black Cat list, and the new 13 list!
A Grimm Tale: any fairy tale or retelling of fairy tales, folklore, legends, etc.
Book suggestions: There are a lot of really good retellings out there! However, a few that I have either enjoyed or heard good things about include: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter (I haven't read this one, but OB really liked it), The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (based on the Russian fairytale Vasilia the Beautiful), Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (she has a number of good retellings). See the new list: A Grimm Tale.
Relics and Curiosities: concerning magical, supernatural or haunted objects, such as spellbooks, talismans or swords.
Book suggestions: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, Relic by Douglas Preston, The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. There's a list for this square, too: Relics and Curiosities!
Deadlands: elements of the undead - zombies, wights, vampires and other revenants.
Book suggestions: Ghostwalkers (Deadlands #1) by Jonathan Mayberry, The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. In addition, there is a list for zombies: Deadlands, and the vampire books on MBD's list Vampires.
Book titles link to the book's Goodreads Page. I have also linked to the lists created by Murder by Death in prior bingo games where they apply, and have updated the post to link to all of the new lists as well!
Baker Street Irregulars: mystery that involves children/teens in crime solving.
Book suggestions: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (or any of the Flavia de Luce series); Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and, of course, The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew #1) by Carolyn Keene. You can check the Baker Street Irregulars book list as well!
Shifters: werewolves, skin-walkers and all other therianthropes.
Book Suggestions: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (or any of the Mercy Thompson series - Mercy is a skinwalker), Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Urban Fantasy tends to be full of shifters - and MBD made us an all new Shifters list!
Slasher Stories: books that share the tropes of classic slasher movies: teen characters, indestructible killers and/or multiple victims.
Book Suggestions: I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan, Slasher Girls, Monster Boys, a collection of YA short stories, and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. In addition, I found a list on a site called bookscrolling called: The Best Slasher Horror Books. I haven't read any of them, but I bet Char has! Authors include Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum. Also, we now have a Booklikes Bingo Book List for Slasher Stories!
Spellbound: books containing witches, warlocks, sorcerors and witchcraft.
Book Suggestions: there are so many possible options for this category, but some of my favorites are: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, the Harry Potter series, and Stardust by Neil Gaiman. You can also take a look at Murder By Death's Spellbound list!
Modern Noir: mystery with noir elements, including authors like James Ellroy, Ian Rankin, anything that falls generally under the category of Nordic Noir, Tartan Noir, Granite Noir, etc.
Book suggestions: Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, which starts with In The Woods, L.A Confidential by James Ellroy, Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Finally, we also have a Modern Noir book list!
These are in no order whatsoever!
Book titles link to the Goodreads page for the identified books. This post has been updated to include links to the book lists!
Creepy Carnivals: horror/mystery/supernatural/suspense set in or concerning a carnival, amusement park, or other party/festival.
Book suggestions: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, Joyland by Stephen King, Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie, Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern or Carniepunk, an urban fantasy anthology! Also, see MBD's brand new list for this category: Creepy Carnivals.
Southern Gothic: mystery, supernatural, suspense or horror set in the Southern part of the United States.
Book suggestions: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, Sharyn McCrumb's mystery series set in Dark Hollow, Tennessee, including If I Ever Return, Pretty Peggy-O, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. And, a new list for this square has been created: Southern Gothic.
Doomsday: anything related to the end of the world, doomsday cults, or a post-apocalypse world.
Book suggestions: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Last Policeman by Ben Winters, The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, The House with the Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs. The list for this square: Doomsday.
New release: mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural that was published after 10/31/17.
Book suggestions: too many to count, but I am personally looking forward to reading Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire, which was released on 3/6/18!
Genre: Suspense: anything that fits into the suspense genre.
Book suggestions: again, this is a broad category - there are so many available books. I haven't settled on anything to fill this square. Our Suspense list is the cannibalized Romantic Suspense list, so if you have additions that are more generic, comment on the list, and MBD will add them when she has time!
Obsidian and I have decided on the categories for this year's game of Halloween Bingo! The category reveals will begin tomorrow, to allow everyone to have ample time for book planning, purchasing, lending, obtaining, begging, borrowing and all other forms of bookish acquisition!
I will be revealing them 5 categories per day until all 31 have been announced. There are some carryover categories from last year, although many of them have been tweaked a bit. There are some new categories for this year - some of which I am pretty excited about and hope you will be, too!
Remember, all of the books for Halloween bingo need to fit into one of four general categories: horror, mystery, supernatural or suspense. Within those four general genres, there is lots of room for variation, and within each of the categories there is lots of room for imagination! If you can come up with a justification, you can read the book!
Remember, Halloween Bingo is intended to be full of bookish fun. It isn't a job. It isn't homework. The prize is the satisfaction of sticking your sticker over the category.
Once I reveal all of the categories, I will open a thread for card requests. Each person will receive an INDIVIDUAL card. If you didn't play last year, and you have questions, you can check out this thread in the bingo group, which will explain the rules. You can also find answers to the questions that players asked last year!
And you should all know what that means by now!
It's time to start prepping for the Third Annual Booklikes Halloween Bingo!
We are going to run the game in generally the same way as last year! OB and I will be coming up with some new categories over the next week or two, in addition to some recycled categories from years past.
Once we get the 31 categories set, I will post a thread over on the bingo group for sign-ups. Each bingo card has 24 spots and a free space. In order to make things easy on me, as the card creator, I am going to ask everyone to limit your exclusions to 3 categories that you want to leave out! Once I create your card, I will post it in the sign-up thread for you to download and use.
Calls will be made every other day, and will alternate between my blog and OB's blog like last year! I think we set the calls to drop at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard.
It's time to start collecting those suspense, horror, mystery and dark fantasy books that are so appealing in the fall to get ready, set, read!
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.
1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.
1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.
I have probably mentioned this before, but I love WWI and WWII books that focus primarily on women's experiences during the war. I also have a weakness for dual timeline books. The Alice Network really worked for me.
I will say that the 1947 timeline wasn't nearly as compelling as the 1915 timeline - Eve's experiences in occupied France gathering intelligence were gritty, realistic and heart-stoppingly dangerous. The 1947 timeline often felt like an annoying diversion that ground the true narrative to a halt.
Charlotte, or Charlie, the POV character in the 1947 timeline didn't 100% read like a young woman from 1947. She used expressions that felt modern, and, more importantly, I'm not sure that Quinn completely sold her behavior given the societal mores of 1947. But, I did enjoy the Thelma and Louise-esque adventures of Charlie, Eve and Finn, Eve's driver/Charlies taciturn Scottish love interest.
As is typically the case in this type of novel, the two timelines eventually merge to answer many of the questions that have been left unanswered for decades. It is a bit overly reliant on coincidence and the seeming ubiquitous invulnerability of one of the primary villains, but overall, I devoured this book and was sorry to see it end!
This book barely fits into my Summer of Spies project, but having devoured more than ten espionage books in about 6 weeks, I'm ready to move on anyway. The Alice Network is really more of a piece of historical fiction than it is spy fic.
I used to read a lot of historical fiction of just this type, and I'm not sure how I got away from it. Every time I pick up a book of this sort, I thoroughly enjoy it.
I am enjoying this one - the split timelines between Charlie (1947) and Eve (1915) are intriguing, and WWI is one of my favorite historical time periods in any event. I have a virtual stack of hist fic that I think I will have to dip into! That may be my focus for the next six weeks, until it is time to pull out the horror, the suspense, the supernatural and the homicidal for this years game of Halloween Bingo!
This is Christie's second Poirot mystery, and her third full-length novel. I read it for my chronological re-read of the Christie canon, which will include the short collections in order of publication.
She definitely has not hit her stride in this novel - in my opinion, that really happens with her sixth novel (and fourth Poirot offering) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Murder on the Links is a middling Christie - better than some, but not one of her best.
A couple of specific notes - Hastings reappears as Poirot's sidekick. He is introduced in The Mysterious Affair at Styles as Watson to Poirot's Sherlock. Murder on the Links is told from the perspective of Hastings in a first person perspective. I find Hastings nearly intolerable in this book - his preening behavior in attempting to attract the fair "Cinderella" is about as subtle as a male peacock in full mating display. In other words, he acts like a buffoon.
I know, I know, Hastings always acts like a buffoon. But the prosecutor in me nearly swooned when he let his fair lady love - who won't even friggin' tell him her actual name - into the shed where the body, and the murder weapon, are being stored. All I can think about is "chain of custody, chain of custody, chain of custody." Someone should've thrashed him. If the murderer hadn't died before the end of the book, he had compromised the evidence to the point that, even in 1923, prosecution would've been nearly impossible.
And that ending. Oh, dear, that acrobatic, silly ending.
One of the purposes of my reread - besides just sheer fun - is to take a look at Agatha's approach to justice and responsibility in her books, and try to evaluate if it changes or evolves over time. In Styles, the killers were obviously handed over to the authorities, but no mention is made as to their fate. Christie approaches the murder as a puzzle, and much more time is spent on matchmaking between the various existing or potential couples than on mourning the victim. In Links, the murderer receives street justice in self-defense and is killed before the end of the book.
Christie's early books had a romantic streak - couples were constantly falling in love at the drop of a hat. Hastings ultimately marries Cinderella, whose real name is Dulcie, as we learn at the end of the book. That pairing is totally unconvincing, and doesn't seem to age well as the books continue to be written. By the time Hastings disappears completely from the narrative, I am heartily sick of him. I far prefer Ariadne Oliver as Poirot's sidekick, even if most of her books aren't up to the quality of the early Poirots.
TLDR: a second tier Poirot with an annoying sidekick, but still a fun read for Christie fans.
It seems that Amazon has changed their "also bought" recommendations formatting. I now get a mere 4 books as "customers also bought" recommendations when I look at a book on amazon.
But, I get SEVEN FUCKING PAGES of shitty, self-published "sponsored recommendations," none of which will I ever in one billion years purchase.
This fact, coupled with the utter unreliability of amazon's reviews, makes the amazon book page basically completely useless to me for finding additional books of interest.