Monday Matinee- Haunted People Places and Things Edition

Posted September 15, 2020 by stuckint in Features, Monday Matinee / 1 Comment

Hello everyone, if you can’t tell we’ve been trying to share Fall themed books here on Stuck in the Stacks. It is definitely starting to cool off and with school starting back up autumn is in the air.

So I thought I would be to fun recommend some books that I have read and loved which possesss (pun intended) a haunted element at their center.

The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube

The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 7, 2018
Pages: 329

Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this compelling ghost story about a former dancer whose grip on reality slips when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her.
Something is wrong with Marianne.
It's not just that her parents have finally split up. Or that life hasn't been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.
She's losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close. Something is after her. And the only one who seems to believe her is the daughter of a local psychic.
But their first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing's rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. Whatever is haunting her, it wants everything she has--everything it's convinced she stole. Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it thinks it's owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.

I know I recommend this one a lot, but I have a soft spot in my heart for horror novels that use horror to personify mental illness. There’s something empowering about it when it’s done well and there were some legitimately creepy moments in this book. Especially because it’s unclear whether it’s the house that haunted or our flawed, relatable protagonist.

Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno Garcia

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
on June 30, 2020
Pages: 301

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find - her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

A newer release, Mexican Gothic pays homage to Gothic stories such as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. This is definitely a slower novel that takes a while to get going but when it starts picking up it doesn’t stop and the body horror is crazy if you like that kind of thing. A solid haunted house story.

The Broken Girls by Simone St James

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Published by Berkley Books on March 20, 2018
Pages: 336

A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.
Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .
Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.
When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .

The Broken Girls was my first and favorite novel by Simone St. James. Told in alternating timelines, this supernatural thriller is set in a haunted boarding school and follows students who attended the school when it was still open as well as a journalist, decades later, who is determined to get to the bottom of these alleged hauntings. It’s a solid mystery with some truly spine tingling moments.

The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics

The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 26, 2017
Pages: 299

From the outside, the Cane family looks like they have it all. A successful military father, a loving mother and five beautiful teenage daughters. But on the inside, life isn't quite so idyllic: the Cane sisters can barely stand each other, their father is always away, and their neglectful mother struggles with addiction and depression.
When their youngest and most beloved sister, Rose, dies in a tragic accident, Mona Cane and her sisters are devastated. And when she is brought back from the dead, they are relieved. But soon they discover that Rose must eat human flesh to survive, and when their mother abandons them, the sisters will find out just how far they'll go to keep their family together.

I have enjoyed all of Lukavics’ books and recently discussed Daughters Unto Devils- which is a seriously underrated gem. I chose to talk about The Ravenous because, unlike the other books on this list, some thing is very clearly wrong with the youngest Cane sister and things get progressively worse as the novel goes on. Let’s just say if you have a weak stomach this is not a book for you.

Wonderland by Zoje Stage

Wonderland by Zoje Stage
on July 14, 2020
Pages: 354

If Shirley Jackson wrote The Shining, it might look like this deliciously unsettling horror novel from the acclaimed author of Baby Teeth.
A mother must protect her family from the unnatural forces threatening their new and improved life in a rural farmhouse.
The Bennett family - artist parents and two precocious children - are leaving their familiar urban surroundings for a new home in far upstate New York. They're an hour from the nearest city, a mile from the nearest house, and everyone has their own room for the very first time. Shaw, the father, even gets his own painting studio, now that he and his wife Orla, a retired dancer, have agreed that it's his turn to pursue his passion.
But none of the Bennetts expect what lies waiting in the lovely woods, where secrets run dark and deep. Orla must finally find a way to communicate with - not just resist - this unknown entity that is coming to her family, calling to them from the land, in the earth, beneath the trees... and in their minds.

This is a brand new release and I really enjoyed it. What was expecting is how cold the book would feel. There are numerous scenes where characters get trapped in freak snow storms which I think make this haunted house/property the perfect read for late Fall, early winter when the weather starts to turn.

What About You?

What are your favorite titles that feature a haunting of some sort? Are there particular kinds of haunted stories you prefer over others? Let us know in the comments!

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