Sunday, October 31, 2021

LazyDayLit's October 2021 Reading & Challenge Wrap Up

Happy Halloween, readers!!

We've had a 'wow' kind of month but I managed to fit in some spooky reads and reviews among all the chaos and cavorting.

I hope you all have/had a safe night! 

Happy reading! 

Books Read in October:

Started but haven't finished:

Chapter Books read to my daughter:




AUG: 0
SEPT: +2 (K, N)
OCT: +0


SEPT: +0
OCT: +0


SEPT: +2
OCT: +1

27. First chapter ends on an odd number: Dark Waters


Jenna Lehne
Lorien Lawrence
Grady Hendrix
Jay Anson


[Dark Waters]
Burlington, VT
Lake Champlain

[Bone Tree]

[The Stitchers]

[The Uninvited]

[The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires]

(I'll update this asap!)


What was your favorite read of the month?

You can keep up with what we are reading at @LazyDayLit on Bookstagram! 


Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Folcraft Ghosts by Darcy Coates (Adult Paranormal Book Review)


The Folcraft Ghosts
by Darcy Coates
Published by Poisoned Pen Press
on January 10, 2017
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Horror
Length: 272 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

When their mother is hospitalized, Tara and Kyle are sent to stay with their only remaining relatives, their grandparents.

The elderly couple seems friendly at first, and the house, hidden in the base of the mountains, is full of nooks to explore.

But strange things keep happening and Tara and Kyle must find a way to protect themselves from their increasingly erratic grandparents... and from the ghosts that inhabit the Folcrafts' house. 

My Thoughts:

When Tara and Kyle's mother is in an accident that lands her in a coma, they are scooped up by a grandmother and grandfather they've never met and whisked off to a small-town farm. Their grandparents seem kind at first, and then a little overprotective, which turns to isolation. When Tara and Kyle start to see ghosts they really start to ask questions but their grandparents have too many secrets and the price for knowing them is higher than they can imagine. 

This is the third book I've read by Darcy Coates and I'm quickly turning into a fan. I adore ghost stories but had her books recommended to me many times before I finally picked one up. 

I enjoyed this one a lot. It was a quick read but had a very interesting plot with some history and back story thrown in that rounded out the story very well.  

Darcy Coates is published as adult fiction but this one, in particular, would be perfect for young adult readers who enjoy ghost stories or dysfunctional families. 


E-Freebie Alert! -- Disney's Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel


This title was free at the time of posting but prices may change at any time. 

This is a fun read that is perfect for 'Spooky Season' and includes the novelization of the beloved 1993 film as well as the all-new sequel which continues the story with Max and Alison's daughter, Poppy.
I read this duology a couple of years ago and loved them both!
You can see my full review HERE!

Let me know in the comments if you were able to snag this awesome freebie!


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Halloween is Coming by Cal Everett & Lenny Wen (Children's Picture Book Review)

 We recieved a digital review copy of this picture book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Halloween Is Coming
Words by Cal Everett
Illustrations by Lenny Wen
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
on August 1, 2021
Genre: Children's, Picture Books, Holidays
Length:  32 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

A fun, rhyming read-aloud Halloween picture book that starts a new holiday tradition. Perfect for kids 4-8 or any young child wanting to celebrate the spookiest season of the year!

Marching in the school parade
in frightening costumes that we've made;
Look around, the signs are clear, 
Halloween is getting near! 

Halloween is Coming is a lyrical celebration of the building excitement that children--and adults!--feel as the magical and mysterious night of Halloween approaches.

My Thoughts:

Halloween is Coming is the perfect picture book for those that enjoy Halloween and the seasonal activities leading up to it!

With beautiful rhyming text and cute illustrations featuring children in their community, this picture book spans the autumn season and shares all the lovely things that lead up to Halloween, from falling leaves to farmers' markets to fun, fairytale costumes.  

This is a gentle picture book with a focus on autumn and autumn activities as well as Halloween and doesn't focus on the spooky parts as much as having fun with friends and family. The children's costumes are all adorable instead of spooky, which we think makes this perfect for little readers and listeners. 


Saturday, October 23, 2021

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Adult Horror Book Review)

We Have Always Lived In The Castle
Written by Shirley Jackson
Published by Penguin
First published in 1962
Genre: Adult, Horror, Classics
Length: 146 pages

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods--until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp. 

My Thoughts:

I originally read this back in 2019, I think, and loved it! 

I decided I needed an audiobook for the spooky season, but it had to be something I could focus on while doing other things and the best option for me right now (since I don't listen to audiobooks very often and have trouble focusing on them) was to listen to something I was familiar with. 
It definitely did the trick. 
I loved listening to this a second time around! 

Merricat Blackwood lives in a grand manor with her older sister, Constance, her Uncle Julian, and her cat, Jonas. When Merricat was younger the rest of her family died from arsenic poisoning. Constance was acquitted of murder but no longer goes to town, so Merricat goes once a week in her place. The townsfolk don't take kindly to the Blackwoods and Merricat finds solace in burying charms to ward them away. But then she finds her charms destroyed and knows the world has come to them. 

This is one of my favorite stories and I feel a little more confident saying that now that I've encountered the story twice (and watched the film adaptation!) 
I love the subtle horror of Shirley's stories and this one is perfect for getting me in the mood for spookier reads! 

Setting: New England / Vermont

Friday, October 22, 2021

Fright Watch: The Stitchers by Lorien Lawrence (Middle Grade Horror Book Review)


The Stitchers
(Fright Watch #1)
by Lorien Lawrence
Published by Harry N. Abrams
on August 18, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Mystery
Length: 272 pages
Ages: 10 - 14 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

The start of a spine-chilling new horror series about the eerie happenings in a small town. 

Something strange is happening on Goodie Lane...

Thirteen-year-old Quinn Parker knows that there's something off about her neighbors. She calls them "the Oldies" because they've lived on Goodie Lane for as anyone can remember, but they never seem to age. 
Are they vampires? Or aliens? Or getting secret experimental surgeries? Or is Quinn's imagination just running wild again?

If her dad were still around, he'd believe her. When he was alive, they'd come up with all sorts of theories about the Oldies. Now, Quinn's determined to keep the investigation going with the help of Mike, her neighbor and maybe-crush. They'll have to search for clues and follow the mystery wherever it leads--even if it's to the eerie pond at the end of the street that's said to have its own sinister secrets. But the Oldies are on to them. And the closer Quinn and Mike get to uncovering the answers, the more they realize just how terrifying the truth may be. 

My Thoughts:

Quinn Parker and Mike Warren are positive that there's something odd (like really, really odd) about the group of ancient neighbors that inhabit their street. Perfectly smooth skin and clockwork-like habits are just the tip of the iceberg. Quinn and Mike keep an eye on the "Oldies" regularly and notice every little oddity, so when the funeral home director, Mr. Brown, starts joining them on their morning runs (and beating them!) they kick up their investigation and land themselves in the middle of a mystery that may prove to be more deadly than they imagined! 

Something's up with the neighbors. Everyone knows but no one will really talk about it. The "Oldies" are all productive and respected members of society that donate a lot of money and time to the community, after all. But Quinn and Mike are determined to figure out exactly what the mystery is, landing themselves in some frightening situations.  

This was a fun read with lots of mystery and a spooky twist ending that is perfect for this time of year! 

I enjoyed all the misleading theories that the characters shared. It really helped keep the ending a mystery that ended up being a little more horrific than I was expecting.
 I didn't love the focus on 'young romance' in the story, which isn't too heavy considering this is middle-grade. It may be perfect for the age group considering this is the age of 'crushes' but the MC, Quinn, seemed to have no personality thanks to it.

Readers of RL Stine, Christopher Pike, and Katherine Arden's "Small Spaces" series will enjoy this frightening new series!


Friday, October 15, 2021

Bone Tree by Jenna Lehne (Middle Grade Paranormal Horror Book Review)

 I won a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Bone Tree
Written by Jenna Lehne
Illustrations by Uliana Babenko
Published by Little Press
on April 1, 2021
Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal, Horror
Length: 188 pages
Ages: 9 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Elsie battles a terrifying ghost to keep her best friend around forever. But does forever have too much of a cost? 
Elsie's best friend, Roman, is dying. But Roman has a plan to escape death. He wants to be resurrected through the powers of the Bone Tree and the curse of the Woman in White, Mary Simon, whose body lies beneath the tree. Terrified, yet determined not to lose him, Elsie promises Roman to summon Mary's ghost and the powers in the Bone Tree to bring him back when he dies. When the Bone Tree's magic works and Roman resurrects, Elsie vows to do anything to keep him around, even if that means battling an angry, screeching banshee, with talons for fingers. But what Elsie doesn't realize is that the cost of keeping Roman around may be too high. When the Woman in White kidnaps Roman's brother, Jake, and threatens to take his life as revenge, Elsie must choose between saving the lives of many from the deadly grasp of Mary Simon, the Woman in White, or keeping her best friend. 

My Thoughts:

Elsie's world shatters when her best friend, Roman, dies of cancer. Before his death, Roman was obsessed with a local legend about a Bone Tree and a Lady in White whose ghost has haunted the tree and surrounding cemetery for years. Armed with the secret of how to return as a ghost, Roman makes Elsie promise to bring him back. She is all too willing but the Lady in White is furious and Elsie soon learns that there is a price to pay for having her best friend's ghost around. 

I loved this!  There were definitely some extra sad moments but it's mostly a ghost story with a unique (to me) back story and some rather spooky and thrilling plot twists. The story behind the Bone Tree is and the Lady in White was extra interesting.

While this is a great spooky story (perfect for Halloween!) it's also a look at losing a close friend or loved one at a young age and what lengths people will go to deal with their grief.  This heartwarming ghost story will appeal to middle-grade readers who want a spooky, edge-of-your-seat read that isn't too long or time-consuming! 


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Beneath the Trees: The Autumn of Mister Grumph by DAV (Children's Picture Book Review)

I received a digital copy of this picture book from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.   

Beneath the Trees:
The Autumn of Mister Grumph
by DAV
Published by Magnetic Press
on October 12, 2021
Genre: Children's, Picture Book
Length: 32 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Winter is fast approaching and all the animals in the forest are in full preparation: storing food and provisions, dining on the last worms with the neighbors, etc... All the animals but one: grumpy badger Mr. Grumpf just can't finish sweeping the dead leaves off his doorstep with everyone coming by to disturb him! Grumpf!

This new series paints a tender and colorful portrait of everyday life, showing that behind every flaw or weakness can lie charm and strength. Readers will recognize their own neighbors, friends, and family members in the endearing animal characters within this forest community. 

My Thoughts:

It's Autumn and Mr. Grumpf wants nothing more than to get his front yard swept clear of leaves but his neighbors keep stopping by and distracting him and needing help with things and then it rains and before he knows it the whole day has gone by.  Luckily, those pesky neighbors do Mr. Grumpf a big favor to make up for his kindness and generosity. 

The first in a new seasonal series, Beneath the Trees: The Autumn of Mister Grumpf is a beautifully illustrated story about a gruff and rough-looking neighbor with a surprisingly big heart that won't say no to helping out his fellow woodland creatures. 

My daughter and I loved the illustrations in this story! The main character really stands out and the woodland creature neighbors are super adorable but we also loved the color scheme and attention to detail in the leaves, trees, and other background elements.

Fans of Ryan T. Higgins' 'Mother Bruce' series will love Mister Grumpf! 


Friday, October 8, 2021

Dark Waters (Small Spaces #3) by Katherine Arden (MG Horror Book Review)

Dark Waters
(Small Spaces #3)
by Katherine Arden
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
on August 10, 2021
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Length: 198 pages
Ages: 10 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices

Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they've steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie's dad and Coco's mom plan a "fun" boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven't had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn't just any island though. It's hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won't survive long. 

My Thoughts:

Ollie, Brian, and Coco are on edge at every little sound, anxiously awaiting the smiling man's next attack, so when Coco's journalist mother offers for them all to join her on a boat trip to Lake Champlain to interview a boat captain about a rumored lake monster, they jump at the chance. They see it as a vacation from their woes and are eager to join. But once out on the open water, odd things start happening and they find themselves shipwrecked on an uncharted island! 

The three friends (and their frenemy, Phil) are back in this third installment to the spooky Small Spaces series! 

Ollie, Brian, and Coco escaped the smiling man on a field trip to a small town farm in Small Spaces, and again at a haunted orphanage turned winter resort in Dead Voices. This time around, the smiling man finds another way to execute the sinister plans he has in store for the three friends; a vicious lake monster that is very, very hungry!

This middle grade series has been a lot of fun to read but also some of the absolute spookiest books in the age group that I've read in a long time! 

My only issue with this new sequel is that it ended with a pretty sudden and unexpected cliffhanger and there is no update on the fourth book at all so far!


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Willa of Dark Hollow (#2) by Robert Beatty (Middle Grade Fantasy Book Review)

Willa of Dark Hollow
(Willa of the Wood #2)
by Robert Beatty
Published by Disney Hyperion
on May 4, 2021
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Plunge into an exciting story of history, mystery, and magic from best-selling author of the Serafina series. 

The Great Smoky Mountains, 1901. Willa and her clan are the last of the Faeran, an ancient race of forest people who have lived in the mountains for as long as the trees have grown there. But as crews of newly arrived humans start cutting down great swaths of the forest she loves, Willa is helpless to stop them. How can she fight the destroyers of the forest and their powerful machines? When Willa discovers a mysterious dark hollow filled with strange and beautiful creatures, she comes to realize that it contains a terrifying force. Is unleashing these dangerous spirits the key to stopping the loggers? Willa must find a way to save the people and animals she loves and take a stand against an all-consuming darkness that threatens to destroy her world. 

My Thoughts:

Willa and her faeran ancestors have always lived on the smoky mountain but after the events of the first book, Willa of the Wood, her home that once a beautiful den home for her people is now a burnt away husk of what it was and something sinister has grown there in her short absence. 

Willa has become one of my new favorite characters. She is truly 'one with the forest', a woodwitch that speaks to all living things in an ancient language, and must save her people, her new family, and her world from destruction.

This sequel is said to be a stand alone companion novel but I will mention that it does continue where Willa of the Wood left off and I would personally recommend reading them together as a duology.
Also, this sequel is a bit darker than the first, with darker themes and creatures and even has a bit of a paranormal twist to it! 

These middle grade fantasy novels are beautifully written with lovable characters and nature-based magic. Beatty's atmospheric writing will make you feel like you are right there in the forest with Willa. 

Keep an eye out for the film/tv series adaptation, coming soon!


Saturday, October 2, 2021

Nightbooks by J.A. White (Middle Grade Fantasy Horror Book Review)

by J.A. White
Published by Katherine Teagan
on July 24, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror
Length: 320 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

A boy is imprisoned by a witch and must tell her a new scary story each night to stay alive. This thrilling contemporary fantasy from J.A. White, the acclaimed author of the Thickety series, brings to life the magic and craft of storytelling. 

My Thoughts:

Young Alex Mosher is obsessed with everything spooky and scary. He loves scary movies and even writes his own scary stories that he calls his Nightbooks, but this has made him the 'weird kid' and in an attempt to feel normal he decides to head to his apartment buildings' basement to burn his Nightbooks. Along the way, he is waylaid by the sounds of his favorite movie, Night of the Living Dead, and enters an apartment that traps him within! It's owned by a witch and she will only let him live if he reads her a scary story every night!

Nightbooks is fairytale retellings gone spooky!
This fun middle grade has both hints of fantasy and horror and is perfect for budding young writers!

If you would rather read fairytales than ghost stories during Autumn but still want a little scare, this is the perfect choice!
It reminds me of both Hansel & Gretal and One Thousand and One Nights thanks to the witch that lures in children and a character who must tell stories in order to survive.  

I started reading the physical book (which I bought way back in an Owlcrate subscription) but my daughter was so intrigued and wanted to hear it too so we switched to audio to finish the story and then we watched the Netflix adaptation together.  There were a few small changes from book to movie but I suspect it was for the soundtrack and pop culture value but otherwise was quite enjoyable! 


Friday, October 1, 2021

LazyDayLit's October 2021 Spooky TBR & Reading Goals

Happy October, readers! 

If there's a time that I read 'seasonally', it's now.
Not that I wait til October to read spooky stories, but it's usually ALL I read in October! 
Of course, I started my spooky reads early but I have plenty of great titles I hope to get to! 

Here's what I have on my pile / list!

For Review:

Many thanks to Little Press and Netgalley for the chance to read this! 

Current Library Loans:

From My Shelves:

Any extra-spooky reads on your TBR this month?

You can keep up with what I am reading over on Bookstagram @LazyDayLit