Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bet Me

I struggle to think of a single period of time in my life that I have not been waging war with my body.
I was 12 when I started weight watchers for the first time, at a size sixteen. By this time I'd already been on a handful of fad diets, Atkins, grapefruit, cabbage soup, Slim Fast.
For the next 12 years of my life I would yo-yo, never quite losing enough but always gaining plenty.
In 2012 I had a change in coarse and began a rapid weight loss culminating in 180lbs shed in just under two years.
I made it back into those size 16s and was proud of that body that I once thought was fat. But I wasn't proud enough. I had excess skin, I'd lost my breasts, and the weight loss had slowed. I even thought my face wasn't as pleasant looking anymore, that one slightly askew tooth seemed more noticeable now.
I also found myself unsure of where I belonged. Size 16 isn't exactly skinny but I'd lost most of my curves. Suddenly I felt like a fraud. I wanted to proudly claim my body. I wanted to shout from the rooftops how I was this sexy plus-size woman but I felt fraudulent. While I was running nearly 3 miles every day, plus biking, plus yoga, plus swimming, plus zumba - usually not all in one day but there were some days ... - while I was doing all of those things and in the best shape of my adult life I didn't exactly fit the "fit" mold either.
I had conquered and yet I was still battling with my body and my body image. Maybe more than ever.
Then I got pregnant. I wasn't sure I could. With PCOS and Insulin Resistance and the minor fact that my husband and I hadn't exactly been careful for the five years we'd been married. I was wonderfully, miraculously - and in large part thanks to my weight loss, pregnant for the first time.
And even then, even when my body was literally working miracles, creating an actual life, I was still in a fierce battle with my body.
My body was nauseated, dizzy, and exhausted.
I was filled with dread at the idea of regain.
I didn't gain much during that first pregnancy, in fact I was into my pre-pregnancy pants within the first week or two after delivering. I was looking forward to the extra weight melting clean off as I was told was the case with nursing.
But nursing was just another battle I fought with my body.
I was sick. I was suffering profoundly from Postpartum Anxiety. A perinatal mood disorder I did not even know existed until I was nearly out from under it's dark looming cloud. That anxiety kept me up all night - all day. I could not sleep. If I fell asleep my baby would certainly quit breathing. Or someone would break in and steal her. I wasn't eating because I had no appetite - my stomach was constantly tied up in knots. My body -  starved, dehydrated, and fraught with anxiety was in an all out war with my mind.
Strangely, I still gained thirty pounds in those sleep deprived, underfed first few months post-baby. Just as things were getting easier - just as I had begun to exercise again and get quality sleep once more, I missed my period.
But periods were another of those body battlegrounds for me. Still, I took a test and then immediately two more. "Holy shit," I uttered from alone inside our bathroom. We were pregnant again - just like that. Just like that and just like that, after nothing for five years.
Now my body has produced not one but two beautiful miracles and still the battle raged on.
My skin is stretched out, I've passed a threshold I never wanted to re-enter again, I'm saggy, and frumpy, and rarely have time or energy to glam my frump up. I have a hard time finding time in the day to do my job let alone run, and bike, and zumba again. I barely have time to read.
I started listening to audiobooks from the library and after a decade or better of my friends encouraging me to read Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie I finally got around to it.
I had picked up what I thought was going to be a warm, fuzzy, funny romance novel. I was wrong. What I had picked up changed my life. Minerva Dobbs was at war with her body too but she was better to herself than I was. But for me, it wasn't her confidence or her acceptance of her shape. No, it was watching Cal fall in love with her. Watching him slowly fall in love with her spirit, her mind, and especially her body allowed me to finally fall in love with mine. 

What I have learned since reading this book is that I couldn't care for something I didn't love. I couldn't and you probably can't either. You might be able to get results with hate but you cannot actually care for yourself unless you care for yourself, that means doing it in love.
I'm not saying it's easy - because it's not. It is one of the hardest things I've ever done. What I'm saying is it's possible, no - necessary. It's possible to think a terrible thought and let it go, just hear it but don't linger on it - just let it go.
I'm not starving myself or depriving myself. I'm fueling my body and trying to free my mind to think about the many things I want to get out and experience. I'm also forgiving myself. No more battery, no more guilt and shame. I'm moving on from that.
This body is my vessel. It is mine. I do not get another. She allows me to be here. She has carried life. She gives me life. She allows me to laugh and sing and hug and yes, one day again I'm sure, run.
She did not just bring forth miracles - she IS a miracle. I am that miracle. I love every blemished, imperfect inch, and each and every ounce.
To stop warring with my body, I had to start working with it. I couldn't do that until I accepted it in all its imperfect glory. I couldn't do that while actively hating it. I had to embrace it, celebrate it, and quite frankly -  be kind to it.
I hope you'll give love a try and be good to yourself.


I'd love to know about any book that changed the way you looked at yourself and at your own body. <3

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Club's Best Read in 2016

Book Club's best read of 2016 

*drum roll please* 

A sweeping and captivating debut novel about a young librarian who is sent a mysterious old book, inscribed with his grandmother's name. What is the book's connection to his family?

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks.

One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon's grandmother. Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand. 

The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler's gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

Honorable Mentions go out to 

Sara Grey’s world shattered ten years ago when her father was brutally murdered. Now at seventeen, she is still haunted by memories of that day and driven by the need to understand why it happened. She lives a life full of secrets and her family and friends have no idea of the supernatural world she is immersed in or of Sara’s own very powerful gift.

In her quest for answers about her father’s death, Sara takes risks that expose her and her friends to danger and puts herself into the sights of a sadistic vampire. On the same fateful night she meets Nikolas, a warrior who turns Sara’s world upside down and is determined to protect her even if it’s the last thing she wants.

Sara’s life starts to spin out of control as she is hunted by an obsessed vampire, learns that her friends have secrets of their own and reels from the truth about her own ancestry. Sara has always been fiercely independent but in order to survive now she must open herself to others, to reveal her deepest secrets. And she must learn to trust the one person capable of breaking down the walls around her.

The Witness by Nora Roberts 

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man's seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. 

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems -- and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail's reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something -- and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today's most reliably entertaining thriller -- and will leave people hungering for more.

Our Favorite Independently read titles this year

Happy Reading! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Playing With Fire

Playing With Fire 
Out now! 

Tightly wound Ryleigh Lawson has it all. The job, the fancy Chicago high-rise apartment overlooking Lake Michigan, and a promising future. Jude Thomas, the sexy backwoodsman, lives in a loft above his bar in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He doesn’t have much and doesn’t need much. The paths of these two people from very different worlds should never have crossed.

With help from a particularly nasty snowstorm, a lemon-yellow AMC Gremlin, and a dog with mismatched eyes, their worlds collide. Snowed in, they are forced to shack up together for a long week. Though they grate on each other, they still spark like flint on steel. A friendship blossoms, and chemistry and passion rage, but when the snow begins to thaw and they are thrust out of their winter wonderland cocoon and back to their previous lives, are they capable of returning to who they were before the snowstorm?

After playing with fire, can they come away anything other than burned?


Ryleigh eyeballed him. His blond hair was much longer than she preferred on men. He’d pulled it back into a ponytail, but it didn’t look as though he’d run a comb through it in a while. He had nicely trimmed sideburns, a barely-there blond soul patch, and just a brush of stubble along his strong jawline. His sleeves were pushed up to his elbows, revealing large forearms. The right one had some kind of tattoo disappearing under the fabric of his rolled-up sleeve.
Ryleigh wasn’t certain, but it looked tribal, and the lines sort of mimicked the dance of a flame. He wore a silver band around his thumb and sported a wickedly stern brow. If Ryleigh had a type, he wouldn’t have come anywhere close to falling into it.
“Want a drink?” he asked her as he reached under the bar and pulled out the phone book, then slapped it down on the counter. “To warm you up?”
“Sure, coffee if you got it.” She took her beanie off, slid it into her pocket, zipped it up so she wouldn’t lose it, and did the same to her mittens with the other pocket. Ryleigh hopped up onto a barstool and started attempting to look up a tow truck company in the Yellow Pages app on her phone. It wasn’t loading.
“Uh.” He sucked in a deep breath and let it vent out slowly. “I can make some, but what I meant was like a drink, some brandy, whisky, tequila—whatever you want. Pick your poison.” He paused as she looked up at him with a blank stare.
She finally answered him. “No, thanks.” Her smile was supposed to be pleasant but probably at best just came out curt.
“It’s on the house.”
She shook her head. “Do you have Wi-Fi?”
Ryleigh stared at him expectantly.
The bartender stared back.
“It says I need a passcode.”
The big blond lumberjack of a man held his hand out for the phone. “Let me see it. I’ll punch it in.” Reluctantly she handed it over.
“You don’t have free Wi-Fi here? In a bar? Why?”
He shrugged one of his broad shoulders. “Then people loiter.”
Ryleigh went wide-eyed. “Isn’t that what you want? It’s a bar. You want people to hang out awhile.”
“They hang out long enough.”
“Isn’t that what people do in bars? Loiter?”
“No. They drink. They shoot pool. They dance. They don’t play around on these.” He wiggled her phone. “And sip on one rum and Coke for hours on end. Nope. Not here. Not in this bar. You come here for a good time with the people you’re with, while you’re with them.”
Ryleigh made a thoughtful noise when he returned her phone, and she began her search for a number.
“What kind of bars do you frequent?”
Without looking up at him, Ryleigh responded first with a deep sigh. “I try not to.”
The big ornery bartender before her quirked his eyebrow at her in surprise as if he hadn’t seen that one coming. “You don’t drink?”
“No, I don’t drink.”
His eyes narrowed in on her. “You don’t look like the type who doesn’t drink.”
“There’s a type?” Ryleigh couldn’t help herself.
“Oh, definitely.” He nodded and set a tumbler and some bourbon on the counter.
Ryleigh waited for him to elaborate and was marginally frustrated when he never did. “I guess you must have misjudged me then.”
His lips quirked, but his eyes didn’t smile along with his mouth. “I don’t think so.”
“Are you going to enlighten me?”
He braced his arms against the bar top. His biceps pulled, visibly elongating the muscles and tendons. “You look like a vodka girl. You look like you drink something clean and mean. Skinny Bitches—”
Ryleigh balked. “Excuse me?”
He laughed and humorlessly shook his head. “Diet Coke and vodka. Maybe a martini? Possibly gin even, with a twist of lime?”
“It’s fine. I don’t need a drink.” She went back to her phone.
“I’ll make you some coffee.” He was ornery. Maybe he figured he had a right to be? It was the middle of the night and here was some broad sitting on his barstool demanding coffee and access to his Wi-Fi, which he was stingy with, apparently. Maybe he had other plans? Maybe there was a woman around. Ryleigh craned her head, searching for one but to no avail. The bar was very dimly lit, even for a bar.
When he shot a look her way from where he stood making coffee, she went back to her task at hand: looking for a wrecker. She took another peek at him when the pot began spitting and sputtering, mixing up some hot brew. He stood there resolutely, arms folded across his broad chest, staring at something on the floor behind her.
Oh, right, that mangy mutt. The dog that had run her off the road was curled up in a tight ball on the floor, shivering. The poor thing.
“Does she need something?” he asked just as Ryleigh had begun to dial a number.
She looked over her shoulder at the dog with mismatched eyes and shrugged. How was she to know? “I told you she’s not mine,” she answered while the phone rang against her ear.
He acted as though he was fighting it, but eventually he sank down in a crouch beside the dog. The dog’s eyelids were heavy, and it barely paid this unkempt man any mind at all. The only recognition he got from the mutt was a lifted paw and a quirk of the ear. Grumpy Ponytail sighed and felt around its neck for a collar. There wasn’t one.
He looked from the dog over to her. Starting from her boots on up. He took his time until his gaze landed on her eyes. She shivered and tried desperately to ignore how incredibly uncomfortable he made her. Especially because there was something very alluring about this man who was so not her type. He oozed testosterone. It was biology; hard to fight centuries of ingrained animalistic tendencies.
“Hello?” A voice came through the line.
Oh thank God! She couldn’t wait to get out of here. She was already losing her mind.
“Hello?” She jumped from her barstool, plugging one ear in an attempt to hear better. “Hi, I need a tow truck. My car is stuck right outside the—” She looked around, trying to come up with the name of the place. Her eyes landed on the sign over the bar. “Calypso’s Tavern, in a snowbank, so if you could…” Ryleigh was so relieved to be speaking to someone. She was going to get a tow into the nearest town, where she would stay for the night at a nice cozy hotel. She would drive the Gremlin home first thing in the morning and be back by midafternoon, just in time for their Lucky Girls’ Lunch.
“Do you have shelter?” the woman asked her.
“Well, yeah, I—”
“Is this an emergency?”
Ryleigh had to pause. She was stuck in the middle of nowhere, in a bar, with a scrawny dog and some kind of hard-core biker backwoods-nowhere dude—in a blizzard.
“Oh?” The woman already sounded as if she didn’t believe her. “Is there blood? Fire? A casualty?”
“Well, no, but—”
“Is someone actively dying?”
“No, but—”
“Then it’s not really an emergency, and you’re going to have to wait. We’re only taking real emergencies right now.”
Ryleigh sighed and watched him fix the dog a plate of scraps and give her a bowl of warm water. He did seem pretty harmless. Grumpy…but harmless.
“How long are you estimating?” Ryleigh’s eyes found the Budweiser clock that hung above the door.
“By this list we have here…I’d say, oh, about seventy-two hours or better.” Ryleigh’s jaw dropped, and part of her thought maybe she should laugh.
“What? Three days?” She watched as even the blond-haired man’s back straightened at the sound of that. “You’re joking,” Ryleigh said through a smile. She watched him go to the sink and wash his hands before pouring her coffee into a Mason jar.
“No, no joke,” the woman said from the other line. “Unless the snow lets up right this minute, but I’m thinking that’s highly unlikely.” Ryleigh’s heart broke. What was she going to do now?
“I’m afraid I’ll just have to call another tow service.” She watched the man shake his head at her.
“They’re the only one,” he told her and set the jar down on the counter for her while
he turned around and fixed himself something to drink.
The woman, in a tone that suggested she was attempting to cover her exasperation, said, “Go ahead and try, honey. We’re the only one around for miles and miles.”
Ryleigh started to mentally tally up how much money she had on her and if she could afford a bribe. “You don’t understand. I really need to be on my way. I can—”
“Save your sob story because, truthfully, you’re just wasting my time. There’s absolutely nothing I can do.”
“Isn’t there anything I can do to make this a priority for you?” Ryleigh paced with one hand on her hip. She watched the dog slurp down the scraps greedily.
“About the only thing you can do is call nine-one-one, but they’re just going to tell you the same thing. You’re not an emergency, and that makes you low priority, honey. So just sit tight and tell Jude to fix you up a drink for me.” She laughed.
“Who’s Jude?” Ryleigh asked into the phone.
“That’s me.” The biker-bartender raised a glass, and the woman just kept laughing. Ryleigh hung up on her. “What’s your name? Might as well get acquainted. Sounds like we’re going to be stuck with each other for a while.”
Ryleigh sighed and slouched against the bar on her stool. This couldn’t be happening to her. “Ryleigh.” She held her hand out for him to shake. She could not take one more blow. She needed to get back home. “And not if I have anything to say about it.”
He shook her hand, and with a smirk that felt like sandpaper against chapped, wind-burned skin, he said, “Well, it doesn’t sound much like you do.”
Ryleigh gave him a tongue-in-cheek grin, picked her phone up again, and began punching in numbers. She only needed three.
“What are you doing?”
She didn’t answer him. He walked around the bar toward her and snatched the phone from her hand.
“What? Hey!” she shrieked as he slid her BlackBerry closed. “How dare you? That was a personal call.”
Jude opened the phone and accessed the recent call list. “A personal call to…” He paused, seemingly only to add drama to the moment. “Nine-one-one?” The phone started to ring, and he answered it for her.
“Stop!” she yelled indignantly. “I can’t believe this!” She climbed onto the barstool. Her knees pressed against the red vinyl seat cushion. Ryleigh tried desperately to reach for her phone.
“Is everything all right? We just received a phone call from this number.” The operator’s concerned voice broke through the airwaves loud enough that Ryleigh could make the conversation out.
“Yes, I’m sorry, it was a mistake. Everything’s fine,” he responded.
Ryleigh frowned and slouched back down onto the stool with her arms crossed over her chest. Jude hung up on the phone call and handed her device back to her.
“I can’t believe you! You have some nerve…” She huffed until he leaned down with one large flexed arm on either side of her, his hands braced against the bar.
“You can’t believe me?”
Ryleigh almost cowered at the bark in his voice. Since she’d gotten here she thought his voice to be almost comically low, with a forced gruffness that couldn’t possibly be real. In this moment, as his voice sank deeper, harsher, and more unforgiving, she
believed the timbre of his voice to be authentic.
She didn’t back away like she wanted to. She forced her spine to stiffen, and she sat up straighter. Ryleigh pushed her shoulders back and poised her chin up with tenacity. “Yes, that’s right. I have never met another person so…” She couldn’t find the right word. “So…so…so…” Only then, in the quiet breaths each of them took, did she hear the faint noise of the television in the background airing the cheer of a crowd in Times Square. “Disagreeable,” she decided finally on a whisper.
“Says the lady who storms into my quiet bar making ridiculous demands on me. Not once saying thank you to me for allowing her inside, for the coffee, or for the Wi-Fi. Instead of being grateful for my hospitality, she sits here all hoity-toity and insults me!”
A quiet chant began on the television.
“Hoity-toity?” She guffawed at his insult.
“Yes, and that’s the nicest word I have for it.”
“Well, I never…” She didn’t care anymore. Ryleigh was no longer bothered by his close proximity. She completely ignored the biting fragrance of his cologne, along with his heady, rugged, and earthy male scent.
“There are people out doing what they can, tending to the children and the elderly, sick, and the wounded first. Here you are acting entitled and whiny like some kind of spoiled brat. Ungrateful for the fact that you happen to be healthy and alive, warm and dry for the night!”
She’d never met a man so passionate before in her life. She’d never seen that kind of temper flare up before her eyes. Yet, she didn’t feel threatened or insulted. Instead, she felt surprisingly turned on. She rolled her eyes at herself. She watched his face, knowing he thought that eye roll had been in response to what he’d just said.
Fire flamed in his brown eyes. His nostrils flared. Her heart raced. In spite of herself, warm, delicious heat pooled deep between her legs.
His chest heaved with excited, labored breaths. She could feel and taste his breath blowing against her face. Her gaze lingered on those deep dark-brown eyes and fell down to those parted lips of his. He stood so close. She was trapped against this counter by his strong, tattooed arms.
Ryleigh leaned forward as if to dare herself, to test the heat. Like a person might do, dancing their fingers through a small flickering flame, that was Ryleigh now leaning into Jude. Before she even really registered what she was doing, she pressed her lips to his. The kiss was a surprise. It should have been a short, sweet, chaste New Year’s Eve kiss. There wasn’t a moment of the kiss that was sweet. The second her lips touched his, it flamed into something volatile, dangerous…magnetic.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Edits, baby, RAGT

So my life is a little crazy right now. I've piled my plate high. I'm in the middle of edits for the second book in The Falling series. I'm 40 days from my due date. I'm scrambling to get together a nursery, buy all the things still left on our registries, locate my list for thank-you notes and then write them ... oh and getting ready to head down to Cincinnati for Lori Foster's Annual Reader and Author Get Together at almost 37 weeks pregnant...
Who planned this?! ;)

In all honesty I'm elated about each and every one of the aforementioned aspects of my life right now - even if they decided to happen all at once.
So ... as of right now I plan to be fully present at RAGT but I'm not really the one running the show. But if this precious little girl growing in my belly cooperates will I be seeing you there? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Club's Best of 2013 Picks

Every year our book club compiles lists and categories of the best books we read together and on our own over the last year. I compile all our lists into one comprehensive list for your viewing pleasure.
Here they are...
Book Club's Best Of

Best Books We Read Together This Year
Just Her Luck By Kelli Evans, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates
Best Books We Read On Our Own This Year
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood, Sisters of the Quilt by Cindy Woodsmall, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, and Slave by Sherri Hayes
The Books That Gave Us A New Perspective
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey & A Class Divided: Then and Now by William Peters
Honorable Mentions: When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge
The Book With The Ending You Didn't See Coming
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Honorable Mentions: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn & Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Most Suspenseful Book
The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates
Honorable Mentions: Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Five Mile House by Karen Novak
The Steamiest Book
Just Her Luck by Kelli Evans
Honorable Mention: The Devil's Pawn by Elizabeth Finn
The Book That Made Us Laugh Out Loud
Just Her Luck by Kelli Evans
Honorable Mention: Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie
The Book That Brought Us To Tears
The Christmas Clock by Kat Martin
Honorable Mentions: Chasing Dreams by Kelli Evans, and Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
The Book We Couldn't Put Down
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Honorable Mentions: The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, and The Oxford Project by Peter Feldstein
The Genre/Book That We Liked But Didn't Think We Would
YA Horror - The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates, and Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Our Favorite Author This Year
Kelli Evans (I promise I don't pay them to say this.)
Honorable Mentions: Kelly Armstrong, Mary Higgins Clark, Robin Cook, Julie Garwood, Irene Hannon, and Crystal Jordan
An Author We Discovered We Liked This Year
Nicholas Sparks
Honorable Mention: Loribelle Hunt
And The Books We're Most Excited About This Year:
The Bible, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Unforgiven by Elizabeth Finn, It Had To Be You by Jill Shalvis, Hot Shot by Julie Garwood, and Playing With Fire by Kelli Evans    

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Want to meet my latest hero?

I've been working on something a bit different lately. First of all it's a SHORT story and I've never in my life been able to write one of those. (Let's keep our fingers crossed.) Also this story flirts a little with that paranormal line. I hope you'll enjoy it.
You'll have to wait until probably around Mardi Gras to read it but I figured I might as well throw you a bone and introduce you to my hunky, sweet, slightly broken hero.
RenĂ© Dubois. Dedicated uncle. NOLA firefighter. Adorable dimple flasher. Lonely widower. And possibly under our heroine Ryce Bebeau's spell... "

Thursday, October 31, 2013

10 Spooktacular Reads For Halloween

Are you staying in tonight? Passing out candy? Are you trying to think of which movie you're going to watch? I'm suggesting you skip the movie and dive right into one of these creepy, spooky, or nail biting, and hair raising books. 
Let's count 'em down.

10.)  Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman  - Kingdom of Childhood makes the list because it's dark, disturbing, and Rebecca Coleman constructed a downright creepy female protagonist? Antagonist? Er ... regardless of what we're calling her, I think we can all agree that she was more than a little unhinged.

9.)  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - So maybe you're not the type who needs a lot of in your face frights to get into the mood of the holiday. If so than this beginning to the uncompleted young adult series might be right up your alley. With its supernatural twists and turns, lots of unforeseen events, creepy monsters all paired with real very strange and odd photographs this pulls off just enough spine tingle without getting too gory or too scary.
8.) If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker - This book packs a punch and Shiloh Walker plays on our fears. Our heroine is blind, our hero has a bum leg, and there's a serial killer on the loose preying on women. Told from multiple point of view including the deranged criminals makes this read suspenseful, intense, and sometimes downright stomach churning but it's a romance so everything gets all wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end ... or does it?   

7.)  Where Are The Children by Mary Higgins Clark - This classic suspense reads quickly. Easily finished in one setting. Once you start this book you will not want to stop turning pages until you get to the end. It's sickening, it's terrifying, it's absolutely maddening because you, just like their mother, need the question answered. Where Are The Children?

6.)  Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon - Flirting with the edge of reality Jennifer McMahon spins a tail so eerie, so creepy, so strange that you can't help but keep slipping into believing this bizarre and freaky story - you can't help but to peek under the bed trying to spot the Fairy King's door. This thriller will leave you questioning everything and at times even your own sanity. Although you'll have chills long after you finish this book, once it ends you'll be left wishing there was a least one more page to turn.  

5.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - Every year about this time the gloomy skies, the rainy weather, the half naked trees inspire me to pick up one of my copies of Jane Eyre and slip into the gothic depressing adolescents and life of Jane Eyre. There is enough spine tingle in this book to last a lifetime. From children locked in haunted rooms, to deathly orphanages, creepy, eerie noises coming from a secret locked somewhere in the hallows of a large cavernous house to the eventual blaze of fire. Jane Eyre is as classically moody and eerie as they come but for someone whose life has been as miserable as Jane's she never seems to lose the light in her and that might be the actual story of Jane Eyre.  

4.) Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell - Another gloomy, dark look into the life of a young girl, this time one growing up in the Ozarks. The prose itself is beautiful, the imagery stunning, and the telling of this tale is done with breathtaking tenderness and precision. It is not for the faint of heart. It's a chilling, gut-wrenching story. Harrowing. Extreme. Stunning. You will not be able to put this one down. An amazing example of the human strength, the seedy underbelly of life in the forgotten places of America and a strangely triumphant story of taking care of your own.
3.) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - Twisted. That's the only word for it. It's a little slow at first but it's all necessary information. You just won't know that until you're at the end of the book having one hell of an "Aha! Moment." Twisted. Twisted. Twisted. So dark, so completely messed up and crooked and in your face insane but so unbelievably good.  

2.) The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates - I've never quite read a book like this. The premise is fresh, and what was so great about this book was that I wasn't sure where it was going to go. It's an engrossing read. Twists and turns are abundant. It'll keep you flipping pages, through every creepy scenes and every blood curdling scream. Engrossing and unput-downable.
1.) Raven Stole The Moon by Garth Stein - One of my favorite books of all time. Stein himself calls it a Native American Campfire Story and it absolutely lives up to that title. Remember the days of sitting around a campfire, holding a flashlight under your chin, and trying to freak out your friends with ghost stories. This is just like that only on steroids.Stein takes you on spine tingling a tour through the Tlingit folklore and Alaskan countryside that you won't want to come back from. This story is chilling, freaky, heart wrenching, unusually romantic, and absolutely perfect.  

Happy Reading & Happy Halloween