In this house, we don’t just celebrate Halloween, we pretty much celebrate Hallotober. Usually, that mainly takes the form of watching a lot – and I do mean a lot – of horror movies. This year, I feel like it’s been slightly slimmer pickings to stream, and since we’ve also been dealing with a bit of a cold snap, I’ve been indulging in a bit of warm-in-bed reading.
Somewhere, in the boxes we have yet to unpack after moving several years ago, I have an old, beaten-to-hell copy of Peter Straub’s Ghost Story – a book I would absolutely list near the top of an all time favorites list. It’s usually the first book I think of when I’m craving a good old-fashioned haunted tale. But this year, instead of falling into the trap of forever re-reading, I decided to avail myself of some of Kindle Unlimited’s haunted house selections.
I am absolutely giddy at how much the face of publishing has changed, and I love that it’s easier than ever for an aspiring author to get their work into the hands of readers. However – as with all good things – there’s a cost, and that cost comes here in a crazy influx of poor editing and not-so-great stories. Craven Manor by Darcy Coates was neither of those things, and I devoured it in a single sitting.
While Craven Manor doesn’t tip the traditional haunted mansion trope on its head, it definitely makes it wobble a little bit. What it lacks in creepy, it makes up for in a protagonist you can’t help rooting for. I’ll definitely be reading more of Darcy Coates’s books in the future.
While browsing through some other available ghost stories, I came across a 14 book series by a handful of different authors. I figured I’d go through and read them in order, although it doesn’t seem to be necessary as their only connection is that they’re all about haunted houses.
The Haunting of Bechdel Mansion was a solid enough story, but would have greatly benefited from at least one more pass by an editor before publication. Because of this, it doesn’t make the best impression as a first in a series, but that didn’t deter me from moving on to the second book!
I totally get why some folks struggle to move on from authors that they are already familiar with, but – despite the fact that I can sometimes go months without picking up a book – I really believe that Kindle Unlimited is a great value just because it allows readers to try things outside of their comfort zones risk-free. Maybe that seems like a bit of a hot take from someone who struggled against the concept of giving up paper books for an e-reader several years ago, but I really am delighted by the current accessibility of books in general – both for readers and authors.
Happy Hallotober, y’all, and may all your reads be spooky!