Top 5 Wednesday – October 28th, 2015

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is your top five Halloween book recommendations. Since this list is for Halloween, I was trying to think up some good ghost stories to put on here. However, as I was picking books for this topic, I was shocked to realize that I haven’t actually read all that many ghost/monster stories. This is insane because I absolutely love a good, creepy and otherworldly tale. So, since I am severely lacking in the ghost story department, I simply picked five generally creepy novels or stories that I’ve read.

I am a huge thriller/horror fan. I have read a lot of mysteries and psychological thrillers, and I love watching any spooky or thriller type movies. Many of the stories I write usually fall somewhere in the realm of horror as well. I’ve never really gotten scared by any books or movies so far, however, these are all novels that definitely sent a shiver down my spine! Though the books on this list do not all involve a supernatural storyline, they are all still perfect for this spooky time of year.

5. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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I read this graphic novel around this time last year and enjoyed it so much. It is a collection of five eerie and enthralling horror stories. Emily Carroll has crafted a wonderful collection of ghostly tales that feel sort of likes myths or legends that people might pass around. The artwork, matching the tone of the stories perfectly, is hauntingly beautiful; out of all the graphic novels I’ve read, this had one of my favorite art styles. Through the Woods was such an enjoyable read, and I would highly recommend giving it a try. These dark and chilling tales will definitely put you in the Halloween mood.

4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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I tried to change things up and pick novels for this list that weren’t on my list yesterday, but this is one that I just had to mention again. It is a classic thriller novel, one of the best for all time in my opinion, and is bone-chilling without the use of ghosts and monsters. In fact, stories like this one, where the true monster is human, can make for the most compelling and frightening reads of all.

3. The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe

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Basically anything by Edgar Allan Poe makes for a perfect Halloween read. Poe is a master at crafting beautifully written and thoroughly haunting tales that will stay with you long after you read them. My personal favorite stories of his are The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Tell-Tale Heart.

2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Back when Coraline first came out, a family member of mine gave it to me as a gift. My mom read it before I did, and it creeped her out so much that she actually hid the book from me. And of course, me being me, I subsequently snuck into her room, found it, and read it anyway without my parents knowing…but that’s beside the point! This is one of the most disturbing and unique books I have ever read, and I absolutely adore it. It is the book that first made me a fan of Neil Gaiman, who has been a huge inspiration to me in my own writing. His stories are quite strange and they are probably not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think that they are just fantastic and definitely perfect for Halloween!

1. The Shining by Stephen King

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What Halloween reads list would be complete without one of the best horror novels of all time? This hair-raising and unsettling horror classic, written by one of the masters of the genre, is an absolute must-read. The Shining is genuinely terrifying, by far the scariest book that I’ve ever read, and it is one of my long-time favorites. I cannot recommend it highly enough! Though I do enjoy the original film as well, I would highly suggest, if you want to watch a production of this novel, watching the miniseries version from the 90’s with Steven Weber. Stephen King played a much bigger role in the making of this adaptation, so it is a lot closer to the actual novel itself.

What are your top favorite Halloween reads? Do you have any scary/spooky novels or short stories that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!

-Ariana

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Top 5 Wednesday – October 7th, 2015

topfivewednesday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is your top five favorite graphic novels. I have been a massive fan of superheroes/super villains, particularly those of Marvel, ever since I was a little kid (I blame my dad!). So, over the years, I have read my fair share of comic books. Graphic novels, on the other hand, I’ve only just begun to read in the last year or so. However, in that short time, I have already read some absolutely stellar ones that have made me very excited to delve further into the world of graphic novels.

As both a writer and an artist, I have a huge appreciation for all aspects of comics and graphic novels and the work that goes into creating a good visual narrative. Here are the top five graphic novels I have read so far that I feel have a fantastic combination of textual and visual story.

  1. The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston

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I haven’t heard a lot about this graphic novel and, going into it, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, I ended up really loving this story. The synopsis led me to believe that it would be your typical zombie story, but it turned out to be so much more than that. It’s a thriller about biology and government conspiracies, and is full of twists and turns that keep you on your toes until the end. Along with the great plotline, the artwork had a beautiful color scheme and was masterfully drawn, fitting the tone of the story perfectly.

  1. The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

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This is another one that I was extremely surprised by. To be honest, I picked it up solely because of the title. And while that is not always the best way to choose something to read, I was not disappointed. It was so weird and unique, and I truly enjoyed it. While it is a very humorous story, there is a more serious and thought-provoking underlying message that I had not expected to get from the novel. Collins’s black and white, cartoon-like art style was very fitting as well. Overall, this ended up being a lovely read.

  1. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

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I have been working my way through the Scott Pilgrim series, so I’ve read a few of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels, but this one has been my favorite by far. This story was so unique and captivating; it has a great mixture of humor and a deeper, more serious message. I love his art style as well; it’s quirky and colorful and so fun to look at. I secretly dream about being able to write and draw my own comic or graphic novel, and his work just inspires me further.

  1. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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This is one of my most recent reads and is really more of a tie for first place than second place among my favorites because this graphic novel was absolutely fantastic! It is centered on a notorious super villain and his shape-shifting sidekick, so I knew instantly that this would be right up my alley. The story is hilarious, sad, and heartwarming, and a complete joy to read. On top of that, Stevenson’s colorful and whimsical artwork is spot on and fits the feel of the narrative perfectly. She is another author/artist who has become an inspiration for me in my own work. I very highly recommend checking this story out.

  1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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Solid and engrossing narrative. Absolutely stunning artwork. This graphic novel series really has it all! I had been hearing people rave about this series for a long time, so I was eager to pick it up, and I ended up loving it even more than I thought I would. The art style is beautiful and complements the strong, well-told storyline. It’s full of vivid characters and each volume leaves you needing more. Volume three is my favorite so far, but every single one is an incredible work of art. If you haven’t given this series a try yet, you definitely need to!

What are your favorite graphic novels? Which ones would you recommend checking out? Let me know in the comments!

-Ariana

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