Category: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Things I’m Thankful For: 2020 Edition

Posted November 23, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 23 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week is Thanksgiving in the USA, so I thought a thankful freebie would be fun. This year has been HARD. So, so hard on so many people. We’ve all been stretched and challenged in ways we didn’t expect would ever happen: quarantine, canceled trips and events, isolation from family and friends, health challenges, loss of life or quality of life, loss of jobs, fear of all kinds, unkindness, hatred, etc. This year has been a LOT. So I thought it would be therapeutic to set all that aside for a few minutes and reflect on what’s gone right for me and what I’m thankful for.

1. I am thankful for my mom and my sister. They are my biggest cheerleaders, my confidants, and my best friends. My mom and I laugh together, cry together, and are pretty much the same person. She also takes care of me and is always looking out for what I need.

2. I am thankful that I get to live in such a beautiful place!

3. I am thankful for all the awesome travel experiences I’ve had throughout my life. I’m sad I didn’t get to go on my big exciting trip this year, but I will get to someday. Instead, I’ve reflected on what travel has done for me. Through traveling, I have learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, and how lucky I am. I’ve also learned a lot about culture, language, and what an awesome world we live in.

4. I am thankful for animals, whether they are mine, a friend’s, or a stranger’s on Instagram. They never cease to make me smile.

5. I am thankful for books. I love reading and escaping to new worlds and meet new people. Romances have saved me during this pandemic because they remind me of what life will be like again someday.

6. I am thankful for the new and/or stronger friendships I’ve made this year. I found a really nice group of people who have lifted me up and supported me and I love them for it. We’ve had lots of zoom visits and book discussions and have shared all kinds of life things with each other. It’s so refreshing to have this!

7. I’m thankful for my education.

8. I’m thankful for music, and the ability I have to connect with it on such a deep level.

9. I’m thankful for my talents of creativity and singing.

10. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father.

What are you thankful for this year?


Top Ten Tuesday Link-up – September 16, 2020

Posted November 16, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 9 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! I have wracked by brain for this week’s topic, “top ten characters I’d name a pet after” and I am sucking at it. Maybe it’s because I read predominately contemporary and thriller novels so everyone has non-pet names? I love old person names for animals, like Fred or Otto or Violet or Millie and my books are not filled with names like those. It’s not super fun when I come up with a topic that’s too hard for me, but then I think that sometimes my topics are too hard for you and you just skip them and come back the following week for a new topic! So then I thought… hey. I can do that, too, sometimes. And that’s ok! If I feel inspired I’ll come back and edit this post, but I’m not sure I will. lol.

What kinds of names do you like for pets? Food? Book/movie/fandom based?
What names did you pick for your pet(s)? How did you come up with that name?
If you don’t have a pet, but hope to someday… have you ever thought of what you’d name them?


Top Ten Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles

Posted November 9, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 19 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic, Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles (submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse), is the companion to a topic we did in April, Book Titles That Would Make Awesome Band Names. This was a really fun topic!

1. Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday
This sounds like something Weezer would sing.

2. Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
I can hear the kind of song I’m thinking of in my head, but I can’t find the words to describe it!

3. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
This song SCREAMS break-up song to me, kind of like Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood.

4. Just Say When by Jill Shalvis
This sounds like a Snow Patrol love song to me.

5. One Summer In Santorini by Sandy Barker
I’m thinking of a New Age, piano or other instrumental piece.

6. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Again, I can’t explain it. Maybe another ballad-type song? Adele sound sing a song with this title, I think.

7. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
This is totally a man singing to a woman he adores.

8. This Time Next Year by Allison Kent
Another love song! I love love songs.

9. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Totally a cute pop song.

10. Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan
I had to throw in a Christmas song because have you met me?

What books do you think would make good song titles?


My Top Ten Non-Bookish Hobbies

Posted November 2, 2020 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 32 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week I thought it would be so much fun to get to know each other on a more personal level. We’re all faces in books behind computer screens, but there’s more to all of us than books, right? I’m excited to learn more about you this week. :)

1. Puzzles
I love building puzzles and collecting the prettiest ones. They’re so relaxing and really make me happy!

2. Binging TV Shows
I love marathoning my favorite shows like Friends, MASH, Wings, JAG, etc. Right now I’m working my way through I Love Lucy for the umpteenth time.

3. Christmas
It’s a hobby, ok? I shop for decorations all year long and listen to Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie when I need a pick-me-up. It makes me happy!

4. Graphic Design
Did you know this is where the “artsy” in my blog title comes from? I’m a graphic designer! I love designing things for friends, family, and myself.

5. Animal Crossing
I got a Switch over the summer and I’m super addicted to Animal Crossing. I’m having so much fun decorating my island for the holidays, too. It looked positively adorable for Halloween and now I’m preparing for Christmas!

6. Shopping
I really, really love shopping. If I’m bored, I go browse online for things to add to my wish list!

7. Alternative Medicine
I find natural healing fascinating, and love researching and looking for new ways to feel better. I’ve got a lot of chronic health and pain conditions that have not responded at all to pharmaceuticals, so this takes up a huge chunk of my free time.

8. Baking
I especially like baking Christmas cookies, but I like making regular cookies and muffins all year! I need to star dabbling in bread. I’d love to bake bread!

9. Exploring/Traveling
I love visiting new places or exploring where I live! I love traveling, and I especially love going on cruises. COVID cancelled our two-week cruise this past May, which sucked. My mom, sister, and I just went on a drive looking for fall leaves a few weeks ago and I love doing things like that.

10. Decorating/Organizing/Home Projects
I love interior design, organizing and going through stuff to get rid of, and painting/remodeling the house! My family and I just re-did the family room and office during pandemic, and we’ve been going through everything and reorganizing and getting rid of stuff. It’s been fun!

What are some of your non-bookish hobbies? Do we have any in common?


Top Ten Story Elements That Terrify Me

Posted October 26, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 27 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is a Halloween-themed freebie. I woke up in the middle of the night on Wednesday with the most terrifying thing ever: food poisoning. Or maybe a stomach bug? Who really knows? Anyway, I still haven’t bounced back yet and am drinking Gatorade in bed right now. I’ve decided to do a topic I did way back in the olden days that didn’t get a ton of love, and share the top ten things in books that terrify me. I’m basically the biggest chicken ever so this won’t even be hard. So here we go!

1. Ghosts. I don’t do haunted things. I just can’t. Seriously. I keep trying and I’m getting better at this, but it’s slow going.

2. Murderers. I can handle murderers. I like murder mysteries! I just get terrified really fast.

3. Stalkers. It’s the waiting, you guys. Waiting for something to happen. I call it scary tension.

4. Foggy, craggy shores at night. What foggy, craggy shore doesn’t have a deadly person/thing hanging around it?

5. Zombies. I’m just not a fan of people eating other people.

6. The entire Southern Gothic genre is creepy, but I love it! It’s atmospheric!

7. Possessed animals. I’m talking The Hound of the Baskervilles. Or Nancy Drew’s Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. Wait, that’s a computer game. In any case, it’s scary.

8. Curses. No no no no no no no no.

9. When a character is home alone and they hear something bump or creek in their house. All of a sudden, I have Vulcan hearing and can hear all things.

10. Medical stories that don’t go down so well. Like if the character is drugged and can’t do something! Or a surgeon is also a serial killer and can kill patients but make it look like an accident??

What creeps you out in books? Do you have a high threshold, or are you totally wimpy like me?
What topic did you come up with this week?
Have a safe Halloween this weekend!


The Ten Most Recent Books I’ve Read Because Someone Recommended Them

Posted October 19, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is “books I read because someone recommended them to me”. I love getting recs from people and think it’s so much fun to discuss books with friends. I figured it would be too hard to narrow this list down to the top ten best ones because I’m not sure I could pick. So instead, I’ve chosen to share the ten most recent books I’ve read (good or bad) because someone recommended them to me.

Halloween Boo by Sarah Spade
My friend, Elley, recommended this Hocus Pocus-inspired romance between a ghost and a human. It was a fun little story, but a bit too steamy in places for my comfort level.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Elley also recommended this entire trilogy, and said the first one is her favorite. I really enjoyed this historical romance!

Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams
I picked this up because my friend, Caro, LOVED it. Unfortuately, I had a really hard time with some of the themes throughout the story, It was a unique concept, though! Although… it featured an apocalyptic plague, which… well, you know.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
I’ve seen these books everywhere, so I’m not sure who specifically made me decide to pick it up… but I loved this book! So much fun.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
My friends Harker and Elley both LOVE this book, and now I do too! Murder mermaids, guys.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
My friend, Michelle, loved the camp setting in this one and it was definitely a great book. I love Riley Sager.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
My friend, Lindsey (Bring My Books), said the audio of this was amazing and she was right!

Roomies by Christina Lauren
My first Christina Lauren! I have no idea who recommended them. Maybe it was a bunch of voices yelling at me. In any case, I love Christina Lauren now so thank you!

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
My friend, Bonnie, got me this book because she loves it so much and it’s WONDERFUL. Get it!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I never would have read this if the entire book blogging world hadn’t exploded when the ARCs went out. I was lucky enough to get one, too, and it’s such a good book.

Which of these have you read? What did you think?
What’s the best book you’ve ever read because someone else recommended it?
Have I ever recommended anything on this blog or on social media that you read and loved?


Top Ten Long Book Titles

Posted October 12, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 26 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is about super long book titles. Maybe you’ve chosen to only include the titles of books you’ve read or want to read, titles you just simply like but are not necessarily interested in reading, or even long titles you hate. Or all of the above? I’m a huge fan of a good title, so I’m only focusing on ones I like, both on and off my TBR/read lists.

1.The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
This title is super unique, unforgettable, and I’d love to read this someday!

2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
I liked this book as a kid, and I sometimes refer to my days as terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ones so the title has stuck with me!

3. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney
This just made me laugh. I have no idea what it’s about, but I know a few people I’d like to fling this book at based on the title alone!

4. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
My mom mentioned this one while I was talking to her about this topic, and I’ve always thought it was a pretty and intriguing title.

5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
I didn’t love this book, but the title sure is cute!

6. The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer
One of the cutest Christmas books ever.

7. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison
I laughed when I saw this one, so I had to include it.

8. Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean
I just finished the first book in this series, and am excited to start the next one!

9. Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Because it I can add a Christmas book, I will!

10. Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans
Hey look, I did it again! I’m actually hoping to read this one soon.

Which loooong book titles did you find this week?


Top Ten Book Covers That Give Off Fall Vibes

Posted October 5, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 21 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! I hope you’re doing well. It’s finally October (yay!!) and even though it’s not getting cold enough fast enough for me to really feel like it’s fall, I’m excited to share books with covers that give off fall vibes!

Something Wicked by Lucy Hudson
Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr
Halloween Boo by Sarah Spade
Halloween at the Graff by Sinclair Jayne
Thankfully in Love: A Thanksgiving Anthology by Anna J. Stewart, Kayla Perrin, Melinda Curtis, & Cari Lynn Webb
Pumpkin Everything by Beth Labonte
Bewitching You by Katana Collins
All I Want for Halloween by Marie Harte
A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone
A Match Made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau

Which covers did you choose to feature this week?
Do any of these capture your feelings of fall?

Have you read any of these book? They’re all on my TBR, so please share your non-spoilery thoughts if you’d like!


Ten Quotes for Book Lovers

Posted September 28, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! I hope your week is off to a good start. What are you excited about right now? The Animal Crossing: New Horizons Halloween update drops tonight, so that’s what I’m looking forward to right now!

This week’s topic is “Favorite Book Quotes”. I share quotes a lot on my blog, so I chose to share quotes for book lovers today. These are quotes about books and reading and how wonderful it is to be bookish. I’m excited to see which quotes you featured this week!

1. “A good book is an event in my life.” – Stendhal

2. “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

3. “Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” — Jean Rhys

4. “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

5. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles W. Eliot

6. “A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

7. “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

8. “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

9. “Books make people quiet, yet they are so loud.” – Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix

10. “Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.” ― Stéphane Mallarmé

It was so much fun looking through quotes I’ve saved and browsing a bunch online! There were so many great ones to choose from, but I tried to pick some of the ones I don’t see all over the place. Hope you enjoy!

What are some of your favorite bookish quotes?


Top Ten Books On My Fall 2020 To-Read List

Posted September 21, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 30 Comments

I LOVE FALL! I’m so, so excited that fall is here and that the weather is cooling off. I can’t wait for pumpkins and leaves and cozy hoodies and blankets. We are about to begin my absolute favorite chunk of the year. As crazy as it is to think we’re already here, I also can’t believe we’re here! In many ways, this year has felt like 7 years. It’s hard to believe that life was normal at the beginning of 2020, because I feel like we’ve been in a dystopia forever.

What kinds of books do you like to read in the fall? For me, it’s definitely Gothic/atmospheric books and eerie historical mysteries and thrillers. I love being a little creeped out, but not terrified. The books on my fall tbr fit that bill, and I’m eager to get to all of them!

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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.

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

Music City Salvage is a family operation, owned and operated by Chuck Dutton: master stripper of doomed historic properties, and expert seller of all things old and crusty. But business is lean and times are tight, so he’s thrilled when the aged and esteemed Augusta Withrow appears in his office, bearing an offer he really ought to refuse. She has a massive family estate to unload – lock, stock, and barrel. For a check and a handshake, it’s all his.

It’s a big check. It’s a firm handshake. And it’s enough of a gold mine that he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project.

Dahlia preps a couple of trucks, takes a small crew, and they caravan down to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the ancient Withrow house is waiting – and so is a barn, a carriage house, and a small, overgrown cemetery that Augusta Withrow left out of the paperwork.

Augusta Withrow left out a lot of things.

The property is in unusually great shape for a condemned building. It’s empty, but it isn’t abandoned. Something in the Withrow mansion is angry and lost. This is its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever, and there’s still plenty of room in the strange little family plot.

New from Cherie Priest, a modern master of supernatural fiction, The Family Plot is a haunted house story for the ages – atmospheric, scary, and strange, with a modern gothic sensibility that every bit as fresh as it is frightening.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But pregnant and widowed just weeks after their wedding, with her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her late husband’s awkward cousin for company–or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure—a silent companion—that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of the estate are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition—that is until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, The Silent Companions is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect—much like the companions themselves.

The Return by Rachel Harrison

An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don’t often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she’ll come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her.

Under the Willows by Pamela McCord

After her husband is killed by a drunk driver, Kelly Harris and her son TJ move into a sprawling Victorian house in Ohio that her husband inherited from his grandmother. Dealing with her overwhelming grief is a struggle as she adjusts to life in a small town. And, just as she’s beginning to feel more comfortable, life takes another unexpected turn.

The Alexa unit in her son’s bedroom starts to cry, and a little girl’s voice comes out of it asking for help.

At first Kelly is unnerved by the presence of the voice. After ruling out all the other likely possibilities, she begins to put the pieces together, and suspects the girl is a ghost. Unwilling to be uprooted from another home, she decides to find out what the child wants. Maybe she can help.

Kelly isn’t the only one interested in the voice. Detective Rob Porter is investigating the disappearance of a child named Marilee. As the two cross paths, Porter is taken aback when Kelly’s ghost mentions Marilee’s name. In fact, the ghost says “Marilee’s with me.”

Whether that means the child is a ghost as well is a question Rob and Kelly hope to answer.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

A seductive, gothic-infused tale of literary suspense — the debut of a spectacular new voice — about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

Have you read or are excited o read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations for Gothic or atmospheric/spooky reads?
What’s on your Fall TBR?