Halloween Spooktacular Reads

Halloween is a time for scary stories, whether its with a circle of friends and a flashlight, curled up in bed with a beloved pet, or (for the brave-hearted) reading alone to the sounds of creaky porch swings and squeaky staircases. Here are some of our favourite spooktacular reads — but don’t blame us if you get nightmares.

1. Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown
You’ll never call vegetables bland again after reading this deliciously clever picture book parable about a rabbit who fears his favorite treats are out to get him.
What sounds does a possessed carrot make?

2. Red Rain by R.L. Stine
This is not a story for your kids. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Goosebumps and R.L. Stine is delighting his come-of-age readers with an adult thriller. In Red Rain, Stine uses his unerring knack for creating terror to tap into some very grownup fears. Travel writer Lea Sutter finds herself on a small island off the coast of South Carolina, the wrong place at the wrong time. A merciless, unanticipated hurricane cuts a path of destruction through the island and Lea barely escapes with her life.

You can also never go wrong with R.L. Stine classics like his FEAR STREET series.

3. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
R is not your typical zombie. Sure, he loves a good brain, but R is having an existential crisis and longs for more. When he meets Julie, R makes an unexpected choice and begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with her. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead and love a good romance, then this one’s for you.

4. In The Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill
In the Tall Grass begins with a sister and brother who pull off to the side of the road after hearing a young boy crying for help from beyond the tall grass. Within minutes they are disoriented, in deeper than seems possible, and they’ve lost one another.
This exclusive ebook also gives readers a sneak peek at Stephen King‘s Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining.

5. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

“Anyone with a pulse will enjoy this novel, and anyone with a brain will find plenty of food for thought inside.”–Michael Northrop, author of Gentlemen

A gripping and surprisingly touching story about growing up in a zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Read the follow-up novels Dust & Decay and Flesh & Bone.

6. Bloodman by Robert Pobi
You’ll want to leave the lights on while reading this terrifying thriller. FBI consultant Jake Cole has returned Montauk to care for his ailing father. Intent on getting his father into an assisted facility and returning to his life in New York, his plans are waylaid when he receives a call from the local police chief about a twisted serial killer. Robert Pobi creates his own brand of bogeyman as he weaves a tale of unthinkable—yet plausible—horror in the form of a psychotic madman who’s always one step ahead committing unfathomable atrocities that all seem to stem from the mere presence of Jake Cole and his return home.

7. Creep by Jennifer Hillier
We all have secrets. Dr. Sheila Tao, a professor of psychology, is an expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy, charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Now that her kind and loving boyfriend has proposed, Sheila knows the three-month fling with her teaching assistant has to end. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won’t let her walk away. If he can’t have her…no one else can…

Read the follow-up novel Freak.

8. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
A terrible house fire has left Will Henry an orphan and in the care of Dr. Wathrop, his father’s employer. Wathrop is a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was feeding on her, Will’s world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi–a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in its chest–and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatenning to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.

Read the rest of The Monstrumologist series.

9. You’re invited to a Creepover: Truth or Dare by P.J. Night
During a round of Truth or Dare, Abby Miller confesses her crush on Jake Chilson. The only people who know her secret are her friends at the sleepover—and whoever sent her a text message in the middle of the night warning her to stay away from Jake…or else! But Abby isn’t going to stay away from Jake, especially not after he asks her to the school dance. As the night of the dance comes closer, some very creepy things start happening to Abby. Someone definitely wants to keep her away from Jake. Is it a jealous classmate or, as Abby begins to suspect, could it be a ghost?

Read more from You’re invited to a Creepover series.

10. Thirst by Christopher Pike
Halloween just isn’t complete without a vampire story. At five thousand years old, the vampire Alisa thought she was smart enough to stay out of trouble. But when her creator returns to hunt her, she must protect herself by befriending Ray, the boy who may be her only chance at finding her maker. When she begins to fall in love with Ray, all of a sudden there is more at stake than her own life.

For more vampires, read the rest of the Thirst series.
Check out Christopher Pike’s Witch World (coming November 2012).

Got your own list of Halloween reads? Share them with us in the comments section.

 

Toronto Zombie Walk 2012

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Toronto Zombie Walk.
Last year nearly 7000 corpses writhed, weaved and lurched their way through the streets of Toronto feasting on those unlucky enough to be living.

Toronto Zombie Walk 2012

courtesy of BlogTO

Join the parade and add extra oomph to your costume by mastering your zombie mannerisms. Here are three great reads to get you in the right Zombie mind-set.

1. Warm Bodies 

R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving story about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

Read an excerpt.
Watch the book trailer.
Like Warm Bodies on Facebook.
Check out the poster for the upcoming movie.

2. Everything you ever wanted to know about Zombies

The most comprehensive Zombie handbook ever put together covered in four simple categories.

i) Zombie Basics: The history of zombies and their evolution
ii) Zombie Science: How do zombies hunt? How do their minds work?
iii) Zombie Survival: We all know the zombie Apocalypse is coming.
iv) Zombie Pop-culture: Don’t be left out of the loop when fellow zombies crack inside jokes.

3. Zombies vs. Unicorns

When the Apocalypse hits, don’t think the Unicorns will just step aside for Zombies take over. You’ll be faced with the ultimate question of Team Zombie or Team Unicorn.

In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories.  Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and
evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies.  Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan.

Read an excerpt.
Watch the book trailer.
Visit ZombiesvsUnicorns.com.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey

UPDATE: Thanks for participating. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Justin M., our grand prize winner.

I have never played hockey myself, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big part of my life growing up. You see, I had two brothers, one older and one younger, and both played pee wee hockey. As a child I used to have to get up at some ungodly hour on Saturdays, sleep-eat my bowl of Cheerios and head to the hockey arena with my dad and brothers. I’m sure I probably didn’t really know what was going on, except for the fact that I knew once we got to the rink I would get hot chocolate. I would sip my steaming hot chocolate and cheer on my brothers. Whenever my dad hooted or hollered, I did. Looking back now, I cherish this one on one time I got with my dad. Hockey isn’t just a sport, it’s an activity that is associated with memories, feelings and a sense of community and it really does bring people together in many ways.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey is full of fun, heartwarming and inspiring stories for hockey fans and families. Family-oriented stories from everyday hockey players and fans, as well as revealing personal stories from NHLers and hockey insiders, will captivate readers.

Do you have an inspirational, amusing, or encouraging hockey-related story to share? It could be a story about: your first pair of skates, the street where you played ball hockey, tickets to a memorable game, or any thing that makes you think of our favourite national sport. We want to read it!

In 100 words or less, tell us your hockey story to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey and a $100 gift certificate to Sports Chek to go towards your next pair of skates.

Email your story to audrey@simonandschuster.ca (with the subject line: Hooked on Hockey) or leave it as a comment here and we will draw a winning story on November 1. We’ll also select 5 runners-up who will receive a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey. 

Contest is open to Canada only (excluding Quebec). By submitting a story you have agreed to our Official Rules, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Book Blogger Spotlight: Just a Lil’ Lost

We’re excited to bring you our October Book Blogger Spotlight! This is where we chat with one of our bloggers, ask them to share some of their favorite authors, the books they can’t live without, and find out how they came to book blogging.

This month, we bring you our chat with the wonderful Michele from Just a Lil’ Lost. You can follow her on Twitter @JustaLilLost.

What made you want to start a book blog?

I have always loved blogging, and used the Post a Day Challenge on WordPress last year to get back into the swing of things. A friend noticed that I often wrote about books that I was reading so she suggested I look into book blogging! I’m surprised I didn’t immediately think of doing that to begin with, since I always wanted my blog to have a main topic… this was really just inevitable!

What’s your favourite reading spot?

Anywhere! I will always have a book with me so anywhere I can get a chance to read is a favourite spot. I actually enjoy reading while commuting. It makes the trek go by faster, and if it’s somewhere further I have to go, I just figure it’s more reading time for me!

Your favourite book in the last year?

My favourite book of last year was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I absolutely loved that book, and quite enjoyed the movie as well.

Favourite book of all time?

Favourite book of all time would have to be the Harry Potter series. I know, I know… it’s not ONE book but those really are my favourite. I don’t re-read books except for this series. But, if I absolutely had to pick a favourite from the series, I’d say it’s #6 – Half Blood Prince.

Favourite author?

Going along with my previous answer, it would have to be J.K. Rowling – for sure. It’s so inspirational how she started writing, while sitting in a coffee shop and having publishers turn down her manuscript before it finally got published. Rags to riches… it’s amazing.

Favourite movie adaptation of a book?

That’s a tough one… at the risk of sounding repetitive and saying Harry Potter again (even though they are my fave) I’ll say The Notebook. I thought the book was okay but I absolutely loved the movie. I joke that I tend to have a cold heart towards sappy movies or books but this film had me bawling!

What do you do when you’re not working on your blog?

When I’m not downing Starbucks’ caramel macchiatos at my day job in marketing or out with friends for brunch, I can be found with a book and my laptop, near a TV. Besides reading, I am also a bit of a TV junkie and, like I am with books, there are way too many good shows that I don’t get a chance to check out. There is just not enough time in a day to read all the books, and watch all the shows, that I’d like to!

Do you seek reader engagement on your blog? If so, how does this affect your ideas about books and authors?

Hmm yes and no.. I welcome comments and thoughts on reviews or other posts that I may have up on the blog. It’s more when I’m reading reviews that I tend to be more selective. There was a highly-anticipated book last year that I was very excited about. In passing, accidentally, came across someone’s thoughts on it and the one thing they had a problem with it. The entire time I was reading the book, I couldn’t get that issue out of my head because the seed had been planted. I hate spoilers, so I tend to stay away from reviews on books that I plan on reading soon, just so it won’t taint or bias my own view of it.

Do you read other blogs? Which ones?

I read many other book blogs – which would be too numerous to list. Other than that, I frequent Entertainment Weekly‘s site, and sometimes Wired, Gizmodo and Jezebel.

How has your blog developed or changed since you first started?

When I first started it, it was a blog about anything of interest that came to mind. It developed into what it is now, a “mostly-book blog” where I still can use it to discuss particular topics that I find interesting, share my photographs and – of course – discuss all things book related

Indie Bookstore Spotlight: Bryan Prince Bookseller

The independent bookstore is a cultural and community hub – authors are introduced, works read aloud to an audience and ideas are shared.

Each month, we will be featuring an independent bookstore from across Canada, proving what a special role these shops play in fostering authors, community and a love of reading. For October, we are featuring Bryan Prince Bookseller in Hamilton, Ontario. We got to speak with the lovely co-owners Kerry and Tracey. You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

  1. Tell us a little bit about the history of Bryan Prince Booksellers
    Bryan Prince Bookseller was established in 1989 by Bryan Prince who had been partner, for many years, in the Dundas bookstore Chapman & Prince. The store has always maintained a strong community focus, participating in countless events, fundraisers and programs in the greater Hamilton area.

    Tracey Higgins joined the staff as a bookseller in 1990 and Kerry Cranston began her bookselling career in 1994. In 2011 Bryan Prince retired from bookselling and sold the store to Kerry & Tracey, who do their utmost to continue the traditions of the store while adapting to current trends and technology.
  2. What made you want to open a bookstore?
    We love books in all their manifestations. We believe that literacy, creativity and a critical mind are so important in developing a thoughtful, engaged citizenry. Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, we are exposing our minds to new ideas and new ways of communication those ideas – we can’t think of many more satisfying careers than fostering and encouraging that process.
  3. What do you like best about your career in books?
    The most satisfying part of being a bookseller is connecting a reader with their new favourite author, or the perfect book to suit their needs.
  4. What does the book-buying public understand least about independent bookstores?
    Most of our customers understand how difficult it can be for independent booksellers to compete with huge corporations and online retailers who are able to greatly discount books. It is very comforting to know that so many of our customers are very loyal to independents and understand the importance of our existence to ensure diversity and local community in the marketplace.
  5. What is the hardest part about being a bookstore owner in 2012?
    The hardest part of being a bookseller right now is the uncertainty of so many things that are completely outside our control: technology trends, the state of the economy and how that effects the average person; fuel & transportation costs, etc.
  6. What types of books does your store stock and/or specialize in?
    Bryan Prince Bookseller is a general bookstore, stocking fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. We have a very good special order service and have recently started to stock French titles.
  7. What are some of your favorite titles? Titles coming out this year?
    Tracey: I have the lost generation classic and am enamoured of the beautiful editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. In terms of new books coming our this year, I adored the debut mystery by Deryn Collier, Confined Space, and throughly enjoyed Jian Ghomeshi’s memoir, 1982. I am also very excited to read (when the time presents itself, Salman Rushdie’s memoir, Joseph Anton.)
  8. What are you reading right now?
    Tracey: Right now I’m reading the Booker longlisted novel, Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng and the new Massey lecture by Neil Turok, The Universe Within.
  9. What is your most current best seller? Classic?
    Our current bestseller is Joseph Anton, by Salman Rushdie. In terms of a classic bestseller, it would be a toss-up between Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen.
  10. What have been some of your favorite (or most memorable) author events?
    One of our most memorable author events was the evening with Robertson Davies and Shyam Selvadurai. It was Shyam’s first reading and Robertson Davies was so kind and gracious with both Shyam Selvadurai and the booksellers from the store. That evening resonated with Tracey every time she rereads one of Robertson Davies’ novels. Aside from that one, the Harry Potter midnight parties were great. They entailed a ridiculous amount of planning and preparation, but worth is all when we saw the hordes of enthusiastic children.
  11. Any strange, wild or crazy-but-true stories?
    It’s an unusual day when we don’t have anyone ask a strange question that has nothing to do with bookselling. One of the more difficult conversations I’ve had, though, was trying to convince a customer that the complete Oxford English Dictionary was not available on audio cassette.
  12. What book are you, or will you, hand-sell with a vengeance?
    This fall there is a wealth of great books to recommend. As the weather cools off, though, mystery lovers are on the hunt for something new & exciting. This fall I will be handselling Confined Space, by Deryn Collier & Crow’s Landing, by Brad Smith.
  13. Is there anything else you would like to tell our blog readers?
    There are lots of things we want people to know about booksellers, but there is one opinion that we encounter that we find disturbing. There seems to be an impression that booksellers are ignoring developments in technology, that we are passionate about books because we aren’t facing up to the future, or somehow defying the inevitable. We are all for reading. We wish everyone would read voraciously in whatever medium best suits their needs. But we also believe that physical books and digital books will find their balance and that we’ll get past this almost desperate frenzy to eliminate every alternative to the digital world.