Halloween TBR 😱


There are two weeks until Halloween and I’ve picked four creepy books to read this year!

I’ve read a new book in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. series every year around Halloween since 2014, which means I’m onto the fourth book, The Creeping Shadow. I’m curious to see what trouble Lockwood, George and Lucy get up to in this installment. They’re my absolute favourite ghost-fighting trio. I’ve also chosen There’s Someone Inside Your House because I adore Stephanie Perkins’ contemporary novels and now she’s turned her hand to horror: ‘One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted’.

I meant to read Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories last year but didn’t get round to it, so hopefully I will this year! It’s a collection of ‘dark, sensual, fantastic stories’. I’m also excited to read the eerily beautiful The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell, which is inspired by the works of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill, and is a ghost story set in a crumbling mansion. 👻

Have you read any of these spooky stories?

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Added to My Bookshelves: September

It’s finaaaally October. I really wish I was born in October because it’s the best month of the year – it is starting to get chilly, but not too cold; the autumn colours are so pretty; and we get to celebrate the run-up to Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas. But first, here are the books I added to my bookshelves in September.

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I took a trip to Phlox Books with my bookish friends Louise and Charlie. Phlox a lovely new indie bookshop in Leytonstone, east London where I picked up Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island. I’ve still yet to read a Bryson – and I’d love to get into more non-fiction/travel writing – so this seemed like an excellent choice.

We’ve just launched a book club at work (#BABookClub) and the first pick was Exit West, a surprising read for me as I’m usually intimidated by literary fiction. I really enjoyed it and I’m excited to see what we’re reading next (I voted for The Fallen Children). I also worked a little with Bloomsbury and so they kindly sent me a copy of the eerily beautiful The Silent Companions, which went straight onto my Halloween TBR (post to come soon!).

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I was also sent a few surprise review copies from publishers. I received E Lockhart’s Genuine Fraud and Beth Garrod’s Truly Madly Awkward. I’m looking forward to delving into these two contemporary reads – I enjoyed both We Were Liars and Super AwkwardA copy of This Book Will (Help You) Change the World (politics and activism for young people), Everless (Red Queen meets Downtown Abbey,) and Zero Repeat Forever (The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast) also turned up through my letterbox.

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5 Things to Do in Barcelona

In November, I visited Barcelona for the first time with my friend Sarah before she left London for Australia (😭😭). It has taken me a little while to write this post, but here are five things to do in the city!

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Visit… the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Park Güell

Gaudí is everywhere in Barcelona. The Catalan architect’s work is unusual, for this Londoner, and a delight. These spots are pretty standard for any traveller to Barcelona. I particularly enjoyed the stained glass windows (spring, summer, autumn and winter-inspired) of the Sagrada. It’s worth checking out the audio guide and taking a trip up the spire. Casa Batlló was stunning – so much blue and green and turquoise! – and my favourite out of the three, whilst Park Güell is perfect for a sunny day. Don’t forget to book your tickets for all three in advance!

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Go on… The Shadow of the Wind walking tour

Sarah loves Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s popular series for bookworms and so we booked places on The Shadow of the Wind walking tour. It was fascinating to visit places mentioned in the book (such as the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books). As we weren’t in tourist season, we were the only two on the tour and so could ask plenty of questions. Our guide kindly kept it spoiler-free for me, too, seeing as I was only halfway through the book (silly, silly Stacey).

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Eat brunch at… Federal Café

We visited this Australian café in Barcelona twice because we loved it so much – and I had avocado and poached egg on toast both times. It’s certainly a ‘hipster coffee shop’ but, honestly, those are my favourites.

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Drink gin cocktails at… Dux

After dinner, we stumbled across this gorgeous, elegant cocktail bar and it was the perfect spot to sit and chat. I enjoy fruity cocktails (although they don’t love me…) and hanging out at Dux was a great way to spend our evening. In Spain, people eat and drink very, very late and so everywhere you go is super quiet and you can always get a table! Dux had a lovely piano in the corner, the tables were candlelit, and the menu offered pop culture-inspired cocktails.

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Browse… Barcelona’s many bookshops

Barcelona is a haven for bibliophiles and I was fortunate to go on holiday with a fellow book industry friend, so bookshops were at the top of our list. One of my favourites was Altaïr. This travel bookshop was cosy, homely and had a little café with sofas. I buy a copy of Le Petit Prince every time I visit a new country and I bought El Principito in La Central. We drank coffee outside and I enjoy playing around on the swing seat. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to Gigamesh, the popular sci-fi bookshop – next time! (I used a handy Guardian article to plan our bookish adventure).

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We only tried churros twice so I wouldn’t dare recommend the best place to eat them! But a few places on our list to go to were Xurreria Dels Banys Nous, Chok – The Chocolate Kitchen, Granja M Viader, and La Nena.