Best Book Read in December & January: UNCLE MONTAGUE’S TALES OF TERROR

Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 | 1 comment

I read a lot in the last couple of months. I’ve managed to get lots of writing done too, so I’m not quite sure how I’ve done it!

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – I’d been meaning to read this for ages. Really enjoyable, though I found it a little slow in places (I’m out of practice reading classics!).
  • Legacy (Night School #2) by C.J. Daugherty – Fun and engaging, like the first Night School book.
  • Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott – I picked this up at a Zoë Marriott signing a couple of months ago. Beautifully atmospheric; I can see why it’s so loved.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant books 1-4 by Derek Landy – I’m late in discovering this series, but am a complete convert! I bought the first two books on a whim in a charity shop, and am glad I did. Action packed and brilliantly funny. I’ll be working my way through the rest of the series when I can.
  • The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – The final book in the Mara Dyer trilogy.
  • Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard – An adult thriller/mystery I got for Christmas. Not my usual type of book, but interesting because of that.
  • The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss – Loved this far more than I expected given the potentially-heavy subject matter. YA contemporary which deals with grief in a realistic yet uplifting way.
  • Eren by Simon P. Clark – The David Almond quote on the cover sums this MG read up: “Sure-footed, distinctive, strange, poetic.” The hardback book itself is a thing of beauty, from the matt dust jacket to the illustrations inside.
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – Mixed feelings about this YA contemporary. Definitely well written and kept me reading, but the suicide theme wasn’t dealt with in a way I especially liked.
  • Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis – Really clever and unique YA paranormal/fantasy. Definitely worth a read.
  • This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – YA sci-fi. It didn’t have the same unique darkness for me as the first book, These Broken Stars, but still well written.
  • Now You See Me by Emma Haughton – YA thriller with lots of great tension. I read it one day, which I rarely do with books, as I couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the end.
  • The Hanged Man Rises by Sarah Naughton – YA historical about a child serial killer in Victorian times. Featuring ghosts, psychics and witchcraft, it was wonderfully macabre, but with lots of heart-warming moments to keep me smiling. Really enjoyed this one.


It’s really hard to pick a favourite this time, as I read so many 5 star books. But I have to pick one, and it is:

Uncle MontagueThis spine-tingling, thrill-packed novel has more than enough fear-factor for the most ardent fan of scary stories. Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house, but regular visits from his nephew, Edgar, give him the opportunity to recount some of the most frightening stories he knows. As each tale unfolds, it becomes clear that something sinister is in the air. From the account of a curious boy who intrudes on Old Mother Tallow’s garden to a shy girl’s ghostly encounter during an innocent game of hide and seek, a pattern emerges of young lives gone awry in the most terrifying of ways. Young Edgar begins to wonder just how Uncle Montague knows all these ghastly tales, and ultimately discovers that his mysterious uncle’s life has a darker side than he ever imagined. This cleverly wrought collection of stories-within-a-story by Chris Priestly is perfectly matched in darkly witty illustrations by David Roberts.


Uncle MontagueI first heard about Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror at the British Library’s Gothic exhibition, and have been keen to read it ever since. Composed of a collection of short stories tied together by an overarching plot, it’s like Middle Grade M.R. James complemented by Tim Burton-esque illustrations. (I.e. I LOVED it.)

Though it’s over a month since I read it, many of the stories are still wedged firmly in my imagination, particularly ‘Winter Pruning’ and ‘The Path’. Had I been Middle Grade-aged, a lot of the stories would have scared me silly, but I’d have devoured them anyway. As an adult, I avoided nightmares, but shivered pleasurably at the darkness of the stories.

Luckily, there’s a back catalogue of Chris Priestley books for me to work through, and I’ll be sure to read more.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?



1 Comment

  1. Wow, you really have been busy! I’ve just added lots of these to my TBR list, thanks Kendra 🙂 Can’t wait to read what you’re working on next, either! 🙂 x

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