Keep the Lights On – a reading challenge

Autumn is here, and hopefully cooler temperatures will usher in soon. What do you think of during autumn? For me, it’s sweaters, hoodies, hot chocolate, throw blankets, curling up with a few good books, school, hearing the cheers of football games from my house (I live a block away from the local field), costumes, pumpkins, squash soup, and trick-or-treating.

During October in particular, I also think of scary stories. That, most naturally, got me thinking of potential reading challenges for this spooktacular month. Since I don’t support most horror stories but know other people enjoy being spooked by them, I thought this month’s reading challenge should allow for various degrees of fright.

Speaking of scary movies, one of the few horror movies I’ve actually seen [and even better, enjoyed] was The Bat {1959}, starring Agnes Moorehead; it wasn’t really scary to me, more of a murder mystery, but it’s classified as “horror.”



Read books from any combination of these categories:


Mystery books are great for this time of year. They often are whodunits but not super scary or extra tense (although, I’m sure there are a few that push into those areas). Authors who have books in this genre include Anna Katharine Green, Julianna Deering, Louis Tracy, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Agatha Christie, and Lois Gladys Leppard.


Thriller stories are generally fast paced and keep you on the edge of your seat. Sometimes they’re scary, but other times not so much. It really depends on the author’s style and each particular book. Some authors in this genre are Lynette Eason, Ted Dekker, Dana Mentink, Aurthur Marchmont, Lisa Harris, and Robert Ludlum.


Suspense books range from mildly suspenseful to full-blown psychologically scary. Some authors who write this genre are Dee Henderson, Sandra Orchard, Liz Johnson, Patricia Bradley, Terri Blackstock, and Colleen Coble.

Since I don’t like horror books, I won’t create a category for them. However, in case you enjoy them, I will allow them for this challenge. They will be considered bonus books. Stephen King is a popular mainstay of this genre, and one of my trusted friends says that Fred M. White is fairly clean.

Note 1: Some of the above-mentioned authors write for the general market, which means they might not be completely clean of questionable content. Reader discretion is advised.

Note 2: Sometimes suspense and thrillers are put into the same category, because they are similar. If you are unsure of which category a book belongs in, feel free to ask. I’ll be glad to look it up for you and/or ask my friends who might know.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to the Chatter Box Girls (my writing & encouragement buddies) for helping me out with some authors for these categories. You ladies are amazing and so helpful in sharing some of your favorite authors with my readers and me.

What are some of your favorite thriller, suspense, and mystery books?
How do you celebrate Halloween, if you do?
What sort of things do you associate with autumn?
Last call for those Back to School books!

16 thoughts on “Keep the Lights On – a reading challenge

  1. Sweet! I'm curious to see which ones you end up reading. Are there any in particular you're looking forward to?I've got hopes to read that many, but you know how my reading plans get knocked off track… I'm REALLY hoping they don't this month.

  2. I will be reading some of these genres. It is hard for me to tell which they fall into. I have 2 Colleen Coble, a few DiAnn Mills, and Patricia Bradley, a couple Lynette Eason and a Lynn Blackburn, Cara Putman, and Dani Pettery. I hope to get to them this fall. Have you tried the newer author C.C. Warrens and her Holly series: Criss Cross, Cross Fire and Crossed Off! They are excellent! I’m sure I will be busy.

  3. Paula, I've read several of those authors you mentioned. For me, if the books are super fast paced, they are considered thrillers; while, if they take on a slower, more methodical take and are higher in psychological perspective toward the crime, they would be suspense. The tricky thing is that many authors within these genres end up writing both types at some point. I'm sure whichever category you want to use for them will work wonderfully.I have not tried C.C. Warrens yet. I like those titles, though!

  4. If you have questions about specific titles, I can look those up for genres over on Goodreads. They have genres listed on the right-hand side of each book's page.

  5. I'm a bit of a scaredycat when it comes to books, so I never read horror. Thriller's also a genre I tend to avoid, but I do enjoy mystery and suspense. ^-^ Thanks for sharing Andrea!Lilian

  6. I'm not a horror fan either, though I have seen a few movies that fit in that category over the years. I didn't enjoy most of them… Haha! I hope you're enjoying whichever mysteries and suspense novels are in your reading pile right now.

  7. I've read several mysteries and suspense books this month. Didn't even have it planned, but it worked out great. 😉 Doubt I'll be able to squeeze another in, so I'm leaving the list here now. Fun challenge! // MysteryKate’s Dilemma by Sarah HolmanThe View from the Lighthouse by Melody Carlson — (This one was supposed to be a mystery, but the mystery was only in the latter half of the story, and then wasn’t resolved. I guess it carries over to the other books in the series… :P)// Suspense If I Run by Terri BlackstockIf I’m Found by Terri BlackstockIf I Live by Terri Blackstock

  8. Faith, I love it when books fit so smoothly into a challenge, without even being planned. I've heard great things about Blackstock's series. Did you enjoy it?

  9. I ended up getting four books for this month's challenge. I'm excited about that, as my October has been quite busy!1. An Hour Unspent by Roseanna Whitemystery2. The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Iain Lawrence (GM; DON'T recommend)mystery3. Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble (not recommended)mystery4. Delayed Justice by Cara Putman[legal] thriller

  10. Okay, now that October is over, I can give you my list. (I had to finish the final book last night.)1. Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer2. Traitor in Williamsburg by Elizabeth McDavid Jones3. Kate’s Conundrum by Sarah Holman4. Saddle Patrol by Carl Henry Rathjen5. Secrets at Silver Pines Inn by Gloria Repp (I read the first book in the series because this is the 2nd, but the first wasn't a mystery.)6. Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett7. The Mystery at Rustlers' Fort by Troy Nesbit8. Justified Means by Chautona Havig (I'd consider this more of a thriller.)9. Fruit for Tomorrow by Francena H. Arnold10. A Bundle of Trouble: A Rebecca Mystery by Kathryn Reiss11. Danger at the Zoo: A Kit Mystery by Kathleen Ernst

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