We ask only to be reassuredThe Family Reunion (T.S. Eliot)
About the noises in the cellar
And the window that should not have been open
Once the cooler weather arrives and September ends, it officially becomes spooky season in my book. Tis the season for cozy sweaters, warm blankets, nights by the fire pit, hot soup, and (most importantly) spooky reads. Not everyone wants to have the pants scared off them and have to sleep with the lights on. Some people thrive on that. Others are looking for a fun romantic comedy with a Halloween feel. Then there are those who seek suspense.
I read a bit of all three depending on my mood. Below are few of my favorite Halloween and scary reads. There’s hopefully a little something for everyone to enjoy. Go sink your teeth into one of these and fully embrace the Halloween/fall reading vibes!
Lighthearted Spooky Reads
Witches cursing ex boyfriends. The town falling under attack by the hilarious outcomes of the curse backfiring. You’ll love this book if you enjoy romantic comedies, hilarious magical mishaps, all things witchy, and enemies to lovers tropes. Good news, the sequel The Kiss Curse is out now, so you’ll have even more of this awesome series to dive into.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson is the first installment of the trilogy and it makes one heck of a magical read through. Prophecies, spies, warring covens, and an escaped warlock all come together for an adventure you won’t forget. You’ll love this if you like strong female characters and friendships, adventurous stories told through multiple character narrations, and if you love being fully immersed in a magical world that tackles LGBTQ+ themes.
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn is both funny and witty and like nothing you’d expect. Ladies of retirement age aren’t usually seen as anything but frail, but these assassins have a decades-long career in all things death. Now the hit is on them and they have to figure out who put it on their heads and how they can stop it. You’ll love this book if you like reading about unlikely heroines, assassins, sassy elderly characters who are all strong female characters in their own unique way, and general badassery.
Calling all ghost story fans! The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston is such a unique take on a ghost story as well as the most unique romcom I’ve ever read. A ghostwriter who can see ghosts and is followed around by a seriously attractive ghost of someone she knew? You’ll love this book if you like stories about finding yourself and realizing that romance is not, in fact, dead. It’s both hilarious and moving and one of the best romantic ghost stories of all time, even if it’s the only romantic ghost story.
Ian is on the hunt for the Nazi that killed his brother during the war. Nina is looking to exact revenge on the woman who tried to murder her. Jordan is trying to navigate life with her new stepmother and her suspicions about her. The Huntress by Alice Quinn is packed full of suspense and an epic tale of cat and mouse set years after World War II. You’ll love this if you like historical fiction, staying up past your bedtime to read more chapters because you have to find out what happens, and if you like character-driven plots.
Malcolm wrote a blog post years ago about 8 perfect murders in literature. Now, an FBI agent is questioning him about a slew of recent murders seeming to follow his list. Is it a coincidence? Is he a target? Or is there much more than meets the eye? Read this if you love unreliable narrators, suspense with a dash of murder, whodunnits, and lots of twists.
Con artist vs reporter. Both are linked inextricably by the past and suddenly the present. Forget what you think you know about con artists. This is one heck of a psychological ride. You’ll love this if you love strong female characters, twists you don’t see coming, so many lies you can’t wait to see how they all come together, and a powerful story of metaphorical sisterhood.
Amber is in a coma, her husband doesn’t love her anymore, and sometimes she lies. If you think you know what’s happening, think again. Every chapter is a new sliver of information and you are never sure what you can trust. Alternating between the past and present you will slowly piece together the events that led to Amber’s coma and what happens next. You’ll love this if psychological thrillers are your jam, you love unreliable narrators, and live for plot twists.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix is the perfect Halloween read. It’s both funny and creepy. Local children start to go missing and the only people who are suspicious of the new neighbor is the book club. Luckily, their predilection for horror books makes them experts at identifying and killing vampires. You will love this if you like your vampire books both creepy and delightful, you love quirky characters, and you’re in the mood to get fully wrapped up in a story.
Fern loves helping her sister. It’s the least she could do after Rose has done so much for her, right? When Rose finds out she can’t conceive, Fern decides to help by having a baby for Rose. What could go wrong? The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth is a chilling tale of control, sisterly relationships gone horribly wrong, and a shockingly satisfying twist. Which sister is the good sister? You’ll have to read it to find out.
You’ll never look at an Ikea quite the same way. This book is the definition of keep you up all night and leave the lights on horror. It starts simple with smashed furniture and odd smells leading the manager to have several employees stay overnight to investigate. It quickly escalates to the creepiest (and very cleverly written) haunting you can imagine happening in a store like an Ikea. You’ll love this if you love haunted houses, creepy descriptions, things that go bump in the night, and if you’re okay with your electricity bill being higher because you kept all the lights on.
Devolution by Max Brooks is a masterpiece in suspense and horror. The events of the Greenloop Massacre unfold in the pages of Kate’s journal. What was once an eco-friendly, off-the-grid living enclave turns into nightmare fuel after Mount Rainier erupts and sends creatures running right into the path of potential prey. If you love jump scares that appear from thin air, gruesome events told in first-hand accounts, Bigfoot, and anything folklore/cryptid, you need to delve into this. Bonus points if you also read World War Z by this author.
25 years ago Maggie Holt’s family fled and her father retold the horrors in his book. A quarter of a century later, Maggie doesn’t believe in ghosts and moves back into the family home. s she begins renovations to prepare the home for sale, she begins to experience some of the ghostly events detailed in her father’s book. Are they real? Are there actual horrors to discover? Will Maggie be able to stay in the house or repeat the terrifying flight that made the house infamous with horror?
The Return by Rachel Harrison is the epitome of a vacation and reunion gone abysmally and terrifyingly wrong. When your friend who mysteriously disappeared for two years suddenly reappears, you absolutely need to go on vacation with your best friends in a remote location. Best idea ever. Only, your friend isn’t acting normally. What happened to her during those years? What’s happening in this hotel? You’ll love this if you love jump scares mixed with horror and a dash of the supernatural. You just might never look at a friend vacation the same way ever again much less a hotel.
Which Books Will You Read?
Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your recommendations too. I have a few witchy reads coming up and some cozy mysteries with a dash of murder. Hopefully they’re all great so I can do another post to share them!