Happy Friday the Thirteenth, ghouls and pals! 🕷️🕸️👻 I know my reading habits have trended heavily towards science fiction and fantasy this year, but truth be told I am a horror lover at heart. 🔪🩸
As the season changes and the temperatures finally cool down, I find myself gravitating toward spooky and atmospheric reads. What better way to celebrate Friday the Thirteenth than with a list of spooky reads?
6 Books to Haunt You this Spooky Season
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
This debut novel is a perfect “transition to fall” read, and one that has stuck with me since I read it six weeks ago. This Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling is heartbreakingly beautiful, magical, atmospheric, and haunting.
The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz
It takes a lot to scare me. I grew up sneak-watching Unsolved Mysteries and slasher flicks (sorry, dad). This book has a scene which a year later still haunts me. 15/10 recommend for spooky reading desires.
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.
Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
Captivatingly written and atmospheric, The Wicked Deep will pull you in with its lyrical prose. This is a perfect, witchy Halloween read.
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?
It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.
This is my next ARC read, but I read an early excerpt of this before receiving the full review copy and was pleasantly surprised by the mixed format to go with the found footage vibe.
Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman
After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.
Most are dead.
But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.
Don’t set foot here again.
As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.
This book blew me away last year and topped my favorite reads for 2018. Science fiction and horror combined makes for such a compelling and horrific read.
The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees
To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.
The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?
I am currently reading this one, and this is one of the most atmospheric books I have read in awhile. Wees’ writing is beautiful and descriptive, and I almost feel like I am in a fever dream while reading it (much like when I read Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton – which I also recommend!).
What do you think of my spooky recommendations? Have you read any of these? Do you have your own recommendations for this Spooky Season to share?
Let’s go on another adventure together!