I always love the second half of the year since all the festivities always made me really happy. My country doesn’t have fall or halloween, but I love the aesthetics and the whole concept of dressing up and trick or treating. Plus despite not having any parties, it’s a good excuse to have a gathering and a horror movie marathon 🎃
I also try to read as many scary books as I could during the month of October but I realized I never actually do a recommendation post on the ~perfect~ halloween reads. So I figure, why not write one right now? 😉 This post will be divided into several categories, all named randomly according what I see fit (organization what am I rite).
“It started out normally and then it did a 180 turn 🙃”
The Merciless by Danielle Vega
When I first read it, the first few chapters were set during the day so we got some slice of high school life. At that point, I remember thinking “Ah it’s not so scary, it feels like reading Mean Girls!“
Oh boy I was so wrong.
Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned
Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
I’ve read three Grady Hendrix’s books so far and all of them started out nicely before shit hits the fan. My favorite is Horrorstor though, the beginning was just… so normal, it feels like you’re taking a stroll on IKEA during the day. But when night comes, things are decidedly not nice, in fact it’s downright terrifying!
📚 Related post: Mini reviews #4 : ARCs
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.
To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.
A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.
INTENSE FEAR 💀
Rules for Vanishing Kate Alice Marshall
This is one of my recent reads this summer and ohhhhh boy, it’s one of the scariest book I’ve read, ever. I may have some issues with the later half of the book, but never in my life before I had to stop reading so many times because I was so scared 😭😭😭
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.
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.
The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
There’s a reason why Japanese horror movies are the scariest: their ghosts are scary! This duology is not an exception, since our main character is Okiku is modelled after the creepy crawling-through-your-screen ghost from the Ring. I love how it blends the modern story of The Ring with one of my favorite local legend, Banchō Sarayashiki.
If possible, the second book is even scarier with empty haunted villages roamed with ghosts, in the middle of Aokigahara (yes, THAT suicide forest) 😭
You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.
A dead girl walks the streets.
She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.
And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.
Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.
Say Her Name by Juno Dawson
Maybe because Bloody Mary is one of the ghost that scares me the most, this book really scared me. I read it for some halloween readathon a few years back and it was so scary, I couldn’t sleep and ended up reading some Riordan all night to chase the fears away 😭
📚 Related post: Mini reviews #5: Halloween Read-A-Thon
Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of ‘Bloody Mary’: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?
Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror… five days… but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before… A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted ‘Queen of Teen’ author James Dawson.
Slow but Haunting Story 🕯
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
This series has one of my favorite vibes ever: small, sleepy towns where magical things happened with ride-or-die group of friends going on an adventure. The writing is gorgeous and the story is very slow paced, but it will definitely stay with you for a long time.
📚 Related post: Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
The Deep by Alma Katsu
When I first started this book, I wasn’t really sure I would like it since the beginning was very… different from what I expected. However as I keep reading, I got sucked into the story and couldn’t stop reading! Our characters are stuck in the ocean during Titanic’s maiden voyage, where things happened and there’s no where to go. It follows different characters, all of them interesting and unique and the writing is just perfect. It’s a story that will definitely haunts you, if not for the story itself, then for the fate of the Titanic’s passengers.
📚 Related post: The Deep by Alma Katsu
Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.
This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.
Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .
Middle Grade 🧸
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book is one of my favorite comfort reads, it’s just so good! We grew up with the characters and as such, sees the ghosts as our family. The ending was bittersweet and just perfect. There’s a reason why this is one of Gaiman’s most popular works.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.
But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.
A deliciously dark masterwork by bestselling author Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by award-winning Dave McKean.
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
I absolutely love The Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden, but her middle grade series is also very enjoyable! Small Spaces may not have the magical atmosphere Winternight has, but it’s very cozy and can get creepy at times. Plus, the characters are stellar!
📚 Related post: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden // Beware of large places…..
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.
Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.
Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”
And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.
The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard
Another one I read this summer, this one was such a pleasant surprise! The story can be too creepily realistic, others kinda disgusting (in a horror way) but it’s such a delight to keep reading and guess what will happen next. It’s in black and white which adds to the ~mystery~ of the stories.
📚 Related post: Mini Reviews: Graphic Novels & Illustrated Books
A masterful collection of tales from the faded border between our day-to-day world and the horrifying unknown on the other side of midnight.
An old woman living alone on the edge of a bog gets an unexpected — and unsettling — visitor, throwing her quiet life into a long-buried mystery. An isolated backwoods family stumbles into good fortune for a time with a monstrous discovery in the lake behind their house, but that time is running short. And a misfit little girl, struggling to make friends, meets an understanding soul one day at the beach: but why will he only play with her alone at night? All these lonely souls — and more — have reached out into the darkness, not knowing what they might find.
Around the dark edges of reality lurk unknown beings with unknowable intentions — ordinary objects can become cursed possessions, entities who seem like friends can become monstrous, and those who seem monstrous can become the truest companions. In this collection of evocative, unnerving slice-of-life horror, five stories explore what happens when one is desperate enough to seek solace in the unnatural, and what might be waiting for us at the Crossroads at Midnight.
Through the Woods by Emily Caroll
The story might not be as scary, but the visuals in this book are really pretty! The main color used in this book are read and black and they’re such a stark contrast that brings out the dark atmosphere really well.
‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’
Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.
These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.
Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…
Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
Probably one of my favorite retellings ever, this is such a gorgeous, dark, lush retelling of Snow White! The story is dark, the illustration is gorgeous and conveys the emotions really well.
📚 Related post: Mini Reviews: May-July Graphic Novel
A chilling fantasy retelling of the Snow White fairy tale by bestselling creators Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran.
A not-so-evil queen is terrified of her monstrous stepdaughter and determined to repel this creature and save her kingdom from a world where happy endings aren’t so happily ever after.
From the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, Nebula Award-winning and Sunday Times-bestselling writer Neil Gaiman (American Gods) comes this graphic novel adaptation by Colleen Doran (Troll Bridge).
Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause
Quick and fun read, this is a collection of “deep dark fears” people has. While it’s a fun read, when the fear hits, it hits with a tingle of spine as your darkest fears is laid on the page… It’s sequel, The Creeps, definitely lives up to this one!
📚 Related post: The Creeps by Fran Krause // A Fun Halloween Read
A charmingly creepy collection of 100 illustrated comics based on idiosyncratic and universal “deep dark fears.”
We all have weird fears, from getting sliced to ribbons in subway station revolving gate to getting turned around by the wind while swimming and going too far out to sea. Based on the wildly popular eponymous Tumblr, Deep Dark Fears explores our odd, creepy, and hilariously singular fears. Animator, illustrator, and cartoonist Fran Krause brings these fears to life in vividly illustrated comics based on real fears submitted by readers (plus a few of his own). These “deep dark fears” run the gamut from unlikely but plausible to completely ridiculous, highlighting both our deeply human similarities and our peculiar uniquenesses.