24 Halloween/Fall Must-Reads

halloween reads for people who like scary and people who don't like scary books

There is just something about Fall that makes me pick up very specific books. I mean, sure, I will read just about any book at any time but I *am* a person who reads based upon their mood and sometimes the weather or the seasons will affect that.

All during the Fall I find myself craving mysteries, horror, murder-y type books, thrillers, supernatural, Gothic lit, dark and atmospheric or just anything that has a real ~Fall vibe~…..don’t ask me to define what that is for you…it’s just a FEELING that I get.

So, I figured I’d put together a list of a list of books perfect for your Fall/Halloween reading needs — whether you like scary books or prefer less scary and more mystery or atmospheric. Some of the books I’ve read and some are on MY must read list for this Fall!

Grab a PSL, get cozy in a sweater and head to your nearest bookstore or library to snag one of these! (Also, check out these Halloween reads  and these ones I recommended through the years).

[Keep Reading]

Halloween Reading Round-Up (Mini-Reviews)

I only read 3 of the 6 Halloween-ish books I set out to read in October. That makes me 50 % successful (see — glass half full thing). Part of it is being a mood reader and also this weird thing I’m going through. I really enjoyed the books I picked so I decided to round them up in one post and, at the end, talk about if I think they were good Halloween reads.

 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs:

What It’s About In A Sentence: Jacob’s grandfather has always told these tales about his life growing up that were filled with strange and unusual things but, when his grandfather dies, he realizes maybe they were not tall tales and embarks on a journey to find the orphanage where his grandfather grew up.

What I Thought: This book was delightfully strange & wonderful. The cover made me think it was going to be kind of scary but in fact, honestly, the bottom of my purse right now is probably scarier — this is more of a fantasy/supernatural-y kind of story. I really enjoyed this one and really marveled at the brilliant writing and storytelling and it’s a book I would hand to people who think that YA isn’t well written. Despite the fact this book wasn’t scary like I thought it would be, it still had a perfect Halloween vibe. The photographs that are scattered about the book really added to the story,  the depth of the characters and the general feel of this extraordinary adventure. There’s magic, strange happenings and this mystery that is just woven so carefully and so smoothly that you can’t help but find yourself mesmerized. I didn’t know what to expect at first and was curious about these tall tales that Jacob’s grandfather seemed to tell and then when Jacob starts questioning if they are made up stories I was just absolutely enchanted by this life he lived. I cannot wait to see what the sequel holds in this incredibly unique series.

 

RATING:

RATING-loved-it

 

 

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

What It’s About In A Sentence: Madeline’s family, The Ushers, are cursed — they are plagued with strange illnesses, are not able to leave the house that seems to haunt them and watch their every move and nobody knows how to free them from it.

What I Thought: This one was creepy but not scary! It’s inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher and I was a little familiar with it but not enough to really know what was going to happen. The writing was fantastic and I was drawn in immediately to this sinister house and its history though there were points that were kind of slow for me..like really slow. If I’m honest I’m still a little confused as to what happened at the end for sure and also I THINK I get what was behind everything but also maybe not? As far as atmosphere goes, this book had it. PERFECT book to curl up with on a cool Fall day and just get lost in the life of a girl who lives in this house where strange things happen and whose family has this mysterious illness that eventually kills them. The house became its own character really. I will say that sometimes, while interesting, the storytelling — the chapters alternate from Madeline at different ages — was hard to keep track of and I’d have to flip back to double check what age we were at. This book would definitely be a great movie and when I kept reading I was visualizing so many scenes and the setting of everyone room and of the exterior of the house and outside of the house. Very creepy and I’m glad I read it around this time!

 

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

Rooms by  Lauren Oliver

Rooms by Lauren Oliver:

What It’s About In A Sentence: A family comes together to clean out the house of estranged patriarch and secrets and the past hurts come unearthed as the ghosts of the house, wrought with their own secrets, watch on.

I really liked this one! Lauren Oliver is such a great writer and I think her adult debut was very solid. It’s definitely different than her YA and I think those looking for exactly THAT could be disappointed as this is definitely more character driven and more of a slow paced story but it really worked for me. It was NOT scary at all if that matters to you. There are ghosts but it didn’t feel like a typical ghost story and definitely explored some emotional things. The family dynamics were fascinating — a family comes together to clean out the house of house of their ex-husband/estranged father. All 3 of them are carrying their own burden and secrets and then the other two perspectives we get are the two ghosts that inhabit the house who have their own secrets they can’t let go of.  The multi-POV’s can seem daunting at first but I really enjoyed the perspectives from the family members and also the ghosts because ALL of their threads in the story were SO fascinating to me and I got swept up in them and the ever so slightly unraveling mystery. Lauren’s writing is just so haunting and beautiful and so full of depth.

RATING

RATING-reallyliked

Overall Scare Factor Of My Halloween TBR reading:

So none of the books I read were super scary. The Fall definitely was creepy and atmospheric but not scary — definitely takes the cake for “scariest” out of these . Rooms wasn’t at all creepy or scary and the ghost element wasn’t of the scare variety. Miss Peregrine’s was delightfully strange and all the magic and supernatural elements made it a great Halloween read. They all, though The Fall & Miss Peregrine’s more strongly than Rooms, had that FEEL of a good Halloween read.

I will say next year I’m hoping to add an actual SCARY book into my reading experience (hit me with recs in the comments!!) but I’m really pleased with the books I chose for my Halloween reads! So if you want solid, non-scary books but still have that FEEL for your Halloween reading I’d check all of these out!

 

What books have you read so far in your Halloween/October reading? Any REALLY scary books to recommend to me for next year (or just good recs in general)?

My Plan To Scare My Socks Right Off In October

In addition to watching all my favorite scary/Halloween-ish movies (Hocus Pocus anyone??), I like to try and plan some themed reads around Halloween — either something scary/creepy,  atmospheric, or just something, to me, that screams HALLOWEEN or FALL!!

So here’s what I plan on reading to get in the Halloween spirit and I love for you to tell me which ones you think should be my TOP PRIORITY. I would LIKE to get through all of them but I’m just not sure that will happen. And I’ll leave you a link if you want to know some Jamie-approved Halloween reads. If you want to know what I plan to read IN GENERAL this Fall, check out my top ten books I want to read this Fall!

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1. Rooms by Lauren Oliver — GHOST STORY! It doesn’t sound super scary but I kind of feel like you can’t get more Halloween than ghosts?? Also really excited to see what LO can do in the adult fiction realm!

2. Welcome To The Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz: This looks like uber-scary horror! Creepy things happening as seven teens have to stay in a house to get a sneak peek at a famous horror director’s new project — people start missing. And I hear there is an element of having to face your deepest darkest fears. I hope it’s as scary as it sounds!

3. The Fall by Bethany Griffin: This book is a re-imagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Fall of The House of Usher. Anything POE related automatically gets an add to my list. Especially since it’s described as a “literary psychological thriller”…SO up my alley!

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: I’ve heard nothing about AMAZING things about this book! I’m intrigued by the mixed media but AH THE CREEPY KID ON THE COVER GET ME EVERY TIME. A teen finds the ruins of an old orphanage and finds that there may have been a good reason why the island was abandoned and there was somethings seriously peculiar about these children that were there.

5. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill: I read this a long time ago..well when it came out…but that was a lot of books ago. To be honest, I don’t remember much about it because I read it while still in college and I was always very distracted if I DID try to read a non-school book. It’s Stephen King’s son! It’s about a rock star who is totally into weird, macabre things and he has a collection of those things. He finds out about a ghost for sale and bids on it. The ghost is a vengeful spirit and wants to destroy the rock star for personal reasons.

6. The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman: All I know about this one is it is a creepy fairytale retelling!!

 

I’d LOVE for you to drop some Halloween reading recs for me in the comments! Also, let me know which ones should be my TOP priority in the event I don’t get through all of them. If you plan on doing any Halloween-themed reading, let me know what you are reading!

 

Review: Beyond by Graham McNamee

Book Title/Author: Beyond: A Ghost Story by Graham McNamee
Publisher/Year: Wendy Lamb Books (imprint of Random House) 2012
Genre: YA Horror/Paranormal
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: Acceleration, Bonechiller, Hate You

Amazon| Goodreads | About Graham McNamee

 

On the outside it may appear to people that Jane is clumsy, reckless or maybe suicidal. After all, she’s had some near fatal accidents. But only Jane and her best friend, Lexi, know the truth about all Jane’s “accidents” and how it’s her own shadow that take hold of her body and guides her to do these things. As Jane and Lexi work to figure out what’s happening to Jane they find a connection to Jane’s shadow mystery they would have never believed.

I thought this book was really creepy — not scary — but just plain ol’ creepy. I mean, I just think about the premise of your shadow warring against you and making you do things that you don’t want to do and it gives me the heebie jeebies. So many of the things that go bump in the night are outside forces and this one is something that is inside you and you can’t even control! Seriously, it could be a cool movie, I think. I mean, let’s recap here: HER SHADOW IS TRYING TO KILL HER. The premise alone simultaneously creeped me out yet thrilled me.

Beyond by Graham McNamee was very slim in size but it was one of those books that you really felt like you got this very whole and complete story — which was nice considering I’ve been reading SO many series. It was just darn nice to have a paranormal-like story and have it be a standalone. I read this SO quickly because it’s pacing is so great! I just kept wondering — is she possessed or is it a ghost or is her shadow an actual entity. And then when other things were revealed I was  even more intrigued! I did think that they ending was a little predictable, at least to me, but it still was enjoyable nonetheless.

And let me tell you, I love Jane and Lexi! They were awesome characters and I love seeing a pair of besties who are THIS close. They had a really awesome bond and I have to say that I loved that a romance didn’t get inserted as the main plot in this book. I don’t want to give anything away regarding the plot but I’ll say there is somebody Jane has her eye on but it’s not a driving force of this novel!

This was a perfect addition to my Halloween reading! It was a quick and creepy read that gave me something more unusual to read about! I mean, your own shadow tries to kill you on multiple occasions? I loved the path to figuring out the how’s and why’s of Jane’s shadow and was thoroughly engaged the whole time. If you are looking for a quick ghost-y/paranormal book that’s creepy, but not scary, and is NOT a series, I’d say pick this one up! Also, if you are wanting a break from a romance or a love triangle plot, this might be your thang.

 

For Fans Of: YA Horror, ghost stories, paranormal type stories without the romance focus (there IS a love interest but it’s not the focus), love triangles or sequels

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? What other good, truly creepy reads have you encountered? The bigger the creep factor the better!

three-half-stars
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