As soon as October comes around, I’m ready to read all of the scary books I can get my hands on. These books are good to read at any time of the year, but there’s just something about chills and thrills that feel right for fall. Things that make noise in the dark are what I want. Trust me when I say that these scary books are all you need and more this Halloween.
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
A young woman born out of wedlock in a religious sect where womanhood and witchcraft are almost one and the same has to deal with her past and the curses that may be linked to her birth. When Immanuelle was a child, she was told not to go into the Darkwood because it was dangerous. It was her mother who did it, after all. But when she finds out that the stories about the witches in the woods are true, she gets caught up in a deadly fight to get rid of the bad things that happen in her town. A prophet’s son is the only person who can help her. She wants to know how she was born and what her mother did with witches. If she doesn’t do anything, she’ll have to watch her house burn down. When she does something that makes her seem like a witch, she could die at the pyre.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Space necromancers and deadly magic come together in this science fantasy series by Tamsyn Muir. Gideon is a great swordswoman, but she was never meant to be a horseback rider. Because, in fact, all she’s ever wanted to do is get out of the Ninth House. She turns to Gideon when the Emperor asks the Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House to take a dangerous test of her wisdom and skill, and he can’t help her. Without Gideon’s sword, she can’t fight. And without a chance to get the Emperor’s attention, the Ninth House will die out for good.
White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton
Adam Binder isn’t your average magic show. The last time his brother sent him to the psych ward for hearing voices as a teen was when he was 15. He used to help his brother with a magical problem that didn’t fit into the perfect suburban life he had built for himself. Typical. His sister-in-law is in danger from a strange possession that seems to be taking over Denver. Adam has to work with an adorable human cop who is way out of his depth and his first love, the ethereal elf who broke his heart, to help. The powers Adam is facing are out of his league. If he doesn’t figure out a way to stop it quickly, all of Denver will be wiped out.
Urban fantasy in a way you’ve never seen before. David Slayton, a friend of mine, wrote an amazing first book in a new fantasy series. It’s full of trailer park wizards, strange possessions, and real-life family drama that you won’t be able to stop reading.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Alex was given a scholarship to Yale by unknown donors who said he would supervise the university’s strange and supernatural secret societies. He protects the student body from ghosts as they carry out dangerous, otherworldly rituals. She can see ghosts, too. But the more she learns about the societies’ occult activities and why she was chosen to be in charge of them, the more she realizes that she’s way out of her depth and doesn’t know what to do. These groups are home to the rich and powerful of the future, as well as those who already are. As for Alex, if she gets in their way, she might become their next sacrifice.
Check out some of the warnings and details about this book before you start reading it if you’re a fan of Bardugo’s YA fantasy books. Besides being fully grown, this thing also has a lot of yucks and icks. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start. I didn’t like it at all, but I still loved it.
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Powers
Everybody else can’t do tense YA body horror as well as Rory Powers can. Her first book, Wilder Girls, was about a strange disease at an isolated boarding school. In her second book, Burn Our Bodies Down, a young woman tries to figure out who she is and what her family has done in the past after she runs away to live with her grandmother on a dying farm. She and her mother have always been the only ones. Well, Margot and her mother and her mother’s secrets: That’s what I can say. People want a family. She wants a history. For more than her mother can give her, she wants more. But maybe her mother kept her past a secret for a reason. A lot of people in the town don’t seem to agree with that. They are afraid of this new runaway girl and her family. There are even more secrets hidden by Margot’s grandmother in the cornfields of her farm than her mother. People in her family have been poisoned before. If Margot does not figure out what it is quickly, she could become the next person to die in her family tree.
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The city of Mexico City is not a good place for vampires to live. It’s even more dangerous for Atl, who is a descendant of Aztec vampires, because authorities and gangs are on the lookout for her kind, and a rival vampire clan wants her blood. In Mexico Gothic, the author draws on vampire mythology from all over the world to write a vampire story that no one, not even vampires, can escape. In Gods of Jade and Shadow, the author draws on mythology from all over the world to write a vampire story that no one can escape from.
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
In the town of Colbren, the dead are never truly gone, even if they have been moved. “Bone houses” are bodies that have been re-enchanted by a mysterious magic at the edge of a forest. They have begun to move outside the forest. This is bad news for Ryn, the daughter of the town’s late gravedigger. These resurrected bodies could hurt her business. In this case, there is no need for a grave digger. People believe that they must burn bodies to keep them from rising again. In the beginning, a strange young mapmaker shows up. He and Ryn set out to find the source of the dangerous magic and put an end to the rising dead for good.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
When a young author and two actresses remember their past in this haunting story, they can’t stop thinking about it. The story is about a tragic school history being turned into a movie. The Brookhants School for Girls is forced to close its doors for good after five terrible and mysterious deaths happen on its land, all of which are linked to Mary MacLane’s scandalous memoir. 100 years after the real-life deaths at Brookhants, the author of a fictional retelling of the story, The Happenings at Brookhants, is whisked away to Hollywood to meet the young stars of the movie based on her book. Harper Harper is everything an up-and-coming star should be: edgy, beautiful, and a little scandalous. Her costar, who plays her ill-fated lover, is a B-list former child star who wants to make her own name. Brookhants’ long-closed gates are opened again as the three young women head there. The past and the present become horrifyingly mixed up. Was Brookhants cursed? The three young women who are going back to the haunted past are going to see it happen again.
It’s Emily M. Danforth’s first book for adults, and it’s sharp and loud. It’s a thriller of huge proportions, and it’ll keep you turning pages until the end.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Classic horror meets social commentary in this thriller from today. Four young men are haunted by an event from their childhood that they don’t want to forget. They are being chased by someone who wants to get back at them. They have to fight for their lives. With all of the culture and traditions that they left behind coming after them with all of their might, how can they move forward?
Jones is said to be “the Jordan Peele of horror literature,” so you know this book is going to be spooky and scary and good.
Horrid by Katrina Leno
A haunted house, a secret past, and the grief of a family. The day after Jane’s father died, she left California and went to her mother’s childhood home in Maine. It was an old, run-down house that her mother used to live in. In their new home, something dark lurks behind the locked doors. As summer turns to fall, Jane and her mother have to think about the secrets in the house and the terrible memories it brings back.