Hello my lovely little weirdos. It is October a.k.a. spooky season but I don't need an excuse to talk about scary, creepy, disgusting, horrific books, do you? I have read so many books this year, rekindled my love of reading and have begun to feel like I am starting to get a better sense of the kinds of books I enjoy. One genre of books that I cannot get enough of is - without a doubt - horror.
When I say horror, I know that is such a broad genre. Ghosts, witches, demons, monsters, human depravity, psychological horror, etc. its all in there and I love every single second of it. From the cute + creepy wholesome horror to the horrific, gore filled splatterpunk and even the ones that are just emotionally/mentally upsetting and terrifying... I have never met a horror novel I didn't like.
This list will be an ongoing project of the different horror novels I read and highly recommend, it will be broken down into categories that get more intense the further down you go. I got the idea when I posted a few spooky book recs in my Instagram stories the other day but I wanted a more in depth and permanent list so here we go!!
Level 1 - 👻
This level is reserved for books with spooky vibes. Scares are subtle/sparse, there is little/no violence.
Seance Tea Party - spooky but precious graphic novel about a real girl who is afraid to grow up and the ghost girl who will never grow up. For more information, here is my review.
Murder of a Werewolf - the first book in the Brimstone Witch Mystery series. No smut, no gore. It has big Halloweentown vibes and I had so much fun reading it. Available on Kindle Unlimited The Graveyard Book - a Jungle Book retelling but instead of a jungle, it's set in a graveyard. Coraline - a favorite in my house, so cute, so fun, a little spooky and the movie is great too! The Witches - I used to read this to my kids, complete with voice act outs. Spooky and fun, a classic. The Ghosts of Rose Hill - this book is first of all gorgeous but it is also such a sweet story about a girl who discovers an abandoned cemetery and connects with a ghost boy haunting the graves. The Haunting of Hill House - this is a classic of course, I felt like it was a little boring but then I got an actual chill up my spine so it goes on the list :P Carmilla - slightly sapphic vampire story that predates Dracula. Yes, please. We Have Always Lived in the Castle - another Shirley Jackson classic story about a strange family on the outskirts of town. What Stays Buried - this book is too precious. I cried. It was spooky but sweet. A young girl can see ghosts until her 13th birthday which is rapidly approaching. Kids start going missing and the clock is ticking for her to figure it out. Available March 7, 2023
The Seance - a nice little scary story about a group of girls who host a seance and then one of them goes missing! I read this in middle school and fell in love.
Level 2 - 👻👻
These books will test your limits without obliterating them. Violence, mature themes and dread abound.
Always the First to Die - a storm hits Florida and everyone should evacuate but people start dying, nice little creepy read. The Sacrifice - an island in the Philippines that the locals know is haunted, an American film crew shows up to hunt the spirits. What can go wrong right?
Suburban Hell - the moms on the block have a huge problem when one of their own gets possessed at wine night.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires - another little story set in a suburb, ladies of a darker book club are experiencing their own horror story when a vampire moves into the neighborhood.
My Best Friend's Exorcism - a fun little demon possession story set in the 1980's
Baby Teeth - is the mom delusional? is the kid a psychopath? you'll have to read to find out. available on Kindle Unlimited
The Bird Eater - part haunted house, part small town horror, lots of bird death, available on Kindle Unlimited
The Hellbound Heart - this is the story that brought us the Hellraiser franchise, absolutely a favorite
The Outsider - part small town horror, part supernatural monster tale, very long but sufficiently creepy
They Drown Our Daughters - there's something in the water drowning an entire line of women... slow start but great once it picks up
The Blackwater Series - I really love this series, it did get brutal at times but for the most part it is just a spooky story about a strange family, more "something in the water" vibes
Dead Flip - YA story about a haunted pinball machine in the 1980's, loved this one so much and I really love the author
Man Fuck This House - creepy novella about a potentially haunted house
Comfort Me with Apples - novella about a rigid little gated community that may be more than it seems
Nothing but Blackened Teeth - creepy Japanese novella about a ghost bride haunting a house, I wasn't a huge fan of this one but it is worth trying and the cover is so cool.
The Dark Between the Trees - the woods are haunted, it felt a lot like the beginning of The Descent but it was kind of slow for my tastes
The Grownup - another day, another novella about a creepy family.
House of Crows series - another haunted house, haunted woods story/series, quick reads, available on Kindle Unlimited
We Made it All Up - YA and super fun but creepy, a couple of friends write queer fanfic about their classmates but then strange things start happening
Horesman - a sleepy hollow retelling that was really fun, I loved the main character
The First Day of Spring - a don't remember this being gory, it is more of an emotionally damaging book, a girl murders a little boy and loves it, she grows up and has her own kid, lots of traumatic events, I felt empty while reading it, great book
Level 3 - 👻👻👻
These books crank things up a notch; you will be uncomfortable. Gore has entered the chat.
Near the Bone - absolutely terrifying, snowy mountain setting, I was tense the whole time
Seed - a family curse that is so good that I am now going through the author's entire catalog, available on Kindle Unlimited
The Shuddering - a group of friends in a snowy mountain cabin and there's something in the woods, this had big Until Dawn vibes and it read and felt like a horror film. Available on Kindle Unlimited.
Slewfoot - a witchy story set in 1666 Puritanical Connecticut, there's something in the woods, absolutely incredible and the physical copy has beautiful artwork to help immerse you in the story
Dirty Heads - queer monster story that kind of went over my head but I am reading it again to try to understand it better, available on Kindle Unlimited
Ring Shout - dark historical supernatural horror novella where the monsters are wearing white hoods and fueled by hatred aka KKK, incredible, rich story with lovable characters, yes times 1000
Just Like Home - part serial killer story, part secrets coming to light story, the main character returns to her childhood home to care for her dying mother, strange and gripping
Cabin at the End of the World - very unsettling home invasion story set in an isolated cabin in the woods
Mary; An Awakening of Terror - slow burn, perimenopausal woman sees ghosts and gore as she returns home to care for her estranged dying aunt, really gory but a great story
The Mary Shelley Club - YA but still pretty creepy, lots of nods to classic horror novels and film, lovable characters and an gripping story
Pretty Girls - less horror, more thriller but horrific none the less, a woman discovers a secret about her deceased husband, calls her estranged sister to help. this book is brutal and amazing.
Level 4 - 👻👻👻👻
These books are barely even enjoyable. Everything is turned up to 11. Good luck.
Dead Inside - witty and interesting but filled with unspeakable human depravity
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke - a sapphic internet romance but like... in the literal worst way. This book is good but nasty.
True Crime - super bleak, tragedy after tragedy, gross and disturbing, abandon all hope, available on Kindle Unlimited
Tender is the Flesh - a dystopian future where people are famed for meat, really bleak, really upsetting.