Happy October! The spooky season is upon us and may I say that that shade of rot looks just scrumptious on you! I love October, not only is it the season for all things horror but it is also my birth month! So I decided to share with you some of the horror and thriller books that are on my wish list in the hopes of helping you find a creepy read for yourself.
Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.
As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him.
From the cover, I’m assuming this book probably has some bits of plant horror, which is something I really enjoy reading and watching about. On top of that this is book has a touch of dark academia with lots of supernatural elements, featuring queer characters and delving into themes of grief.
Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.
The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.
But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?
As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.
There’s something about old town secrets and a haunted house that never gets old. Inspired by The Haunting of Hill House, White Smoke is described as a “psychological thriller and a modern take on the classic haunted house story.” I couldn’t miss out on this book!
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.
Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?
I’ve heard a lot about The Ballad of Black Tom, all good things, which caught my attention. A mix of horror and historical, I’ve read that this book challenges and subverts Lovercraft’s racist works which caught my attention.
Kurouzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral — the hypnotic secret shape of the world. This bizarre masterpiece of horror manga is now available in a single volume. Fall into a whirlpool of terror!
A well-loved horror author in the community, Junji Ito has long been on my wish list. The only reason I don’t own any of his books yet is because they cost a pretty penny. So I’ve resigned myself to admiring and wanting the works. Looking into where to I should begin with Junji Ito’s works, many suggested Uzumaki, a story about a cursed small town.
When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.
Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers–except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.
What is about old lighthouses and stormy weathers that just draw me in? As soon as I saw the cover for this book, I wanted it. Not only that, but this book also explores the relationship between sisters which, as you know, always gets me.
A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
I’m quite pick with books that feature witches but The Year of the Witching drew me in with its exploration of religious oppression in a puritanical society and the feminist resistance against. This book just ticks all of my boxes!
A dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror.
D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.
Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh–and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.
Tackling racism through the lens of horror is something I am very new too but eager for! Ring Shout is unlike any horror book I’ve come across, plus a female main character with a magic sword? Count me in!
Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all.
There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.
When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.
Christina Henry is an author I’ve been eager to try and despite my interest in her previous works, none has drawn me in as much as Near The Bone has. Secluded mountain? Check. Scary woods? Check. Chilly winter vibes? Perfect!
Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.
By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.
I have been eagerly waiting for this book’s release only to be disappointed by the fact that I can’t afford to indulge. Sigh. Like, just look at how gorgeous that cover is! Plus this book was compared to Crimson Peak, The Haunting of Hill House and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – all of which I LOVE! That I don’t own this book already is just unfair.
Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.
With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.
Described as a queer reimagining of Dracula’s brides, this book immediately caught my attention. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite sure on whether to read it but as I continued to hear good things of this book, especially from people whose tastes I trust, I got more and more interested in it. I’m a bit unsure what my stance on vampires are but perhaps this book might change that!
Sinister forces draw together a cast of desperate characters in this eerie and absorbing novel from Yoko Ogawa.
An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Years later, the writer’s stepson reflects upon his stepmother and the strange stories she used to tell him. Meanwhile, a surgeon’s lover vows to kill him if he does not leave his wife. Before she can follow-through on her crime of passion, though, the surgeon will cross paths with another remarkable woman, a cabaret singer whose heart beats delicately outside of her body. But when the surgeon promises to repair her condition, he sparks the jealousy of another man who would like to preserve the heart in a custom tailored bag. Murderers and mourners, mothers and children, lovers and innocent bystanders—their fates converge in a darkly beautiful web that they are each powerless to escape.
Macabre, fiendishly clever, and with a touch of the supernatural, Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge creates a haunting tapestry of death—and the afterlife of the living.
A world of loneliness and unnerving desires. From the author of The Memory Police, this book takes us through the troubling lives of a cast of characters. I’m not sure what I expect from this book but just from the prose, this book seems to explore human relationships and the dark sides of our wants.
“Five of us sat in a circle doing our best to emulate the girls in The Craft, hoping to unleash some power to take us all away from our home to the place of our dreams. But we weren’t witches. We were five Chicanas living in San Antonio, Texas, one year out of high school.”
One hot summer night, best friends Lourdes, Fernanda, Ana, Perla, and Pauline hold a séance. It’s all fun and games at first, but their tipsy laughter turns to terror when the flames burn straight through their prayer candles and Fernanda starts crawling toward her friends and chanting in Nahuatl, the language of their Aztec ancestors.
Over the next few weeks, shy, modest Fernanda starts acting strangely—smearing herself in black makeup, shredding her hands on rose thorns, sucking sin out of the mouths of the guilty. The local priest is convinced it’s a demon, but Lourdes begins to suspect it’s something else—something far more ancient and powerful.
As Father Moreno’s obsession with Fernanda grows, Lourdes enlists the help of her “bruja Craft crew” and a professor, Dr. Camacho, to understand what is happening to her friend in this unholy tale of possession-gone-right.
Goddess of Filth explores the classic possession story from the perspective of young Mexican women in America. There’s also something very enticing about this novella’s title and I have to admit, that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to pick it up. Another which makes me super excited to give this book a try is that it has been compared to Jennifer’s Body and The Craft!
Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.
To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.
Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.
I love June Hur’s writing ever since I read The Silence of Bones. Beautiful and atmospheric, I love June Hur’s attention to details and her skill with character studies. I also love that she sets her mystery stories in historical Korea!
This description may contain affiliate links. Read our disclaimer policy for more info. Affiliate links support our channel, so we can continue to make fun podcasts for you.
🐈 Follow Mae: Blog | Twitter: @maevvve_
🐈 Follow Camillea: Blog | Youtube | Twitter: @camilleareads | Instagram: @camilleareads
If you enjoyed this episode, consider helping out by donating to Cam's Ko-Fi. All donations will go towards the running of the Totes and Tales podcast.
The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
The Haunting of Hill House
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Violet by Scott Thomas
The Cabin In The Woods
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Now You're One Of Us by Asa Nonami
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco
The Death Of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling