As October trudges onward, we are beginning to approach the ultimate spooky season. This is the time of year when we all start to bundle up, pour some hot chocolate, and read scary novels. I think autumn is always a bookworm's dream time of year and that is especially true the closer we creep to Halloween - or at least in my opinion.
Every reader has different tastes for what they want to read for the spooky season. Some people read horror, others choose mystery, and some don't change their reading habits at all. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, today I'm going to be recommending some books from a variety of genres that will hopefully keep you occupied through the spooky season.
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The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
I read The Shadows Between Us a few months ago and ended up giving it 3 stars at the time. While my review for it was average, I know so many people who adored this book beyond words. The vibe of it is perfect for the spooky season in all its shadowy glory. It has often been described by the author as an almost villain love story in a fantasy world as captivating as the tale itself.
The Shadows Between us is a very exaggerated novel that is ideal for those looking for a little immorality in their characters. They're all as shrouded in darkness as the Shadow King in the book himself. The characters perfectly belong in the spooky season of tricks and treats. If you have a craving for moral grayness and characters that teeter on the line between right and wrong, this could be the book for you.
Description: Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
I've Got My Eyes On You by Mary Higgins Clarke
The spookiest I ever truly go for my reading habits in the season is with mystery novels. Horror isn't my thing so I like to scatter mysteries across my tbr for the month of October. My philosophy in life is that you can never go wrong with a good mystery novel to cozy up with. And Mary Higgins Clarke is the queen of that genre so I'd be remiss not to include her on this list of recommendations.
I've Got My Eyes On You was one of her more recent book releases, though her back catalogue is also exquisite. The book is a murder mystery novel that is written in an almost journalistic writing style. For the entirety of it, the reader is on the edge of their seat trying to discover the killer in a true whodunit fashion.
Read it and you'll thank me later.
Description: After a party when her parents are away, eighteen-year-old Kerry Dowling is found fully dressed at the bottom of the family pool.
The immediate suspect is her boyfriend who had a bitter argument with her at the party. Then there is a twenty-year-old neighbor who was angry because she didn’t invite him to the party.
Or is there someone else who has not yet been seen on the radar?
Kerry’s older sister Aline, a twenty-eight-year-old guidance counselor, is determined to assist the Prosecutor's Office in learning the truth. She does not realize that now she is putting her own life in danger...
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
If you or some of your younger relatives are looking for a spooky middle-grade pick, I highly recommend The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I read this book around Halloween time in middle school for class and it was such a great experience. I loved it so much that once I turned in my school-issued copy of the book I decided to buy my own.
The Graveyard Book is a classically Neil Gaiman spooky book aimed at young readers but I think anyone can enjoy it. The story follows a little boy named Bod who grows up in a cemetery surrounded by ghosts and all manner of supernatural creatures. It tells of Bod growing up in these unusual circumstances as the stakes build greater with every year that passes.
Description: 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.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Serpent & Dove, and its new sequel, are some of the best books I've read this year. I'm also not alone in my love for them, they have taken the bookish world by storm. I can't log into my bookstagram account without seeing at least one post about these books. Not that I'm complaining as I'm equally contributing to the surplus, especially with all my recent Blood & Honey posts.
If you're looking for the perfect spooky season fantasy read, Serpent & Dove should definitely be on your list. The book has top-tier gothic witchy vibes that make the finest addition to your tbr for this time of year. It is dark and romantic with plenty of trope-filled shenanigans. Layers of delicate and consequence earning magic are both alluring and eerie in their portrayal.
Description: Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle:thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Remember how I said I never read horror? The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is probably the closest I'll ever get to it, though it's predominantly a mystery novel. The book is a lightly paranormal murder mystery set in a run-down town that is home to the local motel. It is a dreary and intriguing backdrop that feels like it's desiccating before the reader's eyes.
I found the dual POV's and time jumps spanning decades in The Sun Down Motel to be the perfect format for a climatic read. Each perspective delivers its own spooky view into a mystery that spans generations. Every new chapter reveals a clue in both the past and present with modern-day repercussions. All these details come together to reveal the mind-blowing truth of the murder, ghosts, and characters.
Description: The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…