‘101 Horror Books to Read Before You’re Murdered’: send help, my TBR has finally crushed me

August 14, 2023

TITLE: 101 Horror Books to Read Before You’re Murdered
AUTHOR: Sadie Hartmann
GENRE: Nonfiction/Reference
PAGES: 168pg
PUBLISHER: Page Street Publishing

The Ultimate List of Must-Read Horror

Curious readers and fans of monsters and the macabre, get ready to bulk up your TBR piles! Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann has curated the best selection of modern horror books, including plenty of deep cuts. Indulge your heart’s darkest desires to be terrified, unsettled, disgusted, and heartbroken with stories that span everything from paranormal hauntings and creepy death cults to small-town terrors and apocalyptic disasters. Each recommendation includes a full synopsis as well as a quick overview of the book’s themes, style, and tone so you can narrow down your next read at a glance. Featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Josh Malerman and five brand-new essays from rising voices in the genre, this illustrated reader’s guide is perfect for anyone who dares to delve into the dark.

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It feels a little unusual to “review” a book that is, essentially, a collection of book reviews, and yet I can’t not give this the 5-star treatment. Sadie knocked this one out of the damn park! I can’t wait to shove this book into the hands of every horror reader I meet, but first, I need to give you some backstory.

I met Sadie on Instagram years ago, and meeting her is how I got into the horror book community and worked up the courage to start focusing primarily on my lifelong favorite themes. Horror has been my most reached-for genre since early childhood, but when I first joined bookstagram in 2016, I fell into a crowd whose mindset was “YA or bust” and I got crammed into a box I never really felt I belonged in.

If you ask anyone who’s ever transitioned from the YA online community to another bookish space, they’ll probably say the same: it’s a nerve-wracking experience. I lost so many followers when I shifted my focus, and I even received DMs from friends who basically told me, “I like you, but I’m unfollowing and/or muting you because I can’t stand seeing these scary books in my feed.” It was rough!

But every time I felt discouraged, I looked at Sadie and the little circles she moved in, and I took heart. Here was someone who was inspiring me, who was doing what she loved—using her platform to promote horror—and she had found a niche that she fit perfectly into! Watching Sadie be true to herself told me that if I was true to myself, and did what I loved without worrying about what others thought, I could find my niche, too. And you know what? I did. I feel like I have a corner carved out for me here, a place at the table that’s solidly mine, and I don’t know if I would have ever taken a chance if I hadn’t met Sadie.

I’m rambling, but the point is: I have a really special place in my heart for Sadie, so when I tell you I’m proud of what she’s accomplished here, I mean I am really fucking proud of her.

But you know what, you’re not here to listen to me gush about the author, you’re here for my thoughts on the book. 101 Horror Books to Read Before You’re Murdered is an absolute treasure chest full of prized jewels of the horror genre from traditionally published and mainstream bestselling authors, all the way to self-published indie works that don’t get nearly the recognition they deserve. Whether you’re new to the horror genre or a lifelong devotee, there are titles in here that you’re going to want to add to your TBR immediately.

Luckily for me, even though I read a lot of horror titles, most of the ones in this book were still on my TBR or totally brand new to me! (Of the ones I had read, I second her recommendation for every single one: no duds here.) I even created an entire Goodreads shelf for Sadie’s picks that I haven’t read yet, and I’m challenging myself to work through that shelf over the next few years, because she hasn’t led me astray with a recommendation yet.

In case you couldn’t tell, I loved 101 Horror Books to Read Before You’re Murdered a whole lot. Sadie’s writing is so fun and relatable, she speaks from the heart, and she’s really damn talented at making you want to read everything she recommends as soon as you possibly can. It’s no wonder I have a shelf full of books I bought based on her suggestions and that shelf is growing all the time. On top of everything else, the physical copy of this book is a delight: it’s beautifully formatted and has gorgeous artwork that I couldn’t stop staring at. Sadie and Page Street Publishing killed it, and I really hope there’s a sequel in the works someday!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. This is such a great review! It’s so fun seeing you geek out over Sadie. She is such a huge inspiration in the horror community. I always look forward to reading her reviews. To see she wrote a whole book to dedicating horror books is just so fun and exciting to see. I can’t wait to pick this up. It’s always fun supporting others in the book community.

    1. I’ve only recently started following Sadie but I saw her name around and knew it was connected to horror. Now I’ve been screenshotting just about everything she shows on Instagram 😂 Can’t wait to read this!

    1. I agree 100%. This book is such a treat, beautifully designed and formatted, and I’m surprised how many books on her list I still need to read!

      1. I was surprised, too! I honestly went into it expecting to have read a lot more of them, but nope, it was a really small percentage. I have a lot of good reads ahead of me! 😂

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