Horror Recommendations, Pt. I (& a read-along!)

If there’s one post that has been requested of me more than anything else during my entire time hosting this blog, it has to be…

A horror recommendation list!

Check out pt. II of the list here!

But, first…

Before we jump into the recommendations, I wanted to take a moment to announce a creepy October read-along!

It Readalong(photo credit to Kathy!)

Kathy and I have been discussing an It read-along for ages, so we decided to finally host it in October. She’s been so kind as to create a chapter breakdown, and I’m sure we’ll both be posting updates on twitter as we go, so if you’ve been putting off reading this beast of a horror novel, please join us in October!

Start: October 1st
Stop 1:  October 8th at 345 pages – end of chapter 6
Stop 2: October 15th at 738 pages  – end of chapter 11
Stop 3: October 22nd at 1063 pages – end of chapter 18
End: October 31st at 1392 pages


Now, for the recommendations…

Image result for spooky gif

Since I’ve been reviewing so much more horror lately, I decided to go ahead and make a list—hopefully in time to help you guys work on those spooky October TBRs! I’m going to be recommending books I have read, and I’ll be dividing the lists by age range.

I’m also posting a horror TBR list with all of the horror books on my TBR that I predict I’ll enjoy, so please don’t forget to check it out later today!


Spooky Reads I Enjoyed:

I’m going to use skull emojis on a scale of 1-5 (1=low, 5=high) to indicate how scary I found the book. (Keep in mind that fear is very subjective, so what terrified you might not have made me bat an eye, and vice versa!)

Adult Recommendations:

(Since I’ve been reading adult horror most of my life but only began to read critically in the last few years, I’m only including books that I’ve read recently enough to feel comfortable recommending. I gave each of these books 3 or more stars.)

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1. The Siren and the Specter — Jonathan Janz — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
A haunted house with a terrifying twist—literally one of the scariest books I’ve ever read.

2. Sparrow Hill Road — Seanan McGuire — review
Creep Level: 💀💀
A twist on the urban legend of the hitchhiker, full of endless ghostly mythological references.

3. The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion — Margaret Killjoy — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
Danielle Cain, a queer punk rock traveler/hitchhiker/anarchist extraordinaire, gets roped into a messy situation when she finds herself in a town that has summoned a spirit to protect them—at a cost.

4. A Monstrous Love: Two Halloween Romances — Magen Cubed
Creep Level: 💀💀
Two twisted Halloween love stories about creepy queer ladies.

5. Quarter to Midnight — Darcy Coates
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
Fifteen gothic horror tales, guaranteed to unsettle.

6. Tick Tock — Dean Koontz
Creep Level: 💀💀
A man finds a strange little doll at his doorstep, but quickly realizes the doll houses a reptilian evil, hellbent on terrorizing him. (Note: this book is more hilarious than anything.)

recs-adult1

7. North American Lake Monsters — Nathan Ballingrud
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
A short story collection that explores the way sometimes the scariest monsters are other humans.

8. We Sold Our Souls — Grady Hendrix — review
Creep Level: 💀💀
A former metal guitarist gets wrapped up in a terrifying mission to find the former bandmate who may have sold her soul to the devil in exchange for his own stardom.

9. Locke & Key graphic novel series — Joe Hill — series review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
After being struck by tragedy, a family moves into their inherited home, where ancient keys unlock some very bizarre (and dangerous) secrets.

10. Kill Creek — Scott Thomas — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
Four famous horror authors are taken to a haunted house to spend the night, and terror ensues.

11. A Head Full of Ghosts — Paul Tremblay
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
In a story alternating between the past and the present, Merry reminisces on her sister’s childhood demonic possession.

12. Strange Weather — Joe Hill — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
A collection of four novellas of the strange and morbid, mingling horror with heavy-handed social commentary on the demise of modern society.

13. The Butterfly Garden — Dot Hutchison
Creep Level: 💀💀
Technically, this is a thriller series, but I know a lot of people who said it genuinely creeped them out, and it’s so underrated that I’m including it.

recs-adult2

14. The Grownup — Gillian Flynn — review
Creep Level: 💀💀
A fraudulent psychic visits the home of a sad, wealthy woman, where she discovers something very disturbing going on with the woman’s teen stepson.

15. Horns — Joe Hill
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
After being blamed for the death of the love of his life, Ig wakes up one morning with a pair of horns growing from his face, and quickly learns that the horns hold a horrible power over everyone he meets.

16. The Atrocities — Jeremy C. Shipp — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
Ms. Valdez goes to stay with a family seeking a caretaker for their daughter, but she doesn’t realize until she arrives that little Isabella has passed away recently.

17. The Policy — Bentley Little
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
If your new insurance policy sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

18. Babyteeth (graphic novel series) — Donny Cates
Creep Level: 💀
Being a 16-year-old mom is hard enough, but when your baby is the antichrist? YIKES.

19. The Association — Bentley Little
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
Nobody likes an over-bearing Home Owners Association, especially when an infraction as small as the wrong landscaping choice can result in punishment by death.

20. Cold, Thin Air (series) — C. K. Walker
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
Each of the 3 Cold, Thin Air volumes are collections of Walker’s own creepypasta, drawn from her days of infamy on the r/NoSleep subreddit.

recs-adult3

21. Her Body and Other Parties — Carmen Maria Machado — review
Creep Level: 💀💀
A collection of horror and speculative fiction, filled with diverse representation and feminist commentaries on society.

22. The Haunting of Hill House — Shirley Jackson — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
In one of the original haunted house classics, four people decide to spend some time in the terrifying Hill House.

23. The Devil and the Deep — Ellen Datlow (editor) — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
An anthology of nautical horror, ranging from murderous pirates, deep sea creatures, and ship-roaming ghosts.

24. Wytches (graphic novel) — Scott Snyder
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
All the stories about witches are wrong, and they’re way worse than the movies ever said they were.

25. Heart Shaped Box — Joe Hill
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
A former rock star makes a habit of purchasing morbid items online, until he buys a dead man’s suit and learns that the man’s ghost has come along with it.

26. Penpal — Dathan Auerbach
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
A man pieces together strange memories from his childhood, coming to a devastating conclusion of what happened to him and his childhood best friend all those years ago.

27. Ghost Camera — Darcy Coates
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
When Jenine finds an old Polaroid camera in an abandoned lighthouse, she thinks she’s found a gem, but the photos show a twisted shift in reality.

recs-adult4

28. Everything That’s Underneath — Kristi DeMeester
Creep Level: 💀💀
A collection of horror and speculative fiction exploring all the dark places most people avoid.

29. The CreepyPasta Collection series — Mr. Creepy Pasta (editor)
Creep Level: 💀💀
An anthology of short, creepy stories with no set theme. (I loved the first book, not so much the second one.)

30. Small Horrors — Darcy Coates
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
A collection of fifty bite-sized creepy stories.

31. Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked — Christa Carmen — review
Creep Level: 💀💀
A collection of horror with a feminist twist.

32. Night Shift — Stephen King — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
Twenty of King’s oldest short stories, including a few can’t-miss stories like the inspiration behind the full novel Salem’s Lot.

33. Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror (manga) — Junji Ito
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
When a strange spiral pattern begins to appear everywhere in a coastal Japanese town, the spirals begin to change the people there in disgusting, strange ways.

34. Odd Thomas — Dean Koontz
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
Odd can speak to ghosts, which is usually fine, but there’s a new guy in town who’s unlike anything Odd’s seen before.


YA Recommendations:

(I don’t read as much YA horror, and tend to be unimpressed by much of it, so I’m only including things I gave 3 or more stars here.)

recs-ya

1. Through the Woods (graphic novel) — Emily Carroll
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
A beautifully macabre collection of frightening and strange journeys into (and out of) the woods.

2. Contagion — Erin Bowman — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
A search-and-rescue team is sent to a distant planet, where they find far too many corpses for a simple explanation.

3. Pitch Dark — Courtney Alameda — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
When a ship of raiders collides with what appears to be an incredibly valuable, abandoned ship, they never expect to find murderous aliens on board.

4. Nightingale — Amy Lukavics — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
When June is committed to an asylum for insisting that otherworldly creatures have replaced her parents, she finds monstrosities that rival even that of her own twisted imagination.

5. Slasher Girls & Monster Boys — April Genevieve Tucholke (editor) — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀💀
An anthology of twisted and spooky tales from many popular YA authors.

6. Devils Unto Dust — Emma Berquist — review
Creep Level: 💀💀
A western/horror zombie story.

7. There’s Someone Inside Your House — Stephanie Perkins — review
Creep Level: 💀
90% cute YA contemporary, 10% goofy slasher flick, but it worked for me.

8. Mary: The Summoning — Hillary Monahan — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀
A twist on the classic Bloody Mary legend.


MG Recommendations:

(I’ve been reading horror since I was a small child, but most of my childhood was spent reading books outside of my intended reading level, so I sadly don’t have much to recommend in the way of children’s horror.)

recs-mg

1. City of Ghosts — Victoria Schwab — review
Creep Level: 💀💀
Ever since Cassidy almost died, she can see the world of the dead as well as the living.

2. The Awful Apple Orchard — M. D. Spenser
Creep Level: 💀💀
While on a family vacation, two siblings learn that the stories about the local haunted cider mill might have more truth behind them than they realized.
Note: This was one of my favorite series as a kid, and I recommend any of the titles in the series, though this was my personal favorite installment.

3. Thirteen Chairs — Dave Shelton — review
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
A boy enters a house to find a group of ghosts gathered around a table, and he can’t leave until he’s heard each of their stories.

4. The Beasties — William Sleator
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
Siblings move to a new house and find a hidden civilization of monstrous creatures in the woods behind their house.

5. Scary Stories Treasury — Alvin Schwartz (editor)
Creep Level: 💀💀💀
A collection of horror shorts for kids, complete with creepy illustrations.

6. Nightmare Hour: Time for Terror — R. L. Stine
Creep Level: 💀💀
Stine’s take on the Scary Stories trend, also including illustrations.

7. Goosebumps series — R. L. Stine
Creep Level: varies
What kind of list would this be without a shoutout to my introduction to horror books as a child?


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Just a 25-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

45 thoughts on “Horror Recommendations, Pt. I (& a read-along!)

  1. I read “A Head Full of Ghosts” awhile back and it was a great read, so I’m going to have to recommend this to everyone as well! It’s a must-read. “Through the Woods” was visually stunning! And I just recently finished “There’s Someone Inside Your House”, classic slasher book and I loved it.

    I have “Slasher Girls and Monster Boys” on my bookshelf right now but I’ve only read a few of the stories in it, I might finish it in October!

    Like

    1. I’m so glad you loved all of those! I did the audiobook for A Head Full of Ghosts and was just blown away by how creepy and fun it was.

      Slasher Girls has a few rough stories for me, but most of that collection is phenomenal – I hope you love the rest of it!

      Like

  2. omg this came at the perfect time! there are a handful of recs i’ve read (lokc & key is my most fave), but some new and very interesting novels 😀 and good luck with your IT readalong! ❤

    Like

  3. This is such an amazing list, Destiny! SO MANY BOOKS FOR ME TO LOVE!
    I won’t be joining in on the IT readalong, I posted on Kathy’s blog that that book terrifies me. I’ve tried a couple of times with the book and movie, and nope. My clown phobia is too strong. Happy reading!

    Like

  4. This is fantastic! As we approach October, I’m starting to put together a reading list of horror and dark fantasy too. And I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on your It readalong. I tried reading this book a long time ago, but only got about halfway through. I was young though, and probably not as patient or into the genre as I am now 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I can’t wait to read your list (about to scurry off and make sure you haven’t already posted it—life has been WILD the last week and a half and I’m so behind on blog hopping, ack!).

      I honestly am going into It with pretty average expectations, because I want to like it, but at the same time, King’s old work is hit and miss enough for me that I think I won’t beat myself up too much if it isn’t a winner! That said, I am really excited to finally try It!

      Like

  5. This is a fantastic list! I just finished Her Body and Other Parties and loved it so much. I’m so glad to see Pitch Dark on your list. It doesn’t get enough love. And Penpal! You are the only other blogger I know who has read that one. It gave me chills. Thanks for all the recs!

    Like

  6. Checking out all these spooky books, but am super excited to read It! I’ve been trying to read that books for months now and hopefully reading with other people will encourage me to finish the damn thing! Super keen for this 😘

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  7. ‘It’ is my all time favourite book and at some point next year I need to fit in a reread-maybe! I’ve always hated creepy clowns and the book reinforced it! Heart Shaped box is also a favourite. Darcy Coates is an author I hope to try soon, along with Kill Creek, We sold our souls, Mary and Contagion. I hope to get a few of these read October and November.

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  8. Hmm, I DNFed It last year, but I may have to try it again for the readalong! Maybe it’ll be easier if I’m not in it alone, haha. Also, to no one’s surprise, most of these are already on my TBR from seeing them on other posts of yours or on Goodreads!

    Like

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