It’s October, which for me is the best time of the year. I love Halloween and all the things this month brings. The leaves are changing colors, pumpkin spice flavors everything, people get dressed up as someone else, and there’s haunts on every corner. If you too love spooky season, but this year haven’t quite felt that spooky spirit yet, maybe a book can change that around!
These are books with ghosts, ghouls, phantoms, and hauntings.
- Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers. This book is aimed more for kids. Scientific-minded Demelza discovers she can detect spectres and summon ghosts. When her grandma is kidnapped, Demelza and her friend, Percy, must use this skill to find out who took her. Demelza seems to be a great role model for middle-grade students.
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. For a classic, why not try this ghostly novel? A governess comes to care for two orphans who can possibly see two malicious spirits haunting the house. The book is very ambiguous and may leave you with more questions than answers.
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. If you loved the Netflix show, why not try the book? There are a few major differences between the show and the book. In the book, four strangers stay at Hill House and encounter some truly spooky stuff there.
These are books with witches, wizards, and magic.
- The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. When Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead, she seeks help from the “bone witch” to help harness and control her power.
- Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau by Martha Ward. I’m throwing some nonfiction in here to spice things up. If you love Halloween, you probably have watched American Horror Story. In AHS: Coven, Angela Bassett plays Marie Laveau. This book tells the story of the Marie Laveau and her daughter living in 19th century New Orleans.
- Circe by Madeline Miller. Circe is a mythological creature who first appeared in The Odyssey. In Homer’s epic, Circe is a witch who turns men into pigs and falls in love with Odysseus. However, in Miller’s adaptation, Circe longs for freedom from men and she sort of gets it when she’s banished to an island after a spell goes wrong.
Zesty Zombie Books:
These are books with zombies and a taste for brains.
- The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. This is the first book in a trilogy that I LOVED when I read it in high school. It starts off like many dystopian novels. Mary lives in a village with a fence around it that no one is allowed to cross. No one knows what’s out there, except that it’s deadly.
- Husk: A Novel by Corey Redekop. This one is more of a humorous book (think Shaun of the Dead). Sheldon is an actor trying to make it in the world when he becomes a zombie. The book is about him trying to juggle everyday life with his craving for human flesh.
- Feed by Mira Grant. In 2014, which was the future when this book was written, doctors had cured cancer and the common cold. In doing so, they created a new virus which made people want to FEED. Twenty years after the virus broke out, Georgia and Shaun try to find the dark truth behind the infected.
What Fantasy Horror is complete without werewolves?
(In my search, I have noticed most Werewolf books have a shirtless man on the cover. What the heck?)
- The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Jake Marlowe is 200 years old and the last of his kind. He is not sure he wants the burden of carrying on his race anymore.
- Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. This book is by no means the best I’ve ever read, but I still think about it years later, so that says something. Vivian must choose between her werewolf pack or the human boy she loves, Aiden.
- Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. This is basically the opposite of Blood and Chocolate. Anthony is part of LA’S dog-catching team, to stop the werewolves that are taking over the city. However, things change for Anthony when he falls in love with a member of the pack. Torn between protecting her or the city, what will he choose?
Quench Your Literary Thirst:
with a book about vampires! And no, I’m not including Twilight.
- The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez. After escaping slavery in 1850, Gilda finds work at a brothel. This is where she meets the undead and spends the next two centuries searching for a place to belong.
- Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast. This is the first book in the lengthy House of Night series. I loved this series so much I was sad when I finished it. In the first book, Zoey gets marked with a crescent moon and must attend the House of Night as a fledgling vampire. But, she is no ordinary fledgling. She has affinity for all of the elements and is therefore marked as special. When she finds others with the same gift misusing their power, Zoey must stand up for what’s right.
- Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett. This is a children’s book that little ones will love, especially if they have little brothers or sisters! A boy becomes fed up with his baby sister’s biting and begins to believe she is a vampire.
Stories with the Most Monsturous Creature of All:
…humans. Serial killers, mostly.
- Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson. After World War 2, London thought they were safe. Until a deadly smog crept through the city that disguised killers who roamed the streets and snatched forgotten women. This is a historical true crime story telling the tale of how a serial killer escaped the justice system for years.
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Ten strangers get together on a private island in Devon. The host is nowhere to be found and each stranger has deadly secrets. There is a nursery rhyme on the wall describing ten people dying and soon some of the strangers die as in the rhyme. How can they stop it? Who is the killer? Will there be none of them left at the end?
- There Once Was a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. These are scary Russian fairy tales. Need I say more?
As for me, I’ll probably dig into some Edgar Allan Poe. Happy haunting–I mean, reading!