Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Scary Books To Read In Fall

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Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Today, we're talking about the books I'm going to read this fall. Autumn is witching season, so of course I'm going to read spooky books. I have a few thrillers, mysteries, dark fantasy, and horror books on my shelf that I can't wait to dive into. Here are 10 creepy books at the top of my autumn must-read list.




🍂  Scary Autumn Reading List   ðŸ‘»





MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA

Adult Horror



After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: It’s been compared to Rebecca and Jane Eyre. If it lives up to those comparison titles, I’ll be a very happy bookworm. It won the horror category of the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2020. It even beat a Stephen King book! I never thought that would happen. Horror readers prefer this book to Stephen King? I need to read it.

 

Buy it on Amazon

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GRAVE MERCY BY ROBIN LAFEVERS

Young Adult Fantasy



Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

 

Why I’m excited to read it: Well, it’s about assassin nuns. That’s the main reason I want to read it. Assassin nuns! Also, a very long time ago, I asked for dark fantasy recommendations on Twitter. I listed a bunch of books I liked and asked for similar books. This one was recommended a few times, so I should probably give it a shot.

 

Buy it on Amazon

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THE DIVINERS BY LIBBA BRAY

Young Adult Historical Fantasy



Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: I recently finished Libba Bray’s A Great And Terrible Beauty and enjoyed it. I liked the historical boarding school setting and the increasingly complicated “frenemies” relationships between the main characters. I’m interested to check out the author’s other historical fantasy series. If you’ve read both series, which one is better?

 

Buy it on Amazon

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THE PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT BY LESLYE WALTON

Young Adult Fantasy



When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Instead, guilt and fear led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona invoked the privileges of a witch; she cursed them. But such a spell always comes with a terrible price, and in punishing the island's residents, Rona also bound her family ever tighter to them.

Fast-forward to the present day and all Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. And she has reason to hope that she may have escaped the thorny side-effects of the family matriarch’s curse. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. The author—Nor’s own mother—seems capable of performing magic that should be far beyond her capabilities. And such magic always requires a sacrifice.

A storm is coming. It's coming for Nor.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: I had to read Leslye Walton’s debut novel The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender when I was in grad school. I loved it! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever been forced to read. It’s an odd, magical, memorable family saga. I’m excited to see what else the author can do. Goodreads calls The Price Guide To The Occult a “haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.” Bring it on.

 

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THIS SWEET SICKNESS BY PATRICIA HIGHSMITH

Adult Mystery / Crime / Thriller



David Kelsey, a young scientist, has an unyielding conviction that life will turn out all right for him; he just has to fix the Situation: he is in love with a married woman. Obsessed with Annabelle and the life he has imagined for them—including the fully furnished cabin he maintains for her—David prepares to win her over, whatever it takes.

 

Why I’m excited to read it: If you’ve been around this blog for a few years, then you might know about my obsession with Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. Ripley is an ultra-compelling character. He’s an awful human, but everything he does is fascinating. I thoroughly enjoy reading about him. I’ve only read Highsmith’s Ripley books. I need to branch out and see what else she’s written.

 

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PET BY AKWAEKE EMEZI

Middlegrade Fantasy



There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood, she must reconsider what she's been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

 

Why I’m excited to read it: I may have done a happy dance when I came across a cheap used copy of this novel. I feel like I’ve seen it on the longlist of every award ever. It’s a children’s book, but it deals with dark topics, like what happens when serious problems are ignored. I’m excited to see what the hype is about.

 

Buy it on Amazon

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A GAME OF FOX & SQUIRRELS BY JENN REESE

Middlegrade Fantasy

 


After an incident shatters their family, eleven-year old Samantha and her older sister Caitlin are sent to live in rural Oregon with an aunt they've never met. Sam wants nothing more than to go back to the way things were . . . before she spoke up about their father's anger.

When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game called "A Game of Fox & Squirrels," Sam falls in love with the animal characters, especially the charming trickster fox, Ashander. Then one day Ashander shows up in Sam’s room and offers her an adventure and a promise: find the Golden Acorn, and Sam can have anything she desires.

But the fox is hiding rules that Sam isn't prepared for, and her new home feels more tempting than she'd ever expected. As Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, the line between magic and reality grows thin. If she makes the wrong move, she'll lose far more than just a game.

 

Why I’m excited to read it:  Goodreads says this book “explores the often thin line between magic and reality, light and darkness.” It sounds like this novel has the potential to be delightfully weird. I’m game. Let’s play.

Buy it on Amazon

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THE LUCK UGLIES BY PAUL DURHAM

Middlegrade Fantasy



Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has Rye O'Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned. Now Rye's only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can't be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning's maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she'll discover the truth behind the village's legends of outlaws and beasts . . . and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.


Why I'm excited to read it: Whenever I meet an English teacher or a reading teacher, I have to ask which books their students are passionate about. A teacher I met recently said her students were passing this series around. I picked up the first book to see what the middle schooler hype is about.


Buy it on Amazon

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THE BLACK PROJECT BY GARETH BROOKES

Adult Horror Graphic Novel



Getting yourself a girlfriend is easy, according to Richard. All you need is papier mache, string, soft material, a balloon, some old fashioned bellows, and a good pair of scissors. The difficult bit is keeping her secret. Set in an English suburb in the early 1990s, this is the story of Richard's all-consuming passion for creating 'girls' from household objects. But as his hobby begins to flourish, his real life friendships and family relationships deteriorate.


Why I'm excited to read it: This graphic novel immediately got my attention because dolls are creepy, and a dude who ruins his life by building himself "girlfriends" is even creepier. I'm very interested in the premise and can't wait to see how the author handles it.


Buy it on Amazon

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THORNHILL BY PAM SMY

Young Adult Horror Graphic Novel



Parallel plotlines, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.

Mary is an orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it's closing down for good. But when a bully goes too far, Mary's revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

Years later, Ella moves to a new town where she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute. Determined to befriend the mysterious, evasive girl she sees there, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill's history and uncover its secrets.

Ella's story is told through striking, bold art; Mary's is told through diary entries. Each informs the other until the two eventually intersect to reveal the truth behind Thornhill's shadowy past, once and for all.


Why I'm excited to read it: This book was recommended to me by Goodreads. Do you ever look at the "Readers Also Enjoyed" part of the site? I loved Emily Carroll's Through The Woods, so I clicked "Readers Also Enjoyed" and discovered Thornhill. Let's find out if I like it as much as Goodreads thinks I will.


Buy it on Amazon

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Which books are you reading this fall?





24 comments:

  1. I have several friends who consider The Diviners their favorite book. I hope it's a hit for you!

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  2. I've been hearing good things about Mexican Gothic, I'm definitely intrigued. Happy reading! https://readwithstefani.com/five-fantasy-sci-fi-books-on-my-autumn-tbr/

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  3. I loved Mexican Gothic, hope you do, too!

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  4. I enjoyed Grave Mercy and its assassin nuns a lot! I hope you like it just as much :)

    My TTT: https://www.traversingchapters.com/books-i-wish-i-could-read-again-for-the-first-time-ttt/

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  5. Enjoy! The middlegrade books have awesome cover!
    My list is here: https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/09/21/top-ten-books-on-my-fall-2021-to-read-list/

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  6. My daughter is always pushing The Diviners series. She thought it included so many interesting historical events. Hope you enjoy them all

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  7. Grave Mercy sounds intriguing. Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

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  8. The Diviners series is an all time favorite. I hope you enjoy. :)

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  9. A great list! I hope you enjoy reading them all.

    Pam https://readbakecreate.com/autumn-2021-tbr-10-books-i-hope-to-read/

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  10. I love spooky season. And I really liked Grave Mercy. I hope you do too. It had a bleak quality at times but also super gripping...

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  11. Great list! I love The Diviners - it's perfect October reading - and I really enjoyed Grave Mercy as well. I've heard so many good things about Pet!

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  12. I own Mexican Gothic and Pet and need to read those. I love The Diviners. I need to get the final book ASAP!


    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  13. I haven't read any of the books on your list, but have heard really good things about Mexican Gothic and Pet.

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  14. The Diviners is on my TBR too and it feels like such a perfect fall read! Hope we'll both enjoy it!

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  15. Oh, I had completely forgotten about Grave Mercy—it has been on my TBR list for ages! One of these years, I will get around to it. A Game of Fox and Squirrels is very good, but deals with some tough topics. (I still need to write my review, and I'll be putting a CW behind a spoiler alert.)

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  16. Aah yea! New scary books to add to my list that I ALWAYS want to read, but then I am too scared to actually read them. Mexican Gothic for me for sure!

    Elza Reads

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  17. I hope you enjoy Mexican Gothic. I don't usually enjoy horror very much, but I loved that book. It has such an eerie vibe.

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  18. Mexican Gothic and The Diviners are just perfect for this season!

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  19. I don't have any scary or horror books on my short list of TBR books... I'm afraid my reading right now is a little deep--in preparation for a presentation later in October.

    https://fromarockyhillside.

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  20. love seeing these great books and what you're doing.

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  21. Love, love, love this list!!! I have a few of these on my TBR! :)

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  22. Your list of books look nice & spooky! I had not seen that Patricia Highsmith title before ... Around Halloween time I usually will read a Shirley Jackson novel to get into the season. Both Highsmith and Jackson are definitely go-to authors.

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  23. Ooo good choices!! I loved Mexican Gothic!

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