10 Spooky Reads on My TBR

It’s spooky season and boy do I have a TON of books that I want to read this month. Of course I will never have the time to read them all, but I wanted to share 10 that I want to prioritize this month. I was originally going to do Top 10, but slowly I realized there are too many that I want to read right now and I can’t pick an order. So instead, you’re just getting 10 that popped into my head lol. Enjoy.

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

This book is a TBR and Beyond Buddy Read. I wasn’t aware of it before it was brought up in the group – nor did I know it was a YA Horror. Once I did, you bet it ended up in this month’s TBR

Synopsis: Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning.

Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.

Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.


Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

This one I found out about from Kayla of BooksandLala. The title and cover grabbed my attention and I’m wanting to get more into horror so it’s been added to the list. So what do I know about it? It’s a horror, shorty novella (only 136 pages), and it’s on Kayla’s TBR lol.

Synopsis: Stephen Graham Jones returns with Night of the Mannequins, a contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?


Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke

Since we’re on the topic of short stories, I only just found out about this one and boy does it ever sound good. This one was mentioned by Zoe from Zoe Delaney Booktube Channel. That cover alone intrigued me, but the synopsis got me to borrow it from Hoopla.

Synopsis: ” a stomach-twisting ride through the depths of horror, breathing new life into an often-stagnant part of the genre” – Publishers Weekly, starred review.

At first glance, Phil Pendleton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat together overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to set his own bedtimes and eat candy whenever he wants. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined.

What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life.

A new novella from the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of THE TURTLE BOY and KIN.



The Chrysalis by Brendan Deneen

This book I had bought last year when it came on my radar with randomly scrolling through the horror section online. I think it was a cover buy within the Horror section. This cover is creepy and I’ve put it on my TBR a few times now – maybe this year *fingers crossed*

Synopsis: “Creepy, powerful, wonderfully twisted.”–New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry

Spawned by Brendan Deneen’s own experiences relocating to a New Jersey suburb with his young family, The Chrysalis combines chills, thrills, and a literal monster in the basement with commentary on love, marriage, and impending parenthood.

Welcome to the dark side of suburbia.

Barely employed millennials Tom and Jenny Decker have to grow up fast when they lose their cheap Manhattan apartment. Leaving “the city” is hard, but the blow is softened when they stumble upon a surprisingly affordable house in the suburbs.

For Tom, the bills, the mortgage, and Jenny’s unexpected pregnancy add up to terror. He’s not ready for this kind of responsibility.

Then he finds the thing in the basement. It makes him feel like a winner even as it scrambles his senses. A new job soon has him raking in the big bucks–enough that Jenny can start making her entrepreneurial dreams come true.

The Deckers’ dream home conceals more than one deadly secret. As Tom’s obsession with the basement grows, Jenny realizes that to save her family, she must expose everything. Before it destroys them all.

No one ever really wants to grow up…but sometimes behaving like an adult is the only way to survive.



Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

This one grabbed my attention with it’s cover! I love anything with a weird bubble-like colouring! It held my attention because 90s and VHS! It’s also another short one at only 214 pages.

Synopsis: Life in a small town takes a dark turn when mysterious footage begins appearing on VHS cassettes at the local Video Hut

Jeremy works at the counter of Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It’s a small town—the first “a” in the name is pronounced ay—smack in the center of the state. This is the late 1990s, pre-DVD, and the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut. But there are regular customers, a predictable rush in the late afternoon. It’s good enough for Jeremy: It’s a job; it’s quiet and regular; he gets to watch movies; he likes the owner, Sarah Jane; it gets him out of the house, where he and his dad try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck.

But when Stephanie Parsons, a local schoolteacher, comes in to return her copy of Targets, starring Boris Karloff—an old movie, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the store—she has an odd complaint: “There’s something on it,” she says, but doesn’t elaborate. Two days later, Lindsey Redinius brings back She’s All That, a new release, and complains that there’s something wrong with it: “There’s another movie on this tape.”

So Jeremy takes a look. And indeed, in the middle of the movie the screen blinks dark for a moment and She’s All That is replaced by a black-and-white scene, shot in a barn, with only the faint sounds of someone breathing. Four minutes later, She’s All That is back. But there is something profoundly disturbing about that scene; Jeremy’s compelled to watch it three or four times. The scenes recorded onto Targets are similar, undoubtedly created by the same hand. Creepy. And the barn looks a lot like a barn just outside of town.

Jeremy doesn’t want to be curious. In truth, it freaks him out, deeply. This has gone far enough, maybe too far already. But Stephanie is pushing, and once Sarah Jane takes a look and becomes obsessed, there’s no more ignoring the disturbing scenes on the videos. And all of a sudden, what had once been the placid, regular old Iowa fields and farmhouses now feels haunted and threatening, imbued with loss and instability and profound foreboding. For Jeremy, and all those around him, life will never be the same . . . 


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Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Hello! Scooby-Doo feels! This book just screamed it when I first saw it and I had to have it! Of course, I have had it on my TBR every September/October since I got it two years ago.

Synopsis: In 1977 The Blyton Summer Detective Club unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster – another low-life fortune hunter who would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

By 1990 the former detectives are haunted by strange, half-remembered events that cannot be explained by a guy in a mask. Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, wants answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the former kid genius now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their leader… which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

The time has come to get the team back together and find out what actually happened all those years ago. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.



The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

This one was recommended to me by a friend and of course I ran out and bought it (on sale) and then it and its sequel have sat on my shelf… But in my defense the second book is a chunker and knowing that I’d have to read it quickly afterwards is just plain intimidating lol.

Synopsis: Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.



You by Caroline Kepnes

Shortly before the TV series was created I was told about this book. It sounded so weird and creepy. I’m still refusing to watch the series until I’ve read this!

Synopsis: When a beautiful aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age.



The Passengers by John Marrs

I saw this book on Edelweiss before it was published and, again, the cover drew me in. I love the idea of reading a SciFi Thriller about self-driving cars so again it sits on this list. However, I found out recently that it is best to read Marrs’ other book first, The One. So why isn’t that book on my list instead? I guess because this one was on my TBR the longest.

Synopsis: You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die.”

Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.

From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, “Which of these people should we save?…And who should we kill first?” 



The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill

Ok come on! For this cover alone it needs to be on this list. I found this cover to be so creepy when I found it in the thrift store that I had to buy it. Something about this cover just tells me that this book will be all about creepy dolls and puppets coming to life!

Synopsis: Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top TV network saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and a few therapists later, things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself — to catalogue the late M. H. Mason’s wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she’ll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting bloody scenes from the Great War. Catherine can’t believe her luck when Mason’s elderly niece invites her to stay at Red House itself, where she maintains the collection until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle’s “Art.” Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but Mason’s damaged visions begin to raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she’d hoped therapy had finally erased. Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge and some truths seem too terrible to be real… in The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill


So those are just some of the spooky books that I desperately want to read. There are so many more! There are some that I didn’t list because they aren’t necessarily spooky, but would be perfect for October.

Are any of these on your radar? Have you read any of these? Should I trash any or put them straight to the top of the list? Any that I didn’t mention here that you think I NEED to read? List them below in the comments.

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