Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Creepy & Atmospheric Reads to Get You in the Mood for Halloween


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Halloween/Creepy Freebie.  This topic was a bit challenging for me since I don’t typically read scary books.  Yes, I know. I’m a chicken, lol.  Even though I don’t read horror, I do, however, enjoy books that are a little creepy and a lot atmospheric.  Those just make for perfect fall/Halloween reads for me.


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10 Creepy & Atmospheric Reads to Get You in the Mood for Halloween



THE WICKED DEEP by Shea Ernshaw 

So Atmospheric!


Goodreads Synopsis:  Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.




Positively eerie!


Goodreads Synopsis:  irst, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion. 



THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab

Who knew music could be so beautiful yet so deadly?


Goodreads Synopsis:  There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.



1984 by George Orwell

Big Brother is watching you. Enough said.


Goodreads Synopsis:  Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.



THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe

All of his stories are deliciously creepy, but this one is my favorite.


Goodreads Synopsks:  A murderer is convinced that the loud beating of his victim’s heart will give him away to the police.



THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert

If the main story isn’t creepy enough for you,

the Tales from the Hinterland embedded within the story are some of the eeriest I’ve read in recent years.


Goodreads Synopsis:  Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.




Magical Realism at its most atmospheric.


Goodreads Synopsis:  Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.



JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

Gothic spookiness and a mad woman in the attic. What more could you want?


Goodreads Synopsis:  Fiery love, shocking twists of fate, and tragic mysteries put a lonely governess in jeopardy in JANE EYRE

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?



THE LANTERN’S EMBER by Colleen Houck

(So much Halloween goodness here. If this doesn’t get you in the mood for Halloween, nothing will.)


Goodreads Synopsis:  Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.



THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins

An atmospheric Gothic mystery with some scary bits along the way.


Goodreads Synopsis:  ‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.


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Question:  What are some of your favorite creepy/atmospheric reads?

32 replies
  1. sjhigbee
    sjhigbee says:

    Oh I agree with you regarding The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and Jane Eyre – but I’d also add The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and Jeff Vandermeer’s Annhiliation… Great list:))

  2. Jordan Rose
    Jordan Rose says:

    Great list! I loved The Woman in White so much! There is an adaptation of it airing on PBS right now that I’m taping and hoping to check out soon. :)The Lantern’s Ember is one I’ve been really wanting to read as well. Love everything Poe as well!

  3. Sam@wlabb
    Sam@wlabb says:

    Orwell definitely knew how to create atmosphere. I think all the books I read of his was creepy/dark and moody. The Wicked Deep is definitely full of mood. I really enjoyed that one.

  4. louise ☆
    louise ☆ says:

    Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of my absolute favourite books ever, but I would have ever thought of reading it to get in the mood for Halloween. That’s a great idea! 🙂

  5. Lakshmi
    Lakshmi says:

    This is so cool! I loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane. And Jane Eyre of course. It’s been a while since I read that particular Christie but now I’m tempted to pick it up again. I haven’t yet read The Woman in White though, it sounds good.

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