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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Happy Haunting!

If you can't tell, I'm a bit of a party pooper/stick-in-the-mud (I rock at Never Have I Ever).  And I've always been that way!  Case in point: I really don't like Halloween.  It's not for any religious or moral reasons—I've just never been much for dressing up.  Even as a little kid.  As a mom, I've dreaded the expense and stress of Halloween costumes, the over-consumption of candy (rest assured, though, that I've always been stoic about doing my mom duty by picking the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Twix bars out of my kids' buckets after they go to sleep), and the whole tromping through the neighborhood to take kids trick-or-treating thing.  It's just not me, you know?  

All that being said, I do still enjoy a spooky story now and again.  The older I get, the wimpier I get, so I've set aside the Stephen King books I consumed as a teen in favor of tales that are more Gothic and subtly scary—the kind that send a delicious tingle down my spine but don't give me nightmares.  I much prefer ghosts haunting creepy old houses to brain-slurping zombies, blood-sucking vampires, soul-stealing demons, and other freak-me-out ghouls.  Haunting is the vibe I usually veer toward instead of scary.  So, which authors are my go-to for shivery stories?  I thought you'd never ask!  I've listed ten of my favorites below for today's Halloween Freebie Top Ten Tuesday list.

Do you want to join the spooky TTT party?  Of course you do!  Flit on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.  Bonus:  Jana's list today is super fun.

My Top Ten Favorite Go-To Authors for Haunting Halloween-ish Reads
-in no particular order-

Favorite of hers:  The Secret Keeper   

Favorite of his:  Lock Every Door

Favorite of hers:  The Sun-Down Motel

Favorite of hers:  The Widow's House

Favorite of hers:  The Invited

Favorite of hers:  What She Knew

Favorite of hers:  Until the Day I Die

Favorite of his:  Dark Matter

Favorite of hers:  The Shades of London series 

There you have it, ten of of my favorite writers of haunting stories.  What about you?  Are you into scary stories?  Who are your go-to authors for haunting/creepy books?  Are you a Halloween lover, hater, or something in between?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!  


  1. Lord, how I hate Halloween. I feel so alone in that because it seems like everyone else loves it. I HATE dressing up, and I am enough of an introvert that trick-or-treating is a nightmare. I also love all the things peanut butter, so there is that. But really, peanut butter confections is the point of the entire holiday for me. 😆

    1. I hear you. I'm definitely a Grinch when it comes to Halloween. At least there's candy. When my kids were younger, they were really good at choosing and asking for extra peanut butter cups for me!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lori!

  2. Ha ha I hate dressing up too! Luckily my kids are way too old for trick or treating, so I don't have to worry about that any more. I love Kate Morton, and I'm a big Blake Crouch fan too, great list!

    1. My 16 and 12 year old's are the only ones still at home. Last year they had no interest in dressing up. This year, they're into it again! I have to be glad that they're still acting like kids, right? They grow up too fast these days.

      I've read all of Morton's books because I just love her so! Crouch is a newer discovery for me, so I've only read a handful of his.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tammy!

  3. I've been seeing The Sun-Down Motel on a lot of lists today. I remember when it came out it got a bit of buzz and I thought I'd like to read it, but forgot about until today.

    1. It's a good one! Creepy but not terrifying—at least for me.

      Thanks for popping in, Cheri!

  4. I have not read any of these books OR authors! Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome! I enjoy all these authors when I'm in the mood for something a little spooky, but not TOO spooky :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  5. I'm so with you on preferring "Gothic and subtly scary". I love Riley Sager's books too. I've only read a couple of Simone St. James so far but The Sun Down Motel is definitely my kind of spooky read. Loved that book.

    1. It's a good one, isn't it? It scared me just the right amount :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Suzanne!

  6. I've had The Name of the Star on my TBR for agessss I really want to read that soon! And Lock Every Door also seems right up my alley.

    1. The Shades of London is a really good series. My only complaint is that there was supposed to be a fourth book to tie everything up and it never materialized. I'm still a little bitter about that!

      Thanks for stopping in, Missy!

  7. Wow, you’ve just introduced me to ten new books for my TBR! Great list from a fellow non-scary book lover.

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you found some books to pique your interest. Hopefully, they won't be TOO scary for you :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leah!

  8. I'm not a fan of Halloween either. We now live in a very rural area, so I don't get trick or treaters anymore and I'm good with that!

    1. Lucky you! Last year, none of my kids wanted to trick-or-treat and no one wanted to hand out candy, so we stuck a bowl of candy on the porch, turned out all the lights, and stayed in watching movies together as a family. Best Halloween ever!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Wendy!

  9. I like a good suspenseful or eerie read, and I do like Halloween mostly, but I don't need the excessively horror stuff. :) Good call on the peanut butter cups, by the way!

    I LOVED dark Matter so much!

    1. I'll take Reese's anything! My kids aren't as big a fan of them as I am, so it works out beautifully :)

      DARK MATTER is excellent, isn't it? I liked RECURSION and the Wayward Pines series a lot as well, but DARK MATTER is still my favorite Crouch book.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Greg!

  10. I heard so many good things about Dark Matter. I always thought it was more of a sci-fi, but maybe it's an eerie sci-fi?

    1. You're absolutely right—it is sci fi. It does have a haunting, otherworldly quality to it, though. I was going to list the Wayward Pines series as my favorite for this list because it goes more with the theme, but I can't tell a lie, DARK MATTER really is my favorite Crouch book :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Alicia!

  11. I'm not a big fan of gory horror either.
    Loved Dark Matter

    1. It's such a good book! Mind-boggling, but an awesome read.

      Thanks for stopping by, Anita!

  12. And a happy haunting to you. Again, why am I not surprised you don't like dressing up. Not my thing, either. We don't do it here for Halloween but for carnival and I've always hated it. So, nothing to do with scariness.

    The only author I've read from your list is Kate Morton and I can imagine that she is a little "gothic". "The Clockmaker's Daughter" was.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT which presents books with food on their cover.

    1. We really are meant to be friends, aren't we? LOL. I've just never been fond of costumes for any reason. I don't like calling attention to myself, so I think that's a big part of it...

      Morton is definitely gothic. Her books really aren't scary, but they are haunting. I'm a big fan.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Marianne!

    2. We definitely are meant for each other, LOL.

      I don't mind the public part but I never liked dressing up.

      I know you like Kate Morton, you told me once. I did like the one I read by her, will have to get more.

    3. Did I tell you that THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER is actually my least favorite of Morton's books? It's the only one of hers I didn't love. I'd definitely recommend reading her older books.

  13. I don't think I've heard of any of these, but I like your description of them as 'haunting'. I'll definitely look up The Daughters of Fox Cote Manor because it looks like one I might especially enjoy.

    1. Chase has only written a few books, but I've enjoyed them all. She has a new one coming out in 2022, so I'm excited for that.

      Thanks for popping in, Louise!

  14. Some Halloween trauma from my childhood left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole Halloween thing, and I was never much for scary/spooky reads. Alas, I have read none of these, though I own the Johnson book.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that! I mean, I don't like Halloween, but there's no real reason for it. I just don't.

      The Shades of London is a fun series. It's about ghosts and ghost-hunting, but it's not really scary that I remember. It has been a long time since I read the series, though.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  15. I hear what you're saying about King's books. Not my cup of tea these days either, though I do love Halloween. Set up my first Halloween tree this year.

    Great list this week. I still haven't read The Sun Down Motel. Thanks for reminding me about it. Hope you have a nice week.

    1. How fun! I know people who keep their tree up all year and decorate it for all the different holidays. I don't have the energy for that, but I love that some people do :)

      Thanks for popping in, Cheryl!

  16. I used to hate dressing up for Halloween when I was a kid, and I didn't like candy too much, so trick-or-treating was a big draw for me. My kids like to dress up and go out, so I have made peace with the holiday, and I try to do festive things with them. It is growing on me.

    1. I was ONLY in it for the candy! If sweets weren't involved, no one would have been able to persuade my very, very shy self to dress up and go door-to-door. It just would NOT have happened.

      Like you, I had to make peace with it for the kids. I do decorate a little bit (cute decorations, not scary), I always went trick-or-treating with the kids, and we do either hand out candy or set a bowl out on our porch, so I'm not a TOTAL Halloween Grinch :)

    2. Oh, and thanks for coming by, Kami!

  17. I keep hearing Riley Sager but I have no interest in his books. I don't really like thrillers. I did recently enjoyed reading the Jackaby series by William Ritter that was kind of scary but not really.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. If you don't like thrillers, then you won't like Sager. He writes thrillers with a creepy bent, which doesn't sound like your thing.

      The Jackaby series sounds like one I'd like. I should try it out.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lissa!

  18. Replies
    1. Scary-ish, for sure :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Danielle!

  19. Great list! I've only read Lock Every Door, which I thought was very good.

    1. Same. I've enjoyed all of Sager's books. They never fail to draw me in and keep me racing through the pages. I love that in a thriller!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  20. Oh, nice choices, this is a great list of scares and a few new reads here for me. Will have to check them out.

    And, as a Brit, halloween is/was something completely different for us, as kids growing up.

    1. What do the Brits do for Halloween? I have strong British roots—maybe my dislike for the American version of the holiday is in the genetics...

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Alex!

    2. I don't think the Brits used to do much for Halloween. It started to become popular when we lived there (from 1994 onwards). Did you know that the pumpkin carving and celebrating All Hallow's Eve comes from Ireland. They used to carve turnips and when they couldn't find them in the new world, they used what they found there.

  21. I love Blake Crouch - "Dark Matter" will forever be a twisty favorite. I can't get behind Riely Sager but I'm trying! I just hated "Final Girls" so much.

    1. I've enjoyed all the books I've read by Crouch. I think I'm up to six now.

      FINAL GIRLS is actually the only Sager book I haven't read. I've heard mixed reviews, so I'm holding off for now.

      Thanks for stopping in, Alyssa!

  22. I hear you on the Halloween thing. I am glad my daughter is on the cusp of being done with the trick or treating part.
    I love that you included The Sun Down Motel. We both had it on our list!

    1. I thought my kids were done with trick-or-treating, but my 12-year-old wants to go this year and my 16-year-old wants to "hang out with friends" on Halloween, which may include trick-or-treating. Who knows? It's definitely better when your kids are older and can go on their own or with friends. At least I don't have to be involved, ha ha.

      THE SUN DOWN MOTEL is a great, spooky read. I'm glad we both loved it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  23. I love Simone St. James's books! And that Maureen Johnson series was a lot of fun, too. Great TTT list, Susan. :D

    1. I really enjoyed the Shades of London series. I'm also enjoying Johnson's Truly Devious series, although I'm behind in it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

  24. I have the Kate Morton book on my TBR.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    1. Oh, good. I hope you love it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Pam!

  25. I love seeing the kids dress up, and of course, I love candy. I love an atmospheric book but not horror or really creepy. I will have to check a couple of these out.

    1. I do like seeing kids in cute costumes and it's always fun to see how creative some people get with theirs. I'm a fan of candy as well (chocolate anyway).

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carla!

  26. I recently read Morton's Forgotten Garden and really liked it. So I'm keen to look up Secret Keeper also! Also, your blog theme looks great. :)
    ~Lex (

    1. I'm glad you loved FORGOTTEN GARDEN. All of Morton's books are kind of the same in vibe and theme, so if you enjoyed that one, you'll probably like her others. I certainly hope so!

      Thanks for popping in, Lex!

  27. Simone St. James is one I've been meaning to try for a while.

    1. It's the perfect time of year to give her books a go :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

  28. I'm fine with Halloween but in a very low key kind of way. I'm not too sad we are done with trick or treating days though I do miss the variety of candy. I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to scary stories but I love Kate Morton and I've really enjoyed the one book by Eve Chase that I read so I'm taking note of the authors you've mentioned!

    1. Kate Morton is perfect if you want something atmospheric and Gothic-y, but not scary. Eve Chase is the same way, although I've found her books to be eerier.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

  29. My kid is finally old enough to be interested in Halloween. I never knew Halloween was so exhausting for adults! We put on costumes and went to a Sweet Street last night. Then we're trick-or-treating in the neighborhood tomorrow. It's A LOT of candy and a lot of time spent getting costumes on and off.

    1. Right? Between figuring out costumes, carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating, etc. it's enough to wear a parent out! Good luck to you :)

      Thanks for popping in, Aj!

  30. I haven't read anything from your list, but I really liked Maureen Johnson's other series, Truly Devious! I recently finished the 4th book and it was my favourite so far.
    Also, Reese's are the best! 😍

    1. I enjoyed the first book in the series, but it's been so long since I read it that I'm going to have to go back and re-read the first one so I can continue on with the series. My memory is terrible. I really need to wait until a series is all finished then just binge-read the whole thing so I don't forget what's going on between books! LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by, Morgan!

  31. "Haunting" is a good way to describe it! I enjoy Halloween — but on my terms. I don't want to be obligated to dress up, for example, but I want the option if I feel like it. (I'm an introverted theatre geek, so I have both sides of the costume opinion in me. ;-) )

    1. I like that! I would say I do Halloween on my own terms, too. I don't dress up, but I do decorate a little bit (with cute decorations, not scary), hand out candy (or at least leave a bowl on my doorstep), and read haunting stories (nothing TOO creepy).

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  32. I haven't read any of these Susan, but like you, I much prefer a good spooky, mysterious or atmospheric read rather than any zombies, guts or gore! 🙂

    1. For sure. The older the get, the more squeamish I get, so I'll do without the guts and gore, thank you very much!

      Thanks for popping in, Jessica!


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