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Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Spooky Books Haunting My TBR List

Happy Halloween! I'm actually not a big fan of this holiday. Never really have been, even as a kid. However, I do enjoy a shivery tale (as long as it's not TOO scary because I'm also a wimp) this time of year. We'll get to that in a minute.

First, some exciting news:

My Little Free Library is finally open for business! Other than some clean up from the landscape company (hence the fences in the background) and a few plants that need to go in, our big front yard remodel is done. After almost a year of sitting in boxes in my hallway, my LFL is finally set up. Isn't it cute? We live right by a community mailbox, so I'm hoping it will get lots of traffic. 

Okay, on to our Top Ten Tuesday prompt for today. (As always, TTT is hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.) I was going to compile a list of my favorite "spooky" book authors for today's Halloween freebie, but as I started doing it, it seemed awfully...familiar. Looking back at previous years confirmed that I had already created such a list for TTT a couple years ago. Since the lists were pretty much identical, I bagged that idea. (If you want to see my list of My Top Ten Favorite Go-To Authors for Haunting Halloween-ish Reads from 2021, click here.) Since I can't think of anything more creative, today I'm going to talk about ten spooky books on my TBR list. I'm a bit of a wuss, so "spooky" for me is probably not nearly as scary as it is for you!

Top Ten Spooky Books Haunting My TBR List

1. The Only One Left by Riley Sager—Sager is one of my favorite writers of creepy, atmospheric books. His newest features a reclusive elderly woman, notorious for allegedly murdering her family as a teenager, who decides to finally tell the real story behind the killings. Is the crone an innocent woman whose life was ruined by false accusations? Or is she a cold-blooded murderer who's not done with her dark work?

2. Murder Road by Simone St. James (available March 4, 2024)—I've got an e-ARC of St. James' latest, which tells the story of a young couple who take a wrong turn while looking for the resort where they're planning to spend their honeymoon. They pick up a hitchhiker, who they realize only belatedly is bleeding profusely. When the girl later dies, the newlyweds become suspects in her murder. A string of unsolved killings has been happening along that same deserted highway. As the couple investigates, desperate to clear their names, they find that something otherworldly is at work. 

3. The Last One by Will Dean—This chilling novel is about a new couple who decide to take a trip on a luxury cruise ship together. On the morning of their second day at sea, Caz wakes up to find her boyfriend gone. When she steps outside her room, she discovers that he's not the only one. All the passengers and crew members have disappeared, leaving Caz in the middle of the ocean by herself. What happened? How will she save herself from whatever menace made an entire cruise ship of people vanish?

4. My Darling Girl by Jennifer McMahon—McMahon's books never fail to thrill (and terrify) me! Her newest effort is about a woman who is persuaded to take in her dying mother for one last Christmas together. After living with her mom's verbal abuse and alcoholism for too long, the two have been estranged for years. One final bid for quality time together turns into a nightmare when strange things begin happening and the daughter starts to wonder if her parent has been possessed by a demon.

5. The Girl in White by Lindsay Currie—This MG novel is set in a small town that's proud as punch of its reputation as one of the region's most haunted places to visit. New to Eastport, Mallory definitely feels unsettled by the place. She's having nightmares, missing chunks of time, and feels like she's being watched. When Mallory encounters the same terrifying old woman she's been dreaming about, things start to get really weird...

6. Good Bad Girl by Alice Feeney—Feeney's latest features an elderly woman living in a nursing home and the enigmatic woman who cares for her. Both of them have secrets concerning a kidnapped baby and the murder of an old lady. How do the cases connect? The two women will find out when they filter through each other's lies to discover the truth. 

7. The Dark by Emma Haughton—Emergency room doctor Kate North has been upended by a personal tragedy. Eager to start over somewhere else, she takes the opportunity to be the emergency replacement for a doctor at a UN research center in Antarctica. Her predecessor died in an accident on the ice. As the winter darkness descends, Kate begins to suspect there's more to his death than meets the eye. Completely cut off from civilization and fumbling around in almost total darkness, it's up to her to figure out what really happened. 

8. Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas—It seems like everyone's read this dark academia novel but me. It's set at an exclusive college, famous for nurturing the world's most promising minds. Students are required to spend three years at the isolated institution, leaving music, media, friends, family, even their clothes behind. First-year student Ines is ready to soak in the intoxicating environment, but when a tragedy occurs, she starts to realize just how trapped she really is in a place that is much darker and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.

9. Flight 171 by Amy Christine Parker—This YA horror novel concerns a group of teenagers who board a plane flight, headed for a school ski trip. A terrifying supernatural creature takes over the flight, demanding that one of the passengers be sacrificed or all of them will die. As the kids scramble to save themselves, each person's deepest, darkest secrets are revealed, including the truth behind the death of one teen's sister.

10. The Curse of Penryth Hall by Jess Armstrong—In post-World War I England, Ruby Vaughn runs a rare bookstore in Exeter. When a customer in Cornwall requests a box of books, she's forced to deliver them, even though she swore she would never return to the area. Imposing Penryth Hall is the home of a former friend and her husband. After an unnerving night spent in their presence, Ruby is anxious to leave. Then, the husband turns up dead, launching a murder investigation and frantic talk of an old curse returning to haunt the present. 

There you go, ten spooky books that are haunting my TBR list. Have you read any of them? What did you think? What did you do for today's Halloween freebie? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to comments left here (although I am a week behind at the moment).

Happy TTT!


  1. Your Little Free Library is delightful. Thanks for sharing.

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday post.


    1. I'm really pleased with it! It's gotten some curious looks in the neighborhood, so hopefully people stop and check it out.

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

  2. The Little Free Library looks so cute. Hope you can read those soon

    1. I don't know if I'll get to any of these before the year ends, but I'm going to try! I enjoy a spooky read any time of year :)

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

  3. Riley's books are super popular and seem very well liked by those who like a thriller read. I haven't heard of Catherine House, but the cover and title makes me curious! Also, your LFL is all kinds of cute. :) Thanks so much for visiting my website today.

    1. I'm glad you haven't heard of CATHERINE HOUSE! That makes me feel better :) I feel like it was all over the place when it first came out. Even though I bought myself a copy, it's still sitting on my shelf unread. One of these days, I'll finally get to it.

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

  4. I don’t read spooky so I skipped today’s freebie 😱. Congrats on you LFL…it’s fabulous! 📚🎉💯🙌 ~Carol @ ReadingLadies

    1. I've always liked a spooky read, even when I was a kid. These days, it's more about a creepy atmosphere rather than ghosts and goblins so I don't get TOO scared. I'm an old lady and I need my sleep, thank you very much!

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

  5. Congrats on your Little Free Library, it looks so nice! The Only One Left is on my TBR as well.

    1. I hope we both enjoy THE ONLY ONE LEFT! I've read all of his books but this one and one other and I've liked them all. They never fail to thrill me :)

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

  6. I love your Little Free Library!!! I REALLY want to set one up at our new house, but right now it is not in the budget (the actual library, I have plenty of books for it!).

    1. The pre-made ones are surprisingly expensive and I wanted one of the bigger ones, so yes, definitely spendy. I bought it for myself for my birthday and Christmas last year (my birthday is the 22nd). I'm so happy that I finally got to set it up. Yay!

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

  7. Congratulations on your Little Free Library! That's amazing!

    1. I'm thrilled that it's finally up. I really hope it gets a lot of use. My neighborhood is fairly busy and my house is right next to an elementary school, so that bodes well, I think.

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

  8. I think I actually have a copy of Catherine House too -- still unread -- but it does look great! I'm so envious of your Little Free Library! I've been dreaming of getting one for years, but I'm afraid that it wouldn't do particularly well in my neighborhood. We'll see... maybe I'll convince my family to take a chance on it!

    1. Hard to know, huh? My neighborhood is pretty big, with lots of people out walking their dogs, going to the park behind my house (at least when it's cooler outside), and checking their mail at the community mailbox. Plus, there's an elementary school just down the street, so there's lots of foot traffic. I'm hoping people will make my LFL a regular stop!

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

  9. Great list, many of these are on my TBR. I love your LFL. I’d love to do that in our front yard but that would entail jumping through hoops with the HOA.

    1. HOAs are a blessing and a curse. We had to jump through hoops with ours. I guess someone had once complained that LFLs caused traffic jams. Ha ha. I wish!

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

  10. Lots of new to me books/authors but I did love The Girl in White by Lindsay Currie. She does spooky so well. Your Little Free Library is adorable.

    1. Oh, good! I've been meaning to get to THE GIRL IN WHITE for months now and just haven't done it. One of these days...

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

  11. Murder Road is also on my TBR. I got an ARC as well. I hope we both love it. Happy belated Halloween!

    1. I've enjoyed all the St. James books I've read, some more than others of course. This one definitely sounds compelling. I hope we both love it too :)

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

  12. Murder Road sounds great! The Only One Left and Good Bad Girl are on my TBR. Nice list!

    1. I'm excited for all of these. I've read lots of books by St. James and Sager, so I know I'll like their newest ones. I've only read DAISY DARKER by Feeney, but I loved that one so I have high hopes for GOOD BAD GIRL. I hope we both enjoy these!

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

  13. Ooo, you've got some excellent choices in your list, and a couple I need to check out too.

    1. I really am excited for all of these. I don't know when I'll actually get around to reading them, though. Soon-ish, I hope.

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

  14. Catherine House has such a great atmosphere. It's what I remember most about it.

    1. That's not surprising at all, given how evocative the cover is. I just love a good, atmospheric read!

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

  15. I hope you LFL brings lots of bookish happiness to those who are looking for some. I don't do scary books, but I just read a great review for Sager book

    1. Same! I'm thrilled to have my LFL up, at least :)

      Sager's books are always tense and atmospheric. I've liked some better than others, of course, and some are definitely scarier than others. I read them anyway. *Sigh*

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

  16. Your Little Free Library is darling! I love it. And the first three books on your list are ones I really want to read, too. I just finished reading The Dark by Haughton...gotta love that dark and claustrophobic Antarctica setting. I thought it was pretty good.

    1. Have you reviewed THE DARK? Maybe that's where I heard about it. I do love a dark, claustrophobic setting as you say. Those are my favorite for mystery/thriller books!

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

  17. Congratulations on the free library. How fun! Great list of books. Hope you enjoy them. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

    1. I hope I enjoy them too. It might not be until next Halloween that I get them read, but I'll get to them eventually. *Sigh* So many books, so little time...

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

  18. I love Little Free Libraries. What a wonderful thing to do for your community.

    1. Me too. They're so fun. So far, my neighbors have been really enthusiastic about it, so I hope it's a big hit!

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

  19. A great looking list. I want to read Only One Left.

    Your Free Little Library looks so cute! We don't really have them here (in the UK). In fact I only know of one, however where I live there are plenty of libraries within a short distance. I can get to one in 15 mins (walking). Basically each village has their own library so I am surrounded 😂

    I don't like too scary books. Gothic fiction is as far as I will go. I personally prefer to be able to sleep at night (inbetween my 4 month old son waking me up pretty much every hour or so 🙄

    Happy TTT!

    1. LFLs aren't super common here either. I live in a big suburb, so there are a number of them spread throughout my city but none very near to me. I just love the idea of them and since I have so many books to share, it makes sense for me to manage one!

      I'm glad you have so many libraries nearby. That's wonderful. I've got two within about a 15 minute drive, so I can usually find the books I'm looking for without too much trouble, thank goodness :)

      I spent a few nights taking care of my week-old granddaughter while her mom was still in the hospital and man, I had forgotten how tiring newborns can be! Especially now that I'm in my late 40s. I hope you're able to sneak in some sleep while your baby naps :)

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

  20. Congratulations on the free library! What a fun thing for your neighborhood.

    1. I think it will be a really good thing for my neighborhood. It's gotten a great reception so far!

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

  21. I LOVE your little free library, it's a dream of mine to get one someday too. I still need to read the new Alice Feeney book. I love your list!

    1. It's been fun to be a LFL steward so far! People in my community seem curious and excited about it. I've had to explain to several people that the books are free for the taking. There's a little sign explaining how it works, but people still seem to not quite believe they can just take a book or two! LOL.

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

  22. Love the library! You're community doesn't know what's in store for them with such a voracious reader having a LFL! I always put my ARCs in the one by my house and they never last long haha. As for your list, I really liked both the Sager and McMahon books. Just the right amount of creepy! I've also read Catherine House. I remember really liking the atmosphere of that one.

    1. Ha ha. Well, mine certainly has more new releases, ARCs, and like-new books in it than I've seen in other LFLs. I hope that makes it more attractive to people!

      I generally find that I can handle Sager and McMahon's books without getting TOO creeped out. I think McMahon's have mellowed over the years, because her early ones were least for me :)

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

  23. The spooky part of my TBR pile is that there are so many books on it. LOL. What a great idea for Halloween, though.

    And your LFL looks absolutely fantastic. Congrats.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week.

    1. Right? No matter how much I read, my TBR pile never seems to diminish! There's always another book I want to read and another and another...

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

    2. I don't know about you but mine has increased since I joined a book club and then even more when I started blogging. LOL

  24. Congratulations on your Little Free Library!

    1. I'm loving it so far! It's been fun to see which books are being taken, which aren't, which are being left, etc.

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

  25. Aww, I love your LFL!! I would love to have one, too, but we don't have enough traffic in our area. Enjoy your new front yard!

    1. I considered putting one up in my last LFL, but the HOA was too strict and it was a small, gated community that didn't get all that much traffic anyway. The neighborhood we moved into last year is much better suited for a LFL.

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

  26. Oh, that's so exciting to hear about your Little Free Library! And what a pretty color, so striking w/ the black hardware. I'm sure it will get traffic w/ a location like that.

    I'm finally on board the Riley Sager train, so I'm on the request list for that one now (it'll definitely not be here before the new year, though). But first -- A Haunting on the Hill is in transit to me right now! Was hoping it would get here by Halloween, but still pretty excited.

    1. The blue is actually a little brighter than what I had in mind for my LFL, but you're right - it makes it more visible.

      I hope you enjoy THE ONLY ONE LEFT. There was a huge waiting list for it at my library and I got tired of waiting, so I bought a copy. I still haven't gotten to it yet, though. I'll be interested to read your review of A HAUNTING ON THE HILL. It looks/sounds super creepy!

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

  27. Yay about the LFL! I hope you get lots of good traffic and lots of interesting books get left. This is a great list! The Only One Left is on my TBR and this is the first I'm seeing of the Simone St. James. That looks fantastic and I've enjoyed the books I've read by her.


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