Hello and happy Friday! It’s late Friday here but I haven’t posted in a long time and I was feeling inspired. I’ve been reading a lot of horror books lately. Dark stories with ghosts, hauntings, and general creepiness. In honor of spooky month, I though I would share some of these books with you! Below, find five of my recent favorites with the full synopsis and a short review of each. If you have any similar recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.
Title: Our Last Echoes
Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Synopsis: Kara Thomas meets Twin Peaks in this supernatural thriller about one girl’s hunt for the truth about her mother’s disappearance.
Sophia’s first memory is of drowning. She remembers the darkness of the water and the briny taste as it fills her throat. She remembers the cold shock of going under. She remembers her mother pulling her to safety before disappearing forever. But Sophia has never been in the ocean. And her mother died years ago in a hospital. Or so she has been told her whole life.
A series of clues have led Sophia to the island of Bitter Rock, Alaska, where she talked her way into a summer internship at the Landon Avian Research Center, the same center her mother worked at right before she died. There, she meets the disarmingly clever Liam, whose own mother runs the LARC, as well as Abby, who’s following a mystery of her own: a series of unexplained disappearances. People have been vanishing from Bitter Rock for decades, leaving only their ghostly echoes behind. When it looks like their two mysteries might be one and the same, Sophia vows to dig up the truth, no matter how many lies she has to tell along the way. Even if it leads her to a truth she may not want to face.
Our Last Echoes is an eerie collection of found documents and written confessionals, in the style of Rules for Vanishing, with supernatural twists that keep you questioning what is true and what is an illusion.
Review: I read and loved Rules for Vanishing last year, so when I heard Kate Alice Marshall had a new story coming out, I could not wait to read it! Our Last Echoes is set in the same universe, but you don’t need to have read Rule for Vanishing to pick this one up. It is told through interviews and transcribed videos, going back and forth in time. It follows Sophia and her journey to find out about her past. Sophia has been bounced around in the foster system her whole life, so after turning 18, she’s going back to the last place her mother was seen before she disappeared. It is a remote island with very few residents and a history of disappearing people. This book is very dark and atmospheric. I loved how claustrophobic it made me feel with the fog that rolls into the island bringing with it terrifying figures.
Title: House of Hollow
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.
Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.
As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.
The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
Review: This book will get under your skin. The story is about three strange sisters. When one of them goes missing, the youngest sister, Iris, sets out to find he and determine what happened to them as children. I can’t say too much about this one without spoiling things, but the slowly creeping feeling will take you over and you won’t be able to stop reading this book.
Title: The River Has Teeth
Author: Erica Waters
Synopsis: Natasha’s sister is missing.
Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger.
She’ll do anything to find answers.
Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her.
But Della has her own secrets to hide.
Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.
Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose.
They are each other’s only hope.
Review: I loved the earth witch vibes of this book. I need more books like it! This is another story of a girl looking for her missing sister. One half of the story is told from Natasha’s perspective as she follows leads trying to find out what happened to her sister. The other half of the story is told from the perspective of Della, a girl whose family has lived in the area a long time, creating spells for the locals. Della is harboring family secrets and Natasha needs help finding her sister. These two girls form an unlikely friendship and there may or may not be beautiful, witchy, sapphic vibes here.
Title: The Violent Season
Author: Sara Walters
Synopsis: An unputdownable debut about a town marred by violence, a girl ruined by grief, and the harsh reality about what makes people decide to hurt each other. The Violent Season is a searing, unforgettable, and thrilling novel that belongs on shelf with Sadie and Girl in Pieces.
Every November, the people in Wolf Ridge are overwhelmed with a hunger for violence–at least that’s the town rumor. Last fall Wyatt Green’s mother was brutally murdered, convincing Wyatt that this yearning isn’t morbid urban legend. but rather a palpable force infecting her neighbors.
This year, Wyatt fears the call of violence has spread to her best friend Cash–who also happens to be the guy she can’t stop wanting no matter how much he hurts her. At the same time, she’s drawn to Cash’s nemesis Porter, now that they’re partners on an ambitious project for lit class. When Wyatt pulls away from Cash, and spends more time with Porter, she learns secrets about both of them she can’t forget.
And as the truth about her mother’s death begins to emerge from the shadows, Wyatt is faced with a series of hard realities about the people she trusts the most, rethinking everything she believes about what makes people decide to hurt each other.
Review: If you’re looking for a dark read, this one is it. Wyatt is convinced her small town has a sickness that makes everyone violent each November. Last November, she found her mother brutally murdered in their home and the murder is still unsolved. Wyatt has been dealing with her feelings from losing her mother by bonding with Cash, who also lost his mother. But their relationship is toxic and when she starts hanging out with a new boy she realizes Cash may not be as wonderful as she thought. We slowly learn more about the town and past Novembers and Wyatt begins to remember more about the past year and what may have happened to her mother.
Title: The Dead and the Dark
Author: Courtney Gould
Synopsis: Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places―and people―you didn’t expect.
The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
Review: By the end of this list I’ve realized I have a thing for stories that are told from multiple perspectives. The Dead and the Dark is told from the perspective of Logan, a girl whose fathers are the hosts of a famous ghost hunting show and Ashely, a girl who has lived her whole life in Snakebite, Oregon. When Logan’s dads bring her to Snakebite under the pretense of scouting locations for their show, she learns far more about her dads than she did in her prior 17 years of life. Ashley’s boyfriend is missing and when she realizes Logan is the only one who might help her find him, the two become friends, hunting ghosts in the forest and trying to absolve Logan’s dads when the whole town suspects them of Ashley’s boyfriends disappearance. Minor spoiler, this may turn out to be another sapphic story full of ghosts and family secrets!
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