Scary & Horror Book Recommendations (some even have romance!)

by Maryse on October 10, 2013 · 24 comments

in Book Recommendations

Who’s in the mood to kickoff the Halloween season with a few scary reads? You know what I just realized? I haven’t felt the need to sleep with the lights on, in ages.

I remember way back when… after a scary movie (or book), I’d not only keep all the lights on in the house, I’d wake up after a nightmare (or scary noise) and stare at my closet and tremble. If I was with friends, we’d dare each other to peek under my bed… just in case (and I would totally do it and eeeeeeeep!!). But if I was alone… I wouldn’t even get up to go to the bathroom. And IF I had to… I’d leap from the bed as far away as I could so nothing would yank on my ankle while I attempted to get up. Why would I DO that to myself, you ask? *grins* I dunno. I JUST LOVE it!!! Oh don’t get me wrong… while I watch (or read) the horror, I ask myself that question all the time.

But it’s just this craving I have to be *jolted* out of the “same old-same old”. Looking for a temporary (and safe) freak-out. To be shocked and appalled. To jump right out of my seat (right out of my skin!), screaming at the top of my lungs, only to giggle like mad as I “come down” and realize what I just did. I used to have a partner in “horror-crime” which was my mom (yep, the one who got me started in books, started me in horror movies even earlier). You see, her excuse was… that she hated to watch (or read) them alone. I get the horror-thrill gene from her. ;)

I was wondering who else here loves ‘em too? Any absolute must read favorites? Off the top of my head (when I was strictly a horror reader), I was of course a HUGE Stephen King fan and Dean Koontz. But there’re so many more horror books to experience, right?

So… now you tell me! Any awesome/sleep-with-the-lights-on recommendations? Any new super-scary horror books out that are must reads?

Stephanie: Oh I like this post! Sometimes I want to mix up the steamy and swoony for a creepy, make me feel all “omg did you hear that?”  Kind of book!! Can’t wait to read the recommendations!

Elizabeth: I’m with you on the horror books. Love them…

Mel: This has got to be one of my most favorite posts you’ve done. Thank you for this. Had no idea you loved horror. Awesome! Rob Zombie is the master of horror movies. And, of course, Stephen King is the king of horror books. His movies are totally scared-sh!tless worthy, too!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Horror is/was my first passion. Romance books are my thing now, but I watch at least one horror movie a week! LOVE LOVE LOVE. It keeps me “fresh’ and on my toes. I need to find a book though, that will scare me straight into leaving the lights on for at least a week. THAT is what I’m in the mood for! I’m more of a supernatural girl (ghosts, demonic possessions, exorcisms, anything biblical…) LOVE that. Must be the scared-straight catholic in me. I’m “learning”. ;)

P.S. This is going to be a two-part list. I’ll start us off “slower” with scary-romance books, and then, below it, I’ll switch up to the full-on freaky!

P.P.S. <— I AM ALL EARS (and eyes) for more recommendations in the horror book category. I wanna know the book(s) that scared the daylights out of you!! (also, if you have some good horror-romance recommendations, send those over, too!) :D


SCARY-SEXY ROMANCE (where the romance is, or becomes a BIG part of it)

Mercedes: Any suggestions on a good halloween reads. Scary sexy reads. Oh yahoo. I have already read karina halle. Any others u can suggest?

You bet Mercedes. Not a ton of ‘em yet, but hopefully the recommendations will come in (’cause how awesome would it be two have my two favorite genres in one?) And then, we can expand on this part of the list. :D But here are a few:

  • Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Halle <— My personal recommendation. Ghost hunting for a Youtube show, Perry and Dex work together to “investigate” trying to capture apparitions and demon-ish things on camera. But little do they know these “things” will take a GREAT interest in them… and they, in each other. OH BEST SERIES EVER!!!! A slow burning potential love-story (Dex can be VERY hard to deal with ’cause he’s both awesome and an absolute jerk), and Perry is totally one of us! You’ll get plenty of pining, hope and hurt. That’s the best part! And along for that intense romance-ride are the spooky things that they are both somehow connected to. An absolute MUST READ!
  • The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning <— Another absolute must-read recommendations from me! All-american “Mac” (cute college-girl type) goes to Ireland to try to get to the bottom of her sister’s murder. And once there, she notices she can “see things”. A rare gift (more like curse) that only a few have, where she can see past “human appearances” to the evil Fae lurking underneath. Scary in that the “Fae” in this series are mostly evil, and there’s an evil book out there doing evil-ish things. And then she meets (and teams up with) Barrons. Bossy, arrogant and RUDE!! Absolutely unrelenting. Lots of scary frights throughout the series, tons of danger, and best yet… an intense “romantic connection” brewing on the absolute wrong guy. Or two. ;)
  • Red Hill by Jamie McGuire <—- A virus is suddenly wiping out the world, and the corpses seem to be re-animating. Feeding on those still alive around them. Yep, ZOMBIES! But this is about trying to escape, find refuge, find your loved ones, and possibly survive in this new world chaos. And while loss (and the fear of loss) is prevalent, connecting, loving and truly living again, is the theme! (Scary and romantic!)
  • Through Glass (Glass #1) by Rebecca Ethington <— recommended by Theresa: “I just finished Through Glass (Book 1 in a series) by Rebecca Ethington. It’s a little hard to classify as it starts out YA based on the character age, but I don’t think that’s where it belongs. The basic premise is that the world has gone dark and monsters roam the streets. The monsters have rules: No light. No noise. No going outside. The main character is confined to her house alone. Her only human contact is her best friend and crush the boy next door who she communicates with through her bedroom window using sign language. It’s scary and dark with just the right amount of unforeseen twists.” (oooooooh yesssss!!!)
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake <— Maggie says, “Maryse, I think I must have come across this book via your blog but I wanted to recommend it right back if not. It reminded me a tad bit of EIT for YA, and I really enjoyed it.”
  • A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House by Mark Spencer <— I haven’t read this one yet, but just came across it while doing searches, and it looks good! A modern family in an old haunted house (and they experience all of the various ghosts) and a love story… LOTS of great reviews for it!
  • Love and Decay, Volume One (Episodes One through Six) (Love and Decay, A Novella Series) by Rachel Higginson <— Theresa recommends this serial saying: “Post-Zombie apocalypse, Reagan and her best friend Haley have survived for two years on their own, but after a near escape in a department store, they team up with the Parker brothers.”
  • Flesh by Kylie Scott <— scary ’cause it’s the Zombie apocalypse, and it REALLY is creepy enough on it’s own with that… but OH SO excitingly steamy and sexy and romantic when she runs into Daniel. I swooned and felt so much safer. But things really get mixed up when THEY run into Finn. ;) (see my Book Review of this one AND book #2 which features another hero and heroine in this Zombie destroyed world – Book Review of Skin)
  • Grace Lost (The Grace Series) by M. Lauryl Lewis <— Petra couldn’t believe I left this one out!! “You for got the DARK GRACE series!!!!
    SO GOOD. ZOMBIE with a love story….love triangle might be better” <— you have me VERY excited Petra. I didn’t even know about it until now!
  • Tainted Grace (The Grace Series #2) by M. Lauryl Lewis
  • Dark Grace (The Grace Series) by M. Lauryl Lewis



  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty <— This will forever be my scariest of all-time movie & book experience. Being raised Catholic, I think I believed every moment of this, and there is NOTHING scarier than the Devil himself. And Adria agrees: “The Exorcist (book) was so freaking scary I slept with the lights on for weeks.” and Kryssie was scared out of her mind, too! “I read the exorcist when it first came out. A was only a teenager, and I remember asking my friend’s dad to walk me home that night. Too much imagination. I’d take the books over the films any day.
  • Intensity: A Novel by Dean Koontz <— I’m usually a supernatural horror girl (see the above book for an idea), but this one scared me out of my wits! I read it late into the night, and I swear I was checking out my bedroom window, scared that this guy was coming to get me next. She’s kidnapped and held hostage and I trembled in fear. No Stockholm Syndrome here… all I wanted to do was get away, and I think I hyperventilated during quite a few scenes. Like that “tied to the chair” one…
  • The Long Walk by Stephen King <— I loved the one where they were in a running marathon, and they couldn’t even stop to go to the bathroom, they had to do it while running and or they’d get shot. WHAT HORROR!!!
  • Thinner (Signet) by Stephen King <— Oh and I loved Thinner. Freaked me out. (he gets a curse on him that won’t let him gain weight. In fact, he can’t stop losing weight no matter how much he eats!)
  • Carrie by Stephen King <— Awesome movie and awesome book! Shy and sheltered (abused) girl bullied by her peers, this is a look into her attempt at making friends, falling in love and trying to hide her special abilities…
  • Tap,Tap by David Martin <— Lynetta suggests this one: The most frightening book I’ve ever read is called Tap, Tap. I was I scared I called my husband who was on duty but sleeping in the berthing. Sorry, sailors!
  • ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King <— Kathy says: “Salem’s Lot and IT (Stephen King) had me scared out of my wits! I love a good scary horror flick or book, and Stephen King is the master!” Yep!! I read this one, along with The Exorcist one summer at our cottage and will never forget how much fun (and how freaked out) I was. A little morbid for summer reads, I know. ;)
  • The Stand by Stephen King <— Jeannie says: “The Stand is probably one of the best books I have ever read. It is scary (of course) but it also makes you think. I have read it three times.”
  • It by Stephen King <— Jeannie suggests this one: “…terrifying – and is the reason I am now afraid of clowns (especially with balloons). I could not read it at night.” AGREED!!! I didn’t read it, but clowns scared me before this movie, and CLOWNS FREAK me out, now. GAH!!! Those teeth! and Kryssie says: “I have clown hang ups too- thank you Stephen King.”
  • The Shining by Stephen King <— Elizabeth: I’m a HUGE Stephen King fan, so I’m currently rereading The Shining because the sequel, Doctor Sleep: A Novel just came out. Can’t wait to see what Danny is like all grown up! His books always leave me with the eeriest feelings.” (Agreed! One of the creepiest books I’ve ever read. Even the kid creeped me out).
  • Doctor Sleep: A Novel by Stephen King (sequel to “The Shining) <— Ohhhhhh DR. SLEEP!!!!!!!!!! Oh you just MADE MY DAY Elizabeth!!!
  • COMA by Robin Cook <— Lisa recommends books by this author: “Robin Cook is scary to me…medical stuff freaks me out more than zombies and rabid dogs. I make myself suffer by reading one about once a year just because I love his writing and the mystery behind it. Oh, and by medical I mean contagious diseases, mutations, and weird diseases.” <— YES!! I didn’t remember who you were talking about, Lisa, but when I did a search on Amazon, and Coma came up I got really excited. I read this when I was about 10 years old (having seen it on my mom’s bookshelf for years) and it was SO good and SO scary! I think this book is the reason I’m terrified of surgery. And IV’s. *shudders*
  • Fever by Robin Cook <— another one from this author with GREAT reviews (and more recent).
  • Harmful Intent by Robin Cook <— and another! (there are SO many that look good, and I’ve only ever read Coma. Thanks Lisa!! Here is a link to more books from Robin Cook)
  • Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark by  Alvin Schwartz <– Bridget remembers this one: “I love Scary Stores To Tell In The Dark. Collection of scary tories and folk lore. Found it as a kid.”
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill <—- Elizabeth says: “Have you read any of Joe Hill’s books? He’s Stephen King’s son. He’s written some books that have gotten great reviews (genre is the same vein as his dad) but I haven’t read any yet.Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and NOS4A2 sound particularly creepy. I believe Horns is now a movie with Daniel Radcliffe.” and Kristi agrees: “Oh…yea i second Joe Hill ..heart shaped box creeped me out.
  • 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (and more books from this author here) —> Wow Elizabeth, I think I just found my next batch of reading. Every blurb of his sounds so different and FREAKY creepy and so many awesome reviews. YAY!!!!! Thank you for bringing him to our attention!
  • H.P. Lovecraft The Complete Collection<— Susan likes “I like to go REAL old school and read H. P. Lovecraft. Some of King’s early short stories are totally reminiscent of Lovecraft.”
  • Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin <— Susan asks: “Ever read or see Rosemary’s Baby?”
  • Ghost Story by Peter Straub<— Susan also recommends this author! And Peter Straub’s books are good.
  • Ground Zero: A Zombie Apocalypse by Nicholas Ryan <— Barb loved this one! “Just read Ground Zero, by Nicholas Ryan. Who is Vivian Sparx’s boyfriend. It was a great zombie book!”
  • The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter) by Thomas Harris <— this one freaked Terrie out! “The last horrific book I read was Silence of the Lambs. Kept me awake all night. No more!”
  • Six days with the Dead (Lanherne Chronicles) by Stephen Charlick <— Naomi suggests this series: Lanherne Chronicles. “Six days with the dead by Stephen Charlick. Great zombie reads!”
  • Dead Bad Things: A Thomas Usher Novel (Angry Robot) by Gary Mcmahon <— Kristi also suggests: “Some more books that weirded me out are dead bad things, apartment 16, outpost and 14.”
  • Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill “Apryl begins to unravel the hidden story of Barrington House. She discovers that a transforming, evil force still inhabits the building, and that the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something altogether more terrifying.
  • Outpost by Adam Baker –> “They must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone. They battle starvation and hypothermia, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way…”
  • 14 by Peter Clines <— “…every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends. Or the end of everything…”
  • Pines (The Wayward Pines Series) by Blake Crouch <— recommended by Theresa: “A creepy town that’s not quite what it seems. The main character gets stuck when he travels there to investigate the disappearance of two FBI agents.They’re making a TV series out of it that starts next year.”
  • Wayward (The Wayward Pines Series, Book Two) by Blake Crouch <— book #2!
  • The Dark by Jason Brant <— Eeeeeep!!! Theresa recoomends this one, too saying, “A town in Maryland goes dark. Only the people who had a light source when it happened are still around, but that’s not exactly a good thing. Creepy things lurk in the darkness, including what appears to be their friends and family members begging them to turn off their lights.” I HATE THE DARK!!!! (and yet I get a secret thrill over movies and books that revolve around it…)
  • Demon Seed by Dean Koontz <— Mallory recommends it! “This is the greatest idea!! What about Dean Koontz’s books? My fave scary one is Demon Seed!”
  • The Passage: A Novel by Justin Cronin <— Anna’s choice “I also enjoyed The Passage by Justin Cronin.”
  • 100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes <— Shirley recommends this one saying “100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes was fabulous! Intense, glued to my kindle great. It is one of my top 5 of the year so far.”


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Mallory October 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

This is the greatest idea!! What about Dean Koontz’s books? My fave scary one is Demon Seed!

Carol October 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Nothing freaked me out more than the description of Sasquatch in EIT’s Into the Hollow.

Maryse October 10, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Mallory, I haven’t read that one yet. Sounds right for me just by the title alone. I put one Dean up there. “Intensity”! Scaaaaary!

Sherry :) October 10, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Anything from John Saul will scare you bad!!

Shirley October 10, 2013 at 6:24 PM

100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes was fabulous! Intense, glued to my kindle great. It is one of my top 5 of the year so far.

Anna October 10, 2013 at 7:17 PM

I love everything by Joe Hill! So far I’ve only read Horns, Heart Shaped Box, and NOS4A2- but all were fantastic! I also enjoyed The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Petra Garcia October 10, 2013 at 7:23 PM

You for got the DARK GRACE series!!!!
SO GOOD. ZOMBIE with a love story….love triangle might be better

Maryse October 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM

You guys are exciting me!!

Petra… Zombies AND a love triangle? Yesssssss!

Maryse October 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Ohhhh speaking of which. I need to add to more to the romance/scary section… Brb.

Kristi October 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Yay! Super excited about some new horror books. Lol i could list a few more authors if anyone is interested..

mercedes gabaldon October 10, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Oh my gosh maryse thank u so much for doing this. U r awesome!!! :)

Maryse October 10, 2013 at 7:56 PM

My pleasure!! Sometimes we need an adrenaline rush of a different kind, right? ;)

Maryse October 10, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Kristi!! Please PLEASE list more!!

Maryse October 10, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Okay I just added 12 more to the bottom of each section (recommendations are coming in!), and they look AWESOME!

mercedes gabaldon October 10, 2013 at 8:28 PM


kristi October 10, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Oh geez…where to begin. Lol ok here goes:
Dan Simmons, Griffin Hayes, Richard Matheson, Ramsey Campbell, Guillermo del Toro, James Herbert, Richard Laymon, and Sara Gahn–specifically come closer…that should be good for now lol.

Michelle M October 10, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Oh Maryse, I’m so with you about the Experiment In Terror series and the Fever series! I don’t know which one I love more! Oh and Kylie Scott’s zombie series definitely has the adrenaline going… for lots of reasons. ;-)

Georgia October 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Huge Stephen King fan as well. IT is one of my favorites. I think you will also enjoy Books of Blood by Clive Barker.

julie o October 11, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Have read The Stand about 10 times and was utterly thrilled when it finally came out in the uncut version. That was a nice long weekend read! Dean Koontz is great, some Clive Barker and love the Passage books. I also really really enjoyed the Flesh series, can’t get much better than zombies and sex! I wish Kylie Scott would write another sequel or two about these.

Cindy October 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Lots of great suggestions and the perfect time of year to try one of these… I haven’t read many in this genre but I did enjoy The Witching Hour by Anne Rice although its super long. Ive heard about The Passage and I see it mentioned several times above and it sounds so good!! Someone recently recommended The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan…it sounds interesting! Anyone read that one?

Sam October 11, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Hey, what about Karina Halle’s Devil’s Metal series? That was rather spooky! Just finished the first one and waiting for the sequel which comes out right before Halloween! Perfect timing! Oh and another Stephan King recommendation, Pet Cemetery! Creeeeepy!

kim October 11, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Oh, I had forgotten about some of these books! The Shining was terrifying and I remember liking Ghost Story. One thats not here that really scared me and I had to read in the daytime was The Amityville Horror.

Alexandra Paul July 22, 2015 at 7:01 AM

I like this post ! Super excited about some new horror books. i have some recommendations along with this you also can try :

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