Tuesday, October 30

Haunted Houses for Halloween: Top 10 Novels You Need To Read


Despite having been used in the horror genre for centuries, haunted houses remain a fascination of mine. The Conjuring and Insidious are just two horror franchises that utilize this trope... and have earned tons of money while doing so. For me, the haunted house's appeal lies in how sinister and stifling it is to be unsafe in the very place, your home in most cases, that's supposed to keep you safe.

Today, Clare and I have collected five-five haunted house novels we immensely enjoyed and would recommend - both to long-time fans of the trope and to those who want to dip their toes into haunted house stories.

*titles either link to goodreads or to reviews* 



Vera's Top Five


THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER by Jonathan Janz

The Siren and the Specter is my underrated fave of 2018, and I'll never stop screaming about it. The novel follows David Caine, a popular debunker, who agrees to spend a month in the Alexander House, aka the most haunted house in Virginia. Not believing in ghosts, he doesn't expect anything extraordinary to occur, but oh boy, he will be scared shitless in no time! Fantastic characters plus the creepiness and twists I did NOT see coming made this one a hell of a ride. Highly recommended.




THE GROWNUP by Gillian Flynn

I doubt I have to introduce Gillian Flynn to any of you, which is part of the reason why The Grownup nearly didn't make it onto my list. The other reason is that you'll be asking yourselves for more than half of the story if this simply a thriller or if there is something supernatural going on there. Usually our main character has an easy time making her clients happy as a (fake) psychic - she tells them all the sweet lies they want to hear. However her newest client, a woman named Susan who is convinced her house is haunted, proves to be harder to crack than expected.


THE SHINING by Stephen King

Can any haunted house list be complete without The Shining!? Doubtful. Jack, the new off-season caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, arrives with plans to spend a quiet winter in the hotel with his son and wife, with little work to do. However, the Overlook is far from the peaceful place they expected - Danny, the son, is haunted by various apparitions from the get-go and it doesn't take long for Wendy and Jack to also start seeing things, and for him to start going back to his old ways... 



THE BROKEN GIRLS by Simone St. James

If there is a trope creepier than haunted house it's haunted boarding school, especially when the students have no way of leaving, which is the case in The Broken Girls. Taking place in both past and present, the novel follows a group of girls living in the Idlewild Hall of the past, and a journalist in present day who is trying to uncover the mysteries of the old school. Full of surprises, small town secrets and a creepy ghost, The Broken Girls proved to be an edge-of-your seat novel I could hardly put down.



I left the best for last, because I really, and I mean really, want y'all to pick this title up. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall takes place in the former asylum nicknamed Hysteria Hall that Delia inherits from her late-aunt. Sounds pretty cool at first, the property being vast and all, however, Delia will have to find out the hard way just how haunted a place like this can be...





Clare's Top Five:

9378297
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake

This book made me fall in love with Blake's writing. This feels claustrophobic and scary and just brilliantly written. It's been a really long time since I last read it (and actually I'd love to re-read it soon) but it has always stood out in my mind as one of the best haunted house stories - and one of the best scary stories I've read. Plus Anna is such a unique and brilliant character! 








89717THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson


Will I ever shut up about this book or the tv series? That's a hard no. The book was the second Shirley Jackson novel I ever read and I loved it. The house is its own character and I seriously doubted the sanity of literally every character and also myself at times. What is real? I don't even know any more but OMG this book is good. 








12948THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Henry James

My absolute favourite book to recommend and then discuss with people because everyones' interpretation is so different. This is genuinely spooky and its a super short read so its easy to fit in this Halloween. And hey if you read it, please please tell me what you think the truth was. My truth will always be that I believe her but I love hearing reasoning for any side! 









11832043THE HAUNTING OF MADDY-CLARE by Simone St. James



St. James is fully the queen of ghost stories for me - but this is her first and a good one to kick off with. She does a really good job of making you feel sympathy for the ghost and root for her a little and then five seconds later you'll be holding your breath in fear. The scenes with Sarah investigating the haunting are fully brilliant plus you get a great romance thrown in to relieve the tension! 








32905343MEDDLING KIDS by Edgar Cantero


Kinda stretching the line here in terms of what's haunting the house. But for me a haunted house story is always more about the house and the atmosphere and this has that in spades. I only recently read this - drawn in by the promise of Scooby Doo but for adults - and rewarded with something completely unique and a little brilliant. Not a conventional haunted house but still a great one! 







Let's chat!
Do you like the haunted house trope? What's your favorite horror or thriller trope? Least favorite? Don't forget to leave a link to your TTTs and you can still

ENTER OUR SPOOKY OCTOBER GIVEAWAY HERE.

29 comments:

  1. I have The Broken Girls on Kindle, and I still haven't read it. Now, I actually want to pick it up soon. Thanks for giving me motivation :D

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    1. The Broken Girls is SO DARN GOOD, hope you'll love it!

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  2. I'd never go inside a haunted house. Why would one? Lol.

    I'm too scared to even read a book about a haunted house.

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    1. Haha, haunted houses are so fascinating, though! Hard to resist.

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  3. I haven't read any of these, but I'd really like to read The Turn of the Screw. Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

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    1. The Turn of the Screw is such a deliciously dark, confusing mystery. Hope you'll love it!

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  4. I need to make time for Meddling Kids. I've read Hill House and The Shining is my favorite King book and I've read it three times!

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    1. Argh, I need to read more by King - I only read The Shining and Carrie, but I'm interested in so many by him.

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  5. Couldn’t be a haunted house list without The Shining. Such a classic. Those that appeared to Jack and Danny while there creeped me out like crazy!

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    1. I thought the same thing - impossible to not include that one. Yes, same, super-creeped out by the ghosts.

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  6. I like the haunted house theme when it's very very gradual, more Poltergeist (normal family, normal house, but things start going from weird to annoying to scary) than Amityville (family buys creepy-as-hell house, walls start bleeding, and only one in the family notices while the rest accuse them of lying).

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    1. Hm, I've just read a haunted house novel that I think might work for you - Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. A lot more gradual than those on my list & it felt super-unique to me. Highly recommended!

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  7. I do like haunted house"stories". I have read several of these and added The Broken Girls, Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, and The Siren and the Specter to my TBR. Thank you for your blog posts for this giveaway. They have been great.

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    1. It makes me happy you enjoyed our posts & that found so many books this list! I hope you'll love all of them. :)

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  8. "The Turn Of the Screw" is a great classic I enjoyed years ago, but I definitely think I'd like to try "The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall"--it sounds fun!

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    1. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall put one of the most interesting and creepy spins on the whole haunted house trope, so I hope you'll love it.

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  9. I had started Meddling Kids, because I thought I was getting Scooby Doo, but it was dark, so dark.

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    1. Same! The blurb was SUPER scooby doo and then the book went in a whole other direction - luckily I still loved it!

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  10. Ooh fun list. The Grown Up sounds like one I'd really like.

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    1. Especially if you enjoy Gillian Flynn it's a must read! :)

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  11. It's been a really long time since I read Anna Dressed in Blood, but I still absolutely love it :)

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    1. That's how I feel! I don't know why I haven't picked it up for a re-read recently because it is seriously so good!

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  12. I need to read more haunted house novels. I’ve read a few from this list and liked them a lot.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. They can be so creepy and even though there are A LOT already existing it's still a topic authors manage to put their own spin on.

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  13. I do like my scary books but need to read more haunted house books! I have wanted to read Anna Dressed in Blood for ages and will one day get to it!! I also really want to read The Haunting of Hill House. I loved a short story by that author :)

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    1. It's my absolute favourite horror trope! I have loved everything I've read of Shirley Jackson so far so will have to check out her short stories! And Anna Dressed in Blood is super good definitely recommend it!

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  14. I have Haunting of Hill House and Meddling Kids on my TBR :D I love seeing haunted houses as settings, I think they are the creepiest because it makes you wonder whether there's a ghost in your house too haha!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

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    1. Oh there is DEFINITELY a ghost in my house which just makes these stories a little bit creepier!! You're so right - its totally that familiarity that makes them so much scarier!

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