I think “books on my TBR” posts are some of my favourite to make! I don’t generally keep a monthly TBR list but sometimes, especially this year, I have a loose seasonal list. I think part of the reason it became such a part of my plan this year is because I had an overwhelming number of books I wanted to prioritize, and several of them fit very well into particular seasons. It seemed like an easy and convenient way to try to tackle my long list. If anything, I think that fall is the one season each year that I really try to read seasonally, with lots of creepy books and thrillers. Even looking back on my fall TBR lists from previous years, they have definitely become more specific over time. There are several books this year that I’ve been purposely holding until fall, and I can’t wait to finally get to them!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah
I have a few Sophie Hannah books to read this fall, and she is one of my top priority authors to try this year, so I really need to get on that! I included this book specifically to give myself an extra push/accountability to read it because I’ve had it for quite a while, and it’s about time that I try it. This book is about a woman named Justine who has fled London and a career that nearly destroyed her. After they move, she starts to notice that her daughter Ellen has become withdrawn and upon checking her homework, finds a very creepy story about a series of murders that take place at the family’s new house. Ellen claims she’s made it all up, but Justine wonders how her daughter could imagine something so gross and why she named one of the characters after herself. She soon realizes that her daughter has also invented a best friend at school, whom no one else seems to know. When Justine starts to receive anonymous threatening phone calls, she begins to fear for her family and decides she will have to confront the danger herself if the police won’t help her. I’m surprised to see the book has such mixed reviews since it sounds so interesting, but hopefully I will soon see for myself.
2) A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
This book has been on my TBR for a few years now, and it is one that I specifically earmarked for the fall. This book is about the Barrett family, whose 14-year-old daughter Marjorie starts to show signs of schizophrenia. With doctors unable to do anything to help her, the family instead turns to the local priest who suggest they try an exorcism, and they also contact a production company who want to document the family’s story. Marjorie’s father John has been out of work for over a year, and with her medical bills piling up, he agrees to the television series. 15 years later, Marjorie’s younger sister Merry is being interviewed by an author about her childhood and the secrets that were not included on the TV show. I’ve heard such great things about the book, and the more I see about it, the more interesting it seems! I’m definitely planning to read this one in October.
3) Penance by Kanae Minato
This book has jumped to the top of my list after reading Confessions by this author late last year. This is the only other thriller that she has which has been translated into English, as far as I have seen, and I’m so excited to try it. I mentioned it a couple of months ago as a book that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a copy of, and shortly afterwards, I managed to find it! This book is set in Japan, and it is about a group of four girls who were tricked into leaving another friend named Emily behind, who was found murdered a few hours later. None of the girls were able to accurately describe the person who convinced them to leave her behind, and Emily’s mother blames them for her death, deciding to seek revenge. I absolutely loved the writing in Confessions and devoured the story so quickly, and I’m hoping that this book will be the same experience!
4) The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
I meant to read this book last year but somehow kept putting it off. It is about a woman named Emily who seems to have found the perfect man, Adam only to find that his mother Pammie wants her out of the way. I don’t know that much more about the plot of this one, but that’s probably not a bad thing given that it is a thriller. I’m intrigued by this one because a lot of the domestic thrillers I read tend to focus on issues between the husband and wife or between now-adult children and their parents, so it seems interesting to have one that focuses on a mother-in-law relationship. I’ve actually read one other book, The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth, earlier this that seemed to be along the same lines, and I really enjoyed it so I’m curious to see if I’ll like this one as much. Like many thrillers, this one has received very mixed reviews which is not the most encouraging, but I’d still love to give it a chance.
5) All the Bad Apples and Spellbook of the Lost & Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
I’m hoping to get to both of these books this fall, but I only own one of them so far! I’m hoping to get a copy of All the Bad Apples soon. Spellbook of the Lost and Found has been on my TBR for quite a while now, and it is about two girls who begin to lose things, and one of them, Olive, soon meets three mysterious strangers who are all mourning losses of their own. When they discover an ancient spellbook of handwritten charms to find lost things, they realize it may be their last chance to set things right again. All the Bad Apples is this author’s most recent release from 2019, which is about a girl named Deena whose sister Mandy has disappeared and is presumed dead. When letters from Mandy begin to arrive claiming that their family’s history of bad luck is actually the result of a curse, Deena sets out to find her so they can break the cycle. Both books sound so interesting, and definitely give me strong fall vibes!
6) A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
I’ve only read two of Shari Lapena’s books so far, but I’ve really enjoyed them both. I think I even chose another of her books last year for the Top 10 Tuesday topic about books that give off fall vibes, so she definitely seems like a “fall” author for me. This book is her 2017 release about a man named Tom who returns home one day to find that his wife Karen has vanished, leaving everything behind but her car. The police soon arrive at his door to inform him that Karen is in the hospital with a concussion and no memory of what she was doing or where she was going when she crashed. The police are suspicious of these memory gaps, and upon returning home, Karen is also sure that something is not right and begins to suspect someone else has been in their house and has been moving things. Although I’ve enjoyed both of Shari Lapena’s books that I’ve read so far, neither of them has quite reached 5 stars (although An Unwanted Guest came pretty close), so I’m hoping to love this one just as much, if not more!
7) Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
I have both books that are out so far in this series on my fall TBR, but this is the only one I know for sure I can get to because I already have a copy. I’m hoping to get a copy of Dead Voices too so I can read them both together. I think this book first caught my attention because the cover reminded me of a creepy episode of The Magic School Bus where the class got stranded overnight in a sound museum. This book is about an 11-year-old girl named Ollie who steals a book from a woman who had been threatening to throw it into the river. Upon reading it, Ollie finds that the book is about a young girl named Beth and a peculiar deal that was made with the sinister “smiling man” who grants you a wish but at a steep price. Ollie becomes fascinated by the story and is surprised to discover the graves of Beth and her family while on a school trip, causing her to wonder if the rest of the book might have been real too. When the school bus breaks down, the children are left with the driver, who warns them to get out before night falls and “keep to small places.” I don’t often read middle grade, but this series sounds so creepy and definitely a perfect book to read leading up to Halloween.
8) City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
I guess it’s a bit ironic that immediately after mentioning that I rarely read middle grade, I pick another middle grade series, but this one is definitely a fall/Halloween read for me. I was intrigued by this one because it is by Victoria Schwab, and I’ve loved everything of hers that I’ve read so far. It is about a girl named Cassidy whose best friend is a ghost, and her parents are also a ghost-hunting team who are hired to a haunting in Edinburgh for their new TV show. While there, Cassidy meets another girl named Lara who can also see ghosts, and Lara tells her that their job is to help send them “beyond the Veil.” Cassidy also finds out that people with the ability to see ghosts are hunted by the sinister Raven in Red, who wants to claim them so it can live again. I don’t have copies of either of the books that are available in this series yet, but I’m strongly considering buying them so I can read them this fall. The only thing really holding me back is the fact that they are middle grade, but given the author, that’s not too much of a barrier.
9) Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
I wasn’t even going to mention this one because I feel like I’ve brought it up so often already this year, but it is definitely a book that is at the top of my fall TBR (if I can find a copy that is less than $35!!) so it didn’t feel right to leave it out. This is another book that has to deal with ghost hunting, and one of my most anticipated books of the year, even though I have yet to read anything by Riley Sager! Final Girls is also on my list for this fall, and potentially Lock Every Door if I can snag a copy of that too. This one is his most recent release, about a woman named Maggie who lived with her parents for three weeks in a house that was rumoured to be haunted, before they all fled. Her father wrote a book based on their experience, which gained worldwide popularity, but Maggie does not remember or believe in what he described. As an adult, she inherits the house and returns to renovate it, and soon discovers that the town is unhappy about the amount of attention her father’s book brought to them, and the house itself may have a darker history than she realized. This book sounds so interesting and I can’t wait to get a copy so I can finally read it, although I definitely would have saved it for October anyway!
10) Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
I was so excited to see the hardcover version of this book show up last week on Book Outlet, for about a quarter of the price I would have had to pay for it otherwise! I had just about written off being able to read this one this year because I didn’t want to pay close to $40 for it, and I specifically wanted the hardcover because it’s quite a long book and I find hardcovers much more durable for those. It is about a 7-year-old boy named Christopher who has a difficult life, until he starts to see an imaginary friend that leads him out into the woods near his school. This “friend” also tells him to do things, including building a treehouse before Christmas or else his mother and the town will never be the same again. Like a few of the other books mentioned here, this one has received very mixed reviews, and the biggest complaint I’ve seen so far is that the book is way too long for what it is. I’m still very curious to try it though, and I’m so glad I was able to find an affordable copy in time to read it this fall.
I’m so curious about Small Spaces.
My post .
Both Small Spaces and Dead Voices make great fall reads! I’ve read them, and they were fun and definitely give a little bit of a chill that’s perfect for this time of year. 😉 I’ve read Imaginary Friend, and my review was a little mixed (I absolutely LOVED the beginning, but felt the ending tanked), but I’ve recommended it to others that just plain enjoyed it. Definitely a mixed bag, but I will say that, either way, it’s hard to deny that Chbosky does a fabulous job of creating a super creepy atmosphere! I hope you end up enjoying it. City of Ghosts is one I really need to read, too, and I’m thinking this October seems like a good time for it. :3
Here’s my TTT post.
I grabbed A Head Full of Ghosts earlier this year from the library, but ended up getting to busy to read it. It sounds so deliciously creepy—the perfect fall read. The rest of these look fantastic, too. I’ve been so curious about Imaginary Friend.
Oooh great list. I have a few of these on my TBR too so looking forward to hearing your thoughts!