Whether you’re in the mood for a comfort read or an unsettling one, we have the book recommendation for you.
Not ready to let go of the spooky season yet? After spending two months reading strictly witchy books, thrillers, historical fiction and dark academia-type stories, I’ve compiled a few recommendations for my fellow fall-loving bookworms.
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for comfort reads, so let’s start with those. When I picked up The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston, I already knew it would be fun, but I did not expect this tear-jerking, pun-ny, cozy book. When ghostwriter Florence Day returns to her hometown for her father’s funeral, she encounters a ghost, who happens to be her very confused and very dead editor. This is a story of grief and loss coloured with humour and wholesome romance.
If you’re into the soft-hearted villain, grumpy x sunshine, (soft) enemies to lovers, and doomed romance tropes, pick up A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley. Mariel is a clumsy green witch who messes up a spell and accidentally summons Ozroth the Ruthless, a demon whose mission is to collect witch souls. This spicy rom-com had a cute environmental activism side-quest and fun world-building. A story of self-confidence, this is a feel-good read—but beware of emotional somersaults.
Because I am nothing if not diverse, here are eerie and (I cannot emphasize this enough) unsettling thrillers. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is artfully done. Noemí’s cousin mysteriously asks to be rescued from the house she just moved into with her new husband. When Noemí arrives, she realises every character is creepy, but the house itself is worse—it’s a living nightmare. This isn’t for the faint of heart and addresses disturbing themes (heavy trigger warnings). It’s an uncomfortable read, but a unique experience thanks to the author’s cinematic writing style.
Sharing that energy, my experience reading K. L. Cerra’s Such Pretty Flowers was tainted with utter disbelief and shock. If you’re looking for something macabre and twisted (again, heavy trigger warnings), this one was very weird and addictive. Holly, who has little to no survival instinct, is investigating her brother’s apparent suicide. The book features sapphic romance, gore and a creepy botanic cult. I literally had to put the book down and just stare into the ether at times before diving back in.
Moving into historical fiction, yours truly was enchanted to find Anna Maxymiw’s book, Minique. The story follows Minique through her life in New France as she grows up an odd child, suffers numerous tragedies and becomes an isolated witch. Minique is a man-scaring feminist, bold and authentic. As a witchcraft-loving Quebecer, I loved the references to local mythology, and Maxymiw’s lyrical writing felt like a legend in itself. If you loved The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and Circe, you’d probably enjoy this one too.
Because it’s midterm season and I needed something uplifting, I am currently reading and loving The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, featuring a diverse cast and the heartwarming found-family trope. Secret witch Mika Moon receives an odd request: a family needs her help training three little witches with their magic. Charming in its colour and personality, this book is a wholesome escape with adorable characters and a side of romance.