Reading this is just like drinking a good cup of coffee; you drink it slowly and savor every sip as it fills you with warmth. It is cozy and moving, with spoonfuls of time travel and melancholy added in to deepen the flavor profile even more.
Junji Ito is the master of horror manga and Black Paradox just stands to prove that further. It starts out with a group suicide pact gone wrong, eventually devolving into mind twisting madness. Add spine-tingling art to the mix and this is sure to keep you up at night!
Haynes strikes again with another beautiful myth retelling, this time revolving around Medusa. The witty banter between the Gods combined with the anguish and vengeance of scorned women makes for an intricately layered story reminiscent of Madeline Miller.
The human body is truly fascinating and this book showcases some of the most interesting abnormalities it is capable of. Whether you're studying medicine and want to dive deeper into pathology or just a morbid weirdo like me, your eyes will be bulging out of your head upon turning these pages.
Full disclaimer: I am a die hard vampire lover. But Harrison is so incredibly witty, I am willing to make an exception. Gory werewolf transformations, wholesome family drama, and childhood crush romance combine to make Such Sharp Teeth a full course meal suitable for all-- human or otherwise.
Finishing the Throne of Glass series has felt like one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. These eight books conclude in a crescendo of emotion, and let me tell you, Maas is an expert in that category. If you're looking for a fantastical journey of war, turmoil, dreams, and love, you've found it here.
Perfect for fans of Caitlin Doughty, Over My Dead Body dives into a piece of often forgotten history: cemeteries! Exploring locations across America, Melville will fill your brain with everything you need to impress your friends on your next walk amongst the tombstones.
Saturnalia is an absolute fever dream. It takes place over the course of one bacchanalian night, weaving dystopia into alchemy and all sorts of weirdness. My mind was reeling by the end, scrambling to put every piece of the puzzle together before the break of dawn.
Out is a deeply disturbing read; the horror is rooted in reality, stemming from spousal abuse, assault, gang violence, and other unnervingly "normal" occurrences. Kirino expertly uses this thread as a building block to turn what could be a standard thriller into a gritty commentary on misogyny, cementing her place in the crime novel hall of fame.
A small town bed and breakfast ran by a family of witches sets the scene for a perfect fall read... until a murder occurs! Tenderly thrilling is the best way to describe this cozy mystery; there is plenty of crime solving and wickedness to keep you on your toes, and just enough family love and goodness to warm your heart.
Feed Them Silence is short but packs a real punch. Mandelo is an expert in emotion; the raw intimacy and contrasting narratives left me clawing and howling, almost as if I had a connection with a wolf myself.
Brooke Lauren Davis has cemented herself as an instant read author for me. I read this in one sitting; I simply could not put it down. Ghost tours, curses, and murder mysteries make for the perfect spooky fall atmosphere, and Roxie Clark herself is an absolute emo icon and the most badass protagonist you'll come across in YA.
If you like dark fantasy, I implore you to pick this up. The Poppy War is a beautifully tragic war epic deeply rooted in Chinese history, filled with drugs, gods, and superb world building. Nausea inducing brutality and intense action scenes combine with a gut wrenching sense of hope and the most realistic, well developed characters I've ever read to make this an instant all time favorite.
All's Well is a Shakespeare-induced fever dream following a recently divorced professor with chronic pain. Dark, witty humor and surreal, manic energy make for a fast paced read; this is the perfect book for depressed millennials looking to feel something again.
If you like the macabre as much as I do, this is the art collection for you. The Art of Darkness offers facts and insight on both classic and lesser known pieces depicting illness, crime, and loads more dark stuff, making it perfect for the spooky season (or just all year round).
Watersong reads like Murakami but with actually well written female characters; it is a slowburn literary mystery full of anticipation and interconnected parts. Goenawan expertly weaves a seemingly normal life into the seedy underbelly of Japan, including foreboding fortune tellers and a remarkable story of love and longing.
Detailing the rise of the Ming Dynasty through the lens of two queer protagonists, She Who Became the Sun is a tale of survival and the brutalities of war. It is a complex, slow burn fantasy full of tragedy and dotted with moments of pure tenderness throughout. This is truly an epic for the ages; keep your emotions on high alert and tissues handy.
Did reading Circe leave you craving more powerful and scorned Greek women? This collection of feminist retellings will fill that hole. By including beautiful illustrations and many lesser known myths, Higgins has solidified her place in the world of mythology.
If you have ever been a part of stan culture, this one is for you. A riveting exploration of fandoms and obsession, Idol, Burning is short but packs a real punch. It reads like modern day Mishima, using discomforting prose and slow-burn writing to set the tone for a melancholic and insightful read.
The Brown Sisters trilogy is sensational! Each book follows a different sister and their romantic escapades; they are diverse, witty, and heart-stoppingly romantic. Hibbert really proves that there is depth to contemporary romance, making you laugh, cry, and feel completely empowered all at once.
Queer Appalachian ghost stories always hit home for me, but this one is a real treat. Devils, magic, and lots of dead things... Wake the Bones has everything you need for an atmospheric horror novel, plus a small-town coming of age story to top it off.
Barnhill has outdone herself-- diving into adult novels for the first time, she manages to capture the essence of rage, love, and personhood by writing women transforming into literal dragons. It is thrilling, moving, and truly empowering; this is the feminist novel of the year.
Set in a magic-filled 1800's Oxford on the cusp of revolution, we follow a diverse cast of four as they determine what side they're on: the classist, colonialist London that has given them the world, or the secret society that promises justice for all. Scornful, intelligent, and complex, Babel is the most ambitious dark academia title I've read to date; nothing I say can live up to how indescribably good this book is.
An anomaly in Mishima's generally dark oeuvre, The Sound of Waves is a simple but heartfelt story of young love in a rural fishing village. The straightforward narrative only serves to amplify the wondrous prose and composition. Timeless and elegant, this is classic Japanese literature at its finest.
A snowed-in chateau inhabited by a disturbing family sets the scene for this gothic/dystopian fusion; it is macabre, unique, and just the right amount of grotesque. Explorations of individuality and morality make Leech a deep and complex addition to the shelves of all creepy readers.
This is the best romance novel I have EVER read! Book Lovers has it all: witty banter, sisterly love, and chemistry that will knock you out. Also, Nora and Charlie are cranky as hell and it is absolutely perfect.
In All the Living and the Dead, journalist Hayley Campbell takes a deep dive into the often avoided waters of the death industry. Interviewing 12 different people working in a death-adjacent profession, she details the process of the end with gentle but powerful precision, perfecting the balance between emotion and information in such a delicate subject.
Ottessa Moshfegh's newest novel is, in my opinion, her best work yet. Set in a medieval fiefdom with themes of power and religion, Lapvona is an unreliable, twisted exploration of human behavior and good versus evil. It is immersive, grotesque, and disturbing, yet immensely thought provoking.
The Woman in the Dunes is a classic for a reason; it is claustrophobic and surreal in the most psychologically haunting ways. It tells the simple story of an entomologist who gets trapped in a pit of sand. Using oppressive, eerie prose, Abe keeps your skin crawling and your mind racing through the man's struggles to escape.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is part memoir, part death serenade; it gives you a behind the scenes look into how a crematory operates while also encouraging you to meditate on dying and what the end of life really means. Doughty's morbid humor and personal experiences in the death industry make such a weighty subject feel purposeful and accessible to everyone.