Book Notes

With Halloween just a day away, many of us are indulging in all things spooky to get into the holiday spirit.

And while classic movies like “Hocus Pocus,” “Halloweentown” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” are the go-to’s, there are also countless books that are perfect for this time of year. If you’re looking for a haunting late-night read, check out these recommendations from me and other book bloggers.

1. “Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell

I’ve seen numerous bloggers recommend this book since it was released in 2017. Ten years after her perfect daughter, Ellie Mack, disappeared at 15 years old, her mother, Laurel, is picking up the pieces of her life. Just months after the last clue about her daughter’s disappearance, Laurel meets a charming man named Floyd who sweeps her off her feet.

But when Laurel meets Floyd’s daughters, she can’t help but notice that his youngest, Poppy, is uncannily similar to Ellie. The questions surrounding Ellie’s disappearance resurface in Laurel’s mind, and she’s left wondering who Floyd really is.

2. “The Cousins” by Karen M. McManus

This new release is geared toward young adults, but plenty of older readers have had high praise for McManus’s work. The novel follows cousins Milly, Aubrey and Jonah Story, who receive an invitation from their rich, reclusive grandmother to work at her island resort for the summer.

None of the cousins have ever met their grandmother, but each accepts the invitation. It doesn’t take them long to realize that their grandmother has different plans for them, and their family’s dark and mysterious past is about to come to light.

3. “Eight Perfect Murders” by Peter Swanson

If you’re a fan of classic murder mysteries, you’ll be intrigued by this fast-paced thriller. The book follows bookseller Mal Kershaw, who compiled a list of the mystery genre’s most unsolvable murders called “Eight Perfect Murders.” With titles by Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith, Ira Levin and others, the books on the list are among the best of the best.

Things take a turn when an FBI agent shows up at Mal’s door, asking him about a series of unresolved murders that look quite similar to those on Mal’s list. He tries to take the investigation into his own hands, but a series of shocking twists leaves him in more danger than ever.

4. “Pretty Little Liars” series by Sara Shepard

If you’re a teen or young adult reader, you can’t go wrong with this suspenseful series. Told in four arcs over the course of 16 books, the series follows teenagers Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields and Spencer Hastings, whose clique falls apart after their leader, Alison DiLaurentis, mysteriously vanishes.

A few years after Ali’s disappearance, the four girls begin receiving frightening text messages from an anonymous figure called “A,” who threatens to expose dark secrets that only Ali knew. (If you enjoy the books, check out the excellent television adaptation of the series on HBO Max.)

5. “The Guest List” by Lucy Foley

This book was one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks for June and July and has garnered thousands of great reviews. Set on an island off the coast of Ireland, the book follows a number of interesting guests as they gather for a high-class wedding, but everything is not what it seems.

Resentment and jealousy, coupled with the rough waves off the coast, create a stormy undercurrent for the celebration. Before long, someone turns up dead, and there are multiple suspects on the guest list.

Have you reads any of these books? Share your thoughts with me at