Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Witchy & Spooky-Lite Books I Read This Fall

Okay, so like - I'm an anxious queen. 

Diagnosed, baby. 

I *cannot* absorb the dark possibilities of this terrifying world because my brain does not let go of them. It just spins them around and around until it's sure that they're all about to happen to me. And my nervous system is leaning a bit too far over the cliff to handle suspense. 

But I still love the autumn vibe and the thought of that magical veil between the known and the unknown worlds thinning and bringing magic and energy into the mundane-ness of our every day reality. Which is why, my October TBR is always full of the cutesty-witchy and the mildly-spooky.

I wanted to share this year's reads with you because there were some real beauts worth mentioning. I know the season has passed, but save them for next year!

witchy + spooky-lite reads for autumn |

^ ^ Pin this to your book or autumn boards for next year! ^ ^


Small Town Big Magic book coverSmall Town, Big Magic by Hazel Beck

If I could live in the vibes of this book full-time, forever, I would do it in a heartbeat. We enter the story following around this motivated, proactive bookstore owner named Emerson who has a hunky best friend, beef with the Mayor that dates back to elementary school, and instantly loveable quirky roommates. Even before you get to the magical side of this story, you'll want to jump into this quaint small town to attend one of their festivals, or just settle into one of their cozy old buildings with a coffee and a book. But when you realize that Emerson also happens to be a witch and her friends have a lot of explaining to do since she can't remember anything about it, the story really comes to life. Watching Emerson discover secrets about her town, her friends, and life as she knew it is so fun and exciting. There's some real, deep drama brewing under the surface which gives this book a lot of depth to layer with its cozy-kitschy setting, so whether you want to devour it or savor it through the season, this book will suit you! It might be my favorite in the pile?

Go Hex Yourself book coverGo Hex Yourself by Jessica Clare

Want a little bit of steam with your witchery? This is the pick for you. Phew. I had no idea how steamy this one would get. (I'm not complaining!) Ever wonder if witches do things like spy on each other with a crystal ball and catch someone doing something naughty? Well in this world, they do. Reggie didn't mean to, but it was one of the consequences of getting herself the job of "familiar" to a 2,000 year old witch when she thought she was signing up to be an assistant working with Spellcraft the card game. After being overly skeptical about this whole magic thing and temporarily getting turned into a cat, she starts to dabble in this new world she didn't know existed. At first, her new boss' grumpy nephew, Ben, was nothing but a thorn in her side, but then he weirdly keeps showing up for her when she needs someone. And after seeing him doing what he was doing in that crystal ball, she can't get him out of her mind. That's when the real fun begins! There's a weird little ownership element going on in this story between witch and familiar (the latter wears the former's "cuff" as a sign of ownership, and can't ever put it back on if they take it off) which made me feel juuust the slightest bit of hmm, that feels weird. But other than that, this story was so fun, the tension between Reggie and Ben was amazing, and I loved how it all played out.

A Deadly Education book coverA Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

It took me a while to get around to this one - it was a Book of the Month of mine pick last fall. I'm not sure why I waited so long, but I was really feeling the dark academia vibes this September and decided it waited on my shelf long enough! This story follows El, a student at the scholomance who is trying not to fall into her own dark power. She doesn't want to destroy everything - despite what her fate may say is inevitable. As she inches ever closer to her senior year, we get to see what it takes to survive four terrifying years of education. It took me a little bit to get into this universe - to understand the complexities of this dangerous school and really get to know what these characters were going through. Of these six books, this one gave me the most anxiety. The conditions in this school are dystopian and cruel, and naturally connecting with the main character gave me so much fear for her well-being. I loved watching her friendships form through her adventures and successes, and though I'm not sure I have it in me to read the second book in this series, I'd love to know what eventually transpires with her and Orion! There's a hint of a romance brewing (though romance under these conditions is so risky and unlikely), and that was probably my favorite theme in this book. If you want something in the young adult dark-academia-fantasy-dystopian realm, this one will cover all the bases!

Dracul book coverDracul by Dacre Stoker

I don't even know where to start! This book - the heart eyes! It's so good, you guys. SO good. It's definitely a bit different than everything else on this list, and if you want something a bit more traditionally creepy - this is your book. Dracul is the prequel to the classic Dracula. Legend has it that when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in the late 1800's, he tried to sell it to his publisher as a cautionary tale - not fiction. London was still reeling from Jack the Ripper, and so the manuscript was refused in fear that it would cause panic among the public. After some back and forth, a large portion of the book was omitted and hidden away for some time so that Dracula could be published more believably as fiction. His great-nephew, Dacre, came into possession of these missing pages and many of Bram's notes from the time when he was writing Dracula, and with his writing partner, was able to tell the story that Bram had always intended to tell. Don't let the very classic, dry-sounding first handful of pages scare you off from this one. Once the story is set up, you are quickly whisked off to rainy, mysterious Ireland and pulled through adventure after adventure. This story has so many secrets and twists, mysteries and oddities - you won't even notice that almost 500 pages have gone by. It is the perfect book for a rainy, cozy, fall day. Bonus points if you really like vampire lore. It's one of the best books I've read this year!

This was such a fun, cozy read! It fit my fall witchy craving so perfectly, and ugh, I still think about this little rag-tag family and wish I could pay them a visit! Mika Moon is a witch, and like all of her ancestors, an orphan. Because of a spell gone badly, all witchy women who become mothers lose their lives shortly after. Because of this, Mika was raised cautiously by a controlling witch more powerful than her who is determined to keep witches apart from each other lest their power become too unstable. Mika does her best to fall in line, but eventually starts a social media account to share witchy content as a creative outlet (while pretending that she's just playing at being a witch), and gets discovered by a family seeking a magic tutor for three young witches. Needing a change anyway, she decides to check out the situation and give it a shot. She's then welcomed into a home with a colorful cast of characters, ranging from nurturing to grumpy with a lot of hope, love, and worry in between. Through her magical lessons and dedication to protecting her three young students, Mika starts to learn what it means to have a home for the first time in her life. It's such a fun, cozy experience (with some drama sprinkled in) - I just loved it!

Scritch Scratch book coverScritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie

And finally, the ghost story of the stack! If you want to be haunted without being spooked to the point of needing to sleep with the lights on, this is the book for you! While there's actually some legitimately spooky happenings in this story, this is a middle grade book so the creep factor is a bit easier to digest. Claire is twelve, and totally embarrassed by her ghost obsessed dad. He wrote a book about local hauntings, and even runs a ghost tour bus around Chicago. She does her best to avoid all of this nonsense, but her dad needs her help running the ghost tour one night. Knowing she can't get out of it, she decides to just put her head down and get it over with - but then, something potentially sinister follows her home. It starts dropping hints and creating disasters in her house and school that aren't actually there. With the help of her friends, she starts to unravel the mystery of this ghost who very clearly wants her attention. The best part of this book is that it was steeped in actual history - the stories, the disasters, even the name of the ghost are all pulled from real events in Chicago. When I finished this book, I had to do some googling to see what it was all about, and having that real world connection to the story was super cool. This would make a great history/research tie-in for middle schoolers, but it's just as fun for us anxious-baby adult readers, too! ;)

And that's it for now, my lovely anxious babes. I hope you love this list and find some great autumnal reads (with just a hint of the spooky woo-woo!).

Let me know if you can think of other titles that would fit this list! The Ex Hex comes to mind - I read that one last year and swooned my way through the whole thing! 

All book cover photos are sourced from and belong to Amazon. This post contains Amazon affiliate links at no cost to you. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I may make a small commission from Amazon that will add nothing to your order! It's teeny tiny, but every little bit helps me run this blog! Thank you so much for your support!! xo

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