Even though the weather has yet to decide between summer and fall here in the Nevada desert, I am still doing everything in my power to summon the cozy, spooky vibes of this season. Cozy and spooky go hand-in-hand for me this time of year, what can I say?
To do this, I have been mentally preparing lists of books that I intend on reading in order to manifest the fall in this seemingly never-ending summer. Basically, my every intention of reading according to any previous TBR or readathon has gone straight out the window…
sorry Latinx Book Bingo. Mood reading in full effect! So for now, here are some of the cozy and spooky books I have purchased and placed library holds on for this season.
Genre: YA Fantasy
High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.
But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop.
When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love.
I’ve wanted to read this one for such a long time. Forests, frog familiars, and fey? Sign me right up.
Genre: Historical Romance
Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.
From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.
My best friend and I decided to buddy read this book because we were in the mood for escapism in the form of a Jane Austen-esque romance. Edenbrooke is a quintessential “Clean” Regency Romance. These kind of historical romances are all about stolen glances and the brushing of hands and I am here for all of it! *swoon* (Let me note that I don’t love the use of the word “clean” for this genre, but it’s the common descriptor for this type of book in case you want to search for more. “Proper Romance” is also sometimes used.)
*Update 11/3/2020: I didn’t end up liking this book and gave it two stars. Find a mini review here.
Genre: Historical Romance
Headstrong American heiress Lillian Bowman has come to England to find an aristocratic husband. Unfortunately, no man is strong enough to tame the stubborn beauty’s fierce will. Except, perhaps, the powerful and arrogant Earl of Westcliff—a man Lillian despises more than anyone she’s ever met.
Marcus, Lord Westcliff, is famous for his icy English reserve and his supreme self-control. But something about the audacious Lillian drives him mad. Whenever they’re in the same room, they can’t stop themselves from battling furiously to gain the upper hand.
Then one afternoon, a stunningly sensuous encounter changes everything… and Lillian discovers that beneath the earl’s reserved façade, he is the passionate and tender lover of her dreams. What neither Westcliff nor Lillian suspect, however, is that a sinister conspiracy threatens to destroy any chance of happiness. After a shocking betrayal endangers Lillian’s safety—and possibly her life—will Marcus be able to save her before it’s too late?
This past summer, I was sucked into the world of historical romance with my very first Lisa Kleypas novel, Secrets of a Summer Night, which is the first book in The Wallflowers Series. I am sorry to romance lovers for ever thinking of historical romance as something ridiculous, these books are plain fun and easy to read for me when I hit a bit of a slump. I’ve decided to read each book in this series during its corresponding season and this is the next one. I really liked the first book and I’m excited to see what ensues in the Autumn installment. These kind of historicals are a bit more on the steamy side, but usually not as much as more popular contemporaries.
Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
Genre: YA Fantasy
Lula Mortiz may be a bruja with healing powers, but after her family’s battle in Los Lagos, she feels broken in a way she can’t seem to fix. Then tragedy strikes when a bus crash leaves her friends and her boyfriend, Maks, dead. Desperate to reclaim normalcy, Lula invokes a dark spell to bring Maks back. It isn’t until she hears that all of the bodies from the crash have gone missing that she realizes something is wrong. Lula has unwittingly raised an army of casi muertos–creatures between the living and dead–and they’re hungry for freedom…which they can only achieve if Lula dies.
This is the second book in the Latinx fantasy Brooklyn Brujas Series, but it can be read as a standalone. I gave the first book, Labyrinth Lost, 3 stars, but I think that I might like this one a little more and want to give the series another go.
Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.
Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.
Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?
Four words. Vampires in Mexico City. Sold. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I read Silvia Moreno Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow and the month of October is a good a time as any to finally get to it. I’m so interested to see how she mixes Aztec folklore into the mythology of vampires. This was initially released in 2016, but it looks like it is getting re-released in May 2021. It’s still available through my library though, so it can probably be found elsewhere, too.
Vita Nostra by Marina Dyachenko and Sergey Dyachenko, translated by Julia Meitov Hersey
The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Ukrainian novel—a brilliant dark fantasy with “the potential to be a modern classic” (Lev Grossman), combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.
I decided not to include the five paragraph essay synopsis from Goodreads for this book because it’s a book I think would best read without entirely knowing what it’s about. Even after skimming the synopsis myself, I can say I still have no clue what it’s really about other than including some dark academia and being in the realm of speculative fiction. I have heard good things about it from people whose opinions I trust though, which is enough for me! The library e-book for this has been on and off my Kindle for the past two years, but I think this is the year that I finally get to it.
Do you have any cozy and/or spooky books on your TBR? Have you read any of the ones on this list? Let me know in the comments!