The 23 Best Fall Books to Keep You Cozy This Autumn
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the crisp nights, colorful leaves, and celebrating Halloween. There is something so perfect about cozying up with a warm sweater and a great book next to a fire. These fall books have all the right vibes.
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Thriller Books for Fall
The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
Casey Fletcher is an actress who is fleeing bad press after the death of her beloved husband. She retreats to the family’s lake house, despite the fact that this is where he husband drowned.
Casey spends her days drinking and spying on the house across the lake. When she saves former supermodel, Katherine Royce from drowning, the two strike up a friendship. It becomes clear that Katherine and her husband are having some serious issues- after all, you find out a lot of things when watching the neighbors all day through binoculars.
Some points in the story moved slowly for me and at one point, the story nearly lost me. But, I am so glad that I kept reading this pick from lake books. There were definitely surprises that I did not see coming. We LOVE Riley Sager. Be sure to check out The Best Riley Sager Books Ranked by Super Fans. This book is such a great pick from our ultimate beach reads 2023.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
I was a fan of Ware’s hit novel Woman in Cabin 10. I thought it was a unique story and I was anxious to try another of her books.
This book is dark and gothic and the perfect thriller for a list of books for fall. The premise is that a girl is mistaken for the relative of a recently deceased woman and she goes to the estate to try to capitalize on the error. Obviously, things are not what they seemed.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Jess has arrived in Paris to stay with her half-brother, Ben while she gets back on her feet. While he reluctantly agrees to help, he doesn’t answer the door when she shows up to move in.
Soon she gains entry into his apartment and begins the hunt to find out what happened to her brother. With secrets lurking around every corridor and the other residents being shady and elusive, Jess begins to think something sinister happened to Ben.
The first half of this story was a little slow while the character groundwork was laid out, but once the big reveal comes halfway through, I was reading the rest of the chapters at lightning speed. This is the only thriller on our list of books set in France and it’s a doozy! Lucy Foley is always a great pick from summer reads 2023.
The Push by Ashley Audrain
January 2021 GMA Book Club Pick
This is a book that will scare the pants off most mothers. It’s compulsively readable.
Blythe Conner comes from a long line of bad mothers, but she’s determined not to be one. When she has Violet, she struggles to connect with her.
The reader is left wondering if Blythe is a mother who sees the worst in her child or if there really is something off with Violet. Something that even her husband can’t see. This sine-chilling book had me guessing until the end and was a perfect pick for the best fall reads.
Love Thrillers? We created The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.
The Best Fantasy Books for Fall
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
Anna Kate has returned to her hometown to bury her beloved grandmother. It is supposed to be a quick trip to close her grandmother’s cafe but, Anna Kate finds herself drawn to the town.
The longer Anna Kate stays, the more she finds out about her family, and the pull to fulfill a promise starts to compete directly with the pull of her heart.
This pick from novels about food was an unexpected surprise. It has a little element of magic, as well as a fairy tale, feel.
The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman
This is the last book in the Practical Magic Series and it might be my favorite one yet. The Owens family has been cursed for over three hundred years. When Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle chirping, she knows she will die and is determined to break the curse once and for all before the seven days are up.
As the curse begins to take its toll on one more victim, the Owens family comes together to confront their past, uncover the truth, and end the curse for them all. I loved this conclusion to the series. It left me feeling good with no unanswered questions and true to Hoffman’s style, was a page-turner until the final word. This witch book was a must for a fall book list.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix. E Harrow
I’ve never read a book quite like this and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The writing is subtle, the plot is driven by character and intrigue rather than action-packed suspense. It has a feel of historical fiction about it that lovers of this genre may love this book as well.
When January is seven years old, she stumbles upon a door that leads her to a different place. When she is reprimanded for lying about the door, she eventually forgets about it until she finds the book “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” years later. January becomes intrigued and the real story begins.
The story alternates between the story of January and the book. The concept is such a fun way to narrate the plot. At times, the plot moved a little bit slowly as one storyline stopped and another began in the alternating chapters. This is such a unique and wonderful book.
Zodiac Academy: The Awakening by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
Whew. I have found my newest Fantasy series addiction. Orphan twins Tory and Darcy find out they are actually Fae after their 18th birthdays. And not just any Fae, they are the heirs to the throne and they only need to graduate from Zodiac Academy to claim their throne.
The problem comes in the form of the 4 Heirs – The boys in each elemental order who have been raised to share the throne and rule Solaria together in the Twin’s absence.
They aren’t planning to give up their claim anytime soon and they use their considerable magic in the air, fire, earth, and water elements to put these girls to the test.
This series is on fire hot, with lots of steam, bullying romance, and deadly situations. Don’t read this one if you are under 18, but if you loved ACOTAR, you’ll devour this one too! All the vampires, sirens, and other creatures give serious Halloween vibes and is perfect for a list of fall books.
Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Fantasy for Adults and the Ultimate List of YA fantasy!
The Creepiest Horror Books for Fall
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
I do not usually like horrors but I love thrillers, book clubs, and vampires so I decided to read this book. I absolutely loved every minute- even when I was completely scared out of my wits. This book will have you on your toes.
This book really is Steel Magnolias meets Dracula. Patricia is a housewife with two kids who don’t appreciate her and a husband who travels a lot. She spends a lot of her time caring for her senile mother-in-law who lives with them. When her elderly neighbor attacks her one night, James comes to the rescue. James seems well-read and well-traveled but Patricia is convinced he is a monster in disguise.
Patricia knows what she sees but nobody else agrees with her. The psychological warfare in this book is next-level creepy.
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
This book is definitely one of the creepier books that I have read in a while. It took me about 1/2 of the book to figure out what in the heck was going on.
There are a few stories going on simultaneously and at times I was extremely confused but if you stick with it, all was revealed in the end.
This creepy story is told from multiple perspectives: a man with memory gaps, a cat who reads, a little girl who is not allowed outside, and a neighbor who moves next door. Sound crazy? It absolutely is and it will definitely creep you out!
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
Jane is a very practical woman. She has done her research and has found the perfect man to be her husband. She assured him that the relationship will be strictly business. But as her feelings for him grow, she starts to learn there is more to this hard-working and quiet doctor.
As a matter of fact, there is something strange going on at his house that cannot be explained and she starts to worry for her health as well as that of her husband.
I was looking forward to this gothic horror with a touch of fantasy mixed it but I was unfortunately left disappointed.
The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
I really enjoyed this book with an old-school feel. It has the vibe to Stand by Me or Stranger things in this coming-of-age story about friends who spend their summer investigating ghost stories and urban legends.
The story is not just light-hearted fun. Rather, it delves a little deeper into some issues while still maintaining the feel of the book. Even though the story takes place in the summer, the ghost stories definitely give off a creepy, Halloween vibe. I had to include it in a list of fall books.
Romance Books for Fall
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
This book was a complete delight to read from the very first page. Florence day is a ghostwriter for one of the most successful and well-known romance authors in the industry. The name is apt seeing as how she can also see ghosts. But, after a terrible break-up, she no longer believes in love.
When her new editor will not give her an extension on her deadline, she is in a panic and is on the verge of losing her career. Now, the unthinkable has happened. Her beloved father has died and she must return home to bury him. When she sees the ghost of her editor outside the funeral parlor, she cannot understand why he is there with her and her life is turned upside down.
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
This is the most charming Halloween romance book about witches EVER. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it, but it’s perfect for the spooky season.
Nine years ago Rhys Penhallow broke Viviane Jones’ heart and so she cursed him. Now he’s back in the town his family founded to infuse magic back into the ley lines but everything goes wrong!
As his curse takes over the town, Rhys and Vivi have to work to end the curse and restore the right magic back to the town…if they can keep their rekindled romance at bay long enough! This is one of the most fun urban fantasy romance books on this list.
Payback’s a Witch (The Witches of Thistle Grove #1) by Lana Harper
This adorable romance was the perfect post-Halloween read for me. Emmy Harlow must return home to her magical town of Thistle Grove to arbitrate a spell-casting tournament. The winner has control of magic in the town.
Emmy ran away because of a broken heart but now, her heart may be on the mend thanks to the beautiful and powerful Talia. I loved this book. The magical competition in this book made it a must for our list of books like the Night Circus. The Stakes of this game make it perfect for books like The Hunger Games.
Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
Ghostly Paranormal Fiction Books
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
This book is an award winner and the writing is undeniably wonderful. The story itself has elements of magic that added to the difficult subject matter. The story deals with drugs, violence, and poverty- all of which are completely relevant in today’s society.
This book is ultimately a story of family bonds and relationships. Jojo is thirteen years old with a black mother and an absent white father who is being released from prison. the ghost of a thirteen-year-old inmate is there to carry the history and share it with Jojo.
Under the Whispering Door by T.J Klune
How many stars can I give? T.J Klune has done it again with the wonderful book. House on the Cerulean Sea was my favorite book last year and I am not sure that anything will top it. I read it in a day and loved every minute of this wonderful book.
Wallace is dead. When the reaper collects him at his funeral and brings him to a strange tea shop, Hugo is waiting with the promise of helping him cross over. This light fantasy will make you smile until the last page.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Strange, but probably one of the most imaginative novels I have ever experienced. It’s about the night that Abraham Lincoln buried his son and takes place entirely in the cemetery.
I listened to this full-cast audiobook which was great because it used 166 voices including David Sedaris, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon, Kat Dennings, and Don Cheadle among others. As ghost books go, this one is not to be missed!
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
It is so strange that I have read four paranormal fiction this month! Maggie Holt spend three weeks in a house that became the subject of a best-selling novel written by her father.
During the three weeks in the house, the family was haunted by ghosts before there were eventually forced to flee. 25 years later, Maggie is shocked to learn that her father still owned the house when he died and the house is now hers.
As Maggie returns to the house to find out what really happened, she might be in for more than she bargained for.
Chilling Gothic Fiction Books to Read this Fall
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I adore this gothic story when I read it on vacation a few years back. A young biographer is called to help a reclusive author of 12 books tell the story of her life.
In the process, she learns there is a thirteenth tale after all. It’s a gothic romance, a mystery, and a story about family ties all in one. Although it is a long one, I absolutely adore it. It’s the perfect book to snuggle up with on a fall day.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
When the heroine meets Max de Winter while working as a lady’s maid, she is swept off her feet and accepts his surprise marriage proposal. After a quick honeymoon, they move back to his estate, Manderlay.
I was frustrated by the Second Mrs. de Winter’s helplessness and naivete. Note that this heroine does not have a first name or a maiden name in the book. The story does an amazing job of casting an eerie feeling on the reader throughout the entire book. This is one book that you will not soon forget and is the OG psychological thriller. This Gothic fiction screams fall and is perfect to read by a cozy fire.
Tidelands by Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory is back with a new non-royal series. Tidelands is set in 1648 in the midst of the English civil war. The king has been overthrown and the country is in turmoil, but in the marshlands of the South, the villagers are worried about survival.
Alinor is a healer whose services are both respected and feared. She carefully toes the line between wise woman and witch as she struggles to feed her family. One fateful night she decides to help a catholic priest to safety without realizing the danger this secret would bring to her family. I was shocked at the end of the book and I’m eager to get my hands on the second story.
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
A young girl is abandoned on a ship headed to Australia. When she arrives, the only thing in her possession is a suitcase with some clothes and a book of fairy tales. The dock master and his wife adopt Nell and tell her the story of her arrival in Australia on her 21st birthday. She goes back to England on a quest to find her lost identity.
Unsuccessful, her granddaughter later takes up the search and tried to assemble the pieces of her grandmother’s mystery and unlock the secrets of her past. The secrets and mystery give this historical fiction definite gothic vibes and make it the perfect choice for a list of fall books