Bookish Musings: Horror Books I’ve Read (Even Though I Don’t Read Horror)


I am a total chicken when it comes to horror. Really, I just can’t handle it. I can probably count on my hands the number of scary movies I’ve watched, I have literally absolutely zero desire to go to things like Halloween Horror Nights, I don’t particularly enjoy being scared the way some people do, and, well, I guess that has translated over into my reading since I don’t really read horror either.

I have read a few horror books in my lifetime though! Well, they’re still probably more paranormal than horror. Horror-lite. Diet horror. Horror for scaredy cats. But most of them are books I’ve not talked about much, and I figured October would be the perfect time of year for this post, so here we are!

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Nightstruck by Jenna Black
Swallow You Whole by Jasper Black
The Woods Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV & Michael Dialynas
Ninety-Nine Righteous Men by K.M. Claude

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I know this one isn’t exactly scary, but it’s still considered horror! And it’s a classic. I did think this book dragged, but I also thought the friendships in it were sweet, which surprised me.

Nightstruck by Jenna Black

This one wasn’t quite scary either, but it did have a couple suspenseful, creepy scenes, especially considering I read one of them in the dark in the middle of the night alone in my apartment. That’s the best way to read scary stuff 😉

Swallow You Whole by Jasper Black

This was definitely not scary, it even had humor, but it also involved demons and eating souls and whatnot. It was a fun book overall.

The Woods Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV & Michael Dialynas

This is a graphic novel about a high school that gets suddenly teleported to another planet with everyone in it. People get eaten by aliens and stuff. They also turn on each other. It was a neat concept.

Ninety-Nine Righteous Men by K.M. Claude

Again, not scary, but it’s about a demon possession and two priests trying to exorcise it. It was a graphic novel/webcomic, and the author really made the demon rather interesting-looking. The author also managed to include a bit of emotion and backstory between the two priests.

Darkchylde by R. Queen
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
Dollhouse by Anya Allyn | reading, books
Rushed by Brian Harmon | reading, books

Darkchylde by R. Queen

This one was about a girl who traveled to some sort of nightmare realm sometimes. The whole thing had an eerie feeling.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I feel like this one doesn’t even feel like horror? But over a thousand people categorized it as such on Goodreads, so it counts! I loved this book when I read it in high school—so thought-provoking.

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

I guess this was technically my first foray into horror, unless you count Bunnicula. I’ve mentioned before that it was these books that started my love for vampires, so they’ll always have a special place in my heart for that reason.

Dark Carousel Series by Anya Allyn

I’ve never reviewed this series and have rarely mentioned it, but I actually read all four books, and it was pretty horror-ish (although still not too scary). It’s got kidnapping, a giant dollhouse, ghosts, massive snake monster things, parallel universes, murder, and the ending will most likely give you an existential crisis (well, it nearly gave me one). The part that got to me the most though was in the last book *SPOILER* when the MC was forced to be the bride of this decrepit, vile, creepy supernatural man (sorry, I don’t remember exactly what he was), and not only was she going to be raped, in the meantime, while he was building up his strength for a few months after being reanimated or whatever, she was forced to spend her days in a box like a marionette on a wall with a bunch of other marionettes that contained human souls, and her skin literally started rotting off. *END SPOILER* There is nothing about that that isn’t horrific.

Rushed by Brian Harmon

This was another one that I think was definitely horror, and I saved it for last because it actually did have me on edge with the suspense the entire time I read it and then freaked me out at two particular parts, both of which had a strong psychological aspect. Maybe it wouldn’t freak anyone else out, but, again, I’m a scaredy cat, and of course I read it in the middle of the night, all alone lol.


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  1. Greg

    I’m not a big horror fan but I love something scary this time of year. I like paranormal but straight up horror- not so much. I remember Nightstruck but never read the second one., The Woods sounds kinda cool. What is it about woods? And Darkchylde of course has THE best cover ever.

    I’ll have to put together a list for the TTT Halloween freebie this year. Now I’m thinking about which scary books I’ve read… 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Same, paranormal = yes, horror = no. Lol. Yeah, woods are just creepy period, but especially so on another planet with creatures that will eat you and lay eggs under your skin.

      You should totally do a post about the scary books you’ve read!

      1. Greg

        Yeah that would suck lol. What is with THAT trope- the alien egg laying? Reminds me of The Rains, with the conveyor belt egg laying? FFS can we give THAT scenario a rest? 🙂

        1. Kristen Burns

          It’s even worse in GN form cuz you have to actually see the guy’s arm grow with the eggs and then, like, explode with a bunch of bug things or whatever. (He didn’t die though.) But yeah, it’s a tired trope, and a disgusting one lol.

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    I don’t particularly like horror…I mean, I don’t seek it out. But I used to love watching scary movies as a kid when I was alone. Now…not so much. In books…well, I did read Silence of the Lambs and The Red Dragon (I was reading this on a plane and a guy told me he couldn’t believe I was reading it because it was the scariest book he’d ever read) and I have read Anne Rice as well. Psychological thrillers are my horror, I think. And maybe, sometimes, dystopia. 😉
    I saw demon possession mentioned in your list though and that…THAT FREAKS ME OUT. I never finished watching The Exorcist. Even typing it is make my hair stand on end. *shudders* Any book or movie with demon possession…I can’t do it. Unless, of course, it’s done with humor. But the real thing….nope.
    I’ve only read a few of the books on your list (I bet you could guess which ones) but I’m adding a few to your shelf. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Despite hating horror movies, I did, oddly enough, watch a few of the ones I have seen alone. I haven’t read Silence of the Lambs or The Red Dragon, but yay Anne Rice! Ah yes, I’m pretty sure most of the movies I consider horror were actually psychological thrillers lol, so I feel that statement.

      Well, I’m guess 99RM is NOT one of the books you’ve read from my list then since that’s the one with demon possession lol.

  3. chucklesthescot

    I wasn’t a fan of Dracula or Dorian Gray to be honest! I just find the classics too descriptive and slow for my personal taste. It’s been ages since I read a good zombie book though so I might have to endulge!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I also find classics to often be slow and over-descriptive. I usually just don’t feel very connected to the characters. But I thought both Dracula and Dorian Gray had their strong points too.

  4. Wattle

    Horror freaks me out. I’ve read a few, and lived to regret it lol as in, up at night, ALL the lights on completely spooked O_O

    Huh, I didn’t know The Picture of Dorian Gray could be classified as horror. Maybe I should try reading it to judge for myself (I have a couple of copies floating around on my shelves, it’s one of those ‘I should definitely read this’ books and then I never do!)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah I feel like that’s probably what would happen to me too.

      It doesn’t feel like horror, but I guess it technically is? Don’t worry, it won’t scare you 🙂

  5. Karen

    I glommed The Vampire Chronicles back in the day. And re-read them a million times. I guess I never thought of them as horror at the time.

    I’ve only read a few Stephen King. I like scary things but I’m rarely scared so it’s tough lol

    For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t know that I’d call them horror either, but I think that’s technically what they’re considered? At least according to Amazon or GR or whatever!

      Ah, no, I’ve never read any Stephen King since I don’t like scary things lol.

  6. Darque Dreamer

    I am a big fan of horror movies! The only ones that have creeped me out so far are Insidious, The Conjuring, and Sinister. I am on the hunt for a good horror book because I have yet to find one that creeps me out.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ahh, no, I hate them! I’ll be sure never to watch the three you just mentioned lol. You should prob not read any of the books on this list if you’re looking to be scared since these are horror books for wimps like me 😛

  7. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    I love The Picture of Dorian Gray; I suppose it works well as an early horror. Kind of like how Frankenstein is categorized as scary these days but honestly, I don’t find it scary at all. I do want to read Dracula someday!

    I used to be really easily scared, but I’ve gotten a lot better with reading scary books, though I don’t know how many of them would be straight up horror.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I guess the thing is that horror doesn’t have to be scary? It could just be disturbing or maybe about a horror-ish topic? I’m not sure what classifies something as horror. And people were probably more horrified by these books in the past vs now when we have all sorts of paranormal books and whatnot.

      I think I’m prob not as easily scared as I used to be… but still prob more easily scared than a lot of people, haha.

  8. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

    Hi Kristen! I love that you are a self proclaimed scary cat! I am too though I don’t mind a little creepy, I’m NOT a horror fan… this is a great Halloween list! The Woods sounds like my kind of thing! I’m looking for more graphic novels to read too! ♥️

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I can read stuff that’s a little creepy, but not straight horror! I’ve only read Vol. 1 of The Woods, but don’t worry it wasn’t scary, just kind of disturbing lol.

  9. verushka

    Count me in as a horror scaredy cat too! I really enjoyed your list but I am still wondering about why so many people categorised Dorian Gray as horror!

  10. Michelle @Because Reading

    I LOVE Horror and you gave me some things to now look up. I remember the cover of Nightstruck by Jenna Black. Maybe it was on your blog I saw it. I had forgotten the name but am now adding it to my TBR and the Dollhouse looks super creepy but I don’t want to read the spoiler incase I do decided to read it. You gave me some pretty cool books to look up!
    Awesome list, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Both me and Greg reviewed Nightstruck I think, so it could’ve been either of our blogs lol. Dollhouse wasn’t scary per se, but it was definitely horror, what with all those creeptastic things I mentioned. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t read the spoiler either if I were considering reading a series 😛 Glad I could help you find new books! Thanks!

  11. ioana @dragonwaffles

    For someone who doesn’t read horror: you’ve read a whole lot more horror than me ?. I am such a wuss but I just don’t like it. I don’t see the point of gore so I don’t like horror movies. I haven’t even read Dracula but I’ve been to the castle countless times!! That being said: I ABSOLUTELY LOVED It when i saw it. It made me wanto to read more scary stuff.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol this is pretty much it though. I can’t think of even a single other horror book I’ve read. I can handle gore in books, but not in movies. I guess when reading I can just make the gore less bad in my head. That’s so cool you’ve been to the castle!!! You should read Dracula just for that reason 🙂

  12. La La in the Library

    My son was a HUGE Bunnicula fan! I bought him a Bunnicula t-shirt for his last birthday. Ha Ha. I read the first Dollhouse book. Is it worth reading the rest? I thought the ending to the first one was a little hokey. I think the only Horror book I ever read that really scared me was The Exorcist, although I was pretty young and nothing seems to scare me now..I should re-read it sometime and see. Maybe I’ll do demons as my theme for next October. 😀

    Oh wait, The Amityville Horror scared me a bit, but again I was young. My aunt, who lived on Long Island had close friends that lived less than a mile from that house and they knew the next door neighbors, who said that nothing weird was happening when those people lived there, but the book still scared me. XD

    It’s weird what some readers will think is Horror. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha yeah Bunnicula! It was required reading for me in 3rd grade, and I still remember it because a vampire rabbit was just so strange lol. Ummm, idk if it’s worth reading the rest. IF you weren’t interested in continuing, then prob no. I enjoyed it enough to read the whole series, it did have some crazier and twistier stuff as the series went on, but it wasn’t the best series I’ve ever read. I’ve never read The Exorcist and prob never will, esp if it scared you lol. Won’t be reading Amityville Horror either 😛

  13. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Oh, I’m super interested in the Dark Carousel series. I think I own one on my Kindle but I think it has a different cover. Glad to hear you’ve read all four. I think you’ve done pretty well for someone who doesn’t read horror 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      It did used to have diff covers. When I read them, they were teal and black. I mean, it wasn’t the greatest series I’ve ever read? But obvi it wasn’t bad either since I read the whole thing. Def has some creepy stuff!

  14. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    I’ve also never really read horror or never really enjoyed it, but I have read a couple of Stephen King books (I don’t know why!?) and when I was a teen I read a lot of Christopher Pike and he definitely did horror. I don’t particularly like feeling all creeped out but I can appreciate it if it’s written well!

    Cool October post!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I feel like we all have those random movies/books we’ve seen/read despite hating the genre. I agree, I can appreciate a good creepy scene in a book, but I generally don’t seek them out!

      Thanks 🙂

  15. Dragonfly @ Our Familiairum

    I can’t believe I haven’t read Dracula and Interview with the Vampire yet since I loved the movies so much! Dark Carrousel sounds like something I MUST read because it sounds very similar to my second WIP [the one about Mamita and voodoo]!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      WHAT?! You constantly come to my blog to hate on vampires, but you love the Interview movie?! *smh* I can’t even right now. jk ;-P I actually don’t remember Dark Carousel super well, but it did have a lot of crazy stuff in it!

  16. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’ve not read any of these books! I am not really a horror reader, though. I think the only book I can think of which was a horror book is Hex and that one did give me a bit of a nightmare about the witch in it but I think that was just my brain and me reading too late. It was a good book, though.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah I sometimes have nightmares just from UF even though that’s definitely not scary. Sometimes our brains just twist things around and do weird things.

  17. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I used to read a lot of horror a long time ago. Stephen King was my favorite, and now, I just can’t anymore. I need my sleep, you know? And SK books totally freak me out nowadays.
    I have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, too, and I really enjoyed it. If you thought that was a good one, you should try The Historian. It’s not exactly horror either, but it’s very well done – and there is Dracula there, too 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I have never even tried Stephen King. But yes, I did enjoy certain things about Dracula. I don’t think I’ve heard of The Historian, I’ll look it up!

  18. Lys @ The Mad Reader

    I love the title of your post !

    I’ve never read a “real” horror book (I’m still debating on whether I should read It or not) but I don’t think it’d be my favorite genre.
    I don’t know why the Picture of Dorian Gray is in the horror category. Maybe because Lord Henry’s philosophy is scary ?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! Yeah I don’t think any of these are even real horror lol. I just don’t really like being scared, and I scare easily. Haha, I thought Lord Henry was the most interesting character, but yeah, not a philosophy I would recommend people live by 😛

  19. Cee Arr

    I love horror! Although, tbh, I don’t get that scared – so that might be why. Vampires rock. Vampires will always rock. That is all. Lol!

  20. Olivia Roach

    I don’t do horror at all. I’ve only read one book that is mentioned here and that was Dracula which is kind of a classic. I agree, it dragged. But the more I thought about it after reading it, the more I liked the overall story (even though some scenes weren’t necessary) and I liked the friendships too, as you mentioned. But that’s a horror as I get.