I'm picky but there are those who are worse.


I’m still looking for books to fill my roster for my upcoming Halloween Review Spree (info here). Though I’ll consider any book that has a Halloween theme, I’m mostly interested in works of dark literature. As such, I thought it would be helpful for me to go through different genres I’m interested in for the spree and discuss what I look for in them. If your book includes the following themes or otherwise fits the descriptions, I’ll be more likely to accept it. However, take note that if your work doesn’t exactly fit any of the descriptions below, that’s okay. You can still pitch it to me and I might accept it if I feel I’ll enjoy it.


In general

All of the genres I list below often overlap, and I usually enjoy works that combine facets of each genre. I am selective in what books I read, but I’m open to giving new ideas a chance. Above all, I want emotionally evocative stories with realistic characters and unique plots (or at least unique twists to old ideas).

I do care about editing. Poor editing impacts my enjoyment if the errors aren’t easily overlooked. For instance, if errors are only to do with comma placement, that isn’t as big a deal to me as issues with spelling, subject-verb agreement, or illogical changes in tense.

Emotion is needed to make any work resonate with me. I love it when literature evokes a range of emotions including sorrow, joy, bittersweet happiness, shock, despair, hope, and/or fear. I prefer characters to be well-rounded, even side characters and antagonists.

I am not big on excessive gore or sex within a work. Though I may accept erotica if it has a good plot or an additional focus, sex adds no value to a work for me, and I’m not impressed when a story seems to be written just for the sake of including gore. In other words, gore and sex are okay, but I dont want them to be the sole focus of a work.

Beware: I usually can’t stand love triangles (or other polygons) and I tend to turn down books that include them. If your book includes a love triangle but the main focus isn’t on the romance, I might not mind it as much. I have enjoyed some works that include love triangles, like The Phantom of the Opera, but the main reason I enjoyed them is because something other than the romance really resonated with me, be it a certain character or theme.



My favorite horror stories usually involve ghosts. Horror that incorporates other supernatural and paranormal elements and psychological themes also piques my interest. Gothic fiction hasnt yet disappointed me. I also enjoy surreal/dreamscape horror, such as some of the scenes found in Nowhere to Run by Lady DuWright.

Some horror literature I’ve enjoyed:

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz



My favorite thrillers are mystery thrillers and psychological thrillers. I really enjoy it when they include supernatural twists and horror elements.

Some thrillers I’ve enjoyed:

The Hannibal Lecter Series (Books 1-4) by Thomas Harris

The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson



I especially enjoy murder mysteries, but all other mysteries with Halloween or other supernatural or paranormal themes are also welcome, including cozy mysteries, even if they don’t overtly have thriller, horror, or other dark elements.

I can’t think of a fitting mystery I’ve read so far that wouldn’t overlap with the thriller or horror genres, but if I do, I’ll update this section.


Dark Fantasy

I love dark retellings of classic fairytales as much as I enjoy completely original stories. Dark high fantasy and dark low fantasy are both welcome. Grimdark, supernatural, and horror elements are encouraged. Most dark fantasy books I’ve read have paranormal elements, which is awesome. Especially in this genre, I prefer rich (but balanced) world-building. I want fantasy to absorb me, and I want to be able to picture the scenes clearly in my head without being derailed from the plot.

Some dark fantasy books I’ve enjoyed:

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Nowhere to Run by Lady DuWright

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

The Dark Ways by Sage Dudley



I consider this a subcategory of fantasy and horror, but I’m giving it its own section because I want to make it clear that while I will accept this subgenre, I would prefer it if there’s a twist to it. The twist could be an unusual conflict, a unique social structure, an original plot, the inclusion of a lesser-referenced creature/entity, the introduction of an original species, or a different take on a well-established creature.

Some paranormal reads (or, rather, some reads with strong paranormal elements) I’ve enjoyed:

Angelfire (Books 1-3) by Courtney Allison Moulton

Gatekeeper by Alison Levy

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Unvamped by Elizabeth Stevens


Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of genres that fit under the dark literature umbrella, and I’ll consider other genres I didn’t list here, such as dark sci-fi. The genres listed above are just the main ones I had in mind when setting up the spree.

Since we’re on the topic, what are some of your favorite genres, and what do you look for in them?