The best books to make you believe in the paranormal (and keep you up at night)

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 13, I paid 25 cents to see a mysterious fortune teller at a local carnival. She predicted I would marry a tall, handsome man, and then she paused and told me my next-door neighbor would soon break his arm. Within a week, my neighbor, Jack, dressed in his Superman costume, jumped off his roof and broke his arm. I was impressionable – and impressed. Since that time, I have been fascinated with fortune tellers and the magic that surrounds them as well as books based on magical realism and the paranormal. Oh, and by the way, I did marry a tall, handsome man.


I wrote...

The Curious Spell of Madam Genova

By J.G. Schwartz,

Book cover of The Curious Spell of Madam Genova

What is my book about?

The Curious Spell of Madam Genova is a heartwarming tale of magic and mystery involving gangsters, politicians, and movie stars. 

A spell cast upon a set of pocket watches goes terribly awry and changes the course of history in twentieth-century America. The Curious Spell of Madam Genova follows the journey of the pocket watches as they pass from owner to owner, resulting in amazing luck and in horrific tragedy for some of the most famous individuals of the twentieth century. Charles Lindbergh, Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan, among others, are some whose lives become interconnected, and their fates intertwined with a touch of magic.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of It

J.G. Schwartz Why did I love this book?

The novel, It, successfully changed how the world views clowns.

Remember when you used to think of clowns as entertaining? See them at kids’ birthday parties? Watch them spilling out of a miniature car? Big red nose, red hair, funny smile? 

Well, not anymore. 

A fear of clowns spread like wildfire following Stephen King’s publication of his most terrifying novel.

It is a true classic in horror literature. Believe me, you will never look at clowns in the same way.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This tie-in edition will be available from 16 July

TIE IN TO A NEW MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, IT: CHAPTER 2, ADAPTED FROM KING'S TERRIFYING CLASSIC

27 years later, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back...

Derry, Maine was just an ordinary town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part, a good place to live.

It was a group of children who saw- and felt- what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes…


Book cover of Carrie

J.G. Schwartz Why did I love this book?

Who doesn’t look forward to their high school prom?

Most would anticipate the greatest excitement of the evening to revolve around the crowning of the high school’s king and queen.

But when Carrie White, a friendless, bullied high-school girl from an abusive religious household discovers she has telekinetic powers, all hell breaks loose.

This is a great revenge horror story with plenty of Stephen King’s humor and gore. Pig’s blood is abundant.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Carrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephen King's legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates, is a Classic. CARRIE is the novel which set him on the road to the Number One bestselling author King is today.

Carrie White is no ordinary girl.

Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis.

To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie - the first
step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.

But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she
is forced to exercise her…


Book cover of The Shining

J.G. Schwartz Why did I love this book?

Ahh, the perfect book to read while on a winter skiing vacation.

A young boy, Danny, gifted with psychic abilities named “shining,” becomes trapped in a hotel with his parents following a winter storm. His father, Jack, slowly loses his sanity due to the influence of supernatural forces that inhabit the hotel.

This book will keep you up at night while you continually glance at your locked bedroom door, praying someone won’t try to enter your room with an axe.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Shining as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


Book cover of The Green Mile

J.G. Schwartz Why did I love this book?

Be prepared. If you want a good cry, this book is for you, as it has one of the saddest endings of any novel I have read.

The Green Mile is the riveting and tragic story of John Coffee, a giant, gentle inmate with supernatural powers, condemned to death for the rape and murder of twin nine-year-old girls.

Coffee is a simple and kind man with a deathly fear of the dark. Your heart will break. Mine did. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Green Mile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephen King's iconic horror masterpiece. An international bestselling and highly acclaimed novel, a must-read for any horror fan, also a hugely successful film starring Tom Hanks.

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain penitentiary's electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.

Evil murderer or holy…


Book cover of The Institute

J.G. Schwartz Why did I love this book?

If you have nightmares about being locked in an institution with no chance of escape (as I have!!) this is the novel for you.

In the middle of the night, kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy— are kidnapped from their homes and placed in an institution by the government.

The staff of The Institute is dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts for use as weapons of destruction.

You’ll find yourself rooting for the kids in this nail-biter of a novel.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Institute as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'It does everything you'd expect of a masterpiece - and it is one' Sunday Express

'Hums and crackles with delicious unease' Independent

'Captivating' The Sunday Times

'An absorbing thriller' Mail on Sunday

NO ONE HAS EVER ESCAPED FROM THE INSTITUTE.

Luke Ellis, a super-smart twelve-year-old with an exceptional gift, is the latest in a long line of kids abducted and taken to a secret government facility, hidden deep in the forest in Maine.

Here, kids with special talents - telekinesis and telepathy - like Luke's new friends Kalisha, Nick and Iris, are subjected to a series of experiments.

There seems…


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Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

Book cover of Alpha Max

Mark A. Rayner Author Of Alpha Max

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Human shaped Pirate hearted Storytelling addict Creatively inclined

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers he’s the only human being who can prevent the end of the world, and not just on his planet! In the multiverse, infinite Earths will be destroyed.

Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

What is this book about?

★★★★★ "Funny, yet deep, this is definitely worth venturing into the multiverse for."

Amazing Stories says: "Snarky as Pratchet, insightful as Stephenson, as full of scathing social commentary as Swift or Voltaire, and weirdly reminiscent of LeGuin, Alpha Max is the only multiverse novel you need this month, or maybe ever."

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about death row, evil, and child abuse.

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