Hello Lovely Readers!
While I was putting together my list of cozy and atmospheric mysteries for last week’s post, I came across a number of mysteries that included ghosts in some way or another. Some I included in last week’s post, but I found that I had a few that seemed just that wee bit more “ghostly” than the others, and I decided that they deserved their own post.
As I have previously mentioned, I can be a bit of a wimp when it comes to spooky or scary stories. I fall somewhere between completely wimpy (no scary at all) and horror aficionado. If my fright tolerance level was on the spiciness scale, it would be medium. Over the years, I have found that I enjoy stories that feature ghosts as long as they aren’t overly scary or gory. I also enjoy series with friendly ghosts.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’ve enjoyed ghostly stories for quite some time. I used to love the children’s TV show Ghostwriter and then when I got a bit older, I enjoyed Ghost Whisperer (I am still bitter that the show got canceled when it did). And these are just a couple examples. But let’s move on to the books that this post is about. And don’t be put off if you are also a bit of a wimp when it comes to scary, because this list includes a range of fright levels.
1. The Lockwood & Co Series by Jonathan Stroud
In my opinion, this series does not get nearly enough visibility or recognition. I think I discovered it initially while browsing my library Overdrive and it quickly became one of my favourites. It is a YA series about a small group of teenagers that make up the smallest “Psychic Investigation agency” in London. Essentially, in an England that is in the midst of a ghost epidemic, Psychic Investigators are young people who hunt and dispel ghosts. The characters are amazing, and the stories and world are so well developed. At some point in the first book, they are joined by a talking skull that may or may not be friendly, and he is great. Overall, this series is amazing and I would highly recommend it. There are a total of 5 books, all of which have already been released – so it is the perfect binge series.
2. The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
*Disclaimer: this series was set to include 4 books, but it has started to seem as if the 4th book is never going to come out, and book 3 ends on a major cliff hanger from what I can remember… so if that is something that is going to bother you to no end, maybe hold on this series. BUT all that being said, I do still highly recommend this series if you enjoy ghostly books.
This YA series is, once again, set in London. The first book has a “Jack the Ripper” storyline, but after that, it moves away from the “known” stories and focuses more generally on ghostiness. Also, just because of the Jack the Ripper aspect, don’t assume that this is historical fiction because it’s not. In this series, we once again follow a group of teenagers that hunt ghosts. On the scariness scale, I would say that this one is a bit scarier/tenser than Lockwood & Co. Romance also plays a bigger part in this series if that is a factor in whether you pick up this series.
3. The Cassidy Blake series by Victoria Schwab
If you have been around for my last couple of posts, you’ll have seen me mention this series already. This is a relatively new middle-grade series featuring ghosts. Though this would definitely be spooky and a little scary for the target age range, I would say that this is the least scary series in this list so far. We follow a young girl (I think she’s 12), and her ghost best friend around the UK and Europe with her parents, who have a paranormal investigation television series. Cassidy discovers an ability or calling to send ghosts on beyond the veil and she gets into any number of scrapes doing it. There are two books in this series so far, with a third scheduled for Spring 2021.
4. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Depending on how much time you spend in the YA fantasy genre, you may be familiar with Kendare Blake from her Three Dark Crowns series. The Anna duology came out before that series began. I debated including this book here since it has been so long since I read it, and I’m not sure if I even read the second book. In the end, I included it because it has stuck with me all these years, and is one of the reasons I am always on the lookout for more ghostly reads. I don’t know how this book/series would hold up over the years, but I remember it being very creepy. It is probably on the mid to high level of the scariness scale. This book features a main character ghost hunter who is facing the dangerous ghost of a young woman who has killed everyone that stepped into her house… at least until she allows our main character to live. I really enjoyed this one, and would recommend it… I think. Perhaps it is time for a re-read to determine whether it holds up and, if it does, to finally pick up book 2.
A few Honourable mentions
The next few books didn’t really fit the direction this list ended up taking, but they are books I enjoyed that are ghostly in one way or the other, so I wanted to give them a mention. (Note that this list is in no way exhaustive.)
- Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (great if you want a ghostly book that is not at all scary and more contemporary)
- Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (This one is more haunted house than ghost hunter, and one of the few Adult reads I came up with)
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (This one is ghostly in a completely different way than the others… and it’s not really the ghosts that contribute to the scary factor)
Writing this list has made me want to pick another ghostly series, or maybe re-read one from this list, so don’t be surprised if you see that on an upcoming wrap-up! How about you? Do you enjoy ghostly stories? If so, do you have any you could recommend? I would love to find some adult stories that fit with this vibe. Let me know in the comments!
Until Next Time,