Leaves are falling, the weather is cooling down, and Halloween is around the corner. It’s the perfect time for a ghost story.
If you’re looking to feel truly terrified, then this isn’t the list for you. But if you want just a hint of spookiness, here are four great books to add to your fall to-read list. Each one features ghosts and an atmosphere that’s haunted but won’t leave you lying awake in fear at night.
Overdues and Occultism
by Jamie Sands
A witch in the broom closet probably shouldn’t be so interested in a ghost hunter, right?
That Basil is a librarian comes as no surprise to his Mt Eden community. That he’s a witch? Yeah. That might raise more than a few eyebrows. When Sebastian, a paranormal investigator filming a web series starts snooping around Basil’s library, he stirs up more than just Basil’s heart. Between Basil’s own self-doubt, a ghost who steals books and Sebastian, an enthusiastic extrovert bent on uncovering secrets, Basil’s life is about to get a lot more complicated.
Overdues and Occultism is a novella-length story featuring ghosts, witches and a sweet gay romance. It’s part of the Witchy Fiction project of New Zealand authors.
This is one of my all-time favorite books. The protagonist is adorkable, the paranormal investigation plotline is engaging, and the romance is just so sweet. At novella-length, it’s a quick read that never feels rushed, and it’ll leave you with a warm, cozy feeling when you finish it.
Must Love Ghosts
by Charity Tahmaseb
Come for the coffee, stay for the supernatural adventure. There’s more than one way to catch a ghost, and it’s never been this fun!
Katy and her grandmother have always used coffee to catch ghosts. It pays the bills and keeps them in high-end beans. But after her grandmother dies and a rival ghost hunter moves to town, Katy fears things will never be the same.
From a beguiling and charismatic ghost whisperer to her new partner’s ghost swallowing brother and even a (short) stint behind bars, Katy navigates her new reality, uncertain her skills are equal to the tasks at hand. But are these things mere distractions–or do they hide something darker, far more sinister, something that has a long-held vendetta against Katy?
To survive, Katy must uncover an ancient secret. She must brew her very best Kona blend. She will need to rely on unexpected and unpredictable allies.
To survive, she will need to trust what’s in her heart.
Coffee & Ghosts is a cozy paranormal mystery/romance serial told over five episodes. This series bundle contains all five episodes.
Must Love Ghosts has a great episodic format and feels almost like a TV show. Each episode has its own plot, but there’s a big ghostly villain looming over the entire season that the protagonists must defeat at the end. The premise–using coffee to lure and trap ghosts–is fantastic, and while the main villain can get a little scary at times, the overall tone of the series is cute and quirky rather than terrifying.
It’s also a free ebook at the moment, so grab it fast if you want to try it.
Murder in G Major
by Alexia Gordon
With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace.
Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?
I love a good paranormal cozy mystery, and Murder in G Major is a great example of the genre. It’s full of twists and turns, and the murderer’s identity left me guessing the whole way through. The best part is the relationship between the heroine and the ghost. They’re so snarky with each other and develop a fantastic friendship.
A Stitch in Time
by Kelley Armstrong
Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt’s house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination.
Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting.
William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that had him retreating to self-imposed exile in his beloved moors. He’s also none too pleased with Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.
As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes they are linked to William and the secret scandal that drove him back to Thorne Manor. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.
A Stitch in Time has such an incredible gothic atmosphere. It also probably has some of the scariest scenes on this list. There are moments where the heroine is being chased by ghosts that will give you chills, but those are few and far between. The book primarily focuses on the romance, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
What’s your favorite not-so-scary ghost story? Any cozy fall reads that you want to recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments!