Recommendations | My Five Favorite Ghost Books

Hey, friends! I’ve been having a hard time getting into the Halloween spirit this year for some reason! So, I thought a good way that could help make me feel a little bit more spooky would be to share my love for the paranormal with you all! For five nights I’m going to spread a little love for my favorite eerie entities: Witches, Ghosts, Demons, Shifters, and Vampires! I hope you all enjoy and maybe pick up a new book that will make your Halloween feel a little more haunted! 👻


➽ Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Like, I know this is cruel, but I couldn’t NOT have this make this list! Have you ever loved a book so much that it completely fills your soul, warms your heart, and heals your broken pieces? Because that’s Strange the Dreamer. This was my favorite book of 2017, and I will always recommend it with my whole heart.


➽ Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

This is a bright, shining light in 2018 fantasy! Friends, I loved this from the very first chapter, and was more captivated than I have been reading any other book this year. Like, go into any bookstore, read the first chapters of this book, and I dare you not to want to immediately buy it. Goosebumps. Tears. Perfection. Those are the three words that come to mind, and I just continued to fall even more in love with this story as it progressed. And the ghost in this is perfection.


➽ The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s powerful, moving, poignant, lyrical, important, and touched me beyond words. From the discussion about mental health and the stigmas we still have in 2018 (especially in Asian cultures), to the true portrayal of grief, to the heartbreaking truth about depression, to the realistic depiction of what it means to be not only biracial but to be white passing, to the discovery of your identity. The Astonishing Color of After is a book I will cherish for the rest of my life.


➽ The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

This completely unique story is about a girl, Blue, that lives in a house full of psychics. She is the only one in her family that does not have psychic powers, but instead possesses something much different. Blue amplifies the spirit’s voices. This not only helps her family, but also helps the spirits in other ways. Blue is a little bitter that she cannot actually see the spirits, until one night she is able to see one. If Harry Potter was my childhood, The Raven Cycle is my twenties.


➽ Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

This is Katherine Arden’s debut middle grade novel and I loved it so very much friends. Many of you know that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of my favorite books of all-time, and even though these stories are nothing like one another, the beautiful writing, amazing characters, and important themes shine through. I went into this expecting a fun and spooky read (which it was), but what I also got was such a beautiful love letter to grief, depression, and trying to live in a world that has taken away someone who you feel you cannot live without.



Okay, friends! I hope you enjoyed! And I hope the end of your October is filled with all the amazing books! Tell me your favorite ghost story in the comments, please! And happy Halloween! Stay spooky! 🎃✨

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Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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ARC given to me by a confirmed angel, Lilly at Lair of Books!

“You might get to know characters in books, Ollie thought, but getting to know a human was an entirely different thing.”

Small Spaces is Katherine Arden’s debut middle grade novel and I loved it so very much friends. Many of you know that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of my favorite books of all-time, and even though these stories are nothing like one another, the beautiful writing, amazing characters, and important themes shine through. I went into this expecting a fun and spooky read (which it was), but what I also got was such a beautiful love letter to grief, depression, and trying to live in a world that has taken away someone who you feel you cannot live without.

In a small town in Vermont, our main character is riding her bike home from school one fall afternoon, when she notices a woman attempting to throw an old book in the water. Ollie, being the book lover that she is, feels obliged to stop and see what’s going on.

Olivia Adler – But she mostly goes by Ollie. A twelve-year-old, sixth grader, who loves to read and is trying to live her life while grieving a terrible loss. And the only way she truly knows how to cope is the escapism of books. (Also, there is a brief mention of her mom having brown skin, but I am not 100% sure of Ollie’s race.)

Coco Zintner – The tiniest child in Ollie’s class. She has a somewhat famous mother and has recently moved to the school. But her innocence and eccentricities constantly make her a target for bullying.

Brian Battersby – Jamaican and your typical middle school jock, who Ollie has known her entire life. And Ollie learns very quickly that you should not stereotype people, because they might surprise you.

And their paths truly cross unexpectedly once Olivia begins to read the book that was almost abandoned. She learns of a farm, and a girl, and two brothers, and a missing persons case that was never solved. And now Ollie and her friends are going on a field trip to a farm that is very reminiscent of the story she has been reading about.

And yes, friends, this is a spooky book. I mean, it’s nothing too scary or too much, but Katherine Arden for sure paints an eerie atmosphere and some extremely creepy monster like characters. And I truly think this will make the perfect Halloween read this year, for so many ages, but this book was also so much more than that.

This is a book about healing and friendship and learning to let go while simultaneously never letting go. This book is about escapism through books and how books carry some of the most powerful healing magic imaginable. And this is a book about healing at your own pace and in your own time.

“Maybe, she kept thinking, when she came back from one of those other worlds, when she woke up from book dreaming, she would come back to a world where […] wasn’t dead.”

Ollie is really dealing with some very serious depression and grief throughout this book. Like how we give up things that make us happy, just because those things remind you of the person who made you happiest. How sometimes the world feels too heavy, too loud, too empty, all because it’s missing someone who was your entire world. Yet, this is also a love letter to how the ones we lose will never truly be lost; they will always remain with us. Always.

Overall, I loved this book more than words. I wasn’t expecting it to make me feel everything that it did, and when I closed the book it truly felt like a cathartic experience. I recommend this book to any and every person, but especially during the autumnal season. I read this in a single sitting, I never once wanted to put it down, and I fell so deeply in love with it.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for minor bullying, loss of a loved one, grief depiction, and depression depiction.

 

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab

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ARC provided by Scholastic in exchange for an honest review.

“People think that ghosts only come out at night, or on Halloween, when the world is dark and the walls are thin. But the truth is, ghosts are everywhere.”

City of Ghosts is a middle grade novel that has such a perfect spooky atmosphere, and it’s set around scary places in Scotland. Like, sounds perfect, true? And, as always, Victoria’s writing is so very beautiful and lyrical. I think this will be such a fun fall read for so many readers. Also, this is my 100th book read in 2018! *throws confetti everywhere*

Cassidy Blake isn’t the most popular girl in her school, but she has the only friend that she needs; a ghost named Jacob that saved her from death. And after Jacob saved her that frightening day, they have been connected. Jacob lives in the realm of the living with Cassidy, but Cassidy now can open and enter the veil, and see the ghosts that are stuck within it.

Even though she is always drawn to walk in-between the worlds, she has always managed to stay safe. That is, until her parents, who are ghost hunters, by the way, get a once in a lifetime opportunity to film a show about the most haunted spots in Scotland. And while in Scotland, Cassidy meets a ghost that is more evil than any of the others she’s ever encountered before.

“Once there was a woman, a beauty with fair skin and black hair, and a little boy who loved to wander.”

Trigger and content warnings for death, especially the death of children, murder, loss of a child, and abduction.

I truly did enjoy this book immensely. In fact, it might be my favorite Victoria Schwab book to date. But, a few things kept me from rating it higher. The biggest being the Harry Potter references. At first, I was so happy, and then they became so abundant and so forced. Also, you can really tell that Victoria is banking on her previous fans buying this, because yeah, twenty and thirty year olds are going to love nods to Harry Potter, but a new and actual middle grade audience? Probably not so much. And even me, a Gryffindor who fits that demographic, thought the Harry Potter references were too much.

The only other annoying thing, is that this cover really doesn’t make sense. Like, Cassidy does have a cat named Grim, but they aren’t brought up very much, and when they are it is in their carrier. Like, looking at this book cover you’ll get major Mr.Kindly from Nevernight vibes, but that’s totally not the case in the slightest. And I obviously know that authors have no control over their covers, but I wish the cat was replaced with Jacob.

“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”

But overall, I really do think people are going to enjoy this one. Again, Victoria truly is a very talented writer and her prose always really works with me. The atmosphere in this book is completely teleportive, and it was such a fast and enjoyable read. I loved seeing these scary places though the eyes of Cassidy, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with May at Forever and Everly & Julianna at Paper Blots! ❤