Hey all, Dani here.
Okay, so today’s recommendations post was actually difficult with the parameters I set for myself with this series of posts. I wanted to keep it narrowed down to books I’ve read since I started this blog in January 2016. Paranormal turned out to be the genre where I had to break those rules.
Why? Well, because I’ve read very few paranormal books lately.
I guess first I should start with what makes a story paranormal. We have generalities we accept for fantasy or science fiction or romance, but paranormal is sort of a genre covered within the overarching genre of fantasy. However, paranormal books are usually categorized by the inclusion of paranormal or supernatural beings. Most notably these include vampires, werewolves, witches, and ghosts.
Where the lines get blurred considerably is that a lot of vampire or werewolf literature that takes place around present day typically is categorized as urban fantasy because of the setting having such an important role in the story. So, a number of the suggestions I have here are more of a historical setting.
The first book I’m going to recommend is actually the book I am currently reading. I’m about halfway finished and so far it is pretty darn interesting. That book is How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather. This is the story of a girl named Samantha Mather, a descendant of Cotton Mather. She and her stepmom have just moved back to the family home in Salem after selling their home in New York City to continue paying for the medical care of Sam’s father, who is in a coma. Sam’s arrival in Salem apparently restarts an old curse involving all those descended from someone involved in the Salem Witch Trials, and Sam has to team up with some classmates as well as a ghost who is haunting her to find a way to stop it. So, really, this is kind of a perfect book to be reading right about now. And the sequel, Haunting the Deep, just came out this month. It apparently focuses on the sinking of the Titanic, and ghosts still play an important role.
The only other “contemporary” story I have to recommend is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. There are clairvoyants, there are ghosts, and there is an awesomely atmospheric setting and tone to this tale. I need to read it again so I can finally continue on and finish the whole series.
Kiss of Steel and Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster. These are the first two books in the London Steampunk series, and they feature vampires and werewolves, obviously in a historical steampunk backdrop of London. And yes, these books also technically are classified as paranormal romance, but I still find the setting and the plot outside of the romances to be rather compelling as well.
Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal takes place during World War I, and it follows a protagonist who is a medium for a special group known as Spirit Corps. Whenever someone dies on the battlefield, their spirit reports to a nearby circle of mediums and gives a report that details where they died, how they died, and any important information for the war effort. Things become complicated when it becomes apparent that the Germans are specifically targeting the Spirit Corps. This is such an interesting tale, and I definitely recommend it.
Dead Iron by Devon Monk is for people looking for a sort of steampunk western novel. The main character in this one is a bounty hunter who also just happens to be a lycanthrope. Add in some monsters and other oddities, and this is definitely an adventure I’d suggest trying.
Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett is another paranormal romance, this time set in the 1920s, and the main character is a spirit medium who gets caught up with a bootlegger when she is hired to banish the ghosts haunting him because of a hex. Writing up these recommendations reminds me that I really want to finish the rest of this trilogy.
Finally, I recommend The Shadow Revolution by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith. This trilogy follows a spell-casting scribe, an alchemist, and a monster-hunter who are the best defense against supernatural beasts such as lycanthropes. This was an interesting read and I loved the dynamics between the three main characters. I definitely plan to reread this one in the future.
Okay, so next week my recommendations will be for romance reads, but what would you all like to see after that? Contemporary, historical, poetry, memoir, classics, diverse reads, graphic novels, or something else? Let me know in the comments.