Spooky Books That Didn’t Give Me Nightmares!

We all know that I don’t do well with scary stuff, but because I am terribly slow at reading this month and I want to give you some bookish content, I thought it would be best to make a list of spooky books – that didn’t give me nightmares? Which, just to be clear, is what I want in books. Mildly spooky or full of ghosts or whatever, but not something that will leave a mark of terror on me. So, beware that this is a very tame list and obviously a very subjective one.

*If you click on the title, you will get redirected to my full review, which includes trigger warnings!*

The Taking of Jake Livingston

The Taking of Jake Livingston

I’ve seen opinions differ on this one, but I really enjoyed reading it. First of all, it’s a very short book. Some might say that the fast pacing hinders an emotional connection, but I teared up at some of Jake’s revelations, so I really don’t think that was a disadvantage for me. In addition to that, I liked the dual POV, even if bits of it felt disjointed. This is totally something you can read in one sitting!

Spooky elements: ghosts, relived deaths, possessions

My rating: 3.5 stars

Dark and Shallow Lies

Dark and Shallow LiesThe setting and the atmosphere for this one was great. As a supernatural thriller, it did keep me guessing in part, while I figured out a lot (gut feeling is rarely wrong) early on. It especially focuses on grief and how irrational we can become because of it. While I would have wished for some aspects to be explored further, I liked the vibes of this one.

Spooky elements: supernatural predators, swamp legends, potential mysterious serial killers?

My rating: 3.5 stars

Don’t Tell a Soul

Don't Tell a SoulI like books that teeter the line between ghosts and people just imagining things in their terror. This book was alright and definitely handled the creepy atmosphere well, however, there were a lot of characters that could have been explored deeper. Because of the main character being so closed off and us only getting secondhand information on everyone, it wasn’t easy to connect to the different players.

Spooky elements: haunted house, ghost girls

My rating: 3 stars

This Is Not a Ghost Story

This Is Not a Ghost StoryThis book surprised me, to be completely honest. I can see how the voice of the narrator/main character might not be for everyone, but I liked it. The ending is also very controversial, so I’d understand if people disagreed with me, but I had a grand time reading this one. It flowed nicely, gave me little scares, but resolved it in a way that felt very human.

Spooky elements: haunted house, spirits and danger everywhere

My rating: 4.5 stars

Watch Over Me

Watch Over MeI’m a huge Nina LaCour fan and this was not my favorite book, but it’s still fantastic in its own way. I get that she can write beautiful stories that evoke emotions in you, this was no exception, but somehow it felt less polished than the others I have read. As always, it was whimsical and filled with grief and heart. LaCour just knows what she’s doing.

Spooky elements: trauma, ghosts

My rating: 3 stars

Ninth House

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)This book was a lot. I do prefer Leigh Bardugo’s other series, but she still has me hooked on some of the characters here (I so fell for Darlington and Dawes). I like the world she built, I’m also curious how it continues, but it’s very heavy in parts – both in terms of content and descriptions. This is a field day for Yale fans, but I could have done with a little less campus talk.

Spooky elements: ghosts, secret magical society (with loads of sinister occult activities)

My rating: 3.5 stars

Burn Our Bodies Down

Burn Our Bodies DownI went into this book with completely wrong expectations. I thought it was going to be a mere family drama, but oh no – it is creepy! I didn’t end up enjoying this one very much, but I know others loved it, so it seemed fitting on this list.

Spooky elements: buried secrets (literally) – anything more would be spoilers

My rating: 2 stars


What are some mild but still spooky reads you enjoyed? Have you read anything I mentioned? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #44 (Spooky Edition)

Look, I know what I always say. I keep telling you all that I don’t watch horror, yet here we are today. I did a whole freaking horror binge and will now talk to you about it! (also, I am not going to do the whole “for fans of”-part … cause it would be for fans of horror and the cast for all of those? This is a very specific round up of things I’ve watched …)

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Why did I start with Bly Manor? I don’t really know.

I just saw a bunch of people talking about the sapphic vibes and how it wasn’t as scary as Hill House and … I caved? I always knew I liked the cast they got for this series (as well as the previous one), but I am an utter scaredy cat and I don’t enjoy feeling scared. (I honestly still don’t understand why anyone would.) Bly Manor really wasn’t that bad in that regard. Yes, dolls and people without faces are inherently creepy, but except for maybe two jump scares, this was rather tame.

The kids weren’t really my cup of tea and you will have to endure some elements of repeitiveness, but I think it makes sense in the overall picture (the repeating of things, not the kids being annoying).

In the show itself, they say how it is more of a love story than a ghost story, or how there sometimes is no difference and I liked that. I enjoyed that this was more about existential dread of being forgotten albeit having loved so much. How you can fail at protecting those you care about most, or succeed at it, depending on how you look at it. There was something thought provoking about it, but not anything that left me too terrified … although I will jump at anything moving in my mirrors.

Here’s another one of my original drawings, portraying Victoria Perdetti (a goddess) as Dani Clayton

The Haunting of Hill House

I already knew that much of the cast from Bly Manor had already worked together in Hill House and I wasn’t quite ready to let them go. In a way, a lot of horror-fans weren’t too pumped about Bly Manor, but I just have to give it credit, because it paved the way for people like me to check out Hill House. And yes, it is far more scary. I did not enjoy those ghosts or entities or screams or foreboding signs a lot, but I did live for the family dynamic.

The casting was so well done (again, I had a feeling that would be the case), but I especially loved the kids. I wanted to hold them and protect them and get them as far away from that cursed house as possible. Seeing their grown up counterparts was also such a joy and their fights cut deep even without any paranormal occurrences.

Overall, I think I liked Bly Manor a bit more, because I had troubles with Hill House after dark, but it was still amazing.

Helstrom (Season 1) 

This was marketed as a Marvel horror show. And it is Marvel, in the sense that it is based on the material from Marvel, but it is not, in fact, part of the MCU. And I don’t know if it’s really horror either. Do you think gross demons (that really only do anything gross every other episode) is horror? I don’t know. It’s a tough call, but I think it would have sufficed to advertise it as an edgier and darker show

Anyway, I binged through this pretty quickly and yes, it had a lot to do with my love for Tom Austen and missing him on my screen. It is a fairly slow show and needs time until about the halfway point to pick up. The strong suit are definitely the various relationships the characters have with each other. And even though I would have preferred not to have a romantic plotline, when there is a fantastic sibling relationsihp to explore RIGHT THERE, I will concede to it being important in the grand scheme of things.

I liked the occasional weird humour, but I can see it being hit or miss with a lot of people. All in all, I think it had a really intriguing set up for a potential next season (which I am not sure they will get).

Not my best work, but here you go anyway

The Invisible Man

If you haven’t noticed a certain pattern here … I will spell it out for you! I apparently am into a very specific type of man aka Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Tom Austen kind of men. Oliver was in this one as well, pair it with Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge and you have my freaking attention. Once again, the cast was 100% the reason I watched this.

The lingering shots of just looking at nothing were so unsettling. The lack of sound and then very cleverly used sound – brilliant! You knew he was there, but you couldn’t see him. No one could and the way that gaslit poor Cecilia, I cannot even. It’s one of my worst nightmares that everyone will think that I have gone insane even though I am stating plain facts. That, in itself, is horror to me.

It was a tad long maybe, because we were like halfway through the thing and had had some pretty major confrontations already, but other than that … creepy. Definitely creepy.


Technically I also watched Ready or Not, but I only wanted to talk about spoiler stuff when it came to that one. The conclusion of this is that I still don’t like *most* horror. I will tolerate some? It’s really all down to the cast. What do you think?