Reading lists

Cosy fantasy books for spooky season

Tis the season for witchy rom-coms and books with a werewolf, vampire or ghost love interest.

Katie Russell
The best cosy fantasy and paranormal romance books
Credit: Getty/Victoria Ford for Penguin

We love autumn. It’s the season of roll-neck jumpers, thick blankets, rewatching Gilmore Girls for the tenth time and, of course, turning the pages of a good book.

While ‘spooky season’ is the perfect time to crack open your old edition of Dracula, or scare yourself silly with a creepy horror story, it's also a great opportunity to seek out cosy stories with a supernatural element.

Paranormal romances have flourished in recent years, and it's easy to see why. There's something fun and somewhat comforting about witchy rom-coms, or novels with a charming werewolf/vampire/ghost love interest. Like Twilight, only with much less angst and broodiness.

Though sometimes described as “cosy fantasy” on BookTok, these stories are usually set in the real world – albeit with with a fantastical twist. If you love comfort-watching Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic or Halloweentown every October, we think you’ll love reading the below recommendations…

The best cosy fantasy and paranormal romance books

We’d usually say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but My Roommate is a Vampire is an exception. Much like its fun pop art-style cover, this story is fresh, exciting, and spooky yet comforting. The story follows Cassie, who finds a stunning, suspiciously cheap apartment in an upmarket neighbourhood, and thinks all her prayers have been answered.

It doesn’t hurt that her new roommate is gorgeous, too. Sure, Frederick mysteriously disappears during the daytime, talks and dresses like a character from Bridgerton, and is secretly a vampire, but nobody's perfect...This love story sizzles with chemistry and is perfect for fans of The Flatshare and Twilight alike.

Cecilia belongs to The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, an association of pirates, thieves, and outlaws, who spend their days pickpocketing and blackmailing people – all before afternoon tea.

Of course, their actions haven’t gone unnoticed, and some people in high places are determined to shut them down. Enter Ned, a paid assassin who has been sent to kill Cecilia. There’s only one problem: he’s falling in love with her.

This Victorian enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist feels deliciously autumnal. It’s also the first in a popular series that includes The League of Gentlewoman Witches and The Secret Service of Tea and Treason.

Morgan is a self-proclaimed “messy witch”; her spells – and her life decisions – often end in disaster. But when her dream woman, Rory, agrees to fake-date her during the New England Witches’ festival, Morgan thinks her luck might be changing. As the pair get closer, their chemistry is undeniable, and Morgan wonders if their fake relationship could give way to true feelings.

That is, until she discovers she might have accidentally given Rory a love potion, thus breaking the most sacred Witch Council Law. Now she must sabotage the relationship to break the spell, but will she break her own heart in the process?

Evie is desperate for a job, so when a mishap results in a job offer from Rennedawn’s most infamous villain, she has no choice but to accept. Even as she gets used to working in the dark dungeon, where severed heads hang from the ceiling, Evie faces a more disturbing prospect: she’s developing a crush on her terrifying, temperamental, and drop-dead gorgeous employer.

But there's more trouble on the horizon; Evie suspects that someone is trying to take her boss down, and it’s her job to find out who. Find out if she succeeds in this fun, spooky workplace romance with a twist.

Hazy is just looking for a college fling. But when she meets her charming neighbour Godric, she can’t help but fall for him. Still, the path of true love never did run smooth, as Godric has a secret: he’s a vampire.

Dating a vampire comes with its own challenges, but things get even messier when Hazy’s ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture – especially when he comes dangerously close to uncovering the truth about her new beau. Can Hazy keep her boyfriend’s secret, or could there be more at stake than their hearts? This paranormal romance is charming and funny, with a high-stakes plot that will keep you hooked until the last page.  

Emelle is a cupid, meaning it’s her job to make mortals fall in love. But after a series of terrible matchmaking decisions, she is banished to the fae world. While there, she accidentally attacks a fae prince with love arrows, and he retaliates by pushing her into the physical realm. Now she has a real body, it’s time for her to find her perfect match.

This quirky fantasy romance is the latest work from Raven Kennedy, author of the popular dark fantasy Plated Prisoner series.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling (2021)

Nine years ago, young witch Vivienne nursed her broken heart with vodka, a bubble bath and placing a hex on her ex. Now, her former flame Rhys is back. But his return to their small town results in a series of disastrous events: toys that come to life, hostile ghosts and a talking cat, to name a few. Everyone’s magic is in turmoil – and now Vivienne and Rhys must work together to break the curse and save their town.

Expect a twisty plot, loveable characters, and a fair amount of spice. If you like witchy rom-coms with the small-town autumnal vibes of Gilmore Girls, you’ll love The Ex Hex and its sequel, The Kiss Curse.

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