Hey there horror fans, I’m Jessica Avery and I’ll be delivering your weekly brief of all that’s ghastly and grim in the world of Horror. Whether you’re looking for a backlist book that will give you the willies, a terrifying new release, or the latest in horror community news, you’ll find it here in The Fright Stuff.
Welcome to August, and a whole new month of new releases and horror recommendations! This week we’ve got bookmarks so cute you’ll be possessed with the need to buy one, a Frankenstein retelling you won’t want to miss, a YA horror about a seriously suspect summer academy, and some light horror graphic novels that marry classic themes and imagery with colorful art and heartfelt stories.
Mini 3” Planchette Board Woodmarks by TheBookishDen
Just a little something this week, but if there’s one thing a bookworm can’t have too many of, it’s bookmarks. Which we’ll never use. Because we always end up reaching for the nearest scrap of paper or other non-bookmark object. But even if you only ever look at it sitting on your side table, these wooden mini-ouija board and planchette bookmarks are a lovely addition to any neglected bookmark collection. They come in three colors, and have a surprising amount of detail for their size.
Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Brook Tsai
As of tomorrow, Unwieldy Creatures will finally be out in the world! I love a Frankenstein retelling, and I have been so excited to get my hands on this book. Billed as a queer gender reversal of Mary Shelley’s original novel, the narrator of Unwieldy Creatures is a medical intern who finds her prized internship in the the country’s most prestigious embryologist lab upended when the renowned star scientist of the lab, Dr. Frank, has a breakdown and ends up couch surfing in the intern’s house. While she recovers, Dr. Frank tells the intern her story of an experiment gone wrong. A tale of ambition, murder, and bloody revenge.
The Honeys by Ryan LaSala
If you’re someone who loves beautiful, idyllic settings that slowly peel away to reveal something rotten underneath – you’re going to love this book. Where as Mars is the outcast of his family shoved out of the limelight because of his genderfluidity, Caroline is the accomplished, exemplary child of his very traditional family. Until she dies suddenly, and horrifically. With Caroline gone, a grieving Mars insists on taking her place at the exclusive Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy, and it quickly becomes clear that Aspen’s idyllic façade actually hides a much more rigid world of gender roles, among other things. Seeking out his sister’s friends, a group of beautiful but frightening girls called the Honeys, Mars soon finds himself in over his head as he tries to find out the real cause of Caroline’s death and the dark secrets that hide behind Aspen’s cheery façade.
For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!
Ever since I included Mooncakes (easily my favorite light horror graphic novel, hands down) in my Cozy Horror newsletter back in January, I’ve been dying to put together another list, this time of similarly creepy, but somehow still cozy, horror graphic novels. There’s a sort of warm, comforting feeling to all of the books on this list, whether through the colors and style of the artwork or the familiarity of the classic horror tropes and themes that we all know and love, that I find really appealing.
Crema by Johnnie Christmas and Dante Luiz
Crema is probably going to go down as one of the most beautiful graphic novels I’ve read this year. Not just because of the art, but also the love story that makes up the heart of the book. It starts with Esme, a barista who sees ghosts when she drinks too much coffee. Esme falls in love with Yara, the heir to a coffee plantation, who every one wants but who falls for the awkward but sweet barista. When a strange ghosts appears to Esme and begs her to take a letter to Brazil for him so he can be reunited with his long lost love, Esme finds herself following Yara home to Brazil, where she’ll uncover a sinister tale of love, lust, and loss.
Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo & Ren Graham
I have made 0 attempts to hide my excitement about Blackwater, this creepy, atmospheric graphic novel takes place in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine where strange, supernatural happenings are an every day occurrence. Two teenagers, Tony Price and Eli Hirsch, who couldn’t be more different, become unlikely friends (and a whole lot more) as they set out to solve the mystery surrounding their little town. Provided, of course, that they can survive not just the monsters they encounter but the everyday perils of being in high school.
Hollow by Shannon Watters, Branden Boyer-White, and Berenice Nelle (Oct 4)
Sailing to the top of my most anticipated reads for the fall is Hollow, a graphic novel abut a new generation of Sleepy Hollow inhabitants who come face to face with the dreaded horseman himself. Izzy Cane has just moved to Sleepy Hollow with her family, and she can’t understand why the people she meet keep having such a bad reaction to her last name. And it only gets worse when she bumps into local teen celebrity Vicky Van Tassel of THE Van Tassels. Vicky, who is sick to death of the legend and her family’s part in it. But now the horseman rides again, and regardless of how Vicky and Izzy feel about the legend – or each other – if they want to survive, they’ll have until Halloween night to break the curse that drives the Horseman to put an end to the Van Tassel line.
Fresh from the Skeleton’s Mouth
AMC has released the first full trailer for the new Interview with the Vampire series! I screamed. Just shamelessly fangirled for at least a full minute. No regrets.
The British Fantasy Awards shortlists have been published, and there are more than a few familiar names among the nominees!