The Fright Stuff

Queering the Classics: Make it Gay AND Scary

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.

Hello all, and welcome to the final Monday in June. Though I am sad to say goodbye to Pride month, I am so excited to be one step closer to fall! As far as I’m concerned, once we hit July I’m officially counting down to Halloween. Pumpkin time is nigh!

But first, to celebrate the end of this month of queer horror I wanted to share some love for one of my favorite subcategories of queer horror fiction: queering the classics. There’s just something about someone taking a classic work of literature and making it gay AND scary (that is, if it’s not already scary to begin with!) that brings me endless joy.

cover of horseman by christina henry

Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Christina Henry

I have been waiting absolutely forever for a chance to sing the praises of Christina Henry’s queer retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This book the epitome of a seasonally, thematically perfect Halloween read! Now I have to confess something: Horseman is not strictly a retelling. It is in the sense that every aspect of the original story is revisited and retold to some degree, but Horseman is technically more of a sequel than a retelling. But don’t let that stop you! Our protagonist, fourteen-year-old trans boy Ben, is the grandson of Brom Bones and Katrina Van Tassel from the original story, and his world is upended suddenly when the headless body of a child appears in the woods outside Sleepy Hollow, raising questions no one wants to answer. But Ben must find answers if he wants to protect his family and friends from the sinister forces stalking the village.

Cover for The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

So they might take away my English degree for this one, but I never liked The Great Gatsby. (Opps.) BUT I do love general idea of the story – separated lovers, pining, tragedy – and the glamour and excess of the 20’s as a setting. So give me a dark, queer version of that and you officially have my attention. And while I suppose you could argue that The Chosen and the Beautiful is more of a dark fantasy novel, I don’t think horror fans will be disappointed. As a woman raised in the upper echelons of 20s American society, but one who also happens to be queer and Asian, Jordan Baker walks a fraught line between social standing and societal prejudice as she navigates a Jazz Age setting steeped in demon blood and danger.

what moves the dead book cover

What Moves the Dead by T Kingfisher (July 12)

I have been salivating over Kingfisher’s queer retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher ever since it was announced, and with good reason! I was promised frightening fungi and fucked up hares and wow did Kingfisher deliver. What Moves the Dead was grim, Gothic, frightening, and A+ fungal horror. The story begins in familiar fashion: Alex Easton received word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, and they make the long journey to Usher House to see what can be done or at least to say goodbye. But here’s where things make a rather creepier turn than Poe’s original Gothic gloom: it’s not just Madeline and Roderick who are acting strange, even the wildlife around the house has turned odd, and deep in the lake a strange green light is glowing.

cover of Reluctant Immortals by gwendolyn kiste

Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste (August 23)

Okay, so again, less of a full retelling, more of a reimagining of certain unfortunate fates and a new lease on life for two mistreated women of classic literature. But I mean how does it get better than this, really? Bertha Rochester from Jane Eyre and Lucy Westenra from Dracula, are immortals living their best undead lives in Los Angeles in 1967. At least until Dracula and Rochester, equally unalive, make a sudden reappearance, throwing Bertha and Lucy’s new lives into disarray. I’ve already read an excerpt of Reluctant Immortals, courtesy of Nightfire’s Blog, and ya’ll I honestly could not be more excited.

my dear henry book cover

My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron (February 28, 2023)

Did I plan this whole list so I could talk about a book that’s not coming out until February of NEXT year? Very possibly. I’m already a huge fan of Kalynn Bayron’s work, and when I found out about My Dear Henry, a queer reimagining of Jekyll & Hyde, I was instantly on board. Gabriel Utterson knows that that something is wrong with his friend Henry Jekyll. Returned to London after scandal imploded his and Henry’s lives two years ago, Gabriel is desperate to find out what has become of his friend, and why Henry stopped writing to him. What he finds instead is a Henry who coldly refuses to acknowledge Gabriel’s existence, and Hyde, the strange and charismatic young man who claims to be Henry’s friend.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

To celebrate 5000 ratings of The Dead and the Dark Courtney Gould released a lovely little epilogue story about Logan and Ashley’s life together after Snakebite. And she made me cry. Again.

It’s early, but never to early to mark your calendars! Because Mysterious Galaxy Books is going to be hosting a virtual event on August 24th, featuring Gwendolyn Kiste in conversations with A.C. Wise about Reluctant Immortals!

Dr. Sam Hirst of Romancing the Gothic is asking the important questions in their most recent blog post: Is the Gothic gay? And the answer (of course) is: Yes. Super gay. But don’t take my word for it, because Hirst’s post is fantastic and you should definitely read it for yourself!

The Horror Writers Association’s latest Point of Pride interviews are with authors Paula D Ashe and Lucy A Snyder!

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

Ghosts, Memories, and Taking Your Time

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.

I realize that “Happy Monday” can be a controversial salutation for those of us diving back into the work week when we’d rather be reading. Lately it feels like I have less time than ever to read, which can be frustrating when I remember what it was like when I was younger and had time to read two or three books a week. Now I’m lucky if I manage four or five a month!

But, I will say this: having to throttle back on my reading speed has come with some unexpected benefits. True, I don’t finish as many books in a month, but having less time to read means that I find myself being a lot more particular about which books I pick up and it means that I end up spending more time with each book. As a result, I find that I remember more about books after I finish them. I form a more complete impression of what I read and I’m having an easier time connecting with the story. The book I want to recommend to you this month is a perfect example of what I mean.

But first a quick note for posterity: This is not me throwing shade at speedy readers, or at all meant to imply that they don’t fully experience the books they’re reading. As ever, this is but the humble experience of one reader.

the cover of the dead and the dark by courtney gould

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

I was late getting to this book. But most horror fans I know had read it already and had nothing but glowing things to say, so I knew going in that it was going to be good. And it really was! Scary, tense, ever so slightly (read: really) enraging at times, The Dead and the Dark proved to be superb queer horror.

It also made me cry. A lot. I mean ugly crying, suddenly glad I live alone, thank the ghouls I’m not wearing mascara crying.

(What can I say, it’s been a rough couple of months years.)

In the weeks since I finished reading The Dead and the Dark, I’ve been thinking a lot about my reaction to it. I have always preferred my horror books to have plenty of heart. I like to feel that pathos and engage with that catharsis of connecting emotionally with a story, even if that emotion is frustration or rage. And sometimes in the past when I’ve been zipping through a book— whether because I feel pressed for time, or because I’m downing it in one sitting because it’s just that good— I end up skimming across the top of that cathartic experience rather than letting myself just soak it in.

With The Dead and the Dark, my schedule that week forced me to slow down, take my time, and I really think that my reading experience was richer for that. And thank goodness, because I would not have wanted to miss a moment of this book.

Set in the tiny town of Snakebite, Oregon, The Dead and the Dark is a queer YA horror novel that is as much about the shadow of prejudice that lurks behind the faded main streets of so many small towns as it is about ghosts. Hauntings both figurative and metaphorical. Logan Ortiz-Woodley lets herself be dragged to Snakebite by her fathers Brandon and Alejo, but only reluctantly because the last thing she wants is to get caught up in one of their ghost hunts. What she doesn’t realize until after they arrive is that both men are originally from Snakebite, and have nearly as many secrets as the town itself. Secrets that might have something to do with the teens that have started disappearing. Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to disappear, and as tensions in the town mount, igniting old prejudices, and suspicion begins to fall on Logan’s fathers, the two girls join forces to find answers.

It probably sounds like a familiar plot, and in a way it is: murder mystery meets the supernatural by way of family secrets unearthed by teenage sleuths who then find themselves in Deadly Danger. But what makes The Dead and the Dark unforgettable is the way that Gould takes a familiar story type and enriches it with this wealth of humanity (good and bad) and emotion.

We’re all familiar by now with the idea of ghosts as symbolic, they’re rarely ever just the spiritual remains of the dead. They’re always imbued with some kind of meaning, whether in what created them, in how they present themselves, or how they’re finally banished. In The Dead and the Dark, Gould’s ghosts are literally memories, of the living as well as the dead. They’re moments of such pain or sorrow that they’re crystalized forever, repeating in a loop that few can see.

And look, I’m easy prey here. The idea of ghosts as memories always wrecks me. Especially once Gould began to reveal the particulars of Brandon and Alejo’s pasts in Snakebite. Because, you see, the mystery of the disappearing teens that drives much of the plot of the book is actually resolved about 95% of the way through, and the actual climax of the book ends up being about secrets and small towns, love, hate, grief, and forgiveness. And if I had been reading straight through, at the speed I used to read, I don’t know that the truth about the past— Brandon’s, Alejo’s, and Logan’s— would have had the chance to hit so hard that it left me in tears.

So in a way, even though I might have once been able to read three books in the time it took me to read The Dead and the Dark, I’m glad I slowed down. Because I wouldn’t have wanted to miss feeling all the things that Gould made me feel in that moment. Emotions that were as healing as they were painful.

Maybe that sounds like a line, and you can roll your eyes if it does. But if you haven’t read The Dead and the Dark yet, or if you have time in your own schedule to read it again, I highly recommend adding it to your Pride TBR. It’s gorgeously queer, genuinely creepy, and brutally honest about what it means to just try to exist in a world that sometimes feels overwhelmingly full of hate, and pain, and grief.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Liberty Hardy has 8 Great Books With Unusual Hauntings to recommend you over on Book Riot.

TC Parker caught up with the team at Ladies of Horror Fiction for their latest Shelf Edition.

Anne Heltzel, author of the cult horror novel, Just Like Mother, wrote a fascinating article for Crime Reads about the cult of motherhood.

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

To Indie Presses and Self-Publishers, With Love

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.

Happy second full week of Pride month folks. I know the world is a terrifying place right now for folks in the LGBTQIA+ community, but if you’re celebrating this month, I hope you’re able to find some joy and some time to just be yourself in the midst everything. As horror fans, we know that sometimes the best thing we can do when the headlines are full of terror is reach for something fictional to balance the scales. So with that in mind, I’m really excited to introduce you to this week’s horror recommendations!

Given that you can still smell the new paint on Horror’s recent mainstream publishing resurrection, and the fact that queer speculative fiction has often also had to exist outside the realms of traditional publishing houses, this week we’re celebrating the two forces that have been responsible for keeping both horror and queer fiction going through the years. Each of the books on this list has been published either by an indie press or by the author or editor themselves, and they’re all amazing books that you won’t want to miss.

cover of the book of queer saints edited by mae murray

The Book of Queer Saints ed. by Mae Murray

The debut anthology of editor Mae Murray, The Book of Queer Saints (with its striking cover!) was published independently following a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. The anthology includes new stories by familiar voices like Eric LaRocca (You’ve Lost A Lot of Blood) and Hailey Piper (Queen of Teeth). It also features 13 stories in total from queer authors whose works span the width and breadth of the horror genre. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, I highly recommend adding The Book of Queer Saints to your horror pride reading list.

Cover of Unfettered Hexes anthology edited by David Ring

Unfettered Hexes ed. by David Ring (AOC – Approx 50%)

This is not the first time I have shared my love for this eclectic collection of queer, dark fiction, and it definitely won’t be the last. Unfettered Hexes is everything I could want in an anthology: it’s diverse, delicious, witchy perfection, and you couldn’t ask for better. Stories range from sci-fi to fantasy to horror, often blurring the lines between the three to create captivating queer stories of survival, love, revenge, hope, and nightmares. It’s also worth noting that, if like me you love your books to be as visibly beautiful as the stories they contain, Neon Hemlock makes gorgeous books and Unfettered Hexes is no exception. I mean, just look at that cover.

cover of the wicked and the willing by lianyu tan

The Wicked and the Willing by Lianyu Tan

Is it even a list of horror recommendations if I don’t include a Gothic, erotic, vampire horror novel when I have the chance? Set in 1927 colonial Singapore, Lianyu Tan’s second novel is a gorgeous work of historical horror about a maidservant who ends up falling in love with both her vampiric mistress and her mistress’ majordomo, kicking off a F/F love triangle that – in a unique twist – is up to the reader to resolve. The novel contains two complete, exclusive final acts, allowing readers to decide how they want the story to end. Tan’s specialty is dark stories about characters caught up in questionable relationships, and if you enjoy The Wicked and the Willing and want to follow it up with something a little more romance-y (but still pretty darn dark,) I HIGHLY recommend Tan’s first book, her Hades and Persephone retelling Captive in the Underworld, with which I am 100% obsessed.

cover of unwieldy creatures of addie tsai

Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai (August 2)

You might remember Unwieldy Creatures from my Frankenstein birthday post in January! It’s going to be out in August and I’m really curious to get my hands on a copy because I love a Frankenstein adaptation. Billed as a queer gender reversal of Mary Shelley’s original novel, Unwieldy Creatures features a narrator who is a medical intern. She finds her prized internship in 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. This is a tale of ambition, murder, and bloody revenge.

cover of ashthorne by april yates

Ashthorne by April Yates (August 23)

April Yates’ debut novella won’t be out until August, but it’s worth waiting for. It’s a queer, historical, Gothic horror-romance, so it’s already ticking pretty much every box on my “must read this book” list. Ashthorne is set in the aftermath of WWI, in a manor house that has been repurposed as a convalescence hospital and may be housing more than just injured soldiers. Adelaide came to Ashthorne to be a nurse, and to hide from her family. But when she ends up falling in love with Evelyn, the owner’s daughter, the two set out to investigate Evelyn’s suspicions about the hospital, and in the end, Adelaide may find that Ashthorne is not the safe haven she hoped it would be.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

As part of the Horror Writers Association’s A Point of Pride series, Michelle Lane interviewed queer horror author Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam.

The Shades of Orange is a great booktube resource for horror book recommendations, so if you haven’t visited Rachel’s channel yet, be sure to check it out! I love this recommendation video for horror books about creepy dolls and other terrifying toys.

Netflix is going to be bringing back the 90’s teen horror nostalgia once again, this time with an adaptation of Christopher Pike’s The Midnight Club! So excited!

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

Summertime Screaming, I’ve Got that Horror-time Feeling

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 June! And Happy Pride! I’m looking forward to a whole month of queer horror content (even more so than usual), and I can’t wait to share with you some of the amazing books I’ve been reading and the forthcoming titles I’m most excited about.

Today is the first Monday in June, which means of course that it’s new releases day! And this month is chock-a-block full of promising titles from straight up scary horror to gorgeously dark fantasy. Honestly, the hard part was narrowing down my list enough for it to fit it in this newsletter!

hell followed with us book cover

Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White (June 7)

In the aftermath of a violent Armageddon unleashed by the very fundamentalist sect that raised him, trans boy Benji is on the run from his past and the dangerous bioweapon that is slowly transforming him into a monster from the inside out. A weapon deadly enough to destroy what little of the world remains. When he finds himself cornered by monsters and rescued by a ragtag band of survivors from the local LGBTQ+ center, Benji strikes a deal with their leader Nick. Benji agrees to use his growing powers to protect the group, and in return they’ll give him somewhere to hide from the cult. To Benji, it seems like the perfect opportunity to escape from his pursuers and finally have somewhere to belong. That is, until he finds out that Nick’s been hiding secrets of his own.

not good for maidens book cover

Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino (June 21)

Say it with me: This is some fair folk bullshit. And I mean that in the very best way. Because there are few things in this world I love more than fae-themed horror. Look, Lou may not believe in the old superstitions about goblin merchants hawking their wares on the roadside, trying to tempt young women to eat their euphemistically ripe fruit (among other things), but SOME OF US know better than to take fruit from shifty strangers. That’s all I’m saying. Not Lou’s Aunt Neela though, apparently. And when Neela’s stolen away to the goblin market, Lou finds herself on a rescue mission through a dangerous new world of magic. She has just three days to rescue Neela and get out before the goblin market claims them both.

cover of this wicked fate by kalynn bayron

This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron (June 21)

The sequel to This Poison Heart, This Wicked Fate is currently at the top of my June must haves. This delightfully queer, magical YA series is a must read for those who prefer their horror Gothic, overgrown, and full of secrets. Following the dramatic conclusion of the first novel, in This Wicked Fate Briseis is on the hunt for the last piece of the deadly Absyrtus Heart – her only chance at saving her mother. But doing so means relying on blood relatives who are little more than strangers to her and navigating a whole new world of secret power and hidden enemies.

Cover of The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi (June 23)

You know I love to slip in a dark fantasy title when I get the chance, and I’ve been looking forward to El-Arifi’s The Final Strife since it was announced. So of course I had to include on my June list! Set in a cruel, violent world where your place in life is determined by the color or your blood— red for the elite, blue for the poor, clear for the enslaved— three young women set out to defy the roles in which they were born. Sylah, Anoor, and Hassa, all hail from different classes and different walks of life: The blue-blooded girl from the resistance who once dreamed of revolution; the red-blooded daughter of the most powerful ruler in the empire; and the invisible clear-blooded one who harbors dangerous secrets. Together they could upend the course of history, but revolutions are never bloodless.

Cover of We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca

We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca (June 24)

So LaRocca’s newest novella is the only book on this list that I’ve actually had the pleasure of reading ahead of its publication date, so I can tell you first hand that this book is a seriously fucked up fairy tale that’s going to haunt your nightmares. And I mean that in the very best possible way. It’s a gross, horrifying, and unforgettable exploration of the cyclical nature of grief and generational trauma, and I absolutely loved it. After her father dies, Mara finds herself living in a dark but fantastical world full of anthropomorphized creatures, including a sinister new guest (with far too many legs) who claims he can protect Mara and her mother from the dangerous world outside, but only at a terrible cost.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

As always, if you’re looking for even more new releases to add to your reading list, be sure to check out Nightfire’s fantastic list of all the horror books they’re most excited about in 2022.

Hailey Piper was on the Sexy Books Podcast talking about the intersections of horror and romance, monster fucking, and vagina monsters in her novel Queen of Teeth.

Exciting news, horror fans! Author TC Parker announced that her delightfully queer back catalogue, currently unavailable for purchase, will be re-released this month courtesy of Hold My Beer Publishing. So keep an eye on her twitter feed for news on when each title will be making its reappearance!

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

Happy Birthday, Dracula!

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.

Today in The Fright Stuff, we’re wishing a fond (early) Happy Birthday to one of the great classics of the horror genre: Dracula. That’s right! Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire novel was first published on May 26, 1897, which was 125 years ago this Thursday. Dracula wasn’t the first novel of its kind, of course, being preceded by such vampiric classics as LeFanu’s Carmilla (published serially from 1871 to 1872) and of course John William Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819)— a literary progeny of one fateful, infamous, and rainy Genevan summer three years prior. But Stoker’s epistolary style, riffing on the Victorian fondness for travel accounts and the macabre, created something incendiary that lives long in the memory of its readers.

And its viewers! Over the course of the history of cinema and television, hundreds of films and tv shows have adapted Stoker’s novel in one form or another, paying homage to the towering literary figure that is The Count. From black and white legends like Lugosi, to the technicolor gore of Hammer Horror, to the multitudinous modern adaptations with their varying degrees of faithfulness to or deviation from the text.

Books, films, shows, graphic novels, even an email subscription service that will deliver chapters of Dracula to your inbox in real time (have you signed up for Dracula Daily yet?); this beloved novel, which remains a genuinely creepy read, is as undying as the man himself. So today we pay tribute to the vampire host with the most, by celebrating some of the many wonderful books that would not have been given (eternal) life without him.

Children of the Night: Dracula Adaptations

cover of dowry of blood by s.t. gibson

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

If you’ve been reading The Fright Stuff for a little while, chances are you’re familiar with my deep and abiding love for S.T. Gibson’s Dowry of Blood, a queer, polyamorous retelling of the origin of Dracula’s brides. This gorgeously Gothic book is one of my hands down favorite adaptations of Stoker’s novel, and if you haven’t read it yet get ready, because it’s being re-released in hardcover this October, complete with a ravishing new cover.

Cover of The Route of Ice and Salt by Jose Luis Zarate

The Route of Ice & Salt by José Luis Zárate

Speaking of favorite adaptations, last year Innsmouth Free Press released the first English translation of Mexican author José Luis Zárate’s cult Dracula adaptation centered around the captain of the Demeter and his ill-fated crew. Like A Dowry of Blood, The Route of Ice & Salt is another gloriously queer retelling, and Zárate’s beautiful prose shines in the hands of David Bowles careful translation.

cover of Reluctant Immortals by gwendolyn kiste

Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste (August 23)

There are almost criminal depths to which I would sink to get my hands on a copy of this book. Truly. But for now I’ll just (im)patiently sit on my hands and wait for my copy of Kiste’s forthcoming joint retelling of Dracula and Jane Eyre to arrive. That’s right, Reluctant Immortals is two Gothic adaptations for the price of one as Lucy Westenra and Bertha Mason, two of literature’s most done wrong by women, set out to free themselves at last from the men who tried to destroy them.

The New Vampires on the Block

New Cover of Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

One of the most unique vampire novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things is praised for, among other things, its rich worldbuilding and fascinatingly varied vampire culture. In Mexico City, street kid Domingo is just trying to survive when he meets vampire-on-the-run Atl. Atl is the descendent of Aztec blood drinkers, on the run from a rival vampire clan. Their meeting happens by chance, but as time goes on, the two find themselves working together to escape the dark streets with their lives (life and un-life?) intact.

Cover of Vampires Never Get Old anthology

Vampires Never Get Old ed. by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

You know I never miss the chance to include an anthology if I can squeeze it in, and I’m telling you: if you want a bloody, hungry, fascinating look at where vampire horror is headed in the hands of a new generation of writers, Vampires Never Get Old needs to be on your reading list. Twelve talented YA authors have teamed up to bring you eleven exciting and innovative stories, leaving their own fang marks on the Vampire mythos.

Cover of Youngblood by Sasha Laurens

Youngblood by Sasha Laurens (July 19)

Yet another forthcoming summer vampire pre-order for your TBR! Youngblood has been on my ordering list since it first crossed my radar, which was well before that ridiculously GORGEOUS illustrated cover was released and stole my heart. If teen vampires and vampire boarding schools are your jam, Youngblood is the book for you! Two young vampires from different walks of (un)life take on classism, conservative values, and a dangerous conspiracy as they try to solve the murder of one of their classmates and end up uncovering a dark secret at the heart of Vampirdom itself.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Speaking of Vampires Never Get Old: Netflix has released the trailer for their new queer teen vampire movie First Kill, based on V.E. Schwab’s short story of the same name. And it looks fangtabulous!

Already read Hailey Piper’s (Stoker Award winning!) Queen of Teeth and find that you’re still hungry for more vagina monster fun? To celebrate her very much deserved win at this year’s Stoker Awards, Piper has teamed up with Nightfire to bring you an all new deleted scene featuring everyone’s favorite toothy vaginal beastie, Magenta.

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

Horror and History in Burn Down, Rise Up

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.

The reason I started adding these sort of “Fright Stuff Book of the Month” newsletters to my monthly roster was to give me the space to focus on one book that I’d read recently that really got to me. Lists are fun, but sometimes I want to sink my teeth into a text, shake it a bit, and see what falls out. Because, as I know you’re all aware, there is some incredible horror being published right now. Particularly by groups whose voices have been underrepresented by the genre in the past. This month’s book pick is one that has stuck with me since I finished it, not just because of all the mold and rot (my favorite), or the sweet Sapphic romance, or that gorgeous neon cover I’m obsessed with.

But also because it’s a vital book, the message and themes of which will always be important and relevant. More so now than ever.

burn down rise up book cover

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

Burn Down, Rise Up is the debut YA novel of non-binary, Afro-Latine author, Vincent Tirado. Set in Tirado’s native Bronx, the book introduces readers to fifteen year old Raquel, whose life has just been upended by a violent attack that leaves her mother in a coma, infected by some unidentifiable mold-like substance that is slowly killing her. At the same time, Cisco – the cousin of Raquel’s crush Charlize – disappears and eye witnesses identify him as the person who attacked and infected Raquel’s mother. Along with two other teens, Raquel and Charlize must venture into a world of ghosts and dark histories, chasing a dangerous urban legend that may hold the key to saving their loved ones. But only if the girls can survive the Echo Game.

Sinister urban legends and Sapphic horror are always catnip for me, so obviously I leapt at the chance to read Burn Down, Rise Up. And it was every bit as fantastic as I expected it to be. But what really struck me when I was reading, and stuck with me long after, was Tirado’s use of Bronx history as the backbone of their novel. I went into this novel knowing nothing about the history of the Bronx, and came out on the other side both astounded by my own lack of knowledge and horrified and enraged once again at how much blatant racism and inhumane cruelty can be acted out in a single location.

But then, the whole point of the Echo Game is that there are points in history so terrible that they leave a permanent mark on the world. After all, what else are ghosts.

Tirado’s novel is a scathing indictment of the worst parts of the Bronx’s history, played out by literally walking their characters through a distorted otherworld where an avatar of every Slum Lord who ever left his tenants in rotting houses or burned them out for profit now rules over a scorched land of wraiths and violence. But it’s also a novel about hope, and perseverance as a community. Fighting back as a community.

In a conversation about the history of the Bronx that took place early in the book, Raquel’s father pointed out that in the aftermath of the Bronx burning, it was the locals who brought the borough back to life: “We had to rebuild the Bronx, literally. A few grassroots organizations formed. They taught residents carpentry so we could actually renovate our homes. We took special care of it because it was ours. And we had no one else – only each other.” (77) And when it comes to defeating the Echo Game and saving her mother, Raquel learns for herself how much stronger she is, how much stronger they all are, when they stand together and fight back.

I said in my May new reads Fright Stuff that if you buy one book this month it should be Burn Down, Rise Up and I mean it. There are a lot of amazing books coming out this month, but this one is something really special. It has so much heart and humanity. Tirado took a dark, awful moment in history, shined a light on the consequences of letting hate run rampant, but also showed their readers that out of the worst, bleakest of times, communities can survive and rise together.

“What else does a phoenix do when it’s done burning?” (76)

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Most of you have probably already seen this Best Horror Books of All Time list from Esquire floating around your social media feeds, but if you haven’t be sure to check it out!

Okay, so not all thrillers are horror, but some are! And I can’t resist a book that embodies the phrase “Be Gay, Do Crimes”. So head over to Novel Suspects for a list of YA Thrillers Featuring LGBTQIA+ Folks Getting Into Trouble.

We have a cover reveal for Cale Dietrich’s forthcoming queer slasher novel Pledge, about a fraternity initiation gone murderously awry!

Hailey Piper was on the Sexy Books Podcast, talking about her fabulous horroromance novel Queen of Teeth, which is as romantic as it is gross (goodbye forever peanut butter).

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

We Won’t Go Quietly

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.

Wow. What even was this week? I had an entirely different topic picked out for this newsletter, truth be told. But after what happened here in the U.S. on Monday night, I didn’t have the energy or the mental space for what I originally planned. I’m scared, and pissed off, and heartbroken, and I have been consuming massive amounts of horror, across mediums, just trying to get by.

So fuck it. This week’s Fright Stuff goes out to everyone who’s in the same place as me right now. Everyone who may be sad, and frightened, but also ready to fight back. Because fuck them if they think we’ll just let this happen. That we’ll just go quietly into the future they have planned for us. Every single once of these books is about justice – demanding it, crying out for it, fighting for it tooth and nail.

May you find the catharsis you need, and the will to keep fighting.

Cover of the Do Not Go Quietly horror anthology

Do Not Go Quietly: An Anthology of Victory in Defiance ed. by Jason Sizemore & Lesley Conner

This 2019 anthology from Apex Publishing is thematically perfect for this week’s Fright Stuff, and helped give today’s newsletter its title. Do Not Go Quietly is an anthology of stories across the range of speculative fiction (horror included, obviously!) about resistance. Stories about fighting back and fighting for justice. It’s a fabulous anthology, and horror readers will likely recognize several of the names on this talent-packed TOC, including authors Cassandra Khaw, Maurice Broaddus, E. Catherine Tobler, Lucy A. Snyder, and Christina Sng.

cover of Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle, featuring cartoon of four young people standing in front of a full moon

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

This gorgeous graphic novel by author Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Lisa Sterle, is a must have for fans of werewolves and social horror. Becca has just transferred to an elite San Francisco High School when she finds herself scooped out of new kid purgatory by a group of popular girls with a shocking secret: they’re werewolves! Vigilante werewolves who hunt down the predatory boys in their town who take advantage of girls, more specifically. When Becca allows her new friends to turn her into a werewolf, she finally finds a place and a group to call her own. But an unexpected death soon complicates matters, and the pack’s quest to avenge the girls in their community takes a dark turn.

cover of your body is not your body anthology

Your Body is Not Your Body ed. by Alex Woodroe & Matt Blairstone

This anthology of horror stories and illustrations by over thirty Trans/Gender Nonconforming creators was launched in response to the brutal new laws criminalizing the trans/GNC youth of Texas. And aside from a TOC stacked with talent, if you needed another reason to order your copy, you should know that a portion of the proceeds are donated to Equality Texas to support their work in fighting these hateful legislations. The stories in Your Body is Not Your Body range all over the spectrum of the new weird horror tradition (Tenebrous Press’ specialty), making for a unique and compelling anthology of queer horror, full of rage and defiance.

cover of into the forest and all the way through by cynthia pelayo

Into the Forest and All the Way Through by Cynthia Pelayo

Into the Forest and All the Way Through could not have been an easy book to write, and it is certainly a harrowing book to read. But if you’re looking for a poetry collection that both honors the dead and cries out for justice, this is the book you want. This collection – though horrifying – isn’t actually a horror book, it’s a compilation of true crime poetry that explores the over one hundred cases of missing and murdered women in the Unites States. But Pelayo is a well know horror author, and given the topic of this week’s newsletter, the inclusion of Into the Forest and All the Way Through seemed like an obvious choice. It will break your heart, but their stories deserve to be heard.

the cover of manhunt

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin

Felker-Martin’s bloody, brilliant Manhunt was one of the first books I thought of when I started compiling this list. But Beth and Fran aren’t on some mission for revenge or justice, at least not at first. They’re just trans women trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that is somehow even more determined to kill them than our own present day. They range up and down what is left of New England, hunting men who have fallen victim to the plague that turned anyone with significant levels of testosterone into feral, cannibal beasts. Beth and Fran need the men for their organs, the only way to ensure they don’t meet the same fate. But a series of terrible circumstances sends their lives on a collision course with an incipient revolution in the north, and like it or not, they find themselves faced with a choice: keep scavenging at the edges of what’s left of their world, or start fighting back.

There were so many other books I could have included, given the space. So much horror has been written by marginalized authors to try and give voice to or make sense of the cruelty and injustice that they face.

We fight horror with horror, at the end of the day.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

There’s More of Us Than You Know is a forthcoming (June 13) queer horror anthology benefitting the Trevor Project, and there’s still time to preorder your copy!

On a lighter note: have you SEEN the faux clinch/pulp cover that Alexis Castellanos painted for Isabel Cañas’ The Hacienda? It’s so gorgeous, and I desperately wish Berkley would consider using it for a mass market edition.

If you’re as excited as I am about T. Kingfisher’s forthcoming What Moves the Dead (July 12), you can now download a sneak peek from your preferred ebook vendor, courtesy of Nightfire!

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

May I Offer You A New Horror Release?

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.

Happy May, folks! Though I can barely believe it here we are again: it’s new releases day. Time flies when you’re having scary fun! Every month so far this year has been jam packed with amazing new horror books, and May is proving to be no exception. I’ve picked out my top must-have titles for the month, and I can’t wait to share these exciting forthcoming titles with you!

burn down rise up book cover

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (May 3)

THIS BOOK, ya’ll. If you order one horror book in May (not that I expect most of you are one new book a month readers) I highly recommend it be Tirado’s forthcoming YA horror. Behind that oh-so-gorgeous neon cover is a story about the horrors of the past and how they bleed into the present. When sixteen-year-old Raquel’s life is suddenly upended by an attack that puts her mother in a coma, she finds herself teaming up with her once childhood friend Charlize, whose missing cousin might be tied to both Raquel’s mother and the other disappearances that have plagued the Bronx for the last year. Tied to the Echo Game. An urban legend, the fodder of Creepypasta-esque reddits, a stupid dark of the night challenge undertaken by the drunk or the brainlessly bold. But it’s a game that the two girls may have to play themselves if they hope to save their loved ones and their home.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas book cover

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (May 3)

So most of us are by now aware that any synopsis in which a heroine ignores the rumours about the “sudden demise” of her husband’s first wife is probably not a story that’s going to end well for her. At least not without fight. But Beatriz can’t be blamed for the choice she made. Her father was executed in the overthrow of the Mexican government and her home destroyed, so when a handsome and wealthy Don proposes, she takes her chances with financial security and an estate tucked safely away in the country side. Of course, when is Convenient Husband’s Country Estate every really the safe haven that a Gothic heroine expects? San Isidro, for instance, is filled with strange voices, strange goings on, and plenty of helpful familial gaslighting. Cue the entrance of the young (and probably handsome) priest who comes to the rescue, and you’ve reached peak tropey Gothic delight.

cover of when other people saw us they saw the dead edited by lauren t davila

When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead ed. by Lauren T. Davila (May 5)

New anthology alert! This forthcoming BIPOC horror anthology from Haunt Publishing features the work of a host of amazing authors, blending elements of the Gothic, horror, fantasy, folklore and more. Anthologies like When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead not only give voice to marginalize authors, they also offer readers an opportunity to experience a wide variety of authors all in one place. Many of whom might be new to them! I’ve found so many authors whos work I love by reading anthologies like this one, so if you’ve been looking to expand your must-buy authors list When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead is a great place to start.

cover of your mind is a terrible thing by hailey piper

Your Mind is a Terrible Thing by Hailey Piper (May 7)

Can you say space horror?! I never get tired of horror books set in the vast expanse of space. All that nothingness, all that darkness, all those pressure-locked confined spaces? Mmm so good. So obviously the cherry on the new book sundae here is that Hailey Piper’s forthcoming Your Mind is a Terrible Thing is set in space! I love that Piper’s horror is always weird in the most delightful and unexpected ways (hello Queen of Teeth), so I can’t wait to see where she takes us next. When every crew member on board the starship M.G Yellowjacket suddenly disappears except for communications specialist Alto, what should have been an ordinary shift in an ordinary workday takes a frightening turn. Something has made its way onboard the Yellowjacket, something with the ability to dig into the minds of crewmembers and control what they think and feel. Alto’s only chance is to risk a journey through the now infected passages of the Yellowjacket to reach the bridge and reunite with what remains of the crew before things get even worse.

cover of hide by kiersten white

Hide by Kiersten White (May 24)

I’ve been a fan of Kiersten White’s work ever since her historical YA horror The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, and I’m so excited find out what she does with one of the best and most classic of horror settings: the abandoned amusement park/creepy carnival. Abandoned places are already inherently creepy, and if you add rides that play eerie songs and entirely too many clowns in the decoration motifs, you get prime horror fodder. Hide, is about a high stakes game of – you guessed it – hide and seek. The goal: successfully hide for one whole week, playing least in sight in an abandoned amusement park in hopes of winning enough money to change your entire life. For Mack, to whom hiding to survive is second nature, it sounds too good and too easy to be true. Until the other contestants of the game start disappearing, forcing the survivors to band together if they hope to make it out alive.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

If you’re looking for even more May new releases, make sure to check out Nightfire’s fantastic list of all the horror books they’re excited about in 2022.

And for backlist TBR additions, Addison Rizer has pulled together a fabulous list of genre blending horror novels for Book Riot.

As part of their ongoing celebration of National Poetry Month, Ladies of Horror Fiction interviewed Jessica McHugh (A Complex Accident of Life) about her gorgeous blackout poetry.

Fantasy Café interviewed S.A. Barnes for Women in SF&F Month about her recent novel, Dead Silence, and her love of messy, imperfect heroines.

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening

The Fright Stuff

Grab Your Flamethrowers, it’s Alien Day!

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.

Surprising exactly none of you who have been reading this newsletter over the last year or so, my favorite horror franchise, hands down and of all time, is Alien. And when I love a franchise, I LOVE franchise. Even the bits of it that maybe don’t work as well as the rest (looking at you, Resurrection). But without a doubt, my favorite part of the Alien franchise, after the films themselves, has to be the novel series. What started as novelizations of the early films by Alan Dean Foster, and grew into a two part series of novels (first from 1992-1998 and then from 2005-2008), has seen a new boom of titles in recent years. A third series of novels, starting in 2014 and really gathering momentum in the last two years, has begun to shape the franchise’s main storylines in new and thrilling ways.

I have my theories about why we’re seeing this new uptick in Alien novels, but then again, I have a lot of theories about the Alien franchise, period! However, this week’s newsletter isn’t about my tinfoil hat Alien conspiracy theories (maybe next time), because tomorrow, April 26th (4/26), is Alien Day! And I can think of no better way to celebrate than by highlighting the three exciting new Alien novels set to be released this year.

Cover of Alien: Colony War by David Barnett

Alien: Colony War by David Barnett (April 26)

Originally published on April 19th in the U.K., this newest installment of the Alien novel series will be out tomorrow in the U.S. just in time for Alien Day! I am particularly excited for this book since it’s a (mostly) direct sequel to Alex White’s Alien: Into Charybdis, which I absolutely adore. Cher Hunt is determined to find the person responsible for the death of her sister Shy, a casualty of the deadly incident at the Hasanova Data Solutions Colony. Together with Chad McLaren, whose mission— like that of his wife Amanda Ripley— is to prevent further weaponization of the Xenomorphs and a synthetic called Davis, Cher travels to a drilling facility on LV-187. The drilling facility has been destroyed and all its personnel slaughtered. With the blame laid on British military forces, and the Colonial Marines inbound, tensions between Earth’s political factions are strained to a breaking point; only their crumbling alliances keep the whole interplanetary colonial system from devolving into a full out war. And things only get worse when the British and Colonial forces on LV-187 suddenly find themselves overrun by xenomorphs.

Cover of Alien: Inferno's Fall by Philippa Ballantine and Clara Carija

Alien: Inferno’s Fall by Philippa Ballantine and Clara Carija (July 26)

Co-written by Ballantine and Carija, the second Alien novel we can expect this year, Alien: Inferno’s Fall, will plunge us back into the fallout from the colony war. Set on a mining planet colonized by the Union of Progressive Peoples (the UPP), Shānmén, Inferno’s Fall is about the sudden and devastating arrival of an all too familiar horseshoe-shaped vessel that appears over the mining colony one day and unleashes an (equally all too familiar) black rain on to the planet’s surface. What follows is a series of violent and catastrophic transformations that threaten to wipe the colony out completely. Trapped on such a distant planet, and with the various military forces tied up trying to shoot each other out of space, the colonists’ only hope for rescue lies with the crew of the Righteous Fury: the Jackals. A mix of ex-Colonial and Royal marines, the Jackals are led by recurring Alien franchise character (and love of my life) Zula Hendricks, and their mission— much like McLaren and Ripley in Colony War— is to put an end to the weaponization of the xenomorphs. And, in the case of Shānmén, to rescue what few survivors they can from a planet being consumed by an ancient mutative force.

Cover of Aliens: Vasquez by V Castro

Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro (October 25)

And last, but oh most CERTAINLY not least, closing out this years run of shiny new Alien novels is the much anticipated Aliens: Vasquez, by V. Castro. Already a known star of the horror genre, V. Castro will be scaring readers anew as she recounts both the long awaited backstory of fan favorite Jenette Vasquez, and the future of Vasquez’s children, who will follow in her footsteps for better or worse. Vasquez’s life has never been easy. Even before the marines, and before that fateful mission to Hadley’s Hope, her life was a constant struggle for survival. When the Colonial Marines offer her an out after life in a street gang lands her in prison, Vasquez decides to take her chances in space, even though it means giving up her children and letting them be raised by her sister.

Fast forward years after the tragic incident on LV-426 and Vasquez’s twins are all grown up, but their lives have taken very different turns: Leticia has joined the Colonial Marines, like her mother and so much of her family before her, while Ramon has launched himself into the ranks of Weyland-Yutani. The two are separated by distance and circumstance, until an unnamed planet with untapped potential puts Leticia and Ramon on a collision course not only with each other, but also with a deadly Xenomorph outbreak.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Lauren P. Dodge was a guest on Books in the Freezer’s most recent episode, talking about Southern Gothic horror.

It’s National Poetry Month, and Eva Roslin wrote about celebrating poetry for the Ladies of Horror Fiction blog. And the Ladies of Horror Fiction team has put together a list of their favorite dark poetry collections!

Goodreads is holding a giveaway for 50 ARCs of Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste, and it ends TODAY (4/25)! So don’t forget to go enter before the clock winds down!

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.

The Fright Stuff

Beyond the Sea(weed)

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.

You all know I love ocean horror. I have made no secret of my obsession with all things scary and saltwater. Be it salty Gothic, toothy creature terror, or watery witchcraft, I want to put it in my eyeballs. I also – and I promise that I’ll explain how this is relevant, so stick with me – really, really love seaweed. I like to look at it. I like to touch it. I like to eat it! It’s a fascinating organism, that I find both beautiful and tasty. Lucky for me, next week is Seaweed Week here in Maine! Seaweed Week is not paying me for the free advertisement, by the way. I just really adore this niche little festival. Especially since it involves eating a lot of tasty seaweed snacks.

So since I have salty salty seaweed on the brain, I thought we turn sea-ward (SEA what I did there?) for this week’s horror recommendations. Get your reading lists ready! In the meantime I’ll be over here ordering a shameful amount of Dulse and Lemon bonbons.

the kelping by jan stinchcomb cover rewind or die

The Kelping by Jan Stinchcomb

The Kelping is one of the many titles that make up Unnerving Books’ retro-inspired Rewind or Die horror series. And the only book I’ve found so far that has really Significant Seaweed! One of the characters is actually piled with it as part of a weird small town folk ritual. Wickerman but make it cold and slimy? Doctor Craig Bo lives a charmed life in a charming coastal town, with his wife, kids, and thriving dermatology practice. But as we know, that sort of perfection is usually only, wait for it… skin deep. (You’re welcome). After being crowned Sea King of Beachside at a local festival, Craig’s life takes a strange turn. Something unknown is growing on his skin, his son is telling horrible tales about mermaids in museum attics, and his wife Penelope has been keeping dark secrets about her own connection to the sea.

Cover of Flowers For the Sea by Zin E Rocklyn

Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

If you haven’t read Flowers for the Sea yet, I absolutely recommend making it a part of your summer TBR. It’s not a particularly long read, if you’re someone who prefers novellas or likes to alternate between short and longer books. It’s such a good piece of weird, cosmic, salt-soaked fiction. Part fantasy, all horror, full of rich worldbuilding and writing so descriptive that readers can almost feel the hot, sticky, stifling interior of the survivor’s ship, Flowers for the Sea is about a world underwater, at the mercy of monsters.Though the survivors of this fallen world, adrift on the floating remains of their world, can be fairly monstrous themselves. Iraxi, isolated, despised, and heavily pregnant, knows all too well the crimes that her fellow passengers fear their souls will be measured against when they die. The story that she spins for readers, as her fated pregnancy nears its end, lays out a history of prejudice and cruelty, setting the stage for her own revenge.

Cover of Trouble the Waters anthology

Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Blue Deep ed. by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, and Troy L. Wiggins

My love of anthologies is right up there with my love of seaweed. Though I really enjoy reading longer works by authors whose work I admire, anthologies offer the chance to experience a whole host of authors, both new and familiar, often working along the same theme but interpreting it in a variety of different and interesting ways. Plus, an anthology is also the perfect way to find new authors, and Trouble the Waters’ TOC is loaded with talent! This ocean-themed SFF/Spec Fic anthology features work by several authors that horror readers will recognize, including Nalo Hopkinson, Linda D. Addison, and Maurice Broaddaus, and though some of the stories may be more sci-fi or fantasy than horror, I’m sure there will be plenty to keep dark fiction readers entertained.

our wives under the sea book cover

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (July 12)

I’m really excited about this forthcoming book by Julia Armfield. I mean, I love pretty much every work of sapphic spec fic ever, but I particularly love the concept of Our Wives Under the Sea. It’s about Miri, who’s wife Leah was part of a disastrous deep-sea mission that Leah was lucky enough to survive. But the longer Leah is home, the more Miri doubts that Leah really ever returned at all. It soon becomes clear the person Miri thought was her wife is not the same Leah that went off to sea. Only Leah really knows what happened during the mission on the ocean floor, and only Leah knows what she might have brought back with her. Their life together before the accident is gone, and if Miri is right about her “wife”, then the real Leah may be lost as well.

cover of blackwater by jennifer arroyo and ren graham

Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham (July 19)

Blackwater isn’t actually sea horror, it’s more sea-adjacent horror. SeaSIDE horror. It’s set in a coastal town, and it gets bonus points because that town is in… wait for it… Maine! Yes, as always, Jessica is a sucker for a little hometown horror, so I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on this forthcoming graphic novel from Arroyo and Graham. It’s about two boys —Tony Price, a popular athlete desperate for his father’s approval, and Eli Hirsch, whose quiet nature along with the strain placed on his health and social life by his autoimmune disorder have left him isolated. They unexpectedly become first friends and then something more as they navigate life in their spooky little town, from the supernatural to the super mundane (high school, right?).

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Looking for more book recommendations?

Be sure to check out this Book Riot list by Emily Martin for some of the most anticipated horror books of Spring 2022!

Or get unsettled with this list of 2022 Gothic fiction from Taiwo Balogun over at Tor.

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.