The Fright Stuff

Bloody Bloody Backlist: 2013 Backlist Books

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.

Here we are, in the last week of September already, and it just occurred to me the other day that as of August it has been two whole years since I became the author of The Fright Stuff newsletter! I’d like to say time has flown— but we all know that for the last two years time has been a sucking, inescapable void that both rushes by us and drags on eternally.

But hey, we still managed to have some good times, right? No matter how bad things got, the one bright point in my life has been getting to be your guide to all things creepy and haunted.

So here’s to horror, and here’s to you.

Bookish Goods

King's Books T-Shirt by Shirtmandude

King’s Books T-Shirt by Shirtmandude

Happy (slightly belated) birthday to the King of scares! As a horror fan and a Mainer, I couldn’t miss the chance to celebrate the day that gave us Stephen King. So this week’s bookish good is this fantastic “King’s Books” t-shirt, which not only pays homage to King, but also to his home town, the Queen City herself. Grab one for yourself, and spare a tear for the fact that King’s Books is, sadly, not a real bookstore. Sob.


New Releases

house of hunger book cover

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

I am so excited to you all to read this book. I’m serious, it was everything I could want in a Gothic horror novel. It’s so indulgent and decadent, but underpinned with this pervasive imagery of rot and decay. In a world sharply divided by class, there are few ways for girls like Marion to escape her lot in life. But there is one guaranteed way, despised by some but often sought after by the desperate or ambitious: the Bloodmaid. A Bloodmaid gives her blood willingly to the nobles of the North who drink it to keep themselves young and healthy. In return, she is lifted into a world of luxury and comfort, set for life even when her days of bloodletting are over. When her circumstances take a sharp and violent downturn, Marion throws herself on the mercy of a stranger who has offered her a place as a Bloodmaid to one of the oldest, wealthiest houses of the nobility. But the court of the bewitching Countess Lisavet holds ancient and dark secrets that will consume more than Marion’s blood if she is not careful.

cover of leech by hiron ennes

Leech by Hiron Ennes

Are we ready for “Jessica is really enthusiastic about this book” round 2? Because Leech blew my freaking mind. It’s a medical Gothic horror set in the frozen north, and I’m obsessed. Our narrator is a doctor. All of the bodies of the Interprovincial Medical Institute are doctors, actually, because for centuries the Institute has been systematically replacing all the unreliable human doctors with its superior bodies, whose mind(s) can overcome any challenge or puzzle the Institute might encounter. Until they can’t. Because the doctor narrating our story has been sent north, to the remote chateau of a tyrannical baron, to investigate the mysterious death of a fellow Institute doctor. And the parasitic creature lurking there in the cold might finally be a problem beyond the Institute’s ability to solve.

Honestly it’s even so much more than all that, but I don’t have the WORDS. Just trust me, and order yourself a copy.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Speaking of Round 2, it’s time for the next edition of Bloody Blood Backlist! Today we’re time traveling back to 2013 to check out some of the amazing horror books that hit the shelves 9 years ago. Get your wishlists ready, folks!

cover of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

As many of you might remember, 2013 was kind of smack in the middle of a massive wave of “-apocalyptic/viral plague/zombie plague/quarantines and remnant societal enclaves” fiction. And among that outpouring of books, was Sherri L. Smith’s Orleans, about a post-apocalyptic Gulf Coast, devastated by storms and sickness. The initial outbreak of Delta Fever lead to the entire Coast being quarantined, and now, years after the fact, the rest of the country has given its inhabitants up for dead. But life still exists inside the quarantine zone, condensed into warring factions struggling for survival. When Fen’s tribe is murdered for their virus resistant blood, she and her tribe leader’s newborn child are the only two survivors. Determined to get the baby out of the quarantine zone to the Outer States, where she can have a better life, Fen teams up with a rogue scientist, Daniel, who’s found himself trapped inside Orleans and who may just posses the secret to its salvation. But only if the three of them can survive the perilous journey to the quarantine wall and make their escape.

cover of NOS4A2 by joe hill

NOS4A2 by Joe HIll

I mean, does this book even need an introduction? Yes, friends, 2013 was the year that blessed us with one one of the strangest, most frightening Christmas books you will ever read. Ho ho hell no. The unforgettable villain of the story, Charlie Manx, is a monster who preys on children, stealing them away in his Rolls-Royce Wraith (the one with the titular NOS4A2 plate) and transporting them clean out of this world to that hidden park of terrors and amusements: Christmasland. The only child who ever escaped him was Vic McQueen, who shares his remarkable ability to slip outside the world. After her narrow escape, Vic grew up determined to forget that Manx ever existed. But when Manx returns and kidnaps her son as revenge, Vic has no choice but return to the past she tried to bury. To take up her bike and follow the hidden roads, all the way to Christmasland.

the ghost bride cover image

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

I realize that not everyone considers The Ghost Bride a horror novel because it’s not explicitly, “make you afraid of dark doorways” scary. But I think there’s always a place in the horror genre for darker books that aren’t overtly scary, but are still horror thematically, tonally, etc. (Though for those of you who prefer a good scare, I’ve heard that they upped the creep level in the Netflix adaptation.) The Ghost Bride is about a young woman, Li Lan, who’s limited prospects of a decent marriage result in her receiving a very strange offer from a wealthy and powerful family that normally wouldn’t consider Li Lan a suitable wife for one of this sons: the Lims need a Ghost Bride. It’s a rare practice in which a young woman is married to a deceased son of the house whose spirit is believed to be restless and haunting the family. In return, Li Lan will trade her uncertain future for a guaranteed a home— but security comes at a price. With every night that passes, Li Lan is drawn further and further in the frightening world of the dead that her betrothed inhabits, and unless she can unravel the secrets at the heart of the Lim household, she may find herself trapped in the afterlife forever.

cover of the coldest girl in coldtown by holly black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Jessica. Really. Multiple vampire books two weeks in a row? Okay, but listen: I kind of love the idea of a vampiric viral plague leading to a vampire quarantine zone that’s basically one big blood orgy dance party that humans are too stupid to stay away from. Literally so stupid that they will walk through the one way door into Coldtown, knowing that— alive or not— they’ll never be coming out again. Of course, the quarantine isn’t optional for the vampires themselves, and it isn’t optional for people who have been bitten and exposed to the “virus.” Like Tana and her ex, Aidan, who were attacked at the same sundown party. Left with no choice but to make their way into Coldtown in order to protect their friends and loved ones, the two find themselves in a strange new world where consumption— extravagant, excessive, and fully televised consumption of all kinds— is the rule of the land.

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

Kids vs Vampires: Round 1, Fight!

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.

Once upon a time (lets not dwell on how much time), I was a tiny, voracious reader who was devouring her way through the middle grade and teen fiction sections of her school library. And I was completely obsessed with vampires. If there was a vampire book to be found in those two sections, I got my hands on it. To this day, Mary Downing Hahn’s Look for Me by Moonlight is still one of my favorite books to reread in the dead of winter.

Which is why I am absolutely ecstatic about all the amazing middle grade vampire books that are out or coming out this month. So you know what that means: it’s time for a rousing game of Kids vs. Vampires! For there is no greater foe of the fangy kind than a pack of determined pint-sized vampire hunters.

Bookish Goods

bat bookends by knobcreekmetalarts

Bat Bookends by KnobCreekMetalArts

Not only are these batty bookends delightful in their own right, they fit perfectly with this week’s vampire theme! But these bats aren’t just cute, they’re also made of solid steel, so they’re more than sturdy enough to prop up even your heaviest horror reads. And if bats aren’t quite your thing, I highly recommend checking out the rest of the bookends in the shop as there are some other sets that are equally horror-ific.


New Releases

cover of no gods for drowning by hailey piper

No Gods for Drowning by Hailey Piper

I’m so excited that I’m finally going to get my hands on this book. I am a huge fan of Hailey Piper’s work at this point, so I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of No Gods for Drowning. In a world abandoned by its gods, Valentine is a city under siege by ancient monsters. And Lilac is one determined killer who, ironically, is trying to save Valentine the only way she can: with blood and the ritual sacrifice of human lives, even the lives of those Lilac loves. It’s her own friends who are hot on her trail, investigating the string of murders, and if Lilac wants to complete her mission uninterrupted she’ll have to stay one step ahead of them. Or add their bodies to the pile. But even Lilac may not understand the game that’s really afoot, her role in it, or the consequences of all the blood she’s spilt.

cover of direwood by catherine yu

Direwood by Catherine Yu

Oh look more vampires! YA vampires this time, in Catherine Yu’s deliciously gothic, ’90s set novel about a young woman looking for her missing sister, Fiona. Fiona vanished one day following a strange string of events that Aja is sure has something to do with Fiona’s disappearance, even though everyone else in her life seems eager to dismiss them. Then Aja meets Padraic, the vampire who is the source of all the unnatural occurrences and, very possibly, the disappearance of Fiona and all the other teens who have gone missing. Aja knows she shouldn’t trust him, and she certainly shouldn’t let him lure her into the woods. But if she’s right, he might be her only means of finding Fiona, so she agrees. Aja has one week to resist Padraic’s attempts to seduce her, free the other missing kids, find her sister, and get out the woods, or she’ll be forced to join Padraic. Forever.

(Btw, If you had blood-sucking butterflies on your 2022 vampire bingo, this is the book for you)

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

cover of Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires by Ben Acker; illustration of a mansion at night with the shadow of people in one lit window

Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires by Ben Acker

Okay, so technically this book came out August 30th, not in September, but I’m including it, darn it. Because how cute is this collection of scary stories?! As you might guess, these tales of monsters and monstrous things are meant to help the unwary child who’s stumbled into a vampire’s nest make it out again without becoming a blood-flavored Capri Sun. Tell a vampire one good scary story every night and you might just buy yourself time to escape! Or so is the premise of Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires, with its collection of stories about everything from ghosts and werewolves to a haunted mannequin and…a killer phone? So grab your copy, get to reading, and you just might make it till morning.

the cover of serwa boatengs guide to vampire hunting by roseanne a brown

Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown

If you are unfamiliar with the Rick Riordan Presents line of middle grade books, I highly recommend checking out this fantastically diverse collection of fantasy and sci-fi novels, more than a few of which definitely count as horror! In Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting, twelve-year-old Serwa is the descendent of generations of slayers tasked with hunting the Adze, shapeshifting vampires that posses the minds of their victims. But when her parents set out on a dangerous hunt to track down the obayifo who destroyed their home, rather than getting to hunt along side them, Serwa finds herself parked in some small town in Maryland with her aunt and cousin to live a boringly ordinary life until her parents get back. But when an adze turns up in Serwa’s new school, she’s suddenly on a hunt of her own, trying to turn her classmates in to monster hunters before everyone she knows becomes a vampire’s dinner.

cover the vanquishers by kalynn bayron

The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron

Oops, not me sneaking a third new release into this week’s newsletter, but yes! The Vanquishers does indeed come out tomorrow, so be sure to add it to your list. Malika “Boog” Wilson is growing up in a world that has finally eradicated vampires after years of being hunted and besieged by the undead. They were wiped out by the Vanquishers, vampire hunters who Boog and her friends would give anything to be like, even though there are no more vampires to fight. In fact, most of her classmates’ families have given up on anti-vampire measures altogether, no longer relying on the precautions that prior generations counted on to survive. Except, that is, Boog’s parents, who still insist on early curfews (well before sunset) and wreaths of garlic. It’s embarrassing! But when one of her friends goes missing, Boog starts to reconsidered her parent’s insistence on outdated practices, and very seriously consider the possibility that vampires may not be as extinct as she’d been lead to believe.

cover of vampiric vacation by kalynn bayron

Vampiric Vacation by Kiersten White (Sep 27)

Coming out at the end of this month is Vampiric Vacation, the second book in Kiersten White’s delightful Sinister Summer series! Dracula fans add this one to your list, because aside from featuring some familiar faces (sort of), it sounds honestly adorable and I can’t wait. Following the events of first book, Wretched Waterpark, the Sinister-Winterbottom siblings are off to the next stop on their odd (very odd) summer adventure: the Sanguine Spa. The owners, Mina and her sister Lucy (who has some unusual but definitely still human and not at all vampiric qualities) are watched over by their ominous guardian The Count, who helps them to manage the eerie spa. Suspicious that the spa might have something to do with their missing parents, the siblings set out to investigate under the guise of a scavenger hunt. But when Wil starts manifesting some very unsettling symptoms of a condition that starts with a V, the twins quickly realize that something even stranger than expected might be happening inside the walls of the Sanguine Spa.

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

All Things New and Terrifying

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.

Since we were off for the holiday on Monday the 5th, I missed out on the chance to share with you some of the amazing books (and there were a LOT of them) published last week. So I thought we’d take this week to celebrate the veritable flood of horror and other dark tales that early September has unleashed upon us! From monsters to hauntings, killer proms, covens, and vampire hunters, we’ve got a little bit of everything this week!

Bookish Goods

my weekend is booked sticker by raccoonclub666 etsy

My Weekend is Booked Sticker by Racoonclub666

Hmm? Oh. No, sorry. I’m not available this weekend. I have to do battle with my TBR before it comes to life and devours me. Announce your bookish weekend plans with this delightful bookish skeleton sticker. This particular item not only comes in multiple sizes, with options for white or transparent backgrounds, but is also available in a couple of different variations in the shop. It’s also, also available as a bookmark, a pin, a tote bag, and even a t-shirt! So no one will have any questions about your ghoulish plans for your Saturday.


New Releases

cover of silver under nightfall by rin chupeco

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco

Remy Pendergast is a vampire hunter who belongs nowhere. Not in his father’s high society world, and not even among his fellow bounty hunters. Everything he does, he does alone — until his investigation into a strange vampiric mutation, caused by a dangerous virus known only as Rot. Because of this investigation, Remy crosses paths with Xiaodan, a vampire heiress, and her equally undead fiancé, Zidan Malekh. As the three work together to uncover the source of the Rot before it can destroy the kingdom entirely, and feelings between them begin to warm, Remy finds himself questioning everything he thought he knew about vampires and himself.

cover of full immersion in gemma amor

Full Immersion by Gemma Amor

What would it be like to one day stumble upon your own dead body? That’s what happens to Magpie, and it propels her on a strange and frightening journey to discover the truth about her own death before both sanity and reality fail her, her steps dogged all the while by a mysterious, menacing figure known as the Silhouette. With a new friend by her side, Magpie must try to recover her lost memories if she wants to have any hope of finding out how she died, and how she can change her past before it catches up with her.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

our shadows have claws book cover

Our Shadows Have Claws ed. by Yamile Saied Méndez and Amparo Ortiz

I have been really looking forward to this book! You know I love an anthology, and the TOC for Our Shadows Have Claws is packed with talent. Fifteen original short stories offer monsters galore, every thing from vampires to cannibals, ghost-witches and wolf-gods to death itself. So creature feature lovers be sure to add this dark, fantastical anthology to your reading list! Featuring the work of authors like Courtney Alameda, Ann Dávila Cardinal, Claribel A. Ortega, and many more, Our Shadows Have Claws is a celebration of Latine mythology from some of the most exciting voices in YA horror and fantasy.

cover of gallows hill by darcy coates

Gallows Hill by Darcy Coates

If you’re looking for some of the most haunted real estate in horror, you need to read Darcy Coates. She always manages to touch on the things that scare me most. Gallows Hill is a story as much about family secrets and greed as it is about creepy tunnels and undead creatures. The Hull family has always owned the Gallows Hill Winery, and thrived off its success. But beneath the surface of their good fortune is a dark truth that generation after generation has been forced to conceal — and for which they’ve had to pay a heavy price. Margot Hull was sent away from Gallows Hill as a child, but when her parents die suddenly in their sleep, she finds herself on the doorstep of a home she barely remembers. A house full of dark secrets, bitter memories, and — quite possibly — a curse that seeks to take her life as well.

the weight of blood book cover

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

A retelling of Stephen King’s Carrie through the lens of racism and bullying at a small Georgia high school, Jackson’s The Weight of Blood is the latest in a storied horror tradition of “proms you do not want to attend.” Madison has been passing for white her whole life, on the insistence of her abusive father. But when she is revealed to be biracial, the bullying that normally plagues Maddy’s high school existence goes from bad to worse. The ensuing public fallout of a bullying video gone viral has the student body scrambling to repair their school’s reputation, but their plan for an integrated prom won’t be the solution they expect it to be. Not when Maddy’s classmates have decided that she still has to pay for her lies. Not when Maddy still has one secret left to to hide.

cover of coven by jennifer dugan and kit seaton

Coven by Jennifer Dugan and Kit Seaton

I love horror and horror-themed graphic novels! Particularly when they’re witchy. Coven is about a young woman with magical powers, but Emsy doesn’t care about training as a fire elemental and growing her magical skills. She left that behind her along with her family’s coven and her dreary hometown in upstate New York. But when a spate of mysterious murders that are clearly magical in nature put her family in harms way, Emsy has no choice but to leave behind her friends and her girlfriend in California and trade surfing for magical training. Mastering the magical skills she tried to ignore may be Emsy’s only chance to find the murderer before her own family meets a terrible end.

Fresh from the Skeleton’s Mouth

Speaking of new releases, if you’re looking for more horror to pick up in September, be sure to check out Nightfire’s list of all that’s new in the horror genre this month!

The 2022 Hugo Award Winners have been announced! If you haven’t started your 2022 reading list yet, the book section of the Hugos is a great place to start!

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

Haunting the Backlist: The 2012 Edition

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’ve got all kinds of goodies for you this week! We spend a lot of time with recent titles here on Fright Stuff, so I wanted to kick off a new series of sorts: a monthly opportunity to give some love to the backlists titles of the dark fiction genres. After all, a good book may get older but it never dies! We’re also paying homage to a beloved figure of the Horror Genre with this week’s Bookish Good, and I get to share some really exciting new releases with you!

Bookish Goods

stephen king book sleeve with pockets by deescustomdesignstudio

Stephen King Book Sleeve by DeesCustomDesignStudio

Book sleeves are an immensely handy bit of bookish merchandise if you’re the kind of reader who drags your book hither and yon as you go about your day. And this one is particularly delightful! Not just because it appeals to the Stephen King fan in me, but also because it’s a really sturdy book sleeve, and includes a separate, zippered front pocket for all your favorite reading accessories. And at 11” x 9”, it’s big enough for your hardback books or to slip your ereader into for safe keeping!


New Releases

cover of stinetinglers by r.l. stine

Stinetinglers: All New Stories by the Master of Scary Tales by R.L. Stine

Oh Goosebumps fans, this one is for you. The master of middle grade horror is back with a whole host of “stinetingling” stories to thrill and chill his readers. Stinetinglers is a collection of new stories from R.L. Stine, each of which is introduced by Stine and features all the gross, strange, creepy goodness you’ve come to expect from the man who filled your childhood with horror. And of course (our own Stine-related nostalgia aside) Stinetinglers would also make a great introduction to middle grade horror for the monster-loving child in your life!

cover of the spear cuts through water by simon jimenez

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

The Spear that Cuts Through Water is definitely more a fantasy title than a straight horror title. But what it also is, without question, is a dark fantasy title. Which is why I have zero qualms about including it in this week’s The Fright Stuff. I think you’re all going to love Jimenez’s delightfully dark story about a country held hostage by an evil emperor and his monster sons—whose terrible powers are stolen from the god they hold hostage—and the two unlikely heroes who free the god from her captors. Together the god and her rescuers will undertake a dangerous journey to try and free the country from the shadow of its despotic rulers once and for all.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I’m so glad that I landed on the idea of doing a monthly by-the-year backlist appreciation post. But my wallet — my wallet is less glad. Because putting this list together really was an exercise in going: “OMG I forgot about that book!” (And then I buy it.) “OMG I was going to read that book!” (And repeat.)

So. Sorry about your money.

Cover of The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

I’m already a huge fan of N.K Jemisin’s frequently horror-infused fantasy novels. I remember starting The Fifth Season for the first time and being amazed (and delighted!) at how dark it was. So of course I had to include The Killing Moon — which I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet — on my list of 2012 backlist titles for this week. Set in yet another stunningly constructed fantasy world, this time inspired by ancient Egypt, The Killing Moon is about a group of people called the Gatherers, priests whose job it is to take magic from the sleeping minds of the populace. Magic they then use not just to heal, but also to judge and execute those citizens of Gujaareh that are deemed to be corrupt. Until the day Eihru, one of the Gatherers, discovers a conspiracy to use the Gatherers’ justice to murder innocent dreamers instead.

cover of nocturnal by scott sigler

Nocturnal by Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler’s specialty is combining action-driven horror with terrifying monsters to create stories that you’ll have a hard time putting down, and Nocturnal is no exception! Bryan is a San Francisco homicide detective who is stripped of his badge when he gets caught up in a shadowy conspiracy behind a string of recent murders. Unwilling to give up on the case, Bryan follows the threads of the conspiracy deep into the underground ruins beneath San Francisco and discovers a hidden world of monsters who feed upon the living. The closer he gets to the truth, the more Bryan learns about his connection to these strange creatures. It also becomes more and more evident that he may be the only one who can stop them.

cover of girl of nightmares by kendare blake

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake’s Anna duology is a fantastically creepy YA horror series, which begins with the well-known Anna Dressed in Blood and concludes in Girl of Nightmares. The series is about the vengeful ghost of a teenage girl, Anna, who becomes attached to a living boy — and ghost hunter — named Cas.

Spoilers follow in the blurb, so if you haven’t read Anna Dressed in Blood yet, continue at your own risk!

In the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, it’s been months since Anna vanished into Hell, leaving Cas behind to live his mortal life. But Cas still sees Anna everywhere he looks, asleep or awake. He knows that Anna is in trouble, and that whatever is happening to her in Hell is a gruesome fate she doesn’t deserve. Which means Cas has only one option: walk into Hell and get Anna back.

cover of blackout by mira grant

Blackout by Mira Grant

Another exciting series conclusion, Blackout brings Mira Grant’s zombie apocalypse series, Newsflesh, to a thrilling end. In Feed, a deadly virus infects the planet, wiping out society, and two bloggers try to get to the dark truth behind the infection. The story concludes in Blackout when, 27 years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason find themselves embroiled in a conspiracy far larger than either of them could ever have imagined. Now the clock ticks down as they and the remaining staff face down an increasingly bizarre and dangerous barrage of obstacles, from mad scientists to the remnants of a government gone awry, in their ongoing quest to find the truth.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Gwendolyn Kiste was on the Eyre Bud podcast, talking about her new book Reluctant Immortals, which features as one of it’s two immortal main characters the much maligned Bertha Mason of Jane Eyre infamy.

Speaking of interviews, Philippa Ballantine and Clara Carija sat down with Stuart Conover at Horror Tree to talk about their brand new addition to the Alien franchise, Alien: Inferno’s Fall.

And Sara Tantlinger was a guest on the Verses From the Void: podcast, reading from her H.H. Holmes-inspired collection of poetry, The Devil’s Dreamland, and talking about history, plagues, and serial killers. Check it out!

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

So Here’s the Thing About the Subway…

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’m writing to you live from the depths of quarantine this week, folks. Though, hopefully, by the time you read this I will be symptom free and loose once more upon the face of the earth. And while having COVID is about as much fun as being, say, fed through a wood chipper toes first, at least being trapped in my apartment gave me plenty of time to come up with this week’s horror picks. From home décor inspired by a legendary horror favorite, to new works of Gothic and Slasher goodness, to a few books that might have you second guessing your next subway ride, let’s have some fun!

Bookish Goods

legend of sleepy hollow quote pillowcase by octoberroaddesigns

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Throw Pillow Case by OctoberRoadDesigns

I love The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It’s hands down one of my favorite scary stories. So when I saw this simple but attractive throw pillow case, reprinting the famous scene of Ichabod’s frightening late night ride, the “Horseman” in hot pursuit, I fell head over heels. It’s also worth noting, for the Halloween-hearted (which, I imagine, is most of you), that this shop has a whole assortment of themed home décor, including a few other Sleepy Hollow inspired pieces. $12

New Releases

cover of ashthorne by april yates

Ashthorne by April Yates

It’s Ashthorne time! April Yate’s Gothic horror novella is set in the aftermath of WWI, in a manor house that has been repurposed as a convalescence hospital that may be housing more than 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

cover of clown in a cornfield 2 frendo lives by adam cesare

Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives by Adam Cesare

For those of you who haven’t read the first book yet, Clown in a Cornfield is a tense, violent YA slasher novel about a small town trapped in its own dying past by the blind nostalgia of its aging population. A nostalgia centered around the now defunct corn syrup factory that once made the town prosperous, as well as the factory’s incredibly creepy clown mascot, Frendo. Which is why I’m so excited that I’m finally going to get the hold the sequel, Frendo Lives, in my hungry little hands. Because just when you thought it was safe to go back into the cornfields, the specter that lurks in the shadows of Kettle Springs has returned to seek revenge on those who once foiled “Frendo’s” sinister plans.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Alright Jessica, you might be asking, what did the subway ever do to you that you had to dedicate a whole newsletter to subway scenes in horror? Well, nothing actually! I just find the whole idea of underground train systems simultaneously useful and more than a little creepy. All that dark, empty space. Forgotten platforms, no longer in use and sitting in the dark. Glimpsed through the windows of passing trains, like ghosts of another time. The tunnels beneath the tunnels. A whole subterranean world of infrastructure that most people see only in flashes as they travel from stop to stop. Who knows what’s really out there in the dark. Beneath the city, and further down.

cover of the worm and his kings by hailey piper

The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper

Okay, so technically the subway itself cannot be blamed for a creepy cult snatching people out of abandoned subway terminals. Or for any sinister, ancient evils lurking beneath (far, far beneath) the New York City streets, putting strange and unknowable plans into motion. But that scene at the beginning of the novella, when Monique’s girlfriend Donna disappears and there’s just the big, dark, echoing void of the tunnel where she used to be — that’s scary. And the uneasiness of that scene, the pervading sense of wrong, is something Piper carries through the whole book, right up to it’s wormy, unnerving finale. I love this book so much, and oh did you hear: Off Limits Press has announced two sequels, one in 2023 and one in 2024!

cover of the city we became by n.k. jemisin

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Of the three books on this list, The City We Became is the only one that doesn’t take place almost entirely underground. BUT, there is a rather memorable scene featuring a giant worm (oops, secondary newsletter theme, apparently) made up of old, decommissioned subway cars, and I felt that at the very least that earned The City We Became an honorary mention on a list of reasons why maybe sometimes it’s just better to stay aboveground. Jemisin’s cosmic horror novel about five New Yorkers who represent the soul of the city and must come together to protect it is probably one of the most innovative books I’ve read in recent years. And with the sequel, The World We Make due out in November, now’s a great time for a re-read.

cover of survive the night by danielle vega

Survive the Night by Danielle Vega

You know what’s a terrible idea? An all-night underground rave in an abandoned subway tunnel. Call me a stick-in-the-mud if you want, but I’m prefer to think of myself as horror educated. I refuse to be the “don’t go in there” girl, and that definitely includes parties in dark tunnels, with music so loud that nobody could here me, say, being brutally killed and disemboweled in a nearby tunnel. That’s what happened to poor Julie, and she’s just the first when the subway party at the heart of Danielle Vega’s Survive the Night starts to go seriously off the rails. (Ba dum tish). When Casey stumbles on Julie’s dead body and sounds the alarm, she and her friends find themselves trying to escape the subway, only to find every exit barred. Someone doesn’t want them getting out.

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

Hi Ho, Scary Books! Away!

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 another week of horror goodness, I hope your weekend treated you well, and that Monday finds you hydrated and ready to haunt. I’ve got some lovelies for you this week, from a beautiful bit of classic horror to bedeck your walls, to a creepy new middle grade haunted house story, to some wild and weird westerns to fill out your end of summer TBR.
So let’s get scary.

Bookish Goods

dracula literary print by beyondtheshelfshop

Dracula Literary Print by BeyondtheShelfShop

I love gorgeous prints, but I also have to confess that I’m in desperate need of wall art so you’ll probably be seeing a lot of horror-themed prints in the near future. Of all the classic horror novels, Dracula has to be my favorite. There’s something so compelling about Stoker’s novel even after 125 years. This subtle print on cream, with its beautiful Gothic illustration and accompanying quote from the novel, comes in a variety of sizes and multiple finishing options.

$16–$100 depending on size and material choices.

New Releases

cover of this appearing house by ally malinenko

This Appearing House by Ally Malinenko

I can already tell that Malinenko’s new middle grade horror is going to be one of those books that hits you right in the heart. It’s about a strange house that appears suddenly at the far end of a dead end road, and the young girl who finds her way inside. Jac’s only days away from the five year anniversary of her cancer diagnosis — only days away from finding out if she’s finally in the clear — when the mysterious house appears at the end of Juniper Drive. After a classmate dares Jac and her friend Hazel to enter the house, the girls find themselves trapped inside and it quickly becomes clear that, though she might not yet know what it wants, the house is there for Jac. And whatever it wants, it’s determined to get before Jac and Hazel can find their way out again.

cover of anybody home by michael j seidlinger

Anybody Home? by Michael J. Seidlinger

I am both intrigued by and terrified to read this book. I’ve seen amazing reviews from some of the biggest voices in the horror community, so there’s no doubt that this is going to be harrowing at the very least. Told from the perspective of a seasoned home invader recounting their own dark deeds while also trying to tutor the next generation of would-be criminals, the POV of Anybody Home? is a really disconcerting headspace to sink yourself into for the length of an entire book. And we’re all familiar with the home as a common and meaningful setting in horror, and with the violation of the home as a trope in a variety of forms from physical invasion to demonic infestation. But from everything I’ve heard, it sounds like Seidlinger has taken that feeling of violation and lack of safety and made it the heart of an entire book. Hello paranoia, my old friend.

Also, I think certain content warnings are kind of a given, considering the topic, so as always: readers proceed with caution.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

cover of the magpie coffin by wile e young

The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young

So first of all, a quick plug for the publisher here, because The Magpie Coffin is actually one of a whole series of splatter westerns by Death Head’s Press, and they all have these gorgeously graphic, pulp-esque covers. Now splatter horror isn’t always my thing, but some stories just wouldn’t be the same without simply massive quantities of blood and gore. The Magpie Coffin is a historical horror western set in 1875 about outlaw Salem Covington, whose wartime exploits have earned him the nickname The Black Magpie. When his mentor is murdered, Salem vows to take revenge and sets out to find Dead Bear’s killers. Revenge is a classic trope of the western genre, and Salem’s is a particularly brutal, violent quest for vengeance.

cover a book of tongues by gemma files

A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files

This next book is a bit of a genre blend — which of course I love. Gemma Files A Book of Tongues is the first in the Hexslinger series, and a historical western that also blends in elements of horror and fantasy. And it’s queer, which is always a plus! In an alternative post-Civil War America, the outlaws of the West work dangerous magics, and one — Rook, a “hexslinger” — has come up with a desperate plan to unleash a pantheon of sleeping, bloodthirsty gods through whatever bloody means necessary. Hidden among Rook’s men is Ed Morrow, a Pinkerton in disguise whose mission is to discover the degree of Rooks power. He finds himself forced to team up with Rook’s lover and second-in-command, Chess, if he hopes to stand a chance of surviving whatever Rook has planned for himself, for Chess, and for the world.

Cover of The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

This week’s last recommendation is another blend of genres, mixing elements of horror, sci-fi, and the western. The Good Luck Girls is set in the fictional country of Arketta, rather than the American West, but its roots are undeniable. It combines familiar genre tropes to create a story about a group of outlaws on the run, in pursuit of freedom, justice, and vengeance that is quintessentially western. The Good Luck Girls were sold as children to a “welcome house” where they were branded with cursed markings and destined for a life of prostitution, but when one of their number murders a man, the girls risk escape for a chance to finally be free.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Publishers Weekly has a Q&A with author Katherine Arden to celebrate the release of Empty Smiles, the final book in her middle grade horror quartet, Small Spaces.

Gwendolyn Kiste will be on the Talking Scared Podcast on the 23rd of this month for a conversation about intertextuality (my favorite thing), vampires (also my favorite), hippies, and more!

Speaking of podcasts, Gemma Files sat down with the Losers Club Podcast to talk all things found footage, haunted temporary spaces, and Cliver Barker.

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

Sweet Dreams Are Made of Neon

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.

As I’m writing to you, I’ve got the windows open. There’s a hint of wood smoke and the air’s actually cool for once. It may have been in the mid-80s earlier today but right now it almost feels (and smells) like Fall! So gather around (someone else’s) fire with me, and let’s talk horror! We’ve got a magnificent, macabre puzzle inspired by one of Horror’s legendary authors, new releases that will take you to two distinct but equally unsettling futures, and some gloriously neon horror covers you won’t want to miss.

Bookish Goods

edgar allen poe macabre mansion puzzle

Edgar Allan Poe Macabre Mansion 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle by DrawnByHolly

Clean off your coffee tables; you’re going to want to make room for this amazing Edgar Allen Poe-inspired puzzle. Featuring original art from the puzzle’s creator, Holly Carden, the 1000 piece puzzle illustrates scenes from 20 of Poe’s best known short stories. Not only is the puzzle art dark and gorgeous, it’s also incredibly detailed. To make things even better, if you finish the puzzle and just can’t get enough of Carden’s art, the Macabre Mansion is also available as a print in Carden’s Etsy shop!


New Releases

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

Alien: Inferno’s Fall by Philippa Ballantine & Clara Carija

The second of three exciting Alien books to be published this year, Alien: Inferno’s Fall is set on a mining planet colonized by the Union of Progressive Peoples (the UPP), during the middle of the colony wars. With the various colonial military forces tied up trying to shoot each other out of space, there’s no one to come to the rescue when the tiny mining colony of Shānmén looks up one day to see a horseshoe-shaped vessel appearing out of the sky. The colonists are completely stranded, unable to escape when the strange ship suddenly unleashes a deadly black rain on the planet’s surface that causes a series of violent, catastrophic transformations that threaten to wipe out the colony all together. Their only hope for rescue lies with the crew of the Righteous Fury: The Jackals, a mix of ex-Colonial and Royal marines led by the one, the only, Zula Hendricks.

cover of The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings

The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings

On the list of books coming out this month that I’m incredibly excited about, The Women Could Fly is way up there. An innovative variation on witchcraft and magic, Giddings’s newest novel is about a future in which witches are real, and the State will do anything it can to stop them. Any woman is susceptible to becoming a witch, which means that every woman has to be meticulously controlled. Women are “encouraged” to marry by age 30 and put themselves in the care of a husband who can “help” them stay good. Otherwise, they risk being placed on a heavily monitored list of resistors; suspect women who aren’t to be trusted. At 28, as a Black women and the daughter of a suspected witch, Jo is already feeling the pressure to conform to the State’s demands when a new version of her missing mother’s will suddenly comes to light. What it asks of Jo is strange, and will likely subject her to even closer scrutiny from the State, but Jo will have to risk being declared a witch if she wants to find out what really happened to her mother.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Sometimes, in a reader’s life, there comes a book cover design element that you become absolutely obsessed with, to the point where it actually starts to inform your book buying choices. For me (right now, anyway) that element goes by the name Neon.

burn down rise up book cover

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

I’ve shared my love for Burn Down, Rise Up in this newsletter before. It’s a heartbreaking, terrifying, queer, rage-inducing work of YA social horror, and it will absolutely blow your mind. But today, in particular, I want to pay homage to its amazing, subway-after-dark gorgeousness where incandescent pinks and teals give this illustrated cover an eerie glow. And the pink fades into a scalding orange, reminiscent of a burning flame. This is a Bronx-set horror novel about teen girl, Raquel, whose life has just been upended by a violent attack that leaves her mother in a coma. At the same time, the cousin of Raquel’s crush — Charlize — disappears and eye witnesses identify him as the person who attacked Raquel’s mother. Together, 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.

cover of brutal hearts by cassie daley

Brutal Hearts by Cassie Daley

When it comes to neon (or rainbow!) horror, look no further than Cassie Daley. Her Etsy store LetsGetGalacticArt is a wonderland of fluorescent horror goodness, from art prints, to apparel, to accessories. And — a recent and very exciting addition — her debut novella, Brutal Hearts, with its gorgeous neon pink and yellow cover. A perfect retro color scheme for the ’90s-set novella about a young woman searching for her lost fiancé. It’s been a year since Simon went missing off a remote mountain hiking trail, but Leah can’t let it go. Which is how she and her new girlfriend Josie end up back on the same mountain on the anniversary of Simon’s disappearance, trying to help Leah say goodbye. But the mountain has a secret, a dangerous and wild one that lurks in the trees, turning Leah’s quest for closure into a fight for survival.

cover of Reluctant Immortals by gwendolyn kiste

Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste (August 23)

Oh hey, it’s that book that Jessica can’t stop talking about, but listen: I should be commended for only buying one copy, and not two just so I could have both the U.S. and UK covers. But as much as I love the the art for the UK cover, the bright, psychedelic cover of the U.S. edition is too good to be missed. Reluctant Immortals is a sort-of-sequel to two legendary Gothic novels, Dracula and Jane Eyre, starring Bertha Rochester and Lucy Westenra as immortals in Los Angeles in 1967. They have moved beyond their tragic tales and are living their best undead lives. At least until Dracula and Rochester, equally unalive, make a sudden reappearance, throwing Bertha and Lucy’s new lives into disarray.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

There are so many incredible new horror books coming out this month, so if you’re trying to keep track, the best place to start is this amazing list from Tor Nightfire!

Absolutely the only news I want to talk about ever (or at least for the next few seconds): Grady Hendrix’s beloved ’80s nostalgia fest horror novel, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, is going to be a movie AND it’s going to be available to stream just in time for the Halloween season! I could honestly die I’m so excited.

Gwendolyn Kiste (Reluctant Immortals) and Addie Tsai (Unwieldy Creatures) are going to be talking about feminist horror remixes at a digital event for Charis Books on August 25th! Both these fantastic retellings release this month.

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

Where Cozy Meets Creepy, the Graphic Novel Edition

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.

Bookish Goods

3 inch planchette ouiji board woodmarks by thebookishden

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.


New Releases

cover of unwieldy creatures of addie tsai

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.

cover of the honeys by ryan lasala

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!

Riot Recommendations

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.

the cover of Crema

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.

cover of blackwater by jennifer arroyo and ren graham

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!

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

Not So Good Neighbors

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.

Coming to you direct from the depths of hell (but sadly not so deep that we’ve reached ice again), it is I, your friendly neighborhood horror fan. Who very desperately wishes it was fall, because the current temperature is: too damn hot degrees Farenheit. But thankfully summer isn’t forever, and before you know it we’ll be back in the time of crispy leaves and Halloween.

This week I’ve got some real goodies for you, including a new bookish crafting opportunity, a look into the science of horror, a cursed town full of witches and wolves, and a selection of recent and backlist titles that will have you double checking your supply of cold iron.

Bookish Goods

skeleton with book cross stitch pattern by lolacrowcrossstitch etsy

Cross Stitch Pattern – Skeleton with Book by LolaCrowCrossStitch

If you haven’t tried cross stitch before, I highly recommend it. Unlike its cousin, embroidery (CURSES), I’ve always found cross stitch to be a very soothing activity (your mileage may vary). Using pre-created cross stitch patterns, like this adorable book loving skeleton who just wants to read in peace, you will create a picture with thread and end up with an adorable end product that you can then frame and hang on your wall! $6

New Releases

cover of nightmare fuel by nina nesseth

Nightmare Fuel: The Science of Horror Films by Nina Nesseth

I love reading books about horror just as much as I love reading horror itself, and Nina Nesseth’s Nightmare Fuel is a fantastic work of horror non-fiction. Exploring the science behind horror films and fear using both psychology and physiology, Nightmare Fuels spotlights some of the most popular and frightening films in the history of horror, and features interviews with film makers, composes, and horror academics. It’s a celebration of the genre that we all love, and a fascinating look at how horror manages to scare us and why we love it so much.

cover of the witchery by s. isabelle

The Witchery by S. Isabelle

The Witchery is a great way to inject a little fall goodness into your late summer reading list. Between an ancient town curse, a school for witches, and dangerous wolves that rise from the swamp to feed on the local townsfolk, Haelsford, Florida is not exactly a witchtown you want to visit. Unless, of course, you’re Logan, a baby witch and the newest student at the Mesmortes Coven Academy, which doesn’t leave you much of a choice. (And she’s still pretty sure the town is actually a Hellmouth). When Logan falls in with a trio of powerful witches from the academy, she finds herself involved in a dangerous mission to break the curse on Haelsford, putting an end to the Haunting Season and the Wolves’ deadly feast.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

They have a lot of names. The Fair Folk, the Gentry, the Good Neighbors, the Little People. Or, if you don’t mind running the risk of getting on their bad side and having you and/or your spouse, or child whisked away in the night, you could just call them fairies. Or faeries, if you prefer. Or just the fae. But make no mistake: if you cross the unnatural creatures on this list, your fate might (literally) go down in legend and song.

not good for maidens book cover

Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino

When it comes to fae-themed horror, Tori Bovalino’s recent adaptation of Rossetti’s “The Goblin Market” is a must have. When Lou’s Aunt Neela is stolen away to the Goblin Market, it upends everything Lou thought she knew about superstitions or magic — namely, that they didn’t exist. The market is just a fictional place she’s read about. A forbidden place of magic and temptations, intended to lure and trap humans. But in order to save Neela, Lou will have to learn to embrace all the things she’s never believed in before she and her aunt become lost to the Market forever.

cover of under the pendulum sun by jeannette ng

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

Infusing faerie lore with a healthy dose of the Gothic, Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun is a dark, fantastical journey through a dangerous magical land know as Arcadia, ruled over by the Queen of the Fae and her twisted Court. Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, volunteered to be a missionary in Arcadia, trying to convert the Fae to Christianity. (Which… I mean I’m sorry, whose terrible idea was that?) Desperate to know what has become of her brother — despite his poor life choices — Catherine sets out for Arcadia to find him. Written in true Gothic fashion, with a bit of Goblin Market meets Tam Lin going on, expect surreal and beautiful world building, with a healthy dose of slow building, menacing dread.

But reader be duly warned: Like many of its Gothic predecessors, Under the Pendulum Sun does come with a content warning for incest.

cover of the twisted ones by t. kingfisher

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

Welcome to the horror genre, where nothing good ever comes out of the woods. Especially not the woods around Mouse’s dead grandmother’s house, which is home to a whole colony of strange, frightening creatures. Mouse agreed to help clean out the house after her grandmother’s death, thinking it would be an easy job, but instead finds herself faced with cleaning up a literal hoard of useless junk. Junk, and a set of strange, rambling journals that once belonged to her step grandfather and describe terrible creatures living in the trees beyond the house. All his ranting stories seem like delusional nonsense. Until the moment when Mouse herself comes face to face with the monsters in the woods.

Fresh From the Skeletons Mouth

Cornering the horror adaptation news market this week, Bloody Disgusting not only announced new additions to Netflix’s Fear Street universe (YAY!), but also that M. Night Shyamalan’s forthcoming horror film, Knock at the Cabin, is in fact an adaptation of Paul Tremblay’s much loved book The Cabin at the End of the World!

Nina Nesseth (Author of Nighmare Fuel) wrote an article for Tor about Friendship, Loss, and High School Horror that is both insightful and full of excellent horror recommendations.

The latest edition of Tor Nightfire’s Into the Night is now available on their blog, collecting all the best horror short fiction and poetry for June!

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

It’s All Fun and Games…

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 the full version of our new format! We got a brief sneak peek in last week’s newsletter, but now I get to share the whole thing with you, including two new sections: Bookish Goods, a mix of horror-related bookish merchandise curated by yours truly, and New Releases, where I’ll get to highlight exciting new horror books coming out that week. It’s the same creepy old Fright Stuff in a shiny new wrapper!

This week we’ve got a very appropriately themed t-shirt, murderous shenanigans at a vampire boarding school, strange happenings on remote islands, and dangerous games with dire consequences!

Bookish Goods

Death by TBR T-Shirt from Caffeineandcurses etsy

Death by TBR T-Shirt from Caffeineandcurses

Okay, it’s a bit on a nose. But I thought we’d kick this new bookish goods section off with something very… on brand for this newsletter. And it’s writer. Anyone else’s TBR out of control? Well this is the t-shirt for you. It comes in white, black, and orange (of course). If you’re filling out your fall/winter wardrobe, you can also get this design on a very comfy looking crew neck sweatshirt. Or a mug!


New Releases

Cover of Youngblood by Sasha Laurens

Youngblood by Sasha Laurens

I am so excited that Youngblood is finally going to be out in the world tomorrow. Vampires are one of those horror categories that I will just never tire of, and Younglood is the queer YA vampire novel that I wish I could have had access to as a teenage horror reader. Kat Finn and Taylor Sanger couldn’t come from more different walks of life. Kat has grown up as a vampire living among humans, struggling to get by. Taylor is from the vampire world’s wealthy upper-class, and is struggling to break free from their conservative, traditionalist values. Once friends, but now little more than classmates at Harcote (their vampire-only prep school), Kat and Taylor find themselves thrown together by the violent death of another vampire and the shocking secrets they discover about Harcote and Vampirdom itself that threaten to upend civilization as they know it.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau Book Cover

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Tomorrow is also release day for the much anticipated The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. A retelling of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, Moreno-Garcia’s new novel is told from the perspective of Carlota Moreau, the Doctor’s daughter, who lives a safe but sheltered life on her father’s isolated estate on the Yucatán peninsula. But beneath the idyllic surface of the world in which she lives lies the reality of her father’s “work.” The fruits of his strange labors, the hybrids he creates, live in the shadows of the estate, blindly obedient to the man who created them. Moreau’s work is funded by the Lizaldes, a wealthy family whose motives for financing Moreau are as yet unknown. When their son, Eduardo Lizaldes, suddenly appears at the gates, his presence proves the unknown variable that threatens to upend Carlota’s world.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

We all know the old saying: It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. When the stakes are life and death, how far would you go to survive? Deadly games is a survival horror trope dear to my heart. I love any book that pits determined contestants against desperate odds, with the hope of a brighter future on the line. Only for things to suddenly (and often violently) go a bit… sideways.

cover of hide by kiersten white

Hide by Kiersten White

Hide is definitely the book that inspired this week’s theme. This book is hands down one of the most tense, white-knuckling the pages, heart-racing all the way books I’ve ever read. It’s exactly that kind of terrifying, cat-and-mouse survival horror that I love, and thanks to White’s unforgettable storytelling, Hide was an instant favorite.

For a deadly game with fourteen players, the objective simple: seven days hiding in an abandoned amusement park. The game starts at dawn, and ends at sunset. The last one standing, wins. The prize? A new life, a second chance, all your dreams finally in reach. But somethings really are too good to be true. And when the other players start disappearing, Mack – who’s particularly experienced at hiding and surviving thanks to her haunted past – realizes that “last one standing” may have a more sinister meaning where this particular game of hide and seek is concerned.

cover image for Reprieve

Reprieve by James Han Mattson

Extreme haunt meets escape room in a chilling work of social horror that you won’t soon forget. Set in 1997, Reprieve tells the story of four contestants competing to survive the Quigley house, a full-contact haunted escape room. They’ve made it to the final cell, and if they can make it through without shouting the safe word, there’s a big cash prize waiting at the end. Success seems guaranteed. Until a sudden intrusion and the violent murder of one of their party upends all their hopes. The novel unfolds in a series of alternating perspectives, as each remaining contestant narrates their version of events. But as their personal stories are told, slowly the truth is is revealed. And the ways in which they all – through their lies, misunderstandings, obsessions, and prejudices – may have played a part in what happened that night.

cover of gideon the ninth

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Now some might contest my classifying Gideon the Ninth as survival horror. But listen: there’s only so much bone and blood you can fit in a book before it starts to edge across that genre line. I mean, the number of corpses alone has to qualify. And the reanimated corpses. And the horrifying constructs of bone and sinew that defy nature and the imagination. Harrowhark Nonagesimus is one of nine house scions competing to serve the Emperor as a Lyctor. But no necromancer can ascend to that hallowed role without their loyal, steadfast cavalier. Unfortunately for Harrow (and luckily for all of us) she’s got Gideon. Her rude, crude childhood nemesis, who she must trust with her life if she hopes to survive the trials that await. Particularly when the other competitors start turning up dead.

Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth

Bloody Disgusting has a list of 8 horror books you won’t want to miss this summer.

Haunt Publishing, just off the successful Kickstarter campaign for their new queer horror anthology, Unthinkable, has been sharing some of the anthology’s authors’ reading excerpts of their included stories. Be sure to check out their YouTube channel for a sneak peek at what promises to be a really exciting collection of stories!

Tor has revealed the cover for Lee Mandelo’s forthcoming Feed Them Silence! I was a huge fan of their first novel Summer Sons, so I’m really looking forward to this next book.

Book Riot is hiring! We’re looking for a new Editorial Operations Associate to help us keep our (metaphorical) Content Trains running smoothly! If you’re interested be sure to get your application in by August 8th, 2022! Book Riot is committed to building an inclusive workforce and strongly encourage applications from women, individuals with disabilities, and people of color

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