Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What We've Been Reading #90

We’re back with our review round-up featuring three recommendations that we’re pretty certain you are going to adore!

Don’t forget to click either tag above to find more good books ♥

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Audra’s Teaser Review

A meta-horror, gothic, sapphic novel with illustrations and footnotes about the influence of literature that comments on artistic creation and interpretation—this book is truly an experience. Danforth is a brilliant writer, and one who I can’t wait to read more from.

Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.

Tracy’s Teaser Review

Plain bad heroines. That’s what Mary MacLane wants to see. Not glorious damsels in distress or other such exaggerations, just a person she could see herself in. So she writes one herself. This book, as the above synopsis mentions, then seems to become the impetus for all that follows. Or is it? It’s definitely a conclusion every reader will have to come to for themselves.

Read Tracy’s entire review at Sci-fi and Scary.

Two Truths And A Lie by Sarah Pinsker

Stella thought she’d made up a lie on the spot, asking her childhood friend if he remembered the strange public broadcast TV show with the unsettling host she and all the neighborhood kids appeared on years ago. But he does remember. And so does her mom. So why doesn’t Stella? The more she investigates the show and the grip it has on her hometown, the eerier the mystery grows.

Goodreads | Amazon

Emily’s Teaser Review

This story was unsettling, and I had no clue where it was going (in a good way). It was mysterious, and there were some solid creepy storylines.

Read Emily’s entire review at Goodreads.

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel.

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Laurie’s Teaser Review

 I loved every moment of this often horrifying wild ride and I highly recommend it if you enjoy a little humor with your horror.

Read Laurie’s entire review at Goodreads.

Thank you for joining us today! We hope you found something to add to your tbr list. Please share your recent reads with us in the comments below.

If you are a LOHF writer and have a book you’d like us to consider for a review please visit our review submission page here.

Laurie is one of our LOHF Admins. Laurie creates our review posts, coordinates review requests, oversees the Ladies of Horror Fiction directory, and manages our LOHF Goodreads group.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Guest Post: The Alternate Reality of Internet Horror by Kate Doughty, author of THE FOLLOWER

One of the best parts about writing a social media-based thriller was being able to spend hours on the internet in the name of research. I’m sure it will surprise absolutely no one that I ended up diving into a lot of fun horror content. For those that love all things creepy, I’m excited to be able to share some of my favorite internet spooks and Alternate Reality Games with you—for all those nights where, hey, you could go to sleep, but wouldn’t terrifying yourself with internet content be so much more fun?

What is an Alternate Reality Game? Think The Blair Witch’s internet-obsessed little sister, but it’s not so much ‘found’ footage, as it is ‘oh my god, this is currently happening and I’m vlogging it,’ footage. On the horror side of the internet, ARGs are social media accounts that appear to be real, but are actually carefully crafted works of fiction. Someone ‘accidentally’  manages to catch their roommate’s weird behavior on camera. Someone else films the strange shadows they see in the woods and asks their TikTok following: what the hell ARE these?  

And the best part? That the audience is totally in on it. Sure, they know it’s fake, but everyone in the comment sections play along as if it’s real. ‘Check over there,’ one commenter might say, or ‘Have you tried escaping through the window?’ Some ARGs actively allow their viewers to become part of the game by posing questions, taking advice, or having the audience vote on decisions, turning the game into a choose-your-own-adventure. It’s a great way to engage the viewers, and if you are able to catch an ARG while it’s still active, you can become part of the community that shapes the game.

It’s no wonder that this addictive format has gotten so many people hooked.  I’ve shared some of my favorite internet spooks to get you started, but there are so many more great ones out there. Most of the ones I have listed have already been filmed to completion, but are still available online for all your deep, dark, horror-binging desires.

Note: I’ll put a general advisory for scariness, flashing lights, and jump scares here, but I would encourage you to do a check for trigger warnings if you have additional sensitivities. I would also recommend watching them from the beginning to get the full effect of the story.

  1. Simulacra (App):  OK, this is technically an app and not an account, but I’m including it anyway because it is so deliciously spooky. Once you download this app, your phone gets turned into the phone of a girl who has mysteriously gone missing—complete with social media, contacts, and photos. Now you have to discover what’s happened to her using the clues you find on her phone, before it’s too late.
  2. Hi I’m Mary Mary (Youtube channel, HiI’mMaryMary; additional warning for mental illness): A girl wakes up in an empty house with no memories apart from her name. She’s left alone with only a video camera to vlog her terrifying experiences as she realizes that she might not be as alone as she thought.
  3. I am Sophie (Youtube): Sophie is your typical ultra-rich influencer—young, rich, beautiful, and ready to become the queen of YouTube. That is, until strange glitches start to interrupt her videos, and she discovers that something’s not quite right about her biggest fan.
  4. The Exits are Missing (TikTok): A TikToker films as he enters a storage complex to retrieve Christmas lights from his unit… and soon realizes that all of the exits have vanished. How is he going to escape? And what are those strange creatures he keeps seeing?
  5. PB Here (TikTok): A young man wakes up in an underground laboratory with only his phone and very few memories of the past. Join him as he searches for an escape and discovers how he got there. This ARG is animated and features lots of viewer participation. 

If you like these, definitely do some digging yourself! The ARG community is full of incredible content creators who would love to become the next reason that you can’t sleep at night.

Curious as to whether something is an ARG? See if they’re tagged with hashtags like #ARG, #horror, #AlternateRealityGame or if they have fan wikis or reddit threads.

The Follower by Kate Doughty

A spine-tingling YA thriller, based on a still-unfolding true story
Instagram-famous triplets Cecily, Amber, and Rudy—the children of home renovation superstars—are ready for a perfect summer. They’ve just moved into the site of their parents’ latest renovation project when they begin to receive chilling messages from someone called The Follower. It soon becomes clear that this anonymous threat is more than a simple Internet troll, and he can’t wait to shatter the Cole family’s perfect veneer and take back what’s his. The Follower examines the implications of what it is to be watched in the era of social media fame—as well as the lies we tell and the lengths we’ll go to uphold a perfect image, when our lives depend on it.

Kate Doughty

Kate Doughty graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2018 with a dual major in English and Psychology. She lives and works in Washington, D.C. The Follower is her first novel.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

What We've Been Reading #89

Today several of our team members are sharing their recent and recommended reads. We hope you find something you’ll love!

Don’t forget to click either tag above to find more books worth your time ♥

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Audra’s Teaser Review

This is a powerful horror novel for fans of dark dystopian and feminist reads such as The Handmaid’s Tale.

Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.

Halldark Holidays anthology

The holidays are a time for romance, sentimental longing for a simpler time…and MONSTERS! Editor Gabino Iglesias brings you 22 stories from the hearts and absolutely twisted minds of some of horror’s finest. Right from the get-go this book slays. Greg Sisco’s “The Morbs” is like “The Lottery”, but more screwed-up. Brian Keene delivers as always with “The Hatching” and Gabino swears you might shed a tear by the time you reach Todd Robinson’s “Mother and Child”. Clara Madrigano, Cynthia Pelayo, Bev Vincent, Alan Baxter, Gina Ranalli, Kelly J. Ford, Mark Allan Gunnells are absolute killers in the genre. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Emily’s Teaser Review

I love the idea of this anthology. I found some stories that I really enjoyed (including some by new-to-me authors), and my top 5 stories were Winterland Surprise by Kathryn E. McGee, Holiday Traditions by Cina Pelayo, Christmas Every Day by Nicole Willson, Elmreach by Jonathan Duckworth, and Christmas in Quail’s Egg by Max Carrey. 

Read Emily’s entire review at Goodreads.

Salt Blood by T.C. Parker

A remote island. A group of prisoners. And an evil as old as time.

Robin didn’t mean to break the law. Didn’t know at first what law she’d broken. And now she’s on her way to Salt Rock — a new-model prison for a new kind of criminal, way out in the remote Northern Isles of Scotland.

On Salt Rock, she’ll meet other prisoners like her — men and women from all over the world, spirited away from the lives they knew for crimes they didn’t know they were committing.

She’ll uncover the complex web of conspiracy that connects them all, confronting some of the darkness of her own past in the process.

And she’ll come face to face, finally, with an evil as old as the land itself.

It’s hell in those waters.

Goodreads | Amazon

Cassie’s Teaser Review

When I picked up this book, I thought I was getting a spooky island-based horror mystery – and I did, just so we’re clear! But what I didn’t expect to get was corporate conspiracy, social/political commentary relevant to the real world right now, and a cast of morally gray women that I’d absolutely fall in love with. Saltblood pays off in the best ways: it gave me so much more than I bargained for!

Read Cassie’s entire review at Let’s Get Galactic.

Emily’s Teaser Review

Saltblood has such a fascinating concept, and it was an entertaining read! This is a solid horror novel, and it offered more than I expected.

Read Emily’s entire review at Goodreads.

Thank you for joining us today! We hope you found something to add to your tbr list. Please share your recent reads with us in the comments below.

If you are a LOHF writer and have a book you’d like us to consider for a review please visit our review submission page here.

Laurie is one of our LOHF Admins. Laurie creates our review posts, coordinates review requests, oversees the Ladies of Horror Fiction directory, and manages our LOHF Goodreads group.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

What We've Been Reading #88

Today our team members are sharing three recent and recommended reads with links to complete reviews. All come very highly recommended and we hope you’ll find something you’ll love!

Don’t forget to click either tag above to find more books worth your time ♥

Little Feasts by Jules Archer

Following her successes from All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had, critically-acclaimed flash fiction writer, Jules Archer, returns to the dinner table with Little Feasts, her debut short story collection. The stories are a table-long buffet of femininity, a lying tree, childhood innocence, toxic masculinity, and a 20-pound cast-iron skillet. Works within have been featured in Five:2: One, SmokeLong Quarterly, Maudlin House, PANK, and more.

Goodreads | Amazon | BookShop

Audra’s Teaser Review

I was delighted and shocked by this horror collection, and it left me hungry for more. Archer has a perfect sense of timing, consistently giving the reader a twist or catch when they least expect it, even when the story is only two pages long.

Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.

Infernal by Cheryl Low

The locals call it Isla de los Perdidos – Island of the Lost. According to the legends, those who venture onto the shores of this cursed island never return.

Valarie DeNola and her sister Julie have chosen to ignore the legends and the warnings. They have been selected to lead a team of explorers to the island to discover the mystery surrounding it. But once ashore, they become cut off from the outside world, and what they discover is something they could never have prepared for.

Now they must fight against an unknown presence that is picking them off one by one. No one can be trusted, and when even nature rises up against them, all seems lost. Their one hope is the extraction team they know is coming.

But will any of them survive to see it arrive?

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Toni’s Teaser Review

I really enjoyed the pacing of this story. Once the characters hit the ground running you were swept right along with them. The action didn’t actually stop until the end of the story.

Read Toni’s entire review at The Misadventures of A Reader.

The Bell Chime by Mona Kabbani

“Can you hear the bell chime?”

A girl suffering from paralyzing night terrors finds a missing poster hanging from the door of her apartment building. On that poster is a photograph of a frighteningly familiar face.

It’s her.

Only, she’s never seen this photo before and something about its grin scares her. How its eyes seem to follow her no matter where she finds herself in the room.

Over a series of strange events to follow—events that will make her question whether her sanity is still there or fleeting—she must discover:

What is real and what is the nightmare?

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Emily’s Teaser Review

The Bell Chime is one of my favorite horror stories this year! It’s creepy and fascinating, and I was fully invested while reading it. 

Read Emily’s entire review at Goodreads.

Laurie’s Teaser Review

The Bell Chime is unnerving from the very beginning and it’s getting all five of my stingy stars.

Read Laurie’s entire review at Goodreads.

Thank you for joining us today! We hope you found something to add to your tbr list. Please share your recent reads with us in the comments below.

If you are a LOHF writer and have a book you’d like us to consider for a review please visit our review submission page here.

Laurie is one of our LOHF Admins. Laurie creates our review posts, coordinates review requests, oversees the Ladies of Horror Fiction directory, and manages our LOHF Goodreads group.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

Monday, March 15, 2021

March 2021 LOHF New Releases

Each month the Ladies of Horror Fiction team posts all of the books we are aware of that will be releasing during that month. Please let us know if we missed any new releases so we can add it to the list!

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab

Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) by Victoria Schwab

Where there are ghosts, Cassidy Blake follows … unless it’s the other way around?

Cass thinks she might have this ghost-hunting thing down. After all, she and her ghost best friend, Jacob, have survived two haunted cities while travelling for her parents’ TV show.

But nothing can prepare Cass for New Orleans, which wears all of its hauntings on its sleeve. In a city of ghost tours and tombs, raucous music and all kinds of magic, Cass could get lost in all the colourful, grisly local legends. And the city’s biggest surprise is a foe Cass never expected to face: a servant of Death itself.

Cass takes on her most dangerous challenge yet…

Published March 2nd 2021 by Scholastic Press | Amazon | Goodreads

A Broken Darkness (Beneath the Rising #2) by Premee Mohamed

The highly anticipated sequel to Beneath the Rising, which was named one best science fiction and fantasy books of the year by The Washington Post.

It’s been a year and a half since the Anomaly, when They tried to force their way into the world from the shapeless void. Nick Prasad is piecing his life together, and has joined the secretive Ssarati Society to help monitor threats to humanity – including his former friend Johnny.

Right on cue, the unveiling of Johnny’s latest experiment sees more portals opened to Them, leaving her protesting her innocence even as the two of them are thrown together to fight the darkness once more…

Expected publication: March 30th 2021 by Solaris | Amazon | Goodreads

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Veronica Schanoes

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Veronica Schanoes

When we came to America, we brought anger and socialism and hunger. We also brought our demons.

In Burning Girls and Other Stories, Veronica Schanoes crosses borders and genres with stories of fierce women at the margins of society burning their way toward the center. This debut collection introduces readers to a fantasist in the vein of Karen Russell and Kelly Link, with a voice all her own.

Emma Goldman—yes, that Emma Goldman—takes tea with the Baba Yaga and truths unfold inside of exquisitely crafted lies. In “Among the Thorns,” a young woman in seventeenth century Germany is intent on avenging the brutal murder of her peddler father, but discovers that vengeance may consume all that it touches. In the showstopping, awards finalist title story, “Burning Girls,” Schanoes invests the immigrant narrative with a fearsome fairytale quality that tells a story about America we may not want—but need—to hear.

Dreamy, dangerous, and precise, with the weight of the very oldest tales we tell, Burning Girls and Other Stories introduces a writer pushing the boundaries of both fantasy and contemporary fiction.

With a foreword by Jane Yolen

Published March 2nd 2021 by Tordotcom | Amazon | Goodreads

Dead Space by Kali Wallace

Dead Space by Kali Wallace

An investigator must solve a brutal murder on a claustrophobic space station in this tense science fiction thriller from the author of Salvation Day.

Hester Marley used to have a plan for her life. But when a catastrophic attack left her injured, indebted, and stranded far from home, she was forced to take a dead-end security job with a powerful mining company in the asteroid belt. Now she spends her days investigating petty crimes to help her employer maximize its profits. She’s surprised to hear from an old friend and fellow victim of the terrorist attack that ruined her life—and that surprise quickly turns to suspicion when he claims to have discovered something shocking about their shared history and the tragedy that neither of them can leave behind.

Before Hester can learn more, her friend is violently murdered at a remote asteroid mine. Hester joins the investigation to find the truth, both about her friend’s death and the information he believed he had uncovered. But catching a killer is only the beginning of Hester’s worries, and she soon realizes that everything she learns about her friend, his fellow miners, and the outpost they call home brings her closer to revealing secrets that very powerful and very dangerous people would rather keep hidden in the depths of space.

Published March 2nd 2021 by Berkley Books | Amazon | Goodreads

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.

Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.

The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.

With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

Love makes monsters of us all.

Published March 2nd 2021 by Wednesday Books | Amazon | Goodreads

Ghost in the Headlights by Lindsey Duga

Ghost in the Headlights by Lindsey Duga

In this modern-day retelling of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” an angry ghost haunts a small-town road in search of revenge…

When Brianna Jenson agreed to move in with her cruel uncle Shane in rural Pennsylvania, she didn’t expect to find herself in the middle of a terrifying town legend.

Every afternoon on her walk home from school, as the sun begins to set behind the overhanging branches of Shadowrun Road, Brianna hears footsteps following her — footsteps that belong to no one. Then there’s the car that races along the narrow country road with blinding lights and almost runs her over! That’s when Brianna realizes… there’s no one driving. It’s almost as if someone — or something — is trying to get her attention.

As Brianna investigates what happened on Shadowrun Road, she discovers a town tragedy that has never been resolved. Can Brianna get to the bottom of this ghostly mystery before it’s too late?

Published March 2nd 2021 by Scholastic Inc. | Amazon | Goodreads

In the Quick by Kate Hope Day

In the Quick by Kate Hope Day

A young, ambitious female astronaut’s life is upended by a fiery love affair that threatens the rescue of a lost crew in this brilliantly imagined novel in the tradition of Station Eleven and The Martian.

June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention, who leaves home to begin a grueling astronaut training program. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station, but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle’s fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world has forgotten them, June alone has evidence that makes her believe the crew is still alive.

She seeks out James, her uncle’s former protégée, also brilliant, also difficult, who has been trying to discover why Inquiry’s fuel cells failed. James and June forge an intense intellectual bond that becomes an electric attraction. But the love that develops between them as they work to solve the fuel cell’s fatal flaw threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create–and any chance of bringing the Inquiry crew home alive.

Equal parts gripping narrative of scientific discovery and charged love story, In the Quick is an exploration of the strengths and limits of human ability in the face of hardship and the costs of human ingenuity. At its beating heart are June and James, whose love for each other is eclipsed only by their drive to conquer the challenges of space travel.

Published March 2nd 2021 by Random House | Amazon | Goodreads

The Lake by Natasha Preston

The Lake by Natasha Preston

Hot on the heels of The Twin, the undisputed queen of YA thrillers is back with a scary and suspenseful read about a summer camp filled with dark secrets.

Esme and Kayla once were campers at Camp Pine Lake. They’re excited to be back this year as CITs (counselors in training). Esme loves the little girls in her cabin and thinks it’s funny how scared they are of everything–spiders, the surly head counselor, the dark, boys . . . even swimming in the lake! It reminds her a little of how she and Kayla used to be, once. Before . . . it happened.

Because Esme and Kayla did something bad when they were campers. Afterwards, the girls agreed to keep it secret. They’ve moved on–or so they say–and this summer is going to be great. Two months of sun, s’mores, and flirting with the cute boy counselors. But then they get a note. THE LAKE NEVER FORGETS. And the secret they’ve kept buried for so many years is about to resurface.

Published March 2nd 2021 by Delacorte Press | Amazon | Goodreads

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

Published March 2nd 2021 by Park Row | Amazon | Goodreads


Machinehood by S.B. Divya

From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy.

Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process.

All that changes when Welga’s client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week.

Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight.

Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want?

A thrilling and thought-provoking novel that asks: if we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines?

Published March 2nd 2021 by Gallery / Saga Press | Amazon | Goodreads

All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter

All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter

Long ago Miren O’Malley’s family prospered due to a deal struck with the Mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren’s grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren’s freedom.

A spellbinding tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, and creatures of myth and the sea; of strong women and the men who seek to control them.

Published March 9th 2021 by Titan Books | Amazon | Goodreads

The Girls are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”

It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.

At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.

Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.

Published March 9th 2021 by Simon & Schuster | Amazon | Goodreads

 The Second Bell by Gabriela Houston

The Second Bell by Gabriela Houston

In a world which believes her to be a monster, a young striga fights to harness the power of her second heart, while her mother sacrifices everything to stop her…

In an isolated mountain community, sometimes a child is born with two hearts. This child is called a striga and is considered a demon who must be abandoned on the edge of the forest. The child’s mother must then decide to leave with her infant, or stay and try to forget.

Nineteen year-old striga, Salka, and her mother, Miriat, made the choice to leave and live a life of deprivation and squalor in an isolated village. The striga tribe share the human belief that to follow the impulses of their other hearts is dangerous, inviting unspoken horrors and bringing ruin onto them all.

Salka, a headstrong and independent young woman, finds herself in a life threatening situation that forces her to explore the depths of her true nature and test the bonds between mother and child…

Published March 9th 2021 by Angry Robot Books | Amazon | Goodreads

Vanilla by Mona Kabbani

Vanilla by Mona Kabbani

Who knew innocence could cause so much death? The cure for the sick is in the Devil’s blood. He invests this magic in the children. One child’s life saved in exchange for a sacrifice. And parents are eager to sacrifice. But what happens when the Devil comes across a child he cannot find the will to return? A child he wishes to keep. Vanilla sits in the concrete room—the one she has lived in since she can remember—and smiles when the Devil enters. She reaches her arms out, lets him cradle her against his chest, and calls him Daddy. Daddy fills her mind with nightmares of the Outside. With all its creatures, lurking, waiting to steal her from him. And she dreams of staying with him forever. But forever is infeasible. That is, until the Devil makes his own sacrifice. Vanilla is the dark, psychological novel debut from Mona Kabbani. Slated for publication on March 13th, 2021, the New Moon.

Published March 13th 2021 | Amazon | Goodreads

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Kara Thomas meets Twin Peaks in this supernatural thriller about one girl’s hunt for the truth about her mother’s disappearance.

Sophia’s first memory is of drowning. She remembers the darkness of the water and the briny taste as it fills her throat. She remembers the cold shock of going under. She remembers her mother pulling her to safety before disappearing forever. But Sophia has never been in the ocean. And her mother died years ago in a hospital. Or so she has been told her whole life.

A series of clues have led Sophia to the island of Bitter Rock, Alaska, where she talked her way into a summer internship at the Landon Avian Research Center, the same center her mother worked at right before she died. There, she meets the disarmingly clever Liam, whose own mother runs the LARC, as well as Abby, who’s following a mystery of her own: a series of unexplained disappearances. People have been vanishing from Bitter Rock for decades, leaving only their ghostly echoes behind. When it looks like their two mysteries might be one and the same, Sophia vows to dig up the truth, no matter how many lies she has to tell along the way. Even if it leads her to a truth she may not want to face.

Our Last Echoes is an eerie collection of found documents and written confessionals, in the style of Rules for Vanishing, with supernatural twists that keep you questioning what is true and what is an illusion.

Expected publication: March 16th 2021 by Viking Books for Young Readers | Amazon | Goodreads

The Savage Instinct

The Savage Instinct by M.M. DeLuca

England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.

In the lineage of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, The Savage Instinct is the chilling story of one woman’s struggle for her sanity, set against the backdrop of the arrest and trial of Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer.

Expected publication: March 16th 2021 by Inkshares | Amazon | Goodreads

The Shadow in the Glass

The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.

Expected publication: March 18th 2021 by HarperVoyager | Amazon | Goodreads

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone.

They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?

Expected publication: March 23rd 2021 by Minotaur Books | Amazon | Goodreads

 Red Widow by Alma Katsu

Red Widow by Alma Katsu

An exhilarating spy thriller about two women CIA agents who become intertwined around a threat to the Russia Division–one that’s coming from inside the agency.

Lyndsey Duncan worries her career with the CIA might be over. After lines are crossed with another intelligence agent during her most recent assignment, she is sent home to Washington on administrative leave. So when a former colleague, now Chief of the Russia Division, recruits her for an internal investigation, she jumps at the chance to prove herself once more. Lyndsey was once a top handler in the Moscow Field Station, known as the “human lie detector” and praised for recruiting some of the most senior Russian officials. But now, three Russian assets have been discovered–including one of her own–and the CIA is convinced there’s a mole in the department. With years of work in question, and lives on the line, Lyndsey is thrown back into life at the agency, only this time tracing the steps of those closest to her.

Meanwhile, fellow agent Theresa Warner can’t avoid the spotlight. She is the infamous “Red Widow,” the wife of a former director killed in the field under mysterious circumstances. With her husband’s legacy shadowing her every move, Theresa is a fixture of the Russia Division, and as she and Lyndsey strike up an unusual friendship, her knowledge proves invaluable. But as Lyndsey uncovers a surprising connection to Theresa that could answer all of her questions, she exposes a terrifying web of secrets within the department, if only she is willing to unravel it…

Expected publication: March 23rd 2021 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons | Amazon | Goodreads

Goddess of Filth

Goddess of Filth by V. Castro

“Five of us sat in a circle doing our best to emulate the girls in The Craft, hoping to unleash some power to take us all away from our home to the place of our dreams. But we weren’t witches. We were five Chicanas living in San Antonio, Texas, one year out of high school.”

One hot summer night, best friends Lourdes, Fernanda, Ana, Perla, and Pauline hold a séance. It’s all fun and games at first, but their tipsy laughter turns to terror when the flames burn straight through their prayer candles and Fernanda starts crawling toward her friends and chanting in Nahuatl, the language of their Aztec ancestors.

Over the next few weeks, shy, modest Fernanda starts acting strangely—smearing herself in black makeup, shredding her hands on rose thorns, sucking sin out of the mouths of the guilty. The local priest is convinced it’s a demon, but Lourdes begins to suspect it’s something else—something far more ancient and powerful.

As Father Moreno’s obsession with Fernanda grows, Lourdes enlists the help of her “bruja Craft crew” and a professor, Dr. Camacho, to understand what is happening to her friend in this unholy tale of possession-gone-right.

Expected publication: March 30th 2021 by Creature Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardugo

The Grishaverse will be coming to Netflix soon with Shadow and Bone, an original series!

The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology.

The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

Expected publication: March 30th 2021 by Orion Children’s Books | Amazon | Goodreads

Rosie Shadow by Louise Worthington

Rosie Shadow by Louise Worthington

Whatcha crying for, sissy? Why don’t you grow a pair?’ Rosie says to her mother…‘Send me to school and I’ll rip off your arm! Beat you with the stump.’

Abandoned by her terrorised mother at the age of six, Rosie Shadow will do anything to win the affection of her father Archie, an undead cannibal in charge of Her Majesty’s Prison Shortbury, now operating as a visitor attraction.

Clare is sent reeling into Archie’s arms with the grief of losing her boyfriend in a mysterious car accident when he collides with an ancient yew tree.

The secrets in the Medieval dungeon beneath the prison are under threat when Clare becomes suspicious of Archie’s true identity and his progeny.

Rosie Shadow is Book I in The Black Tongue Series.

Published 2021 by Red Escape Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads

Jen is one of our LOHF admins. Jen manages the technical side of the Ladies of Horror Fiction website. She also keeps a spotlight on middle grade and young adult horror each month.

You can also find Jen on her blog Book Den, Twitter as @bookden, Instagram as @bookdenjen, on Goodreads, and Letterboxd.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Load Up Your TBR: Women's History of Horror

This month, we’ve been celebrating Women’s History Month, and of course, that means we’re celebrating the LOHF way: it’s time to stack up your TBR! This list is all about a Women’s History of Horror, highlighting books written by (and books that feature) women who pioneered the horror, sci-fi, and other speculative genres.

If you’re interested in learning more about women in horror throughout the ages, check out our previous post outlining the history of the genre and the women who created it here.

Now on to the books! Happy reading!

You can also view this list on our page. If you purchase any book through our Bookshop, we do make a small commission. All funds go toward keeping the lights on at LOHF so we can continue to promote women in horror!

Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction

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by Lisa Kroger and Melanie R. Anderson

If you’re looking for a book to get you started on the history of women and the horror genre, this is it! Get ready for your TBR to explode. The speculative genres would not exist without the innovative women who built it. This book explores these women and their works, a fascinating deep-dive into the horror genre. Also be sure to check out Valancourt’s “Monster, She Wrote” series, featuring some books discussed in these pages!

The Mysteries of Udolpho


by Ann Radcliffe

One of the first and most well-remembered Gothic writers is Ann Radcliffe. This Gothic romance was a huge inspiration to writers such as Edgar Allen Poe. And don’t let the word “romance” fool you: this atmospheric work about a woman imprisoned in a dark castle by her evil guardian delves deep into psychological terror.

The Last Man


by Mary Shelley

OK, so you probably expected Frankenstein to be on this list, and there’s no doubt that Mary Shelley is a pioneer of horror. But did you know that she also wrote a post-apocalyptic tale about a plague that wipes out humans? Yep, she was before her time in so many ways.

Gothic Tales


by Elizabeth Gaskell

Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell is most widely known for her novels of social realism, but her mastery of the Gothic is on full display in these short stories. She mixes realistic and supernatural elements for surprisingly chilling tales and they range from fairytale retellings to an account of the Salem witch trials.

Women’s Weird: Strange Stories by Women, 1890–1940

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edited by Melissa Edmundson

If you like to try a little bit of everything, like the (pre-pandemic) sample stations at Costco, an anthology is the way to go. These stories illustrate women who transcended the Gothic and paved the way for Weird fiction and dark fantasy. For another collection of classic spec fic by women, check out Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers, 1852–1923.

A Phantom Lover: And Other Dark Tales

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by Vernon Lee

Violet Paget (whose pen name was Vernon Lee) is best remembered for her supernatural fiction and in her writing often explored lesbian relationships—quite a feat in the Victorian era.

The Yellow Wall-Paper and Other Writings


by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Gilman was a proponent of social reform, but what tends to be swept under the rug today were her strongly held racist and xenophobist views. Though she isn’t necessarily known for horror, the title story of this collection is a shocking indictment of the “rest-cure” that was frequently prescribed for postpartum depression.

Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self

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by Pauline Hopkins

I couldn’t be more excited about this new edition of Pauline Hopkins’s uncanny tale! Hopkins in many ways laid the groundwork for other Black women writing speculative fiction with her combination of the supernatural with hard truths about reality and racism.

The Demon Lover


by Dion Fortune

Published the same year as Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, Fortune’s tale focuses on ritual magic and cultish secret societies. She not only wrote fiction about the occult but was also a pioneer of esoteric thought, eventually founding The Society of the Inner Light.

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

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by Edith Wharton

A master of the ghost story, Wharton’s supernatural stylings are not to be missed. She was also the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The Uninvited

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by Dorothy Macardle

The basis for the 1944 movie of the same title, this little-known debut novel is without a doubt spookier on the page, and it should really be a classic of the haunted house genre.

The Bird’s Nest


by Shirley Jackson

There is no question that Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House laid the groundwork for the modern haunted house novel. But lesser known are her non-Gothic works, such as this tale of a woman’s terrifying downward spiral as she splits into four distinct and self-destructive personalities. Jackson’s quick wit and blend of humor and darkness are on full display in this character-driven novel.

Killing Mr. Griffin


by Lois Duncan

Lois Duncan is a pioneering figure in YA horror and suspense thrillers. She is perhaps most well-known for I Know What You Did Last Summer (yes, the movie is based on it), but this tale of kids taking on a strict English teacher is worth a read.



by Octavia E. Butler

Butler is a sci-fi queen, but her books have dark edges. This story of a Black woman who uncontrollably time travels from the 1970s to the antebellum South is a classic, inviting discussion of difficult but important topics like racism, slavery, privilege, and how our past threads through to the present in ways visible and invisible. If it strikes your fancy, there is also an excellent graphic novel adaptation of this book.

Flowers in the Attic


by V. C. Andrews

We would be remiss to leave off V.C. Andrews, the writer who may have been many a reader’s introduction to horror in their teen years. This was her debut novel.

The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories


by Angela Carter

A true “storytelling sorceress,” Angela Carter paved the way for many purveyors of the modern supernatural. This collection of de- and reconstructed fairy tales offers dark, subversive, feminist retellings of familiar tales like Bluebeard, Red Riding Hood, and more.

The Graveyard Apartment


by Mariko Koike

Originally published in 1986, this book by one of Japan’s most popular modern writers has only been available in English for 5 years. A disquieting tale about a young family who moves into an apartment building overlooking a graveyard—it’s a good deal, until you realize what might be in the basement.



by Toni Morrison

This Pulitzer Prize winner has experienced a bit of a renaissance for genre fans happily claiming it as horror. After all, it is a story with a haunted house and ghosts—though the terror extends far beyond that.

The Witching Hour

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by Anne Rice

Anne Rice is best known for her series of (sexy) vampire novels, but she has also written about ghosts, werewolves, and witches.

The Face on the Milk Carton


by Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B. Cooney is one of the many Point Horror authors, a series of YA horror novels from the late 80s and 90s. Many of these books are out of print now, but look for Cooney along with Diane Hoh, L.J. Smith, Carol Ellis, and more in used bookstores.

The Gilda Stories


by Jewelle Gomez

Described as “a very lesbian American odyssey,” this is an oft-overlooked vampire classic from activist and author Jewelle Gomez. It chronicles Gilda’s 200-year journey after she escapes from slavery and looks for a community to call her own.

The Between


by Tananarive Due

Though you can only do right by reading any of Tananarive Due’s work, this novel in particular transcends the genre. Due takes the very human fear about death and creates a world of “what if.” What if near-death is really just escape through another door, another reality? A UCLA professor and executive producer of Horror Noire, Due also offers an online course called The Sunken Place, all about the history and power of Black horror.

White as Snow


by Tanith Lee

A true legend, with over 90 books and 300 short stories, it is difficult to just pick one Tanith Lee book. From dark fairytales to romantic vampires, Lee often showcased LGBTQ+ characters in her novels. Find her short story collections if you can!

Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre


edited by Alison Peirse

BONUS READ: If you also love horror movies, this is the book for you! With essays from women filmmakers, critics, and academics, this collection looks at everything from experimental to mainstream film all over the world, asking us to turn a critical eye on our perception of women filmmakers and genre.


Audra and her horror hound, Ouija, help manage the Ladies of Horror Fiction Instagram page. When not ghost hunting or rollerskating, she also contributes articles and helps maintain the website.

You can find Audra on Instagram as @ouija.reads, Twitter as @audraudraudra, and Goodreads.