Wednesday, July 27, 2022

What We've Been Reading #134

Today our team members recommend Kosoko Jackson's newest release and two creepy novellas by writers Ali Seay and Wendy Dalrymple!

Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson

Jamal Lawson just wanted to be a part of something. As an aspiring journalist, he packs up his camera and heads to Baltimore to document a rally protesting police brutality after another Black man is murdered.

But before it even really begins, the city implements a new safety protocol...the Dome. The Dome surrounds the city, forcing those within to subscribe to a total militarized shutdown. No one can get in, and no one can get out.

Alone in a strange place, Jamal doesn't know where to turn...until he meets hacker Marco, who knows more than he lets on, and Catherine, an AWOL basic-training-graduate, whose parents helped build the initial plans for the Dome.

As unrest inside of Baltimore grows throughout the days-long lockdown, Marco, Catherine, and Jamal take the fight directly to the chief of police. But the city is corrupt from the inside out, and it's going to take everything they have to survive.

Amazon | Goodreads | Bookshop

Heather's Teaser Review

"This book is fast paced and I really suggest you pick it up if you want to raise your anxiety."

Read Heather's entire review at Goodreads.

To Offer Her Pleasure by Ali Seay

After the death of his father and his mother taking off, it becomes clear to Ben that the only thing he can count on, is no one to count on.

Until he finds the book. One that calls forth a shadowy horned figure.

She comes with unexpected gifts and the comfort of a dependable presence.

She asks for very little in return, really. The more Ben offers her, the easier it gets.

Sometimes, family requires more than a little sacrifice...

Goodreads | Amazon

Teresa's Teaser Review

"To Offer Her Pleasure is tense and brutal, a constant picking at an open wound, it packs a punch and keeps on punching for the entire novella."

Read Teresa's entire review at Goodreads.

Laurie's Teaser Review

"This was a dark delight. It is a painful coming of age story drenched in grief and anger."

Read Laurie's entire review at Goodreads.

White Ibis by Wendy Dalrymple

Obsession. Lies. Greed.

Chelsea is thirty-two, vain and self-absorbed, driven in life only by want and her obsession with being the best. However, despite wanting to portray an outwardly perfect image, things at home are crumbling between her and her boyfriend, Brendan. Together they harbor a secret that has been slowly chipping away at their relationship, and now, things have come to a breaking point.

One day at yoga class, Chelsea meets a woman named Damaris who is exactly like her; beautiful, confident, and reaching high to be her best self. Damaris and Chelsea become instant best friends and bond over healthy eating, fitness, and their love of luxury items. As Chelsea’s heart hardens toward her boyfriend, her obsession with the enigmatic Damaris only blossoms.

As one bad decision turns into another, Chelsea begins to think she is being followed by a white bird. Her new best friend Damaris suggests a girls' weekend in New Orleans to get away from it all and Chelsea readily agrees. Unfortunately for Chelsea, it soon becomes clear that she can’t run away from her problems and instead finds herself tumbling head-first into a downward spiral.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Alex's Teaser Review

"WHITE IBIS by Wendy Dalrymple has a fun mix of psychological and body horror all wrapped up in a contemporary Southern Gothic flare."

Read Alex's entire review at Goodreads.

Laurie's Teaser Review

"This book went some places I wasn’t expecting and I was so happy about it! It features awful characters and cringeworthy body horror and was the perfect length. This is good stuff. Read it if you want a little evil in your life."

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.

We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.

Laurie is one of our Horror Spotlight Admins. Laurie creates our review posts and coordinates review requests.

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

Friday, July 22, 2022

Horror Spotlight Shelf Edition: RJ Joseph


Shelf Edition: RJ Joseph

Today we welcome RJ Joseph to Horror Spotlight's Shelf Edition! 

Do you have any recent favorite LOHF books?

I absolutely do! I was so excited about Christine Morgan's splatter western, The Night Silver River Run Red, from Death's Head Press. I was supposed to be reading it for research but it sucked me in so completely with the characterization and vivid imagery, I forgot to "study" it. I also finally finished reading the other stories in the Kandisha Press anthology, Slash-Her, and I'm so glad I* submitted my story before I saw the others. The writing is sublime and I'm really humbled that my story sits alongside that artistry.

Which LOHF books do you currently have on your TBR?

I always have a ton of books on my TBR shelf--yes, I have a whole shelf--that I have to parse through and select from. The next books I'll indulge in are About Horror: The Study and Craft by L. Marie Wood and The Science of Women in Horror by Meg Hafdahl and Kelley Florence, both for possible inclusion in a course I teach on women in horror or a new one I'd like to develop as an internationalized creative writing course focusing on horror. I love all those three women's work, so reading their writing never feels like work.

And because a girl can't always "work", I can hardly wait to read Paula Ashe's We Are Here to Hurt Each Other and Below by Laurel Hightower. I also have Hummingbird by TC Parker, Seeds by Tabatha Wood, and The Witch is the Body by Farah Rose Smith on deck for next. Lucy Snyder is one of my all time fave writers and I purchased her collection, Halloween Season, way too long ago and still haven't started it, so it's in my immediate line-up. And I know Jade City by Fonda Lee is really considered fantasy, but it's still in the speculative fiction family and I'm excited to get to it, too.

Where do you find recommendations? Are there any LOHF books that have been recommended to you that you loved?

I find recommendations mostly from within the posts on horror Twitter. If my people aren't writing amazing books, they're reading them and talking about them. I usually love the books they recommend, because again, these are my people. They're usually pretty tapped into what I like to read. I recently purchased The Hacienda by Isabel CaƱas, on recommendation from the LOHF book club and although I've only made it through the first chapter so far, I'm loving it.

I also have writers who I actively check up on and follow on Amazon, so I know when they come out with new work. 

Where do you prefer to shop for books?

Typically, I purchase from Amazon or publisher/author websites. I also troll bookstores, large and small, to see if there are books I may have missed buzz about. I also like to purchase signed copies at in person events, when I can. But I'm an equal opportunity book buyer. I'll buy a book from the trunk of a writer's car if that's where they have them

Are there any upcoming LOHF releases you're excited about?

For sure! I have multiple pages of pre-orders waiting to be delivered when they release! I'm super excited about Ashthorne by April Yates, which releases in August, and No Gods for Drowning by Hailey Piper, releasing in September. I have Moonflowers and Nightshade: An Anthology of Sapphic Horror also coming in September. And I hope these keep me pretty busy so I don't die of excitement before V. Castro's Aliens: Vasquez comes in October.

In regards to your own work, tell our readers a little bit about what’s new and/or coming up for you.
I have my first horror collection, Hell Hath No Sorrow like a Woman Haunted, coming out in August from The Seventh Terrace. I've been a predominantly short form writer my whole career and this is the first time I have a collection of only my work to offer. It's all at once exciting and terrifying. Pre-orders are now coming in and I hope readers will enjoy engaging with my work, these characters, and their experiences. The collection is important to me as a reflection of the lives and experiences of Black women that we rarely see in horror fiction.

I also have a short story in the upcoming Baba Yaga anthology, Into the Forest, from Black Spot Books. This is one anthology I'm really looking forward to reading because I love Baba Yaga and her different iterations. It releases in November.

In October, I'm rounding out my events calendar with the Multiverse Fandom Convention, in Atlanta (October 14-16), and the National Black Book Festival, in Houston (October 20-22).

Where can people find you on social media and/or find your work?

I literally haunt Twitter, where I spend a lot of time engaging in horror and Black Twitter conversations from behind @rjacksonjoseph. I also have a brand new website, An easily navigable listing of my work can be found on my Amazon author page at: R. J. Joseph: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle Thank you so much for inviting me to chat!

Thank you for joining us, R.J.! Our TBR piles also thank you! 

If you would like to be featured on a future Shelf Edition please leave a note in the comments. We’d love to see your shelves! 

Teresa creates our Shelf Edition posts. You can find Teresa on Goodreads and on Twitter as @teresa_ardrey.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

What We've Been Reading #133

Hello everyone! We are back from a short posting hiatus and are currently working on our new website. Thank you for sticking with us as we transition from LOHF to Horror Spotlight. We're excited about expanding our reach to recommend even more worthy books! Today our team members review T. Kingfisher's new release, a backlist title by Hailey Piper and Mona Awad's 2019 LOHF award-winning novel Bunny.  We’re sure you’ll find something new to love.

What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher

From the award-winning author of The Twisted Ones comes a gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Fall of the House of Usher."

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

Amazon | Goodreads  |  Bookshop

Laurie's Teaser Review

"I enjoyed this wild retelling so much. It was cringy gross, it was creepy, and it also had some great original characters and humor that hits just right."

Read Laurie's entire review at Goodreads.

Cassie's Teaser Review

"I loved this so, so much - wow! This is a retelling of an old Edgar Allan Poe story, but the old story leaves so much up to the imagination that I've never found the reading of it to be a satisfying experience. Where that one lacked in explanation, this one more than makes up for it, and I think this is probably one of my favorite retellings of all time - it's just so good!"

Read Cassie's entire review at Goodreads.

An Invitation to Darkness by Hailey Piper

In Invitation To Darkness sea captain Jamie Thames meets wealthy heiress Elizabeth Leavenworth and the two women quickly fall in love. Of course, it’s never that simple in a Gothic story. Leavenworth Manor is haunted, but ghosts are the least of the lovers’ troubles.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Alex's Teaser Review

"Highly enjoyable and this story has rejuvenated my interest in Gothic fiction."

Read Alex's entire review at Goodreads.

Bunny by Mona Awad

Samantha Heather Mackey couldn't be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England's Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort--a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other "Bunny," and seem to move and speak as one.

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies' fabled "Smut Salon," and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door--ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies' sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus "Workshop" where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.

The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.

Amazon | Goodreads | Bookshop

Cat's Teaser Review

"Bunny was bonkers, and understandably it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. A journey into the mind of Samantha as she gets involved with an inseparable group of women, it touched on what it’s like to feel lonely and resentful of life. I enjoyed it a lot, the entertainment level at a constant high."

Read Cat's entire review at Red Lace Reviews.

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 have a diverse horror story you’d like our team to consider for review please visit our review submission page here.

Laurie is one of our Horror Spotlight Admins. Laurie creates our review posts and coordinates review requests.

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