I’M BACK, BABY!
Yes you read that right, my blog is back! After a few months break where I didn’t really rest at all, I have decided to get back to my blog. However, I will definitely be taking it a little more slowly this time and so hopefully things will be a bit more relaxed so I’m not stressing to get 3-4 posts up every single week, which is what I was doing previously.
My first post back is one I’ve been so excited for since I started writing it before my break. I have been loving horror so much recently, and there are a lot of really amazing horror books coming this year and I wanted to talk about them all! I take a fairly loose definition of horror, so expect to see lots of variety here, from gothic fantasy to thriller to paranormal to dystopias, all with a horror twist!
Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo
Let’s start with what is quite possibly my most anticipated horror book of the year! (Or maybe joint most anticipated with YA horror The Taking of Jake Livingston, which you can find out about later in the post!) This gorgeous cover was just recently revealed as well, and look how chilling and gothic it looks?!? Summer Sons is a queer Southern gothic novel mixed up with a Fast and Furious movie, and follows a man whose best friend commits suicide and leaves him with a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that keeps speaking of revenge. (September 28)
Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six month later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.
As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Another absolutely stunningly creepy cover from Tor Nightfire! This sounds like such a creepy book, based on Japanese folklore and set in an unsettling house which stands on the bones of a bride and has walls packed with remains of girls who were sacrificed to keep her company. AMAZING RIGHT?! (October 19)
Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists.
A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.
It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.
But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.
And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Silvia Moreno-Garcia has THREE, yes, THREE book releases this year. Certain Dark Things is a rerelease of her vampire novel, Tor are blessing us by bringing it back in a new edition. And I can’t express how excited I am to see a vampire novel set in Mexico from the author of my favourite book of 2020, Mexican Gothic. (September 7)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.
Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.
Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.
Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?
The Route of Ice and Salt by José Luis Zárate
Continuing on with the year of the return of the vampire, The Route of Ice and Salt is a translated Dracula retelling, published by Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s mini-press. It’s a reimagining of Dracula’s voyage to England, and follows the captain of the ship bringing him to England as he begins to sense that someone is stalking his ship at night. (January 19)
A reimagining of Dracula’s voyage to England, filled with Gothic imagery and queer desire.
It’s an ordinary assignment, nothing more. The cargo? Fifty boxes filled with Transylvanian soil. The route? From Varna to Whitby. The Demeter has made many trips like this. The captain has handled dozens of crews.
He dreams familiar dreams: to taste the salt on the skin of his men, to run his hands across their chests. He longs for the warmth of a lover he cannot have, fantasizes about flesh and frenzied embraces. All this he’s done before, it’s routine, a constant, like the tides.
Yet there’s something different, something wrong. There are odd nightmares, unsettling omens and fear. For there is something in the air, something in the night, someone stalking the ship.
The cult vampire novella by Mexican author José Luis Zárate is available for the first time in English. Translated by David Bowles and with an accompanying essay by noted horror author Poppy Z. Brite, it reveals an unknown corner of Latin American literature.
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
Next on the vampire trend, this time we have a retelling of Dracula’s brides in a queer, poly masterpiece, A Dowry of Blood. I’ve read this absolute stunning novel (you can read my review here!) and it is hard to put into words how much I adored this. It’s so rich and decadent with absolutely beautiful prose and is such a brilliant examination of trauma and abuse. (January 31)
A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.
Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.
With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.
The Blood Prince of Langkasuka by Tutu Dutta
YES, we have more vampires in 2021!! Can we talk for a minute about how all of these vampire novels are either by authors of colour or queer authors or both? White, cishet vampires are DEAD and they are being resurrected a million times better by marginalised authors! The Blood Prince of Langkasuka is a reimagining of the Raja Bersiong legend, a Malaysian coming-of-age story about a young prince who is turned into a vampire. (February 1)
The monster is not always who you expect it to be… a reimagining of the Raja Bersiong legend; a coming-of-age story of an angst-ridden young man turning into a vampire, while confronted with a chilling murder-mystery.
Raja Perita Deria is a carefree and arrogant seventeen-year-old; and his story begins with a seemingly ordinary night out with his close friends. However, a chance encounter with a bewitchingly beautiful woman in an abandoned temple, almost ends his life and changes him irrevocably. After an incident involving the cook and a dish of bayam tainted with blood, he discovers that he needs blood to heal and for sustenance. As heir to the throne of Langkasuka, the prince is also caught in the larger political struggle surrounding the kingdom which is being watched by the two powers of 12th Century Southeast Asia – the Sri Vijaya Empire and the Khmer Empire. Sri Vijaya courts Langkasuka by offering the prince, the hand of a Sri Vijayan princess, while the Khmer Empire seems curiously aloof. To everyone’s surprise, Raja Perita is drawn to the princess, and agrees to marry her. However, a spate of violent deaths in the palace of Langkasuka point towards the prince and his close friends and Raja Perita is slowly driven to breaking point. When the most powerful shaman in the kingdom is murdered while attempting to commune with the Rice Spirit, the countryside is in an uproar. Her death sets off a witch hunt for a killer who could be a vampire… Could it be one of the prince’s beloved friends, or perhaps Raja Perita himself?
Vampire: The Masquerade: Walk Among Us by Cassandra Khaw, Caitlin Starling and Genevieve Gornichec
STILL NOT DONE with the 2021 vampires!! Walk Among Us is a trio of three horror novellas set in the world of the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade (which is also getting a new video game coming this year too if you’re interested, with Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2). This is also an audio-first collection which is very exciting! (June 16)
One of the most popular role-playing properties in the world gets new life with this trio of horror novellas set in Vampire: The Masquerade‘s World of Darkness by three brilliant talents: Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, and Caitlin Starling
The subtle horror and infernal politics of the World of Darkness are shown in a new light in Vampire: The Masquerade: Walk Among Us, an audio-first collection of three novellas that show the terror, hunger, and power of the Kindred as you’ve never seen them before.
In Genevieve Gornichec’s A SHEEP AMONG WOLVES, performed by Erika Ishii, depression and radicalization go hand-in-hand as a young woman finds companionship in the darkness…
In Cassandra Khaw’s FINE PRINT, performed by Neil Kaplan, an arrogant tech bro learns the importance of reading the fine print in the contract for immortality…
And in Caitlin Starling’s LAND OF MILK AND HONEY, performed by Xe Sands, ideals and ethics bump heads with appetite on a blood farm.
Three very different stories from three amazing, distinct voices, but all with one thing in common: the hunger never stops, and for someone to experience power, many others are going to have to feel pain.
Star Eater by Kerstin Hall
Ahem. A government of nuns who engage in ritualistic cannibalism? And sexually transmitted zombieism? And a group of bisexual disasters? Sign me the fuck up immediately!!! God, everything about this book sounds fucked up and messy and absolutely amazing. (June 22)
All martyrdoms are difficult.
Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.
So when a shadowy cabal approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.
A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
Caitlin Starling is the author of one of my favourite horror books, The Luminous Dead! In 2021, she is back with another gothic horror (with an absolutely terrifyingly creepy cover – look at the way the thread is sewed into the skin!!!). The Death of Jane Lawrence, inspired by Crimson Peak, is about a marriage of convenience and 1800s surgical practices (which means lots of fucked up shit I assume!) (October 19)
Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.
By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
A combination of a horror novel and book publishing? WHAT A DELIGHT. The Other Black Girl is described as Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada which sounds so fantastic I can’t even express it in words. It follows a Black publishing employee who begins to receive threatening notes demanding she leave the company. (June 1)
Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.
Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
From one of the most exciting voices in SFF, behind the The Deep and The Unkindness of Ghosts, is a new genre-bending novel, Sorrowland. Horror novels have really got the best covers in 2021!! Sorrowland is about a pregnant woman who escapes a cult and gives birth to twins in the woods. But then, her body begins to change and she can unleash brutality far beyond what a human should be able to do. (May 4)
A triumphant, genre-bending breakout novel from one of the boldest new voices in contemporary fiction
Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.
But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.
To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.
Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
I’m pretty sure I first saw this book after one of my favourite authors, Victoria Lee, tweeted about how awesome it was (although I can no longer actually find that tweet so who knows if I just imagined that!) But, I know it’s going to be incredible! It’s about a serial killer and a girl who grows up in the wake of her sister’s disappearance and moves into a house next to who she suspects was the murderer to watch him. (September 28)
This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.
All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…
You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.
In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Stephen Graham Jones is one of the best authors in horror right now, and as I’m writing this post, I’m currently reading The Only Good Indians, a creepy, gorey horror novel about a group of Blackfeet men who are haunted by an elk they killed a decade ago. His next novel, My Heart is a Chainsaw, follows a half-Indian woman obsessed with horror movies who is convinced her own town is living through it’s own horror movie. (August 31)
In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.
“Some girls just don’t know how to die…”
Shirley Jackson meets Friday the 13th in My Heart Is a Chainsaw, written by the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians Stephen Graham Jones, called “a literary master” by National Book Award winner Tananarive Due and “one of our most talented living writers” by Tommy Orange.
Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw “a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre.” On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life.
Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.
Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges…a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.
When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen
When the Reckoning Comes sounds like it will be a really rough, but necessary, read, tackling one of contemporary America’s truly horrific ideas: plantation weddings. The book is set during a plantation wedding, on a plantation haunted by the spirits of slaves. (August 3)
A haunting novel about a black woman who returns to her hometown for a plantation wedding and the horror that ensues as she reconnects with the blood-soaked history of the land and the best friends she left behind.
More than a decade ago, Mira fled her small, segregated hometown in the south to forget. With every mile she traveled, she distanced herself from her past: from her best friend Celine, mocked by their town as the only white girl with black friends; from her old neighborhood; from the eerie Woodsman plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves; from the terrifying memory of a ghost she saw that terrible day when a dare-gone-wrong almost got Jesse—the boy she secretly loved—arrested for murder.
But now Mira is back in Kipsen to attend Celine’s wedding at the plantation, which has been transformed into a lush vacation resort. Mira hopes to reconnect with her friends, and especially, Jesse, to finally tell him the truth about her feelings and the events of that devastating long-ago day.
But for all its fancy renovations, the Woodsman remains a monument to its oppressive racist history. The bar serves antebellum drinks, entertainments include horrifying reenactments, and the service staff is nearly all black. Yet the darkest elements of the plantation’s past have been carefully erased—rumors that slaves were tortured mercilessly and that ghosts roam the lands, seeking vengeance on the descendants of those who tormented them, which includes most of the wedding guests.
As the weekend unfolds, Mira, Jesse, and Celine are forced to acknowledge their history together, and to save themselves from what is to come.
Goddess of Filth by V. Castro
Possession novella but make it possession by an ancient Aztec goddess thirsting for sins?! Yes please. (March 30)
“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.
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
I love books with odd Victorian professions and this one follows a silhouette artist whose clients keep being murdered, so she goes to a spirit medium to try contact the dead to find out who killed them. (January 21)
As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?
Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.
But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…
The Upstairs House by Julia Fine
The combination of horror with pregnancy and motherhood is always such an interesting and captivating combination. And I’m sure The Upstairs House is going to continue that trend! This is described as Shirley Jackson meets The Awakening about a woman who has recently given birth and is left alone with the newborn when her husband travels for work. She begins to see the ghost of a children’s book author whose entwined in a power struggle with the ghost of her former lover. (February 23)
A provocative meditation on new motherhood—Shirley Jackson meets The Awakening—in which a postpartum woman’s psychological unraveling becomes intertwined with the ghostly appearance of children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown.
There’s a madwoman upstairs, and only Megan Weiler can see her.
Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation—a thesis on mid-century children’s literature.
Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon—whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle—and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.
In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce
A serial killer horror novel is always a terrifying ordeal, but this one sounds more interesting than most as it’s about one of the most prolific female serial killers in America’s history, the Widow of La Porte! (January 19)
An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history–and the men who drove her to it.
They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte. The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.
Dead Space by Kali Wallace
I really enjoyed Kali Wallace’s 2020 horror, Salvation Day, which was a space horror set on an abandoned spaceship. In her next space thriller/horror, Dead Space, we follow an investigator who survived a terrorist attack and must now solve the murder on an asteroid mine of a fellow survivor of the attack, as well as discovering the truth behind the attack itself. (March 2)
An investigator must solve a brutal murder on a claustrophobic asteroid mine 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.
Getaway by Zoje Stage
Getaway sound’s like it’ll have the same claustrophobic tension as one of my favourite horror novels, The Luminous Dead, but instead of being set in a space caving system, it’s set in the Grand Canyon, and follows a group of friends on a hike as their supplies start dissappearing… (August 17)
It was supposed to be the perfect week away…
Imogen and Beck, two sisters who couldn’t be more different, have been friends with Tilda since high school. Once inseparable, over two decades the women have grown apart. But after Imogen survives a traumatic attack, Beck suggests they all reunite to hike deep into the Grand Canyon’s backcountry. A week away, secluded in nature . . . surely it’s just what they need.
But as the terrain grows tougher, tensions from their shared past bubble up. And when supplies begin to disappear, it becomes clear secrets aren’t the only thing they’re being stalked by. As friendship and survival collide with an unspeakable evil, Getaway becomes another riveting thriller from a growing master of suspense and “a literary horror writer on the rise”.
Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi
I really enjoyed Helen Oyeyemi’s book White is for Witching last year, so I’m keen to explore more of her work, and luckily, she’s got a new book coming in 2021! Peaces is set on a mysterious sleeper train, and has a PET MONGOOSE. Say no more, I shall read it for the mongoose. (April 6)
The prize-winning, bestselling author of Gingerbread; Boy, Snow, Bird; and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours returns with a vivid and inventive new novel about a couple forever changed by an unusual train voyage.
When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment–and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favorite breakfast. They seem to be the only people onboard, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together.
A spellbinding tale from a star author, Peaces is about what it means to be seen by another person–whether it’s your lover or a stranger on a train–and what happens when things you thought were firmly in the past turn out to be right beside you.
The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whitely
Another rerelease, this horror novella is set in a world where people shed their skins every 7 years, and change everything about you, from your life, who you love, and who you are. Sounds creepy, right?! (February 23)
A gripping and strange story of shedding skins, love and moving on from the award-winning author of The Beauty. Includes an exclusive short story set in the world of The Loosening Skin.
Rose Allington is a bodyguard for celebrities, and she suffers from a rare disease. Her moults come quickly, changing everything about her life, who she is, who she loves, who she trusts.
In a world where people shed their skin, it’s a fact of life that we move on and cast off the attachments of our old life. But those memories of love can be touched – and bought – if you know the right people.
Rose’s former client, superstar actor Max Black, is hooked on Suscutin, a new wonderdrug that prevents the moult. Max knows his skins are priceless, and moulting could cost him his career.
When one of his skins is stolen, and the theft is an inside job, Max needs the best who ever worked for him – even if she’s not the same person.
The Lost Village by Camilla Sten
I love this book already because it it has The Blair Witch Project as a comp, which has a special place in my heart as the only horror movie I could ever get through as a teen! Because I was (and still am) a wimp when it comes to horror films. Thus, I’m very interested in The Lost Village which follows a documentary filmaker who is obsessed with an old mining town where people keep vanishing. Obviously, she decides to make a film and EVERYTHING GOES WRONG *evil laughter* (March 23)
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?
Near the Bone by Christina Henry
Christina Henry is known for her horror retellings of fairytales, from Peter Pan to Alice in Wonderland to Red Riding Hood. This year, she has a new horror book about monsters on a mountain and the woman trying to survive them. (April 13)
A woman trapped on a mountain attempts to survive more than one kind of monster, in a dread-inducing horror novel from the national bestselling author Christina Henry.
Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all.
There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.
When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.
All’s Well by Mona Awad
Mona Awad is the brain behind the weird and wonderful Bunny, and her next novel looks to be just as strange and dark and disturbing. It follows a theatre professor with chronic pain on the verge of losing her job and explores the way female pain and trauma is invalidated by society. (August 3)
From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny, a darkly funny novel about a theater professor suffering chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly and miraculously recovers.
Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.
That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.
With prose Margaret Atwood has described as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged…genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. All’s Well is the story of a woman at her breaking point and a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness and believe female pain.
Red X by David Demchuk
This sounds like such an interesting exploration of the relationship between horror and queerness, following the Toronto queer community across the decades as gay men keep vanishing. Until the community realises that whoever or whatever is taking the men has been doing so for longer than humanly possible. (August 31)
A hunted community. A haunted author. A horror that spans centuries.
Men are disappearing from Toronto’s gay village. They’re the marginalized, the vulnerable. One by one, stalked and vanished, they leave behind small circles of baffled, frightened friends. Against the shifting backdrop of homophobia throughout the decades, from the HIV/AIDS crisis and riots against raids to gentrification and police brutality, the survivors face inaction from the law and disinterest from society at large. But as the missing grow in number, those left behind begin to realize that whoever or whatever is taking these men has been doing so for longer than is humanly possible.
Woven into their stories is David Demchuk’s own personal history, a life lived in fear and in thrall to horror, a passion that boils over into obsession. As he tries to make sense of the relationship between queerness and horror, what it means for gay men to disappear, and how the isolation of the LGBTQ+ community has left them profoundly exposed to monsters that move easily among them, fact and fiction collide and reality begins to unravel.
Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente
First of all, how gorgeous is this cover?! Second of all, this is Gone Girl x Spinning Silver?! How amazing does that sound?! This thriller novella follows Sophia, and her strange husband who works too hard, doesn’t answer her questions and keeps a basement locked where she isn’t allowed to enter. (October 26)
A terrifying new thriller from bestseller Catherynne M. Valente, for fans of Gone Girl and Spinning Silver
Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.
It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.
But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…
But everything is perfect. Isn’t it?
Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn
As always, Tordotcom Publishing is absolutely killing it with novellas. Flowers for the Sea is described as a gothic Rosemary’s Baby meets Octavia Butler, which sounds epic?! It follows refugees from a flooded kingdom, one of whom is pregnant with a child that might not be human. (September 19)
Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella from Zin E. Rocklyn that reads like Rosemary’s Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler
We are a people who do not forget.
Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.
Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.
Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut novella is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.
Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body by Megan Milks
Well this just sounds bloody incredible! A queer and trans, genre-bending coming-of-age story about a 90s girl group mystery series set at a haunted eating disorder treatment centre in a dystopian, mutant world?! What the fuck but also this sounds amazing?! (Date unconfirmed)
Lambda-nominated writer and critic Megan Milks’s MARGARET AND THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING BODY, a genre-bending queer and trans coming-of-age story that combines a ’90s-era girl group mystery series with a haunted eating disorder treatment center and a surreal mutant body-world.
The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings
We don’t know much about The Women Could Fly yet, but what we do know is this:
a) Megan Giddings had a phenomenal horror debut with her book exploring medical experimentation on Black people in Lakewood
b) the one description I’ve found for The Women Could Fly sounds epic: pitched as reminiscent of Kelly Link and Ottessa Moshfegh, about a Black, bisexual woman on a journey to come to terms with the loss of her mother, who disappeared mysteriously when she was a teenager, and set in a world where witches are real (Date unconfirmed)
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
Victoria Lee is the author of my favourite book, The Fever King, so of course I am INORDINATELY excited for her next DARK ACADEMIA, SAPPHIC THRILLER. It’s going to be so fucking good, I already know it. (August 3)
For fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House comes a dark, twisty, atmospheric thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past.
Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.
Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.
Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.
It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.
And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.
The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
This is my joint most anticipated YA horror book of the year (along with the above Victoria Lee book). Just look how creepy that cover is!! This follows a boy called Jake who starts getting haunted by the ghost of a school shooter. (July 13)
Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.
Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.
Darling by K. Ancrum
This is the first darker retelling of Peter Pan, by two of the best writers in YA this year! K. Ancrum is one of my auto-buy authors, I do not care what she writes, I WILL READ IT. And I just can’t wait to read this really dark Peter Pan thriller, reimagined to be set in today’s world. (June 22)
A teen girl finds herself lost on a dangerous adventure in this YA thriller by the acclaimed author of The Wicker King and The Weight of the Stars—reimagining Peter Pan for today’s world.
On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town.
Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?
Acclaimed author K. Ancrum has re-envisioned Peter Pan with a central twist that will send all your previous memories of J. M. Barrie’s classic permanently off to Neverland.
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
And onto the SECOND dark Peter Pan retelling, we are blessed this year! What a gorgeous cover too, the colouring is so, so pretty. This Peter Pan retelling follows Wendy years after her and her brothers went missing in the woods, and now other children are starting to disappear. (March 23)
When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.
It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
Gothic books are one of my favourite genres and so I loved this dark gothic fantasy when I read an ARC earlier this year (and I will have a review coming very soon now that my blog is up and running again!) It also has body horror (EYE HORROR specifically), medical magic, a bisexual heroine, a creepy, chilling castle and a gorgeous enemies to lovers relationship. (March 2)
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.
The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska
I adored Alicia Jasinska’s debut The Dark Tide, a sapphic enemies to lovers witchy book! This paranormal book promises to be just as amazing – two sapphic monsters are competing for the heart of a prince. But then they realise they might be falling for each other.
The Wicked Deep meets House of Salt and Sorrows in this new standalone YA fantasy set in a snow-cloaked kingdom where witches are burned, and two enchantresses secretly compete for the heart of a prince, only to discover that they might be falling for each other.
It’s Karnawał season in the snow-cloaked Kingdom of Lechija, and from now until midnight when the church bells ring an end to Devil’s Tuesday time will be marked with wintry balls and glittery disguises, cavalcades of nightly torch-lit “kuligi” sleigh-parties.
Unbeknownst to the oblivious merrymakers, two monsters join the fun, descending upon the royal city of Warszów in the guise of two innocent girls. Newfound friends and polar opposites, Zosia and Marynka seem destined to have a friendship that’s stronger even than magic. But that’s put to the test when they realize they both have their sights set on Lechija’s pure-hearted prince. A pure heart contains immeasurable power and Marynka plans to bring the prince’s back to her grandmother in order to prove herself. While Zosia is determined to take his heart and its power for her own.
When neither will sacrifice their ambitions for the other, the festivities spiral into a wild contest with both girls vying to keep the hapless prince out of the other’s wicked grasp. But this isn’t some remote forest village, where a hint of stray magic might go unnoticed, Warszów is the icy capital of a kingdom that enjoys watching monsters burn, and if Zosia and Marynka’s innocent disguises continue to slip, their escalating rivalry might cost them not just the love they might have for each other, but both their lives.
What Big Teeth by Roze Szabo
Another stunning cover, YA horror covers are so beautiful this year! What Big Teeth follows a family of monsters and the girl trying to hold them together. It’s dark, it’s gothic, and looks absolutely fabulous! (February 2)
Rose Szabo’s thrilling debut is a dark and thrilling novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls.
Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.
Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.
Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.
All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
From the author of the Anna Dressed in Blood duology comes a new horror book! It follows a series of murders in the 1950s, with victims being found drained of blood, and the girl who’s found at the scene of one of the murders, covered in blood that isn’t hers. (September 21)
Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation.
Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere.
September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.
Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to.
As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?
The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros
This is going to be an absolutely stunning queer, Jewish, gothic novel! It’s set during the 1893 Chicago World Fair and follows Alter when he becomes possessed by the dybbuk of his best friend. (September 7)
Death lurks around every corner in this unforgettable Jewish historical fantasy about a city, a boy, and the shadows of the past that bind them both together.
Chicago, 1893. For Alter Rosen, this is the land of opportunity, and he dreams of the day he’ll have enough money to bring his mother and sisters to America, freeing them from the oppression they face in his native Romania.
But when Alter’s best friend, Yakov, becomes the latest victim in a long line of murdered Jewish boys, his dream begins to slip away. While the rest of the city is busy celebrating the World’s Fair, Alter is now living a nightmare: possessed by Yakov’s dybbuk, he is plunged into a world of corruption and deceit, and thrown back into the arms of a dangerous boy from his past. A boy who means more to Alter than anyone knows.
Now, with only days to spare until the dybbuk takes over Alter’s body completely, the two boys must race to track down the killer—before the killer claims them next.
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
This gothic retelling sounds absolutely amazing: goodbye original Jane Eyre, hello Ethiopian-inspired fantasy Jane Eyre!! Complete with a very creepy house trying to destroy everyone inside, one of my favourite gothic tropes! (November 9)
What the heart desires, the house destroys…
Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.
Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
I honestly cannot quite get over how gorgeous horror covers are this year. Look how beautiful this is?! This horror novel is set in a town where teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, with it all seeming linked to some ghost hunters who have recently returned to town. Also, it’s VERY LESBIAN. (August 3)
Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places―and people―you didn’t expect.
The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames
Another gorgeous cover!! To Break a Covenant is set in a mining town, haunted since an explosion that killed sixteen people. When strange things start happening to the townfolk, including sleepwalking and night terrors, a group of friends decide to enter the mine to find out what’s happening. (September 21)
Debut voice Alison Ames delivers with a chilling, feminist thriller, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls and Sawkill Girls.
Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.
Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.
Poison Priestess by Lana Popović
This is book 2 in the Lady Slayers series, which started with Blood Countess last year, a book about the most prolific female serial killer of all time. The great news is you don’t need to read these in order, as each book focuses on a different female killer! Popović is back and book 2 is about French murderer and fortune teller Catherine Monvoisin, who ends up playing twisted games that pits French nobility against each other and ends in murder. (April 6)
Book 2 in the Lady Slayers series, about French murderess and fortune teller Catherine Monvoisin
In 17th-century Paris, 19-year-old Catherine Monvoisin is a well-heeled jeweler’s wife with a peculiar taste for the arcane. She lives a comfortable life, far removed from a childhood of abject destitution—until her kind spendthrift of a husband lands them both in debt. Hell-bent on avoiding a return to poverty, Catherine must rely on her prophetic visions and the grimoire gifted to her by a talented diviner to reinvent herself as a sorceress. With the help of the grifter Marie Bosse, Catherine divines fortunes in the IIle de la Citee—home to sorcerers and scoundrels.
There she encounters the Marquise de Montespan, a stunning noblewoman. When the Marquise becomes Louis XIV’s royal mistress with Catherine’s help, her ascension catapults Catherine to notoriety. Catherine takes easily to her glittering new life as the Sorceress La Voisin, pitting the depraved noblesse against one other to her advantage. The stakes soar ever higher when her path crosses with that of a young magician. A charged rivalry between sorceress and magician leads to Black Masses, tangled deceptions, and grisly murder—and sets Catherine on a collision course that threatens her own life.
Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin
This YA gothic novel is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, following a sister trying to break her sister’s curse that turns her into a beast and makes her kill people (whilst also helping control who her sister kills by marking the perfume they buy with a scent designed to attract the beast). (September 14)
A gothic YA fantasy debut about a young woman striving to break her sister’s curse and stop the killing in her small French town
Seventeen-year-old Marie mixes perfumes to sell on market day in her small eighteenth-century French town. She wants to make enough to save a dowry for her sister, Ama, in hopes of Ama marrying well and Marie living in the level of freedom afforded only to spinster aunts. But her perfumes are more than sweet scents in cheap, cut-glass bottles: A certain few are laced with death. Marie laces the perfume delicately—not with poison but with a hint of honeysuckle she’s trained her sister to respond to. Marie marks her victim, and Ama attacks. But she doesn’t attack as a girl. She kills as a beast.
Marking Ama’s victims controls the damage to keep suspicion at bay. But when a young boy turns up dead one morning, Marie is forced to acknowledge she might be losing control of Ama. And if she can’t control her, she’ll have to cure her. Marie knows the only place she’ll find the cure is in the mansion where Ama was cursed in the first place, home of Lord Sebastien LeClaire. But once she gets into the mansion, she discovers dark secrets hidden away—secrets of the curse, of Lord Sebastien . . . and of herself.
Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap
I’m not usually hugely keen to read short story collections, which means this one sounds extra specially amazing to make it to my most anticipated horror list! This is a collection of stories mostly based off Filipino mythology and folklore and they promise to all be absolutely gorgeously written! (February 23)
“Am I dead?”
Mebuyen sighs. She was hoping the girl would not ask.
Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, ‘A Spell for Foolish Hearts’ to the terrifying tension of the urban legend ‘Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez’.
Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall
One of the first YA horror books I read after I got into the genre a few years ago was Kate Alice Marshall’s Rules for Vanishing, and it was so so creepy!! I really loved the way she used documents/video transcripts etc to help tell the story, it’s one of my favourite horror writing styles. This one sounds just as creepy, it’s about a girl who has memories of drowning and her mother disappearing during it, but she has never been in the ocean and her mother died in a hospital. And this one uses a similar writing style to Rules for Vanishing too!
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.
The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino
Nothing excites me more than reading ‘accidentally releasing a demon’. Which is what this book is all about! It follows a teen who’s working at the school library over the summer and an intolerable patron after they accidentally release a demon from a grimoire.
Tess Matheson only wants three things: time to practice her cello, for her sister to be happy, and for everyone else to leave her alone.
Instead, Tess finds herself working all summer at her boarding school library, shelving books and dealing with the intolerable patrons. The worst of them is Eliot Birch: snide, privileged, and constantly requesting forbidden grimoires. After a bargain with Eliot leads to the discovery of an ancient book in the library’s grimoire collection, the pair accidentally unleash a book-bound demon.
The demon will stop at nothing to stay free, manipulating ink to threaten those Tess loves and dismantling Eliot’s strange magic. Tess is plagued by terrible dreams of the devil and haunting memories of a boy who wears Eliot’s face. All she knows is to stay free, the demon needs her… and he’ll have her, dead or alive.
Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone
And for the last horror book on the list, let’s end on a LoveOzYA one! (For those who haven’t heard that term before, LoveOzYA is an initiative set up in Australia to support local Australian YA authors). I love gothic books so I have very high hopes for this gothic fantasy book about monsters and magic and a cursed lake!
A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.
There are monsters in the world.
When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.
There are monsters in the woods.
As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…
There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.
Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.
And there you have it! Some of the amazing horror books we have coming in 2021. What horror book are you most anticipating this year? And do you have any recommendations I’ve missed? I would love to hear in the comments!